Wednesday, May 1, 2013

CLP Blog Tours: Unexpecting by Lori Verni Fogarsi

Follow the tour HERE

Things Get Worse With Alexandra (First half of Chapter 18)

The next day, David planned to work from home after having put in such a long day the day before. As usual, Shelley went into Patrick and Alexandra’s room bright and early in the morning to take care of the baby while Alexandra and Grace got ready for school.
                What was not usual, however, was the fact that poor Patrick hadn’t been changed, bathed, or anything else the night before. Thinking back, recalling her very concise instructions, she was astounded that Alexandra—even after getting in so much trouble—still hadn’t given him a bath, read him a story, or done anything else to take care of him before putting him down for the night. Still in yesterday’s clothes, his diaper was so full that it had expanded to a painfully tight point, actually leaving red marks on his hips when she took it off. His poor little bottom was all red and the urine had leaked up the front of his diaper and into the fabric of his shirt, all the way to his neckline.
                She was so livid, she could barely look at Alexandra. Not to mention that 6:00 am was not exactly her favorite time of day in the first place. Knowing that the girls had to get off to school on time, she made it clear that there would be a family discussion that evening, that she would be checking with the school to make sure she was there for every class, and that she was disappointed in the way everything was going.
                Grace, also getting ready at that hour, simply rolled her eyes, apparently unsurprised by anything Alexandra would do or not do. Thanking her lucky stars that she seemed to be doing well in school, dance, and at home, Shelley’s mind raced through the muck and mire of her preoccupation to try and remember what was going on for Grace that was important. “Good luck on that math exam,” she said. “I know you’ve been studying hard.”
                Grace stopped, looked at her sideways and said, “That test was yesterday.”
                “Oh God, I’m so sorry. I’ve been so exhausted, I lost track of the days. How do you think it went?”
                “Fine. I think I did pretty good.”
                “That’s good.”
                They looked at each other, sharing an unspoken conversation in which they communicated to one another: I’m sorry; I understand; I care.
                “Well, I’ve gotta go. Don’t want to miss the bus.”
                “Okay. Love you.”
                “Love you too, Mom.”


After giving Patrick a nice warm bath, Shelley let him play naked for a while to give his skin a chance to dry fully and heal from all the urine exposure while she spent a few minutes cleaning up their room. Should she have to? No. Did she want to? No. But she couldn’t allow Alexandra’s neglect to affect Patrick so extensively. His crib sheets needed to be changed, the diaper pail was making the room stink, and there was no sign of his llama, which she saw that he’d slept without the night before, causing her heart to break a little at the thought of him having to fall asleep without his comfort animal.
                She opened the window and gathered all of the clothes that were strewn on the floor, over the chair, and on Alexandra’s bed. All of them were hers; more evidence that Shelley was Patrick’s primary, if not only, caregiver, since all of his clothes were neatly stowed in his little baby hamper to be washed separately with his baby laundry detergent.
                As was her habit, she checked all of the pockets before tossing Alexandra’s clothes into the hamper, not wanting to end up with things like gum or tissues cycled through the washing machine. Picking up yesterday’s jeans, she pulled something out, initially thinking to herself, See, gum. Upon closer inspection, however, she realized that the foil was not a gum wrapper at all. It was an actual piece of aluminum foil, folded multiple times to create a sturdy square. On one side was some sort of whitish-brownish substance, and on the other the unmistakable black film caused by a lighter, like when you light a candle and accidentally get that annoying shadow on the inside of the candle holder.
                Stunned, she stood there holding the thing by its edges, not wanting to get the substance on her fingers. She knew Alexandra was doing naughty stuff: cutting school, lying about her whereabouts, being neglectful of her responsibilities to Patrick. But drugs? It hadn’t even occurred to her that she would do something so stupid.
                Shelley had never been one to beat around the bush with her kids—Alexandra included—about the fact that she understood that some experimenting is normal. She wasn’t naive: she realized that they’d have the opportunity to try alcohol and pot, and that they’d be offered other things too. Her mantra was that she didn’t think they should do any of it, but that there were certain drugs that should be off-limits no matter what: Drugs that could be instantly addictive and end up ruining your life permanently, even if you only intended to try them once. In her mind, and in her mini-lectures, those included crack, crystal meth, and heroin.
                Any of which could be the stuff on the foil square. To her knowledge, all three were substances that druggies might use these melting squares for, and in her mind, they were all equally as dangerous. She certainly had never heard of anyone using something like this for pot.
                Fear surged through her as she made sure the baby gate was closed at the top of the stairs and went to the hall bathroom to wash her hands. Setting the poisonous little square on the counter, she wrapped it carefully in tissues, went back and dressed Patrick, then headed downstairs to find David.

Shelley and David are a couple of almost-empty-nesters preparing to embark on the next stage of their life. They've just ordered white furniture and are planning the vacation they've waited their entire lives to take.

Their lives are catapulted in a completely different direction when Alexandra, seventeen and pregnant, shows up on their doorstep and announces that she's the daughter they never knew they had! Their life becomes filled with dilemmas as they add not only another child, but also a baby to a household that was just about to become serene.

Shelley feels like she no longer fits in anywhere and to top it off, having two teenaged girls suddenly plunged into being sisters and school mates is not exactly warm and fuzzy. When Alexandra's behavior becomes erratic, the couple is faced with even tougher decisions to make.

Hold on for an emotional yet witty ride as you join this family of characters in a story of love, loyalty, heartbreak, and humor that will stay with you long after you turn the last page.

Q.  What inspires your writing?
A. I like to write about real life emotions that lots of people are faced with but don't necessarily talk about or feel "okay" about. Knowing that I may have affected readers' lives---whether from feeling understood, offering an opportunity to learn about their feelings, or the simple aspect of entertainment---is what keeps me writing for the public, rather than just in a personal journal. 
Q.  What is your favorite thing about being an author?
A. Receiving letters from readers who have enjoyed my books! 
Q.  What is the toughest part of being an author?
A. When a new book is released and I'm waiting for public feedback! My thoughts fluctuate between feeling confident and terrified! It usually takes until I've received 10 reviews or more (from people who are not my mother, husband, or best friend) that I become more comfortable! 
Q.  If you could not be author, what would you do/be?
A. I assume this means being an independently wealthy socialite is not one of the choices? LOL! I think being a real estate attorney would be a great career choice. 
Q.  What would the story of your life be entitled?
A. The Life and Times of a Wine-Drinking Black Sheep. 
Q.  What is your favorite book of all time?
A. Seriously? ONE? Okay. Breathing deeply. If I were stranded on a desert island and could only read one book over and over, I would probably pick, "I Feel Bad About My Neck" by Nora Ephron. It's hilarious, honest, and would distract me from having no lip gloss. 
Q.  Which part of your book(s) was the easiest to write?
A. In "Unexpecting," the easiest parts were the various teens' personalities. I have so many of them in my life, I was able to draw from a never-ending supply of firsthand experience. 
Q.  Which part of your book(s) was the hardest to write?
A. Hands down, in "Unexpecting," it was the Big Terrible Incident with David. Exploring how I would feel if something like this were to happen with my husband freaked me out to the extent of having to set the manuscript aside for weeks at a time! 
Q.  Which character from any book are you most like?
A. I am most like Shelley, who is the main character in both "Momnesia" and "Unexpecting." 
Q.  What is your favorite season?
A. Summer! I love summer, and the hotter the better! My favorite activity of all time is going out on our boat on Lake Gaston, which is best enjoyed in summer, too! 
Q.  Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book(s).
A. This was hilarious and I'll never forget it as long as I live! I was having a Momnesia Party and there were tons of ladies. I was going around handing out little giveaway gifts and these three women said, "Omigod, is this a vibrator? Thank you so much!" Me: "Um, no, sorry. It's just a pen shaped like a lipstick." Even funnier is that a few weeks later I was traveling and the airport security guy pulled my lipstick pen out of my purse and asked, "Is this a personal massage device?" Apparently, these lipstick pens are pretty confusing! (MRS MOMMY: IF THIS ANSWER IS NOT IN KEEPING WITH YOUR BLOG'S TONE, PLEASE LET ME KNOW AND I'LL PROVIDE A MILDER ANSWER.) 
Q.  Are you working on something new?
A. I have two projects burning in my brain. The first and top priority is another novel, this time illustrating the men's point of view, exploring how life is experienced by the men who are trying to do it all: being the family provider, tee-ball coach, lawn guy, etc. Kind of like "Momnesia" but from a man's point of view. I'm also planning a nonfiction guidebook for older teens and twenty-somethings called "The Party Animal's Guide to Beginner Party Animalism." It will help teach the difference between "this is fun," and "this would have been fun but now my life is ruined," as well as redefining the meaning of being a party animal in the first place. 
Q.  Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?
A. Yes! Thank you so much for reading this interview! I feel honored that you would spend your valuable free time getting to know me and possibly read my books. I love getting to know my readers, so I hope to get to know you too, either through comments here, or in other ways! 
Q. Can you tell me a little about the inspiration behind your book cover(s)?
A. I think it's important to impart what a book is about within a quick glance. With "Momnesia," I came up with the idea for the legs with the two different shoes---one sneaker and one stiletto---to impart the balance we women strive for when we're in the throes of "Momnesia." I actually commissioned an accomplished artist to hand paint that cover! With "Unexpecting," I felt that the image of the woman's hands juggling the wine, baby bottle, and coffee cup also gives a quick impression of a woman trying to do it all!

Author Bio:

Lori Verni-Fogarsi has been an author, speaker, and
small business consultant since 1995. She has been
featured in major media including Lifetime Women’s
Network, the My Carolina Today Show, andBoston
Globe Forums Live.

Her public speaking has occurred at many
prestigious venues including North Carolina State
University, Nassau Community College, and many

She has received two awards for her novel,
Momnesia, and her nonfiction, Everything You Need to
Know About House Training Puppies and Adult Dogs,
continues to be one of the most highly recommended in
its genre since 2005.

Lori is a happy married mom of two, step mom of
two more, and has two cats, both rotten. Originally a
native New Yorker, she now divides her time between
Raleigh, NC, and Lake Gaston, VA.

She is very excited about the release of
Unexpecting, and looks forward to her book tour,
interviews, launch parties, and other festivities!

Connect with Lori!

• Lori’s Website:



  1. Thank you so much for the fun interview and for featuring my book on your blog. I hope your visitors enjoyed the excerpt and that they'll enjoy my book if they choose to read it! Good luck, everyone, with the giveaways too!


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