The Big Redhead Book

St. Martin’s Press / 240 pages / $14.99 / ISBN-13: 978-1250110527

Available at Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Indiebound

iTunes

The Big Redhead Book: Inside the Secret Society of Red Hair is an inside look into one of the most elite societies in the world — the real two percent. Well, you know, the two percent of the world’s population that are natural redheads, at least. This book has equal parts pop culture, ginger facts, and humorous stories about what it’s like to actually have red hair. It’s loaded with everything you’d ever want to know about us reds; how we’re scientifically different from the norms (non-redheads), how we’ve been stereotyped in pop culture, and the do’s and don’ts of having a red in your life, among other things!

Whether you are a redhead, know a redhead, or are just an enthusiast, this book explores the realities, the myths, and where red hair actually originates (it’s not Ireland). Author Erin La Rosa not only delivers the facts, statistics, and undeniable realities of being a ginger, but she also weaves in her own personal and hilarious stories about being red. Being a redhead is not just a hair color, it’s a lifestyle―and this book is your own exclusive peek into that fabulous world.

Some surprising facts about redheads that you will discover include:
– The association between redheads and humor came from redheaded slaves in ancient Greece
– There are over 30 leading or recurring redhead characters in Disney and Pixar films… that’s a lot when you remember we’re only two percent of the world’s population!
– Redhead women allegedly have more sex, more threesomes, and more orgasms than other women… or do they? Let’s find out!
– Some Egyptian rulers dyed their hair red to assert their power (looking at you, Cleopatra)
– And redheads need more anesthesia at the dentist, because they’re not going down without a fight

Womanskills

Voyageur Press / 224 pages / $15.99 / ISBN-13: 978-0760350188
Available at Amazon

Praise for Womanskills:

  • “This is the smartest, funniest, most patient friend you can get in book form without that book actually being haunted.” —Kristin Chirico, senior editor, BuzzFeed
  • “Even though I live with a woman, and even lived inside one for a while, until recently I had no way to help them, because I’m a man. Now, however, I can just hand them a copy of the funny, thoughtful Womanskills.” – Rob Delaney
  • “This wise, irreverent compendium of life hacks finds the sweet spot between Amy Sedaris and Worst Case Survival Guides, filling in a much-needed gap in every woman’s bag of tricks. An instant classic.” – Janet Fitch, author of White Oleander and Paint It Black
  • “Erin brings her unique brand of charm, cheek, and fierceness to this much-needed how-to guide. Womanskills are human skills, but the voice speaks directly to my powerful generation of ladies. I now know that my bras don’t fit, my salary could be higher, and I totally should have proposed to my husband instead.” – Jessie Rosen, Time Top 25 Blogger, founder of 20-Nothings.com
  • “In Womanskills, La Rosa is that know-it-all friend who you don’t want to punch in the face. Because she’s hilarious and has lots of great advice for navigating that weird period when you’re supposed to be an adult but have absolutely no idea how to be.” – Lilibet Snellings, author of BOX GIRL: My Part-Time Job as an Art Installation
  • “I have come to count on Erin for her practical and hilarious wisdom. With Womanskills, you too will have access to her advice-from how to cook like a real adult person to how to survive being single again.” – Lucy Keating, author of Dreamology

4 Reasons Why You Should Pre-Order “Womanskills”

Books have all kinds of uses: a chunky square to fix a wobbly table, extra kindling for when the zombie apocalypse hits, and sometimes they’re even fun to read. Sometimes.

Which brings me to my book, Womanskills. Some of you may remember that I was “writing” something. Some of my friends may remember that over the last year I went into hiding to get it all done. And finally, FINALLY, it’s here. The book pubs on October 15, but I’m hoping you’ll go ahead and pre-order it for a few reasons. (PS— Cover is below in case you’re thinking, Her? Writing? Not possible. Well, it IS, and I DID.)

WomanskillsCover

REASON ONE: This is a book for strong, feminist women

When you see the title Womanskills, that can mean a lot of things. And some people might immediately think this is a book telling women how to behave, which sounds terrible. It’s not that. What I can tell you as a feminist and as the person who wrote this thing, is that this book addresses situations only women have to face; mansplaining, equal pay, and having certain expectations placed on you because of your gender.

Womanskills lays out these situations and provides ways to kick them to the fucking curb so you can spend more time and energy being the strong, badass woman you are. Don’t get me wrong, this also deals with basic, everyday things, like how to actually find a bra that fits, learning how to make an exceptional cup of coffee, and ways to get all of the pet hair off of your couch. OK, that pet hair one was maybe more for my benefit than anyone else, but I figured out some seriously amazing ways to make your home fuzz-free. (The secret involves cleaning gloves. It’ll change your life. I promise.)

Even if you don’t feel like a badass all the time, by the end of the book I hope you feel more empowered to take on the world and deal with the everyday things we all go through. Womanskills is all about adding to your skill set, helping you become more independent, and giving you confidence in the idea that yes, you can snake your own damn drain and negotiate a higher salary all in the same day.

REASON TWO: I wrote a book I wouldn’t hate reading

I didn’t want to pick this hefty square up in 10 years and feel like I’d made a mistake. The Internet is certainly forever, but so is a book as long as you keep it on your shelf. So, I made this fun to read. There are Oregon Trail jokes, ’90s movie references, and plenty of mentions of pizza as a lifestyle choice.

I also made sure it looked the way I wanted it to. For example, this book has some amazing designs and I worked with our illustrator, Kelsey King, to make sure we were showing diverse women — older, younger, different body shapes, sizes, colors, sexual orientations, etc. All women are queens who are too good for this earth, so you’ll definitely see that throughout the book.

Kelsey King, courtesy of Voyageur Press

Kelsey King, courtesy of Voyageur Press

REASON THREE: It’s funny! And people other than me agreed!

Just check out these actual reviews from people who read my book and tell me the lie.

  • “Even though I live with a woman, and even lived inside one for a while, until recently I had no way to help them, because I’m a man. Now, however, I can just hand them a copy of the funny, thoughtful Womanskills.” – Rob Delaney
  • “This wise, irreverent compendium of life hacks finds the sweet spot between Amy Sedaris and Worst Case Survival Guides, filling in a much-needed gap in every woman’s bag of tricks. An instant classic.” – Janet Fitch, author of White Oleander and Paint It Black
  • “This is the smartest, funniest, most patient friend you can get in book form without that book actually being haunted.” – Kristin Chirico, senior editor, BuzzFeed
  • “Erin brings her unique brand of charm, cheek, and fierceness to this much-needed how-to guide. Womanskills are human skills, but the voice speaks directly to my powerful generation of ladies. I now know that my bras don’t fit, my salary could be higher, and I totally should have proposed to my husband instead.” – Jessie Rosen, Time Top 25 Blogger, founder of 20-Nothings.com
  • “In Womanskills, La Rosa is that know-it-all friend who you don’t want to punch in the face. Because she’s hilarious and has lots of great advice for navigating that weird period when you’re supposed to be an adult but have absolutely no idea how to be.” – Lilibet Snellings, author of BOX GIRL: My Part-Time Job as an Art Installation
  • “I have come to count on Erin for her practical and hilarious wisdom. With Womanskills, you too will have access to her advice-from how to cook like a real adult person to how to survive being single again.” – Lucy Keating, author of Dreamology
REASON FOUR: If none of the above excite you, just remember that books are super easy to throw at people you hate

Just saying ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

You can pre-order Womanskills on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or at IndieBound — and then let me know you did so I can buy you a big thank you drink!

What I’ve Learned From Writing A Book

I’ve been hiding the fact that I’ve been working on a book for a long time, because I was so terrified something might go wrong, but I’m ready to talk about it. (Stay with me here.)

Writing a book

So… I’M WRITING A BOOK! I’m sure anyone who gets a book deal will say this, but I’ve always wanted to write a book, and it’s so exciting that when I think about it my throat catches and I feel like I might scream. I’M SO EXCITED.

It’s a humor how-to guide called Womanskills, and it will likely hit bookshelves next October, or so my editor tells me. (My Editor, this is such a nice thing to say.)

I’ve quietly been writing the outline, which was approved. Then I wrote the first chapter, which has now been approved. And I’ll be working on the rest of the book over the next few months. It’ll all be done by January, and because I’ve been happily thrown into this, I feel like I now have some takeaways.

  • Procrastination and writer’s block will happen. Like, you think that maybe turning on HGTV for “background noise” will help you get in the zone, and then an hour later you realize your new zone is just watching TV. Personally, I’ve tried to put a time limit on those things, so if I start procrastinating, I give myself an hour, then it’s back to writing and turning off the internet. See evidence of procrastination below:

Decided to take a selfie while working on my book, because I’ve run out of ways to procrastinate. 📖📚💻

A photo posted by Erin La Rosa (@sideofginger) on

    • It’s OK to not talk about your book until you’re really ready to do so. I took a full month to tell people. I mean, I immediately told my cat, E, my parents, my closest friends, and sometimes would just mumble it to myself, but I didn’t start conversations with it. It’s totally fine to be nervous, and to keep exciting things close to you. And yes, people will be mad that you didn’t tell them, saying things like, “Why didn’t you tell me?!” but like, pat them on the back and reassure them that your crippling anxiety really needed this secrecy.

 

  • However, at some point you should let yourself be excited and share the great news. (See this blog post, for example.)

 

 

  • Find a spot that really makes you want to write. I used to think that spot was on my couch, until I kept trying to watch TV. Then I tried my bed, and I kept napping. But the library? Yes, I work quite well in a library. Libraries are quiet and there’s no TV, which for me was basically what I needed. #librariesforever

 

 

  • And when you do something, like find your idea for a book, or finish an outline or a chapter or a whole book, celebrate by doing something you had to put off while writing. Like on Sunday I submitted my chapter, so I watched episodes of Hannibal and sat in my pajamas without typing. That was totally lovely.

 

 

Why Dickson Street Bookshop in Fayetteville, Arkansas Is Worth A Visit

When I was visiting E and his family over the Christmas break, one of the places I really wanted to visit was the Dickson Street Bookshop.

Fayetteville is a small, college town, and there are only a few main drags of stores to explore. One of those streets is Dickson, which has quite a number of bars, and the book shop is smack in the middle of it.

I wanted to visit the shop because it specializes in out-of-print books, is one of those rare gems you definitely don’t see in Los Angeles, and most importantly, it’s been owned and operated by E’s dad since 1978.
Book Shop

This dapper man is E’s dad. He gets up very early and goes into the store every day to check inventory and sell books. Pretty cool dude, right?Dickson.jpg

There are so many beautiful editions of books that it was hard to capture them all, but I tried!Dickson Bookshop.jpg

And then there are the modern touches, like this little slice of Chuck Palahnuik heaven.Chuck Palahniuk

I really enjoyed the music section, mainly because of this “Stones” marker.Bookshelf Glory

Eoghan and Charles

E and his dad.

At one point Charles, that’s E’s dad, gave me a brown shopping bag and told me to “get whatever” I wanted. I felt like I was on an episode of Supermarket Sweep, where I’d have to just run through each and every aisle and try to dump as many books as I possibly could into my bag.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t very good at the whole “endless options” thing. There were so many aisles, so many sections, and so many beautiful book spines to pet. I ended up wandering into the foreign aisle, and leaving with a bunch of Spanish language flashcards. (No joke.)Eoghan in Dickson Bookshop

Jack Kerouac

Man Booker prize winnersThe best part about this store is all of the independent touches. Unlike a Barnes & Noble or Borders (R.I.P.), every inch of this bookshop is unique. There are handwritten signs, little details, like the Man Booker prize winners, and a seemingly endless supply of witty New Yorker cartoons cut out and tacked to the wall like art.

It was such a special place, and really reminded me of the importance of supporting independent sellers. If you’re ever looking for an out-of-print title, or a unique gift to give someone that is truly one of a kind, Dickson Bookshop sells and ships all of its titles via Abe Books. (Lucky for all of us!)

Oh, except the Spanish language flashcards. Those came home with me.

5 Perfect Books To Read This Fall

1. And Sons, by David Gilbert

and_sons_wtrI love reading books about novelists, and this beautiful work of fiction just so happens to open in New York in the fall. Winter coats abound, there’s plenty of fall foliage to be had, and a very Royal Tenenbaums-esque family drama unfolds. Totally worth the read.

2. The Fault In Our Stars, by John Green

tfios2E just tore through this book in three days. He wasn’t able to put it down, and he even LOL’d a few times, even though it’s a totally sad book about two kids who fall in love while dealing with cancer diagnoses. The page turner quality, coupled with the fact that it’s an easy read, make this an ideal book to pair with some hot cocoa, and finish over a weekend when it’s too cold to go outside.

3. Hallucinations, by Oliver Sacks

8c33aef6-ae5e-11e1-ae8b-8263a8ac6904_UUIDbooks0606lookahead10

If you’re looking for a great non-fiction read for fall, then I think you’ve got to get Hallucinations. I remember hearing about this book on NPR when I was driving home from Comic-Con, and listening as Dr. Sacks talked about hallucinations in a way that made them seem eerily common. Almost like everyone has them, but nobody talks about them.

After reading the book, I was a bit surprised to learn that I have, in fact, experienced hallucinations. (i.e. whenever I think I’ve heard my phone beep. That’s a hallucination, sorry folks! We all do it.) Rather than exploring something specific, like schizophrenia, this book covers the wide range of hallucinations that people experience, and discusses reasons for why they happen in the first place. For example, many elderly people experience hallucinations after the loss of their eyesight, because it’s the body’s way of compensating for that lost sense. The book really is fascinating, and will give you some cool talking points at all those holiday parties.

4. The Goldfinch, by Donna Tartt

goldfinch-3_4

 

Everyone is talking about how great this novel is, and you will be too after reading it. Much like The Fault In Our Stars, this is one of those books you won’t be able to put down and will finish one cold and wonderful weekend. It clocks in at 700 pages, but once you start reading about Theo Decker, a 13-year-old boy who’s just lost his mother, you truly won’t want to stop.

5. Blankets, by Craig Thompson

blankets-craig-thompsonThis was the first graphic novel I ever read, it’s 600 pages, and I loved each part of it. Blankets is a memoir by Craig Thompson, and it’s all about his first love. It’s epic, and tragic, and will make you feel like you’re in high school again, dealing with your first crush. It’s a great book to read as people are starting to go back to school, and chances are there will be some moments where you’ll tear up. (In a good way.)

 

My Writing Routine Is Everything

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I got into the habit of writing every morning when I had a job where my hours were 9 a.m. – 11 p.m. I’d get home from work, completely exhausted, and realize that I didn’t have anything to show for it. I was telling people that I was a “writer,” but not actually getting any writing done.

So I decided to try waking up before work and writing for me. I figured that if I could get up at 6 a.m., then I’d have two hours to write before I’d need to get ready for work. Easy enough, right? That first morning when my alarm was set for 6, I hit snooze for about an hour. Then I woke up, got a paragraph done, and went to work. If I’m being honest, it took me about a month before I actually woke up at 6 without hitting snooze. But eventually, my body got used to the early wakeup call, and if I slept in, I started to miss that time when I could’ve been writing.

It’s been about three years since I had that terrible job, but the writing routine has stuck. I wake up at 6, I make coffee immediately. I wash my face. I sit at my couch with my computer, and I work for two hours. Some mornings I get four to five pages out, others I only get a page. Either way, getting any personal writing done makes me feel better.

Since starting this routine, I’ve discovered that a lot of famous writers were firm believers in viewing writing as something that had to be done everyday. I’m not a famous writer, but it makes me feel extra motivated to read that routines kept them in check too.

E.B. White said that,

“A writer who waits for ideal conditions under which to work will die without putting a word on paper.”

I think there’s a lot of truth to that quote. I hear people regularly say that they want to write, but “haven’t found the time,” or “need to wait until things slow down.” It’s been my experience that life never really slows down, and when it does, that’s never the time when I’m actually writing. The only time I do write for me is in the mornings.

That being said, I don’t think morning routines are for everyone. My boyfriend, for example, is not a morning person. He’s a writer as well, and a successful one, but he just works much better in the afternoons and at night. Simone de Beauvoir was similar — aka not a morning person — but she still had a routine:

“I’m always in a hurry to get going, though in general I dislike starting the day. I first have tea and then, at about ten o’clock, I get under way and work until one. Then I see my friends and after that, at five o’clock, I go back to work and continue until nine.”

If you’re thinking of starting a writing routine, some things to consider include…

  • What do you want to write? Pick a project, or an idea you have, and try to make that part of the goal for your routine. (i.e. “OK, I want to write every day at 5 p.m. for an hour until this screenplay is finished.)
  • What time of day are you most productive? If you’re most productive during the time when you have a day job, that’s totally OK. Just try and think about when you’ll be able to keep momentum up, and focus on that time.
  • What do you need to motivate yourself? I am a very reward-based person. If I get up at 6, I’m rewarded with coffee. So maybe for you, if you write for an hour, you get a glass of wine.
  • Where do you work best? Personally, I love my couch. It’s nice to lay down on, and when I’m on it I feel ready to write. Some people work better in loud coffee shops though. So, figure out which space will be most conducive to your creativity, and

Do you have a writing routine? What’s your secret? (Mainly so that I can try it out!)