LMNO Press will give away one paperback copy of each of my books on January 1, 2020. Just comment on which book you’d like to receive and a random drawing will be made on New Year’s Day!
Here are your choices:
1. OR NOT TO BE, a love story for the cynical geek.
2. INFINITY LINE, opposite of The Handmaid’s Tale: females in charge, men controlled, family and love be damned.
3. I LIKE TREES LIKE THESE, a children’s science picture book about the wonder of trees.
How to enter: Spread the word! Tweets and comments! Tweet about this unconventional giveaway on Twitter and tag me @lauralanni and state why you’d like to win the book you choose. You may enter for each book, but must enter individually for each. If you are not on Twitter, you may simply comment here–which book and why. LMNO Press will round up all kinds of entries.
Deadline to enter 1/1/2020 11:59 pm EST.
The Kindle version of OR NOT TO BE  and INFINITY LINE are available in place of the paperback at the winner’s discretion. These novels are both also available to read for free in #kindleunlimited. The children’s book, I LIKE TREES LIKE THESE, is only available in paperback.
Entries (tweets, comments) that do not specify a book choice will be excluded.
Please allow 4-6 weeks for delivery. Paperback copies only available to addresses in the continental United States. Kindle versions available to anyone with an email address.
Always read the fine print.
#giveaway by #indie press

Twitter Troubles

Twitter wouldn’t let me in the other night. I was bored. Checked email. Thought about reading or watching TV. Picked up my phone to scan tweets about Olympics and politics. But it said my account was compromised, something about security and spammy-ness, and I had to do some security stuff. So I picked all the pictures with a car, wondering why they’re mad at me. (I live on the line, following the rules, paralyzed by middle child syndrome since birth, all so nobody gets mad at me.) My last tweet was sadness and outrage about the school shooting in Florida and a link to a chapter of my next book. I regularly retweet and “like” sentiments in opposition to the current executive administration. I tweeted something about the Petrochemical Era with an invented hashtag “#whathistorywillsayaboutus” and a near-quote from my book:

“In the Petrochemical Era, humans bought and depended upon water in plastic bottles made from polymerizing small molecules from petroleum drilled from below the surface of the earth–instead of collecting rain water or drinking from lakes or rivers.

I am just paranoid enough to think the comb-over got me blocked. And I have blocked enough bots lately to wonder why they are following me. Either way, initially I made my Twitter account to help with my publishing. It wasn’t a great way to market, but I love the writing community and contests and #1linewed. So I did my best to get back into the club. I tried to comply. I changed my password. I changed my browser window. I searched for ways back in like a kid outside the playground, nose pressed to the cold chain link. No dice. No doubt: somebody is mad at me. I should apologize. Or hide. Or something.

But I do not like to be told what to do. And this seems quite unfair. And I insist on fair.

So I contacted them and “appealed” my locked account. I may be risking any chance at getting back in the party by sharing this on my blog, but let’s risk it. About a day later I received this reply:

We’re writing to let you know that your account features will remain limited for the allotted time due to violations of the Twitter Rules, specifically our rules against abusive behavior.
To ensure that people feel safe expressing diverse opinions and beliefs on our platform, we do not tolerate behavior that crosses the line into abuse. This includes behavior that harasses, intimidates, or uses fear to silence another person’s voice.
Please note that continued abusive behavior may lead to the suspension of your account. To avoid having your account suspended, please only post content that abides by the Twitter Rules: https://help.twitter.com/rules-and-policies/twitter-rules#abusive-behavior.

So I Googled my account (@lauralanni) and read my tweets and I can’t find this mystery tweet that makes me look abusive. I really don’t get it. I hold so much in. The only thing I oppose in public is a man. He and I differ on every opinion except that we both think white powder under our eyes makes us look better. Isn’t this America? The place where I don’t have to agree with people and I can say so. Is that abusive?

If you have a minute, scan my tweets and let me know what you think I did wrong. I am so baffled.

A pie is born

It might not seem a great idea to make a pie while on vacation, away from the home kitchen, and one that I’ve never made before and was sure not to like. But I did.

At the beach, during a mostly rainy but relaxing week, my husband and number 1 pie-eater and I were discussing food. I was adding avodaco to my salad. He was not. Actually, he was making a face and dissing my avocado, which was perfectly ripened and delicious.

I asked what his problem was. He said he didn’t like the texture (smooth and creamy!) This made no sense to me so we discussed other “textured” foods and it turns out I like smooth and he likes lumpy food. Creamy vs chunky peanut butter. Nuts or no nuts in everything from banana bread to cookies to ice cream. Somehow the discussion led to coconut, and quickly to pie.

[You can guess: he likes coconut, I do not. Ick. The texture.]

Some background on my pies. I make the Crisco crust and an apple pie that is family-famous. I’d make one every day if the pie eaters could keep up. I considered opening a bakery instead of going to graduate school. This apple pie is completely from scratch. I can peel apples in one long stream of curly peel. I know the recipe so well I use it to explain limiting and excess reagents when I teach stoichiometry in my chemistry lectures. Oh, and the man who likes coconut eats my apple pie from the pan if nobody is looking.

I also make a strawberry rhubarb pie (disgusting, but for sibling birthday reasons, a yearly staple) that mimics the fame of my best husband’s mother, a legendary cook and baker. So in my heart, I know the strawberry rhubarb and apple pies are on the top of his pie list.

But there we were watching rain fall at the beach, discussing avocado vs coconut, and he remembered a delicious coconut cream pie from forty years ago, and I could tell by the smile and gleam in his eyes that he really wanted one. So I asked the pivotal question (and got a surprising answer).

I asked for a pie ranking. “What are your top three pies in order?”

With minimal think time he held up his hand, palm to the floor, above his head to visually demonstrate position and declared strawberry rhubarb in the prime spot (no surprise). He dropped his hand to the next level (he’s Italian; his hands talk) and declared coconut cream pie in second place. And broke my heart by declaring my apple pie in third place.


So, of course I had to learn to make the second place pie. I had to make him eat it in my presence.

I went to the store and learned shredded coconut comes in little bags just like chocolate chips. I went online and compared three recipes, and used this one. I used a premade graham cracker crust, low fat Cool Whip, learned how to toast the coconut on a cookie sheet (why?), and made the thing that day. I stirred my arm off for for 40 minutes over the not-quite-yet boiling custard as it thickened and I wondered why a box of pudding wouldn’t work. The pie shell was too small, so I made a consolation dessert with 3/4 cup of the custard (before the coconut was added!) on a bowl of chunky sliced strawberries, which I topped with Cool Whip (all for the cook).

It was a beautiful pie.

He LOVED it. Immortalized its position between strawberry rhubard and apple pie. The last slice was eaten from the pan.

And a beach pie tradition is born.