Saturday, July 13, 2013

Mortified named finalist for ForeWord debut novel contest

The folks at ForeWord Reviews have selected Mortified: A Novel About Oversharing as a finalist in their ForeWord Firsts contest for debut novels.

"They say you never forget your first," the editors wrote in their July 12 email newsletter, ForeWord This Week. "The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain. Carrie by Stephen King. Not bad first efforts by then-unknown authors. Well, here are a few new debut titles, and names, to remember -- all finalists in our quarterly competition we call ForeWord Firsts."

Mortified was the second novel on their list which also included, Courage: A Story of Love and Friendship by Disko Praphanchith, Zinsky the Obscure by Ilan Mochari, Baxter's Friends by Ned Randle and Sparrow Migrations by Cari Noga.

"The winner will be named in a future edition of ForeWord This Week," the editors continued. "They all sound like wonderful debuts."

Tatnuck Bookseller book signing event

Oversharing, embarrassing one's children and the explosion in social media took center stage when I had a book talk at Tatnuck Bookseller in Westborough, MA recently.

After answering questions -- ranging from those about the process of writing and publishing a book, to the days when I used to write about my kids -- I read aloud from sections of Mortified: A Novel About Oversharing.

The next day, I was invited to attend a local book club where I fielded questions about Mortified and character motivations. Some people seem to absolutely despise Mortified's main character, Maggie Kelly, while others have sympathy for her.

Love talkin' books.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Book event at Tatnuck Bookseller, Westborough, Mass. June 23, 1-3

I'm pleased to announce my first book event for Mortified: A Novel About Oversharing.

Where: Tatnuck Bookseller
Route 9 & Lyman Street
Westborough, MA

When: Sunday, June 23, 1-3 p.m.

What: I'll be talking about the novel, what inspired me to write it, some of the stories behind the story, etc. Plus I'll sign stuff!

Here's the flier:

Talkin' about oversharing online on BlogHer

How big is the topic of online oversharing?

So big that lawyers are reportedly seeing mentions to Facebook postings cropping up in a rising number of divorce filings.

So big that the Wall Street Journal ran a large feature story on oversharing earlier this month.

So big that the New York Times recently ran several pieces on whether oversharing on Twitter should cost someone his or her job.

So big that I wrote a post for BlogHer entitled, "5 Ways to Tell If You're Oversharing Online" that the site has highlighted.

FYI: Maggie Kelly -- the main character of Mortified: A Novel About Oversharing -- would be a poster child for what NOT to do online ... in case any of you had any lingering questions about that.

Monday, May 20, 2013

New York blogger says Mortified will 'have you laughing out loud'

Many thanks to New York blogger Lainie Gutterman, who runs the blog Me, Myself & Baby I, for her review of Mortified: A Novel About Oversharing.

In the blog entry, "Has Oversharing & TMI Got You MORTIFIED?", Gutterman wrote of the novel's main character, Maggie Kelly: "Maggie is extremely relatable and [the book is] a fun, quick ... read which will have you laughing out loud and shaking your head in agreement because you know all too well about life as a mommy."

Gutterman added, "If there's one message that Meredith O'Brien hopes readers get from this book, it's that the internet is not a private place."

"As a wife and mother," she continued, "I've learned the value of privacy and how much of life is meant to be cherished and enjoyed just amongst us. Mortified: A Novel About Oversharing reaffirms this sentiment."

You can read the whole review here.

Image credit: Lainie Gutterman.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Blasting your partner online may make you temporarily feel better, but in the long run, not so much

Yahoo's Shine page has published a post I wrote about the hazards of sharing intimate details online, particularly if they're unflattering to your partner.

Here's the intro:

"Suppose that your partner hasn't been, shall we say, all that steamy between the sheets lately. No matter how much effort you put into improving the situation -- primping everything that can be primped, dropping a small fortune on uncomfortable lingerie, putting together the perfect slow-jam playlist, decanting a bottle of robust pinot noir at bedside -- you're unable to create enough of a spark to light a match, never mind a roaring, passionate fire.

And, understandably, you're quite irritated about the whole thing. You want to vent, desperately, lest your head explode with frustration. Do you phone a friend? Do you contact a lot of friends by sharing wry comments on Facebook, Twitter and other social media? Or do you unleash your angst on your own anonymous blog, sparing no detail, leaving no gripe behind? Blasting your partner online may temporarily make you feel better. It's cheaper than therapy. However, should your beloved stumble upon your online comments, the scarcity of lusty nights will be the least of your concerns."

Read the rest of the post here.

Image credit: Corbis/Yahoo.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Springfield (Mass.) newspaper, The Republican, features Mortified

The Republican -- the Springfield (Mass.)-based newspaper for which I used to be a reporter when it went by the name of The Union-News -- ran a feature story about oversharing online and my new book, Mortified: A Novel About Oversharing.

An excerpt from the story by Kathryn Roy who described the main character, Maggie Kelly, as suffering "the consequences of sharing too much:"

"The book focuses ... on the relationship between a husband and wife. The relationship becomes strained because the husband doesn't like what his wife is posting online.
It's not just a story. There are more and more relationship problems being reported because of disagreement over online postings. Some couples have been known to argue in public, online, for all to see, and others have cited online revelations as a reason they are seeking a divorce. Still others have been fired from their jobs for their online posts."

Read the whole article here.

Image credit: The Republican/

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Read a Mortified excerpt on ModernMom, plus a post about parental oversharing

The web site Modern Mom, for which I used to write, has published an excerpt of Mortified: A Novel About Oversharing which explains how and why the main character, Maggie Kelly, decided to start an anonymous blog in the first place.

Feel free to take a peek. If you like what you read, please, by all means, buy the whole book.

Additionally, I wrote an original post for Modern Mom about how and why I have almost entirely stopped blogging about my kids. (Answer: Because they asked me to zip it online.) I explained how I decided it was safer to explore the subject over "oversharing" about one's family fictionally, via my fictional blogger, Maggie.


Mortified now listed on Barnes & Noble site

Barnes & Noble has now listed Mortified: A Novel About Oversharing on its web site in paperback and Nook formats.

They're taking pre-orders until Sunday, when the book will be officially available for sale, just in time for Mother's Day.

Barnes & Noble also included a sample of the first pages of the book in Nook format are on the site.

Image credit:

Book blogger Samantha March puts spotlight on Mortified

Samantha March, who runs the web site Chick Lit Plus, conducted an interview with me about writing, blogging and, of course, Mortified: A Novel About Oversharing.

A sample of the Q&A:

March: What are your thoughts on blogs and how people can do like the character in your book -- overshare?

O'Brien: I honestly don't think that the majority of people who overshare do so with ill-intent. People are oftentimes just looking to vent and aren't necessarily assessing the long-term implications of the material they're sharing online.

In the case of the main character in this book, Maggie Kelly, she's very unhappy with her life and doesn't have a good outlet for her intense dissatisfaction. She creates a blog, which she thinks is anonymous, and treats it like an online diary when, in all honesty, she shouldn't. No one should.

Maggie thinks that the angry and ugly feelings that are churning inside of her which she shares online will never be connected to her because she doesn't list her last name or her hometown. She turns out to be very, very wrong about that. In real life, we've seen countless stories of people who've created "anonymous" blogs who wound up getting fired or otherwise humiliated when their blogging identity was revealed.

Read the whole interview here.

Image credit: Samantha March.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Wall Street Journal highlights 'oversharing'

During the week of the release of Mortified: A Novel About Oversharing, the Wall Street Journal ran a big feature story about the hazards of ... oversharing.

An excerpt from the piece by Elizabeth Bernstein:

"[Sharing too much information] is happening a lot these days thanks to reality TV and social media sites, where it's perfectly normal for people to share every single detail of their lives, no matter how mundane or personal. In the culture we live in, it's hard to remember that some things should be private."

Inside the informational box headlined, "Too Much Information: Avoid It, Recover From It," is the recommendation that before sharing something, you should, "Imagine the negative effects of oversharing and the regret you might feel afterward."

If Mortified's main character, Maggie Kelly, had heeded that advice, she would've been a lot better off ... but then again, there'd be no story to tell.

Image credit: Ben Sanders/Wall Street Journal.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Dad blogger: 'Mortified is ... very funny'

Brooklyn-based writer Brian Gresko, a blogger with the parenting web site Babble, has given Mortified: A Novel About Oversharing solid kudos.

In his post, "Meredith O'Brien's 'Mortified:' A Novel Reminds Us to Be Kind Online," Gresko reflects on the impact of revealing very personal info online, particularly as dramatized in the novel.

He writes:

"This is interesting, thoughtful material, especially -- but not only -- for bloggers. Because what nowadays doesn't have some kind of online life that involves sharing events, or pictures, or even just links? We all represent ourselves in the public sphere, and it's important to think how we're doing that, not just for ourselves, but also because it affects the people we're talking to and about.

... Meredith O'Brien's Mortified is a timely exploration of what it means to be both a real person and an online presence, and it's a very funny story to boot."

Read Gresko's full review here.

Image credit:

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Mortified: Now listed on Amazon

Mortified: A Novel About Oversharing now has an official Amazon page.

The official release date is May 12, Mother's Day.

Image credit:

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Manic Mommies' podcast interview about oversharing

I had the privilege of speaking with Kristin Brandt, one of the two Manic Mommies, about media coverage of the Boston Marathon bombings, my favorite television shows and my novel Mortified: A Novel About Oversharing.

We discussed oversharing online and why I haven't been blogging about my kids all that much. (Answer: Because they now know how to Google and don't want Mom blabbing their private business all over the internet.)

You can download the free podcast on iTunes or listen to it here.

Image credit: Manic Mommies.

Metro Boston area newspaper features Meredith O'Brien and Mortified

MetroWest Daily News (Framingham, Mass.) columnist Julia Spitz conducted an interview with me about oversharing, blogging and, of course, Mortified: A Novel About Oversharing.

A couple excerpts:

"No one knows what goes on behind closed doors. Unless Mom blogs about every painful and funny detail.

Still, no one knows whose doors they're looking behind if Mom is anonymous.

But what if Mom's loose-lipped and blogs about children 'Thing 1' and 'Thing 2,' husband 'Wanna-be King' who's not always super in the sack, and a mother-in-law nicknamed for Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, garner so much attention Mom ends up on a radio talk show?

You'd have the premise for Southborough author Meredith O'Brien's Mortified: A Novel About Oversharing."

About comparisons between main character Maggie Kelly and Meredith's blogging style, I said:

"I put conscious boundaries around what I write about [regarding my family] and what would be off-limits. However, there are bloggers and writers who seemingly hold very little to nothing back. While I marvel at their honesty and am riveted by their content, I often wonder about the reactions of their friends and family members to the online candidness. And as social media has grown exponentially ... the opportunities and temptations to overshare abound."

Early reviews for Mortified

Joanna Weiss, Boston Globe columnist and author of Milkshake:

"A funny, empathetic novel about family, frustration and the perils of miscommunication. Maggie's blogging misadventures are familiar to us all, and her voice is irresistible."

Suzanne Strempek Shea, award-winning author of several novels including Becoming Finola and Selling the Lite of Heaven:

"I am so glad overwhelmed suburban mom Maggie Kelly wasn't writing about me in her vent-gone-viral blog Maggie Has Had It, but am so thrilled Meredith O'Brien indeed has written about her. Dig right into this very satisfying parfait of fiction that reads keenly as fact happening behind the closed curtains right next door to you, marital drama harshly exposed to the light of day via this smart, sharp and funny look at what happens when one woman's personal TMI world explodes."

Jen Singer, author of several books including You're A Good Mom (and Your Kids Aren't so Bad Either) and award-winning blogger at MommaSaid:

"Meredith O'Brien uncovers the messy underbelly of modern motherhood, throws in resentment, anger and of course, blogging, and turns it into a thoroughly entertaining read. Put on a video for the kids and treat yourself to Mortified."

Image credits:, Amazon and Amazon.