Thursday, December 9, 2010

Teenage Dream

In honor of the creative writing class at Sacred Heart high school, let's all remember our teenage diaries. Great link and props to jezebel . . .Take a look at their brilliant post here.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Ghosts of Christmas Gifts Past . . .

Writers are blogging at all week about holiday gifts. Check my guest blog on being spoiled at Christmas here.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Great eBook Debate

Has begun over at the Liars Club blog.
I kick the topic off with a somewhat controversial stance. Check it out -- but don't hate me for being truthy!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Writers Blog to check out (for selfish and unselfish reasons)

Great review of Standing Still (and a beautifully crafted post)from Kathryn Craft at

Maybe some dramz for Alec Baldwin?

In my movie-deal dreams, I've always kind of pictured Greg Kinnear or Viggo Mortensen playing the role of Sam in Standing Still. But I've decided Alec Baldwin has just the right amount of good and evil in him. And have we seen him in a drama lately? Mais non! Come on, let's get er done. . .

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Story of the Day. No Ulterior Sales Motive.

Thanksgiving weekend, I was torturing myself trying to remove poached eggs from silicone floaty cup thingies, when my dear friend Peter said something about our family always having problems with eggs. "Huh?" I said, as the mangled egg slid onto the English muffin (which, let's face it, should be re-named Egg Sponge.)

"You know," he replied, "like the time this summer when your husband used the bug spray instead of the Pam to make the scrambled eggs."

I put down my spatula. "Excuse me?"

His wife made a little whistling sound that she makes when she's trying to only signal him, like a dog with high-pitched hearing. Except we all can hear it and we know exactly what she's doing.

Yes, it's true. My husband, renowned short-order breakfast cook especially on vacation, served poisoned eggs to his children and his houseguests, and didn't realize it until after the kids complained that the eggs tasted "funny."

"Was this the same day we took Middle Daughter to the ER for stomach pain?"

Yes, he confessed. And you never mentioned this to the ER doctor? "She didn't eat the eggs," Peter said. I remembered now, so clearly. My daughter had had stomach pain for days, and my husband, no alarmist, had suddenly called and said he was taking her to the ER. And I also remember everyone obsessing over what my daughter might be allergic too. And Peter and my husband, asking her repeatedly, over and over, "Are you sure you didn't have the eggs?"

Angrily, I remember telling them, "I don't think she's allergic to eggs, okay?"

As it turned out, they had both snuck out of the house and called the poison control hotline, and reported this entire story to Peter's wife, but not to me, because no one wanted me to "over react."

I walked over to Peter's wife and stared her down. "It's one thing for the guys to keep the secret. But about the female code, sister?"

She shrugged and said, "But your kids didn't eat the eggs. My kid did. We figured you didn't need to know."

I nodded. Okay, this made sense to me now. We carried on with our breakfast, went for a walk before they packed up to leave. It was only later that I thought to ask the next question: "Did I eat the eggs?"

When the three of them burst into laughter, I had my answer.

The moral of the story, I told my husband, is "Never fully trust men in the kitchen." No, he said, the moral of the story is "Keep bug spray in the living room."

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Story of the Day. No Sales Pitch. No Links.

On the train to the city this morning, I look out my window and see a young woman, barefoot in a revealing minidress, carrying gold high heels, weaving on the edge of the platform. Walk of shame? Call girl with a hangover? Ah, it's so hard to tell these days. Suddenly she climbs down and wanders up the tracks unsteadily. Whoa, situation upgraded to Drug Overdose or Suicide Pact. I mean, she's half-dressed and barefoot, and it's winter, y'know? Alarmed, I call 911. As I calmly give the description of the girl, some dude near the front of the train stands up, stares at me, and clears his throat cinematically. (Cuz I'm in the quiet car, don't you know.) I calmly hang up and announce, "I just want the throat clearer and all of you to know that was a 911 call to report someone drunk on the tracks." My seatmates are incredulous. You try to help and this is what you get! I replied that had I been on Amtrak, I would have been tackled like a terrorist.

We get to the station and the throat-clearing dude comes up to me and says, "Miss, I'm very, very sorry. I was wrong." I told him it was all right, that I understood (and I resisted the urge to tell him to take up yoga.)

I tried to remember the last time someone ten years younger than me called me 'miss.' Or the last time a man told me he was not only sorry, but wrong.

Karma nicely corrected, don't you think? Then the conductor called and verified that the girl had been crossing the tracks, and had made it to the other side.

Now let's hope she also got some coffee and a jacket.

Trappe Book Store

Had a great Liars Club event at Trappe Book Center in Collegeville, PA. A beautifully merchandised and thoughtfully curated book store if ever there was one! Order my book from them (info here) and I'll stop by to autograph it.

In photo: Moi,Gregory Frost and Marie Lamba.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

New Page for Bird House

Publishers Weekly, Authors Nightstand

Great Review of The Bird House in Publishers Weekly. I'm just sayin, I'm not braggin', okay?
And to readjust my karma, let me tell you about another author on my nightstand . . . she writes big fat yarns like the rainy-day books you loved as a girl. Kate Morton. Her new book is called The Distant Hours. See? I just said something nice about someone who isn't me. God I'm so nice. :-)

How? When? Where?

Burning question: how do you find time to write?

During the day, Jonathan Franzen writes in a dark windowless basement on an old computer with no internet connection. During the evening, Tillie Olson wrote in a laundry room in between ironing shirts. I have written in a notebook during my train ride into work, on the back of an envelope while I was waiting at the doctor’s office, on a computer while my kids were napping in the room next door, their sighs and gurgles on the baby monitor providing occasional punctuation. I built every novel I have ever written in tiny snatches of time, not large blocks of it. Half an hour here. An hour there. Even if all I write is one good sentence, that’s an accomplishment. And that’s how everything is written: one sentence, one paragraph, one chapter at a time. I have friends who write in journals every morning, friends who scribble on index cards during their lunch breaks. Anyone who finds time to walk their dog, run on a treadmill, eat dessert, lay on a beach, bake a pie, or play a hand of poker can find time to write. But anyone who finds themselves continually asking about the how, the when, the where of writing . . . . really needs to look deep in their heart and make sure there is a why. Where there’s a why, there’s a way.

For more responses on burning questions, check out the Liars Club blog.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Blurbless no more!

My new book will go out into the world with a cozy warm jacket on -- a jacket with some author quotes. But -- the horror of the black and white photo. Everything I have looks worse in black and white (wait is that a song lyric?) I looked like Julianne Moore in color, I swear. I took an iPhoto class at the Apple store and I know enough to be dangerous now with the tools. But I must ask: why hasn't Saturday Night Live done a parody of the employees at the Apple Store?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Cover Wars End!

Yes it's true --this is the cover of my new book. (With plenty of room to add fawning quotes from famous writers and book critics before it comes out February 1st.) I love the reflective quality of it -- it's all about memories, faulty and real.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

On the Move?

Yes, it's true, that is me featured in October's Main Line Today. I'm one of a handful of Top Women On The Move. Ironic since being a writer involves sitting on your ass!

Here's the link.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Do you like this one??

This image evokes the modern-day story in The Bird House . . . And today, my editor at is sending me the new cover design so I can stop my speculation/exploration! Can't wait to see it.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Do you like this photo?

The Bird House cover is being completely revamped by the publisher -- they are "going in another direction." (Yikes! In the acting world that means they are replacing you with someone younger!) Anyway, I have a couple of events this month and no cover art -- I am digging the mystery of this photo. Would love some opinions!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My Popular Post on Writers Block from The Liars Club Blog.

I’m just gonna spit it out: I don’t believe in writer’s block. I believe in L . I believe that L cures most writing problems.

That’s not a typo, that’s an emoticon for Chair. I believe in Chair. I believe in Ass in Chair. To sum up, I believe in uu + L .

There is no other alternative, except maybe L___. (Chaise.)

95 % of so-called writers block is procrastination or perfectionism, or a combination of both. If you are talented, and you think you are stymied by writer’s block, you need to delve into those two issues, which cripple many, many people. But they ain’t writers block.

And the other 5% of writers block is intuition. You know something’s wrong with your book or project, but you’re not sure what, and you can’t move forward until you know. If you are a lazy-ish writer, you should probably ignore it and forge ahead anyway, because you may stop and never begin again. If you are a diligent, non-lazy writer, you should probably do the opposite: force yourself to stop writing, and start thinking. Vow to just ponder your book. Read other books and draw inspiration. Go back to it when you have figured out what’s wrong.

Knowing how to tackle blockages really requires knowing what kind of writer you are. And for many who claim to be blocked, they have to look in the mirror and decide if they are in fact a writer at all.

Because people who write are writers. And people who dream about writing are dreamers. And here’s their emoticon: oo0oo. (head in the clouds, y’know?)

The Liars Club is a highly opinionated and talented author's collective that blogs about the writing life. Read us at

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

It's he-ere!

Some people say it's not real until you get your advance. I say it's not real until you get to see the cover!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

I Heart Holland!

Just learned that Standing Still has enjoyed energetic sales in Holland, thanks to book clubs and a great publishing partner. Since my father discovered the shock of his life years ago in a Salt Lake City library that our background is Dutch, not English (Simmons was originally Simonson/sen?) this makes me beyond happy. I want to go to there! Maybe for the next book, The Bird House?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Writers Mini- Workshop: From Plot To Published

Live in the Philadelphia area? The Liars Club and I are putting on a FREE mini writer's workshop at the Oak Lane Library, 6-8 pm, June 22nd. Friend me on Facebook, or visit to learn more.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

BEA: full of doo-doo?

The Liars Club was happy to restock the Jacob Javits Center with not only books from Dennis Tafoya and Jonathan Maberry, but, ahem, supplies last week. We're blogging this week on the topic of "Best Writing Book I Ever Read". Check it out.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

BEA & Book Blogger Convention

Book Expo America kicks off this week, followed by the Book Blogger Convention. I'm attending with no agenda other than to meet people and soak up marketing ideas for when The Bird House comes out in February. The Liars Club has some mischief planned as well--more on that later. In the meantime, check out our Liars posts on "The Best Writing Advice Anyone Has Ever Given Me" here. I'm posting again tomorrow morning.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

More Tips for New Authors

The Liars Club blog series continues with "One Tip for A New Author."
My post it up today at the Liars Club site.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Tips for Energizing your Book Club

I've visited close to 200 book clubs to promote Standing Still. They're all populated with interesting, lively women who I'd love to know better -- but every once in a while, one stands out. Last night, I traveled to a charming B&B in New Hope, PA to meet with a book group from Bethlehem on their annual retreat. Yep, a book club with an annual retreat. You gotta love that! Here's how it works -- They contribute a small amount of money at every meeting to help fund an annual getaway in late Spring. They all bring food for the weekend, and everyone drives and brings their bikes. Then they choose a local author to visit by talking to the knowledgable, local independent bookstore owner (Farley's). Like many clubs, they have a name-- but they also have a great looking logo, and t-shirts, sweatshirts, and hats sporting it. They keep a journal and ratings on every book they've read -- which is something lots of clubs do, either by hand or online. But they take it a step further -- creating homemade laminated bookmarks that list a years worth of books and authors. So when their friends ask for book recos, they simply give them a bookmark. Genius!

Does your club do something unusual? I'd love to hear about it!

Monday, April 26, 2010

New blog series

The Liars Club is featuring a blog series by our authors, answering the question "What I Wish I'd Known . . ." before I got published. Check it out here.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Giveaways and Book Signing in Collegeville, PA this weekend

The Liar’s Club is hosting a party called “Liars Tell the Truth about the Trappe Book Center,” which will be held at the store, located on 130 W. Main Street in Collegeville, PA on Saturday, April 17th from 1-3 p.m. This event, which is free and open to the public, features free goodies, eight authors, and chances to win prizes that include book bags and signed books. There will even be a story time for kids.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Love those book bloggers . . .

Missy's Book Blog is a great way to follow the literary scene -- oh, and did I mention that she just reviewed my book and loved it? Read on.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Now here's some inspiration, y'all

It's darned hard to find the time/peace/quiet to write novels.
Imagine writing one while you're homeless.
My fellow Liars Club member Solomon Jones did just that.
Listen here if you're interested.