Sunday, December 22, 2013
6.) The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry 5.) The Dinner 4.) After Visiting Friends 3.) The Woman Upstairs 2.) Dear Life 1.) Transatlantic
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Monday, December 9, 2013
Saturday, December 7, 2013
Friday, December 6, 2013
Thursday, December 5, 2013
Monday, November 18, 2013
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Last year, because we were traveling over Christmas, I made a book tree out of all the books that have influenced me. It's here, in case you doubt me, of ye of little faith. I'm kind of ashamed to admit that because of the year I've had, the furious busy-ness, the illness, the sadness, and yes, the leftover laziness, that tree remained up until today. Seriously. So why not just keep it there right? No, this year, of all years, we need a real tree. A real tree because we're home, and I love them, and because I just finished a novel set on an evergreen farm. This year, we need to pay homage to the evergreen. Finally, today, I did what needed to be done. I put the books back on the shelves in the living room, in the cabinet in the den, in the curio on the landing, in the huge bedside tables. Yes, we have books in every room again. But instead of storing the lights, I put them up a little earlier. Still lazy, you see.
Thursday, October 31, 2013
Saturday, October 12, 2013
It's been a roooough 18 months. Cancer, rejection, rejection, cancer, cancer, death. (Yes, even the dog has cancer. More on that later.) We are doing fine, but I had trouble making decisions about my writing. Wrote a couple books that went astray. I feel like I'm on track now, almost finished with a great one. But in the midst of this, come three emails from readers, all saying the same thing: PLEASE KEEP WRITING. And one of them sent me a photo of her cat, toying with a feather, in honor of THE BIRD HOUSE. Sometimes people say just the right thing at the right time. xoxoxo
Friday, September 20, 2013
Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Tuesday, August 20, 2013
copy here. and get started pronto!
Thursday, August 15, 2013
Sunday, August 4, 2013
Handling The Truth, covers her crackajack organizational skills or not, but I'm sure looking forward to its debut this week.
Thursday, July 25, 2013
Thursday, July 11, 2013
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
I keep a list of words I love, and want to use in my writing. In the last few years, I've used frisson and anodyne. Lacunae is still up for grabs. Yesterday I used an old favorite, akimbo. And I remembered the thrill of discovering it for the first time, in a Nancy Drew mystery, about a day after learning another exciting word: Coupe. And I wonder, how old are you when a new word becomes a chore, and not a thrill? Is it 11? 12? I see my daughters groan when I say, "Look it up." But there is an age at which you do not groan. There is an age at which you hold it tight like a shiny coin, wondering when you'll get the chance to spend it.
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
Saturday, June 22, 2013
I've wanted to visit Asbury Park for a long time. It has a beautiful beach, a real downtown, rich history, hip stores and restaurants, a GREAT bookstore, WoRds, and of course the music scene. We saw the band Stolen Rhodes who were fantastic. I felt like I was very far away, in California or Austin, Texas. Not the shore. Not the shore at all.
Sunday, June 9, 2013
In honor of graduation month, I'm re-running one of my fave posts: IF YOU WANT TO BE A WRITER, WHAT SHOULD YOU MAJOR IN? Major in statistics. You’ll learn the odds of getting traditionally published are roughly three zillion to one. Major in economics. You’ll understand why the publishing companies may never put you on a book tour or run an ad for your book in The New Yorker. Major in law. You can fight Google and everyone else who wants to offer your book as a free download. Major in journalism. Your future will appear so tenuous your parents will beg you to be a novelist instead. Major in history. You’ll unearth enough material that you won’t need to invest in research and travel, which you’ll never make back on your advance. Major in drama. Being rejected during auditions will make being rejected on paper seem like child’s play. Major in forensics. When you inevitably end up writing for a hack TV crime show, you won’t have to work too hard. Major in English. That’s what all the English majors would tell you to do. Major in computer science. You can invent something with a better name than “vook.” And you can charge all your other writer friends to do their e-Book formatting. Major in Spanish. It will help your parents understand your Hemingway-esque desire to run with the bulls. Major in psychology. Trust me --it’s easier to work through daddy issues on the couch than on the page. Major in Phys Ed. Most first-time authors are attractive and fit. (Oh, don’t tell me you don’t look at those author photos!) Major in music. Since you may be singing the blues for awhile, you may as well be in tune. FACT: Writers major in all kinds of things, and have a variety of jobs and life skills that fuel their writing. So go ahead and take that gig as a mall Santa. It will pay off a second time, when you can write about it.
Friday, May 31, 2013
How about you? Have you experienced this? Please share. I HATE how all blog posts, no matter how long they are, always end with these sentences. It annoys me almost as much as the emails from POTUS that have "hey" in the subject line. It's a thing. It's what you do. I HATE IT. It's like a phone call with a narcissistic friend, who blathers on about themselves for an hour and then, when you'd chew off your own arm to get off the phone, remembers to ask: So how are you? This is my cat. How about you? Do you have a cat?
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Guess I’ve been working too hard, because I had an advertising dream last night. We were waiting for the clients to fly in from Gibson Guitar. (Since I once worked on Martin Guitar, this fact alone was hilarious to me.) We had a lot of work we weren’t sure about. My art director said suddenly, “what if it’s a rocker who just wants to do an acoustic song? It could start out ‘44 cities.’ “ I took out a pen and scribbled this on the back of a photo: 44 cities. Millions of tickets. And the ache to find one genuine moment of connection. When it’s just you, A guitar, And a lump in your throat, Make it a Gibson. Gibson Guitars. Our world is your stage. I woke up just as the client walked in the room. My stage, for 20 years.
Saturday, April 20, 2013
1. I hate Shakespeare. Even if my kid's performing in it. 2. When people say "Dickensian" I don't really get what they mean. 3. I read two pages of Middlemarch and said, 'meh.' 4. Yes, I threw The English Patient across a hotel room, upending a $10 bottle of Voss water. 5. When grad students read my first novel for their class, they asked me questions I didn't understand. 6. I never cracked open a spine by James Joyce. I don't deserve to be an author! 7. The Great Gatsby may be my favorite novel because it has small words. It's possible. 8. Footnotes make me want to kill someone. 9. It took me six months to read Bring Up The Bodies because I didn't get who was talking. Huh? What? 10.Told my husband that reading Harry Potter to the kids would cement their relationship. When in fact, I just didn't wanna do it myself.
Saturday, April 6, 2013
There is so much I don't know. Here is how un-literate I am (as if the use of that word didn't tell you): Until a few months ago, I thought The Paris Review was a daily French newspaper. Yes, I did. Then I stumbled upon a link to an interview with an author, and I thought, wow, they have an English section? And they cover books? Then, perusing the site I Figured. It. Out.
Monday, April 1, 2013
Are you an audiobook lover? (Many book clubbers are, I know.) Proud that our Liars Club Anthology, Liar Liar, is now in audiobook form, with my story, Shuffle, featured along with 14 others. Mystery, paranormal, and, just well, some skewed views of normal await you. More short stories and maybe a novella coming soon while "the next novel" is being sorted by the people who run the world!
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
The thank you notes from book clubs are wonderful, of course, but nowhere near as fun as the thank you notes from high school students. Yesterday a packet of thank yous from Kerri Schuster's writing class at Sacred Heart High School arrived -- filled with beautiful handwriting, carefully constructed ideas, and lovely admonitions such as "Stay Excellent." Words to write by.
Sunday, March 3, 2013
When my family decided to bury my mother's ashes in her hometown in Illinois, I didn't want to go. It was my hometown too, and I had already buried something else there: my past. My wayward, meandering, I-don't-want-anyone-to-know-this-about-me past. Stressful events in faraway places hold an additional stress for me -- flying, and the potential for turbulence, which leads to full-blown panic attacks that can last as long as the turbulence. A good friend who worked at Amtrak suggested I might enjoy a train trip to Chicago. That trip was a revelation: not only for the sunsets and the views and the sense that I was seeing the backyards of a million people--their flapping laundry, their fertile fig trees, their pets contained by frayed rope--but the people I met. Their amazing stories of what they were running from and to. And I had my story, too: the novelist who is going to her mother's funeral. This story in the New York Times paints a vivid picture about what it's like to travel by train. From a people perspective, nothing beats it. Nothing.
Friday, March 1, 2013
It's the year of the anxiety disorder! After I wrote STANDING STILL, about a woman with panic disorder who fights back against her daughter's kidnapper, so many people confessed to me that they had the problem, too. Many of them were men. This article highlights anxiety's coming out party.
Saturday, February 23, 2013
I knew I'd need a rainy morning to start this book. Little did I know I would finish it in that same morning. Half-memoir, half-mystery. Set in Chicago, a place I know, in the world of newspapers, a place I once thought I belonged. Is that why I loved it so? No. I loved it for its pacing, its writing, its careful release of emotion and longing. Oh, just go out and buy it. But I'm warning you: read it on a rainy day.
Friday, February 15, 2013
The best part about the girls' Valentine's Day Championship Volleyball (yay!) Slumber Party wasn't the heart shaped pepperoni on the pizzas I baked. (Although they were genius.) The best part was watching a group of 13 girls from many different backgrounds and experiences, from various grades (freshman to senior) shed their cynical teenage selves to sing camp songs and do elaborate hand rhythms and chants at my kitchen counter. Think "Miss Merry Mack" only a thousand times more complicated. Think the cup scene performed by Anna Kendrick in Pitch Perfect. My husband and I were entertained, mesmerized, charmed. Just last week I watched many of the same girls strut off in high heels and tight skirts to go to a black tie party. And then, to see them morph back into girlhood again, braces flashing, hair ribbons flying, brought home the dichotomy of this time in their lives. Sometimes I believe our best selves are our campfire selves.