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Showing posts from 2016

16 for '16

Right now, many people are bummed as heck. The news of the past few days, the icons we've lost, are weighing heavily on most people right now. I actually cried when I told my kids about Carrie Fisher.

2016 has been a bad year for a lot of people I know. No two ways about it, but in some ways 2016 has been a great year too. So, no matter what you are feeling right now, I want you to sit down and make a list of 16 good things for 2016. It might be hard, but it's time to stop focusing on the negative and remember the positive.

Here's my list (in no particular order):

My book, Jump, Jive, and Wail, was nominated and was a finalist in InD'Tale Magazine's RONE Awards.My son participated in and his team won a debate. This was a months-long research project. Seeing him get up and speak in front of a crowd (he led-off for his team) made me cry.My daughter learned how to do cartwheels, handstands, and round-offs. This doesn't seem like a big deal, but ask the poor girl wh…

NaNoWriMo

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It's November again (how did that happen?), which means it's National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write 50,000 words in 30 days. That breaks down to 1,667 words a day. It doesn't sound like much but it is. It takes a lot of focus and dedication to get the words in every day.



I sort of hate NaNo.

I sort of love NaNo.

What I hate is the pressure. Sometimes (like this year), I'm struggling to get the words down (I want to say to get the words on paper, but since I write on a computer, that's not exactly true). I fell behind on November 3. Usually I'm ahead in the counts at least until the second week. I get so far ahead I can even skip writing for a day. Not this year. I made up some ground yesterday, but I still am 500 words behind, not to mention the additional 1,667 I owe for today.

What I love is that I write. I've been in a writing slump since I finished Made for Me. That was the end of July. So, yeah, I need motivation to write. Plus, NaNo works …

Indie Book Day

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I'm getting this post out a few days ahead of the game. Today, I'm here to talk about Indie Book Day. This year, it's October 8, so consider yourself warned and ready to grow your TBR.


Truth be told, I started as indie because I wasn't getting any bites from the multitude of agents that I queried. More honestly, I've continued being indie because it is something I truly, truly believe in. Oh sure, there's part of me that would love to receive an offer from a Big 5 Publisher with a huge advance and lots of zeros. But I also know that it's not the reality of the market right now. Here's the reality. Over a year ago, I received an offer. I was waiting to check into my hotel at the RWA conference when I opened the email. My brain could barely process it. I was reading a contract!

But after the conference was over, I read the contract. It was for a book that was already published. They would give it a new cover and re-edit it. I looked at the company's c…

Lucky #7

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Lucky number seven.

Today's pub day for my seventh full length novel, Made for Me. Seven novels. Three and a half years ago when I released Good Intentions, I had no idea that this would happen. That I'd be here, writing a post for my seventh novel.

This book is fun. That's what it's for--fun. It's light and funny and hopefully it leaves you with a smile on your face. Inspired while watching Project Runway and my friend Wendy's frequent posts about Kate Middleton, we follow Michele as she hits rock bottom and then pulls herself up by entering a TV design show. Yup, fun.
There's a fair amount of sewing detail in this book. That, I owe to my grandmother and my mom, both of whom were avid seamstresses. I learned to sew by watching them.






And since I know you want to know, Made for Me is now available at the following retailers:
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Kobo
iTunes

A Weekend of Nothing and Everything

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I had the best weekend. It was a weekend of nothing that meant everything. Of course, there was the usual--soccer, religion, laundry, grocery shopping. Sunday dinner at my folks' house. In many ways it was unremarkable. But in this ordinary way, it was totally unremarkable.

Friday night started with a dinner out--just the four of us--to The Cheesecake Factory. The kids had given us gift cards there for our anniversary (thank to a little help from Grandpa). I was too sick at the time of our anniversary to use them, so Friday was perfect. Spared me from cooking; changed up the routine from pizza. It was a pleasant dinner, even with my daughter telling jokes that took about five minutes to deliver. In case you were wondering, a joke with a five minute set-up is not worth the punchline. But it was a pleasant dinner. The only time electronics were used were to Google some facts that had been under discussion. There was a cat drawing contest (Sophia won for anime, I won for realistic), …

Green Thumb

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A year ago tonight, we got the call that my uncle (and godfather) lost his battle to esophageal cancer. Prior to his diagnosis 19 months earlier, he'd been the picture of health. One of the best things I can say about him is the absolute passion and zeal with which he lived his much too short life. The list of his accomplishments is extensive, but tonight I want to share a story about this great man.


My uncle loved to garden. Each spring, he planted thousands of seedlings. At one time, he had three gardens going, in addition to tending the church garden. Among many other things, growing food from the earth was certainly a passion that he shared. As such, he was a wealth of knowledge about all things plants and was the guy we asked whenever we had a question.

When Sophia was in pre-school (I think 4 year-old, but it could have even been 3 year-old), they read the story of Johnny Appleseed. Her wheels are always turning, and she started pilfering apple seeds to plant because she wan…

Oh, Ryan Lochte

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In 2012, I developed a little crush on swimmer Ryan Lochte. I mean, who wouldn't?

I was even sort of excited when I found out he was going to have his own reality show, What Would Ryan Lochte Do? I never ended up watching the shows because it became apparent in some of Ryan's post-Olympic interviews that while he certainly is pretty, perhaps his personality and brain power is not at the same caliber as his swimming.

I'm not sure how much of it is an act, but he appears rather dim. I don't think it's an act.

I wondered in this Olympics how much media attention he would get, seeing as how it is pretty clear that he's not the best character story. He doesn't interview well, and some of his waters tend to be on the shallow side. It didn't stop me from rooting for him, even with the hair debacle.

Again, it sort of shows the caliber of intellect. He's spent his whole life in the pool and didn't realize that chlorine would change the bleach color...

An…

The Inevitable

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For some, it happens during. For others, it occurs just after. For us, it's been 22 years. The passage of time doesn't make it any easier though. It just leads to more "if onlys" and "should haves."

Yesterday, I learned of the passing of a high school classmate. She's the first. And when your class is only about 120 people, everyone knows everyone. The news has been shooting through my former classmates like wildfire.

But time happens and life happens and you drift and go your separate ways. I wasn't particularly close with Katie, although I met her before high school, attending cheerleading camp with her when I was about 12 and 13. I certainly wasn't in her inner circle, nor she in mine. In all honesty, I've only spoken with her twice since we graduated 22 years ago, both times at reunions.

It's still hard, so I know her close circle of high school friends must be hurting.

There has been something positive though. Old friends reaching o…

In the blink of an eye...

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If you follow my Facebook Author Page, then it will come as no secret that I'm a HUGE fan of the Olympics. Like quasi-addicted.

Okay, maybe not quasi...

In fact, I remember being in high school and spending my entire February break watching the 1994 Lillehammer Olympics. Remember when the Winter Olympics were just 2 years apart that time? Totally aside.

Anyway, they keep referring to the 2012 London Olympics. And I have to shake my head. Didn't that just happen? How could that be four years ago? Four years? Four years ago, my kids were getting ready to enter 3rd grade and Kindergarten. We were in Disney for the first time. I'd yet to publish my first book. So much has happened in the past four years.

I mean, it's been four years since we had this jem...


Aaaah, that Ryan Lochte ...

So then, as I'm watching all sorts of things I never dreamed of (Hello, Rugby!), they mention the next Olympics. In 2020.

2020.

I know it shouldn't come as a shock. 2016+4=2020 aftera…

Cover Reveal!

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I know I've woefully abandoned this blog this summer. But listen--I've got good reasons.

First, and least important, I was reading. Reading is important for me because well, I love it. I started reading the Outlander series. I'm two and a half books in. I'm reading the hardcover versions and they do require significant upper body strength. For those of you not familiar, each book is 700-800 pages, so in hardcover, it's quite the heft.

The real reason I ignored blogging--I was writing!

After hemming and hawing and overall procrastinating since February, I finally set a goal and buckled down to finish my seventh full-length novel, Made for Me. This time last year, I was trying to write Live for This when I became distracted with the idea of writing a Christmas novella. I'd had the idea for quite a while, so with the timing being right, I wrote Completions and Connections: A Romantic Holiday Novella. It's a cute little story, and came out exactly how I'd i…

Am I Missing Something?

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I am a marketer's dream. I come by it honestly. I inherited it from my parents. My mom likes to buy vacuums and cleaning implements (and has single handedly supported Shark). My dad is a serious junkie. I can't tell you how many infomercial products he's bought. His latest is an electric pressure cooker. He bought it while in the hospital. I guess there wasn't much on late night TV. In his defense, he does use it every week, and hasn't blown up anything yet.

Frequently, my parents will mention a product advertised in an infomercial. And I have to tell them again that I don't watch infomercials. Not because I don't have time, or because I'm above it. But because I'm susceptible. I will become convinced, long before that 30 minutes is up, that I need that product. I don't know what it is, I will need it.

I am a marketer's dream. Years later, I will still associate songs with the product they represented. Commercials for food make me want to co…

Thank you, Sandra Boynton!

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The year was 1991.

(Please give me a moment while I sob uncontrollably that 1991 was 25 years ago. Holy crap, where did that go?).

I was a freshman in high school with a big perm and a crush on a Sophomore. I was on a field trip to Boston with Math Club. We were in Quincy Market when I decided that I should probably get a birthday card for my dad, seeing as how it was his birthday and all. I'd already bought myself a Goofy watch at the Disney store. I remember going up to a small booth and spinning the rack of cards around. Then I saw it. The birthday card for my dad. This is what it looked like:

The card was a big hit. Like a really big hit. So much so that the next year, on that same trip to Boston, I found the same vendor in Quincy Market and bough another version of that birthday card. Best birthday card ever.

Fast forward a dozen or so years, and I had my first child. My friend Amy gave me some board books for my shower. Included in that was The Going to Bed Book. As my son g…

A Thank You

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There are people in your life who will tear you down. If you're lucky, someone will come along and build you back up.

I was lucky.

I had the same math teacher for grades six through eight. She didn't like me. She didn't hide the fact that she didn't like me. Frankly, I'm sure I was an annoying know-it-all. And math was not my favorite subject. Not that it will come as a shock to anyone who knows me now, but I used to rush through to get it done. In doing so, I tended to make careless mistakes. So, I was not a favorite of my math teacher. But it was, on a day I remember with so much clarity, that she sort of ruined me. She said to me, in front of my whole class that I "would never accomplish anything and would never amount to anything."

Nice thing to tell your student.

Not surprisingly, I lost all confidence in my math ability. Like one needs a reason to be insecure in those early teen years.

Going into high school, after attending the same school from nur…

I Don't Need a Day #worldautismday

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Today is April 2nd. It's World Autism Day.

I shared this on Facebook yesterday:

Facebook was also so kind to remind me that on this day, in years past, I've shared the following:  And this one too:


I don't need a day to remind me to think about Autism. I don't need to wear blue to be aware of Autism. I live Autism every single day.

Somedays, it's so hard. Other days, it's the easiest thing I've ever done. And I know how very lucky we are. My son is autistic. But he's so much more. Trying to sum him up with that one word is like saying he has blue eyes and expecting you to know everything about him from that one fact. He's entering adolescence, which is going to bring a whole new set of challenges. Especially considering that his body is losing control to hormonal fluctuations while his emotions are still about 3 years behind his chronological age, and he lacks the pragmatic skills to express himself without a whole lot of work on my part.

But he can…

Fighting an Epidemic One Back at a Time

It seems to me that stories of the heroin epidemic are all over the news. From the allowance of every pharmacy in New York state to carry Narcan over the counter to the proposal of a heroin clinic in Ithaca that is staffed by licensed medical personnel (so that addicts can receive medical attention so they don't die while shooting up), the war on heroin is dominating the news coverage. 20/20 is running a special on it tonight, and a few weeks ago, I watched PBS's Frontline special, Chasing Heroin, about the measures being taken in Seattle to combat heroin.

I've never been addicted to drugs. I cannot speak to that. But here's what I keep gleaning from the coverage. Once someone is addicted to heroin, it is very difficult to come clean and stay clean. I'm not convinced that daily methadone is any better.

The other fact I keep hearing. Four out of five heroin addicts started with prescription narcotics. Let me say that again. FOUR OUT OF FIVE started with prescription…

Good Timing for #International Women's Day

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Sometimes, things work out for a reason. Today, is not only release day for my latest novel, Live For This, but it's International Women's Day. (It's also #NationalPancakeDay, but that has nothing to do with either issue)

If I've said it once, I've said it a million times, and will continue to say that I'd be nowhere without the women in my life. From my mother to my daughter to my best friend Michele (you may notice her name makes it into every book) to the mom's at school to my co-workers to my author friends, I've got a fantastic support system.

It's from these women that I draw inspiration to write my female characters. My resilient women. My characters are flawed, realistic. They're not perfect. Sometimes, they make terrible mistakes. But they get up, put their big girl panties on, and carry on. Much like the women in my real life do. The women that struggle with the balance of career and family and responsibilities, often putting not only …

A Somber Experience

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Yesterday, I had the pleasure of chaperoning my son's field trip (which in and of itself is a long story, but I'll save that for another time, as it is not the point of this post). We had a group of about 48 11 and 12 year-olds (sixth graders), and part of the trip was a tour of the 9/11 Memorial in New York City.

One thing that stuck not only me, but the teachers and other chaperones as well is that none of the children were alive when 9/11 happened.

They've always existed in a post-9/11 world.

They don't know know what the NYC skyline looked like with the Twin Towers, and how once they were gone, it created a huge hole.

They don't know what it is like to say good-bye to someone at the airport gate, or greet them there the moment they deplane.

They don't remember the days when bags weren't searched and x-ray scanners weren't the norm. When you didn't have to remove your coat and belt and shoes just to enter a museum.

They've always known the te…

Turning Pointe

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Tonight was a turning pointe for me. No, that's not a typo. Well, it's more a pun than a typo.

I've done ballet since I was five years old. I am not a ballerina. I never have been, though it may have been my dream. Short, stocky legs and inflexible ligaments, as well as too many outside interests prevented serious pursuit. Not to mention I'd already injured by back by the age of 15, and done serious damage to my hip by the age of 20. A career on the stage was not in my future. But like the guys who play baseball well into their 50s and 60s for the mere enjoyment and camaraderie, I still dance.

I got my first pair of pointe shoes when I was in 7th grade. Twenty-seven years ago, for those of you counting at home. Disclaimer...it was 1989, so don't hate on the hair.



 Of course, we can comment that I was standing like this because I was en pointe, and no one took a picture of my feet. I had the starter pointe shoes, that had the suede piece that went all the way over t…

It's Not Okay

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There'a a big hub bub in Hollywood right now about the apparent exclusion of black actors in Oscar nominated roles. There are boycotts and hashtags and dialogue about the subject.

Dialogue is good. Silence is bad.

My disclosure: I am totally able-bodied.

My issue: The complete and utter lack of roles for people with disabilities in film and television.

I became utterly aware of this while doing research for my new novel, Live For This. The hero of my novel is this great guy, Michael Salinger. In addition to being smart, funny, and good-looking, he also happens to be a paraplegic. The story is not about him being paralyzed. Sure, there's a lot of that in there, as it colors how he navigates through life. His character was inspired by my next door neighbor growing up. He too had a spinal cord injury. His journey through rehabilitation is what made me want to be a physical therapist. You can read more about him here.

I'm a pretty visual thinker, and I use Pinterest to give me…

Friday Hodgepodge

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This post may be a bit all over the place. It's been a long week. Consider yourself warned.

I'd thought about trying to do a live Facebook Mentions video tonight to talk about all this stuff. Turns out you have to be verified to do that, and my author page isn't verified yet. Working on it though! I watched Rachel Hollis do her chat last night, and so wanted to get in on it. The only reason I didn't attempt last night? I'd already taken my bra off and nobody wants to see that pop up on their computer screen (shudder).

So for today... a birthday!

One year ago today, Jump, Jive, and Wail went live. Hard to believe that it's been a year! I've been a bit distracted and didn't realize the birthday was coming up, otherwise I would have put it on sale!

But, I do have exciting news for Jump, Jive, and Wail though ... coming soon: AUDIO BOOK. That's right, I've just approved the first 15 minutes (estimated length is about 9 hours), so look for Jump, Jive…

If I Had A List...

I don't like the term bucket list. That's not what this is. This isn't because I just turned 40 and I'm having a midlife crisis. Ok, maybe I feel it coming on, but that's not what this is. This is a list of the things I wish I could do in my lifetime. The sooner the better, but if I had all the money, all the wish granting ability, this is what I'd do:


Dance with the Rockettes. Even just a practice routine. I just want to try. Just once.Go on an African safariSee penguins in the wildSee whales in the wildHit the USA Today Bestseller listBe on Dancing with the StarsSing back up for Jimmy Buffet (it would be ok--probably better--if they didn't turn my mike on)Re-do the basement and have an actual officeSell enough books to have a retirement fundHave a beach house in Cape May, NJ
I know some (most) of these seem far-fetched, but I never thought I'd have written six books either. So, if anyone can pull any strings and wants to help me out, have at it. You kn…