Tuesday, June 28, 2011


I've been feeling thankful lately, so instead of waiting for Thanksgiving, why not post now? I’m thankful for...

Charlotte Brontë - for writing Jane Eyre. Loved this novel!

Donna Hosie, whose butt kicking comment (and I write that affectionately), shamed me into reading encouraged me to read Jane Eyre. You were so right, Donna!

Summer!! - I know I already blogged about my favorite season of the year here, but it’s a gorgeous 70 degrees at 7:30am. I’ve leisurely read through blogs in my pajamas with my first cup of coffee, finished writing this post, and plan to write on my deck with my second cup of coffee. Ah, bliss!

Harry Potter reread with friends – I’ll be rereading the HP series again with a longtime group of friends that I met through a HP fansite a few years ago. It’s casual, laid back, and a fun way to read about my favorite boy wizard. What I love about these highly insightful people is that every time we reread together, I always gain a new perspctive about Rowling’s series. It’s the perfect way to prepare for Deathly Hallows II and Pottermore!

The Stylish Blogger Award

Thank you, Kimberly, from Meetings With My Muse, for your thoughtful award and for making my day. I hope to make this blog style-worthy of this award during the next couple of weeks by sprucing things up around here, experimenting with a new design. So the rules to these awards are:

*Thank and link back to the person who passed on the award.
*Share 7 random tidbits about yourself.
*Pass on the award to 5 others (the number varies at times from 3-10)! and link to their blogs.
*Let those people know you've given them the award.

Random tidbits:
1. I’ve been craving Kit Kat bars lately.
2. I recently broke a tooth while chewing Sour Patch Kids.
3. I still haven't seen my dentist.
4. I <3 Audrey Hepburn.
5. And so my favorite movie is Roman Holiday.
6. I hate folding socks and underwear.
7. I love spending time at the ocean.

Three people I'd like to pass this award onto are:
1. Becky Taylor at Becky Taylor YA Writer
2. Jamie Burch at ~Dancing Down Serendipity Street~
3. Kate at The Scribbling SeaSerpent

Please check out their awesome blogs!

What are you thankful for today?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Summer Love

Not of the boy meets girl variety but rather a tribute to my favorite season of the year.

I’m one of those perpetually cold people.
I layer my clothes and have a sweater or sweatshirt within arm’s reach 9 out of 12 months of the year.
I’m one of those “I’d rather be hot than cold” people and can’t wait to shed my winter clothes.
I love the smells of summer - peonies and roses, freshly cut grass, the scent of the moist air before a storm, sidewalks after a summer rain, neighborhood barbecues...

And so hooray for 2 ½ work free months and
...no schedule
...not having to make 4 lunches 5 mornings a week
...not having to iron uniforms
...not having to get to bed at a reasonable time

Hooray for
...the warmth of the sun on my bare arms
...morning coffee on my back deck
...collecting seashells on the beach
...hanging clothes outside on the clothesline (love that fresh air smell)
...early evening leisurely walks with my youngest daughter
...beer on a Tuesday or Wednesday night or any other night for that matter
...car rides where the only destination is an icecream stand
...time to write, read, dream, laugh, garden...

What do you love about summer?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Something in the Water

Some writers have a variety of ideas swirling around their brains just waiting to be developed into their next novel.

I’m not one of those kind of writers.
I focus on one idea, brainstorm, and if it has potential, I outline and begin writing. Sometimes the idea takes off and sometimes it dies out. Well, it’s happened again. I’ve been hit with an idea for a new novel and I’m noticing a pattern. My lightbulb moments seem to revolve around water. Weird, huh?

The initial spark that turned into my current WiP struck while rinsing my recyclables and carrying them to the garage. My next idea, which is on hold for now, came to me while doing the dishes. This week while washing my hair another idea started taking shape. I was thinking about a friend who’s daughter missed the cut off birth date for moving up to the next soccer level, my mind began to wander, and before I knew it I had a rough skeleton of a YA dystopian before I had rinsed the conditioner out of my hair.

This is crazy! I know nothing about world building. I love to read dystopians, and in fact, have 2 on reserve at the library, but never in a million years did I ever imagine I’d write one. Even though dystopians are the new vampire novel – very hot in YA right now – there are indications that that trend is passing. That doesn’t matter so much to me since I don’t write to trends. Dystopian writing is so outside my comfort zone and I admire those who write them well. Contemporary MG/YA fiction is what I like to write.

I tried to shrug off the idea, but it keeps returning to my head with more details.
My next step will be to brainstorm and write down whatever comes to mind, then maybe a rough outline. This will be another backburner project – one to simmer while working on Nitpicky. And if I get stuck, I can always take a shower, run through the sprinkler, wash the car...

Where do your ideas come from?

Thursday, June 16, 2011


(photo credit)

The sun is shining a little brighter,
Bostonians are walking a little lighter (though our eyes are a little tired)
It’s a beautiful day!

Congratulations to the Bruins who won the Stanley Cup last night after an exciting 7 game final series against the Vancouver Canucks. One of the great things about living in Boston is how passionate we are about our sports teams. And there’s nothing sweeter than winning a championship. After 39 years, The Cup returns to Boston!

How sweet it is!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Q. Which Book Are You Embarrassed to Admit You've Never Read?

(And do you plan on ever reading it?)

A. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Last year I read To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee for the first time. I know! I was never required to read it in middle or high school, but it was one I always wanted to read. For one reason or another I just never got around to it. Same with the *list below. Although I majored in English and read many classics, we (obviously) didn’t cover every work by every author.

After I graduated, I gravitated to the authors I enjoyed studying such as Dickens and Forster, and later Tolkien, but that was it. As a teacher my focus shifted toward children’s literature as I searched for authors I could introduce to my students. One of my goals was to inspire a love of reading in them which I hoped they would carry with them. I read them James and the Giant Peach (Roald Dahl), The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett), Mr. Popper’s Penguins (Richard and Florence Atwater), Ramona Quimby (Beverly Cleary), Chocolate Fever (Robert Kimmel Smith) among others.

When I had children of my own, again, I read to them in the hope that they would become readers as they grew older. Now that they've passed the infant/toddler ages, the last few years have been wonderful as I’ve turned back to reading for my own pleasure. So many books and so little time. As a writer I try to read as much in my genre as possible, but not exclusively. It’s important for me to read in different categories and across genre lines. And I’ve realized that there are many classics that I’ve never read and feel that I should read.

But why? Where does the guilt come from? I claim to love literature so much that I sought a degree in it, but have neglected to read and study certain novels that “everyone” else has read. If I’m so well-read, why haven’t I chosen to seek out the classics that I didn’t read as a student? And if I’m a writer, shouldn’t I read from the masters – the ones who have stood the test of time? This last question is one that haunts me every so often, and so I try to make a point of choosing a couple of these novels a year. Since I have summers off and more time to read, I try to mix up my reading material: more MG and YA, adult fiction, and classics.

As I mentioned above, last year I read To Kill A Mockingbird. Loved it so much that it’s now one of my top 10 favorite reads. Two years ago I read The Handmaid’s Tale (Margaret Atwood), a powerful dystopian from the 80s that floored me. Three years before, Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – another classic, never read before, that I ended up loving.

*Here’s the short list of books I’m embarrassed to say I’ve never read. My plan is to cross off at least a couple this summer.

The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
The Great Gastsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
Moby Dick – Herman Melville
Frankenstein – Mary Shelly
Don Quixote – Miguel de Cervantes
Catch-22 – Joseph Heller
Ethan Frome – Edith Wharton
The Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
Middlemarch - George Eliot

Okay. I could add more but my face is properly beet red at the moment.

Is there a book(s) that you're embarrassed to admit you've never read? Do you plan to read it?

Don't worry. I won't judge. Feel free to leave a pseudonym if you don't want to leave you're real name. *wink*