Monday, October 31, 2011


It's National Novel Writing Month, known by writing geeks as NaNoWriMo. During the month of November, participants huddle over their keyboard in an attempt to write 50,000 words in thirty days. And, no editing. The point is to get out a complete first draft you can polish up later.

Official participants can join at The site provides motivational support and networking with other writers. I've considered participating before, but this just isn't the way I write. I edit as I go and when I get stuck, I read back what I have or take a break. I've heard it can be quite freeing to get rid of your inner editor, though, so I'm giving it a shot this year.

50,000 words in thirty days is daunting. That's about 5 pages a day. I want to participate, but I'm not putting that much pressure on myself. I plan to hook up with the group of NaNo "rebels" on twitter who have personal writing goals that differ from the competition, but hope to benefit from the motivational aspect.

I'll keep you posted on how it goes.

Monday, October 24, 2011


There's a great website out there for readers looking for recommendations. You rate your favorite books and the computer will make suggestions. You can take quizzes, write your own reviews and network with friends and strangers who have similar taste in books. You can even follow your favorite author, many of which are members.

So, you know, if you're not wasting enough time on facebook, check this out: And look me up there!

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Okay. So it's a week away, but since I'm moving next week, I may not be able to blog. It has been several years since I dressed up for Halloween. I've never had a store-bought costume, always relying on my imagination, the dress-up bin and how much time my mother had to help. Not all the costumes were winners. I have a picture of myself as a trashy, make-up wearing 7 year old. (I think I was going for Madonna.)

My favorite adult costume was when my friend Debbie and I went as fairies. We made our wings with wire, glue and colored cellophane. Tights. A skirt made of green felt that I hot glued myself into. I think Debbie used purple fabric in the shape of flower petals. It was fun, easy and cheap. We were adorable. I'd include a picture, but my photo albums are packed.

My favorite childhood costume was, for years, the source of immense humiliation. I begged my mother to burn the evidence. Thankfully, she didn't:

Saturday, October 22, 2011


For the past two years, I had my novel posted on, a website for aspiring writers and avid readers. I traded useful critiques with members and silly banter on the forums while my book went up the ranks. The quality of my day was often determined by whether my book had a red arrow or a green arrow. The highest ranking it got was somewhere in the sixties - not bad since there are thousands of books posted there.

Today, at the request of my publisher, I've pulled the book from the site. I was a little sad to lose my backers, some of which had supported the book for eons. But the whole point of having my work on the site was to find a publisher, and I have.

I intend to maintain a presence on the site, reading and supporting my favorites. I'm proof that agents and publishers are lurking there.

Friday, October 21, 2011


I'm using this post to respond to a reader's question. I explained what I would miss about New Hampshire; what am I looking forward to in Tucson? This has the potential to be a much longer post, but I'll try to keep it to the highlights.

Let's start with the weather. I know people think it gets too hot in Arizona- it does. But I'll take three months of too hot over nine months of New England's wet, gray, cold, snowy, icy, gray, wet fall/winter/spring. And it really does make a difference that the heat in Tucson is dry. 80 degree humidity in New Hampshire is about as oppressive as 110 in Arizona.

My house. For less than the rent on my crappy one-bedroom apartment in New Hampshire, I'll be paying a mortgage on 3 bedrooms and a yard. I can get a dog. I can have dinner parties. I'll have a washer and dryer.

The writing community. Out here, I've scraped together some writers I've met online for virtual writers groups that fall apart in about three months. In Tucson, I have actual writer friends who come over for workshopping and pizza. I can attend the Pima Writer's Workshop in the summer.

And, saving the best for last, there are my Tucson buddies. We are going to have so much fun. I can't wait!

Thursday, October 20, 2011


When I moved into this apartment two years ago, I unpacked my boxes and was left with one shoe out of a pair. I am not a shoe collector, so I have two pairs of winter shoes and two pairs of summer sneakers. This was  my favorite pair of black comfy winter shoes and I looked everywhere for it. It drove me nutty! This apartment is small. There aren't that many places it could be.

As I was packing up to leave, I came across this solitary shoe. I set it aside, planning to throw it away rather than waste space packing it. Then I pulled an empty box down from the top shelf in my closet. Something rattled around inside.

The other shoe! Reunited after two long years.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Live Free or Die

That's the state motto in New Hampshire. I grew up here but I'm about to move back to Tucson where I spent seven happy years before answering the siren call of home and wrecking my boat on the rocks. The list of things I will miss is shorter than the things I won't miss. Here it is:
  1. My girls.
  2. Their girls.
  3. My aunt.
  4. My grampy.
  5. Summer.
And we're done.

Here's my favorite NH themed youtube clip. (It's funnier if you know the Jay-Z song they're parodying, Empire State of Mind.) Enjoy.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Goodbye Dinner

I'm about to move so my two best girls came over for a celebratory send-off. Debbie cooked,  which is always a good time. I had planned to take pictures to post here, but before I remembered, we had pretty much eaten it all.

So, no pics. You'll have to take my word for it. There was lobster casserole, roasted shrimp, mussels, and scallops (which I didn't eat because just because Debbie's an amazing cook doesn't mean I have to get over my scallop hatred). There was also a salad with apples and a fancy honey dressing.

And there were two desserts! Creme Brule and peanut butter mousse in chocolate cups. I will not eat this well again until... my next trip to see Debbie. Next summer?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Chick Lit vs Women's Lit

Speaking of confusing gender-related genre tags, what is the difference between chick lit and women's fiction? I mean, I think we can all identify the extremes: if the book jacket is hot pink, has a picture of a high heel, etc- that's chick lit. And though it gets harshly judged at times for being heavier into entertainment than personal growth, this genre has nothing to be ashamed about. This is the "chick flick" of literature. It gave us Bridget Jone's Diary and The Devil Wears Prada. And although these were certainly fun, sexy romps, I remember a good dose of personal development thrown in.

What stumps me, though, are books like The Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing, Love Walked In, The Dive From Clauson's Pier. I enjoyed all of these and they've been referred to as chick lit but I disagree- not because they're better, but because they're more serious in tone. Chick lit is a romantic comedy where women's fiction is a drama, or dramedy.

In my opinion. And maybe genre tags shouldn't matter, but with so much reading material out there, I must admit I like having some guidance.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Sexist Genre Tags

Whenever someone asks me what kind of fiction I write, I tell them it's literary fiction. But some people want to call it women's fiction.

But what is women's fiction besides literary fiction written by a woman? And why isn't there a similar tag for men's fiction?

Is it like how it's more socially acceptable for girls to play with "boy" toys than the opposite? We can all read what men write, but if a woman writes it, only women can read it.

In his review of Sue Miller's The Lakeshore Limited, one of my favorite books, Ron Charles explains it as: "writing about families and marriages, infidelity and divorce -- what we call "literary fiction" when men write about those things."


Thursday, October 13, 2011


I’ve been writing since I was a kid. I was “published” for the first time in the local paper with a Thanksgiving story that gave away my mother’s secret stuffing recipe- she used the store bought Stove Top brand. I’ve been writing about my family ever since- I’ve just learned to call it fiction!

I was president of the litmag in high school, took poetry classes all through college. It wasn’t until I took a class on memoir the semester before I graduated that I learned about creative nonfiction and started writing short stories that blend details from real life with those from my imagination.

I would say I was raised by a couple of storytellers, though I’m quite sure neither of them would call themselves that. My parents don’t write, but they talk, and both of their children grew up to be writers. My father tells stories at barbeques, to a captive audience, holding a bottle of Sam Adams. My mother tells stories at the kitchen table, one-on-one. They talk; I write.

My novels are coming of age, family sagas. I'll be posting excerpts and updates on my journey toward publication. Stay tuned!