Saturday, December 25

The Saturday Seven

My Week in 7 Words

Merry Christmas. Christ is born! Glorify Him!

Saturday, December 18

The Saturday Seven

My Week In 7 Words

No return address, goes in the trash!

Saturday, December 11

The Saturday Seven

My Week in 7 Words

Accomplished very little; had loads of fun!

Saturday, November 27

The Saturday Seven

My Week In 7 Words

Got ready for something Top Secret tomorrow.

Saturday, November 20

The Saturday Seven

My Week In 7 Words

No kidding -- getting my evening gown pressed.

Saturday, November 13

The Saturday Seven

My Week in 7 Words

Trying not to explode over aggravating people.

Saturday, November 6

The Saturday Seven

My Week in 7 Words

crushing disappointment
writing progress

Tuesday, November 2

A Long Line of Soldiers

I come from a long line of soldiers on both sides of my family. In fact, both my maternal and paternal forebears fought in the American Revolution. One even mustered at Lexington on April 19, 1775. My grandfathers fought in WWII, and my father, a professional soldier like his father and a graduate of West Point, was killed in Vietnam in 1968.

I come from a long line of soldiers, and it is soldiers I think of today, Election Day. I think of soldiers every single time I vote because it is by their blood that I and every American have this privilege. Mostly, I imagine the young men and boys who wrested this country from the tyranny of monarchy and the absurdity of inherited titles in a contest whose outcome was by no means certain. They, whose names are mostly lost to all but a handful of faithful descendants, are among mankind's few who truly risked their lives for a cause they knew to be righteous. And in doing so, they created for their children the country we enjoy today -- a country where, above all else, the transfer of power, even when it is contested, is peaceful.

In the coming days and weeks, vote tallies will be challenged, recounts will be demanded, nameplates on office doors in the Capitol will be changed, and all of this will transpire without violence or chaos. We need politicians for the administration of this country, but it is not the politician who provides the peace. It is the soldier, who, over two hundred years ago, bought it for us at a price unimaginable to most of us, and it is the soldier today who maintains it for us at the very same cost.

I come from a long line of soldiers, and it is soldiers I think of, with tears of gratitude, every single time I vote.

Saturday, October 30

The Saturday Seven

My Week in 7 Words

making progress
dinner with friends
party tonight!!

Wednesday, October 27

My Month In Review

Today it is exactly one month since I last wrote something here, and I thought I should explain where I've been and what I've been doing that, at times, so distracted me that, uh, yes, I actually forgot for a time that I have this blog!

I'm also going to attempt to include links and photos, which is darn daring for me since I have a difficult relationship with modern technology.

ME, on the phone to Mac-Help, 6 years ago, setting up my brand new iMac: Something's wrong. I can't get online.

Darling, wonderful, kind LEE from Customer Service: Ma'am, would you describe your screen please.

ME: (describes screen)

D-W-K LEE: Ma'am, you are online.

So here goes, in order, my life these past several weeks.

First, there was my very first Meet the Author Night and Book Reading at the McConnell Arts Center in Worthington, Ohio, on one of only two nights this entire year that we had tornado warnings. Still, about two dozen people came, and to those two dozen people who ventured out, risking a surprise trip over the rainbow but arrived safely at the MAC: I love you all!

Before the reading, there was a reception in the center's art gallery, and that's me in the back, middle, saying something about that particular piece of art such as, "This is actually what my hair looks like most mornings."

Three days later, right at the beginning of October, I got walloped by the worst and grossest sinus cold I've ever had. The thing lasted sixteen days. If I had photos -- well, if I had photos, I'd burn them -- but before I burned them, they'd be of me, lying on the sofa, surrounded by boxes of sinus meds containing pseudoephadrine and boxes of tissue, with lotion baked right in. Or however they get it there.

One week, lots of meds, tissues and fluids later, I attended Books By the Banks in Cincinnati -- an annual event hosted by Joseph-Beth Booksellers, featuring about 90 authors of everything from local interest to best sellers. About 3000 people attend this event, buy books and meet authors. It lasts from 10 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon, and the day flew by.

Two authors are assigned to one table, alphabetically and by genre, and each table is assigned one runner who would bring us water or snacks if we wanted, but, raised as I was with the Episcopal manners I regularly cite, I just could not ask the runner -- who was the nicest woman -- to go get me anything. Umm -- I did however ask my husband! And he was great, as always. Even left the place a couple times to find, specifically, a Diet Coke since the convention center only carried Pepsi products. Now, I'd have drunk the Diet Pepsi. I add this to show how absolutely wonderful my husband is!

On my right is Kristina McBride, super cute and super nice debut author of THE TENSION OF OPPOSITES.

And this is my view of the room. I have to say that I had two brushes with literary greatness that day. Next to me, at the table to my left, was Lisa Klein, author of LADY MACBETH'S DAUGHTER, TWO GIRLS FROM GETTYSBURG and the newly released CATE OF THE LOST COLONY. And straight across from me was Katherine Howe, author of THE PHYSICK BOOK OF DELIVERANCE DANE. I met them both, and they could not be lovelier, and they're both utterly brilliant writers of Must Read novels.

And the following weekend, October 8th and 9th, I was invited to attend the Great Lakes Independent Booksellers Association's annual trade show in Dearborn, Michigan, which was an indescribable ball! The Scholastic reps -- hi, Amanda, hi, Terrebeth -- are my two new best friends, and every single bookstore owner I met was wonderful. Nice, kind, fun, interesting, chatty -- a mix, as people are -- but all of them just so much fun to talk with. They're like pet owners. People who like animals are always kind. People who own bookstores are equally fabulous. (I realize these are entirely unscientific theories, yet I find them to be true.)

I have no pictures of this event to post since I took them on my cell phone which is currently in an odd location, by which I mean I can't find it. And since I'm home, it's off, so calling it will do no good. It's in a coat pocket or purse or glove compartment or the refrigerator. I don't know, but I think I'm in line for a downgrade to the Jitterbug. I rarely use the thing.

So now -- mid-October -- my cold is about two weeks old and lingering. It and these two trips put me behind in everything, especially the blog tour my publicist arranged, so I scrambled -- still scrambling -- to catch up on something like 10 of 20 posts I was asked to write. I'm going to list all of them and the reviews in a separate post . . . eventually . . . but here are a few for now:

Reading Vacation
A Good Addiction
The Clock Monkey (This one sounds, from the title I gave it, X-rated, but it's not.)

And in the middle of the month with my cold finally gone, I celebrated my birthday . . .

. . . at home, with my husband . . . and champagne . . .

. . . and my friend, Lori, who is more like my sister than a friend.

And, just last week, my agent accepted the offer for the publication of my second YA novel, KISSING MR. GLASER.

More blogging soon . . . I think!

Monday, September 27

Monday's RQ

Today's Random Question: What exactly is Books By the Banks?

Books By the Banks is an annual book festival in Cincinnati that, last year, 3000 people, a bunch of press and 90 authors attended. And I think I should confess right here that until I was invited to participate in it, I had never heard of it, which is my fault for not paying attention to these kinds of things. If, when the space aliens finally decide to take over Earth, they don't land directly in my back yard, I'm pretty sure I'll miss it.

So, Books By the Banks is this Saturday, October 2, in Cincinnati at the Duke Energy Convention Center, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and it's free, but you have the opportunity to buy books and meet and chat with the authors. And here are the two things I'm most excited about:

1. Just being asked to participate. Really. I still can't believe it.

2. I get a runner for the day. One runner is assigned to two authors, and if we need anything to drink, apparently, or more books to sign, the runner fetches them. All I want to know is if I can take the runner home with me for a week. I'll pay, of course. I could definitely use a Personal Runner.

Okay -- wait -- I just thought of a third thing.

3. Getting a copy of the poster. I hope they have them for sale, because this thing is beautiful.

Saturday, September 25

The Saturday Seven

My Week in 7 Words

author reception
old friends

Wednesday, September 22

Monday's RQ

Today's Random Question: What happened to Monday's RQ?

I forgot. I completely forgot. There's a gorgeous new arts center here in Central Ohio -- the McConnell Arts Center, in Worthington -- that is hosting a Meet the Author Reception for me tonight. The man in charge of the literary arts portion of the center saw an article about me in the Columbus Dispatch, called me and asked if I'd like to participate in this. This was back in late June, and the only thing I could think at the time was, "Are you serious?!?!? I'd LOVE it!!" Much private hooting and cheering ensued because, as I've said before, I was raised Episcopalian, and Episcopalians do not hoot and cheer. Not even at sporting events. Episcopalians are the ones in the stands clapping respectfully, saying, "Well done. Well done, indeed." For both sides, by the way.

I believe I said, "I would love to participate in this. Thank you very much."

So it was and remains a lovely and generous offer, and I keep saying to my husband and friends, "Shouldn't I be paying them five hundred dollars to do this?" But, no, they're hosting this event to promote the center, my book and the literary arts in Central Ohio all at the same time. I am overwhelmed and grateful to be a part of it. However . . .

There's always a however, isn't there?

However, the event includes a reading. My reading. Me. At a microphone. Reading. Out loud. In front of people. People looking at me. Not my favorite thing in the world to do. High on the list, actually, of my least favorite things to do and one of the only ones that doesn't involve small children's birthday parties, bugs or body fluids. The result -- anxiety. My old, familiar friend. And in my entirely anxious -- Why Did I Agree to This and How Can I Get Out of It -- state, I've become entirely unfocused on everything but the source of my anxiety, which is encapsulated in one, vivid mental picture of a microphone. And this is why I forgot about Monday's RQ, and going to the post office, and calling three friends back, and sending a fax, and making dinner last night.

I should be sane again by Thursday afternoon.

Saturday, September 18

The Saturday Seven

My Week in 7 Words

blog tour
great questions

(In the event anyone's actually reading this, I really would love to hear about your week in 7 words. I can't be the only one who likes this kind of stuff, can I?)

Monday, September 13

Monday's RQ

Today's Reader Question: Do you ever get up in the middle of the night to write down an idea for either the book you're working on or a new novel?

The middle of the night? No. If I get up in the middle of the night, it's because I drank too much water before I went to bed, and all I'm thinking about is navigating my way to the bathroom in the dark, without my glasses past a chair, dresser and wooden trunk designed for nighttime toe-smashing. But at other times, yes, I have stopped what I was doing -- including talking -- to grab a pad of paper and pen to scribble down an idea.

I know writers who use digital recorders, and I could never do that for two reasons. First, I already know I'd misplace it. I misplace my shoes, some jewelry and my cell phone regularly. So this recorder would never be nearby when I needed it. And second, I'd feel like an idiot using it in front of anyone, including myself. I'd want to say something like, "Ground Control to Major Tom," every time I turned it on, and then -- poof! -- there goes the idea I needed to record, and now I'm thinking about David Bowie and Peter Schilling and wondering if they know each other when, really, what I need to be doing is writing -- especially since I have this really good idea now. What was it again?

Monday, September 6

Monday's RQ

Today's Reader Question: Where was last Monday's RQ?

Floating in the ether above Lake Michigan, I think. My husband and I spent last week in one of our favorite little beach towns up in Michigan, where, for the first time -- yes, first time -- we used our computer for Internet access. My relationship with technology is something I'll write about later. For now, let's just say that I love it when the power goes out, and I get to pretend for an evening that I'm Abigail Adams. With indoor plumbing. And deodorant.

I'm not averse to using the Internet. I love the immediacy of e-mail and the convenience of clicking on a few buttons and having clothes delivered to me by my friendly neighborhood UPS guy. But I also like being unreachable sometimes. Leaving my cell phone off. Not checking my messages. Not surfing the Net, especially when the beach and miles of shore just aching to be walked are one and a half blocks from my rented front door.

But I did make the commitment to blog at least twice a week, and I tried to honor that commitment last Monday when I wrote a quick post about being at the beach, hit 'publish post' and watched as my computer froze. It did not get more interesting the longer I watched. So I shut the thing down, attempted it on Tuesday, and when the same thing happened, I turned the computer off and went to the beach. Well -- after my 10-minute ritual application of 80 sunblock. Four gorgeous days, one cloudy day and nothing but a few freckles. Now THAT is an accomplishment worth blogging about.

Saturday, September 4

The Saturday Seven

My Week in 7 Words:

more beach
the Lake!

Saturday, August 28

The Saturday Seven

My Week in 7 Words:

Game Change

Monday, August 23

Monday's RQ

Monday's Reader Question: What's the best thing about being a writer . . . and what's the hardest?

The best thing, finally, is the legitimate excuse I have for living inside my head. It's very hard to come out of that place sometimes not least because I like it there. Everyone's nice to me. But, no, the hardest thing is my unresolved angst over not owning a business suit. I should just go buy one and sit in the thing all day at my desk, but then I might have to find a new place to work without so strict a dress code.

Saturday, August 21

The Saturday Seven

My Week in 7 Words:

husband's birthday

(your turn)

Thursday, August 19

My Latest Q&A

My Q&A with Vanessa over at Today's Adventure is up. Thank you, Vanessa!

Monday, August 16

Monday's RQ

Reader Question: Where did you get the name Bronwen?

Before I answer this, I want everyone under thirty to know that no one in my high school graduating class was named Caitlyn, Madison or Brittany. Or Jacob, Dylan or Austen. No one. Not one person. On the other hand, I have a very good friend from high school named Bronwyn, so that name sounds as normal to me as the name Madison does to everyone born after the movie Splash! popularized it. I believe that was 1984.

I like the sound of the name Bronwen. I like the sound of the character's full name Bronwen Oliver. And I like the distinction of sounds between the two names Bronwen and Jared. So -- I think it's fair to say that I chose the name Bronwen for its sound. It's a beautiful name, and although my friend Bronwyn is, like her name, uniquely beautiful, the character Bronwen is not based on her.

Saturday, August 14

The Saturday Seven

My Week in 7 Words:

computer headaches
manhole covers
book party today!

Monday, August 9

Monday's RQ

This is either going to be a Reader Question or a Random Question for those Mondays when I have no pending reader questions. And, by the way, I love hearing from readers and try to answer every note I receive.

Today's RQ is a Reader Question: Are you writing a sequel to I NOW PRONOUNCE YOU SOMEONE ELSE?

First, let me thank every single person who has asked me this. I'm completely touched and a little overwhelmed that so many people like Bronwen and Jared enough to keep reading their story. Moreover, to keep thinking about them after the book ends. It's this kind of question that gives writers little happy chills. If I heard this in person, I'd politely thank you while inside, I'd be shouting, "Are you serious?! Whoo-hooo!"

I was raised Episcopalian. I have never whoo-hooed in public.

Now, the answer to the question: No, I am not writing a sequel, and I never planned to. I have very definite ideas about Bronwen and Jared following the end of the action in the novel. In fact, I have even more clearly defined ideas about Bronwen and her mother following the end of the action in the novel, but I have no plans to turn them into a book. All I'll say is this: The more interesting story would be the one between Bronwen and her mother.

Saturday, August 7

The Saturday Seven

My Week in 7 Words:

crazy mail

(Your turn -- Your Week in 7 Words!)

Tuesday, August 3

Blog Issues

So, I'm having blog issues. Obviously. That whole "once a week" plan didn't exactly unfold as I had hoped. In fact, I think I self-induced Blog Paralysis as I over-thought blogging and concluded that the answer to the question, "What should I blog about?" was, "Uhh, I have no idea."

Even now, I have written and deleted four (4) paragraphs, one paragraph at a time. My problem is the parameters. What are they? What should they be? I said I'd write about writing, but my writing day is uneventful to anyone but me, I'm sure. I don't want to be embarrassingly revelatory, but I also don't want to write about things too insipid to express. That leaves the territory between my deeply private interior life and my grocery list.

At the moment, I have four followers -- Hi, Everyone -- and I would really just prefer it if we would all move closer together and meet once a week for coffee and talk about what's going on in all our lives -- not just mine. And then I could just shut this blog down, because if too many people follow it, we'll have to keep moving or asking people to move closer to us, so, no, four is a good place to stop. But until that happens, I did promise my editor, agent and publicist that I'd commit to at least a once-a-week entry, so . . . eight short weeks later, I'm getting to that.

Now . . . what to write about?

Thursday, June 10

My First Post

So -- apparently I'm blogging. I think I am, but since I've never done this before, there's a good chance I'm merely engaged in yet one more contest with an app I am bound to lose. In the event this works, I'll try to post at least once a week with updates of my writing life and this exciting new path I've just set foot on. Lately it's taken my breath away -- Take My Breath Away by Berlin I am now singing -- and I haven't gotten it all back yet. It doesn't help that I'm singing. And badly.