Archive for May, 2010


God Bless The USA

Posted under odds and ends 2 Comments


Thank you to all the men and woman who have served our country with such pride and honor. And thank you, too, to all those families who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom.

God Bless You.


The Welcome Knock of Summer

Posted under Bits & Pieces Fridays 7 Comments

In honor of the unofficial start to the summer season, I figured I’d base today’s Bits & sunPieces on one of my favorite times of the year…

1) What would be your ideal summer day trip?

2) If you could go anywhere in the U.S. for vacation this summer, where would you go?

3) Best childhood vacation memory?

4) Ever have a summer romance? How old were you?

5) Favorite sounds & smells of summer?

Enjoy your holiday weekend!



Pass It On

Posted under Writing Thursdays 6 Comments

I thought I’d try something a little bit different this week. Something that’ll bring the writer out in all of us.

penpaperI’m going to give a prompt–a single word springboard designed to spark the opening paragraph of a story. The first person to comment writes their paragraph (take it in whatever direction you want).  Then, after that person writes their paragraph based on my prompt, they leave a single word prompt for the person who opts to comment behind them (writing a paragraph of that person’s prompt).


Okay, here we go…   Sister (yes, that’s the prompt). 



A Taste of Home

Posted under That's Life Wednesdays 10 Comments

I’ve lived in a lot of places over the years, claiming eleven different structures as “home” in eight different states. I’ve lived in New Jersey, Connecticut, Ohio, South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, Missouri, and New York.

While I enjoyed many aspects of all of these places, the place I feel the strongest pull of “home” is St. Louis. Much of that pull, I’m sure, is because of time (the better part of archseventeen years was spent there–my longest stretch in one place ever).

That said, I guess it’s natural to miss it from time to time. Fortunately for me, I get to go back once or twice a year to visit thanks to my work as an author and annual checkups with my M.S. doctor. Those visits enable me to see my friends face-to-face and to breathe in the St. Louis atmosphere I grew to love.

For the most part, the visits hold me over from one to the next thanks to memories and future plans. But, from time to time, I need a little dose of home in between visits. Sometimes, flipping through pictures helps. Sometimes, emailing a friend and asking for the latest scoop helps. And sometimes–as was the case this past weekend–incorporating a little “St. Louis” into my life in New York helps. 

south-st-louis-deep-gooey-butter-ca-10My latest attempt to infuse a little St. Louis into my life here in New York? I baked a pan of Ooey Gooey Butter Cake (a St. Louis tradition) using a recipe from a friend I met while living in St. Louis.  I brought the treat to a PLOT LUCK dinner some fellow RWA friends and I had on Saturday night. The smell in the house while I baked planted a smile on my face a mile long…one I spread to my friends when they got to try my little taste of home!

So how about you? What’s something that reminds you of home (wherever home may be)?


For those who might be interested, here’s a recipe for Ooey Gooey Butter Cake as told by my friend, Heather Richards. Just do me a favor, okay? If you make it, tell people it’s a St. Louis tradition, okay?

Ingredients for bottom:  *1 package yellow cake mix. *1 stick butter. * 1 egg.  Combine (this will be relatively dry). Press into greased 9 x 13 pan.

Ingredients for top:  * 1 (16 ounce) package of powdered sugar. * 8 ounce package of cream cheese. * 2 eggs. * 1 tsp. vanilla.     Combine.  Pour on top of crust.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Cool completely or it will be runny. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and cut in squares.  Enjoy!!!!


The Danger in Assumptions

Posted under Reading Tuesdays 6 Comments

I finally did it. I read a book. It took me way longer than I’d hoped, but with deadlines and traveling, things didn’t go exactly as I’d hoped.

Still, I finished. Which gives me a book to talk about today.  And remember, you don’t have to read the book to participate in the discussion. I pull a broad theme from the book for conversation purposes.

After falling in love with Wendy Wax’s ACCIDENTAL BESTSELLER last year, I was more than a little eager to read her latest book, MAGNOLIA WEDNESDAYSwendywax2Once again, I enjoyed this author’s descriptive language and story telling capabilities!

Here’s what the back copy says:

At forty-one, Vivien Armstrong Grayhas spent most of her life fighting to make it in investigative journalism, only to have it crumble after a bullet lodges in her backside during an expose. As if the humiliation of being the butt of everyone’s jokes isn’t enough, Vivi learns that she’s pregnant, jobless, and very hormonal. Maybe that explains why she actually says “yes” to a dreadful job covering suburban living back home in Gerogia, a column she can only bear to write incognito.

Leaving her tiny apartment in New York, she reluctantly heads south to experience the suburban soccer-mom existence through her widowed sister’s eyes. Surrounded by minivans and bake sales, she has lots of material for the column. Her sister’s ballroom dance studio becomes her undercover spot where she learns about the local life while posing as an extra dance partner. But Vivi’s little stint starts throwing her for a loop as friendships develop, and a real relationship with her sister blossoms. As she digs up her long-buried roots, and begins to secretly investigate her brother-in-law’s death, she starts to wonder if life inside the picket fence is so bad after all…

While there were lots of things that made me pause in this book, one thing jumped out at me more than anything else.  Vivi assumes what life in the suburbs is like. Vivi assumes what the reaction of her baby’s father will be. Vivi assumes there’s more to her brother-in-law’s death than everyone has been led to believe. And she operates on those assumptions, hurting people (and herself) in the process.

Which leads me to today’s question. Have you ever made an assumption about someone/something that proved to be completely wrong? And/or has anyone ever assumed something erroneous about you? What happened? 



A Look At The Future

Posted under Dreamer Mondays 6 Comments

crystal-ballI’m sure you’ve heard of these new do-it-yourself home kits that can tell you what diseases you might contract in the future.  Now, while it’s an interesting concept, I’m not sure I’d want to know. Not unless knowing would enable me to prevent it.

Which brings me to today’s DREAMER MONDAY question about the kinds of things a person might like to know about their future if they could…

 If you could learn one thing about your future, what would you want to know and why?



Lost and Found

Posted under Bits & Pieces Fridays 6 Comments

Did you ever lose a favorite toy? Or find something really bizarre? That’s the theme of today’s Bits & Pieces questions, so let’s get to it…

1) Did you ever lose a toy when you were little? What was it? And did you ever find it again?

2) What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever found?

3) Is there an item that belongs to someone in your household that you wish would get lost? What/Why?

4) Do you have any superstitions (like tails-up pennies, etc) related to objects? What?



Snow in the Summer?

Posted under Writing Thursdays 4 Comments

mail Today’s Ask-A-Writer question comes from Joe… 

Q:  Because of schedules, writers are always out of sync with the seasons. You’re writing Christmas scenes when it’s 90 degrees outside your door, or laying out a picnic when there’s ice on the windows. What do you do to set the mood and put yourself in Story time and place? Are there external cues you use to fool yourself into the season of the story, regardless of what your calendar says?

A: I love this question! You’re so right on being out of sync with seasons when you write. I just finished a romance that’s set at Christmas time. There I was, typing away the day while an early spring breeze was floating through the screen door. winterAnd somehow I had to bring a winter scene (equipped with a shivering protagonist) to life.

I can’t say I use any external cues (unless my hot chocolate counted), but I do run through the various senses in my mind, reminding myself how I’d react if it was freezing at that very moment. When it’s a scene that needs tension (as in a mystery), fallI try to think of the aspects of that season that will amp it up (winter can mean pulling one’s coat tighter as you walk through an abandoned parking lot, eyes cast downward just to make the walk go faster…while spring might bring the menacing clap of thunder or a storm-related power outage). If it’s a scene where I want to pull out the most enticing aspects of that season (as in a romance), I try to think of the things that are special to me (a crackling fire in the winter, a picnic in the summer) and make it come alive with sensory description.

I hope that helps, Joe. And thanks for the great question.

Now here’s a related question for all of you. What’s a book you’ve read where the setting popped off the page…making you feel as if you were there, too? What stands out about it even now?


Got a question for a future Thursday Ask-A-Writer? Email it to me at:


Under a Microscope

Posted under That's Life Wednesdays 8 Comments

It’s been one of those weeks. Lots of Ups, a few downs, all part of life.


*My launch excursion to Missouri was wonderful. Main Street Books rolled out the red carpet for the debut of DEATH THREADS, as did the McClay Road Branch of the St. Charles City-County Library District (their Readers & Stitchers group is awesome)! Main Street Books still has a few autographed copies left, so give them a shout if you’d like to order one!

*My oldest daughter earned a “tinted bronze pin” from the National Honor Society for her freshmen year of high school (shared by a proud mom).

*DEATH THREADS landed the # 5 spot on the B & N national mass market mystery list for its second week. And # 12 on Bookscan (a more encompassing list) for its first week. Woo-hoo!

*I came home from my launch party trip to find a box of books (A MOM FOR CALLIE–my July romance for the Harlequin American line). Can’t wait for this one to hit stores!  The excitement of seeing my work in book form never grows old.

*My launch party gave me an opportunity to see some old friends I haven’t seen in a while. Love that!


*The internet decided to die at home, leaving me with a mountain of email and no real opportunity to blog yesterday–sorry, folks.

*A routine “skin check” resulted in a small section of my calf being biopsied yesterday. Everything else looked good, so I’m not terribly worried, but still…

*My launch weekend was so jam packed with activities that I didn’t get to have solo time with my two best writing buddies.

So that’s my week so far in a nutshell. How’s yours going?



Can’t Live With It, Can’t Live Without it

Posted under odds and ends No Comments

While the second part of today’s title isn’t exactly true, it is why I’m posting late today and taking the day off.

What’s going on, you ask?

Internet issues.  *Insert sound of grumbling here*

I’ll be back tomorrow!