Archive for July, 2011


They Come, They Go

Posted under Bits & Pieces Fridays No Comments

Just about everywhere you go right now, you’re seeing an image of a Smurf. The push, of course, is in preparation for the new 3-D Smurf movie but I can’t help be transported back a few decades everytime I see the little blue guy.

Yup. I had Smurfs. In fact, my “cooking Smurf” sits in a kitchen cabinet in the house right now.

I had one for all of the things I liked to do. Rollerskating, writing, playing, etc. I’m not sure where they’ve all gone to, but, even if they’ve disappeared into the depths of an attic somewhere, at least I have one.

So today’s Bits & Pieces is more about fads…and us. Ready?

1) What fads (in terms of toys) did you get sucked into?

2) Any fad toy you still have somewhere?

3) Ever get one of these fad toys and find that you were disappointed because it didn’t live up to the hype? What/Why?



Comic Relief?

Posted under Writing Thursdays 3 Comments

The title of this post should actually be, Comic Relief (And A Surprise Bonus)? So be sure to scroll down below my name this time, okay?

In each of my mystery series, I like writing a humorous character–someone who lightens the heavier scenes with memorable quirks or dialogue. In my first series (Jenkins & Burns written as Laura Bradford), that character was Dean. He was the staff photographer at the newspaper and he was a bit of a goof. In the Southern Sewing Circle Series, everyone seems to have a chance to be light and silly but Leonaand Margaret Louise are my go-to girls for comic relief. So far, in the Amish series I’m working on now (also written as Laura Bradford), that humorous character hasn’t come on the canvas just yet. But I know he/she will…when the timing is right. 

So tell me, what are some memorable comic-relief type characters you’ve come across in books. What’s made them stand out?


Oooh, I said there’d be a bonus, didn’t I? Well, on a completely different note, look what my friend dragged out of her picture file last night?  This is me (and her) on the night of our junior prom (before our dates showed up) many, many, many years ago. She, of course, is looking at the camera like a good girl. I’m laughing at her dad. He was 6’7” (which explains why I was looking up…up…up and to my left).  I LOVE old pictures. I also loved the fact that, last night, we were sitting on the couch that was directly across from the spot where this photo was taken 27 years ago. Cool, huh?


Priceless Autographs

Posted under Reading Tuesdays 19 Comments

If you could have three books signed by the actual author, what books would they be?



Tunes ‘N More

Posted under Bits & Pieces Fridays 2 Comments

Today’s Bits & Pieces are all about setting the mood wherever you go.

1) You’re in the car, driving a winding two-lane road. Windows are open, sun is shining. What song do you want to hear on your car radio?

2) You’re at the beach, tanning. First day off in a long time.  What song do you want to hear in your ears?

3) Enjoying a little alone-time with your significant other. What song do you want to hear on the radio?

4) Same scenerios…only now add one more must-have to each one. Can be a food, a backdrop, whatever…



A Birds’ Eye View

Posted under Writing Thursdays 7 Comments

For today’s “Writing Thursday,” I figured I’d treat you to a sort of birds’ eye view of the way I write…

*I’m a morning writer, plain and simple. The only time I stray from this is during the final days of a book’s deadline. Than I become a 24-hour writer. Literally.

*My writing environment of choice has evolved over the past few years…taking me from bookstores and cafes, to the kitchen counter, to my current favorite place–bed. 

*I don’t outline. I know the beginning and the end. I know my place. I know the basics of my characters. I may bullet point a few chapters ahead, but that’s it. The rest is literally created on the spot.  The one book I outlined from start to finish, changed twice.

*In addition to this blog, I try to keep an active presence on my Facebook Fan page.

*I’ve never gone off by myself to a remote location to write. That is something that may need to be rectified one day…provided there’s a beach in this “remote” location. 🙂

*I truly believe the more you live of life, the richer your writing will be.

*If I could have one author’s career at this moment, it would have to be Emily Giffin. That said, I’m truly happy with my own pace thus far.

*I’ve never been into reading “how to” books on writing. I guess I lean more toward the just-sit-down-and-do-it camp in that regard.

*I do better if I write everyday. Gaps in my writing time tend to take its toll on my motivation.

*When I’m between projects, I love to go on reading and  movie-watching binges. I suspect this is my brain’s way of refilling the creative well. But that’s just a guess.

*When I’m  under the gun on a deadline, I reach for Brachs candy corn and big glasses of milk (if you read this blog regularly, you already know this).  

*I’ve never put a real person into any of my books. I’ve put traits of real people into some of my earlier books, but never a person I know in their entirety. Though I suspect that’s about to change, especially on the villian/victim front. 🙂

Did I leave anything out you’d like to know? If so, fire away!



From A Different Angle

Posted under That's Life Wednesdays 7 Comments

Growing up, I was the kid in the family who was never very crazy about the city. I liked visiting my grandparents but I wasn’t wild about walking from the car to their apartment. I guess it was big and kind of scary to a little kid who’d been raised in the suburbs.

When I went off to college, I headed out to Ohio. After that, there were stints in South Carolina, Alabama, Tennessee, and Missouri before, eventually, finding my way back to the New York area.  For a few months immediately following the move back east, my girls and I had an opportunity to live in my aunt’s apartment on the west side for about six weeks. Suddenly, the big city I remember as being so intimidating was like a new world. One we explored from top to bottom, learning the subways, finding our way around the park, and figuring out the steets/avenues and everything in between.

And in doing so, I uncovered something I hadn’t expected. I love the city. This place that used to make me feel so small and so inconsequential suddenly made me feel like I could do anything. Be anything.

My kids felt it, too.

I think part of that is because we got to live there. We got to be true New Yorkers. We developed an appreciation for people who let others be who they are, dress in a way that makes them happy, get around on foot power,  and leave the electronic toys and communication crutches behind in favor of thinks like walking and picnics and (gasp) talking.

A few weeks ago, I got to share this amazing city with a friend from St. Louis who was in town to attend a conference with me. Rather than stay in the hotel in the heart of Times Square (way too crowded and touristy), we stayed at my aunt’s place…where we could live like New Yorkers (the real ones, not the tourists).  The second I walked down the street and into the park, I felt like I was home.  Not home as in the structure that makes me feel warm and safe…but the home that I feel inside–a kind of contentment that allows me to truly be who I am. And to celebrate that person if only for a little while.

So tell me, have you ever gotten a true taste of a different life? City to country or country to city? Notice anything different about yourself? 



More Than Just Paper

Posted under Reading Tuesdays 9 Comments

Today’s post is one I’m hoping you can help me with…

Some of the best comments will be shared on my Facebook Fan page over the next few weeks (first name attribution only)…

1) What does reading mean to you?

2) What is your fondest memory involving books/reading (if you have more than one, that’s fine, too)?



A Pooh For All Ages

Posted under Dreamer Mondays 2 Comments

Friday night, my girls and I went off to see the new Pooh movie. The day we heard of its upcoming release, we knew it was a movie we absolutely could not miss.   

You see, both of my girls were raised on Winnie the Pooh. In fact, they’d virtually memorized A. A. Milne’s map of the Hundred Acre Wood by the time each of them was three. Before any Pooh story could be read, we had to point at all of the important places–Eeyore’s Gloomy Place, Pooh’s thinking Spot, Owl’s House, Rabbit’s Garden, etc. And when we were done reading, we’d study (and discuss) the map all over again.

So, it was a wonderful surprise when the latest Pooh tale to hit the big screen, started off with that very map. We sat back and laughed (and, at times, cried–happily) our way through the movie. It was funny, sweet, innocent, and void of all the inappropriate innuendos that seem to be synonomous with “kid” movies these days.

And even more refreshing was the demographic in the movie theater itself. The theater was packed…yet, if I had to guess, I’d say there were no more than 12-15 kids under the age of ten. The majority of Pooh-watchers were adults (without kids) and teenagers (without parents). To see Pooh.

If you  haven’t seen it, you should.

Thanks, Disney. I couldn’t imagine a more special evening with my daughters.



Bits & Pieces, Pieces & Bits

Posted under Bits & Pieces Fridays 6 Comments

It’s that time of the week again. And I’ve got some fun questions for all of you.

So let’s get to it, shall we?

1)  What was your favorite cereal as a kid? When is the last time you ate it?

2) What’s the first thing you notice about other people?

3) If you were a crayon in a Crayola box, what COLOR would you be?

4) Scary movies or happy endings?

5) Do you untie your shoes before you take them off?



The Wonderful World of Beginnings

Posted under Writing Thursdays 13 Comments

Every once in a while, I like to do a little writing challenge here on the blog and today is one of those days.

In fact, we’ve done one similar to this in the past only this time I’m tweaking just a bit.

Here’s the set up:

Character A:  Red head boy about 8 years old. Never been outside him small mid-western town until now…

Character B:   45 year old woman. Traveled extensively with work, rarely for pleasure. Never married–too busy.

Possible settings:  City street, small park, beach, carnival, street corner in whatever town/city you want.

Now here’s what you do. Write the opening paragraph of a story utilizing one of these characters and one of these settings. And watch how different each can be based on the character and the setting and any combination of the above.