Archive for August, 2011


Full Salvage Mode

Posted under That's Life Wednesdays 4 Comments

The unofficial end of summer is just days away and for the first time in a very long time, I can’t say that I’m sad to see it go. Don’t get me wrong, there were some good parts of summer this year, but there were some trying parts, too.

The excessive heat wave that hit the New York area (and, frankly, the rest of the country) in mid July was a tough time for me thanks to my M.S. Those ten or so days yanked all of my energy right out of of my body (and brain) at a time I was facing a pretty important deadline.

A few other trials came into play just as the heat wave was subsiding and my energy level was doing its best to rebound sans steroids. I made it, but the next few weeks were less than ideal with a deadline that had grown much too tight, and some unrelated yet unexpected (a.k.a. unncessary) stress that seemed to go on…and on…and on.

Then, just as I started to breathe a little easier, Irene came knocking.  Ahhhh….

Which leaves me right where I am at the moment–looking around at the final days of summer and wondering how I can squeeze every last ounce of goodness out of them before saying farewell to the Summer of 2011.  Some of my ideas (whether they happen or not) to aid in that effort include: reading, spiff-ifying my office (which actually makes me happy), and spending as much time with my Very Special Guy as possible before the school year and its crazy schedule starts back up again.

So what kind of plans do you have for the remaining days of summer?


**For those of you who weighed in on the subject of the perfect Southern Sewing Circle cast yesterday, I got such a kick out of your answers! Thank you!! All the ideas were great with my absolute favorite being Doris Roberts for Dixie (wow, that couldn’t be more perfect). After I read all of the great responses, I put everyone’s name into a hat and drew out one lucky winner for a few special little goodies. And the winner is Carolyn C! Congratulations, Carolyn C. If you send your snail mail addy to me at:, I’ll get your surprise out in the mail early next week!!


Casting Time!

Posted under Reading Tuesdays 19 Comments

Thanks to Irene and her visit to my neighborhood during the wee hours of Sunday morning, the chance of being without power today is very high as you can see. So, with that in mind, I’m asking all of you for some help with today’s blog…

If you’ve read all of the books in the Southern Sewing Circle series thus far, who would you cast as Tori Sinclair on the movie  screen?  How about Rose or Leona? Margaret Louise or  Debbie? Dixie or Melissa?  You don’t have to have ideas for all of them, I’m just curious who comes to your mind for some of the circle members.

 You know, in the outside chance Hollywood comes knocking (ha!)…

Ready? Go!


**One person will be randomly chosen (from those who leave a comment here on the blog) to win a little prize package in preparation for the November 1st release of DANGEROUS ALTERATIONS!! While the contents of the package is a secret, I can tell you this:  If you like the series, you’ll like the prize!



Posted under odds and ends 10 Comments

I’m not a big television watcher nor do I play video games. For me, they’re just time wasters and I don’t really like to waste time.

That said, I’m very definately a home body. Sure, I love to travel–and by love, I mean LOVE–but when push comes to shove, I like to be home, making memories with the people I hold most dear. I like playing games, I like cuddling, I like taking walks, I like looking through photographs, I like learning new things about the people around me.

But the one time waster I do enjoy (but in short spurts only) is Facebook. Don’t get me wrong, I’m aware of its pitfalls. I’ve heard of the cases–some from close friends–where issues have occured between friends, spouses, etc. And that’s why I use it sparingly. But, every once in a while, it’s almost a blessing…

Just this past Sunday morning, when Irene was whipping around the house and keeping me on edge, I went onto FB and had a back and forth with a friend in the city. Like me, this particular person was also listening to the pounding rain and the strong winds, only for those ten minutes or so, we were no longer experiencing it alone. 

Last week, I loaded a small handful of pictures from my youth onto my personal  page, one of which was a class photograph from sixth grade. Within minutes, people in that very photograph were weighing in with comments that made me laugh out loud–people who remembered the “Mr Kotter” lookalike that was our teacher that year…people who remembered the uniforms and the girl with the straight brown hair sitting in the front row.

That’s when I like FB–when it affords the opportunity to share a moment in time with people who remember it, too,  and when someone else’s presence (albeit via a screen) makes you feel less alone than you’d otherwise feel in a particular situation. It’s when it overtakes life–the one you should be living with the people who’ve chosen to live it with you–that it’s time to shut down your account and walk away. The people who are truly part of your life will still be there even when the screen is dark.

So tell me, do you do the FB thing? What do you like/dislike about it?



The Storm

Posted under odds and ends 4 Comments

As Hurricane Irene sets her sights on the east coast this weekend, I find myself taking a trip down memory lane–to when I lived literally one mile from where Hurricane Hugo made landfall in 1989.

I was just out of college and working my first real job. I had my very own apartment (with no furniture to speak of, but that’s beside the point). And I had some dear friends who lived on the barrier island where the storm did make landfall.

I’ll never forget the feel of the air as I carried my little tv out to the car the morning of the mandatory evacuation. To say everything was chillingly still would be an understatement. It was truly eery…as if even the birds and wildlife knew something was coming. Yet, other than that, everything looked the same.

Twenty-four hours later, nothing looked the same. I stared at the images on the news over the next few days, trying to accept that the place they were showing over and over again was, in fact, the same place I’d fled.

I remember going back after three or four days to recover whatever I could from my apartment. I remember just how sad it was to witness the utter devastation Charleston had endured at the hands of Hugo and to realize this town I loved so much had been forever changed.  I was relatively fortunate in the grand scheme of things because I was young, I could take everything I’d salvaged in the evacuation and stay with family in the northeast for a few months.

So I’d lost an apartment, no big deal. I could rent another. Just about everything I owned as a fresh-out-of-college kid fit in the hatchback of my Plymouth Horizon. Yet so many others had lost homes and a lifetime worth of special keepsakes they would never recover.

The people of Charleston haunted my thoughts for months after Hugo. The television coverage was painful to watch at times. But, eventually, they rebounded. Today, you’d be hardpressed to find too many indicators of Hugo’s visit. Homes have been rebuilt, trees have been replanted, and families have tucked their lifelong memories inside their heart and set about making new ones.

I don’t know if anyone in the storm’s path is reading this blog today. But if you are, you’re in my thoughts and prayers. Get out of Irene’s way and stay safe. 



The Driving Force (And a Bonus Picture)

Posted under Writing Thursdays 6 Comments

This question came from Michelle C. via my email (

Q: Your bio says you’ve wanted to write since you were a kid. But what drives you to do it now?

A: Interesting question, Michelle. I guess I’d point to a few things that keep the drive going…

1) It’s a dream and the only way it can happen is if I make it happen.

2) It’s a good learning experience for my daughters who see what can happen with a dream and a lot of hard work. They know that this didn’t happen by accident.

3) It gives me a place to disappear to…where I (through my characters) can be someone different. I can be witty, I can be kooky, I can be serious, I can be someone’s first choice, I can seek justice. I can learn more about myself and life.  And the list goes on and on.  When I write romance, I can be a part of a fairy tale of sorts where someone looks at me like I’m IT. When I write mystery, I can have a hand in punishing the mean people in this world. And I guess I’m hankering to write women’s fiction one day because it allows me to go deeper than basic everyday conversation, to the part that really defines a person yet few people ever take the time to see/know.

Great question, Michelle! Thanks! Anyone else?


For those of you who read yesterday’s post, here’s a “self portrait” of me and my girlfriends during our concert last night (that’s me on the left)!


NJ, Here We Come!

Posted under That's Life Wednesdays 7 Comments

Thirty-three years ago, we met for the first time and we’ve been friends ever since.

Life has shot us in different directions at times (both geographically and otherwise) but we always know each other is there…whether it’s to laugh, cry, talk, listen, or giggle like a bunch of 4th graders all over again. There’s no judging, no trying to change the other person, no facades. Just a bunch of memories that we’re about to add to tonight when we head off to see the Journey/Foreigner/Night Ranger concert (blast from the past, huh?) together in New Jersey.

We all need the night together for different reasons. For one, it’s a night away from young kids. For another, it’s a chance to detox after a month of grieving. And for me, it’s a chance to let go of some stress and just have fun.

I’ll post pictures on Friday of the three of us wearing the concert t-shirts we’ll no doubt buy just because we can! 🙂

In the meantime, when’s the last time you got together with old friends? What did you do?



A More Tolerable Delay

Posted under Reading Tuesdays 10 Comments

A few months ago, my dear friend Vicki (who happens to own a delightful independent book store in St. Charles, MO–CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS) recommended I read Linda Castillo’s SWORN TO SILENCE.  The title was the first in a series of Amish Thriller novels and Vicki knew I was getting ready to embark on my own Amish mystery series. Despite the fact that I’ll be writing a cozy series set around the Amish, she figured it couldn’t hurt for me to read Castillo’s series.

Wow. Best book suggestion I’ve gotten in a long time.

I read SWORN TO SILENCE and loved it. It was darker and more edgy than I generally tend to read (I write cozies for a reason), but the writing was SO good I ran out and bought the second–PRAY FOR SILENCE.

Fortunately for me, Vicki introduced me to this series within just a few short weeks of the release of Castillo’s third–BREAKING SILENCE. When it came out in July, I wanted nothing more than to run to the store and buy it. But I resisted because I knew I had my own deadline to meet and I knew that if I started reading, I wouldn’t do anything else–including write.

So I waited. Until now. 

Sunday morning, before driving to the airport with my daughters, I stopped at the bookstore and purchased BREAKING SILENCE. I figured I’d read a chapter or two while waiting for the girls’ flight.

It was a good decision to stop and buy it as I read far more than two chapters. In fact, thanks to weather delays and airlines, I got to read half the book while sitting in the terminal. Then, last night, I finished the book.

And I loved it. Absolutely. Loved. It.

Of course, now I feel like a hack, but that’s okay because I love being hooked on a writer and flipping the calendar ahead a year in anticipation of the next in their series.

So what are you reading?



Dream On

Posted under Dreamer Mondays 5 Comments

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss you’ll land among the stars.”
~Les Brown

Saturday night, I took Dear Daughter #2 and my step daughter to see Selena Gomez in concert. In the interest of finances, I purchased lawn tickets and we packed a blanket and some chairs for the occasion.

We get to the event an hour early (no traffic–shocking) only to find we had to stand on a line for almost 45 minutes. When we got to the front, we were told a) no chairs  b) no blankets and c) go stand in another line to check your blanket and chairs so it’ll still be here when the concert is over.

As you can imagine, I’m thinking I might have made a mistake with the whole concert idea at about this point in the evening.

We go inside, buy our souvenirs (DD2 picked her first-ever concert T’shirt and SD picked a poster/program book), and then head to the lawn to find it’s packed. And by packed, I mean PACKED.

I secure a place dead center at the very top of the hill just as the main act (aka Selena) is starting. Lights go out, music starts, and Selena Gomez takes the stage.

And, inside of about two seconds, any residual irritation over the chairs and blanket (we never would have used them anyway) was all gone…

They squealed.
They (okay, we) bopped around.
They smiled HUGE face-splitting smiles.
And they had the kind of night that makes little girls talk non-stop during a 2 hour car ride home.

It was, without a doubt, worth every penny to take them to their first-ever concert under a beautiful August night sky.

But perhaps the best part of all was when Selena Gomez told a little story about HER first concert. She was 11. She went with her mom and her cousin, Priscilla. She was in the nosebleeds (a.k.a. our spot on the lawn). And she was seeing Brittany Spears.

Only that night, a dream began for Selena Gomez–one that that DD2 and SD saw played out on a stage some seven years later. Watching them, as they listened to that story and connected the dots, was priceless. So, too, was the teaching moment it gave me during the walk back to the car–you know, the one about dreams taking you to amazing places as long as you’re willing to work at it.

Pretty cool, huh? 

Which brings me back to the quote I used to start this post. Those words are written across a very cool bookmark my RWA chapter gave me Saturday morning as a “congratulations” for securing a contract for my 20th book.  So yeah, I’m a firm believer in the power of a kids’ dream–whether you make it sitting in the nosebleeds of some concert hall or sitting at a table with a stack of paper in front of you and a story to tell…

Dream on!



Where Should I Go?

Posted under odds and ends 5 Comments

As the release for DANGEROUS ALTERATIONS (Southern Sewing Circle #5) draws closer, I find myself flipping to the November page of my calendar and wanting to fill it with speaking engagements–libraries, clubs, book stores, etc.

So, if you know of a good venue/group that might enjoy having an author come and speak, give me a shout.  I’m open to driving as far as five hours (depending on the program), and I always like to try one new “airplane kind of trip”  with each release.

Oh, and if you have a small book club and have access to SKYPE, I can always visit during your meeting via the internet (and I’ll even wear some professional-looking duds for the occasion)! 😉



Whisk Away

Posted under odds and ends 7 Comments

Although we just got back from a week’s vacation in Virginia (inland), I have this really strong urge to whisk away for 24 hours. I can’t quite put a handle on where I’d like to whisk-away to, I just know I want to do it.

It’s not that vacation wasn’t fun, because it was, but with a huge deadline looming as soon as I got back, it’s positive effects didn’t last as long as normal.

So tell me, have you ever whisked yourself (or been whisked by someone else) away for a 24 hour period? If so, where did you go and what did you do?