279 posts categorized "Sarah Strohmeyer"

September 11, 2011

This Day to Remember.

Where were you on September 11th? What do you remember?

From Margaret:

  I was awakened earlier than usual to be told that a close relative was in the hospital with a broken hip, so when I flipped on NPR to catch the morning headlines and heard that a plane had crashed into the Trade Center, I immediately turned on the television and was shocked to watch as that second plane went in.  The first could have been a weird accident; the second was clearly deliberate, but who?  why? The horror continued as I flashed on the few times I'd taken an elevator up to one of the towers' high floors.  How long it took even on the express.  To think of trying to walk down through smoke and fire . . .? Ghastly. In addition to all the people who died that day, there were even more deaths to come.  Of the two close friends who lived in lower Manhattan, I'm convinced that  breathing those contaminants for months caused the death of one and hastened the end of the other even though neither was in the building itself.

From Nancy Martin: 

 I was living on a mountaintop in rural Virgina--alone because my husband had already moved back to Pennsylvania for a job. Between writing the last chapter of my first mystery, I was packing boxes that morning and watching the Today show.  With packing tape in my hand, I heard Katie Couric's incredulous voice saying,  "We don't want to alarm anyone, but it looks as if a small plane may have crashed into the World Trade Center." And while I watched, the second plane hit.  I thought, "My daughter is in New York," and you know that expression "my blood ran cold?"  Well, that's how I felt---as if a terrible block of ice hit my chest and spread through my veins all the way to my fingertips. 

An instant later, the phone rang, and the voice of my great friend (and backblogger!) cried, "Are you seeing this?"  It was just like our mothers telling us about Pearl Harbor.  We couldn't believe it.  The sky was so blue and perfect. For hours, I kept trying my daughter's phone, but of course it was out. Thank God for Ethernet.  When she got back from class, we emailed, and she begged me to phone her boyfriend's mother in DC.  Her boyfriend had been on a plane from New York that morning, but I couldn't make the call. I kept thinking he'd been in the plane that crashed into the Pentagon.  I couldn't call a mother whose son had died.  But he was already on the subway in DC when the plane went down, and he reached my daughter by email within a few hours. 

My mother called from Pennsylvania.  Her voice shook.  "An airliner flew over the golf course.  It was so low, we thought we could reach up and touch it." That was minutes before it crashed. When I phoned my husband--already at his new banking job--he said in amazement that the guys he'd been doing business with the previous day weren't answering their phones.  They worked for Cantor Fitzgerald. My sister, in Brooklyn, said her front steps were covered in burned bits of paper with the Cantor Fitzgerald letterhead.

That night, alone in the house on the mountain, I heard a tremendous roar of powerful engines down in the valley.  It went on for hours, and the concussion rattled the windows of the house.  I was afraid to go outside to listen by myself, so I took the dog, and Dolly and I stood on the lawn, listening in the dark. Dolly leaned against my leg. I remember how warm she felt, and comforting. Turns out, all the east coast railroad companies had sent their locomotives to hide in the old coal yard in the town below. To be safe from terrorists. Terrorists!  What was a terrorist?

I remember how we all felt in the weeks that followed--joined in a common spirit.  Makes the current Congress look so self-absorbed and petty. If nothing else, I'm glad we have so many stories of heroism and patriotism and unity from that terrible day.

From Barbara O'Neal:  

I had been on a very challenging hiking trip in Provence, and made it home on September 11 at 3 am Colorado time.  I awakened to the phone ringing, and it was my grandmother calling to be sure I was home. She said, "Oh, thank God you are not on a plane. I didn't know when you were coming in. They've bombed the Pentagon."  I thought she was being alarmist, but turned on the television to see the towers smoking after the first plane hit.  The calls continued all morning--my family calling to make sure I was actually home and not on one of those planes.  I have a lot of friends in NYC, but my thoughts that morning were for the friend I'd gone hiking with.  She was stranded in Paris, alone, because she'd taken a later flight than I did, and didn't get home for two weeks.  

The story I think about the most is one from an editor I was working with at the time. She lived in the village and couldn't get to her apartment for quite some time. When she finally got back, she said the smell was awful in the neighborhood and she commented to her boyfriend that it smelled like rotten garbage all the time. He said gently, "Honey, that's not garbage."   


From Hank Phillippi Ryan:

It was a beautiful, beautful day on the East Coast, as you remember, too, Nancy.  And chillingly, as it turned out, that's one of the reasons the plot could work--because it was so clear that it allowed the terrorists to see the towers.

I was--crazily--at the hairdresser, getting a hair cut. That night was my station's preview party for the upcoming TV season, and we were all sprucing up.  Someone came running in, saying something incomprehensible, and then the news came flooding in. I had wet hair.

I knew I had to get to work, GET TO WORK as  soon as possible. As a reporter, this was...well, it was work. Separating the journalists from everyone else. I called Jonathan, yelling over the sound of the blowdryer. Yes, he knew.  Are the kids okay, in Park Slope? Our step-son works in the city...yes they're okay. I don't know when I'll be home, I said. (And I will admit, what I really wanted to do was go home.)

I walked to work, maybe 4 blocks, in that beautiful day. The bars were all open on Congress Street, all the glass fronts wide open, all the televisions on. I remember, so clearly, deliberately walking slowly. Thinking, so clearly, so clearly, "this is the moment our lives are all changing. When I get to work, our lives will never be the same."

(Ridiculously: I'm the investigative reporter, you know? And my boss came racing into my office. "How did this happen?" he yelled. "You and Mary (my producer) have to find out how this happened!"  As if we could do that. I think we stayed in the office for the next--three days? And every time we started to   complain, we'd look at each other and say: "We're not dead. Not dead." And then go back to work.)


From Sarah Strohmeyer:

Yes, it was a beautiful September morning and I'd just sent the kids off to school and sat down to write. We'd recently redone our computer system and installed a New York Times news alert. So many ways to procrastinate! Oddly enough, the first message that popped up was from my childhood friend, Connie Jordan, whom I hadn't spoken to in, gosh, ten or more years.

Connie is a smart, beautiful woman, a Swarthmore/Harvard grad and Presbyterian minister whose husband survived a nasty bout of cancer early in their marriage. I've often thought of Connie as being deeply spiritual - though we occasionally butted heads over different interpretations of Christianity. Anyway, I'm still moved by the randomness - or not - of hearing from this woman of God just as my New York Times news ticker started firing bulletins about a plane crashing into the twin towers.

The bulletins were confusing. First it was a small plane. Then it was a jet. Wait, something was going on in D.C.? Was that another plane in New York? Or the same one? I remember thinking that it was probably a joker pilot. About a month before, a single-prop plane had flown precariously close to high rises in Manhattan and in flying from Manchester to New York, our little commuter flight often followed 5th Avenue. You could even see people working in their offices. 

But this was different.

Finally, I wrote Connie this: "Something's going on."

Connie wrote back. "I know. But what?"

"It's bad," I wrote back, getting chills as the bulletins became more alarming. A missing plane in Pennsylvania. Reports of a small plane flying into the Pentagon. More planes missing.

"I have to pray," Connie said. And that was it. I've never heard from her since.

I called Charlie at work and he was just getting the news. I flipped on the TV and there was Peter Jennings, smoke swirling from the twin towers in another frame. I told Charlie to come home immediately, that the towers were on fire. I thought of all my friends in New York, of the husband of my daughter's godmother who worked at Merrill Lynch. Like Connie, I prayed.

And then the unthinkable. The first tower fell, just crumbled like a house of cards. Peter Jennings went dead silent as Charlie came through the door and I looked at him and said, "We'll never be the same."

All those people. Gone.


From Elaine Viets:


That’s what I remember most after 9-11. Don and I lived in a beach condo in Hollywood, Florida. After the attack, the airport was closed for weeks, silencing the constant drone of commercial flights.

Instead, the skies were patrolled by sinister black helicopters. Warships cruised offshore, some with the ominous bulge of nuclear weapons.

Three of the terrorist leaders moved to Florida in 2000, near our home. South Florida is an international community, and they blended in. They used our local library, where the computers are free to all. They made one of their last appearances at Shuckums Oyster Bar in Hollywood, where at least two "holy warriors" drank forbidden alcohol – screwdrivers and rum and Coke. You can make what you want of this: They ate chicken wings.

Twelve hours after the attack on the World Trade Center, the FBI flashed their photos around the bar. The Shuckums’ server remembered them – and their lousy tip.


From Heather Graham:


The very words will, for everyone old enough on the day, be horrible and poignant. And no matter how much time passes, we all know where we were and what we were doing on that date. 

For me, I was mourning, and cleaning out mother's house with my sister; we had lost her just weeks before. And one of the things that kept running through my mind was at least she doesn't have to see this.

But my mom's passing became back-burner; I hadn't seen a TV. I was driving to a store to buy cleaners when a friend called me and frantically told me not to go to downtown Miami. At the time, I never went downtown, and I thought she'd spiked her morning diet coke. Of course, when she told me that two planes had hit the towers, I immediately started trying to reach my third son--he was going to Pratt Institute in Brooklyn at the time, and the kids there were always on the Path train to reach the store where they bought their art supplies. I was frantic, trying to reach him. His cell went straight to a dull tone. 
I rushed back and got on my computer and I was amazed when I got an instant message. He was on the roof at Pratt and miraculously, his Internet was up. He was alright; he was feeling his gut wrench as he and fellow students watched the towers burn. Suddenly he wrote, "OMG! It fell, it fell!" And I didn't know what he was talking about, until he explained, "It went down; the whole damned tower went down. Oh, God, oh God."
The day that travel was allowed again, Dennis and I got on a plane and flew to New York; I had to see him, and friends in the city who had lost loved ones. If I didn't get on a plane, I could never suggest that anyone else ever do so again. I was terrified getting on that plane. It turned out to be Dennis and I, a few scattered people, and about ten pilots heading up to start commercial travel again. I'll never forget flying by the place where the towers had been--and the ground was still smoldering. 
I'd considered myself a student of history, and I had thought I'd known something about terrorism; my mom and her family left Dublin because they were "mixed" and the "troubles" continued. But I had never understood the kind of hatred that could make anyone massacre so many people so blindly. I'd been to Egypt, I had friends who were Muslim. And I had to make myself realize that while their was a culture of hatred--quite possibly the result of poverty and misery as so much hatred was--was not the culture of everyone. 
Today, I know that we often wonder what our men and women in the service are accomplishing because it's true that you can't kill and ideal. But I was with a young serviceman the other day who told me, "You don't get to see the good very often on TV. I was there when we opened a new school, and the parents and the children were grateful and wonderful. Building and giving, yes, we can make a change."
So what do we do in our world today? We defend ourselves. We learn how to do that through intelligence. We suffer, because we can't stop everything. We keep trying to be the country we began to be after the Civil War, seeing all people as equals. It's so easy to hate. And I hate fanatics of any kind who would do harm to others; I pray that I never do so blindly, and I always judge a person for the person they are. And because I really have no control, I pray for our men and women in the service, and I pray for all who are caught in the violence brought upon them by others. Most of all, I pray that we stop being such a party-determined society, and that our law makers can stop following party lines, and work hard to defend and strengthen out country, and show others, through our united front and efforts to benefit all mankind, that we should be emulated, and not alienated, assaulted, and attacked.

From Joshilyn Jackson:

I went downstairs to get coffee and I turned on a little television I had on the kitchen counter. There was the first tower, with the plane going into it.

I immediately called my friend Lydia Netzer and said, Turn on your television, because I didn’t want to be watching alone. They showed it over and over.  It seemed crazy and impossible. We began coming up with explanations for it, back and forth, two fiction writers constructing implausible scenarios, looking for a way it could have happened. We were like children telling each other fairy tales ---- pilots having strokes and electrical instruments going haywire, anything to keep ourselves from understanding.

The second plane came. We saw it happen.

Then we knew. There wasn’t any way to not know. This is on purpose, we said back and forth to each other, but only because there was no other explanation left. We had tried so hard to make it be Fate---God---Accident---Error, anything at all. Anything except a deliberate, human choice.


From Brunonia Barry:

I worked at the World Trade Center for several years in the mid-seventies, soon after it opened. I was in the accounting department of Toyoda America, Inc. on the fiftieth floor of the North Tower. It was one of my first jobs out of college, and I loved the whole experience. But most of all, I loved the WTC. It was like a small community. I was there when Phillippe Petit walked the tightrope between the towers.

Windows on the World had not yet opened, and, for a short while, we were allowed to take our lunches up there and enjoy the view from the top floor. A small group of us representing many different companies lunched there most days, until the construction crews put an end to our visits. After that, we all continued to meet for lunch at the restaurant on the 44th floor.

I was our company’s fire marshall, and used to lead the employees in monthly evacuation drills, things they sometimes participated in and sometimes refused to take seriously. Thankfully, my friends at Toyoda had relocated their company offices a few years before the towers came down, but there were others I knew there who remained, friends who were lost.

Ten years ago on September 11th, I was in the hospital undergoing emergency surgery. I remember the television and everyone huddled around staring. I remember hoping that I was hallucinating from the medication, and then realizing that it was not a dream. In the ten years that have passed, I have not visited the site. It’s still difficult for me to think about, as it is for many of us.   


September 10, 2011

Volunteering: Causes, Passions and the Salem Lit Fest

Volunteering: Causes, Passions and the Salem Lit Fest

By Brunonia Barry

  SLF logo

I don’t know about you, but these days, I seem to be volunteering for more than ever before. This is something I’m happy to do, but I’m finding myself spread far too thin. As a novelist who only made her last deadline by forty-five minutes, I’m now hesitating to take on any new projects.

I am already involved in a variety of passionate causes, one of my favorites being The Women’s Lunch Place in Boston, a daytime shelter that provides refuge and services for Boston’s homeless and poor women and children.

Then there is teaching. I do some writing workshops, and visit local high school English classes to talk to students about writing and literature.  

I have joined boards to preserve historic landmarks, committees that provide scholarships, fund raising efforts to end domestic violence. The list goes on. 

But sometimes (alright many times, if I’m being honest here) I’m just exhausted. I can’t take on one more thing. There aren’t enough hours in the day. It’s a good thing I sleep a lot less than I used to, but, frankly, there aren’t enough hours in the night, either.

So it was a surprise even to me when I said yes to yet another project, one that has required more time from me than all the others combined. This year I agreed to co-chair the planning committee of the Salem Literary Festival.

“Are you insane?” was my husband’s question. “Probably,” I answered. If I had known what would be involved, I might not have continued. But the Salem Literary Festival is one of my all time passions, and I wasn’t about to let it die. And that’s just what would have happened, if it weren’t for a group of dedicated volunteers (one of whom turned out to be my husband).

When Salem’s independent bookstore, Cornerstone, closed last year, one of the less obvious casualties was the three-year-old Salem Literary Festival, which was started and anchored by the bookstore. It was a great festival for both readers and writers.

Salem is the ideal city for a lit fest. It’s small, walk-able, beautiful, and it has some of the best historic architecture in the country. Touted as the birthplace of the great American novel (a legacy left by Nathaniel Hawthorne, our native son), Salem has a rich and enduring literary tradition. Add to that Salem’s other American firsts: first millionaire, first candy store, first brick house, first elephant. (The elephant evidently had a drinking problem, but that’s a story for another day.) Salem’s full of quirky places and creative people, the perfect combination. We were determined to see the festival continue.

First we recruited more volunteers. The Spirit of ’76 bookstore in Marblehead offered to stand in for Cornerstone. We held committee meetings at my dining room table. We secured historic venues including The House of the Seven Gables, the Salem Athenaeum, the Phillips House. Even the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) made room for us.

We were a bit less lucky with hotel rooms. The Lit Fest runs from September 23-25, but we found ourselves blocked by Halloween visitors who seem to come to town earlier every year. There wasn’t a hotel room to be had. Well, actually, there was exactly one. We grabbed it.

When I tell you that our committee meetings have been stormy, I am being literal. Our second meeting was spent huddled around a television set in our kitchen watching the news. A tornado was ripping across Massachusetts. Our founder’s husband and daughter were stuck at home in their basement, waiting out the storm.

We wrote the festival brochure during hurricane Irene with a copywriter who lived near New Hampshire’s Mount Washington and kept losing power and a collaborator who had no electricity for three days. Somehow we managed. We picked up the printed brochures last Wednesday amid renewed rains and flooding.

Besides working on the brochure, my assignment was securing writers and creating events. Erin Morgenstern, writer of The Night Circus (written while she lived in Salem), and Lipstick’s own Joshilyn Jackson will be our keynote speakers. And speaking of The Lipstick Chronicles, we are hosting a panel on Sunday September 25th featuring Hank, Cornelia, Heather, Sarah, Joshilyn and me.  Believe it or not, it will be the first time some of us have met.

All in all, we have over fifty authors and many great events. Check it out at http://www.salemlitfest.com/schedule.

If you’re anywhere near Salem the weekend of September 23rd, please come. We’d love to see you. And for any of you writers out there, we have an open mic session at Gulu Gulu café on Sunday at 4PM. We welcome your participation.

This is one volunteer job that will soon come to an end. I’m sure I will feel simultaneously exhausted and exhilarated. And even though I swore I would never do it again, I will undoubtedly volunteer again next year.  After a short break, we’re planning to have a meeting to discuss next year’s lineup. Knowing New England and our stormy history, I figure it will probably snow.

So what kind of things are you passionate about? What inspires you to volunteer?

April 26, 2011

Meow Much?

By Sarah

Monkey Contrary to frequent lies I told my daughter throughout grade school, the playground never really disappears. There will always be the cool kids and their innately exclusive four-square game, the superior athletes zipping across the monkey bars and the outcasts doing their own thing, mostly trying not to get hit with one of those red rubber balls.

Never was the female literary playground more active than last week when recent Pulitzer winner Jennifer egan - getty Jennifer Egan, in trying to needlessly impress a Wall Street Journal reporter, noted:

My focus is less on the need for women to trumpet their own achievements than to shoot high and achieve a lot. What I want to see is young, ambitious writers. And there are tons of them. ....There was that scandal with the Harvard student who was found to have plagiarized. But she had plagiarized very derivative, banal stuff. This is your big first move? These are your models?…My advice for young female writers would be to shoot high and not cower.

The blogs went wild in indignation. Jennifer Weiner, for whom I have both high respect and curious bewilderment, ran with it on Twitter, trouncing Egan for being so quick to draw the line between Her and Us, lest there be any confusion. Egan was on the monkey bars, flying high. We chicklit writers were rubbing our heads and wondering how come the rubber ball. What did WE do?

Jenn Finally, after a year of Franzenfroid (led, in part, by Weiner), a female author whose novel, A Visit from the Goon Squad, blew me away wins the Pulitzer and immediately  trashes my personal heroes,  women who write, ahem, "very derivative, banal stuff." (Note that Egan did not get on the case of Harvard student Kaavya Viswanathan for plagiarizing - just for plagiarizing Sophie Kinsella, Meg Cabot and, especially, Megan McCafferty. Nice.) 

But what I found so interesting was not merely Egan's comment - a grasping quip one might overhear during orientation at the MacDowell Colony -  but the reaction among women writers like Weiner and, okay, like me. After all, I was once dubbed (way erroneously) by People magazine as The Chick Lit Queen so I get to claim a hooker spot on the corner of Banal and Derivative, too.

Our reaction was not simply a "how dare she" moment. Our reaction - and maybe yours - goes to an essential primitive question about female relationships:

Why must women consistently divide themselves from other women?

Because we do. Even when we don't want to.

If we were honest with ourselves, we'd own up to the fact that we mentally, even subconsciously, search for ways in which we are like or not like others in our gender. Right away, we go to appearance. There are those of us who are "overweight" and those of us who "aren't." Big divider. After that, it's those of us who work vs. those of us who don't.  Those who spend money on their hair/nails/bodies and those of us who channel our precious financial resources toward other Pink.nails endeavors. Those who read. Those who watch. Married. Single. Educated. Not. In rapid fire analysis, we can define how a woman is alike/not like us within five minutes of waiting for a dressing room door to open.

I'm sure the underlying reason is somehow biological.

Now, take that process and apply it to women competing in a field still dominated by men and watch out.  The competition can be vicious.

Recently, a mega successful author confided to me that she had no author friends. "It's as if," she said, "they think readers will only read one book a year." When she said this, I went blank because this has not been my experience at all.

Partly, that's because I forced myself early on never to check my work against that of the kid next to me. Also, this is my second career. I didn't really start writing fiction until my late thirties. By that time, I was so grateful to be free from cantankerous newspaper editors, to have found a way to earn money from home while my kids were small, that such things as not rising as fast up the bestseller list as my contemporaries didn't bug me. Much.

(Though I will admit that while in weakness I might look to Weiner, whose career started when mine did and who immediately jumped to the top of the NYT list, I shamefully never, ever compare myself to men. Never.)

I also owe a lot of my sisterly feeling to this blog and to Nancy Martin's attitude that we ALL benefit when we promote Old-school-foursquare each other. For one thing, it's fun. Writing is so solitary that it feels good to connect with other writers and you really do find yourself cheering for their successes almost as much as your own. For another, it's simply good for the soul. Karma and all that.

And maybe this is the advantage of getting older. You begin to learn that those words you slaved over ten years ago are selling for $.50 on the used book table at the PTA fundraiser. It's all dust in the wind, folks. Best not to take it seriously.

That goes for Egan, too. And Thomas Berger, N. Scott Momaday, Adam Haslett and other Pulitzer winners whose names, alas, have not exactly won the traditionally female honor of being called "household." Also, for Weiner, Kinsella, Cabot, McCafferty and Strohmeyer.

Pulitzer or not, chicklit or post modern post modernism, let us never forget John Updike's last days, Updike struggling to remember what he'd written, who he was. 

Wait. He said it better himself - of course - in his last poem: Requiem.

It came to me the other day:
Were I to die, no one would say, 
“Oh, what a shame! So young, so full
Of promise — depths unplumbable!”

Instead, a shrug and tearless eyes
Will greet my overdue demise;
The wide response will be, I know, 
“I thought he died a while ago.”

For life’s a shabby subterfuge,
And death is real, and dark, and huge.
The shock of it will register
Nowhere but where it will occur.

Kind of deflates the red rubber ball, huh?








April 12, 2011

Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow

By Sarah

There once was a time when my hair used to be sexy.

I can remember this era vaguely, very vaguely, back in high school when I spent hours obsessing over my dirty blond locks. Mostly this was due to the Clairol Kindness hot curlers I received for my $(KGrHqEOKicE14+k5cOPBNl2Q85Lyw~~_3 sixteenth birthday and that, in my adolescent delusion, I believed would transform me from a clairnet-playing, honor society geek into Farrah Fawcett.

Clairol Kindness hot curlers didn't mess around, the "Kindness" being a red herring to throw off the unsuspecting fool who assumed adding water to curlers - as if - would diminsh the split ends. They were white plastic with little spikes that gripped the hair and didn't let go. I knew my hair was done when I heard the satisfying "riiip" as I unrolled them, along with a fulfilling "hiss."

All marketing to the contrary, curling was not the goal, frying to a crisp was. You could put your hair up in those, brush it out and walk into a Level 5 hurricane without fear. Not a hair would be out of place. Hey, it was the 70s. Beauty before brains, ya know?



Now, the only time I see hot curlers is when I'm on deadline - like this week. I haul out my mproved purple padded curlers, do my hair, put on makeup, jewelry perfume and, uhm, clothes, douse myself in a cloud of hairspray and walk to my office, eerily resembling Pat Nixon even though no one will see me but my dogs and the stray Jehovah's Witness.

Don't ask why I do this days before a book is due. I just do, okay?

My hairdresser Melodie, God Bless Her, says I'm the only client of hers who likes hairspray. Maybe I should move to the South.

Lately, however, I've noticed a few disturbing hair trends. For starters, my big bald forehead (you're getting a lovely image of me now, no?) that my mother claimed was "royal," has grown bigger and Queen balder. I know guys, hold yourselves back. I can't say where this will end, but I suspect I'll be like those old ladies in church who comb and spray their remaining five red/orange stands into a magical convection resembling hair.

On the flip side, hair is growing on places I would not prefer. This, by the way, is not normal hair. This is Brillo and it could strip paint. My tweezers, God Bless Them, have thrown in the towel and waved the white flag. I may have to succumb to road-side laser treatment which, in Vermont, is often a home-based business along with taxidermy. In the same room.

 No one told me about this hair. I was not briefed. Which raises questions, how many other mysteries of 40+ womanhood await? And just when did being a woman become a juggling act - drop one ball and the whole thing goes to hell in a handbasket.

So, here's my strategy and tell me if it works. I will continue to be blond until my dying day. Even if Melodie has to visit me in the chemo ward to dye my roots and gossip, I will do this. Also, as God is my witness, I will tweez, wax, burn and acidify every other follicle on my body, no matter how great the pain.

HelenMirren In the end I'll be like this woman because I can't believe at her age Helen Mirren's so thin, talented, beautiful and sexy.

I'm sure it has nothing to do with her discipline, talent and DNA. It must be the hair.



April 10, 2011

Where in the World are the Tarts?

Brunonia Barry Barry_mapoftrueplaces
I've been on the paperback book tour for The Map of True Places. Or rather, I should call it the culinary tour of Connecticut and Vermont. Great stores, great people, and great food and wine at about nine PM every night. I tried, Weight Watchers, I really tried! But it's just not hospitable to refuse these local favorites. Local Vermont Cheeses and maple cured sausages? Okay, so maybe that was breakfast, but you get the idea. I'm back home for a few days, hitting the treadmill and the bike and eating my five point Think Thin bars. More tour to come, but I'm determined. Thank God I'm not going south this time. On my last tour, I went to Charleston and New Orleans. Weight Watchers didn't stand a chance.


Viets_Uplift Elaine Viets    
I'm spending this weekend in my hometown, St. Louis, at the Missouri Writers' Guild Conference, where I'll get to see Nancy Pickard, another featured speaker. I hope I didn't disgrace myself giving the keynote speech at the banquet last night. I promised the conference organizers my talk would be mercifully short. Sunday morning, I teach a three-hour master's class on creating characters. Then I fly home to Fort Lauderdale on Southwest Airlines. That's the airline that had a plane with a huge hole in the fuselage. Don assures me the flight will be perfectly safe. I told him if I die in a plane crash, I will haunt him for the rest of his days. At night, he will hear me whispering "I told you so."


Barbara O’Neal HowToBake
I am cooking for zillions, cleaning my house because it hasn't really been cleaned since I went underground to finish the current book two months ago.  (It is not finished, BTW.) There is a wedding this week.  My son and his smart, tough, beautiful fiance, whose mother referred to her as "ours."  Doesn't get any better than this, I promise you.   Next week, I'll get back to finishing the book.  Now, if you will excuse me, I have some bacon jam that needs to go in the crockpot.....


Kindred Spirits_lowres Sarah Strohmeyer
I am on deadline for my YA book Smart Girls Get Everything!

[Yet she had time to look up the recipe for Barbara’s Bacon Jam to post on Facebook.][Sarah's link broke, but this is another recipe.]


I'm hunkered down with the windows closed, praying for rain, waiting out pine pollen season. Another week should do it. These pine trees are way oversexed. No wonder they're the first trees to grow in a barren field.
Tomorrow, I'm off to a week-long retreat with some of my writer friends, so I'm packing the car with computer, notebooks, bedlinens, a 12-pack of Pepsis,a bottle of bourbon and a frozen casserole for the night when it's my turn to cook supper. (No Cheetos though. Gave them up for Lent.) I hope to come home with 5000 more words on my 2012 book and a good sense of where the book's going.


[When I asked the Tarts to write these, I sent a reply to Margaret that I had problems with alder tree pollen and had in Washington State, Vermont and California. To which Diane chimed in…]


Chamberlain_midwife Diane Chamberlain
No no, Holly, you don't understand what Margaret is talking about. The pine pollen isn't the make-you-sneeze type. it's the takes-over-the-entire-world type. I made the mistake of opening my office window yesterday and by evening a layer of yellow dust was on every sheet of paper and piece of equipment and ME in my office. I’d covered all the porch furniture with green sheets that are now completely yellow. I've lived lots of places but never experienced anything like this till moving to NC. So this time of year, when you long to open the windows, you must fight the urge and keep them closed.

So that's what I'm up to, along with being chained to my desk, 2 weeks from deadline with the book from hell (oh wait...they all are) that still has no title. It's this deadline that's preventing me from going away with Margaret and the gang for a week of writing and balderdash. :(


Harley Jane Kozak Kozak_DateRefuse
I'm rehearsing this week for the Romantic Times Convention -- I'm the M.C./Joan Rivers-type person for the Mr. Romance Contest (male cover models), as well as singing, dancing and performing Shakespeare at the Vampire Ball, in a show entitled "Zombie Dancers from Planet 9."


Kathy Reschini Sweeney
Today, I am in shock.  My baby boy is 16.  He was a bit of a surprise - one that has turned out to be the greatest delight of my life.  But don't tell him I said that.  He already gets away with too much. How did all these years go by?  I need cake.  Stat.


Joshilyn Jackson Jackson_BackseatSaints
Today my husband and I are engaged in an EPIC SCRABBLE BATTLE. The loser must give Mentally Ill Grudge-Holding Cat his Kitty-Prozac all month. Mentally-Ill Grudge-Holding Cat needs his meds, but he hates to be touched only slightly less than he hates to be pilled. The person who loses this battle gains Mentally Ill Grudge-Holding Cat’s considerable, baleful, and long-memoried  ire. OH, this cat. You shouldn’t make him angry. You wouldn’t LIKE him when he is angry. And since I work from home, I am available to be ired at all hours of the day. So.  I am not going to lose. I have a pocket full of blank tiles and a fistful of illegal tranqs. I LOVE my husband, but if first skill and then luck and finally cheating all fail me, I will have no choice but to roofie my beloved and swear up and down I was victorious.
PS Margaret! I read this and immediately thought
Margaret are you grieving over all your pines unleaving?
 But pines don’t have leaves. And un-needling does not rhyme.
Margaret are you feeding, needing, bleeding, pleading, BAH!
 I actually get a grant from the state of Georgia to NOT write poetry.

Yes yes it is a SPECIAL pollen bowl kind. We have it. For a month the purple car is yellow and the orange car is yellow and my cream trimmed rosey-bricked house is yellow and the green grass is yellow and THE VERY FREAKING AIR IS GOT’DAMNABLY YELLOW.


Sticky fingers_1_very_sm Nancy Martin
I'm hitting the campaign trail to sell Sticky Fingers.  (In the Philadelphia area?  Come to the Borders store in Springfield on Friday, April 15th at 6pm or at the Philadelphia Book Fest on Saturday from 11am to 1pm.)  I'm also finishing up the 8th Blackbird book--which should be published early in 2012.  And . . . my iPad arrived!  Now I have to learn how to use it.  Any suggestions for good apps?


Nancy Pickard Pickard_scentofrain
I’m busy distracting myself from my book that keeps saying it doesn’t care if I need to make a living, it still has percolating to do.  Have I ever mentioned that I think commerce and art are TERRIBLE bedfellows?  Of course, that’s not what my favorite Kansas playwright thought about it.  William Inge, who wrote Picnic, Splendor in the Grass, Bus Stop, Come Back Little Sheba, and The Dark at the Top of the Stairs,  (wow, right?) said that forcing art through the commerce sieve and vice versa was hunky-dory.  His actual quote is:  “Literature flourishes best when it is half trade and half an art.” I agree, but only when my book actually gets finished and then published and I get paid.  Until those moments, the bedfellows continue to kick each other and bellow and be total nightmares. And let’s not overlook the fact that Bill Inge killed himself.  Damn, I just made myself feel like sitting in this coffee shop and crying. He was so brilliant, and he suffered so from depression and from hiding his sexuality from the pigs and bigots of his day.  Well, you’d never know it from what I just wrote here, but I’m actually feeling happy and springy, in spite of sieves and stubborn books and tragic playwrights.  Here, everybody, have a double latte and a chocolate truffle.

Hank_drivetime Hank Phillippi Ryan

The ducks are back! But you know that..Flo and Eddy have been baffled by the ice on their backyard pond, but other than that, it's a sure sign it's spring. My tulips and crocuses are pushing their way out of the still-frozen earth, and I saw a whole flock of robins in our neighbor's yard. (It was almost scary, you know? Cue Tippi Hendren.)  Right now I am somewhere in the air between Boston and Indianapolis,  gave a speech in Indy to a wonderful group who wanted to know all about e-publishing.  (Gee, I wish I knew. Don't we all?)  Yes, there's a new book (cross fingers please, everyone) which I am editing now. (It's easier to cut than add, right?)  Looking forward to the MWA symposium in two weeks, then the gala Malice Domestic convention where DRIVE TIME is up for an Agatha for Best Mystery of 2010. (Yes, our NancyP is up for one, too, sigh, but she's sold more books than I have, I bet, so don't I need the teapot?)  Is it time to send my winter clothes to the dry cleaners? Ah, I'll think about that later. 

March 29, 2011

I Enjoy Being a Girl...Or Not.

Sticky fingers ***BREAKING NEWS***'

STICKY FINGERS - the second book in Nancy Martin's * Awarded Roxy Abruzzo series comes out
TODAY! Sex! Fun! Danger! Auctions! PW AND KIRKUS GAVE IT *** REVIEWS!  Treat yourself to a laugh and escape and run to your local bookstore and grab a copy!

By Sarah

Lately, I've been paying particular attention to women's breasts.

I know what you're going to say - there's nothing wrong with that. And I agree because I live in Vermont where we openly embrace - and marry - couples of all sexualities. But there's a downside Real housewives to living here - it's isolated, rural, cold and extremely fashion challenged.

Which brings me to breasts.

My latest obsession began during two three-hour flights back and forth to Florida on Jet Blue where
I watched back-to-back episodes of The Real Housewives of Orange County. I don't know if you've seen this show, but if you're stuffed in a plane with 37 toddlers rehabbing from Disney World and/or you're recovering from a frontal lobotomy, this is the entertainment for you.

At first I couldn't keep the housewives straight. They all had long blond hair and they all appeared to be about the same age. Thirty, uhm, maybe fortyish. Their lips were grotesquely inflated, like they'd just been socked in the mouth. And then, of course, there were those breasts.

Flotation devices was more like it. After six hours, these poor mishapen circus freaks turned into a whirling blur of cat fights and tossed white wine and puffy lips and bobbing boobies. I thought, surely no one looks like that in real life.

Two weeks later, I went to New York and realized I was the freak, not them. Granted, the Three babes signing/party I attended for my absolutely favorite author Emily Giffin was not your usual affair. It was 89% pure estrogen and for me, who'd been stuck in flannel and red plaid doping out on wood smoke, being suddenly immersed in a sea of fluttering femininity was like plunging into a deep turquoise Caribbean bay. Refreshing and inspiring.

I'd forgotten what it was like to be a girl, to wear a cute dress and high heels and bare legs and jewelry. I'd forgottten how much fun it could be. The women with whom I stood in line for over two hours - gulp! - may have had some things "done," but they were hardly ditzes. Nor were they the Real Bitches of Orange County. Far from it. They were smart and funny and way independent. They were too good for any guy who snuck in to Pranna hoping to take advantage of the math.

Note on that: Don't be a single woman in New York City if you want to get married before age 35/40. As far as I can tell, any guy a tad more fit than John Goodman at least a part-time job can pick and choose from women with Ivy degrees and Ford Model features. If she so much as dares to ask for a commitment, or that he pay the tab,  he can drop her toot sweet and hook up with someone even better within five minutes.

My advice for those who want to get married: move to Cleveland. Lots of guys with jobs looking for wives. But you have to live in Cleveland. I'm just saying.

Anyway, back to my point and I do have one. When you get to my age - 48 - it's no good walking Litvak around with the twin set God gave you. They've lost their luster, their bounce, their joie d'vivre. I have only to glance a few generations back at my oppressed Lithuanian ancestors to know where they're headed.

So should I get them done? I mean, I'm not dead yet. I was a relatively young mother and with my kids grown and out of the house, I have a lot of living yet to do. Isn't 50 the new 25? That's the rumor. I figure as soon as I get this latest rewrite of my YA novel done, I can devote myself to working out, hydrating, starving, peeling and waxing.

Okay, so no one will appreciate me in downtown Montpelier upon the approach of mud season - not the good kind you smear on your face. The bad kind that swallows your car.

But there are trains to New York. And five-hour flights via Pittsburgh. There's incentive, right? Is getting a little of this done, a lift here, a tuck there, a boost in between so wrong?

Or will I end up a Real Housewife, tossing wine and sharpening my claws?





March 15, 2011

Stray Love

By Sarah

As a parent of teenagers - especially a kid in college hundreds of miles away - it is the 3 a.m. phone call I've learned to dread. But recently I discovered that the 3 p.m. knock on the door can be just as life altering.

It happened last week as I was holed up in our library/TV room, the one with the red walls and IMG_0250 sloped ceiling, concentrating on the revisions to my YA novel. It was snowy and rainy and not the day to be out and about rescuing dogs, but that's what my neighbor was doing when she knocked on the door to my garage with a stray basset in the back of her Subaru.

Fred, my own basset, was barking his head off when I answered.

"I thought maybe he was yours," she began. Then, seeing Fred, she frowned and said, "Well, I guess no."

This poor basset, a red and white, long-eared, sad eyed (then again, don't they all?), middle-aged fellow had been found about a mile from my house on a dirt road without a collar.  e was shaking so hard his teeth were clattering, though you have to watch it with this breed. Bassets are expert con men.

Not everyone is psychologically equipped to own a basset. A basset will pretend to step outside for a breath of fresh air and...show up in Detroit. He will feign deep sleep and, when you leave the room, leap onto the counter, steal a cookie, hide it in his mouth and snore when you return. They complain constantly in sounds akin to a real language. They smell. They drool. They covet pepperoni and will kick you off your own couch. 

Which was why I told her I'd take this guy until the owner was found. It was the least I could do, seeing as how her only experience was with retrievers.

IMG_0244 There was no doubt in my mind that the owner would call within days, if not hours. It was an older dog, obviously a pet, who got along well with the cats. (Though they, I'm sure, would beg to differ.) His coat was smooth. He was accustomed to lying on furniture. No mongrel he.

And, yet, no one came. My neighbor and I called everyone - the local vets, the town clerks, the constables, the humane societies. I even left messages at Agway. I drove him around town and showed him off, put a couple of notices in our on-line community newsletter. Nothing. No one had ever seen this dog before which, in Vermont, is really saying something.

Which means, of course, that "Walter" - as in the hit children's book series, Walter the Farting Dog - is ours.

The name is not by coincidence.

Charlie was the one who applied the full-court press, not Anna or Sam. When we woke  to Walter's accidents in the basement, Charlie cleaned up the mess even though dog defecation is one thing he cannot stomach. When Walter whined and howled all night in the basement next to Fred who slept peacefully, Charlie built a mega crate so Walter would feel more secure. And when I, fed up, on deadline, demanded Walter be taken to the shelter, it was Charlie who came to his defense.

Just a few more days, Charlie said. If Walter continues to whine or poop in the house, we will take him to the humane society. Walter continued to whine, though his bathroom habits have greatly improved.

Still, he is far from perfect. He begs with big black eyes. He howls at night. But we've passed the tipping point and the idea of him being led away, once more, to a strange place, to cages and other dogs with behavioral issues especially after poor Walter had been abandoned by his own masters, was too much to bear.

We're stuck.

So, I've got an appointment at the vet and a new collar and leash. I'll have him licensed up by the deadline of April 1 (Fred's birthday) and then we'll really be committed.

Is this a mistake? Have I been hoodwinked? Have you ever taken in a stray and regretted it and, if so, what happens then?

All I know is that on Sunday night, as a light snow fell outside, Fred and Walter were asleep by the fire and snoring softly, their full bellies rising and falling in unison. Charlie and I were watching All IMG_0082 Creatures Great and Small and I was knitting. 

It might, just possibly, have been the fulfillment of a lifelong fantasy. Even if it was rather smelly.




March 01, 2011

Let's Help Gwyneth

By Sarah

Okay, people, enough joking around. I'm serious. It's time to get Gwyneth Paltrow the help she so obviously and desperately needs. If someone doesn't step in soon, there's no telling where this could Gwyneth_paltrow_3 end up. God forbid she buys her own television channel because that's the kind of tragedy that often happens in these cases, you know. Think deathly pale anorexic Oprah sans soul.

Look, I have no beef with Gwyneth the actress one way or the other. I enjoyed Shakespeare in Love and liked her okay in The Royal Tenenbaums and as Iron Man's secretary/love interest, she was a fine foil - and about as thin - for Robert Downey Jr. I can't remember what else she was in, though I do remember she dated Brad Pitt and she used to live around the corner from my friend, Patty, in NYC. That was my breadth and depth of All Thing Gwyneth.

But Gwyneth wouldn't stop there. No. Suddenly, she was all over the place including in my face. On The Daily Show giggling with Jon Stewart. Presuming to play country on the Oscars. Buzzing about like a mosquito on a muggy summer night with her website - oh, dear Lord, I can barely bring myself to write it - GOOP. (More like a cross between cute and puke which means it should be renamed CUKE or PUTE).

GOOP is a newsletter that offers helpful hints on what to eat, what to buy, how to meditate and cleanse (lots of cleansing) and exercise so that we can, with practice, be just like Gwyneth. Only poorer and not married to a British rock star. It gets 2 million visitors a day!

Goop GOOP is also a fertile field of Gwyneth's over-developed sense of self and lost connection with reality which I'm pretty sure adds up to some sort of syndrome. Napoleonic? No, that's a law. Marie Antoinette? If that's not in the DSM IV, it should be.

Sometimes - like when I want to distract myself from the pain of a splinter in my eye - I will peruse GOOP with its "Make," "Do" and "Be" categories each of which hold impossible bars that only those with no jobs and 'round the clock child care  can hope to reach. 

For example, in recommending places to say in her adopted hometown of London, Gwyneth's first recommendation is The Connaught Hotel which is the kind of place that unlike the Best Western doesn't helpfully list its rates. This is because the rooms start at @$500 and go up to @$3,250. Before taxes and room service. I'd be shy about posting those figures, too.

But, okay. She's wealthy. She can afford to stay in The Connaught while her London townhouse, ahem, is being renovated. About that: Gwyneth purchased THREE London townhouses and is combining them into one. All I can say is if she's disconnected from reality, at least it's OUR reality. Her mileage obviously varies.

Did I mention the house in The Hamptons and Manhattan? Sorry. Just had to sneak that in.

Anyway, she is concerned with working women. Yes! This is the human interest part of GOOP and a great Gwynstella chance for Gwyneth and her Goop People to find the impoverished, hardworking single mother trying to keep the rent paid, food on the table while insuring her children are educated and motivated to make the most of their lives. And whom does she interview? Why, of course, rock empire heiress and noted designer Stella McCartney !

Oh, dear me. Do you see what I'm talking about here? The disconnect and everything?

Plus, I think we have a definite eating disorder on our hands. Because from what I can tell - her published cookbooks to the contrary - Gwyneth doesn't eat. She cleans. Obviously, this confusion stems from an upbringing of having other people cook and clean for her.  She needs to learn that most often we consume food and water to nourish our bodies, not clean our colons and wash out our livers. I swear, you could eat off Gwyneth Paltrow's liver.

But all the GOOP and designer clothes aside (she urges you, her female reader, to "save up" for a Chanel that you, too, can pass down to your daughter who may or may not be named after a fruit), it's the country music thing that really has me worried.

Look, hon, country music is a medium of pain and hardship. It is made up of ballads about loves lost, men run off, jobs gone and dogs skeedaddled. Country music queen Loretta Lynn was a mother at 7 Loretta Lynn 14, grandmother at 28. This is the kind of well of hurt you gotta dip your creative ladel into. I'm sorry, but graduating from The Spence School and living in three London townhouses at once while sampling the Mediterranean cuisine with a spruce wheat lemon cleanse is not going to turn you into a coal miner's daughter. 

Delusions of grandeur, breaks from reality, eating disorders, multiple personalities. It all adds up, don't you see?

So, please, please, please help me help Gwyneth. For the sake of yoga mats everywhere. 





February 01, 2011

The Least Among Us

*NOTE: Wonderful and generous readers have been writing to us all day asking how they can help, especially with Melissa's orphaned dog, Daisy. May we suggest in the most gentle way that those inclined make a donation to their local animal shelters because, unfortunately, there are many more Daisies out there who have lost their owners due to a crappy economy, financially strapped owners and death.

Daisy aside, Melissa's story is a call to arms - or, like Millenia Black says below - to the streets, "Egypt style." If you feel injustice, act. Here is a link to your U.S. Representative. Call him or her, email this blog and ask them what they plan to do to insure that no more Americans die because they couldn't afford to see a doctor.

 Thank you. The response has been overwhelming 

- Sarah*


By Sarah

Over the weekend, we Tarts learned the shocking news that one of our most loyal backbloggers and friends, Melissa Mia Hall, aka MMH, had died suddenly and somewhat mysteriously.

Sad stories quickly spread. A writer, artist and longtime reviewer for such esteemed publications as CropMelfirehand Publishers Weekly, Melissa had been depressed over finances and the death of her sister years before. Most recently, her beloved dog, Daisy, had been sick and she had strained herself lifting her. It had been a bleak winter of worries and frustrations and fear. 

And then we learned the truth which turned out to be far worse, far more humbling, than our conjecture. Melissa died because she couldn't afford to see a doctor.

In light of a federal court judge's decision yesterday to overrule the Obama healthcare law, it's hard not to turn our thoughts to Melissa who, like most self-employed Americans, was responsible for acquiring and paying for her own health insurance - a luxury she simply couldn't afford. She knew she needed medical care, but feared a visit would result in a lengthy hospital stay that would "ruin her credit rating."

 Just a week ago, Melissa wrote Harley the following:

Right now really hurting. Hurt my chest/back last night lifting Daisy wrong...she's too heavy and I pulled muscles I guess. I thought at first I was having a heart attack it was so awful.

Tonight I'm really hurting still. Ibuprofen's not helping much. Using heating pad. It's been a long painful day and hard to concentrate on much. Why now?


The pain worsened and last Wednesday, just a few days before she would be found dead, she wrote in another email: 

This has been the worst day of my life for pain for the past two years, that's for sure.

Thanks for caring! Again, I felt pretty terrible all day but did three reviews. It was hard but it distracted me a little from the pain.

She was scared, not only for herself, but for Daisy, too. The best she could do was call the doctor and beg him for painkillers.  This was a work around Melissa had used before. Diagnosed with glaucoma, she had long stopped taking the expensive medication. She'd given up on new glasses which she also couldn't afford. And when she contracted strep last fall, she begged a doctor to call in a prescription for antibiotics over the phone, which he did - as he did with pain killers last week when she thought she'd hurt her back.

If she had seen the doctor, most likely he would have suspected more than a pulled muscle and would have ordered a life-saving EKG.

As Texas lawyer, writer and Melissa's friend, Laurie Moore, wrote to me, "She would've had a huge doctor bill she couldn't pay, and would probably have lost her house over it, but she would be alive instead of taking pain pills and dying in the night. "

In the end, Melissa didn't die from an overdose, not even an accidental one; Melissa died of the very heart attack she feared.

DSC00318-3 She was found in her house, alone except for Daisy who was whisked away to animal control for euthanasia. Daisy, whom Melissa would have fed before she fed herself,  would have been killed if it hadn't been for Laurie's chance encounter with an animal control officer. Now, Daisy is waiting to be treated for mange, but is considered adoptable. So her life will be saved.

*NOTE: Apparently, after factoring in Daisy's age, poor eyesight, underlying health issues and mange, Melissa's family decided to put her down. At least, she is out of pain, too.*

 Melissa worked hard. She owned a home. She paid her taxes (late, but paid). She was trying to live a dream - the American Dream - that supposedly we as citizens are promised - the right to pursue life, liberty and happiness. For her, that couldn't be achieved in a traditional job that came with the perks of health care. 

But does that mean she had to die?

How much would it cost us as a society to simply make preventative care available? We cannot, after all, pursue the lofty American dream without healthy bodies.

And, in a week when some talentless idiot like Charlie Sheen blows his $2 million/week salary on coke and hookers and ends up in the hospital, is it fair that Melissa Hall should lie suffering and in pain in the home she was afraid of losing by risking a trip to the emergency room?

It's worse than a Dickens novel.

Don't think we can afford to take care of those like Melissa? Then check out Vermont's Dr. Dynasaur program which provides affordable health care to those who need it most for a reasonable fee. And we're a relatively tax poor state, too.

Universal health care can be done. It must be done. Every one of us should have access to the same top-notch medical treatment enjoyed by those elected to represent us. John Boehner wouldn't think twice about seeing a doctor for chest pains, why not Melissa?

Today, in memory of Melissa or someone you know like her, please email or call your representatives and tell them not to back down in this fight. Tell them you want what he or she has, a quality health plan.

Because who the hell do you think's paying their premiums?




July 21, 2010

Deborah Coonts Guest Blogs

Deborah Coonts is the author of the hilarious WANNA GET LUCKY?--a fast-paced, funny mystery set in----wait for it---Vegas.  We predict TLC readers are gonna love this book.


If you can trust my son’s opinion, I was a decent mother, but the market for slightly used mothers has really dried up. I guess, in the grand southern tradition, I could apply for a wife position somewhere.  But, after several marital misadventures, it has become apparent that I don’t play well with others—or at least not with the Y chromosome set when the word ‘wife’ comes into play.


And then there’s my problem with the word ‘should.’


I was raised in the south, Texas to be exact, back during the last gasp of the Donna Reed era.  My mother, ever adherent to the rules of propriety, would say things to me such as, “Deborah, you should be nice to your brother.”  I can tell you she didn’t mean that being nice to my brother was something I ought to consider and that if I rejected the notion, that would be fine.  No, she meant that if I wasn’t nice to my brother…well, I would see what would happen when my father got home.


As a result, the word ‘should’ became a call to arms, which made it a challenge to be collegial in corporate meetings, I can tell you that.  Someone would say, “I think we should…” and all hell would break loose.


So, here I sit.  My office is anywhere I choose it to be.  My workday starts and ends when I see fit.  Although, thoughts and story ideas tend to badger me when my defenses are down and I’m searching for sleep.  I awoke the other morning and turned to my still semi-comatose soul mate and asked, “So which is funnier?  I lack the moral courage to be immoral?  Or I lack the moral courage to be bad?”  He blinked at me with owl eyes then said, “I’m getting coffee.” 


But, I digress.  As a writer I have total control over my time and how I spend it.  And all I have to do in return is deliver, on time, a unique yet definable, commercially sound, funny yet poignant, brilliantly rendered, one-hundred-and-ten-thousand-word novel.


Am I lucky, or what?


Product Details Check out Wanna Get Lucky? here!


My mother tells me I was born a very long time ago, but I’m not so sure—my mother can’t be trusted.  These things I do know:  I was raised in Texas on barbeque, Mexican food and beer.  I currently reside in Las Vegas, where my friends assure me I cannot get into too much trouble.  Silly people.

  I am the author of WANNA GET LUCKY?, the first in the Lucky O’Toole Las Vegas Adventure series published by Forge Books.  The second installment, LUCKY STIFF, is scheduled for a February release.