Showing posts from November, 2013

LOVE, LUCY update

Here's where I am: holed up in an undisclosed location, responding to copyedits.  That's cold November rain on the other side of the plate glass window.  

And here's where Lucy is at this exact moment in my manuscript:

It's late July and she's zipping through the streets of Firenze on the back of a Vespa.  Lucky Lucy!  


Nico, our newly-rescued cockapoo, has been settling nicely into his new home.  One week and two days after we drove him away from the shelter, we can't imagine life without him.  He fills the house with his playful spirit, puppy kisses and gratitude--for human beds to sleep in and for the Magic Food Room where his favorite kinds of miracles happen three times a day.  He's learned his new name and already answers to a string of nicknames: Squeako, Sneako, and Neeks.

Even senior dog Reuben, who was somewhat skeptical at first, has come to appreciate the company.  He once again likes going out into the backyard now that he doesn't have to go there alone.  And he even puts up with Nico's attempts at play...the galloping full throttle and veering away at the last minute kind of hijinks.  Roo doesn't do any running of his own anymore, but his body language says, I understand this is a game, and I'm playing much as I can at age twelve and a half.

Meanwhile Nico…

The Cover Reveal: CATHERINE in Paperback!

Catherine, my second novel, is coming out in paperback next August.  And now I can finally reveal its spiffy new cover!

Actually, this new cover is better than merely spiffy.  It fits the story perfectly. The sweetness, the romance, the Lower East Side grittiness, the sense of two people hiding from the world to be alone with each other--they all match to a T the story in my mind.

Now, don't get me wrong.  I love the cover of the hardcover edition too.  It's so striking and dramatic, with the fabulous Flatiron Building off in the distance, the mist, those bold purple letters, and the cover model's gutsy stance.  It captures other aspects of the book--Catherine's confidence and beauty, and her fascination with a certain Manhattan neighborhood.  (She even goes on to name her daughter Chelsea.)

But the new cover does something an author dreams of, something I imagine is pretty rare--it matches the pictures I saw in my head while I was writing.  It captures the exact mood I w…

LUCY Flies Home

Love, Lucy, my novel-to-be, flew home this afternoon, freshly copyedited. I've saved a few hours this afternoon to dip back into the world of that novel--half Philadelphia, half Firenze--and to respond to the copyedits.  
I thought I'd celebrate the occasion with some of my favorite photos from last summer's trip to Florence.  What could be prettier than those dishes of candied flowerpetals, above?  Or more enticing than the pastries below?

Answer: marzipan fruit.  Nothing is simultaneously prettier or more enticing (or more European, festive, colorful) than a big old heap of marzipan fruit!

And now I disappear, for a little while at least, into the Florence in my mind.  Arrivederci!

Dark Space We Dared Not Enter: A Poem by Ned Balbo

By now, most of us have seen the photo of Pope Francis embracing the man whose body is covered with tumors.  The photo fills me with awe each time I see it.   It also makes me think of this haunting poem, by my friend Ned Balbo, which addresses the opposite of that loving gesture--the all-too-human impulse to avert our eyes, to speed up our pace, to shrink from the afflicted:

Fire Victim

Once, boarding the train to New York City,
The aisle crowded and all seats filled, I glimpsed
An open space--more pushing, stuck in place--
and then saw why: a man, face peeled away,
Sewn back in haste, skin grafts that smeared like wax
spattered and frozen, one eye flesh-filled, smooth,
One cold eye toward the window.  Cramped, shoved hard,
I, too, passed up the seat, the place, and fought on
Through to the next car, and the next, but now
I wonder why the fire that could have killed him
Spared him, burns scarred over; if a life
is what he calls this space through which he moves,
Dark space we dared not enter, and …

Nico's Homecoming

The newest member of our family came home Friday night and made himself right at home.  Here he is, Nico Middle- Name-As-Yet-Undetermined-But-I'm-Thinking-Maybe-Springsteen St. Amant.  He's a sweetheart and a real character: gentle and full of love, but also quite spunky and opinionated.  After having his tangles cut off at the shelter, he looks a lot like a stuffed animal who has been loved almost to pieces--parts of his fur missing, other parts tufty.  The Velveteen Puppy.

Here he is, on his ride home from the Shelter:

And here he is, taking his victory lap through PetSmart to buy his very own collar and tag:

We've been enjoying getting to know him, trying to figure out what we can about his past based on his personality quirks.  One things obvious: he must have survived by begging.  He's a masterly beggar, and has this whole trick-circus-dog-dancing-on-his-hind-legs routine we struggle to ignore as we eat our dinner.  

He loves Andre, but if Andre looms in the doorway t…

The Orange Bottle: A Poem by Joshua Mehigan

This killer poem, by Joshua Mehigan, knocked me off my feet when I first read it in Poetry Magazine.  Once I started reading, I couldn't stop.  I share it with you now in honor of Joshua's second poetry collection, Accepting the Disaster, forthcoming soon, but not soon enough.
The Orange Bottle The clear orange bottle was empty.  It had been empty a day. It suddenly seemed so costly and uncalled for anyway.

Two years had passed. They had passed more or less the way years should. Maybe he’d changed. Or maybe the doctors had misunderstood.

It was June. The enormous elm tree was green again, and the scent of   hyacinth reached through the window and followed wherever he went.

And the sky was the firmament! His life was never better. Each small white spotless cloud that passed was like a long-wished-for letter.

But then he remembered his promise. It came like a mild cramp, and it sat there all day in the back of   his mind like a gas bill awaiting a stamp.

He saw three faces that Sunday, mother, sister…