Showing posts from February, 2014

A Constellation of YA Retellings

I just have to share this chart, posted at Epic Reads.  If you love Young Adult retellings of classic literature, myth, and folktales, you just might discover your next book here.  Admittedly, you'll have to zoom in to do it.  And when you do, check out the little circle of retellings based on the Bronte Sisters.  I'm proud to report that bothCatherineand Jane made the cut.

Oh, The Indignity!: A Late February Pupdate

Nico's first real haircut was badly timed to fall on the first day of Pennsylvania's most recent brutal cold snap.  So not only does he have to wear a fleecy coat--he has to be photographed in it.  And that photograph has to be shared on my blog, for--I hope--your viewing amusement.

Neeks may look a bit undignified, but take my word for it: he smells like a flowerbed.  And under that coat, his newly shorn fur feels and looks like velveteen, only increasing his resemblance to a stuffed toy.

While I miss his luxurious curls and his pompadour, I'm loving this new and spiffy little dog, even if he does seem a bit miffed about his makeover.

"Some quick folk dance of kindness": a poem by Michael Ryan

In the depths of an unkind February, I return to this poem, one I've long admired and often given to my students.  I love how the poet, Michael Ryan, deftly mingles the melancholy feel of an early twilight with the hopelessness of an irretrievable love.  That last line--the speaker's admission that he brought on his own bad luck--always pierces me like a pin prick.  I particularly like how the poem sets up this idea by showing us those "gray women in stretch slacks" and their "quick folk dance of kindness," how we know without the poem saying so that the speaker regrets his own lack of kindness, knowing that if he'd shown a little more of it to his beloved she might still be with him
In Winter
At four o'clock it's dark. Today, looking out through dusk at three gray women in stretch slacks chatting in front of the post office, their steps left and right and back like some quick folk dance of kindness, I remembered the winter we spent crying in each other&…

Why Ever Not?: Diane Wilkes and the Tarot of Jane Austen

My friend Grand Master Tarot Reader Diane Brandt Wilkes and I bonded over Bruce Springsteen, and quickly learned that we also share a love of literature.  When it comes to the things she cares about--Bruce, the North Carolina Tar Heels, politics, the tarot, or the works of Jane Austen, Diane is easily the most passionate person I know.   A few years back, she found a way to marry two of her grand passions when she authored the Tarot of Jane Austen, a book and tarot deck that draws upon that writer's deep understanding of human nature to speak to our present day concerns.

Diane agreed to let me interview her about her work in two tantalizingly overlapping spheres.  She also graciously offered a free tarot reading to one lucky reader of this blog.  Just post a picture of yourself including my book, Jane, on the book's Facebook page, and I'll choose a winner at random on February 28.  The reading will be conducted via Skype, so this offer is open to anyone anywhere.

And if you&…

February Pupdate

This winter has been a bit much, even for a snowstorm fan like me.  Only two things have made the high banks of snow worthwhile:

1) Days off from school (and even that is wearing thin)


2) Letting the dogs out into the snow, and watching them bounce joyfully, roll, romp, and chase each other.

Reuben, our elder statesdog, has been particularly puppylike lately.  Though he was skeptical when we adopted Nico the stray cockapoo, he has clearly begun to come around, and to enjoy a little backyard company.

As for Nico, he's getting more civilized every day. He has learned to lie down beside us while we eat instead of doing his trick-circus-dog begging dance.  He splits his time and affection among his four humans, making sure we all adore him equally. And if he occasionally still finds ways to scale the garbage can and dig out a discarded sandwich...well, we're working on that.

Greetings from Asbury Lanes

Before spring semester really started rolling, and before things got incredibly blizzardy and I stopped being good about posting here, there was a brief shining weekend in January.  A weekend when we saw our beloved Del-Lords twice.  And a Friday night when we fell head over heels for a band we'd hadn't heard of before: Low Cut Connie.

The event was d.j. Rich Russo's Anything Anything concert at Asbury Lanes.  The show was part of the annual Light of Day festivities benefitting Parkinson's Disease Research.  Most years Andre and I make it to the big Saturday night extravaganza--the one famous for "surprise" appearances by one Bruce Springsteen.  This year we didn't have tickets to that show.  And we should have minded.  But we didn't...not really.

Why?  Because: Del-Lords.  (Or half of the Del-Lords anyway.  Scott Kempner and Eric Ambel put on another amazing acoustic show.)

And then there was Low Cut Connie whom we'll definitely be seeing in co…

LOVE, LUCY: the cover

Just in time for Valentine's Day, here it is: the cover of my new novel, Love, Lucy.  Words can't express how much I love it--the cherry red Vespa, the sun-drenched Italian archway, the charming cover typeface--all of it.  

And here's some jacket copy:

"While backpacking through Florence, Italy, during the summer before she heads off to college, Lucy Sommersworth finds herself falling in love with the culture, the architecture, the food...and Jesse Palladino, a handsome street musician.  After a whirlwind romance, Lucy returns home, determined to move on from her "vacation flirtation."  But just because summer is over doesn't mean Lucy and Jesse are over, too."

The book is set half in Italy--Florence and Rome--and half in Philadelphia, and it's due out in January, 2015.  And though it's very much it's own thing, it draws inspiration from E. M. Forster's A Room With a View.