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Showing posts from March, 2014

And a Few More Odds and Ends

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Poet Bernadette McBride, the second of my Round Robin Blog Tour invitees has posted her own blog on the writing process.  Check it out here!

And thanks to the book bloggers who have been giving some lovin' to the gorgeous Love, Lucybook cover.

BiblioPunkk included in their list of recent Cover Porn.

And Daisy Chain Book Reviews listed it as a Book Cover of Awesome.

Late March Odds and Ends

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Last weekend, Andre and I ventured into the swamps of Jersey to celebrate my birthday and see Willie Nile perform.  (He and his band are one of our favorite live acts, but this was the first time we'd seen them as headliners.)   I'll be posting about that show soon, but you know how it is: the better the weekend, the worse the Monday.  I'm still getting caught up.

In the meantime, though, I wanted to mention a thing or two.

Thing One: this coming Sunday, March 30**, I'll be doing a book signing from 1 to 4 at Books-a-Million (BAM!) in the Springfield Mall.  (That's Springfield, Pennsylvania.)  If you're in the neighborhood (1250 Baltimore Pike), please drop by.

**EDIT: DUE TO ILLNESS MY SIGNING HAS BEEN RESCHEDULED.  IT WILL NOW BE ON SATURDAY 4/5 FROM 1-4.  

Thing Two: Remember the Round Robin writing process blog tour?  Well, Anne Higgins, the first of my two invitees has posted her response.


As for me, there's a lot of classes to be planned and several big, f…

Play Date: Out to Lunch

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Spring came to Pennsylvania yesterday, one day behind schedule:  morning birdsong; crocuses finally splitting the earth.  After so much snow, so much road salt, so many killer potholes, it's hard to trust that it's really here.   (If any snow has been forecast for next week, please don't tell me!)

This winter has kicked my butt in more ways than one, but today I got to celebrate the new season by going out to lunch with my dear friend Diane.  We took a mini version of one of our Thelma-and-Louise-style roadtrips, and ventured to The Local, a cozy (and delicious) little farm-to-plate restaurant in a former train station depot.  I got to glimpse a charming little town I'd never seen before-- 


--which made me realize I've been traveling in a rut these last months, from work to home and back again, with hardly any detours.   I've clocked a lot of miles--1,000 at least count--but they've almost all been on my treadmill desk.  

When I'm trying to squeeze writing…

Adapting Jane: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE at People's Light and Theater

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There's nothing I love more than an adaptation of a classic Brit lit novel...especially if it's one by Jane Austen. I'm endlessly interested in how great works are translated--into film, literary retellings, and stage performances.  What gets kept in, left out, transformed?  I'm hungry to find out.  

So I was thrilled when People's Light and Theater Company in Malverne, Pennsylvania, invited me to attend their production of Pride and Prejudice, coupled with a pre-show open house.

Part of the festivities included a brief lesson in regency dance. That's my husband Andre in the front and to the right, prepping for the Netherfield ball.



But of course the night's highlight was the play itself, a spirited and swift production in which dance was used to bridge key dramatic moments.  



The entire cast was splendid, the set spare and elegant.  Electricity crackled between the two main couples, and Robert DePonte (Mr. Collins) and Tom Teti (Mr. Bennet) were laugh-out-lou…

Having a Blast

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Today a post of mine about the new paperback cover of my novel Catherine goes global, thanks to Jaime and Rachel at Rock Star Book Tours.  They've set up a cover blast, encouraging book bloggers to sign up and run my post as part of their energetic campaign to help Young Adult connect with readers.

So instead of posting here, I'm going to invite you to  read my post at one of the many great blogs that are featuring it.  I wish I could post a link to each and every one, but here are a few blogs that caught my eye.  Click on one...or discover them all!

Talking Books

Ladybug Literature

Kimberlyfaye Reads

Book Hounds

Thanks to these book bloggers and to Rock Star Book Tours for doing what they do with so much energy and savoir faire.



How I Write: A Round Robin Blog Tour

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1)     What am I working on?
These days I’m writing the first draft of a young adult novel set on a study tour in Greece and inspired by Jane Austen’s Persuasion.  I'm about one and a half chapters away from the finish line...an exciting place to be.
2)     How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I’ve written three young adult novels, all of them contemporary retellings of classic literature; I’ve retold Jane Eyre (Jane), Wuthering Heights (Catherine), and A Room With a View (the forthcoming Love, Lucy).

Literary retellings have become huge in the Young Adult world lately--so huge, Epic Reads invented a chart to help a reader make sense of this boom.  My retellings fall into the category of contemporary realism; I transplant characters like Jane Eyre, Heathcliff, and Lucy Honeychurch into the present, exploring how they might remain themselves and how their story would be changed--by cars, jet planes, cellphones, the internet, and evolving social mores.  Maybe everyone who w…

Ecstasy of Saint Teresa: Bernini's Glorious Statue and a Poem it Inspired

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On this, the last official day of spring break (weekends don't count), I thought I'd share a poem inspired by a piece of art that has fascinated me ever since I encountered it in Art History 101.  A couple of years ago, I tracked the sculpture down to its home, Santa Maria della Vittoria in Rome, and everything that was mind boggling about it in photographs is even more so in person--the body language, the facial expressions, and especially the various textures of cloth, cloud, wing, and flesh.

So I wrote this poem: 



St. Theresa in Ecstasy
after Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini
The angel, when he comes at last in a trumpet blast of light glistens like a newborn, smooth of cheek and chest, his slender waist cinched in wind-washed gauze.She’d willed this visit, prayed for days, refusing sleep and food.Now he appears beside her, naked arm drawn back. His fingertips caress a spear, point it at her heart; his smile betrays amusement.This could be the moment just before his arrow plunges through her breas…

Lovin' Bloglovin'

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<a href="http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/10171183/?claim=7sadcqzejpe">Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

Please excuse the above weird posting.  I had to put it here so that I could also put up the button (to your right) that lets you follow me via bloglovin.  I'm finding bloglovin to be a really fun and easy way to keep track of my favorite blogs.  So I wanted their button, even if it does make for one awkward post!

Nico says: please consider clicking on the bloglovin' button...or on the Google +1 button (also to the right).  






And who could say no to Nico?





Memory Cards Light the Corners of My Mind (a Spring Break roundup)

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Love, Lucy gets her first Waiting on Wednesday mention from Stories and Sweeties.  Waiting on Wednesday is a fun weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.  Every Wednesday book bloggers list the soon-to-be-released Young Adult books they can't wait to read.

The January 2015 release of Love, Lucy feels so far away.  In the meantime, though, it's spring break, and I'm writing up a storm, working on the yet-untitled Greek novel.  For research and inspiration purposes, I've been digging around, looking for the lost Greek memory card, the one with a thousand pictures from my last trip.  Instead, I've been finding all sorts of other old pictures, like the one above, taken when I was in Florence, researching Love, Lucy.

And then there's this, taken two summers ago:


Some of my friends will undoubtedly recognize the handwriting, but for all the others, this is a speech, spelled out phonetically by Bruce Springsteen, in advance of a 1999 concert he gave in Milan. Fi…

They're Heeeeeeeeere!

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The Advanced Review Copies of Love, Lucy, reached me today.  And they're every bit as pretty as I hoped they'd be!



In Which I Steal Somebody Else's Photo Because Venice

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I lifted this photo from the Italian America Facebook page--and I don't usually lift other people's photos for this blog.  It's just that this one reminded me powerfully of a little hole in the wall cafe around the corner from the  hostel I stayed in the last time I was in Venice, researching Love, Lucy.



I ate my cornetto and drank my cappucino standing at the bar, and felt simultaneously like I was having a private moment, but also was part of something, among friends.  The guy behind the bar chatted with regulars who came in and out.  The cornetto was perfect--crisp and fragrant and just  a little bit sweet--as was my cappucino, and all of Venice waited just outside the door to be explored.

The next morning, and the morning after that, I wandered the streets around the hostel, looking for that same cafe, but somehow I just couldn't find it.  But this morning I woke to this photo and felt like I'd accidentally wandered back in.

Midterm Interlude: While I Grade Portfolios....

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Nico is emitting powerful "stop grading and hug me" vibes.


Meanwhile the struggle for the future of Saint Joseph's University wages on:



To pacify myself/procrastinate, I look at pictures of travels past and dream of travels future.

And I look forward to Monday.  If I can only grade fast enough, I can let myself return to my Greek novel on Monday.










Confessions of a Crazy Guinea Pig Lady (With a Poem by Alfred Nicol)

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We all wear many hats, and in addition to my most public ones (wife/mother/professor/writer/Springsteen fanatic) I have a semi-secret alternate identity: Crazy Guinea Pig Lady.  Or, to be more accurate, Crazy Rodent Lady.  People who know me from Facebook--including many folks I've never actually met--know I have a soft spot for rodents of all types, but especially for those docile, kidney-bean shaped puffballs we call guinea pigs (although nobody seems to know exactly why, seeing as how they're not pigs, and they're not from New Guinea).

These days, my house is home to two rescued guinea pigs, Leeloo and Tootsie Roll.  They're actually our second piggie pair; before them we had two boys, Turk and Bartleby.  




Back then, the internet was privy to my struggles to keep both boys alive despite their frequent bouts with bladder stones. When that battle was lost, the internet looked on as I obsessed over whether or not to adopt another pair, and if so, which pair out of the m…

Come Write With Me

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I'm thrilled to report that I'll be on the faculty of the Summer Nightsun Writers Conference at Frostburg State University in Historic Downtown Frostburg, Maryland.  The faculty includes Bruce Weigl (poetry), Brenda Clough (sci-fi, fantasy, and horror), Marion Winik (nonfiction), Clint McCown (fiction), and me (young adult fiction). 

The program will include workshop opportunities, individualized feedback on your work, and craft sessions. There will also be readings by participants, workshop faculty, and special guests.  The conference runs from July 24-27, and it will be a great opportunity to generate new work and hone your craft.

Drop by the website for more information.  



Writing about Rock

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Living Will: A Poem By Darius Degher

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I'm thrilled that Darius Degher's first poetry collection, To See the Sound, has arrived in the world.  A while back, Darius gave me the opportunity to read and blurb the manuscript, and I was charmed by his wordplay, his quirky subject choices, his command of craft, and for the way his poems mix intelligence and heart.

Here's one of my favorites from the collection:


Living Will
While filling in his living will
he discovered the will to live again.
For unacceptable qualities of life
he checked the boxes on the form
for chronic coma, feeding tubes,
persistent vegetative state.

For a week he lived his testament:
didn't sleepwalk through the frozen foods
or ignore the glorious florescence.
Quickened by the canteen's quiche,
he lost track of what a colleague said,
smiled about a project gone awry.
He notched his deepest ever breaths,
exhaled slowly like a yogi,
was dazzled by his prism paperweight.



Darius is a musician too.  His latest album, The Coyote Cantos, is ava…

Snowpocolypse Now

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What is it about an impending blizzard that makes everyone run for the grocery store?  It's not like we couldn't pull on some boots and walk the five blocks to SuperFresh if we forgot milk or ran out of bread in the middle of a storm.  Nevertheless, we spent yesterday stocking up.  And up.  And up.

And once we'd laid in supplies for the Snowpocolypse, we ran out to squeeze in a little fun before the latest in a string of weather-imposed house arrests.  A movie.  And a plate of Bucatini Amatriciana to remind us of sunnier times--the week we spent in Rome a couple of summers ago.


I'll be cooking in earnest once the snow starts to fall.  Until then, I plan to cheer myself up by stealing a little precious writing time to work on my Greek novel.

Maybe I'll stream an Athenian radio station.  Maybe I'll peek frequently at the weather in Santorini (a comparatively balmy 59 degrees Farenheit at the moment I type this).  I'll browse through old photographs to conjure b…