Novelist. Poet. Professor.

Novelist.  Poet.  Professor.
Novelist, poet, professor, and mother of dogs.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

That Big New Year's Eve Resolution

Christmas 2014 went by in a flash of blinking lights.  First there was a whole lot of grading, then a whole lot of cleaning, then a trip to the airport to pick up Mom.

There were shopping and cooking and then some wonderful warm moments with friends and family--presents to unwrap, bread to break, and, finally, even a little bit of downtime.  

Nico chills with Grandma
And now it's almost--but not quite--time to take down this year's tree.

Just before we ripped into the presents
Now that we're poised on the brink of 2015, I'm starting to wrap my mind around my one big New Year's Resolution, not counting the perennial lose weight/hit the gym/give up chocolate: Write a novel.   

The story and characters have been taking shape in my head for a while now,  and I've started putting down words on paper.  So far I'm twenty-five pages in--admittedly not so very far.  But I know the town where my heroine lives. I've walked its streets in my dream.  I can see her best friend and her little sisters.  And I can hear her voice.  I've been hearing it for weeks now, while I cleaned and cooked and graded and wrapped.  

And now that it's New Year's Eve I need to set aside the writing for a day or so, maybe even do a little bellydancing with Red Elvises:

But that's okay: my next story is waiting.  

photo lifted from

May good things await us all in 2015.

Roo Roo wonders where all the presents went

Out of town visitors

Monday, December 15, 2014

An Invitation to La Dolce Vita: The LOVE, LUCY Launch Party

With the release date of Love, Lucy a little over a month away, I've been making plans for a launch party--my very first.  Yesterday, Andre and I paid a visit to the venue--a cozy family-owned vineyard in quiet South Jersey.  Our friends Joe and Brenda O'Donald introduced us to Salem Oak Vineyards, and to Mandi Cassidy, the vineyard's cheery and energetic owner.  Then the five of us put our heads together to plan the event.  

Andre, Brenda, and Joe

Mandi Cassidy (on the right)
To celebrate Lucy's travels in Florence and Rome, we're going with--what else?--an Italian theme.  There will be light fare on offer--antipasti and dolci. And a playlist of Italian music to set the mood.

But of course, it wouldn't be a party without you.  So here's the what, when and where:

Love, Lucy launch party
Friday, January 30th from 7 to 9 p.m.
Salem Oak Vineyard
60 North Railroad Avenue
Pedricktown  NJ 
(About half an hour from Philadelphia and Wilmington, DE).

Please email me at by January 20 for directions and to let me know you're coming so we can be sure to have enough food for all.  

 I hope you'll save the date and join me for a little taste of sunny Italy and la dolce vita.

Tuscan Sunrise (photo lifted from

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Bare Branches: A Mid-December Update

The other day on Twitter, #amwriting was trending.  This made me sad, because I #amnotwriting lately.  Nanowrimo happened without me.   Months have passed since the last time I put words on paper.  Insert excuses here.  As a friend of mine used to say, "Any excuse will do." 

And this long fallow season isn't about to end soon.  Final portfolios and exams have been flooding my desk, and as soon as the grading winds down, the holiday season preparation is destined to ramp up.  

2014 is likely to be history before I manage to get any writing done.  So I was heartened to read this post from the fabulous writer Beth Kephart. 

Branches in the Sky by Zanuardian
I have to believe, as Beth promises, that my next story is waiting for me.  And, after all,  there have been recent hopeful signs.  A new character has been taking shape in my head.  I can see her, and certain things about her have revealed themselves to me lately.  But I won't hear her voice until I can sit down at the computer and start trying to channel it onto the page.  In the meantime, I have to trust she'll be there when I'm finally ready.

Free the Mice!

  Thanks to Bearings Online , for publishing my poem about trying--and sometimes failing--to be kind to the mammals who only want to sha...