Tag Archives: RocketMan

Finally! My New Year Post!

Another year has come and gone. Another year filled with reading and writing (and work and family).

2015 saw more freelance work, and a friend and I chose to concentrate on characterization. We read books about character and studied new and old characters to see if we could figure some things out that would help us in our own writing.

My not-so-little-anymore readers have continued to be great readers. Sprite has been devouring anything written by Stuart Gibbs. A-Read finished The Hunger Games trilogy and is now obsessed with Rick Yancey’s new series which started with The Fifth Wave (and he and RocketMan saw the movie last night).

I’m looking forward to some changes in 2016. More writing opportunities. Maybe a change at work (shh). And, of course, lots more reading.

What’s on your plate for this new year?



Filed under Reading, The rest of my life, writing


I came across this letter from E.B. White about why he wrote Charlotte’s Web. (Thanks to Susanna Leonard Hill for sharing this!) spider web for blog

Then RocketMan came home from a camping trip with this picture, which immediately made me think of E.B. White and Charlotte and his little spider friends. And, it’s a gorgeous photo. (Click on it to see a larger version to really appreciate the beauty of the spider web.)

Separately, searching blogs recently for an energy bar recipe made me want to make kale chips in my dehydrator. So I bought a bunch of kale. The next day, Sprite and I went blueberry picking. Then my brother hurt his back and he told me he makes kale, beet, ginger, apple, orange juice every morning, and especially now to help detox his liver from all the meds. So, all of this together inspired me to try a blueberry and kale smoothie. I liked the taste of the smoothie, but I didn’t appreciate all the tiny green bits left in my teeth afterward.

The result of all that inspiration was not as successful as E.B. White’s inspiration. But at least I tried. What if Mr. White became fascinated with spiders and farming and the ethics of killing something you’ve raised and connected with, but didn’t write Charlotte’s Web?

Who cares if your inspiration comes from a gorgeous photo, current events, or some crazy idea that hits you in the shower? If you don’t try writing it, it can never be anything at all. But if you do try, maybe it will become a beloved classic. Or at least a published book you can hold in your hands and feel proud of when you tell your friends and family.

Let the crazy ideas come.

Do the work.

Don’t give up.


Filed under Getting Published, writing

Remembrances of New Jersey

In honor of today being the day we observe Veterans Day in the United States, I have two goals:

First, thank you to RocketMan for his service to our country. He’ll wave this away and want me to instead thank and honor the men and women fighting right now for our freedom. And I do thank them. But everyone who served even a day deserves our thanks. So…thanks.

Second, I need to remember the Jersey Shore in the wake of Sandy’s destruction. I wasn’t born a Jersey Girl, but I grew up only two hours away from the shore. My friends and I spent the weekend after our prom at Seaside Heights. I lived in Hoboken for a few years when I first came back from Africa. And RocketMan and I told his family about our first pregnancy at Jenkinson’s Boardwalk in Point Pleasant.

RocketMan grew up near there. He has many more memories than I do. Knowing how much those photos break my heart, I can’t even imagine how he and my in-laws and some of our closest friends feel. A piece of their childhoods are now gone.

Rebuilding will be a long, hard road, but worth it in the end to so many people.

Thank you for reading my maudlin post today. Now I’ll go back to NaNoWriMo, work, and the kids. What do you go back to?


Filed under The rest of my life

Thanksgiving Abroad

As you probably know, we celebrated Thanksgiving here in the States last Thursday. Now that the holiday has passed, I am reminded of the Thanksgiving I spent in France when I was in college. Our school put on a special lunch for us at a fancy-pants restaurant in Paris. And it was fine.

But my roommate (let’s call her Mary, for the sake of protecting the innocent) and I had other plans for the holiday. The weekend before, we had met two French guys, one of whom was half-American (we’ll call him John, to protect myself), and they invited us to have Thanksgiving with them and the family of the whole-French guy (I’ll call him Pierre). So, yeah, we cooked a Thanksgiving meal in the kitchen of a family we’d never met before. Did I mention I was in college?

In between classes, because Thanksgiving is not a holiday in France, and that lunch the college planned, Mary and I shopped for obscure ingredients like cranberries. That’s not an obscure ingredient here in the States – especially here in the Northeast. But it sure was hard to find in Paris. And we had to come up with recipes from our heads. Luckily, Pierre took care of the turkey. It was just a turkey breast, and I think it might have already been stuffed with something really frou-frou French like spinach and herbs. But it was at least one thing we didn’t have to worry about.

We had a lovely meal. Mary did an awesome job – she did most of the cooking and I helped where I could. Pierre’s family was welcoming and appreciative. John kept looking at me a certain way and putting his arm across the back of my chair – but that’s for another story and I think that we just won’t go there. Our French Thanksgiving was memorable.

This year, RocketMan made a Turducken and it came out great. We had a lot of food, but leftovers are part of the holiday.

What was your most memorable holiday?


Filed under The rest of my life

NaNo Update 3

So I had an interesting weekend. First I conquered Nano and then I finished my manuscript. Uh, yeah.


I have a complete draft of Rachel, which has already been shoved in a drawer until about February. Now I have so much else to catch up on, like revising Tzohar.

And of course there’s Thanksgiving. RocketMan is making a Turducken. That’s where you stuff a chicken inside a duck inside a turkey with 3 different layers of stuffing. Yes, he’s crazy that way.

I’m also looking forward to the long weekend with family and taking a tiny break from writing. I just started reading Libba Bray’s Beauty Queens, which I won from Julie Musil, Lisa Gail Green, and Leslie Sulli Rose. Thanks, Ladies! You rock!

And because Libba is one of the coolest cats and wittiest writers around, my book is signed thusly:

For the Illustrious Contest Winner –
(so very personal)
Clearly, you are superior. Congrats.
❤ Libba Bray

Clearly, I will cherish this book always. Last night I actually laughed out loud in bed (LOLIB?) when the Teen Dream contestant from Mississippi started spelling her state and had to give up. And then another character described the Vietnam War as the time “When the Vietnamese got kids hooked on drugs and we had to fight a war to stop it.” OMG, too funny. Okay, clearly, I think everyone should read this book. But only if you like to laugh. And read.

Whose signature are you most proud to have?


Filed under Reading, writing

Read-Through Thursday: Whisper

This is a new series for my blog, wherein I will discuss whatever book or books I’m reading or have just finished that week.  Feel free to post in the comments what you’re reading this week, too, or your own thoughts about the books I discuss.

 12/23/10:  Whisper by Phoebe Kitanidis 

A girl from a family where the women Hear the thoughts of others, called Whispers, finds everything in her life changing when her Hearing changes.

I liked reading this book just fine, but didn’t think it was to the “can’t-put-it-down” level, until Tuesday night when I really couldn’t put it down until way past midnight.  I had to talk myself into putting the book down.  I had to tell myself that I had too much to do the next day (the last day of school before the break, a sick husband, the rodent-chasing puppy, another pair of kiddie mitts to crochet before the holiday, a major revision…).  But it means I put the book down at the end of a chapter with one of those perfect chapter endings designed to make the reader turn the page and keep reading.  I really wanted to turn the page and keep reading.  I really really did.  But my eyes burned.  I was sleepy.  And I had all those things I had to do yesterday.

And then I did it again last night.  Another night up past midnight because I couldn’t put Whisper down until I finished it.

The beginning was a little slow for me, but it somehow hooked me gently without me noticing.  Because by the time I got to the point where her Hearing changes and all that ensued, I was hooked but good!  I guess I could relate to a story about a girl who always does what others want.  She enjoys making others happy and fulfilling the wishes she Hears in her head.  To the point where she doesn’t really know who she is and what she wants for herself.

What a universal concept!

Coming of age is about self-discovery.  And this book is about Joy discovering herself with and without her Hearing, and with a Hearing that has gone from a gift to a curse.  Yesterday I looked forward to reading the rest and finding out how Joy resolves the conflict between the Hearing she didn’t think she could live without and the Hearing she can’t live with.

It was quite a ride.  I don’t want to give anything away, but I will say there is a boy.  A special boy.  And I couldn’t help rooting for him as much as I rooted for Joy.

That Phoebe Kitanidis is a crafty one.  I look forward to more from this debut author.

(And, of course, I love her name.  She shares her first name with my beautiful and energetic puppy and her last name sounds Greek.  Those who know me well know how much I love Greece and that I thoroughly enjoyed learning some Greek before my honeymoon.  RocketMan still tells the story of how I charmed various older men with my language skills.  But I so obviously digress…)

Anyone else out there read Whisper?  I highly recommend it.

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Filed under Reading