Don’t Tell Anyone is a Semi-Finalist!

Don't-Tell-Anyone_cover1Don’t Tell Anyone is a semi-finalist in the 2013 Kindle Book Review Book Awards and I’m really excited!

Most of all, I’m honored to be there along with many of my writing friends. My category (literary fiction) is a tough one. I don’t know how judges do these things, year in and year out, and I don’t envy their jobs.

Also, this is the first competition in which I’ve entered Don’t Tell Anyone, so that’s a special little thrill.

We don’t find out about the next round until the end of August or thereabouts. I’ll keep you posted!

The Baby Boomer Generation Gap

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(Special Note: The Joke’s on Me, ebook edition, will be on sale for $3 off its regular price from Friday, June 28 through Saturday, June 29)

The burgeoning genre of Baby Boomer Lit fascinates me. I love the stories authors are telling about the challenges confronting this generation as we face our mortality but still want to squeeze more out of life.

Often forgotten, however, is that technically, baby boomers represent (mostly Americans) born between 1946 and 1964. That’s a span of eighteen years, for those of you good with math or who happen to have a calculator handy. So theoretically, two generations could be contained within this one moniker: two generations with very different goals and ideals. Continue reading

About the Coffee Thing and Other Things

Strange golden smoke taking away from coffee seedsWriting and coffee. Has a nice, cuddly ring to it, yes? I picture a rainy day, a steaming mug, a scribe leaning back and conjuring up the perfect metaphor, a fresh pot dripping away in the kitchen. Facebook likes coffee, too. Guaranteed, I could post pointed arguments in defense of the serial comma, diatribes about social issues, and reams of inspirational quotes, but what gets the most traffic? “Two days without coffee and I’m still alive!” Continue reading

It’s Boomer Lit Friday!

Dont_Tell_Anyone_200Happy Friday! Once again, it’s Boomer Lit Friday. Every Friday, a bunch of us who like such things post snippets from our “Baby Boomer Books,” and the lovely Shelley Lieber has graciously offered up her blog where you can see what other authors are up to. Here’s a teensy bit of Don’t Tell Anyone. Please hop over to the Boomer Lit Friday blog and read and comment on the other participants. Enjoy, and I hope you have a lovely weekend.

Previous to this bit, Adam, Liza, and Charlie were attempting to get Estelle to agree to a biopsy.

——

Liza pounded the elevator button. “You’re sick. That was sick and cruel. How could you say something like that?”

Adam shrugged. “I panicked.”

“You couldn’t say something like, ‘We love you and we want you to get better?’ You had to tell your mother I was pregnant? In her condition?”

“You mean you’re not?” Charlie said.

They both scowled at him.

“I was looking forward to being an uncle.”

“Your brother is sick,” Liza said.

Charlie smiled. “Yes, but he’s creative.”

“So, what, I’m supposed to fake being pregnant now? Excuse myself every so often and pretend to throw up?”

“For a while,” Adam said weakly.

“And then what?”

“We are trying, Liza. Who knows, we might even be pregnant by then.”

She crossed her arms over her chest. “At the rate I’m learning new things about you? I sincerely doubt it.”

Boomer Lit Friday!

Happy Boomer Lit Friday, where once again we show you bits and pieces of our baby boomer books. Check out the lovely Shelley Lieber’s blog to see what my compadres are up to.

Here’s a smidge from Don’t Tell Anyone. Estelle, at the stove making chicken soup for her sons and daughter-in-law despite their protests that she’s still too weak from chemo, has just passed out.

—–

It was nothing, Estelle said, as Adam and Charlie helped her onto the sofa. No need to call the doctor. She’d just been feeling a little faint, a little light-headed. It was probably because she hadn’t eaten today. Since nothing tasted good, she didn’t want to bother.

But sometimes, her senses of smell and taste returned, not evenly but in rushes, like a breeze through an open window when the wind changed. They came with memories. They came with no warning. The soup did it to her this time. She’d put in the water and the cut-up chicken, skimmed off the fat, dumping spoon after spoon into the coffee can next to the sink. Still she could smell nothing. She added the quartered root vegetables, the salt, and the dill. Nothing. Then she looked over and saw Adam’s face, and Charlie’s face, and the different ways they looked like Eddie and like her parents, and it was as if someone had broken down a door. She smelled the simmering chicken, parsnips, and onions and saw her mother’s sickly face, the hollowed eyes and the skin stretched tight across the bone. Estelle saw her father’s hand raising the spoon to her mother’s lips. And then Estelle felt weak all over as the floor rushed up to meet her.

—–

A Wicked Good Cause

164414_10151540378282269_288214114_nMost of you might have seen video or print coverage of the devastation wreaked by Hurricane Sandy on the metro NY tri-state area last fall. Some of you have lived it. Some of you are still living it, long after the reporters packed up and went home. Heck, some of us up in the Hudson Valley are still recovering from Hurricane Irene, which literally wiped two small towns off the map in August 2011.

Yes, lives were destroyed. Businesses. Homes. Schools.

Libraries.

Who really thinks about the libraries? They’re just…self-perpetuating, right?

Turns out that raging floodwater, mud, and books don’t mix so well. Imagine how multiple branches of a large metropolitan library system would fare.

Last November, author K.S. Brooks, now stationed in an undisclosed part of the Pacific Northwest and who once lived in these parts, had an idea. She founded Indie Authors for Hurricane Sandy Libraries.

“This is a great opportunity to connect libraries in need to authors willing to donate books. We work closely with the library systems to make certain they receive the genres they need,” says group founder K. S. Brooks.

Along with almost a hundred other vetted authors from all over the world, I was happy to be able to donate copies of Drawing Breath and Don’t Tell Anyone to the cause of rebuilding the libraries’ inventory.

Learn more about Indie Authors for Hurricane Sandy.

It’s Boomer Lit Friday!

Don't-Tell-Anyone_cover1Happy Friday! Once again, it’s Boomer Lit Friday. Every Friday, a bunch of us who like such things post snippets from our “Baby Boomer Books,” and the lovely Shelley Lieber has graciously offered up her blog where you can see what other authors are up to. Here’s a teensy bit of Don’t Tell Anyone. Please hop over to the Boomer Lit Friday blog and read and comment on the other participants. Enjoy, and I hope you have a lovely weekend.

——

 

“You’ll do it,” Estelle said.

“Me?” A fist tightened around Liza’s stomach. “Oh, no. I’m not—”

“Adam and Charlie won’t. They’re too softhearted. Good boys, but weak-willed, like their father. May he rest in peace. So you’ll have to do it.”

“What are you saying?” Liza glared at her. “That I’m cold-hearted enough to…kill a person? Is that what you’re saying?”

“Oy, no, of course not. I’m saying you’re practical. You’re a practical girl. At least that’s what Adam says about you. You’ll know how to do it.”

Liza threw up her hands. “So what do you want me to do? Push you out a window? In front of a bus? Hold a pillow over your head?”

Estelle appeared to consider her options. “The pillow would work. I saw Cary Grant do it in a movie. Or you could get me pills. People take pills. Marilyn Monroe took pills. Some people think it was the Kennedys, but I know it was pills.”

This Week: Is It Spring Yet?

Daytlna-500-Danica-Patrick-poleThe skies have been a little gloomy in my slice of the Hudson Valley, but if it’s time for Daytona and the Oscars, spring can’t be far behind. Although I’m not having as good a week as Danica Patrick, it’s still pretty sweet around here.

  • I don’t know if you caught this, but the lovely and effervescent Dames of Dialogue let me stop in for tea and a chat.
  • Have you heard of Baby Boomer Lit? With America’s largest age cohort knocking on the doors of, well, aging, this is a genre whose time may have come. Author Claude Nougat, on the heels of her new book, A Hook in the Sky, has started not only a Goodreads group devoted to the idea but also possibly a movement. Lynnette Schneider, a book blogger and member of this group, gave Don’t Tell Anyone a very nice five-star review.

Lots going on with the Indies Unlimited crew to report.

  • The rockin’ fabulous K.S. Brooks has been very active with Indie Authors for Hurricane Sandy. On Sunday at 4:00 p.m. Pacific Time, you can hear what she’s been up to and how you may be able to help.
  • Krista Tibbs posted this terrific article, showing us how the old writing canard, “show, don’t tell” actually works.
  • Our resident scam-buster, Rich Meyer, stirred up some interesting discussion about crowdfunding for indie writing projects. What do you think? Practical method of fundraising or begging for dollars?
  • Science fiction author and all-around nice guy Chris James just published the second novel in his Second Internet Café series, The Second Internet Cafe, Part 2: The Cascade Annihilator. If you’d like to grab yourself a free copy, check out his website for details.

Last but not least, in one week I’ll be trying not to panic taking Don’t Tell Anyone out for its first public appearance, at The Golden Notebook, a local independent bookstore in Woodstock, New York, where I launched The Joke’s on Me. Jackie and Nan, the lovely women who run the place, are great to support local indie authors. If you’re in the area (Saturday, March 2 at 5:00 p.m.), I’d love to see you!

I hope YOU had a good week!

Why Would Anyone Want to Read a Novel about Cancer?

Ballet-2When I write the first draft of a novel, I normally don’t think much about marketing. I tell the story that falls into my head, the one that has the most energy and won’t leave me alone until I finish writing. And then I think about how to sell it.

Even while I was writing Don’t Tell Anyone, which I’d titled The C Word at the time, I knew I’d face some serious challenges once I published it. But I still felt compelled to complete the novel and release it, hoping it would find an audience, secretly terrified that even if it came out well-written, thought-provoking, insightful or whatever good adjective you want to plunk on it, people would hear the word “cancer” and run. Continue reading

So Long, 2012, and Thanks for All the Fish…

happy-new-yearLoss, love, joy, grief, rebirth, pain, triumph: it’s been a rich and melancholic salad of a year for me. That canard of ancient wisdom, “Be careful what you wish for,” is definitely not one to toy with. For a while there, every shiny penny on the sidewalk, it seemed, came with a foot waiting to stomp on my hand as I reached for it.

My professional goals (Thank you, Jim Devitt, for reminding me of the importance of goal-setting) for this year were to publish two novels and continue building up my editing business. I’ve accomplished both. I’m very happy about that. Drawing Breath and Don’t Tell Anyone are both out. I’m helping some wonderful writers get their manuscripts ready for publication. Took me almost fifty years, but I think I’ve finally figured out what I want to do when I grow up. Being up to my elbows in words—my words and those of other’s—is definitely my happy place.

But this year, two additional books came out with my name attached to them as contributing author: Indies Unlimited’s Author’s Snarkopaedia Volume 1 and Indies Unlimited: Tutorials and Tools for Prospering in a Digital World. This would not be possible without the passion and dedication of Stephen Hise and K.S. Brooks, the evil geniuses behind Indies Unlimited. I sit in a little pink room filled with toys in a house in the woods, typing on a keyboard, a recluse by nature, and at times this gets isolating and a bit sad. Being a part of IU and having a virtual extended family of kindred spirits across the Interwebs gives me great joy and at times so much laughter I spit tea across the keyboard. I have actually pulled muscles from laughing. It’s much more entertaining to go to the chiropractor with a good story of how I hurt myself, rather than the usual snow-shoveling or long-car-ride excuse. I do like to be considerate of my healthcare professionals whenever possible. They want funny stories to tell people at parties, too.

So thank you to you all for supporting my writing, for sharing it with your friends, and for trusting me with your work and your words.

However 2012 has treated you, whether you’re gazing fondly in the rearview mirror or bidding it off with glee while saying, “Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out,” I hope 2013 is bursting with health, peace, love, happiness, and prosperity, in whatever form that means to you.

Onward!