Wednesday, September 30, 2009

One More Day...

One more day! Unfolding the Shadows will be available to purchase as an ebook TOMORROW!!

October 1st is finally upon us! Totally excited!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Ghost Tale For Tuesday

The main character of my novel, Unfolding the Shadows, is a psychic. Jillian Rogers Greene can see, hear, and feel the presence of the spirit world around her, as well as interact with the ghosts who whisper to her. Each of these abilities has a name, and many people who claim to be psychics have one or two of these abilities.

Clairvoyance is the ability to see what normally can't be seen... ghosts and the spirit world as it manifests around us.
Clairaudience is the ability to hear words, sounds and messages from the spirit world, to hear things that are beyond the normal range of hearing. A famous example of such a psychic would be Whoopie Goldberg's character in the movie "Ghost."

or Clairscentient is the ability to smell something beyond the normal levels of smell - in paranormal books and movies, a bad spirit manifestation is often preceded by the smell of sulfur or some other unpleasant odor.

is the ability to feel the presence of pick up sensations and relate messages from these sensations.

is a term to describe a psychic’s ability to "touch beyond the physical.

Clairempathy is to be able to feel emotions from the spirit world.

Clairgustance refers to taste. Some psychics pick up certain tastes while conducting a reading.

There are myriad other abilities that are "psychic" or paranormal. For a complete list, check out - there's an alphabetical listing of psychic powers, A-Z. It includes definitions of hundreds of terms dealing with the spirit world. Many people have a touch of one or more psychic abilities, but usually we shrug off those contacts as "funny feelings." Sometimes we just can't ignore those feelings.

My sister-in-law would never in a million years call herself psychic. And yet, after they bought their first home in Marlboro, MA she started getting a creepy feeling when she was in the home alone. Especially upstairs, where the bedrooms were. And most especially in the smaller bedroom to the right of the double staircase. There was something definitely wrong in there.

Her cat and dog knew it too. The cat wouldn't go in that room. When they sat on the couch at night, the cat would stare at the right hand staircase, as if waiting for someone to come down the steps. Sometimes the stairs would creak as if someone was coming down... except there was no one there. Just an angry presence that would creak back up the other staircase soon after descending.

After getting to know a few of the neighbors, she finally asked if there was something strange about her house. The woman hesitated before telling her that the teenaged son of the couple whom she'd bought the house from had committed suicide in the house. In his bedroom. The room to the right of the staircase.

Soon after she found that out, some of my father-in-law's brothers were visiting from Ireland. My husband's dad grew up in Dublin, one of ten children. While he became a doctor, two of his brothers are priests and one sister is a nun. My sister-in-law wanted to ask her husband's uncle to perform an exorcism, but he wouldn't. They did ask the uncle to officially bless their house, which seemed to clear up the presence of anger. And now they've since remodeled, almost completely gutting it to change the house into their dream home. The double staircase is still there, though.

But sometimes when she's alone in the living room, the stairs still creak as some unseen presence descends them...

Monday, September 28, 2009

A few days more...

Just a few days more until my official release date!
You betcha!!!

I found my first reference to my book today on someone else's website - another first for me! It's not a review, but part of a roundup of ebooks being released this week. If you're interested in seeing the listing, check out Kindling Romance at

It just has the cover art, the blurb and the release information... but like I said, it's a first for me!

I know that I'll definitely be mentioned on another blog next week (Monday October 5th), when I appear as a guest on another New England romance writer's site! You'll have to check out Emily Bryan's blog at to read all about my first guest appearance. Check out her blog anyway, as she's a very talented writer with some wonderful romance books to her credit! She also was one of the authors I spoke with for my upcoming article about ebooks for Cape Women Online, all about why I need a Kindle under my Christmas tree...!

In the meantime, I'm just doing a little happy dance to celebrate another first in my career!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Cloudy with a Chance...

It's a rainy Sunday on Cape Cod, a good day to spend watching movies. Last night, we took the kids to the movie theater to see "Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs," which was the top-grossing movie last weekend (I don't know yet about this weekend, but the theater we were in was pretty full.) We all loved it, and it appealed to us all for different reasons. We all laughed a lot. And I would totally recommend it.

The movie is based on the classic illustrated children's book of the same title. All three of my kids read this story over the years in their kindergarten classes. My daughter's class wrote and illustrated their own version with their favorite foods falling from the sky. My oldest child is now thirteen, but he still remembered the story. And enjoyed the movie along with his younger siblings (if you have a teenager, you know how unusual it is to please everyone at once!)

This new retelling has added depth, making you care about the characters and not just the zany plot. I got caught up in their stories and forgot to play my usual animated movie game of "whose voice is that?" The only one I recognized right off the bat was Mr. T as the policeman (a brilliant piece of casting.)

The main character is Flint, the child inventor with big dreams but no luck - all his inventions go wrong. Even the food creating machine doesn't work the way he intended. But he doesn't give up.

The whole theme of being true to yourself and following your dreams resonated with me - especially right now as I await the release of my first novel... coming this Thursday. Days away.

Go see the movie with your kids if you get a chance. It's a great way to spend a rainy afternoon. Borrow someone else's kids if you need to. Let me know if you enjoyed it as much as we did!

And don't forget to visit me here again on Thursday to celebrate the release of Unfolding the Shadows. I'll be posting an excerpt of my book and a link to the publisher's site to purchase your own ebook.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Why I love my Job...

At Cape Women Online, we're hard at work putting together the Holiday Issue.

Oops, sorry if I gave anyone a scare. Yes, it's still September. Yes, there are still plenty of shopping days left before Christmas and/or Hanukkah. No need to panic. Unless you're trying to put out a seasonal magazine. Then it's past time to panic.

But one of the things we decided would be fun is to put in this coming issue are simple holiday recipes from real working women around Cape Cod. And obviously, if we're recommending these recipes as easy and delicious, we have to try them out ourselves.

Poor us! Ha! So at our editorial meeting this week, I made the American Bounty Cobbler pictured above to go with the coffee the publisher made (and she had whipped cream, too. Yum!) A blend of fresh cranberries from a local bog (I bought them Sunday at a craft show, from the farmer) and blueberries that my kids picked, it was simple, quick and delicious.

The recipe will be in CWO's Holiday Issue, which will be online by mid-November. Mmmm. Can't wait to "have" to bake something else!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Ghost Tale for Tuesday

Nine more days until my book is available for download at the publisher's website! I'm both excited and nervous about the release - it's my first novel, so I have no precedent for how I should be feeling. It's both the realization of a dream ... and on the other hand, a step forward into new technology for me, as I'm not a big reader of ebooks. But I will be now.

The main character of my story is a psychic. She can both see and talk with ghosts. At a recent cocktail party, someone asked me how I came up with the idea and if I myself am psychic.

While it would be cool to be able to talk with the spirit world, unfortunately I don't have that ability. But I know ghosts exist. And I know one lives in my house.

When we first bought this house, as a summer home, I knew there was something up. My skin would prickle suddenly at odd times, especially if I was up late by myself, or went up to the second floor alone after dark. My husband said I was crazy. Then I caught a few glimpses of movement down a dark hall late at night, when my husband was away on a business trip. Which was often in those years.

I started sleeping with the hall lights on. I didn't know who the ghost was or what his intent was, but I knew he was there (and it was definitely a him.)

I asked an older neighbor about the former residents. We had bought the house from a 90 year old widow. "Oh yes, her husband was a nice man. A horticulturist. He died peacefully in his sleep," the neighbor told me. I knew which bedroom.

The realtor stopped by to check on how we liked the house and neighborhood, and told me a "funny" story of the lady we bought the house from. After having a second stroke, the former owner couldn't live alone any more. The daughter would drop her off each morning at the house, to be with her husband. "She used to hang out with him and talk to him, like he was still here," the realtor said. "Isn't that a riot? Then the daughter would pick her up on her way home from work."

The following spring, the former owner returned with her daughter to take clippings from some of the prize Camellia bushes her husband had grown. The daughter was so excited to see we had kids and dogs running around the yard, she burst out with "Dad must be so happy! He always wanted grandkids, right Mom?"

After that I realized the ghost, "my" ghost, was benign. He was just acting grandfatherly, checking on the kids at night, checking that the doors were locked and the windows shut... taking care of us when my husband was away.

Do you have any ghost stories of your own to share? Does anyone "else" still live in your house with you? Or do you think I'm a little crazy, too?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Monday Morning Musings

I just read a post about why good writing gets rejected, by Jane Smith over at "How Publishing Really Works," and I understand that not every book is for every agent, and not every well-written book is going to find its spot on the bookstore shelf.

But how does that account for the vast number of poorly written, poorly executed fiction novels that are out there? On her last visit, my mom left two paperbacks in the guest room, for the next occupant to find. I was the one who found them first when I was cleaning. So I tried to read them. Tried being the operative word.

They were drivel. Both of them.

The first one I slogged through, hoping it would get better. It didn't. The second I gave up after ten pages, not wanting to waste any more of my precious reading time (with 3 kids, there isn't enough book time to waste even a few hours of it.)

So how did those manuscripts, with all the myriad sins I've been warned never to commit, find a home? I'm not saying my manuscripts are more worthy of publication. Perhaps my middle grade book isn't the next Hunger Games or Twilight, but I don't think its as bad as some of them that are out there now, that do find homes with publishers and slots on the bookstore shelf.

So yes, I'll agree with the eloquent Jane Smith when she explains that not every book can find a home in the publishing system. My question is how do the awful ones squeak through?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Writing and Procrastination

Nicola Morgan has a wonderful blog full of advice for writers. Read her most recent post by clicking here. Having just recently started writing again, some of the things she talked about made me laugh out loud, because of COURSE I was making all kinds of excuses all summer long as to why it was simply impossible for me to write with the kids around, and house guests, and all that goes on in the summer.

Is fall any less busy? Not really, it's just a different kind of busy. One that I'm used to fitting around my writing...

And what kind of advice do I give fellow writers when they ask? KEEP WRITING. It's the most important thing to remember. Even in the midst of myriad rejections and oh-so-close-but-not-quite emails, keep writing. I guess I did keep writing over the summer, but in short bursts for the magazine. (And I've already got three pieces written and one edited for the Holiday Issue (which should be a fun issue!)) But I'm back in my writing routine, and feel much better for it.

And like Nicola suggests, I did not and never intend to give up chocolate. That's just crazy talk.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Sunsets on Strandway

September is a beautiful month on Cape Cod. More quiet on the roads, more peaceful on the beaches... Like everything settles down and takes a deep breath. A sunset like this is just the icing on the cupcake.

I just posted a series of dramatic sunsets over this same beach (from this same night, actually) on the other blog I manage ( at ) The juxtaposition of the houses silhouetted against the sunset would make a nice painting. Sunsets like this make me understand why so many artists have chosen to live on Cape Cod over the last century.

And speaking of creativity on Cape Cod...

The fall magazine of CapeWomenOnline should go online today. We have some great articles this month about some talented and creative Cape women, like Nina Schuessler who's the artistic director at the Harwich Junior Theatre and Francie Joseph who runs the early childhood education programs here in town, and Kristen Magnacca, a life coach who specializes in fertility issues.

We also have several good environmental articles about growing your own food, and why it's so important to support our local farmers. Not just Cape Cod farmers, but supporting farms that are close to where you live. No farms, No food. I've gathered a list of our local farms that you can visit to pick your own veggies or get a cranberry bog tour - most are open in the summertime as well, for some of you potential tourists!

The CWO Web Princess hit a few minor glitches trying to archive the summer issue and replace it with the fall articles, but she said she'd have it conquered by this morning. I'm already hard at work on the Holiday Issue, gathering information and recipes from all across the Cape. There are some great events planned for December in many of the towns here on Cape Cod!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Go That Way

Sometimes I wish there were just big sign posts in my life, pointing the right path to take. (Especially if that path has ice cream too, but I digress...)

Each choice we make affects other things down the road. I sometimes try to explain this to the kids, but I guess it's something you have to live to understand. Make the choices. Live with the consequences. Figure out how to make better choices.

Don't get me wrong, I'm happy with where I am at the moment. I'm enjoying my life and I love my family. But sometimes I wonder... what if...? Do you have times where you think the same? What do you do about it?

Where are the sign posts when you need them?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Rock Cairns and other Impermanance

I took some awesome (hopefully) sunset shots last night - I love my new camera - but haven't uploaded them yet. But trying to capture the sunset as it washed over the clouds and reflected off the wet sand and waves on the shoreline made me think of these rock cairns we saw in Vermont.

Point? I have one, really.

These slow-to-assemble piles of rocks were at one of the swimming holes we visited. Built from thin smooth stones from the bottom of the river. Assembled meticulously by other swimmers, each stone slightly smaller than the last. My kids tried to build their own and gave up after ten minutes. Too much effort.

And yet, the following day when we walked by this same spot, the cairns were all washed away, either by a storm surge in the river from all the rain the previous night or by some curmudgeon who enjoys knocking them over. Gone. All that's left now are photographs. Kinda like the sunset I was trying to capture on film last night. It's gone now except for my memory and the photos.

So many things are like that in our world. Here and perfect one moment, inspiring awe or at least a smile, and then gone the next. The cake you spend hours decorating for a child's birthday party, devoured as soon as the candles are blown out. The gifts meticulously wrapped and be-ribboned under the Christmas tree, only to be ripped apart Christmas morning. The care taken in placing that mint on your hotel pillow on the freshly made bed, for no other purpose than to eat the mint and pull the sheets apart to sleep under... the ideas that flit through a writer's head in that half-haze of sleep only to evaporate with the morning light.

You get the idea. So many things are impermanent.

I think this is one of the things that drives authors to want to be published. Or at least drives me. To leave a record of the stories running through my head. Something to point to and say, I did that. This is part of me.

Mark Twain is long dead, but his body of work lives on. Charles Dickens, too. Shakespeare's been dead even longer, and yet his plays and sonnets are still taught all over the globe. Still relevant today. What drove them to write so prolifically? Well, money for one, as all three were working writers. But there must have also been some thought in their heads as to their legacy. Leaving their marks on the world.

I like to frame my kids' artwork and hang it around the house. My daughter has several of her own painted canvases hanging in her room. Not that they are great art, but they give her a sense of pride and accomplishment. She can look at them and think, I did that. I made that. There's a big canvas of undersea creatures hanging in my sons' room that my oldest did when he was 5. Both of the boys still think it's cool. (They think my painting of Calvin and Hobbes is a little cooler, because it's more recognizable perhaps, but the strange fish are still cool.) Validating. Permanent.

At least for now.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Blue Skies and Sunshine.

Beautiful Day on Cape Cod. Blue skies, bright sunshine, piping plovers along the shoreline. What could be better? Umm, except I have a dentist appointment scheduled one hour from now.


Friday, September 11, 2009

Like Waiting for Godot

I know that getting back into a routine can be a slow process, but seriously? Here it is 3 days into the school year, and I have yet to write a creative word.

Oh, I've been busy. Cleaning my desk. Organizing the box of Brownie scout stuff to take to the new leader's home (and leave there!) Meeting with the marketing committee at the yacht club about the survey results. Checking the pages for the Fall Issue of before they go live... not to mention all the usual mommy stuff.

But actual writing? Not so much.

Monday. I'll start Monday. Oh wait, I have a dentist appointment that morning. Okay, Tuesday looks clear. I'll start Tuesday. Oh wait....

See? It never seems to end. Waiting for the perfect time to write is like waiting for Godot. He never shows up. The time never magically becomes right. Waiting doesn't work. I need to employ that age-old strategy of butt-in-chair, hands-on-keyboard.

After I walk the dogs.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Back to School! Back to Writing!

My kids are officially back at school as of today!

Let the writing commence! Muse? Where are you, Muse? Time to get to work!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Two Days Left of Summer

My kids have two days left of their summer vacation.

Two more days to sleep late. Two more days to go barefoot. Two more days to wear pajamas until noon, or play XBOX with the neighbors, or jump in the swimming pool at lunchtime, or sleep over at a friend's house on a Sunday night.

Do you remember the last few days before going back to school? The anticipation of seeing the friends whom you haven't kept up with over the summer? The excitement at running into that "crush" you've been thinking about since June? Wondering who'll look the same and who'll look totally different? Worrying about navigating through a new middle school building, after so many years in the same school? When your parents decide it's time to start getting ready for bed early again, but your body and mind are still on their summer schedule and sleep seems impossible...

When kids are little, they live in the moment. Everything is immediate. A crisis may be intense, but it usually ends at bedtime, and the new day dawns with fresh possibilities and a new outlook. My daughter just turned nine. She can tell me at dinner that I'm ruining her life, and the next morning be all smiles, argument (thankfully) forgotten.

As children grow older, they expand their thoughts, anticipations, and worries to include the near future. My soon-to-be eighth grader is thinking ahead to his whole school year, up to and including the class trip at the end. But he's not yet thinking beyond to high school or college. My soon-to-be sixth grader is just hoping he finds his classrooms on the first day without looking foolish. I love this age - where they can plan and anticipate, but not worry too far into the future. No grey hair in middle school. It's a perfect age to write for, because while the problems are still immediate and need to be on an individual level, they can have an arc that's longer than a day.

When you get to high school as a freshman, you start to think ahead to the whole four years, but it really isn't until after the start of junior year that you start worrying about what's next. And college age students vary widely, depending on their personalities. When I was in college, my goal was to spend my junior year in England. I worked very hard to get the grades to go on the program, but found when I returned to the US, I had no future plan. (I scrambled to come up with one. I still feel like I'm working on it.)

As an adult, I can worry about stuff that won't happen for years. My daughter going on dates. Kids' college payments. Whether I can make a career of writing. Whether we'll ever afford Retirement.

I found my very first grey hair last week.

I cut it out with nail scissors.

Carpe Diem. At least for two more days of summer.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Official End of Summer

It's the start of Labor Day weekend. The official "end" of summertime.

Many of the summer people have already left Cape Cod. The roads are already more quiet, the temperatures already dipping into the 50s and 60s at night. Even though the leaves aren't yet turning, it's time to start thinking ahead to fall.

My kids don't go back to school until next Wednesday, so I still have a few more days to get their school supplies organized and create my master to-do list for fall. I guess my writing should go to the top of the list since it's practically fallen right off there during July and August.

This summer, I've read a lot of blog posts about procrastination and writer's block. It seems I'm no where near alone in this boat. It's a cruise line full of frustrated writers. And yet there is no one right answer to solve the problem.

I just dug out my copy of Anne Lamott's wonderful bird by bird to see if I can work through my issues once school starts. I'm luckier than some in that I have my first book coming out next month so I KNOW I can do it.

I just need to sit down and get to work.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

*Coming Soon* is pretty exciting!

Okay, not to sound like some kind of lunatic, but a few weeks ago I began checking the publisher's "Coming Soon" preview page. Looking for my cover. Not obsessively. Not even every day...well, at least, not at first.

Since getting back from vacation, I've checked every day. More than once. Especially after I saw another cover that won't be released until after my scheduled date. I mean, really!

And tonight as I was playing in cyberspace, I finally saw it there. On the publisher's website, on the now familiar "Coming Soon" page. And I have to admit, it was just as exciting as I'd hoped. A little thrill ran through me as I realized - oh my go, there's my cover! and my name! YEA!

Okay, so the book release itself is still a month away. But I'm celebrating every little milestone as it crosses my desk.

So I'll just get to celebrate all over again on October first, too. I guess I should save the champagne.