Friday, October 30, 2009

Eight More...

As October draws to a close, I must admit to feeling almost as broken as this fence. There seems to be so much stress swirling around my house... the neighborhood... the world... and I seem to be absorbing wa-a-a-ay too much of it. Like a sponge. A stress sponge.

I received another rejection letter in the mail yesterday. I know I can't take it too personally, because it was one of those photocopied "Dear Writer" letters. Not even "Dear Author." Not even really signed by an assistant faking their boss's name. At least it was a clean copy.

As I was walking on the beach with the dogs this dreary morning, I was thinking about this latest rejection, trying not to dwell too much, but still wondering how long until this novel finds a home?

Mere moments after I'd posed this question of "How Long?" to the Universe, a big yellow number eight washed ashore with the waves. No, really it did. It's like a solid plastic house number, with holes to nail it on (although why anyone would want bright yellow house numbers I don't know.)


So what does that mean?

Eight more days? Eight more rejections? Eight more manuscripts? Eight more years?

The Universe didn't give me any way to interpret this sign, just the sign itself.

At least someone's listening.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Can You Hear Me Now?

Writing can be a lonely and frustrating profession. A lot of the time, I feel like no one is listening to what I say. That no one is reading what I write. That what I'm saying has little impact on the world around me.

This is true with my manuscripts that I keep revising and writing and working on. It's true with some of the articles I've written for the online magazine that I edit. It's even true of the book that I've succeeded in having published.

Maybe it's the rain. Maybe it's trying to play catch-up with the real world after being away for a week. Maybe it's my kids telling me that I'm always on the computer wasting time, and not doing "important stuff" with them.

So why do I sit here at my desk, typing away?

Today I guess I'm not sure why I do what I do.

In general, I feel like creating new characters and other worlds somehow completes me, makes me feel like I'm doing something positive and lasting, as opposed to making another peanut butter sandwich for the son who won't stop growing, a sandwich that will disappear in less time than it takes to make.

I received another rejection while I was away, from an agent who had requested a partial from me. He told me the book was not to his taste, and that he thought it was too violent for the age group. Now I am faced with a dilemma: Is it easier to tone down the violence and stick with the upper middle grade range, or ramp up the ages and other aspects to appeal to a more mature YA audience? Should I be worrying about easier?

Something to ponder on this rainy day...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A Ghost Tale for Tuesday...

I've been absent from the blogosphere this past week, and am still trying to catch up. We had a death in the family early last week and I had to go out of town for a while.

My Uncle Harry was a fun guy, and will be missed. He worked as a car salesman for a lot of years, and found me my first car back when I was in high school. A burnt orange Camaro. Loved that car. Fast and cool. I totaled it in college, of course, when I was on my way down to D.C. to live with Harry and my Aunt Kate for an internship with a PR firm. I wasn't hurt, but the front axle broke. Poor car. Harry drove up to Baltimore to pick me up and bring me back down to D.C. Luckily, you don't need a car in D.C.

My thoughts are still with my aunt and my cousins.

Kate and Harry have lived in the Metro D.C. area since they met and married in the 70s, the last bunch of years in Annandale, Virginia, but Harry was originally from Tennessee. At the funeral, I finally got to meet a bunch of his Tennessee relatives, the ones I've been hearing about for years. What a nice group of folks. One of Harry's Tennessee nieces promised me she'd send a whole bunch of Southern ghost stories my way, once things settled back down.

In the meantime...

Last Monday, I was the guest blogger on Writers At Play, talking about my novel Unfolding the Shadows as well as talking about myself. I challenged readers to leave a comment with their own ghost story to win a prize. According to the writer who invited me on there, over 1600 people visited the website that day! There were a lot of good stories - proving to me that a lot of people really do have these ghostly encounters!

The following story was one of the ghost tales posted in the comment section, that I chose as the winner because it gave me goose bumps when I read it - and because "3" is my lucky number... The commenter said:

"My ghost story is a little closer to home - about 2 years ago my sister got up one night to go to the bathroom. She didn’t turn on the light in the bathroom since there’s a nightlight in there and didn’t close the door either. She saw something moving in the hall and said it looked like our dad (he had passed away almost 8 years earlier). She then said it sort of morphed into our Uncle Joe (my dad’s first cousin) who was at the time in the hospital fighting for his life. He died a few weeks later.

After that my sister stopped getting up in the middle of the night to use the bathroom.

Then sometime this past year, she was asleep in bed and something banged the outside wall in her room, shaking her bed and waking her. She couldn’t figure out what it was, but checked her mattress to make sure she wasn’t imagining things and sure enough, the mattress was moved off of the boxspring by about 2 inches."

Did you get a little chill? I'll be sending that scarecrow to this lucky lady today. I meant to do it yesterday, but there's so much to catch up with!

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Ghost Tale for Tuesday

Please welcome today's guest story teller, Nicola Burnell. She grew up in the English countryside, and first came to America after graduating college in England. She's been in the States a while now, living in Florida, Vermont, Texas, and now Cape Cod. Her home is across the street from my own.

I first met Nicola one April vacation week, when her youngest son spied my children playing in the yard and insisted on coming over to meet us.

We've been friends ever since.

She taught the writing classes where I first started my manuscript for Unfolding the Shadows, and is currently working to finish her own novel. Nicola is also the Publisher of CapeWomenOnline, the magazine where I serve as the Editor. Neighbors... Friends... and now Co-Workers. Having a glass of wine together serves many purposes.

Over the years, she's told me some spooky tales of ghosts and poltergeists, and all manner of psychic encounters with the spirit world. Today she's sharing a tale from her childhood in England. Take it away, Nicola!

* * *
* * *
I didn't realize I was living with a ghost until I was a teenager. I was so used to the late night banging, creaking and scraping sounds of my red-bricked Victorian home that I never even noticed them. Nor did I question why the hair at the back of my neck prickled whenever I passed a certain area in the hallway, or why I bounded up the stairs like a cat on acid, even when I wasn't in a hurry.

My father, a central heating engineer, had installed the main pipes from the heating system in the kitchen up through the floor in one corner of my bedroom. This pipe then continued up into the attic. The small gap around the pipe in the floor gave me a distorted view into the kitchen below. It was only when my friends, who were sleeping over, asked me about the loud noises coming from the kitchen that I began to understand the haunting going on around me. The wooden stools that lined the breakfast bar were rocking back and forth, loudly!

We all gathered around the pipe, our hearts in our mouths, to listen to the wooden stools banging against the linoleum. We dared each other to creep downstairs to catch the stools in motion. When we reached the middle of the stairway, we all froze.

Something was watching us from the shadows of the hallway below.

That was the moment I recognized the feeling I'd been experiencing my whole life. There WAS something in those shadows and I'd been bolting passed it for years.

I took the lead, as it was my house. I didn't want to let my friends know I was as scared as they were. We pressed our ears to the kitchen door as the stools continued to bang and now scrape across the linoleum floor. We counted to three, then pushed the door open and flicked on the light.

The stools immediately stopped their rocking and a deathly silence smothered us. Every chair was exactly where it should be; neatly tucked under the counter, not moving an inch.

We talked ourselves into believing we'd imagined the noises and wandered back to bed. Later that same night, we were awoken by a loud bang. Once our screams subsided, we ventured back downstairs to find the small square door of the attic entryway leaning against the front door. I replaced the door and secured the latches, recalling as I did so that my father had added the latches because he was tired of having to put the door back every morning.

My friends suggested that we had poltergeist in the house. I laughed. It wasn't poltergeist! It was the lady in the Victorian black dress, with the white lace collar, that I'd seen in the kitchen when I was washing the dishes. The same lady who stood in the hallway, day after day, as I sprinted passed her. The lady who once walked out of my front door, then disappeared when she reached the garden gate. I'd seen this ghost so many times but never really acknowledged her. She was as familiar to me as the wallpaper.

When my mother sold our house, my sisters and I spent the last night sleeping on the floor of the front living room. With no carpet, furniture or curtains anywhere in the house, the sounds our ghost made on our final night were so loud our bones began to shake. The floorboards groaned, the stairs creaked and the attic door shook itself loose from its hinges and found its way down the stairs to rest against the front door one last time.

Thanks for such a spooky tale this Tuesday, Nicola! For more of Nicola's writing, check out . The current fall issue features a memoir piece by Nicola telling of the brush with death fourteen years ago that changed her life. Read it at

Writers At Play

Today I'm guest blogging on the Writers At Play blog. Check it out by clicking here.

I answer all their "sandbox questions" as well as giving a new excerpt from my suspense novel, Unfolding the Shadows, available now from Cerridwen Press.

Leave a comment with a ghost story of your own for a chance to win a cute-n-crafty Halloween decoration, straight from Cape Cod! He's one of those old-fashioned fall down toys - you press the bottom upward, and the scarecrow collapses. Why did people used to think that was a fun toy? I don't understand. Although, when I saw it at the craft show I had to buy it....

See you over at Writer's At Play!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sunday Cruddy Sunday

We're having a nor'easter at the moment. No snow on the Cape, although I hear Boston and towns north and west of there are experiencing the heavy white stuff at the moment.

Since there were no kid activities planned for the day, I thought I'd go to the monthly meeting of the New England Chapter of the Romance Writers of America (NEC-RWA, for those who've been there) The meetings are held on the campus of Brandeis University, up in Wellesley. About an hour and a half from here if I don't want to get a ticket.

I left an extra half hour early, given the weather and bridge construction. Unfortunately, it took longer than two hours to even get to the Sagamore Bridge (normally that part of the trip is 20 minutes...) Weather. Accidents. Construction. All of it conspired to keep me from the meeting.

So what did I do? I guess I could have kept going and showed up very late... but that didn't strike me as very professional. So I went to Target. We don't have any Targets on Cape Cod, so it feels like a treat to be able to wander the aisles and marvel at the choices (their Halloween section was fabulous, but I resisted!) I also found the L.L.Bean outlet to do some early Christmas shopping, but found that I really need to just go online to get the sizes I want.

Driving back home again in the driving rain and howling wind, I really wondered why I'd ever ventured out in the first place. I should have spent the day curled up on the couch with a book, or curled around my computer writing while my kids were out at playdates.

When I thought I was headed to an event with other writers, I was energized. Could it be that I was even a little giddy? I spend so much time writing alone, and editing alone, and sitting staring at my computer... sometimes it feels like my writing life isn't really real. It's a cyber-fantasy I've concocted to pretend that I have a career.

And speaking of justifying myself to myself and others, I'll be making another guest blog appearance tomorrow - Monday, October 19th - on the "Writers At Play" website blog.
Click here to get to the Writers At Play blog. I'll be giving away a little crafty Halloween decoration as a prize for one lucky commenter, so make sure to visit and leave a comment!

And cross your fingers that this nor'easter doesn't ruin anything more than my Sunday plans.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday Odds and Ends

Thank Goodness it's Friday, as they say. It's been a long week.

The weather on Cape Cod is supposed to be rough well into next week... although I still had to stand out in the rain yesterday to watch the middle school boys play soccer against Chatham (my son's team lost, 3-1.) Yesterday's game was slippery and cold, and today's game has already been canceled. (And I'm assuming field hockey will be canceled as well...)

I drove my friend Dorothy to the animal rescue league yesterday morning and again today, both times to take baby kittens in to be euthanized. She's a volunteer foster mom, and the cat they placed with her had nine kittens. Too many. Once she gets past the grief, she said she would try to write a story about her experiences as a rescue league volunteer for CapeWomenOnline (she was chosen as the volunteer of the year in 2008.)

Yesterday my pickup truck broke down while I was on my way to the transfer station (aka "dump") Apparently the power steering fluid line rusted through. I was able to get it to the mechanic for an estimate and managed to get home without incident... not as bad as when the brake lines failed on me last fall, but close.

And there's other stuff going on with family and friends that have me worried... All in all, I'm very happy to see the end of this particular week. Next week will hopefully be brighter. Once the nor'easter moves off to sea, at least.

And Next Monday, I'm supposed to be the guest blogger on Writer's At Play. Don't forget to come stop in to say hello! I'll be chatting about my book, Unfolding the Shadows, and offering a cool, crafty Halloween prize to one lucky commenter. I'm a little concerned because I haven't heard back from the author who invited me... but I'm keeping my hopes up that she's just busy and the blog will get posted and read by thousands of readers who don't know me yet...but will soon.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

NaNoWriMo Here I Come!

In another twisted and all too familiar moment of procrastination, I found myself reading another blogger's post about signing up for the National Novel Writing Month, which starts November 1st. The idea is to complete 50,000 words of a brand new work by the end of November. I found myself wishing I could have a writing goal like that, as I seem to be drifting between projects at the moment and spending most of my time editing and reading instead of writing....

And then it hit me. There's no reason that I can't participate too, and make this my goal.

So I signed up. I'm an official NaNoWriMo participant as of five minutes ago. There are eighty something other Cape Cod writers already signed up to be at their keyboards, and thousands more people across the planet. It's easy to sign up, and it's free.

And when you complete your 50,000 words and upload them, you get a shiny badge to post on your website or blog to say you're a winner! Because if you write enough words, you win. Just by doing the work.

Plus, I'll have most of my next book written. There's a prize in itself.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

A Ghost Tale for Tuesday

Did you know that the number 13 is a lucky number for Colgate students and alumni? Our university was founded by 13 men with 13 dollars, back in 1819, according to the songs.
In honor of Lucky 13, I've asked my friend and fellow Colgate alumni Nancy Howland Walker to share a ghost tale this Tuesday the 13th.

I met Nancy the first day of freshman year, and we've stayed friends ever since, even becoming roommates for a few years when we were both living in the Boston area. After a stint at WFXT, Fox-Boston, and a stretch with ImprovBoston, Nancy moved out to Chicago, where she leads her own improv group: Chicago Improv Associates. She grew up in St. Louis, but spent her childhood summers on Nantucket. We all went out to visit her mom on Nantucket a few times over the years, but she neglected to share any of the spooky tales with us at the time - maybe for fear that we wouldn't want to make the trip with her!

Tell us your ghost tale, Nancy....

As I was growing up, my family spent the summers in a very old house (around 200 years old) in Nantucket. Because of the age, its design was odd by today's standards. I slept on the second floor at the top of the stairs; my parents' bedroom was kitty-corner from mine, and my little brother's room was in between the two. Because you could only get to his room through mine or my parents room, my brother moved to another available bedroom as soon as he could swing it.

I remember one time being woken from a deep sleep by someone rushing through my room to get into that middle room. It wasn't the footsteps which woke me up, but a huge bustling noise, as if a great deal of fabric was involved. I knew none of my brothers could make that sort of noise, but I sat up and looked into the dark middle room (I usually kept that door open for some reason) and called out. No one answered - the entire house was asleep.

Okay, that sounds kinda weird, Nancy, but not too scary. Did anything really spooky ever happen?
This one really got me. Late one night as I was falling asleep, I sensed someone standing over me. I was lying on my back, with my eyes shut, and I knew the person was right next to my head.

Whoever - whatever - was exuding an intensely malevolent energy. I was terrified and couldn't move, much less open my eyes. I could only repeat to myself, "Just pretend to be asleep, just pretend to be asleep!"

Without looking, I knew the person was bending closer to me - his or her face was right next to mine.

Then... I felt a finger touching my face, slightly under my mouth at my jawbone. I knew it wasn't the fleshy part of the finger, but felt like a cold, sharp fingernail. Slowly - very slowly - it moved up my face along my jawbone to up near my eye, and stayed there for a few more moments.

I was so scared.

Suddenly, the pressure from the finger was gone, as was the malevolent feeling. I opened my eyes and the room was dark. The house was silent.

Thanks for sharing, Nancy! Check out Nancy's websites at and
If you have a true-life ghost story you'd like to share, email me or send me a message on Facebook! And thanks to everyone who likes my ghost stories so much they've already purchased a copy of Unfolding the Shadows!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Happy Columbus Day!

Next week, on Monday October 19th, I'll be appearing on the WRITERS-AT-PLAY blogspot.

One of the other authors in my editorial group at Cerridwen Press is a member of the "sandbox" and asked if anyone wanted to have a "playdate." I raised my hand and jumped up and down, yelling, "Oooh, Pick Me!" She did.

I just finished answering the "Sandbox questions" and emailed them off. (check that off my to-do list! We also put the tomatoes to bed and covered the pool this weekend - lots of check marks on my list now!)

I've noticed that many authors have contests or offer prizes to a lucky commenter when they appear on someone else's blog. As I don't have any paperbacks to send out, I found this little scarecrow guy at the craft fair. He'll keep the ghosts away when you're reading those Halloween stories (or curling up with your computer to read my ebook, Unfolding the Shadows.) Mr. Scarecrow will be the prize for leaving a comment next Monday, a cute addition to your Halloween holiday decorations!

So remember to tune back in next week! I'll have a link here on my blog to navigate you there.

Enjoy this last day of the long weekend - and stop by tomorrow for a new ghost story from my guest and Chicago-land friend, Nancy Howland Walker. She's a comedian with ChicagoImprovAssociates, but she grew up on Nantucket and has a few scary tales to tell.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Don't Let the Turkeys Get You Down

I spent the day today - the entire working day - editing other people's writing and answering emails about submissions. I know that I'm an editor now and all, but some days it's just too much. I need to find more time for my own writing.

What I'm finding in my work as an editor is.... I love editing. Really, I do. But what I've also found is that some people have great ideas and a lot of trouble getting them across in a cohesive manner. Maybe it's just the typing thing that confuses some writers, and they really did write a complete sentence then deleted part of it by accident when they sneezed and their elbow hit the keyboard. Or maybe no one ever taught them that the little curvy thing is a comma, and should be employed now and then to break up a sentence.

Some people's stories are simple to edit, just needing a few minor adjustments. I'm not sure if I enjoy those more, or if I really enjoy the ones that pose more of a challenge.

I've found 2 things to be true:
1. Everyone needs editing, and
2. It's really hard to edit your own work.

When I sent my manuscript for Unfolding the Shadows out to agents and publishers, I thought I'd done a good job editing it. When it was finally contracted by Cerridwen Press, I thought it was all set to go to press. I'd been over it so many times over those last few months... and yet when I was assigned to an editor she had lots of changes for me to make and 10,000 words to cut away to make the story flow better. And it worked.

What does that have to do with Rice Krispie treat turkeys, you might ask? I'm trying not to let the turkeys get me down, LOL. I'm trying to remember that even though the articles may seem like troubled turkeys, the readers are going to think they're sweet treats!

Well, and I had to dig out this photo to go with some fun holiday recipes we've gathered for the magazine, and just had to share it. (I'm gonna share the recipe in the Holiday issue of Cape Women Online...but mostly it's just the regular Krispie Treat recipe with a few added bonus decorations!) Alas, my kids all think they're too old for this now.

Maybe I'll have to make a batch all by myself !

Monday, October 5, 2009

A Ghost Tale for Tuesday

My black Lab turned fourteen back in May. We keep expecting each beach walk to be her last. And then what happens? Did you ever wonder if ghostly apparitions are limited to humans?

In my book Unfolding the Shadows, Jillian only sees and talks with the ghosts of people. But what about dogs and cats? Why couldn't our beloved pets come back as spirits, too? To walk on the beach with us, and keep enjoying the activities that meant so much to them in life?

My sister Deb swears that the ghost of our Scottish Terrier, Duffy, used to hand around in the bar of the Grey Bonnet Inn in Killington, Vermont. She told me she saw it there on numerous occasions. She'd point it out to people, but most of them couldn't see the dog moving in the shadows between the bar stools. Some did see her, though, and would ask about the black dog. The bartender on duty would gently tell them that the dog had passed away a few seasons ago. "But I just saw it," they'd insist...

My parents bought the Inn and moved our family to Vermont when I was a freshman in college. Duffy was already nine and our Golden Retriever Samantha was only a year and a half old when we moved out of our single-family typical New Jersey colonial and into the 42-room Inn, complete with restaurant and bar.

Samantha became the "Inn Dog"...meeting and greeting guests, and eventually having her own "news" in the seasonal newsletters. As a Scottie, Duffy wasn't really friendly to strangers...except if they had food. She was a slut for anyone with a treat. She'd hang out in the bar with me when I was bartending, and came to realize that there were always peanuts and goldfish crackers to be found under the stools. She became a constant fixture in the bar, whether I was the one serving the drinks or not.

At 13, Duffy developed a brain tumor and began wandering out of the yard. The Grey Bonnet Inn is located on busy Route 100 North. One day during the hectic foliage season, she was hit and killed instantly by a car.

My sister started seeing her under the bar stools that winter, nosing around for peanuts.

Online research suggests that animals who die suddenly may not "know" that they're dead. They sometimes are seen continuing along their usual routines for years afterward. Certainly where my dog had a brain tumor, she had lapses of "knowing" even when she was still alive that last year.

Black dogs are prevalent in ghost stories and mythology from England, as well as other parts of the world. Most recently, one showed up in J.K.Rowling's Harry Potter series as "The Grim," the mythic black dog who portends death. In the Potter series, it turns out that the "Grim" Harry sees is really just his shape-shifting godfather and doesn't fortell Harry's demise.

But there's a lot of precedent for the English seeing black dogs...

On the Isle of Man, the black dog is known as the Mauthe Dhoog. People believed that anyone who sees the dog will die soon after. In Guernsy, there are two named dogs: Tchico, who is headless, and Bodu who still has his head. Both spectral dogs fortell death. In Jersey the black dog is also called Tchico, and his appearance fortells storms. In Normandy, they called the dog Rongeur d'Os, which means literally "bone gnawer."

In Wales, they tell of the gwyllgi, the "dog of darkness" with blazing red eyes. Black dogs with fiery red eyes are reported throughout South America, from Mexico to Argentina, with various names including Perro Negro (literally translated to "black dog") and Nahual. Let's hope there aren't any showing up for the Olympics in Brazil!

According to Wikipedia, that bastion of obscure information, ..."the origins of the black dog are difficult to discern. It is impossible to ascertain whether the creature originated in the Celtic or Germanic elements in British culture. Throughout European mythology, dogs have been associated with death. Examples of this are Cwn Annwn, Garmr, and Cerebus, all of whom were in some way guardians of the underworld. This association seems to be due to the scavenging habits of dogs. It is possible that the black dog is a survivial of these beliefs." old black dog was certainly a scavenger. Apparently in both life and death.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Special Blog Appearance Tomorrow!

Tomorrow - Monday, October 5th - I'll be making a special appearance over at Emily Bryan's blog, talking about my novel, Unfolding the Shadows.

Emily Bryan is a multi-published romance author, who's latest release is A Christmas Ball. She's been on a month-long blog tour herself, promoting her new istorical romance novel and talking about Christmas stories and traditions with the other two authors who contributed to this book. Here's a photo of the authors and their cover, so you can look for it in stores:


I'll be at her blog tomorrow - so come visit and leave a comment!

Cranberries, Christmas, and Costumes?

It seems so early to be reading Christmas stories and researching gift ideas. It's not even Halloween yet! And yet this is what I've been doing this weekend. Am I crazy?

I was incensed last weekend when I took my daughter into Home Depot to return something and they had all the pre-lit artificial Christmas trees already on display, along with the giant inflatables to stick on your lawn so your kids don't have to get cold and wet making real snowmen. Even my daughter was a little shocked, as we hadn't finished her Halloween costume yet.

But working on a magazine that's planning a Holiday Issue, I need to be on top of this Now. I need to be editing these articles, researching the various holiday events around Cape Cod, and writing my articles about environmentally friendly gift ideas Now. And taking photos of cranberries and ornaments, and thinking about the proper way to spell Chanukah. (Hannukah? Hanukkah? Channukah?)

This is what runs through my mind, even as I'm still sewing my daughter's Halloween costume and trying to find the right color green tie so my son can dress up as the Joker from Batman (the scary Heath Ledger one, not the goofy one we remember from our youth.)

I'm busy tracking down recipes from friends and acquaintances, and the people who overhear our conversations at the soccer sidelines or the lobby of the music studio must think we're a little nuts, talking about Thanksgiving pies and Christmas Eve buffets.

On the bright side, since I'm feeling the Christmas spirit a little early, I've already finished a bunch of my gift shopping . (Don't hate me!) My nieces and nephews and cousin's babies are all covered, as are two of my aunts and my Mom. My own kids? What, are you kidding me? Still no clue. (Although Boy #2 broke his bicycle this summer, so that's a no-brainer.)

And we'll be driving down to Virginia again this year to make the annual Plum Pudding trek (another pre-Christmas ritual); the gathering is over the Halloween weekend, so we'll be trick-or-treating in my aunt's beautiful Annandale neighborhood, where I'm assured that tons of candy awaits the well-costumed trick-or-treater. If Miss America and The Joker arrive on your doorstep together with a 6-foot-tall midget standing on a box, I'm probably waiting on the street somewhere in the shadows.

Still mixing Christmas and Halloween; still thinking about the upcoming holiday season.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Thank God it's Friday...

Finally Friday.

Somehow, this week has lasted longer than usual. I'm not sure why - there were exciting things afoot (with CWO magazine, and with both of my sisters), good news on a few fronts (my book release was Thursday and my oldest son was chosen as Student of the Month for September), and three soccer games (2 wins, 1 loss). And yet... last weekend seems so far, far away in my distant, hazy memory.

Does that ever happen to you? One of my friends from college had a theory about why this happens. (She was also my maid of honor at my wedding, and has lots of other theories... but that's another story.)

When we were freshmen at Colgate University, she used to explain how "time travels in waves." Like a funky geometric algorithm, or something like an algebraic sine wave. Okay, I'm not very good with the math facts, but when Nancy explained it, it made sense. The beer helped.

The same way that light and sound travel in waves applies to time, except with a twist. She said that the waves could travel in different patterns, some faster and some slower. So when you're having fun at a fraternity party and "all of a sudden" it's 3 a.m.? That's a fast wave. Sitting in class waiting for the professor to finish lecturing about the cell structure of paramecium, watching the clock more than the chalkboard? That's a slow wave. Like the ocean, the waves had different speeds.

It made sense in college. As I got older, though, time seemed to fly more than it seemed to creep, and I began to doubt the wisdom of Nancy's words. Looking back on my twenties, it seems they were gone in a flash. But then, in my thirties, I had kids. Time began to travel in waves once more. Looking back, I can remember some moments with crystalline clarity, and other times (entire years?) are a little blurry.

I remember each birth, but not the hospital stays that followed. I remember the first day of kindergarten for each child, but not much of anything else from that year of school. Selective memory? Or the product of geometric malfunction? Who can tell for sure?

What I do know is that time is traveling in waves for me once more, and the past week was a long, undulating wave that has finally reached the shoreline. T.G.I.F.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

My Release Date is *Finally* Here!

I've been waiting a long time to finally say this - I am now officially a published author. I keep pinching myself to make sure that I'm awake. That it's really my name on top of that gorgeous book cover, and really my words on the pages. And it is. It really is.

No one told me how nervous I would feel about my release date. I mean, this is something I've been eagerly anticipating... and now my stomach is doing nonstop backflips. My friend Nickey compared it to giving birth, but maybe it's more like sending a child off to college for the first time, sending my new baby out into the world to fare for itself.

As this is my first book, I'm not really sure what to expect or what I "should" be doing to get the word out to friends and readers. My Facebook friends are all well-aware that my ebook is out there, but what of all those other people I know? And all those readers I've yet to connect with? If you have any wonderful promotion ideas, let me know!

In the mean time, I guess I need to get on with normal life as best I can - although one aspect of my life is now changed forever. I've entered the realm of published author.