Monday, August 31, 2009


So we watched Julie & Julia over the weekend, and it reminded me of how much I love to cook!

I have taken a number of cooking classes over the years, but you know, with the kids and their eating peculiarities it's easy to get in the chicken and mashed potatoes rut. Not to mention the time factor... I mean, don't we have to shuttle at least one kid someplace every night?

Well, no more excuses. I've decided to cook at least one meal a week that's not run-of-the-mill-throw-it-together. So last night I cooked the above glorious dish, chicken piccata. And yes, it was delicious. Also yes, it was just as much fun as I remembered to beat that chicken down to a quarter inch thick.

Did my kids eat it?

Two out three. Works for me...

“If you’re afraid of butter, just use cream.”

- Julia Child

Friday, August 28, 2009


Imagine you (or your husband) watched your child get abducted when she was eleven years old, and now, eighteen years later, you get a call from the FBI, and they put her on the phone.

I mean, what words come to mind? Is this a joke? Is it really you? You've got to be kidding.

After all those years, it would be hard to even believe, don't you think? You'd want proof.

And even as you'd be rejoicing the fact that indeed, my daughter is here, she's alive, wouldn't you be SO angry at what these people, her captors, stole from you?? And HER. Especially her. Who knows what all they've done to Jaycee and her children -- the very fact that there ARE children -- I mean, how would you begin to get over that part of it?

I imagine being the mother, and I imagine being Jaycee, and it makes me ache from someplace deep, deep inside. I mean, the things we humans do to each other.

But. I'm happy for them, you know? They've got another chance to love each other. They can heal. And that mystery, that awful awful mystery, can now begin to be put to rest.

Wishing all those involved health and happiness and healing.

Monday, August 24, 2009


Okay, so who knew L was a letter so rich and ripe and fertile? I've thought about this and thought about it, but still, I couldn't choose just one L. Let me tell you why.

The first part, LIVE A LIFE WORTH WRITING ABOUT... Truly, the best preparation for being an author is getting out there, exploring the world, infusing your life with wonder, and having a multitude of varied experiences. Because ultimately, everything we write comes from that place, that life we lead before we ever sit down at the computer. So we have a responsibility, really, to feast on life, to be our wild true selves, to love as hard as we can.

Speaking of LOVE... my most favorite quote about writing is this one: "Love. Fall in love and stay in love. Write only what you love and love what you write. The key word is love. You have to get up in the morning and write something you love, something to live for."

- Ray Bradbury

See why I couldn't leave it out?

Wishing all of you lives worth writing about and love. Always, always love.
(cool pic found here.)

Thursday, August 20, 2009


On my drive to Mississippi, I listened to two books that totally wow-ed me, for completely different reasons.

The first was this one, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli.

I must first confess that, based on the cover, I thought Stargirl was a midgrade novel. So, when, in the first few sentences I heard John Ritter read to me that Leo the main character was entering 11th grade, I thought, huh. Really?

I loved this book for so many reasons. It is a tight, tense, yet QUIET story. And totally rocked my world! Stargirl joins many other great characters in my "GO YOUR OWN WAY" HALL OF FAME. Now, must read the sequel.

Next up on my drive was this one, Aleutian Sparrow by Karen Hesse.

Don't judge this one by its cover, which doesn't do justice to the vibrancy of this story... yes, bad things happen in this book, but it is infused with hope. I was enchanted by Vera's voice and left the story wanting MORE. Which, happily, the audio version provided, in an interview of one of the Aleuts who actually experienced the evacuation during WWII. Books like this one are why I write historical fiction.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


So when I got back from my awesome trip to Mississippi, this book was waiting for me.

I dove right in. And I LOVED Lainey! Holly Nicole Hoxter has written a story about a real girl with real feelings, and I loved it!

There is one line I can't get out of my head: "But love wasn't a buffet. I couldn't have everything that looked good."


Monday, August 17, 2009


Once you've started writing, don't stop. Truly, this can be a much greater challenge than getting started in the first place, because the road is steep and the tracks are littered with boulders and then an unexpected wind kicks up and the snow settles in drifts and you think there is no way you will ever get to the top of that mountain.

Well, one thing's for certain: you won't get there if you stop. So keep going!

I'm embarrassed to say this, but I keep thinking of this song. Yeah. What am I, ten years old? Anyway...

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Driving to Vicksburg tomorrow, to hang out with writers and teach some workshops at Mississippi Writers Guild conference. The conference is being held at the Riverwalk Hotel and Casino. Too bad I am awful at poker. Penny slots, anyone?

Last time I was in Vicksburg I was 8 months pregnant, it was July, and I swear the sweat rolling down the back of my legs could have filled the Riverwalk. The casino was newly opened and a big surprise to Hubby and me when we drove up to our according the guide book, "quaint, quiet hotel" right across the street. Yeah. Bummer.

Anyhow, I love Mississippi. They've got great people and fried pickles. Just ask Katie and Sarah Frances. (Pickles in pic found here.)

I'll be stopping in Jackson to visit my roomie from way back when we were both college students working at Walt Disney World in Orlando. I remember when that semester was over, I had to have this bumper sticker: "Is there life after Disney World?"

Umm, yes, in fact, there is. But I will enjoy remembering those days when I see Laurie. And Richelle is an awesome conference planner, so I know it's gonna be great!

And now for a quote I find comforting:

"Getting ahead in a difficult profession requires avid faith in yourself. That is why some people with mediocre talent, but with great inner drive, go so much further than people with vastly superior talent."

- Sophia Loren

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


See what I'm talking about here and here.

Also, consider this excerpt from Early Morning - Remembering my Father, William Stafford by Kim Stafford, which was a gift from sweet Kirie who knew I would love it (and yes, Kirie, I do!):

My father told me, “A student comes to me with a piece of writing, holds it out, says ‘Is this good?’ A whole sequence of emergencies goes off in my mind. That’s not a question to ask anyone but yourself. Others may be able to accept standards from another. But an artist is a person who decides."

Friday, August 7, 2009


I don't have poetry to share today, but I will be checking out Poetry Friday Roundup with Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect.

Five for Friday:

1. Where I'm not: LA. Which might make me sad if I think about all the stuff I'm missing, so instead I'll feel like I'm there by checking out Suzanne's SCBWI conference updates.

2. The don't call 'em "dog days" for nothing. It's hot. And muggy. Even my hair is complaining.

3. Counting down the days till this movie. Eric Bana. Need I say more?

4. Book club tonight. CAN'T WAIT.

5. Meanwhile, the MC in my WIP is crying out for a name change. What is wrong with that girl? Justine is a perfectly wonderful name. But she keeps whispering, "Cass. Cassie. Cassandra." Of course I'm listening...

Thursday, August 6, 2009


Of all the Author ABC's, this is THE most important one.

So don't even bother rattling off all your excuses. You have just as much time as anyone else.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Okay, received this book in the mail yesterday, and Team Jacob fans are totally gonna love it!

Big congrats to fellow Tenner (although her book actually releases in 2009) Bree Despain for this paranormal love story AND its gorgeous cover, that she totally fought for. Trust me, it's a way better fit than the first cover they threw at Bree!

See what happens when you stand strong??