WFWA Online Book Launch Party

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On May 10th, I will be part of the WFWA’s Online Book Launch Party. The quarterly Facebook parties are always lively and attended by an awesome group of authors. This event will be extra special for me because my buddy, Samantha Bryant, is celebrating a book launch as well.

Drop by the  Women’s Fiction Online Book Launch Party  on Tuesday afternoon and chat with me from 4:00 – 4:30.

Check out the impressive line-up of amazing authors:

May 10th from 1:00 – 6:00

1:00 — Kristy Harvey — Lies and Other Acts of Love

1:30 — Aimie Runyan — Promised to the Crown

2:00 — Weina Randel — The Empress of Bright Moon

2:30 –Cara Achterberg — Girls’ Weekend

3:00 — Nicole Meier — The House of Bradbury

3:30 — Alessandra Harris — Blaming the Wind

4:00 — Elizabeth Hein — Escape Plan

4:30 — Cynthia Ruchti — Song of Silence

5:00 — Samantha Bryant — Change of Life

5:30  — Camille Di Maio — The Memory of Us

 

 

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Call for Beta Readers

I am in the final stretch of getting the sequel to Overlook (tentatively called Escape Plan) published. Before I send it off to the editor, I would like a few of my wonderful readers take a look at a draft and give me some feedback.

This novel has a bit more suspense than my other novels, so I don’t want to give too much away here, however, here is a sufficiently vague blurb:

After rashly getting rid of her husband, Kitty Haskell has to deal with the consequences of her actions. With the help of her good friend, Stacia, Kitty is finding her way to a new life post-Seth. However, Stacia’s help comes with a heavy dose of obligation. When Stacia discovers that her childhood friend and adult rival, Bitsy Magnuson-Evans, is in serious trouble as well, she asks Kitty to take Bitsy in and keep her secret. The situation gets increasingly complicated as Kitty is forced to deal with her husband’s mistress showing up with a baby in tow, supporting her own children, and the intriguing young artist that makes her weak in the knees.

If you are interested in receiving a draft of the novel, please reply to this post. Also, tell me if you would like a free copy of the first book, Overlook, for reference.

1000 Voices for Compassion

photo credit www.healthyplace.com
photo credit http://www.healthyplace.com

Today bloggers from all walks of life and lines of interest are blogging on the topic of compassion. Please look for the hashtag #1000Speak to read more about how people are thinking about compassion in our lives today.

Today, I am thinking of all the people out there that struggle with mental illness and the shame and self-blame that goes along with having an illness that people can not see. Society does not show understanding and patience for people who suffer from mental illness.

People do not choose to be ill. Illness is not a moral failing. People who are struggling with an illness of the brain deserve our compassion. More importantly, they deserve to receive self love. It is far too easy to slip into a blaming posture because we do not understand what is going on inside the mind. Patience and love can go a long way in helping a person heal.

We all have wounds that fester. Our life experiences leave scars on all our hearts that need compassion and understanding. Showing kindness and empathy to those around us can help us heal, yet showing kindness and forgiveness to ourselves can be even more powerful. We all have weak spots that deserve support. We all deserve kindness.

Through my writing, I seek to show how love and compassion can transform lives. How do you speak for compassion in the world?

Jackson Katz Video

While researching the topic of domestic violence for an upcoming book, I came across this interesting TED talk from last year and wanted to share it with my readers. I am considering introducing the topic of domestic violence into the second book in my Overlook series, but it is a complex subject and I want to get it right. Also, that series takes place in 1976, so I have to be clear about how domestic abuse was treated then by the police and by society.

Anyway, I liked the connections Jackson Katz makes in this video between people’s attitudes towards domestic violence and society’s need to maintain the status quo. He also stresses the need for men to speak out against violence of all sorts as bystanders and peers. It’s worth watching.

Keys that unlock more than doors

I’m excited to be a guest today on Maryann Miller’s excellent blog – It’s Not All Gravy. You should check it out. She posted a lovely review of How To Climb The Eiffel Tower on Sunday. 


 

In the post on Maryann’s blog, I  talk about how the scarab ring I frequently wear serves as a reminder of my journey throughout the land of cancer and how it became an inspiration for the special pieces of jewelry in How To Climb The Eiffel Tower. 

In my current work-in-progress, a small object also plays a pivotal part in the plot. As I work my way through an extensive rewrite of the story, the main character’s inability to enter a room is emerging as a major theme of the book. One plot line follows her progress in renovating her family’s estate and learning about each of the women who lived there before her. She works her way through the house room by room, except for the library on the first floor. She doesn’t have the key to open that lock – or does she? 

I have been researching the symbolism behind keys and locks for the last day or so. Had you ever heard of a mystery key? I had not, until I stumbled onto Antique Locks Knowledge and fell down a research rabbit hole. A mystery key is a working key that also contains symbols that the bearer could use to solve a puzzle. I think the key in this photo is gorgeous. According to Brian Morland on Antique Locks, the symbols on the face of the key are an ant perhaps for hard work, a ladybug perhaps for harmony, and a wizard’s face perhaps for wisdom. The reverse side has a face that Mr. Morland thinks might signify the moon. I think it would be neat if it was a caricature of the original owner of the key. Either way, having a key like that is far more interesting than the keys in my pocket. I like the idea of a key being imbued with meaning. I envision the main character finding a key in the shape of an ‘H’ that will unlock some important door or drawer. I will be tinkering with the idea for the next few weeks. Stay tuned for further updates on how the rewrite is going. 

An example of a mystery key full of symbolism (c/o AntiqueLocks.com)
Reverse side of mystery key.

 

 

Researching the tornado of June 9, 1953

I am in the planning stages of a rather long book about the life of a house. The story takes place in the fictitious town of Quinsigamond, MA. Anyone who knows the area will easy recognize it as take on my hometown of Shrewsbury, MA. I am changing some of the topography and making the town smaller to serve the novel’s purposes. Shrewsbury is far too large and industrious for my uses.

Damage-at-Assumption-College-now-Quinsigamond-Community-College,-June-1953,-Worcester-MA.-From-the-Collections-of-Worcester-Historical-Museum.
Damage at Assumption College (now Quinsigamond Community College) Picture credit: Worcester Historical Museum

Right now, I am working on two fronts – planning out the plot and doing research on the four historical periods covered in the manuscript. One of the major events in the book will be the hurricane of June 9, 1953. My parents were kids at the time so I grew up being told stories of the destruction they witnessed in the area.  94 people were killed and over 1200 people were injured. It was a capricious storm. For instance, the detached garage of the house I grew up in was destroyed, but the house itself was unharmed.

I came across the picture shown here and realized that the building that was damaged is next to the building I took a class in when I was a senior in high school. Many beautiful building were destroyed or damaged. The house in my book will survive the storm, but will never be the same. The research has been fascinating and I frequently have to remind myself that I don’t need to know everything about that day, just enough to understand what people were feeling. Did anything happen in your hometown that you have researched? What did you learn?

If you’d like to know more about the events of June 9, 1953, Edgar B. Herwick III recently did a wonderful piece on the hurricane for WGBH. I encourage you to take a listen.