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Showing posts from June, 2012

Week-Ending: A Commonplace Book

I've always thought that Morning Pages, as suggested in Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way, were a brilliant way to get the mind out of the way of the writer's imagination. Which is why I was tickled pink to find this much earlier positing of the same idea in Brenda Ueland's classic book on writing:

That is why I think it is good to keep a diary. I don't mean a "had lunch" diary. But do this: write every day, or as often as y ou possible can, as fast and carelessly as you possibly can, without reading it again,a nything you happened to have thought, seen or felt the day before.

In six months look at it. A drawer full of paper will ahve accumulated. You will see that what you have written with the most slovenly freedom - in those parts there will be vitality, brilliance, beauty.

Brenda Ueland

Writing to me is …my legacy.

Week Six in the Writerly Chronicles from my Orangeberry Book Tour:

On a warm summer afternoon in 1994, as I walked home from my job as Assistant Vice President in Corporate Finance for a Japanese Investment Bank, I paused, looked at the wall of skyscrapers that surrounded me, and had an epiphany. As much as I loved working on Wall Street, I suddenly understood that when it was my turn to retire, my absence would not be noteworthy. There would simply be someone else to take my place. Then I thought of my mother who was retiring that year, who’d spent her entire career in early childhood education, and who, upon retirement boarded a plane to work in an international school in the former-Soviet Union. When she got up from her desk, she left a living legacy of children who had learned to read through her efforts. Then I thought of my brother John, who is a building contractor, who could drive me around his hometown and show me the historic homes that he’d brought back to life, the clients he…

Welcome to the World Chester Blue!

Today I am happy to announce the arrival of my second book. It's available on Kindle and in paperback.
Chester Blue is a children's chapter book consisting of ten linked stories of encouragement that will appeal to children and adults. Here's the back cover copy:
What if when you most needed help,  a blue bear appeared with a note from God? One night, Miss Millie of Blossom, Ohio turns her face to the stars and asks God for help. The next day, a package arrives on her doorstep containing a blue teddy bear and a special note.  Over the course of a year, this remarkable blue bear travels across the country, showing up just when he’s needed most. 
During his journey, Chester Blue helps a young girl trying to impress her big sisters; saves a sailor caught in a terrible storm; reunites two constantly fighting brothers; helps a cowboy become a rodeo clown; and aids a father and daughter in bonding after divorce.  If you ever needed a message from God, it's here...

Beginning July 3…

Week-ending: A Commonplace Book

Gradually by writing you will learn more and more to be free, to say all you think; and at the same time you will learn never to lie to yourself, never to pretend and attitudinize. But only by writing and by long, patient, serious work will you find your true self.

-Brenda Ueland
A Book About Art, Independence and Spirit

Do’s and Don’ts for the Beginning (and Experienced) Writer

Week Five in the Writerly Chronicles from my Orangeberry Book Tour:

1.Do read widely. Yes, you must read historical romances if you want to write historical romances. There are familiar styles and jargon that readers expect, as well as trends in the market that you would be wise to know. On the other hand, don’t limit your reading menu to only the books you intend to write. Broaden your literary and imaginative horizons by reading widely. Think of this as you would your daily diet. Although I love chocolate (too much), I appreciate it so much more when I’ve enjoyed a widely varied palate of foods. Your writing mind will thank you if you’ve fed it a colorful diet of fiction and non-fiction, poetry and cookbooks. Okay, maybe the cookbooks are just for me. 2.Don’t talk about wanting to write your first novel. Write it. It has never been easier to become a published author. So if you truly want to be one, then start writing and don’t stop until you’ve reached the end. Attending conferences,…

Olive - Brie Burgers on the Grill With a Chilled Rose Wine

After a lengthy phone conversation with my brother John, I finally learned how to turn on my gas grill. And of course, as with all new toys, I'm obsessed with using it often.
I also love hamburgers. 
For this hamburger, I decided to improvise using what I had in the refrigerator, a jar of green olives and a small wedge of brie. I chopped both finely.
Oh, and before that......I poured myself a glass of my other new toy this summer....rose wine. Find a nice dry one, it's perfect wine for summer red meat grilling.

I formed the patties, sprinkled with coarsely ground pepper.  Then I buttered a couple of onion rolls. That ear of corn has also been slathered with butter and sprinkled with herbs of Provence. 

Cooking. Cooking. Cooking.

And voila! 

Week-Ending: A Common Place Book

"When I do what it takes to face obstacles, believing everything will work out, as it did for the Lion [in the Wizard of Oz], courage becomes the virtue that pulls me through tough situations. I believe it is not found in the opinion of another, like the Wizard, but in the core character inside of me. This is true for us all."

- Carol
from Courage: The Heart and Spirit of Every Woman
by Sandra Ford Walston

Given unlimited resources, how would you change the publishing world?

Week Four in the Writerly Chronicles from my Orangeberry Book Tour:

Actually, thanks to and the ease with which self-publishing has allowed anyone to enter the market, I think the publishing world is doing a great job of going through it’s own rapid evolution and requires no help from me. The gate-keepers of literary agents and publishing houses have, like the little man behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz, lost a great deal of their power in the past few years. While they will always play a vital and important role in the market, luckily for us, they are no longer the only avenue to publication.
The best outcome of this revolution in publishing is that it doesn’t take unlimited resources to play the game. The barriers to entry have been virtually eliminated thanks to the advent of the e-reader and the availability of venues for free publication.
Remember when you had to spend months querying agents in New York, just hoping to find one who would represent you and your …

Week-ending: A Commonplace Book

photo credit:

"There Will Be Rest"
There will be rest, and sure stars shining
     Over the roof-tops crowned with snow,
A reign of rest, serene forgetting,
     The music of stillness holy and low.

I will make this world of my devising
     Out of a dream in my lonely mind.
I shall find the crystal of peace, – above me
     Stars I shall find.

by Sara Teasdale
1884 - 1933

Fame or fortune, which would you prefer? Both, of course!

Week Three in the Writerly Chronicles from my Orangeberry Book Tour:

This question reminds me of the old: ‘what would you wish for, if you had three wishes?’ Well, I’d wish for three more wishes.
Fame and fortune for a writer are both good things, I’d argue.
Fame means the fulfillment of every writer’s greatest desire, to not only see their work in print, but to know that many readers are not only reading the story, but by inference of its popularity, enjoying it and recommending it to others. (I’m assuming you’ve attained fame via your book’s popularity, not through other, perhaps less savory means.)
Knowing what great pleasure reading a really good book brings me, and wishing to achieve the same in my own writing has been one of my great motivators. Writing a book that gains popularity and is enjoyed by readers would be a wonderful indication that I’ve achieved my goal. And of course, that is the caveat of the quest for fame. One would want to achieve it as evidence of a book’s pos…

Perfect Summer Pasta

Last Saturday morning, I was watching Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa, one of my favorite chefs on the FoodNetwork. She prepared this simple, Summer Garden Pasta (the link will take you directly to her version).

There is no-cooking involved (outside of boiling water for the pasta) that was so incredibly easy, and the best way to enjoy your summer bumper crop of tomatoes, that I had to try it. It is exactly what you want a summer dish to be...simple, light, and full of flavor.

Toss the ingredients for the 'sauce' together in the morning before you head out to the beach (so simple, it doesn't even need to be refrigerated!). When you get back, you'll have dinner ready to go...boil water, uncork a bottle of chilled white zinfandel (pink wines are my new summer favorite), take this out on the deck and enjoy!

Summer Pasta ala The Barefoot Contessa

Suzanne's Version Serves two.


1 pint container cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
12 basil leaves, chopped finely

Week-ending: A Commonplace Book

photo credit:

Surrender. It seems to happen every time. The moment we come to the point of feeling that we can no longer meet our challenge - that we give up, that we are not invested anymore in doing it our way, apart from seeking God's way-it is in this raw, open humble place that we leave an opening  for God to inspire us. he will help us not to give up, but to get up and begin again-wihout being attached to a particular outcome.

by Rick Moody
found in
INSPIRED: The Breath of God
by Joanna Laufer and Kenneth S. Lewis