Hi Again! I hope you’re all doing well. I had posted the sale of one of my books last weekend on Facebook (Both Sides of Love for .99 until tomorrow!) and promised to return with other book recommendations.
For me, reading is a great escape, and there’s no better time than now to lose yourself in stories. The following is a small list of books I’ve read recently and would highly recommend:
The Alice Network, by Kate Quinn
The Glass Lake, by Maeve Binchy
What The Wind Knows, by Amy Harmon
Stay, by Catherine Ryan Hyde
The Chain, by Adrian McKinty
Life and Other Inconveniences, (or any book) by Kristan Higgins
And check out these wonderful stories, by self-published authors like myself:
I was lucky enough to discover Lucy Mitchell’s blog a few years ago: BlondeWriteMore. Her weekly posts about life and writing are humorous, entertaining and uplifting. Instructions For Falling In Love Againis her first novel and, like Lucy, is filled with laughter and heart.
Finding Edward is the third installment of the Save Me series, by Suzanne McKenna Link. Saving Toby and Keeping Claudia, the first two books in the trilogy, take the reader on a heartfelt and emotional journey of a young man struggling with his past and the love of a girl who just might save him. Finding Edward, which can be read as a stand-alone, follows Edward Rudack as he searches for a father he never knew he had – in beautiful Italy. I had the pleasure of reading an advanced reader copy and just loved it. It will be out March 31st and is available for pre-order on Amazon.
If you have any books to recommend, please pass them along.
Stay healthy and I look forward to speaking with you again soon.
I wash my hands so often lately, I can’t get the song out of my head.
It’s been a while since my last post and for that, I apologize. However, I feel compelled to come out and say hello, to let you know I’m thinking of you, and I hope you’re all doing okay during these trying times.
We may be social distancing (I hope), but we’re united. It’s evident in the beautiful posts and videos I see, of people around the world sharing music, poems, messages of joy, and hope.
We’ll get through this together. Spring will be here soon. And when it arrives, may it bring a new appreciation for the lives we live, for those we love, and for all we have.
If you’d like to talk or share anything at all, I’m here. Let me know how you’re doing.
And don’t forget to sing the Happy Birthday Song while you wash your hands. It is, after all, a song about life.
For the first years of my son’s life, he was my shadow. On any given day, you’d find him on my hip, or on my lap, or hugging a leg. When I walked away, he followed. When I went out with my husband or friends, he cried. When he woke up in the morning, or from a nap, he called for me. It was endearing, exhausting, and short-lived (if you consider three years short).
About 13 years ago, both of my boys wrestled. For a few months in the winter, I brought them to practice at the high school. I sat in the hall waiting for one, then the other, to enjoy rolling around on thick, smelly mats in the gym with their peers.
One evening I was with my younger son, my shadow, waiting for the older one to finish his practice when a coach came out of the gym with a large box. He placed the box on the floor and asked me if I would help him to hand out tournament t-shirts to the players as they left.
Of course, I agreed.
As each boy came out, I found his size and gave it to him. To do this, I had to lean over and reach inside the box which caused my sweater to rise a few inches above my waist exposing my lower back. Each time this happened, I felt a small hand pull the sweater down to cover me. My son was almost five years old then.
Last week we dropped this son at college for the first time. We found his room, unpacked his belongings, made his bed, set up his television, and too soon, said goodbye.
I’m not sure why that memory, so clear in my mind, came to me. I can’t remember what I did yesterday. But I grabbed it, reliving the moment outside of that gym. Last week, I walked away from this child who used to pull down the back of my sweater so my skin wouldn’t show. I walked away and he didn’t follow, or cry, or call for me.
My heart is full of small, yet significant memories such as this, and to know I can draw upon them when I need brings me comfort.
This is the beginning of a new stage for us. And maybe, just maybe, the memories we’ve made over the years, the ones I hold like treasures, will make the moving on hurt less.
I hope you all enjoyed the holidays. As we welcome in the new year, I want to take a moment to reflect on all book-related things that I experienced in 2018 and the gratitude I feel for all of the support I’ve received from family, friends and readers.
I met two of my idols this year. In May, Adriana Trigiani, author of Lucia, LuciaandThe Shoemaker’s Wife, among many others, spoke at the retirement community where my mom and mother-in-law live. Adriana was a burst of bright energy, funny, engaging and so friendly. I listened, raptured, as she spoke of the women in her family and how important women are to storytelling.
In August, I met the wonderful Kristan Higgins, who I discovered a few years ago and who is my favorite author and social media personality. I fangirled all over her. “You’re my favorite person I’ve never met,” is what I said when I faced her. Yep, I did. And I meant it. If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading her books and enjoy humorous, romantic, tug-at-the-heartstring stories, treat yourself in 2019.
With the release of The Fabric Of Us in October, I had the privilege and the pleasure of enjoying three book club meetings to discuss it. The first was a complete surprise. My own book club, aptly called “Lit Ladies”, surprised me by reading it without telling me. I love these women. They continue to support me and each other.
The next book club was put together by my “first friend” in life, Katie, who donned her Wonder Woman suit to orchestrate and mediate her first book club, specifically to get my book read. She managed to coax over forty women to join this club, which she named Baby Steps Book Club powered by The Association of Adults Who are Realistic People (BSBC powered by AARP). I write fiction, but I can’t make this up. The goal of this new club is to support new and lesser-known, local authors. She found a venue to accommodate the group and in November, we had our first meeting. Almost thirty women showed up, including several old friends. Katie has never been in a book club, but put this evening together beautifully. Did I mention she had a Power Point presentation? Like I said, Wonder Woman.
The group below read The Fabric Of Us and asked me to join them in December. The women were warm, welcoming and I had the best time. Yes, that is a dessert (Tower of Shame) on the table in front of us.
I managed to finish another manuscript this year. At present, it has no title and is still in the beginning stages of life. Here is the gist of what it’s about:
Finally, if you’re looking for something to read, here is a list of books I really enjoyed this year. I recommend all of them.
Lucia, Lucia by Adriana Trigiani
Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins
Good Luck With That by Kristan Higgins
The Girl He Used To Know by Tracey Garvis Graves
Eleanor Elephant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
Need To Know by Karen Cleveland
The Two-Family House by Lynda Cohen Luigman
Beartown by Fredrick Backman
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
Woman Last Seen In Her Thirties by Camille Pagan
Educated by Tara Westover
Etched in Sand: A True Story Of Five Siblings Who Survived an Unspeakable Childhood on Long Island by Regina Calcaterra
Saving Toby (Toby & Claudia book 1) by Suzanne McKenna Link
Keeping Claudia (Toby & Claudia book 2) by Suzanne McKenna Link
Glitter and Glue: A Memoir by Kelly Corrigan
Thank you to my readers who reached out to say a kind word about my books – you have no idea what it means to me. And to my friends and family, for your continued love and support. I am so fortunate and grateful for each of you.
I wish you a peaceful, healthy New Year. And if you have a minute, let me know how your year was and what you hope to find in 2019. I’m all ears.
As I grow older and enjoy new experiences, my mind cannot hold onto every memory. I wish I could recall more from my youth or even the countless treasured ones of my babies before they so quickly became young men. I try, but I can’t. I guess it’s why we take pictures and videos. It’s why we tell stories. My boys are fortunate enough to be growing up with their grandparents. Grandparents are great storytellers. Through them, we learn about who we are and where we come from.
One significant childhood memory I do hold, though, is of my parents dancing. I don’t remember how old I was when they took lessons. Old enough to remember how they looked as they practiced the Hustle in the living room, and young enough not to want to be anywhere else but on that couch watching them. Maybe I can recall that with such clarity because it wasn’t a one-time incident. They practiced all the time, for hours.
We took a family vacation every year until I was sixteen. Holiday dinners, summer barbeques and New Year’s Eve parties at my house were the norm. So, when my parents decided to separate in my eighteenth year, it came as somewhat of a surprise. My friends were shocked. But they dance together! was a common response. They never fight, was another.
I learned then that you don’t have to fight or hate each other to no longer want to be married. Sometimes, it happens. Even to two people who are fond of each other.
For twenty years since, I’ve had birthday parties for my children, holiday dinners and various gatherings. Both of my parents attended, every time, each with their significant others. Dad likes Mom’s husband and Mom likes Dad’s girlfriend. Sometimes, they talk and occasionally hang out without me involved. They buy each other Christmas and birthday gifts. It’s the best possible scenario for the child of divorced parents.
About four years ago, my mother was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. It’s taking its toll on a woman who was once vibrant, loud and full of energy. But it can’t squelch her drive to keep going. Mom joined a boxing class specifically for Parkinson’s patients. A put-up-your-dukes, hour long session where she pushes herself to stay strong. Its offered once a week. Not enough.
Earlier this year, my father married his long-time love. The wedding was beautiful, the guest list, intimate. Mom was there, as was her husband, her sisters and nieces. I kid you not. Mom’s family took up half the room. At one point, my father helped my mother to the dance floor. She was stiff and slow, but oh so happy.
Dad, an awesome dance instructor for over twenty years, decided to research the benefits of dancing for Parkinson’s patients. He put together a plan and presented it to my mother. Now, they get together every week. He teaches her to Rhumba, Hustle, Line Dance. She’s got the Electric Slide down. Her doctor can’t believe how her mobility has improved.
I’m thankful for so many things this year. But I count my blessings most for two people who have taught me, by example, that love comes in so many different forms. Though a marriage may not last, affection, respect and kindness endures.
You welcomed us to the party. No matter our mood when we arrived, we had to be happy. We danced and drank, toasted and cheered. Most of all, we laughed. The laughter could be heard everywhere. There were so many of us, people of all ages, all with one thing in common.
Occasionally, we’d look around and wonder how we got so lucky to find ourselves at this celebration. This amazing, life-affirming, gleeful, wonderful bash. We knew we were blessed. We never wanted it to end.
Then the music stopped playing, the lights went dim and we were told it was over. It was time to move on. But how do we move from something so celebratory and joyous? What will we do now?
This is what it felt like to have you in our lives. In your presence, we were at life’s exclusive gala, laughing. Laughing until we cried.
Thank you for giving us cause to celebrate, for filling our lives with joy, for sharing your generous spirit and kindness and love. We know how lucky we are to have spent time with you. And we will forever be grateful.
I hope you’re all well and if you’re in the Northeast, I hope you’re embracing the change of weather. Welcome Fall, my favorite season!
Okay, this post is not about Fall and how much I love it. I have news.
I am so happy (and slightly terrified) to announce the release of my new book, The Fabric Of Us, now available in both the Kindle version and paperback on Amazon.
I’m excited to share Chris and Olivia’s story with you all. I love these characters and I hope you fall in love with them too.
Here is the blurb for The Fabric Of Us:
On the eve of Olivia Bennet’s fiftieth birthday, she and her husband, Chris, toast to the next stage of their lives. Their children are settled; Ella is married and planning a family and Nick is starting his senior year at college. After thirty years of sacrifices and struggles for their family, it is finally time to do all the things they’ve dreamed to do as a couple.
Always unpredictable, life has other plans for the Bennets when Olivia gets shocking news that threatens all that she and Chris have built together.
* * *
Alternating between the past and present, THE FABRIC OF US beautifully unfolds the layers of a devoted marriage, exposing an interwoven thread of secrets and consequences that threaten to unravel a relationship once believed to be built on love, trust and faith.
So comfy up on the couch, grab a blanket and sip a pumpkin beer. Tis the season. Happy reading!