Archive | June, 2012

Mama Says #38

Mama Says #38

Me? Personally, I like seasons. Not extreme ones, mind you, but gentle indications of movement through the seasons of my life. Mom hates winter too much to put up with it in exchange for surprises of spring and fall. Her weather report from south Florida is usually something like, “It’s been the same for such […]

Who Decides a Book’s Title?

Who Decides a Book’s Title?

I like to tell people the titles of my new books. I just don’t always know the titles. Here’s how it goes. A writer pulls her hair out trying to come up with a zinger of a title that will grab an agent or editor’s attention. Then you sell the project—which may or may not […]

One Reason to Read Your Old Notes

Olivia Newport bindweed flower

Old notes follow you around. I had this note about bindweed written in a small notebook for about a year. Then I ripped it out of the notebook and put it in a folder in my office for a long time. I keep looking at it. It’s about bindweed. I made the note one day […]

Mama Says #37

Mama Says #37

One lazy Sunday afternoon Mom and I were talking about some recent event in the news. I can’t say we really knew much about it. I can well imagine Mom on her chair on the lanai, waving her hand as she said, “If they don’t print it up on the sky over my backyard, I […]

How Many Editors Does One Book Need?

Olivia Newport Lake in winter

Over the winter I had a short-term job. I signed on for seven months with an organization producing textbooks. The project was mid-stream, and the commitment was just until the books went to press. I’ve been away for a couple of months now. Last week the printed books arrived, and I went in to the […]

Why You Should Break Out of Your Cage

Olivia Newport kids in cage

Don’t scroll past the photo! I’m writing this post because I love this photo. These are two of my sister’s kids in their dog’s cage a couple of years ago. (Yes, he’s a big dog, a curious, friendly yellow lab. He takes up the whole cage now.) I stayed with my sister while in Chicago […]

Mama Says #36

Mama Says #36

When I was growing up, every Sunday after church we had pot roast, mashed potatoes, peas, gravy, and Brown ‘n’ Serve rolls. I can smell it now. I never quite got the hang of going off to church and still managing to put a great meal on the table more or less immediately after getting […]

Three Reasons Books Signings Are Fun

Three Reasons Books Signings Are Fun

Last week I was in Chicago for two book signing events. Both were extremely local to the setting of The Pursuit of Lucy Banning. Like right on the street where she lives, the real Avenue of Dreams. Like at the neighbor’s house. Like I kept expecting to look up and see Lucy. Several serendipitous occurrences […]

How to Use Big Words to Impress People

Olivia Newport Word Lover's Dictionary

I remember the day my dad said to me, “Is everything copacetic?” I was a teenager and had to admit I did not know what that word meant. (And English was not even my dad’s first language.) When I once tried the word out on my own teenager, he did not know what it meant […]

Mama Says #35

Mama Says #35

Do you ever have haiku moments? Not long ago I read something that defined haiku as more than just a poem with 17 syllables. This art form also captures the essence of a person’s connection to the beauty of nature at that moment. Recently my mother was telling me how beautiful a particular day was. […]