20 Years Ago: Cap, Gown, Doc Martens

You know the question where people ask what advice you’d give your younger self? Well, my total Oprah moment happened, minus the illustrious Lady O, just last weekend when a young seating hostess at my favorite taco place was sporting a pair of black Doc Martens. “I know what I’d tell my younger self,” I thought as I looked at them longingly. “Never, ever get rid of your Doc Martens because one day, you’ll be wishing you still had yours.” I know they’re just shoes — boots actually — and I don’t even remember the precise moment they weren’t in… Continue reading

Goin’ Back to Nashville

In what has to be another land speed record for the passage of time, it’s hard to believe that March is (gasp!) almost a wrap. It’s been a really good month, one that began with a return to a place I hadn’t visited in much too long — Nashville. For anyone reading who doesn’t know me well, Music City played a rather significant role in my life story. It’s where my professional writing career began, it’s where I made incredible friends who still stay in touch despite the fact I’m 664 miles away, it’s where I met Will, and it’s… Continue reading

Rest in Peace, CDs

I know, I know, the CD died long before Best Buy recently decided to stop selling them (rumor has it, Target is next) as most people have comfortably made the transition to all things digital. And while I’m usually a fan of anything that frees up additional shelf space, it’s the weirdo, clutter-free freak in me, I’m still a little bummed that CDs are rapidly going the way of cassettes and 8-tracks. Worse yet, they’re also destined to be mocked by future generations. You’re kidding, you had to put that shiny, frisbee-like thing into a CD player to hear music? Perish… Continue reading

Happy 10th Birthday, Debut Novel

I can hardly believe it’s been 10 (!!!) years since the release of my first novel, Around the World in 80 Dates. While my book’s actual birthday was back on September 27, it was October 18, 2007 when I first spotted it on the shelf at Borders in Roseville, Minnesota (still miss you Borders, R.I.P.). As I picked up my novel from the shelf and, you know, confirmed it was mine, I was having a total That Thing You Do! moment in my mind where I wanted to scream “That’s MY book!” to everyone in striking distance. Since I didn’t… Continue reading

Tearing Down, Rebuilding, Repeat

Since we last spoke, I’ve been taking all the wonderful advice I was given at Pitch Slam and tearing down (and rebuilding) the house formerly known as Spaghetti in Exile. The process is as messy and complicated as one might expect. I’ve taken a hammer to sentences and paragraphs and even chapters I once held sacred. I’ve axed entire characters and plotlines altogether (and not in a murder mystery kind of way). I’ve chiseled and smoothed away a few rough edges and constructed a few new beams for support. Basically I’m one novel away from getting a show on the… Continue reading

Ready, Set, Pitch Slam!

Just shy of two weeks ago, I not only attended my first Writer’s Digest conference in NYC, but I survived (!!!) my first Pitch Slam. For anyone not familiar with a Pitch Slam, it’s like speed dating for writers. But instead of connecting with a cute guy or gal, your mission is to pique the interest of an agent or two (or more) who represents your chosen genre. The rules are simple enough: You get a minute and a half to pitch your passion project, and he/she gets a minute and a half to respond. If the conversation goes the… Continue reading