Confessions of a Writing Conference Newbie

I’ve been writing professionally for nearly two decades, and there’s hardly anything about my career that would be described as “textbook.” So come to think of it, it’s probably not all that crazy that I finally made my way to my first writers conference a whopping 10 years (!!!) after my first novel was published, right? Just typing that last sentence feels a little weird, though. Having a 10-year-old debut novel sort of feels like finding out the kids you used to babysit are now in college—or even scarier, getting MARRIED. It doesn’t seem quite possible, and yet, here we… Continue reading

Escapist Reading for Summer

Since I’ve always been more of an indoor girl when the sun is beating down in the summer (I blame my pale skin and blatant dislike of temperatures higher than 90 degrees), books are a constant companion as I retreat to the air conditioning. And whenever I’ve needed a break from reading and re-reading and making revisions to my novel Spaghetti in Exile, I’ve been enjoying a variety of fiction and non-fiction titles in the meantime. I’m proud to say that I’ve finally finished Susan Hermann Loomis’ delightful On Rue Tatin, which I started back in (gasp!) January. Lest you think… Continue reading

So What’s Your Book About?

Ever since I typed those two little words back in late February, the ones that every novelist can’t wait for after months and months of hard work, namely THE END, the weeks following have been basically consumed with one task. As I began reaching out to agents and various publishers, I answered some version of the following question: so what’s your book about? Some agents want it summed up in one tidy sentence like a movie’s logline, while others allow a luxurious paragraph or two. In a few instances, a synopsis was requested, and now I finally know why my… Continue reading

Six Years Ago @ Bocca della Verita

Facebook can be annoying for a million reasons, but  I do like when you’re reminded about fun little moments in life. Six years ago, Will and I were in Rome. It was my first time in Italy, and it was totally love at first sight. The food, the trees, the art, the architecture, the little cobblestone streets…yeah, you could say it was my jam. I felt right at home. One of my all-time favorite movies was completely shot on location there, too, so naturally when in Rome, we had to stop by Bocca della Verita (otherwise known as “the mouth… Continue reading

We Clapped ‘Til We Could Clap No More

Before attending a taping of “The Chew” last week in NYC with my brother Casey, I’d been on television exactly twice—once as a floating head for a story about Christian music that lasted all of 15 seconds and once on KARE-11 in Minneapolis/St. Paul when my second novel hit stores. The latter was a whole lot of fun until I caught a quick glimpse of myself in Camera Two’s viewfinder. It’s often been said that a TV camera adds 10-15 pounds (one explanation for why Hollywood types are so stinkin’ tiny, perhaps), but in my case, I’m pretty sure it… Continue reading

Pride & Prejudice Goes Modern

It was a cloudy summer day sort of like today when I first discovered Jane Austen. School was out for the summer, and I was desperately searching for something new to read at the local library. I’d already plowed through the majority of Judy Blume’s books and muscled my way through The Sword of Shannara, which at 736 pages, felt like an accomplishment of epic proportions for someone who’d just finished seventh grade. I’d also recently read the biography of the San Francisco Giants pitcher Dave Dravecky and a travel book about London, so perhaps in an effort to continue… Continue reading