The Gift Grandmother Gave Me When She Died

Days before my grandmother died, she lingered in a coma, eyes no longer open, wearing the Joan Collins-like wig I’d seen her in everyday of my life. Me, the cousins, my brother, my father hung close to her bedside like bats waiting for the transition into darkness. My dad and I vacuumed her house as she would have like. On her driveway, I drew a chalk painting of her ascending into the clouds, dancing with my grandfather. My cousins and I showed her a picture of Pop-Pop and her at their 50th wedding anniversary; she exhaled a huff of air. Was she calling out to him, her husband already waiting where she’d soon go? Or was she ordering him around? Cousin Laura, reminded her how much Pop-Pop lo

The First Sentence: Why It Matters Where the Crowbar Lies

Agents and editors have told me when they review a manuscript they read the first sentence only. If their curiosity is peaked, they will then read the first paragraph, the first page, the first chapter. If their curiosity is not peaked, the manuscript goes in the slush pile. In today's technology age where we, the reading public, have access to a zillion books in Barnes & Noble, Kindle, and elsewhere, we are forced to be equally as fastidious. Clearly, for an author who wants their works read, the first sentence matters! So, I thought it would be fun to send you a first sentence I've kept with me for six years, ever since I was inspired by some photos I'd taken for a photography class. I hav

**It's Done!** -- What it Took to Finish Writing My Book "Elegant Out"

It took putting myself back in the grip of the man whose hands wrapped around my neck. It took crying. It took being so incredibly uncomfortable. It took recognizing the energy of the past creeping in and taking hold. It took facing an unwanted past and unraveling it a few more times. It took weeding through old journals, clipping bits of dialogue and story themes. It took having the Thesaurus open on my browser at all times. It took walking in the labyrinth to ground myself. It took lying in bed, coughing, with the laptop on my lap, editing the last few pages, rewriting the last chapter. It took sleeping a lot. Being sick. It took being afraid and stepping into the fear, despite the fear. I

Vacations & Writing - The Battle

Vacations are hugely distracting to my writing. I love vacations. When I return, I always have a few moments of regret. When I’m lingering in bed, recovering from the exhaustion of sightseeing, on-the-go, overspending, and over-eating, I never want to go on vacation again. I resent vacations when I stand in the kitchen heating water for tea and peer over at my desk, knowing it’s time to write, but I just don’t feel like writing again. I don’t have the energy, the headspace, or even the ideas. My first reaction is irritation, anger and resentment. Then, I settle into my rational, thinking brain and remember… Vacations are the glorious and mandatory flooding of the well. They are full of “out-