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Friday, September 28, 2012


I love the definition of "process". A quick online check has it as "1. A series of actions, changes, or functions bringing about a result. 2. A series of operations performed in the making or treatment of a product." You know, like the writing process.

I'm not writing this blog to bore you on the divine and difficulty of writing. I'm writing it to share my personal thoughts on what has happened, is happening and hoping to happen with The Charity. Recently my thoughts have been about its process. What I've done to this book - my series of operations and actions - and, now, what I realize this book is doing to me.

When I first wrote this book, it was like an unripened peach. Beautiful, full of promise but  rock hard and with a heart of stone. It ripened under my desk, gathering dust and cobwebs. No, wait. That's wrong. I ripened. A process happened to me, something ripened in me. I could take out the manuscript and slash through it with a red pen and not feel as if I'd just slashed off my hands. I read the words written so long ago and realized there was more to Jessica's world than was on the pages. More importantly, I read it with a different heart and took the time and care to breathe a deep life into its characters.

You see, third definition of "process" is "3. Progress; passage." This book has made its passage into your world but it has done so through me, through my ripening. As you know, good things only ripen so fast and can't be rushed.

Friday, September 21, 2012


I recently celebrated a birthday and loved the fact that people want to give gifts. We all love receiving gifts, of course. So, that got me thinking. What if the giver and receiver were the same person? Can you give a gift to yourself?

Well, yes. In fact, I did just that many years ago. I gave myself the gift of time and did something that is supremely selfish - I wrote a book.

Let me give you some background. Sixteen years ago I was a working mom of two young boys. I left my job as a VP of a Boston bank, kept my kids' day care arrangements in place, holed up in my freezing cold home office and let the book take shape. Looking back, I had been giving to others - kids, husband, jobs. You know the drill. I was in a career that I loved but wasn't really "me". I had this crazy story rattling around in my head looking for an escape hatch. Stepping off that well defined and highly worn career path and into the weeds is not for the faint of heart. Being responsible to others and for others was the dominant force in my life. Giving to others is just how I was wired then and now.

But there was this story, you see, about a girl who loved the land and loved horses. She experienced a huge loss and met someone that sparked her alive again. There were some complications in their love story - pesky little details like the IRA and a terrorist cell.  Her story ripened inside of me and needed to be told. I wanted to see if I could be the one to voice it.

So, I did. I gave myself the gift of time. I gave myself permission to write.  

Monday, September 17, 2012

Changing the World

Writing is a solitary effort. People think of someone clicking away on a keyboard or scribbling frantically at all hours of the night with nothing but the tick of the clock on the mantel keeping her company.

I disagree. While writing isn't a team sport, it connects the writer to the world in a deeply personal way. Not one word is written without an instant assessment of that word against all others. What image will one word conjure over another? What could that phrase mean to a man? A woman? When an essay is written, it articulates a view of a small spec of the world. When a work of fiction is written, it creates a whole world. There is a connection through the process of writing that envelops the writer in every piece of knowledge, every experience, every assumption and every lie that ever sparked a brain cell.

I just released a new world I created -pause now for a brief pat on my back-and I have no grand illusions of what I've accomplished by writing a thriller. I haven't solved world hunger or made the Taliban reasonable. I've simply placed into the world a story that wanted to be heard.

By this one solitary act I have not changed the world. I merely created one of my choice.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


There are some people out there who seem to have a new book published every year. If being prolific is a prerequisite for success, I'm not holding my breath about my prospects for fame.

The Charity was written over 16 years ago. When I get asked what was it like to write this book, I have to respond that I didn't write it - this book wrote itself. This book burned a hole in my head and demanded to be brought into existence. I gave myself the gift of time and let the pages pour out of me. I'll say it now and I'll say it again, writing and weaving a story is a discovered joy for me. What I sampled then - the many hours conceiving a scene then crafting the words - is something that I fell in love with. But life intervened and The Charity was shelved while I worked and raised a family.

I earned a bit more writing cred over the years and my "beta-readers" - those folks who were kind enough to read early drafts all those many years ago - pestered me about getting the trials and tribulations of Jessica and Michael published and out there! So, with one more kick in the pants, I did. I'm finally published!

It was on the night of the blue moon that I finalized my cover and interior design and I knew there would be no more delays. The next blue moon will be in 2015.

I think I feel the pressure of a deadline.