passing ghosts

We’re raking up leaves here in Michigan, cutting back the withered flowers in our gardens and planter boxes and thinking about Thanksgiving Day recipes and holiday shopping. I love both summer and autumn in my home state but I’m looking forward to winter this year. For me it will be a time of rest and renewal. I plan to hibernate like a bear beneath a blanket of silent white snow, I want to meditate in front of a warm fire, I want to sew puzzle pieces of fabric into colorful whimsical quilts, I want to read books that inspire me to dream with my eyes open, I want to play with my grandchildren and watch old movies and drink hot chocolate and gain twenty pounds and remember who I am.

November Night
Listen . . .
With faint dry sound,
Like steps of passing ghosts,
The leaves, frost-crisp’d, break from the trees
And fall.
~Adelaide Crapsey

See more (nearly) Wordless Wednesday folks here!

thank you

So the summer is over and the truth is it was not a great one for me. Instead of frolicking in the pool and celebrating the weddings, showers, and graduation parties that were on my calendar, I went to doctor appointments and googled my way across the WWW trying to find an answer for the extreme fatigue, weight loss, and nausea I was experiencing. I’ve been here before (although not with the exact same symptoms) but I’ve been very sick for a very long time with “invisible chronic illness” and I really hoped I was done learning the lessons I needed to learn in that particular life course curriculum. Of course life doesn’t care whether we’ve been there before or had enough, it just keeps happening, and when the going gets tough we all have to choose if we’re going to be proactive-one-foot-in-front-of-the-other warriors or head-in-the-sand whiners. I must confess to have been a bit of both this past summer.

My health has recently improved a bit since this mystery illness first began, and although the weight loss has slowed to a crawl compared to a couple months ago, I still can’t gain even though I’m taking in plenty of calories. I know some of you are probably thinking “I have a few pounds I could send your way”, trust me, that offer has been on the table from friends and family for months and if I had been able to take them all up on it fitness guru Richard Simmons would be at my front door with a crane ready to haul me off to weight loss boot camp!

Still, I truly believe that no matter what is happening in your life there is always an opportunity for gratefulness and grace so here is my list of summer “bests”.

1. Birthday parties for my two grandchildren. Brooklyn turned 3 in July and Ashton had his 1st birthday party in May. I am thankful for those little arms that wrapped themselves gently around my neck this summer, the sweetness of those hugs helped me feel whole again.

2. I won a free night in Toronto with an Instagram photo I did for a contest organized by Josh Johnson and sponsored by ALT Hotels. My pic is now part of a permanent art installation in the lobby of the ALT Toronto Pearson hotel and me and Mr. Bookbabie are hoping to take a road trip this fall to see it in person and use my gift certificate, thanks Josh and ALT Hotels!

3. My debut novel, The Wonder of Ordinary Magic, won a silver medal in the 2012 Readers Favorite Award Contest! The awards ceremony will be held in Miami this November during The Miami Book Fair International, the largest book fair in America. As a first time author it is a thrill to be honored by this group, thank you so much Readers Favorite.

4. Always, always on my gratitude list is my husband Doug. Without him by my side I would simply feel lost and adrift as I navigate life’s bumpy waters.

“If the only prayer you said was thank you, that would be enough.” ~Meister Eckhart

take my hand

“The best moments in reading are when you come across something – a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things – which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.” ~Alan Bennett

For more wordless wednesday click here!

lunar love

I’m participating in my first blog hop, the Lunar Love Giveaway Hop hosted by I am a Reader, Not a Writer and Bookworm Lisa. The blog hosting my book is Laurie Here and we are giving away 2 signed paperbacks and 2 e-books to the four lucky winners who enter the drawing on her blog! I did this interview for the hop, Laurie is one of the many kind and generous readers I’ve met on this book writing adventure!

Each chapter in this book is in the voice of a different character, all of them family members of the main character, Bobby, who is in a coma. Was it difficult to write from the different age and sex perspectives of so many characters and then also change your writing style in the novel Bobby was finishing?

It wasn’t really difficult, but I did find it best to work in one voice at a time. In other words, I rarely jumped from say, Chloe’s 4 year old perspective to her mom to her grandpa’s voice, it would have been confusing to have so many people wandering around in my head all in the same day! As the narrative of the 24 hour period of Bobby’s life unfolded, having multiple points of view was inevitable and became central to the theme of connection. Writing from Bobby’s viewpoint was unique since he was bedridden, in a coma, and was deteriorating both physically and mentally as the book progressed. The murder mystery he was finishing was a little tricky since that was a different genre and I was narrating it in another author’s completely different style of writing…come to think of it, this was actually a very complicated book to write!

Are any of the characters based on people you know? How do you think you would get along with the main character, Bobby, if you met him? Do you think he would want to hang out with you?

More than being based on people I know, each of the characters in this book seem to be the embodiment of a small part of me. Of course, there are some moments and traits plagiarized from the lives of people in my life, but when the book was done I realized many of the characters were fleshed out pieces of my own personality, which was totally unintentional but not surprising I suppose since I created them! Bobby however, is the least like me I think, and no, he probably wouldn’t be interested in hanging out with me. He’s a young man in his 30s, a successful (somewhat arrogant) writer, a poker-playing-beer-drinking-cigar-smoking guys-guy, while I am a rather reserved middle-aged woman, a first time author who doesn’t smoke cigars, drink beer, and who hates playing cards (although I do like solitaire). The truth is, while I like Bobby and think he made for a compelling protagonist, we are very different and I was actually relieved to get his ADHD, testosterone driven persona out of my head by the time the book was finished! Continue reading

love rules

I usually have two books going at once, one fiction and one non-fiction. Yesterday, I was scanning my bookshelf in the family room looking for something motivational/comforting/self-helpish and I spotted What Happy People Know by Dan Baker, Ph.D. I read it a few years ago, but apparently I’ve forgotten “what happy people know” because I’ve been feeling pretty blue lately. After rereading it I decided to play along with the Teaser Tuesdays Blog meme at MizB’s Should Be Reading blog. I randomly opened the book to page 94 and picked out this quote to share. “From that day on, I realized that there was something happy people know that unhappy people don’t: No matter what happens in life, there’s always something left to love, and the love that remains is always stronger than anything that goes against it.”

I like that, the idea that love rules, that the capacity of our hearts to appreciate and love unconditionally can overcome the craziness in our minds. Craziness that is almost always motivated by fear. Fear that we aren’t good enough, we aren’t loveable, fear of loss, fear that things won’t get better, fear that we are helpless to “fix” the broken pieces of our life. I think we all have to dig deep sometimes to find the courage to quiet that fear-based voice with a conscious prayer that begins and ends in gratefulness and love. My take away after reading Dr. Baker’s book again is simply this: Life is a dance and we all might be a little happier if we remember to lead with love, not fear.


An old friend of the family made this music video in memory of my mother and just sent it to me. Frank DeLaMarre is a singer songwriter who wrote this song after John Denver passed away. Thank you Frank for creating this tribute, it’s beautiful! I think I’m going to take a break from blogging. I seem to have lost my writing/blogging/internet browsing mojo. While writing my blog and sharing my angst helped me get through the dark days of my mom’s long illness and passing, I feel like it’s time for me to step back and spend more time building my photography portfolio, actually doing yoga rather than just talking about it, and perhaps trying to rediscover my books and love for reading and writing. Thank you all for your support over the years and for showing an interest in my little life, I’ll still be around and checking in on your blogs from time to time, have a happy and healthy 2010!

The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly. ~Buddha

teaser tuesday

Teaser Tuesday asks you to : Grab your current read, Open to a random page, Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.

Outside, surrounding the plane, was the sense of weather growing vindictive-an accumulating energy with its own agenda. The weather didn’t care that they had connections to make, medication that needed to be taken, appointments that would be missed, vacations that were ruined before they’d even begun. In a Perfect World by Laura Kasischke

Sometimes when I board a plane, I look around and wonder if the people I see are the last people I’ll ever see? Or if we’ll go through an unwanted and frightening adventure together like the passengers of the “Miracle on the Hudson” flight. It’s like I’m seeing the characters from a book or a movie and I especially wonder about those sitting near me, what the couple in front of me are whispering about, or why the young father across from me is traveling alone with his baby son, is he divorced or widowed or flying home to his wife after visiting his parents? I watch the cabin crew go about their jobs, some smiling and talkative, while others looked bored and annoyed as they repeat their instructions and answer the same questions over and over again. In some ways flying is isolating, taking us away from the noise and hustle of the world below us. But it also forces an intimacy on us that we have little time for in our normal daily lives, which aside from the fear of crashing part, ain’t all bad!

best book lists 2009

I put together a few best book lists so you can copy and paste them and take them along with you to the bookstore. Hope you had a good year in reading, I can see by the lists that I missed way too many good reads and need to hit the books in the coming year!


Cheever: A Life – Blake Bailey

Await Your Reply – Dan Chaon

A Fiery Peace in a Cold War: Bernard Schriever and the Ultimate Weapon – Neil Sheehan

In Other Rooms, Other Wonders –Daniyal Mueenuddin

Big Machine – Victor LaValle

The Age of Wonder: How the Romantic Generation Discovered the Beauty and Terror of Science – Richard Holmes

Stitches – David Small

Shop Class as Soulcraft – Matthew B. Crawford

Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi – Geoff Dyer

Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon – David Grann


The Bolter – Frances Osborne

Dreaming in Hindi – Katherine Russell Rich

Little Bee – Chris Cleave

Blame – Michelle Huneven

Losing Mum and Pup – Christopher Buckley

Zeitoun – Dave Eggers

Say You’re One of Them – Uwem Akpan

Some Things That Meant the World to Me – Joshua Mohr

The Invisible Mountain – Carolina De Robertis

Strength in What Remains: A Journey of Remembrance and Forgiveness – Tracy Kidder

Continue reading