Sunday, December 27, 2009

I'm Now on Twitter

I am at my mother's house in Ohio and my tech- savvy niece got me a twitter account! Check it out!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Visiting Trinity High School

I had the good fortune to visit Mrs. Julia Buckley's advance composition class at Trinity High School in River Forest, IL earlier this month. During a writing workshop, the students wrote poems and I walked them through a critique group. The poems we heard were awesome! I felt so inspired by the work of these young adult writers.

At lunch, the librarians, Mrs. Molly Klowden and Mrs. Sue Tindall hosted a Q & A session in the lovely Trinity library. Students attended who had read my book, Shattered, and we had an interesting discussion. Their questions were intriguing and reflective and made me think a lot about the choices I made in writing the novel.

You can read more about the visit and check out the pictures at:

Monday, November 2, 2009

Baseball is Divine

I want to write about baseball today, because if the Yankees win tonight, this will be the last day of the 2009 major league baseball season. Because of this, I feel the need to set aside a small time in my day to celebrate baseball. This game that I love.

Ever since fall 2004 when my son Dan came home from school, asking me to take him to get a Red Sox cap because they were going to the win the World Series, I have been a fan. Side by side him, I watched that series and fell in love, with the game, with the Red Sox, with the idea that humans are capable of so much. And of course, it made me love my son even more than I already did.

In the fall of 2005, Dan was diagnosed with a serious kidney disease. He went through chemo as part of a treatment protocol that lasted all of his 8th grade year. During chemo, we read Stewart O'Nan and Stephen King's book, Faithful, which chronicled the 2004 Red Sox season, ending with them winning the World Series. The book pushed us forward, kept us going during those times; we didn't know that Dan would become well like he is now, but we knew the Red Sox would win the World Series and we kept reading. Also during that time, I watched more baseball than I care to admit. It was a ritual that kept me sane. During everyday, I went to the TV like I was going to church. Each time a player hit a home run, or went back to the plate after previously being struck out, it gave me hope that I could also step up, keep going, being Dan's caretaker; that I could follow doctor's orders, get him through this.

Since that time, I've continued to watch a lot of baseball. Not so much as that chemo year, but still quite a bit. Maybe there is some part of me that needs the reminder that we can all make it in this complex world in which we find ourselves. We can inspire each other. We are a team. One small smart action usually benefits more than the person who acts. There is much to celebrate and be grateful for: a bountiful season of 2009 baseball... and especially, that my son Dan is WELL...and if the Phillies win tonite, the chance to see one more baseball game. Which I definitely plan to watch!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

NOT Forgotten September

In September, I had the lovely opportunity to guest post at David Jakubiak's Recession Kitchen blog. So technically, I did blog in September! Just not here. Check it out at: to read about why I served chocolate chip cookies at my book launch party for Shattered at the Magic Tree Bookstore this past Saturday!

The party was divine, if I could just be totally honest. Thank you to Iris at Magic Tree and the rest of her staff for hosting us. I said that day and I'll tell you now, it's one of my favorite places in Oak Park. If you live far away and can't go there in person, go there online: It meant so much to me to get to be in that store signing my book for people.

Cafe Winberie's served up some amazing chocolate chip cookies. And there were a bunch left over and my family and I have been munching away on those ever since. Every time I eat a cookie, it takes me back to those few incredible hours at my book launch party.

Thank you to all of the lovely people who came and stood in line to get a book signed! My mother, Carol, my sisters--Paula, Lisa and Joey, my neices--Hallie, Maddie and Zadie, my nephew, Freddie, and my brother-in-law, Craig W. came in for it. They're from Ohio and New York. My very good friend, Brenda and her daughter from Ohio were there. My babysitter, Dana, was even there! And my catsitter, Debbie. Then there were lots of other friends--from my son's elementary school--Adriana, Mike and Liz, Leigh, and Lynda; and baseball--Carol, Anastasia, and Lorelei; and our temple--Marsha and Kathy; and the Wallenfeldts and John Chaplain. Members of my writing group were there: Julia, Martha, Cynthia and Elizabeth. Occupational Therapy colleagues were there: Kris, Marcia and Dorianne. My hair stylist, Pasquale of Snip City, came. (Thanks for the great hair and the flowers!) My neighbors were all there--up and down the street--Julie, Terry, Don and Laura; and Wendy, who lives behind me. Mike was there, who is currently painting my house. My husband's co-workers came. Members of my cookie-baking party group were even there, the Fabers and the Bairds! My son's friends were there--Mauro, Dillon, Charley and Camilla. Also, members of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators--Pam Todd, Stephanie Kuehnert, and Lisa Bierman. Jenny Capelli--who let me ask her a ton of violin questions during the writing of the book--she was there. And her student, Rachel Brade performed and I was so moved, I cried. And there were some new faces and I am glad I got to meet you! And of course, my wonderful husband, David, and son, Dan, they have been there through it all. BIG hugs to ALL of you.

My wonderful high school friend, Dave Evans, and his family surprised me with a beautiful bouquet of flowers. So they were with me in spirit. My sweet author friend, Julia Buckley posted a picture from that day on her blog at Check it out! You can see the lovely flowers, the cool bookstore, and me signing.

My son, Dan, made a playlist of all the music mentioned in the book. We played it while I signed. It made me smile to get to listen to all that violin music that day. Thanks, Dan!

As you can probably tell, I am still floating in a cloud of love and joy. I really loved sharing my book with everyone and I truly hope you enjoy Shattered.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Party Central!

Come celebrate the launch of my first novel,

Saturday October 10, 2009

1 – 3 PM
Book signing and dessert

Magic Tree Bookstore

141 N. Oak Park Ave.
Oak Park IL 60301

Call 708 848 0770 or email
to RSVP/reserve your copy

for scoop on the book, visit

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

My New Website

My website is finally built!

Thank you...
to my son, Dan, who suggested the background and templates;
to my husband, David, for helping me to upload the images and link to other sites;
to Evelyn, my publisher, for more helpful suggestions;
to that patient techie guy at for helping me to set up my new email account;
and finally, to my cat, Leo, for keeping me company for hours and hours.

Come visit!

Monday, August 3, 2009


I just returned from my high school reunion. Okay, I'll tell you. It was our 35th. I know a lot of folks who don't ever go to theirs. But then, they probably didn't grow up in Orrville, Ohio and graduate with the class of '74. For us, it's a chance to leave our normal lives for a bit and to be in a kind of magic. In a place where you never know who's going to make you laugh next. The old stories are still funny. The ones we created this weekend are good, too.

I wonder what our teachers would think if they could've peeked in on us without us knowing. I'm sure they'd be astonished. Because despite all those shenanagins that occured in their classrooms (like roadkill mysteriously placed in a desk), we've all somehow grown up to be people with jobs, Moms and Dads, people solving problems--big and small--some doing remarkable things, like curing the world.

Over the years, we've heard rumors that our teachers were glad to see us go. While we all somehow graduated, I don't think academics are the main reason we showed up every day. We showed up because we wanted to be together. We were good friends. Not just girls with girls and the boys with boys, but girls and boys were close, too. And we have this collective good sense of humor and constantly entertained each other. Which we con't to do at each and every reunion.

I heard lots of well wishes for my young adult novel, SHATTERED, that will be released on September 1st. Initially, in 2008 when my publisher made an offer on my manuscript, I emailed my classmates to share my good news. At our reunion, a year and a half later, I realized they were joyous for me, and all that happiness I had shared with them in 2008, came back to me in person at this reunion. It made me giddy. Like I had the best date to the prom, ever.

They are the reason I write for young adults. Growing up with them was a blessing. A world I want to go back to and can't, so I do it in my imagination. I seek their companionship each time I create a teen character. In my novel, Cassie has a sweet, hyper-organized, supportive best friend, Winnie. She also meets and dates a hottie--Nick--who is very nice and thoughtful. Many of these kinds of people make up my high school class. Throughout the reunion I kept thanking God and my lucky stars that I got to grow up with classmates like this.

My advice to teen readers: do your best work in school, but save time and energy to focus on your friends. These are some of the best times you will ever have. Be present. I promise you, if you do, the magic will double and triple over the years. I wish this for you: to be so LUCKY!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Baseball: (Big) Fan of the Game

I didn't forget to write. This is baseball season. This time of year, you can find me sitting in front of a game. My son, Dan, just wrapped up his summer league season. Oh, I hated for that to end. My favorite thing about summer is getting to sit in ballparks. For hours. Dan's now 17 and has been playing since he was 6, so I've had lots of chances to learn different neighborhood parks. Also, as a family, we've been on a major league ballpark quest. We've been to Fenway (my favorite) several times; and we've visited the home parks of these teams: the Padres, Dodgers, Oakland A's, the Giants, Mariners, the Mets (the old stadium), the Brewers and we're from Chicago, so of course we've been to see the Cubs and the White Sox. This summer we'll visit the Tampa Bay Rays.

I love a summer night. Watching the sky change as the players move through the innings. Eating peanuts. We are lucky to have the baseball package on cable, so on any one night, I can see ten different games. This year, it was thrilling to watch Dan pitch a complete game; and strike out 5 guys. Last week, the Chicago White Sox pitcher, Mark Buehrle threw a perfect game. I missed the actual game, but I cried when I read the story in the Tribune. On Monday night, during the fifth inning, Josh Becket, of the Red Sox (one of my all-time favorite pitchers), had thrown only 66 pitches; and 56 were strikes!

I get inspired seeing people do the kinds of things baseball players do. Like a good story, there's tension and drama as they move through the innings of a narrative arc. Over the years, it has inspired me to keep going with my writing. To think of it word by word, like a pitcher throwing pitch by pitch to get to the end of an inning, the end of the game, to the end of my manuscript. To keep stepping up to the plate--submitting my work--even though I'm striking out, getting rejections in the mail. My favorite is to see Big Papi of the Red Sox hit a long fly ball out to center, over the green monster, over the fans sitting in the monster seats, out of the park to land in Yawkey Way. I keep that vision in my head as I write. Maybe my homers are few and far between, but maybe I'll get a single. And eventually get home!

As you can probably tell, I'm passionate about baseball. So I had to write in a baseball player in my new book, Shattered. His name is Nick Ortiz. He's the complete stranger-turned-important-person in the main character's life. He ends up giving Cassie some important baseball advice. Like all baseball players, and the game itself, he inspires me. And Cassie too.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Dream State

ALA ended yesterday, but I remain in a dream state. I signed 120 books in an hour on Saturday at the WestSide Books booth. I loved getting to sign my book and offering it to others. More than that, I loved meeting the sweet people who stood in line to get it. It touched me that so many librarians planned to give it away as a prize to the teen who had read the most books this summer. Some teachers planned to circulate it among their students. Best of all were the teens who came by. Your interest made my day. Thank you!

Saturday, July 4, 2009


The American Library Association (ALA) conference is coming up. It's in Chicago this year, at McCormick Place. I'll be signing SHATTERED at my publisher's booth: WestSide Books, Booth #1628, on Saturday, July 11th from 11:00 AM - 12:00. If you're attending, stop by and say hi!

Friday, June 19, 2009

On Reading: Dick and Jane, Spot and Puff

It's vivid--my memory of sitting in Sister Dismas's classroom at St. Agnes School in Orrville, Ohio--learning to read. My eyes saw the words on the page and the words popped in my brain. Like the book was the key, and my eyes turned that key. Suddenly, I was going for a ride. A ride all by myself for the first time! I no longer had to rely on my mom to read to me. There they were: Dick and Jane, Spot chasing Puff. And on and on to other books. Amelia Bedelia made me laugh so much with her funny interpretations of Mrs. Rogers' directions.

Summers were spent going and coming from Orrville Public Library, with stacks of books. I still have my page from the summer reading program. For each book you read, you got to put a sticker of an apple on the tree. I filled my tree with apples and felt so proud. But even moreso, I was having the time of my life going places with all those characters.

Recently, I just finished reading my ARC (advanced reader copy) of my book. Only 4 small things to change. Then it will go into production. September 28, 2009 is the release date. Cassie, the main character, goes on her own special journey. I hope readers will come along!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Medicine in the Mail

This week I came down with the flu. On top of feeling crappy, I became quite crabby. I hate being sick! So it was perfect timing to get some good mail. Two days into the flu, I received a paperback version of my soon-to-be-published book, which is called an advance reader copy, or an ARC. It really cheered me up!

The ARC is my last chance to proofread and edit it in preparation for its release as a hardcover on September 28, 2009.

It's a strange and wonderful thing to hold a book I wrote! I LOVE the cover. I've posted it to share with all of you. (scroll down to view it). My publisher said that last week at the Book Expo, they received a lot of compliments on it.

The illustrator is Michael Morgenstern. If you have time, check out his work at His art is amazing!

And now, if you'll excuse me, I have some reading to do. . .

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


Today I launch my blog!

Eons ago, when I was a teenager and wrote my first poem, it felt amazing to let out my thoughts and feelings; to make visible what was once invisible. To experience for the first time the glory of making art.

Later, as an adult, I wrote stories and more poems, filled journals and went to writing conferences and classes. Over time, writing has given my life more focus. What's clear is my days are made rich because of words: writing them on the page as well as reading them in books.

From the moment I learned to read, books have given me the chance to be an adventurer. They've allowed me to explore the lives of others and foriegn landscapes. They're a chance to learn stuff, about others and myself. About what matters.

This week, an advance reader copy of my first novel, SHATTERED, will become available for review by booksellers. My publisher, WestSide Books, will have it on display at their booth at Book Expo America in New York City. This is my last chance to make final edits before publication of the hardbound edition this fall.

In this blog I'll be writing about the journey from writer to published author and beyond. I don't know what I'm in for. Let's find out together!


Coming Fall 2009 from WestSide Books...