Category Archives: On Writing

A Marriage to Die For free eBook

A Marriage to Die For eBook will be free from 4/14 to 4/18! It’s a suspense novel that I hope you will enjoy. So grateful to all family and friends who helped bring the book to fruition.

Find it here:

If you’re brave, will you write a review on Amazon? Thanks!


A Writer Revived


It’s been a while. If you read my blog, The Yellow Dress, it may have touched your heart. You may have also suffered a loss that shifted your whole being for a time. If so, I empathize.

Writing has always helped me through a hard time. If I wrote about it, the words seemed to steal away some of the sting. But grief-stricken words couldn’t remove the pain of losing my sister. It took time to change the nature of the pain enough to move on.

I was in the middle of writing the third book in the Knoll Cottage trilogy when my sister died. Now, over a year later, I wanted to go back to writing Dear Bella, but when I began to work on it, it was clear I wasn’t quite ready. Instead, my wonderful critique partner and some great friends worked with me to revise and update a book I had written earlier, A Marriage to Die For.

I am going to publish that book in about two weeks. I am going to offer it as a free eBook on Amazon for a period of time. It’s a story that is all over the news today. My book is about a battered wife who plans to escape from her husband. He, though, is a DEA special agent with exceptional recourses at hand to find her.

It’s difficult to understand why it’s so hard for someone to escape a situation of abuse. It’s counterintuitive, why not just go? Get a restraining order, pack up, and leave. But there are emotional reasons, love may still exist, certainly fear, there could be financial issues, or children involved.

How hard would it be to walk away from every single aspect of your life right now? What if your very life depended on it?

I’ll send out a quick blog when the eBook is available. I love writing those words. I’m back!


A writer’s Dilemma

Is Anyone Paying Attention?

I’m about to publish my third book. Writer’s work hard to convey a story, using words like an artist uses a brush. As an author, I sometimes deal with hard situations: addiction, illness, crime, but I strive to keep my fiction honest. I strive not to be offensive. Though there is often a villain in my stories, I personally add the sweet with the sour, with a touch of romance, or maybe a good ghost.

Indie writers have a problem getting their books out there. The top necessary on everyone’s list is social media. I am on Twitter and Facebook. Or I shouldn’t say “on” since I rarely have time to chat online. I am writing a new novel; working on front matter, interior pages, and cover design for another book I hope to publish before Thanksgiving.

This morning, I read an article that exposed the rapier sharp edge of, in this case, Twitter. Tweets were published about a man who recently fell from a high pedestal of success and lost his job because of a lewd photo he allegedly sent to female colleagues several years ago. Shortly after the story broke, his son died of a drug overdose. Twitter fiends expressed their vile satisfaction that this man’s son’s death was fair payback for his infraction.

Is sexual harassment equal to the loss of a child? Don’t get me wrong, sexual harassment is bad. Period. But are we going overboard with political correctness when it’s okay to hit grieving parents over the head with “justice” and “fair karma” tweets about their son’s death?

I have read many mean and nasty tweets or posts that travel through my social media screens. I’ve also belly-laughed at great posts, shed a tear at tender videos, heard from a friend I haven’t seen in years. Right now, I am weighing the benefit of social media for me.

On this sacred day, 9-11, when we remember and grieve for the loss of so many lives, the way we all joined together in our heartbreak, I have to ask: Is anyone else hearing the toilet flush on civility?

The Yellow Dress

Source: The Yellow Dress

The Yellow Dress


If you’ve read either novel in my Knoll Cottage Series, you know I’ve included a bit of mystic. In fact, there may be a ghostie in that sun porch. I do believe there are angels and spirits all around us.
My sister, Pat, died in November.
She was a devout Catholic, and had a magnificent voice. Singing mostly classical religious works was her passion. And she sang in every Catholic Church choir she could.
Pat didn’t worry about my far flung beliefs in many religions. She never doubted me when I told her my cardinal’s message story or other spiritual events in my life. She loved me dearly and I her.
The summer Missing Emily was launched, Pat and her husband came to Cape Cod to attend the book launch party some dear friends gave for me. Pat and I had coordinated our outfits for the party, but it turned out to be a killer hot day. Instead of the lined eyelet dress I’d planned, I wore a deep pink, print sundress. My sister came up the stairs in a bright yellow sleeveless dress. “It was too hot to wear the other one,” she told me. We laughed about both of us changing our minds.
I have a wonderful close-up picture of her in that yellow dress. The expression on her face is pensive, neither happy nor sad. It has an element of listening to something important. Since she was always smiling and laughing, when I saw that intriguing picture, I printed it out and framed it.
Just yesterday, I asked my brother-in-law if I could have that yellow dress. I want to hang it in my closet so she’s with me every day.
And then, this happened.
It was Easter and I hadn’t gone to Mass for some time. Most of our family knew how much Pat loved the church, and wanted us lost souls to return. I couldn’t yet. On the best of days, hymns make me emotional, and I knew if I went to church and heard the music, I would cry. But it was Easter, so my husband and I went to church.
I enjoy watching all the children dressed up in their Easter finery; one little girl with a wide brimmed hat made everyone smile. At one quiet moment, I looked over at a beautiful domestic scene. A Dad was tying the bow on the back of his daughter’s dress. Her dress was bright yellow and sleeveless. Her mother wore a bright yellow, sleeveless dress, also, with a deep pink sweater over her shoulders.
It took me a few seconds to realize, my sister was letting me know she was there. I cried in church!
My Dad died several years ago. I often think of them together in heaven. So you see, the tying of the dress bow was doubly significant.
In case I had any doubt about my sister’s presence, she drove the message home. As we lined up for Communion, two women went before me in bright yellow sweaters. Guess what the female Eucharistic minister was wearing. A bright yellow jacket.
Pat wanted to be sure I got her message. I did dear sister…


Throw the book out?

I am revising one of my earlier novels with the plan to publish it as an eBook. It’s the story of a woman married to a DEA agent, who is abusive. How can she leave a DEA agent, who has endless resources, so he can never find her?

If you’ve read either of my published books, you know emotion is strong in my stories.

As I revise A Marriage to Die for, I don’t feel the inTENSE emotion I’d like to portray. I rewrote one of my protagonist’s (Jane) scenes using the first person, present TENSE, and sent it to my critique partner, author Sandra Fontana. She really liked the effect.

Valiant and daring as I am, I plan to write all of Jane’s scenes this way. The reader will be right in the moment with her, be in the throes of her TENSE situations, share her deep emotions.

On the other hand, I want some distance from the DEA Ace, Brock. Although, I’d like the reader to know what he’s up to—to know things Jane does not. All of his scenes will be in the third person, past TENSE. As will other characters in the story.

Wish me luck. I may be breaking some rules here. Since I’m planning to offer the book free on Amazon for a limited time, read it, and let me know what you think in a review. I’m aiming for a few months. Sign up on my website:, and I’ll send you a newsletter when A Marriage to Die for is available. Then I will blog on your responses.

A WRITER’S FUTURE: Gender Neutral Novel?

Royal, not Queen or King

A good writer of fiction will attempt to be sensitive to their readers’ ethnicity, religious beliefs, sexual preferences, etc. But gender? Writing dialogue is an important part of a novel. The emphasis should be on the words between the quotes. Sometimes it’s necessary to avoid confusion for the reader by inserting he said, she said. It disrupts the meaning of the sentence less than: Scott said Jane said Scott said. But things are changing. Kids in school (notice I didn’t say boys and girls) are learning not to distinguish between male or female: he or she. How does this work out in a novel? Scott said Jane said Scott said Jane said. Or, the person in a chair, the person standing, the person cooking. Cannot say Prom Queen or Prom King—say the taller of the Royals?

Here you go: Three people talking in a diner:

“So, you’re thinking of ending your life? My God,” the server said.
“You can’t do that! There’s all kinds of help available—hot lines and stuff,” person in jeans added.
“I can’t go on. My life is finished. I have no one. No reason to live,” depressed person said.

Silly, I know. How do I describe a child in my book? A little girl or a tot with pigtails? What if said child poured a glass of water? The child poured a glass of water? Or, she poured a glass of water. Will the child’s mother or father be labeled parent only? “Don’t drink that water!” parent with the apron said.

Must writers beware of “gender normative” terms? Will there be a handbook on this subject?
I’m poking a little fun at our modern mores. Maybe though, just maybe, we might be trying a little too hard to be correct.


Do You Believe?

Do You Believe?

I have to admit, every time I open a fortune cookie, I am waiting for those words a writer longs for. Something like: Your book will be a best seller, or: Your novel will skyrocket on Amazon. Even: You will be a great success; good things are coming your way. Right? Of course, you shake your head and smile, but when you get a good one, you slip that slip of paper into your pocket, pat it, and later put it on your bulletin board. Guilty as charged!
Last evening we went to a Chinese buffet with friends. An enormous buffet. On my last pass, I took advantage of the dessert assortment of ice cream, cookies, pastries, pudding, and fruit. Later, more than sated, we sat and chatted with our friends, sipping the last of our tea. The server came and brought the bill, along with four fortune cookies. Too full to think about eating one, I did focus on the possibility that one of those cookies contained the fate of my novel writing. I waited for someone to hand me a cookie. It wouldn’t work if I chose my own. Finally, my husband placed a cookie in front of me. I ate the cookie—yes I did—as full as I was, then unfurled the bit of paper.
Anyone who cared enough to research the origin of Fortune Cookies would have found the cookie is not a tradition in China. Several theories exist on how they became a staple in Chinese restaurants, but most likely they are based on a Japanese cookie—with a fortune inside. But who cares where it came from. Some of the numbers on the back of the fortune have been lottery winners. So, we all agree, the fortunes are true also.
This fortune was different from any I’ve seen before. A special message to everyone. As a writer, I love when my words come together to draw an emotion from my reader, so I particularly loved this fortune. All four of us felt it. Here’s what it said: Never fear shadows. They simply mean there’s a light shining somewhere nearby.
Those lovely words are on my bulletin board. I am thinking of playing the lottery!

The Book . . . The Book . . . The Book!

Silent Grace

Silent Grace

It’s been a while since I put on my blogging cap. I’m back, having packed and unpacked a gazillion boxes, taken a million trips to donate stuff, and having finally found everything we packed . . . somewhere.
Yet, with all the commotion, I was able to progress with self-publishing my next book in the Knoll Cottage Series, Silent Grace. It should pop up on Amazon shortly.
Suddenly, I have time to relax and get back to a normal schedule. Do writers have a normal schedule?
I wanted to get back to you on my And the Agent Said: blog. While I waited to hear from her, I was actually feeling two ways about having an agent. I’ve been to panels of authors, agents, publishers, and they all have good points. Some traditionally published authors (which an agent would lead to) felt pressured. A book a year. Deadlines. Alterations in the story. I once attended a debut book signing by a mystery writer. She was traditionally published after years of trying with the same book. Her contract included seven more mysteries as a series to follow the original book. She told us this with deer-in-the-headlight eyes.
In the time I’ve waited for a response from the agent I met with at the writer’s conference I attended, I gave some good thought to which manner of publishing I’d prefer. The answer for me was: Being able to work at my own pace; being able to write in different genres; receiving a greater portion of the book royalties; hiring my own peeps to work on the book, was self-publishing. The caveat: One Must Market! But one must market even with a traditional publisher.
In spite of the fact that I met with the agent at a conference, which in the past meant a reply of some sort, I never received an answer on the two queries she requested. The agency’s website clearly said if you don’t hear in thirty days, there is no interest in representing your work.
Querying agents is hard. A negative answer, or no answer, is rejection. But a rejection doesn’t mean the book isn’t great. The agent’s choice is a subjective one.
After much thought, I am happy being an indie publisher. My book bravely heads to Amazon with a zillion other new books. The difference will be Marketing!
I’ll start here. If you go onto my website: and sign up for my email list, you’ll be notified when I do give-aways of either Missing Emily or Silent Grace. They are two women’s fiction novels that stand alone, but are part of a trilogy. In about three or four days, check them out on Amazon, and read the great reviews!

A Writer’s Thanks Giving

Bitter Berries

Bitter Berries

It is the beginning of the Happy Holidays. When we eat bad food that tastes good; get together with distant family; go to parties and catch up with friends. Happy. But when bad things happen, these holidays make the pain worse.

I am always so grateful for my writing. I know I share this gratitude with other writers. The work of writing a novel is not about becoming famous, but for the ability to string together an entertaining book. The added gift of telling stories is the control you have over the lives of your characters. I am able to turn a bad diagnosis to a healing; send an abuser to prison for life; allow a poverty-stricken life to change with a lottery win. I’ve even been known to remove a bad person permanently from a good person’s life.

For those who have sorrow or worry on their plate, take heart in this quote from Kahlil Gibran:

“Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” and others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
But I say unto you, they are inseparable.
Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed.”