Friday, December 28, 2012

Fact or fiction: Violinist in the cemetery

She went to his grave every day. It was like breathing. Automatic. Something she did without thinking. It had become routine. Not in a bad way. Not like when she recited the confession in church, saying the words but not really paying attention to what they meant. But routine in the way that if she didn’t come, her day wouldn't feel quite right. Like drinking a gin and tonic and instead of her usual Tanqueray No. 10 she was stuck with Seagram’s Extra Dry, a piss poor substitute. She could taste the difference, even with extra lime.

Once, she tried not coming. She almost got through the whole day, too. But when she closed her eyes that night, she saw his face. He was beckoning her. Next thing she knew she was on her knees in front of the small granite grave, her nightgown bunched up around her.

She didn’t know she had company. Didn’t see him staring from a few graves away. Normally, he came when the day was closing its eyes. But today was an exception. Today, he was there before the morning could finish its yawn. He had to be at the airport by 8.

He watched her fingers dance across her chest, making the sign of the cross. Her flaming red hair licked her back like a rolling fire. He wondered if she had a temper. Isn’t that what they said about redheads? She didn’t look like the temper type.  She looked more delicate. Maybe it was her pale skin or that a violin case lay open beside her.

It was the music that first drew him near. Her sweet notes drifted like snowflakes and he felt like a boy, wanting to capture them on his tongue and savor forever. When he followed the musical trail, he found her playing a lullaby. Sweet and flowing with a tinge of sadness.

Fact or fiction? Read on to find out.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Auld Lang Syne

Here are the words in case you want to sing along.

Should old acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind?

Should old acquaintance be forgot, and days of auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne.

We’ll take a cup of kindness yet, for days of auld lang syne.

We two have run around the hills

And pulled the daisies fine.

But we’ve wandered many a weary foot

Since the days of auld lang syne.

We two have paddled in the stream

From morn till the sun was down.

But seas between us two have roared

Since days of auld lang syne.

So here’s a hand my trusty friend.

Give us a hand of thine.

We’ll take a good-will drink again

For auld lang syne.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas

I wish you a blessed Christmas and a very happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Christmas tree angel brings hope in wake of Newtown school shootings

My son made this construction paper angel in elementary school. It’s topped our tree every year since.

The other night when I looked up at the angel, tears pooled in my eyes. He was 6 when he made the ornament, the same age as Benjamin Wheeler and Allison Wyatt and Avielle Richman and Jessica Rekos and Emilie Parker and Jack Pinto and Noah Pozner and Jesse Lewis and James Mattioli and Caroline Previdi and Madeleine Hsu and Catherine Hubbard and Ana  Marquez-Greene and Dylan Hockley and Charlotte Bacon and Olivia Engel.


When you’re 6, you have your whole life ahead of you.

When you’re 6, your biggest worry should be how much the Tooth Fairy’s going to give you for the nugget you spent all day wiggling loose.

Monday, December 17, 2012

School shooting: Outpouring of love

When I look at this slideshow of the outpouring of love by Newtown, Conn., folks, tears pool in my eyes.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The power of love

I’ve been thinking a lot about love lately, specifically the power of love. Love saves, overcomes, defeats and endures.  

Time and again in literature we’ve seen the power of love. It’s what saves Harry Potter. It’s the one thing that Voldemort can’t defeat. The one thing his dark mind can't begin to comprehend. 

I was watching “Fringe” the other night (it’s about the only show I watch) and love saved one of the characters. Peter had implanted tech in his brain that improved the logical side but overrode parts of his brain that controlled emotions. He became robotic and was almost lost for good before love saved him.

It was his love for Olivia and her love for him that enabled Peter to reconnect with his emotional side and return to the man he once was.

Do you think love strengthens us or weakens us? 

Monday, December 10, 2012

When writing connects with readers

As a writer, I want to connect with people. I want my words to mean something, to matter. I want my readers to feel and think, and remember. To be moved and touched by the ramblings of my mind. 

Sometimes, if I'm lucky, I'll hear from a reader or two. And when this happens, it's like an unexpected snow day. A blanket of pure goodness that makes everything pretty and bright. 

Such was the case when my column, Remember those who are grieving this holiday season. was published.

There was this note from Fawn:

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Fact or Fiction: A boy and a tattoo

 Will stood on a blue plastic stool in front of the bathroom mirror. His chubby fingers clutched the black magic marker as he drew “barbed wire” around 6-year-old bicep. He wanted a tattoo like his dad’s. He missed his dad. He didn’t understand why he left, except that his dad and mom were always fighting. 

 It got worse after the twins were born. Will’s dad stayed away more and more and when he did come home, he smelled like he had been pickled in booze and bar smoke. Will liked it much better when it was just him. He didn’t ask for the twins. And he was pretty sure, from all of the shouting, that his mom and dad hadn't either. 

Is this fact or fiction? Read on to find out.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Twitter Fiction Festival: elements of writing and what I learned

Writing a novel via Twitter is challenging, especially if you use the medium in the way users do. That means incorporating hashtags and @ signs and twitpics into your tweets. It means your protagonist telling the story as it is happening. We call this live tweeting.  

Well, I love challenges and this was one that I couldn’t wait to take on. I had been thinking about it for awhile but the Twitter Fiction Festival gave me the push I needed.

My idea was simple. I wanted to tweet a middle-grade novel aimed at kids 8 to 12, and I wanted to tweet it as if it were occurring in real time. I chose a novel that was plot driven because I thought it would hold the attention of tech-savvy kids who prefer video games over books. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Twitter Fiction Festival: Brain Invaders by the numbers

Here’s an interesting look at my entry in the Twitter Fiction Festival by the numbers. Read compilation of my tweets.

869: the number of tweets posted during the festival from the @Brain_Invaders account

96+: the number of hours of continuous tweets

4: the number of days over which the story unfolded

5: the number of minutes between each tweet

29: the number of followers of @Brain_Invaders on Twitter at the time of this post

45: the number of likes on Facebook at the time of this post

To read about the social media platforms I used during the festival, go here.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Remember those grieving this holiday season

Here is my Sunday newspaper column, Enjoy!

I love Christmas.

I love everything about it.

The sights and sounds and smells. Spending time with family and friends. Listening to Christmas carols. Wrapping gifts. And the food. The fabulous food I only get to eat this time of the year.

And yet, for as much joy as this holiday brings, it also brings a sleigh full of sadness.

 Go here to read it all.