Sometimes Just A (Foreign) Word Will Do

couple at dinner

Last week, I came across the word “Mamihlapinatapai.” This word exists in the Yaghan language of Tierra del Fuego and is listed in The Guinness Book of World Records as the “most succinct word”, and is widely considered one of the hardest words to translate.

The basic gist of it is this: Continue reading “Sometimes Just A (Foreign) Word Will Do”

When You Find A Wonderful (But Unusual) Source For Your Book


There I was, clipping along, the book almost done, when I hit the motherlode.

Yes, I’m writing a book that features a wonderfully sarcastic and witty Irish character. He happens to be a modern-day ghost of an ancient bard, so he’s got a lot of stories to tell. Being Irish, he tells them with great flair – of course. Continue reading “When You Find A Wonderful (But Unusual) Source For Your Book”

Confessions Of A Crazy Car Writer

Careless driver listening to music

I’m writing in my car

Turn on the radio

I pull a thought closer

It just says no

I say that I don’t like it

But I know I’m a liar

‘Cause when I drive

Ooooh-oooh fiiiii-re . . .

You heard me. I write in the car.

Before you scratch your head over a vision of me propping my keyboard on a steering wheel or madly typing text into my phone as I drift across the lanes of the highway, know that I am a car-talker.

That’s right, a car talker.

I talk to myself in my car. I talk to others, too – coworkers, friends, family members, other drivers, my kids, political figures (don’t get me started), celebrities – pretty much anybody is fair game. When my marriage fell apart, I had numerous, lengthy conversations with my ex (none of which he was in attendance for, of course), and God only knows how many times my kids have been spared a lecture only because I already had it without them.

But lately, I’ve started really working through my books this way, having conversations with characters, playing ‘what if,’ sequencing through logistical problems in setting or plot – my car is like my idea zone, where I can muse aloud and blather and pontificate to a captive audience of me.

It’s honestly where I do my best writing, (some of which is occasionally brilliant) but alas, my scumbag brain doesn’t remember half of it, and the half it does remember contains little of the witty dialog or engaging commentary I came up with on the commute into work. It’s a pale echo, at best.

I keep telling myself I should record it all, but then I’d have to actually remember to set my phone to record and then remember to turn it off before I get to the office and that’s not really likely to happen with regularity. I’m lucky if I remember to be fully dressed when I head out the door in the morning (Seriously, I drove to work barefoot once!).

I guess you could say I owe my next book in part to the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  Whatever works, y’all. Whatever works.

What’s Up Wednesday: Writing And Mentoring


I have been laugh-out-loud crazy busy. Borderline psychotic, even. What kind of idiot thinks they can fully research and write a first draft in six weeks? This kind, apparently. But the really weird thing is, I woke in the middle of the night a few days ago and had a sudden revelation about a cool plot hook and ever since, the  book has pretty much been writing itself.

So I’m plugging away, and God willing, we’ll have an awesome book (in hardcover!) circa 2019. Continue reading “What’s Up Wednesday: Writing And Mentoring”

Sometimes You Have To Step Away From The Keyboard & March For What Matters


I didn’t get a lick of writing done on Saturday, because I was slogging through the mud and getting soaked to the skin at the March for Science in Washington D.C. I got to hear Bill Nye and a host of others shout out the wonders of science and the hope for a clean, sustainable planet – it was amazing just being part of it.

Despite the muck and the misery, we were all in great spirits, and the camaraderie and enthusiasm made it an experience I’ll cherish for a lifetime. Here’s a picture dump of the day – enjoy! Continue reading “Sometimes You Have To Step Away From The Keyboard & March For What Matters”

Listen To The Don’t’s – Then Do If You Must

Notebook and pen on the black keyboard

One of the things you hear a lot as a writer is well-intentioned advice that’s mostly true.  Don’t tell, show. Don’t make it easy for your protagonist. Don’t be predictable, don’t start slow, don’t dump too much backstory all at once.

Then there are the things that are generally good advice – except for when they’re not.

Continue reading “Listen To The Don’t’s – Then Do If You Must”

Today, A Story In Honor Of Mr. Rogers’ Birthday


Today is Mr. Rogers’ birthday, and I do my best every year to make it a day of kindness. I write a check or go online to make a donation to a charity. I let people cut in front of me in traffic. I pick at least ten random people I interact with in a day and tell them how good they look or how good they are at their job or just how much I admire them.

And you know the funny thing? I feel so good after doing all this, I find myself doing a lot more of it the rest of the year, too. Continue reading “Today, A Story In Honor Of Mr. Rogers’ Birthday”

The Books Are In! The Books Are In!

[Photo courtesy of Swoon Reads]
They did it.

They actually did it, y’all.

They printed my book. My book. And the books are in and in a short time, I will be holding one in my sweaty, shaking hand.

I am speechless. I am in love (oh my God, aren’t they just gorgeous?), and I am beyond grateful to every single person who got me to this.

Every. Single. One. Of. You.

Today is a very, very good day.