Book Endings and Old Orchards


Please accept my apologies for the sporadic blogging. I’ve already used the birth of two grandchildren and my son’s heart attack as excuses for not writing, although I did try from time to time. Everything I put to paper sounded too whiney and self-absorbed, so I used the time to write fiction instead, permitting murderers and adulterers and Pam Smith’s badly behaved children to take over my thoughts.

Getting down to business, I have problems ending a story. A novelist builds tension throughout the body of a piece, and should try to end it with some pizzazz. All too often though, it falls flat. I’ll use Someone Like You as an example. In this story, two sisters raised in an atmosphere of violence, long to lead normal lives but end up exposing their own children to very similar environments. I felt they had somewhat resolved their issues toward the end, but what then? They were going to live happily ever after, sort of. I wanted to expand the story and show them having a happy time with mom and dad, everything forgiven but it felt like a fairy tale; not usually the way life is. So I left the reader dangling a little. The sisters were going to have supportive men in their lives, but the issues they struggled with would still be there.

In The Savant of Chelsea, the ending came to me suddenly, like a gift. A reviewer who hated the book, said about me; “I could just sense how f*+king proud she was of herself.” Lol! I love that ending! And believe me, it came from some universal energy…I can’t take credit for it. Also, the end of Pam of Babylon; when she tells Andy Andretti, “Call me Pam,” I burst into tears. Family Dynamics and The Tao of Pam, those are powerful endings too, I think. But it’s not necessary to end every book with a bang. In The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, I was left scratching my head at the ending. But it didn’t make any difference to the Pulitzer committee when they gave her the prize for literature! And Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. Huh? What kind of ending was that? Yet the book remains on the NYT Best Sellers list because it is a compelling story that was difficult to put down. It had to end the way it ended.
Sometimes I end the books the way I do because there is just nothing more to say about the story.

In Alice’s Summertime Adventure, my editor asked that I add at least another paragraph, but I just couldn’t. For me, the story was over when the action that happened… happened. (Don’t want to give away any spoilers.) Other times, I end the way I end because I’ll start the next chapter in a new book. I’m doing that with A Greektown Wedding; the action picks up where Christmas in Greektown ended, with Liz, John’s wife and Jim, Maria’s husband leaving the apartment above the grocery store together. In the next book, they stop at a hotel on the way home from Greektown after the holiday meal. Anyway, enough about that. I wanted to address it because it keeps coming up and I’m sure will continue to do so. Here’s a great article from Huffington Post about endings.

Last but not least….the grove. Jim and I bought a small piece of land in southern California and we didn’t realize it had a grove of dying fruit and nut trees; avocados, figs, citrus and macadamia. I think I must have an arborist gene; I know I’ve inherited a love of trees from my father. These trees are driving me crazy. I have spent part of every day for the past month pruning, watering, raking, and haven’t touched half the trees. Jim got into the act, bless him and he makes it much easier. A gift from him this week; another hundred feet of hose so I no longer have to carry five gallon buckets of water. We are in a water emergency here in the west, but I’m very careful about watering. My only fear is that I’ll kill something that is doing fine in dormancy, although my Aunt Lil just confirmed I should be watering. Here’s an Indian Prayer for trees.

Earth Prayer
Grandfather, Great Spirit, once more behold me on earth and lean to hear my feeble voice.
You lived first, and you are older than all need, older than all prayer.
All things belong to you — the two-legged, the four-legged, the wings of the air, and all green things that live.
You have set the powers of the four quarters of the earth to cross each other.
You have made me cross the good road and road of difficulties, and where they cross, the place is holy.
Day in, day out, forevermore, you are the life of things.
Hey! Lean to hear my feeble voice.
At the center of the sacred hoop
You have said that I should make the tree to bloom.
With tears running, O Great Spirit, my Grandfather,
With running eyes I must say
The tree has never bloomed
Here I stand, and the tree is withered.
Again, I recall the great vision you gave me.
It may be that some little root of the sacred tree still lives.
Nourish it then
That it may leaf
And bloom
And fill with singing birds!
Hear me, that the people may once again
Find the good road
And the shielding tree.
– Black Elk 3

Writing from my Altar

The following is a repost of the guest post I wrote for the Bunny’s Review as part of my book tour with Orangeberry Book Tours for my latest book,The Greeks of Beaubien Street. Watch for the sequel, The Princess of Greektown, soon. You can read an excerpt here.


When I first began to write full-time, I did so at the dining table. My laptop was across from my husband, who also works from home. This setting worked fine for two years. We were both quiet, the only distraction coming from our dogs when they wanted a bone or from the wildlife outside our windows when it was time to refill the bird feeders or put more corn out for the deer in the wintertime. My ideas were flowing so quickly that it wasn’t an issue if he had a conference call or an unexpected visitor or the UPS man interrupted me.  Then reality hit.

I began to write a book that required research and concentration. If my husband was having a business discussion with his partner, I lost my train of thought. If the dogs wanted attention, I got frustrated. It seemed that the most minor of annoyances could throw me completely off track and I would forget what I was writing. It was time for a private office. Leaving my husband and the wildlife view was difficult. There was a small, empty room at the front of the house; if I got lonely, we could yell to each other. The dogs could come and go. I decided I had to position my mother’s large old farm table in front of the window facing my sheep pasture. I put two bird feeders close by so I could watch the birds. Occasionally in the spring, wild turkeys pass across the lawn with their babies. It’s very tranquil.

Items I love began to find their way to my tabletop. Ancient sepia photos of my grandparents and parents grace the background, along with those of beloved dogs now gone to the big kennel in the sky. A hand-thrown pottery cookie jar filled with dog bones sits in one corner next to a clear bowl of sea glass my Aunt Von collected out of the water off the village of Capitola in Santa Cruz County.  My owl collection includes pieces from my mother’s antique shop and gifts from my friend, Betty. I have a small bronze sculpture of a naked girl kneeling; I bought it for my dad and my mom gave it back to me when he died. From my daughter Jennifer, a pendant of Saint Anne, the patron saint of grandmothers and from my son Andy, a candle bought for Mother’s Day when he was fourteen.  A nest my friend Cate knit with five knitted Robin-egg blue eggs is treasured.

Things I love began to find their way to my desktop, which was reminding me more and more of an altar. The process of writing is almost worshipful, meditative. You must pull thought from the back of your mind and put it into words another human can make sense of. Doing so, and knowing that not everyone will find the same meaning in your collection of words is both intimidating and egocentric. I’m not sure if making an altar of my desk was intentional or accidental. I may have hoped it would help me be more successful at the task of writing. However, I think its real purpose is to comfort me. It’s a scary proposition to put it all out there. Writers know what they are inviting; criticism, ridicule, shame even. But it’s a compulsion. There is a story to tell and I must tell it. I’d asked myself at one time, “now Suzie, who is going to care about this?” It’s vanity, thinking a series of narratives compiled of some childhood boogeymen are worthwhile reading.

So the writing-table becomes a sort of combination spring-board/cocoon. I am alternately withholding/expounding, hiding/exposing.  Someday, I hope to make up my mind.  I keep waiting for someone to have me arrested for writing tales that should be kept under wraps. My office is a safe haven for a dangerous occupation.


*Please let me know where your favorite place to read and write is. I would love to hear about it. I remember loaning a book out years ago, and my friend called me up, laughing. She wanting to know if I’d been eating pistachios while I was reading. Embarrassed, I had to say yes; the book was full of tell-tale pistachio detritus. In my youth, I used to plan a reading binge to coincide with a snack binge. Now, in my old age, I can’t afford the calories. As a writer, reading fiction is a luxury, but when I find a writer who’s captured my attention, I love it.

The Writing Police

Years ago, I taught myself to weave fabric and rugs on a loom. Some of the pieces I made were constructed of yarn I had spun myself from wool my dad had given me from his sheep. It was so gratifying. Anyone who has made something with their hands will agree that it is one of the most exciting, satisfying things you can do.

Then, I had the misfortune of joining a weaving guild.  Michigan has a long history of producing famous weavers, but I decided early on that they were the weaving police, and if I really wanted to have fun I needed to avoid them like the plague. One experience revolved around a woman who picked up a rug I had woven like it  had poop on it and stated in front of the rest of the guild members that it wasn’t going to be allowed in their booth at the Michigan League of Handweavers conference that year because it wasn’t black and white, the colors they had chosen for their projects. It was natural wool colors, greys, whites, etc. Anyway, I fought for the right to show the !@#$%^&* rug and it appeared in the display. I quit the guild after that show.

The experience has made me gun shy of joining professional groups of any kind. As a nurse, I shunned the group who oversaw the Operating Room nurses…half the time they talked politics and I didn’t understand what they were saying. Today I read something that reminded me why I don’t like  groups.  I joined a writer’s group, paid the dues, and low and behold, the first communication I got was this abridged statement;

“Hi I’m ***** and the reason I’ve joined the Alliance is that I feel that
there are far too many poorly written indie publlished books out there and
an organisation such as this can only raise the….”

The misspellings were the author’s. All I could think was huh? Have I joined a group of writing police? Another group I’m a member of in Linked IN has a few males that will take exception to what I write no matter what it is. If I agree with someone, they disagree with me. If I disagree and state my case, they double disagree.  At age sixty-one, I no longer walk away and shut my mouth. My friend Betty, got me a pin that says “The older I get, the more everyone can kiss my as s.” (I have to put that space in A S S because for some reason, my computer won’t allow me to swear.) Anyway, who the hell are these people who can criticize others work? I don’t care if it’s a piece of art or a poem or a hair cut.Raising the level of quality in a group should revolve around helping people achieve excellence, not insulting them or criticizing them.

Whew. Now I can get off my soapbox.

PS. The only guild  that really helped me become a better craftsperson besides the one I currently belong to; The Lakeshore Fiber Arts Guild,   was the South Jersey Guild of Handweavers and Spinners. What a fabulous group of generous, kind, and encouraging women and a few men.


This Makes Me Uncomfortable

The following is a preview of a guest post which will appear on a book bloggers blog  next week during my book tour.

As I began writing in earnest two years ago, the inspiration to tell a story about an older woman who discovered her beloved husband’s infidelity after he died came from out of nowhere.  Pam of Babylon simply appeared in my consciousness and I wrote it as I thought of it.  Later, a quote by E.L. Doctorow would confirm my writing style was not unusual.  He said, “Writing is like driving a car in the dark.  You only see as far as the headlights go, but you can make the whole trip that way.”  Those words validated me. An encounter with an editor who did not like my story line made me doubt the wisdom of spending another second writing.  She asked me to do an outline before I began to write, which I found nearly impossible to do because of the way the book was coming to me as I went along. She referred to the story as triple-x rated because it contained a depiction of child abuse.  Child abuse transcends the rating system.

Later, I learned from a fellow author that sometimes a writer/editor relationship may not be a good fit and it is acceptable to move elsewhere. Once I found the courage to move on, I found a new editor.  She was a barracuda who demanded revisions and rewrites, but she also loved the story and wanted it to be the best I could make it. I felt totally comfortable deferring to all of her suggestions and to this day wish I had used her from the onset.  However, once the story was published, I would encounter readers who felt the same way my former editor did.  My books are not for everyone. I can’t say I enjoy writing about topics that many people find repugnant and some that are downright disgusting like the child abuse and marital infidelity.  But it’s something that I find compelling for whatever reason and the stories wind through the tragedy and horror that normal people sometimes encounter.

After a book is finished, I suffer from insomnia for months.  I’m in that mode right now. The Greeks of Beaubien Street will be released this summer, and although I love the story, there is a portion of the book that worries me because it depicts the seamier side of life in a most grotesque way. Even the perpetrator is disgusted with the crime. I know there will be those readers who will buy the book and will be offended by it in spite of a warning. [At the suggestion of the people who oversee Goodreads and Amazon, I have plastered warning and caution signs at the beginning of every book description.]  I almost didn’t write the book until my son, a filmmaker and writer told me not to censor myself. I have tried censoring in the past and once I began, I found I was putting up so many parameters I could no longer write.  The question I had to ask myself over and over confirmed that the story line was important.  What is my purpose in writing about this topic? It isn’t to titillate, or to be sensational.  In The Greeks, the horror story is in contrast to the gentle Greek father who prepares his homicide detective daughter’s breakfast every morning.

Regarding Pam of Babylon’s adult content, I tried to write so that it would be the least offensive as possible.  If a writer is going to have child abuse as a topic, there is little that can be done to clean it up. It’s deplorable, and the consequences are usually tragic. The Kirkus Review said about the third book in the series, Dream Lover; “A gritty, realistic portrait of the aftermath of deceit.”  In order for the resolutions to take place, I must first describe the conflict.

My friend Dan Georgakas, author of My Detroit, Growing up Greek and American in Motor City (Pella Publishing Company, NY, NY, 2006) wrote when I confided my concerns, “….people are embarrassed by this [content] and want to project a perfect family image: a stereotype no one is going to believe anyway. I have always believed in showing warts whenever possible.”  Some of the character’s warts are painful to look at, but they exist in real life.
The final book in the series may be finished this fall and has some of the characters achieving positive resolutions. Fans of Pam will be relieved that she is triumphant in the end.

50 Shades of Envy

Fifteen weeks ago, a new and unknown author discovered she had three books on the New York Times best seller list.  I don’t know the details because I’m too busy to read all that’s been written about her; simply, she self-published ebooks and they just ‘took off’. I keep reading mixed reviews, but decided I don’t care if she’s a lousy writer, or if the books really are poorly written. She’s successful. And that says something. I wonder what she thinks of her celebrity?  Is she excited? Do bad reviews still bother her? Or does she even bother to look anymore? When can you let that go and just enjoy writing?

I’m not interested in reading the trilogy because, well, I’m just not. It sounds sort of boring to me. Something about her books appeal to people, but is it simply the erotica? Smart !@#$%^&*, Trashy Books blogger Sarah Wendell wrote a wonderful piece in the Kirkus Review about erotica and the positive aspects of The 50 Shades of Gray Trilogy. Be sure to read it.

Is it just luck that the books are making such a splash? I’d admire her. She can justify writing because people read her work. What is the point of dreaming up a story if no one is going to read it?

Best wishes to E.L. James and may some of her phenomenal success come my way.

Come to My Window

I love the lyrics to Melissa Ethridge’s ballad, probably because my daughter sang it with the band my husband used to play with when we lived in New Jersey. The only reason I bring it up is because it popped into my head when I got a Skype account so I could Skype with a book club in Oklahoma who read Pam of Babylon. As a confessed computer idiot, the word window will never mean a computer screen.  It’s a clear, glass hole in the wall to look out of. Anyway….

The Bartlesville Book Lovers in Oklahoma. invited me to join their meeting, both to answer questions and to discuss some topics that came up as they were reading Pam of Babylon.  One of the members is a lovely woman I went to elementary school with back in good old Dearborn, Michigan. Linda and I reunited on Facebook, when a mutual friend, Marilynn suggested she read my book.  She liked it and offered it to her book club. Having friends read my work is very intimidating. They either love it, like Marilynn and Linda did and talk it up all over the nation, or they don’t mention it, either because they hated it or aren’t interested enough to read it. That makes life very uncomfortable, because all I do is write anymore and I hate to bring it up, like the pink elephant in the room. Sorry about the cliche’. It was validating to have Linda like Pam because she’s spent her adult life working as a professional writer.  I was certain her group would not have fluff questions, and I was right. Afterward, my husband asked me how the meeting went, and except for Skype not working, it was difficult! These women asked me the tough questions.  I was glad that just that morning I did two interviews with bloggers and some of the obvious issues were discussed so my thoughts were somewhat organized. It has been a few days since the chat with the ladies from Oklahoma and since then I had a few traumas with family members seriously ill and in the hospital, so I have forgotten some of what we talked about.  But I think when we were finished, I felt like it was okay to keep writing. I do owe readers honesty, and most of all, reason.  If I set out to write something I want it to have a purpose, not just a bunch of words meant to titillate, which I’ve said before.  I talked to my aunt about it, (she loves my books), and she said Pam needs ‘time to have a relationship with herself’ before I have her get involved with another man. In this last book, she is at the cusp of having a fling with someone younger than she is who is a Native American living on Long Island and I have to try really hard not to have that visualization of the cover of Mandingo when you are reading it.  But almost. She can have a relationship with herself when the series is finally completed.

People want to know why I would write about topics that are so despicable. Child sexual abuse and all the rest of the garbage that Pam contends with is there because it’s part of the story and that’s really all it is.  I can’t defend it. Someone who received the book in a Goodreads Giveaway was so upset by it that she said she was throwing it in the trash. She didn’t realize that in the subsequent books, the situations get worse. It’s really just life. Even people from the best families have awful things happen to them, and sometimes it perpetuates more awfulness.

But the women in the Bartlettsville group were right on. I know some of them weren’t thrilled with Jack, and that is as it should be! He was awful. How could a person move on in their life after discovering what Pam did about Jack?

This is a completely different kind of situation, but I want to talk about Rielle Hunter and John Edwards.   A few weeks ago, during his trial, pictures of the illicit couple were shown on the news and I told my husband that if you look at the way he smiled at Hunter, and then at pictures of him with his wife, he always looked at Elizabeth Edwards in a solemn,unhappy way.  Today I read that Elizabeth Edwards said Edwards never looked at her the way he looked at Rielle Hunter and supposedly, she took a photo of her husband looking at his mistress in such a joyful way and put it on her computer as a screen saver.  Do you think that had anything to do with her untimely death? Who would be able to think positively about life with that as a reminder daily of what a complete !@#$%^&* John Edwards was? Just my opinion.

So to get back to the book club, I realized after talking to the gracious members who were kind to me and allowed me to explain my purpose in writing the series, that there are going to be more readers out there who are angry about the book, like my Giveaway winner.  And she didn’t even have to buy it.

Barometric Pressure

I have a new publisher, a new website and lots of new advertising opportunities, including a full page color ad insert in Kirkus Review’s newsletter which will be distributed at Book Expo, and a ‘book tour’ with Pump Up Your Book this summer.  I’m also a sixty-one year old woman who doesn’t want to learn HTML, Photo Shop, or any other technical genius that will make me a better ‘marketer’ for my book.  I was an OR nurse for thirty years; isn’t that enough technology?

However, what I am learning is it doesn’t make any difference how much you ‘hire out’ the work. If you want to be a successful self-published author, you had better learn how to update your own website, photo shop a cover mock up for your book, and more. You better reread your final interior proof one hundred times, because no matter how much you pay for copy editing, you will get your hardcopy proof in the mail and find out that you have used that hundreds of times too often, or put commas in too many places, or my worst mistake; use sole rather than soul.

The Greeks of Beaubien Street is in the hands of the new publisher and I am anxiety ridden. Getting used to a new routine and new people, is so difficult. In my former life, I discovered that I preferred to stick with the tried and true rather than venture out. I stayed at a job I didn’t like for years because the fright of starting fresh somewhere else was too difficult.

My little problems are nothing compared to what my friends are going through right now. Life threatening illness, the loss of a spouse, unemployment, legal issues, the list is endless.  What I have noticed is how one reacts to the trouble says a lot. I have a friend who is bald from chemotherapy for breast cancer, and everyday she crawls out of bed and drives an hour to her very physical kind of job. It’s not one at which she is able to sit at a desk. She alone supports her household, and the job provides her health insurance, so she doesn’t have the option to stay home when she feels bad.  In spite of her situation, my friend is the most upbeat woman I know. She hasn’t whined or complained once, and the only way I will know that she is feeling less than stellar is she won’t talk about herself.  I  imagine myself in her situation and the complaining I would do. We talked this week and she said that if she makes being upbeat and positive an act of her will, she is successful, and then she feels better. If she gives in to self-pity, the effect is immediate; she feels awful and makes everyone around her feel awful, too. She still has children at home and an aged mother who lives with her and its important to her that her family stays hopeful, as well.  Cancer is not her identity, nor are her other problems. We have to work at not allowing those things which will tear us down to become our identity. Because if we do, we succumb to feeling sorry for ourselves. Someone else is always worse off.

So the pressure is on. My husband told me yesterday when he was listening to me having a disagreement with the person who designed my website that I am turning into a real !@#$%^&* and he is glad we don’t work together.  That got me thinking about the fine line there is between standing up for yourself or being an aggressive shrew, being positive or feeling so sorry for yourself that it paralyzes you.  There is just so much a stake right now, and I’ve spent so much money and put so much work into everything that I want to get it right. I can’t afford to have any craziness around me, or any negativity. At different times in my life  my friends have been there for me when my glass was half empty, and now I need to knock it off, belly up to the bar, and get it right.

It’s Here! Don’t You Forget About Me Is Here!!!

The proof arrived yesterday afternoon.  No matter how much I have on my plate when UPS pulls up with a proof, I have to put whatever it is down and start reading. Fortunately, the truck didn’t come until Jim and I had run errands and I had dinner started.  By the way, I am dyeing with black bean soaking liquid, so I had a two pound bag of beans needing cooking.  I made the most phenomenal chili out of part of it and the rest, Black Bean Salsa with corn and peppers.  I put too much whole cumin seed in it and I should have toasted them first, but its still pretty good.

Anyway, I usually avoid the camera at all costs but even with my stringy bangs, I had to show you the real book, in the flesh.  So far I’m half-way finished reading and I’m satisfied with it. There is one editing snafu I wish I had picked up on earlier but it is minor and I am going to let it go. People who nitpick will find it and complain, but others will think, ‘Oh, an imperfect human being wrote this and went through the trauma of having it published.’  I hope there is nothing major that sticks out.  If there is, I’ll have it fixed at great expense and time.

As soon as I approve it, the publisher will send it to Kirkus for review. I hope it gets a good one!

This Saturday I am doing a book signing at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts from ten until noon.  Here’s the blurb I posted on Facebook. I’m not mentioned in the copy because   I wasn’t asked until last weekend and only because my neighbor, designer Kirk Johnson, told the organizer about me and the books.

” Get ready for the holidays with fresh, artful greenery, live music, and local gifts during the annual Winter Greenmarket. Santa Claus visits the Winter Greenmarket immediately following the Saugatuck Christmas Parade – bring your camera for photos with the man in red (about 1 p.m.)! This year’s Winter Greenmarket includes a special “Local Author Signing Session” from 10 a.m. – Noon featuring books from area authors – and the authors in attendance to sign their works. Local authors at the Greenmarket include Judy Anthrop, Jacqueline Carey, Salvatore Sapienza, Alison Swan, and others. (me)

Other Winter Greenmarket activities include:

* From 10 a.m. until they’re gone … fresh greenery, swags, wreaths. Greens come “dressed up” or plain for your own creative touch. Remember – greens often sell out at the Market so don’t delay!

* The Holland Chorale’s “Dickens Quartet” stroll the Winter Greenmarket from 11 a.m. until Noon. Dressed in traditional Dickens-era attire, the singers share memories of Christmas’s past.

Saugatuck Center for the Arts, an arts center for an arts community, in downtown Saugatuck, MI. Art classes for adults and children, performances, film, and exhibitions throughout the year. Host to Mason Street Warehouse theatre company and Waterfront Film Festival.
If I don’t get back here until after the holidays, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  Happy Hanukkah!

2 Knit Lit Chicks Podcast

                                                                                                 My friends, for the most part, love Pam of Babylon.  A few are less than thrilled; I think it is difficult for women to allow themselves to just be and not have every single thing they do lead to something more.  A dear friend who is an attorney and an advocate of women did not like the character Pam.  I could hear fear in her voice when she explained why giving someone like Pam a voice is dangerous, in her opinion.  I think she will see in subsequent books that Pam is stronger than we see on the surface.

Pam is not great literature, but once all four books are put together, it definitely has a moral.  Something good about the negative reviews from friends is that it has proven to me that I don’t have that horrible syndrome; Isolated Adoration.  It’s also helpful when a stranger gives me a good review.  You don’t have to love me to love my book!

Authors, especially new, self-published authors, depend on word of mouth more than anything to get exposure for our books.  I have found that my reader’s enthusiasm sells more books than expensive advertising.   My sister thinks that negative reviews are just as helpful.  I personally don’t care for them, but it is part of the risk taking of putting yourself out there, vulnerable.  So when I received a warm, friendly message on Ravelry from Barb, owner of 2 Knit Lit Chicks Podcast, I was so excited!  I’m not good at  self-promotion, and here someone I didn’t know was willing to give me a little air time. My friend Maureen, a New Jersey buddy, contacted Barb and told her about Pam.

Equally exciting was finding out Barb lives in San Ramon, California, the town we lived in briefly when Jim was San Francisco Chief of Communications for Associated Press.  We have family on the peninsula so the chance that I might actually meet her someday is exists.  It is such a small world.

If you are knitter and/or a reader, listen to 2 Knit Lit Chicks.  It is the first podcast I have heard and I think it is addictive.

Pam of Babylon Blog

To 2sheepinthecity’s Blog readers, here’s a link to the blog for my first published book, Pam of Babylon.  So far, the response to the book has been phenomenal.  The book was so enjoyable to write.  But as I was completing the first sequel and starting the second, I began to wonder if I was wasting my time. I needed validation from a professional source rather than the encouragement of my friends and family, who may have been afraid to tell me to get a real job.  The review from Kirkus provided the affirmation I was looking for.

Other news; our first grandchild is due to be born in six short weeks.  Jennifer is holding her own, working as a nurse in an interventional radiology unit at Thomas Jefferson University while she nests in West Chester.  Her wonderful husband Carlos, does what he can to make her life as easy as possible.  I’m hosting a baby shower for her next Saturday at the Mendenhall Inn in Chadds Ford.  If I forgot to send you in invitation, get in touch!

Andy and Janeen are doing well; Andy was here for a short visit a few weeks ago and loved the area.  What’s not to like???  Andy is busy working on Haxan Films latest movie, The Possession, and holding internet marketing seminars in Las Vegas and other fun places.

Jim and I are getting the RV ready for the trip east this week.  All is well with the world.