Thursday, January 29, 2009

And the winner is . . .

Wildflower! She has a signed book winging its way to her as I write this.

(For everyone I had e-mail addresses for, I sent a note saying "sorry, your name wasn't the one pulled out of the hat.")

Friday, January 23, 2009

We The People

Inauguration morning began for me in the soft darkness of dawn when my nephew dropped 6 of us off on the Virginia side of the Potomac. Our breath puffing out in clouds, our muffled footsteps the only noise, we walked on a pathway between the Iwo Jima Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery. It seemed fitting. The headstones of the young men, most no older than our three sons, served as a reminder of the price that has been paid throughout the years so that we could be doing exactly what we were doing. We were about to witness and celebrate the exchange of power -- an exchange that had come about peacefully. An exchange that we were all responsible for.

My eyes were wet from more than just the cold.

We crossed Memorial Bridge, the Lincoln Memorial in front of us, the sun rising behind it. The enormity of the day, of the change that had come, pulled us forward.

By 7:30, my husband and I were in place on the Mall, midway between the Washington Memorial and the Capitol.

I'd wondered how we'd while away the time until the ceremony began four hours later, but I had no need to worry. On the Jumbotron in front of us, the "We Are One" HBO concert from Sunday afternoon was being shown. So we danced ("Shout" with Garth Brooks) and sang (with Stevie and Usher and Shakira) and cried (Springsteen's "The Rising" with a gospel choir). The spirit of celebration and change and hope filled the crowd.

And then it all began.

And I'd thought I'd know how I'd feel, worried that I might be underwhelmed. I mean, what could compare to election night and his words in Grant Park? But this was so much bigger. I was witnessing history, a specific moment when everything changed and the world watched.

His words rang out and I felt myself relax. I trust him and his slim shoulders and his huge brain to carry the weight of the United States. I know the road ahead will be long and rough--but I trust him to lead the way.

He's already banned torture. With one flick of his pen, one scrawl of his signature.

And I was there. Along with several million other folks who I will never see again. But for that morning, we were family, united in hope and pride and optimism.

I'm still feeling the warmth.

Friday, January 16, 2009

I, Too, Sing America

I've always loved this Langston Hughes poem

And with all that's to come in the next week, it seems quite fitting to reread it and think about. (Feel free to zip on over and savor it.)

I'll be in the crowd on the National Mall on Tuesday, clapping and crying and bearing witness to an amazing form of government and a country who, even with all her flaws, has made democracy work for over two centuries.

I'll post again at the end of the week, sharing what I know will be an incredible experience.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

True Confessions

I need to come clean about something.

Deep breath.

Okay, here I go.

I have no flipping clue how to keep up with all the social network sites. I have no idea how other people do it. I had to ask my son how to write on someone's wall on facebook, and after he got over how funny he found it that I was even on facebook (and no, he does not want to "friend" me) he showed me. But, later, when I wanted to do it again I couldn't remember how (and I'm pretty smart) and I was too embarrassed to ask him again. So, if you are wondering why I don't write on your wall, that's why.

I'm on goodreads. And apparently have lotso' friends. I'm also on shelfari and belong to several groups (or so it says).

I have a page on Red Room. Myspace, too. And the afore-mentioned Facebook (under my non-author name).

Oh, and also LibraryThing.

For all I know I'm on bunches of other social networks. Periodically I'll get an e-mail notification that someone wants to be my friend. And it all seems so cheery. Smiley. I mean I wasn't even working at it and BAM! what do I know but, hey, a new friend! Some of the names are even people I know. People I AM friends with in real life. But there's this whole virtual reality world that just seems a little too Jetson-y to me. (Okay, time for another true confession . . . I never liked Star Wars or Star Trek.)

And I keep thinking perhaps I'm missing out on something. But then I think that if I spend all my time trying to connect "in space" I'll never get anything accomplished in my real bricks-and-mortar life.

Don't get me wrong . . . I love e-mail and blogging and the friends I've made through the cyberworld. And if you ask me to "friend" you I'll happily comply. But don't be offended if I fail to write on your wall or join your group. I'm not being a virtual snob; I just don't know how to do so.

And please please please don't suggest twitter or flicker. Those would send me right over the edge, I fear.

But, feel free to shoot me an e-mail. Or go really radical and pick up the phone and call me. Don't worry--I'll get back to you. And even though I have caller-ID, I never screen my calls.

* * * * *
By the way, I'm tickled to have all the new visitors because of the book giveaway (see previous post). And the contest runs through Jan. 21.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Writers in their own words--and a Book GIVEAWAY!!

I don't know about you, but I'm ready to take on 2009! I cleaned/rearranged/purged my closet, I've organized my calendar, and I'm committed to the gym 4 days a week. I've even balanced my checkbook. So now it's time to kick back a little bit (I mean we're already a week in) and not only chat about a fun new book, but give a signed copy away to one lucky commenter. So, get your fingers ready and when you're done reading, comment away!

Without further ado, let me introduce you to Brenda Janowitz who is the author of JACK WITH A TWIST (Engaging your adversary and other things they don’t teach you in law school) and SCOT ON THE ROCKS (How I survived my ex-boyfriend's wedding with my dignity ever so slightly intact), as well as the short story BASED ON A TRUE STORY. You can learn more about Brenda here and check out her blog.

1.) How did you come up with the idea for this book? Are you more driven by plot or by character?

When I finished SCOT ON THE ROCKS, I just knew that Brooke’s story had to continue! Since both she and Jack are lawyers, I thought it would be so much fun to pit them against each other in the courtroom… all while planning their fairy-tale wedding. Thus the idea for JACK WITH A TWIST was born!

2.) Who's your favorite character in this book and why?

I love all of my characters equally, as if they were children!

But in JACK, I had a lot of fun writing Brooke’s mom. She drives Brooke completely crazy, but ultimately, always wants what’s best for our protagonist. I had so much fun having Brooke’s mom drink too much champagne and embarrass Brooke at every phase of the wedding planning.

And before my mother gets up in arms, no, Brooke’s mom is not based on my mom! (Although she does like a nice glass of champagne just as much as the next gal….)

3.) What's your writing process/writing environment like?

I write on my laptop which means that I can pretty much write wherever I please! I love to write on my couch at home, or, if I’m too distracted, at a nearby coffee shop. A fun thing for me is to meet my writer friends and have coffee or breakfast and then put our laptops on the table and write the rest of the day away!

4.) What's your favorite part of writing?

I love beginnings! It’s always so much fun to get started with a new project and set the stage.

5.) What's the best piece of advice you've ever gotten about writing?

Keep writing! It’s so easy to get discouraged or feel like you don’t have the time to write. But like anything else that is important in life, you have to work at it and make the time for it.

Edit! Editing your work is almost as important as the writing itself. Sure, you’re telling your story, but it’s also important to consider the way that you tell it. You want your writing to be tight, elegant and polished. It can only get to be that way through careful and thorough editing.

Develop a very thick skin. You’re putting yourself out there when you write and not everyone is going to love what you do. But that’s okay! You’re not writing to please everyone out there.

Brenda has graciously offered to send signed copy to a randomly selected commenter. So, don't be shy, okay? I'll pick one lucky winner after midnight on Jan. 21 (that gives you two whole weeks!).