Rad Romance: 5 Things That Happen Because I Have The Same Boyfriend at 46 That I Did At 17.

In high school, I was friends with a boy who was handsome, kind, strong, and the most intelligent person I ever knew. Reader, I married him. There are some interesting truths about having the same boyfriend since the eighties. 1. There is a written record of our relationship. On paper. Our romance began in 1987 before cell phones and texting were invented. In fact, though we went to the same high school, Jim lived far enough away that our calls were billed as long distance. There were a few years there when he lived in the mountains and I lived…

Song List for The Ghost Daughter

My novel The Ghost Daughter released from Coffeetown Press last month. Here’s a little about it: In 1971, a wounded young man runs with his daughter in the woods at night. As he collapses, he tells the little girl to run, and she does. Eighteen years later, in October 1989, the Loma Prieta earthquake buries twenty-two-year-old Angel Kelley under a collapsed building. Her adopted mother Judith is diagnosed with cancer while her deepest secrets surface in national news. In nearby Silicon Valley, Reese Camden loses her husband in an accident that kills him and critically injures their five-year-old daughter Madison….

The Day I Died

The person I was at 5:03 p.m. on Tuesday October 17, 1989 was not the same person at 5:05. That 5:03 girl was insecure, self-absorbed, and sad. She looked to others for validation and approval. She hated being alone but found making friends impossible. I guess you could say she died in the Loma Prieta earthquake, and that was in many ways a mercy. (5:03 girl did have magnificent hair, though): The only good thing about the day of  October 17, 1989 was that my long, lonely work hours at the Santa Cruz Ace Hardware downtown were broken up by making keys for…

True Lies: The Truth Behind The Ghost Daughter

I’ve been asked enough times lately if The Ghost Daughter is autobiographical to want to address the question before the official release of the novel on July 1. Yes, it is. No, it isn’t. The Ghost Daughter is a novel. A work of fiction. It’s a piece of imagination, woven together in an effort to make a pattern in a chaotic universe. But some of it really happened, though. If you’re interested, here is a short list of scenes in the novel drawn whole cloth from reality: 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake:  Del Rio Beach is a stand-in for Santa Cruz…

What I Was Thinking When I Wrote The Ghost Daughter

A few years ago I stood in the check out line at the grocery story, Casey Anthony staring at me from the cover of the People magazine. I don’t follow crime stories usually, but this one followed me. I couldn’t help it. I was fascinated.  A young woman claimed her little kid went missing a full month after anyone had seen her. The authorities found the thoroughly decomposed body of the child months later in a pile of duct tape. The prosecution was inadequate to the task of conviction and the judge let her go. Everyone thinks she did it. But…

Read Books

At an interview today, a lovely journalist asked me if I read all the time. Answer: I do. I read every day. But reading isn’t a chore. This isn’t a blog for Puritans, despite the writer’s distaste for fun and compliments. When I was a kid, I loved the library. I spent hours there. I came home with piles of books. I read them with great pleasure. I love the library in the same way now, except that I can order books ahead of time and find them waiting for me there with my name tag attached. That’s like Christmas…

Be Generous

2016 is going great so far. Amazing great. For example, this month a friend gifted me with a two-day writing workshop with the author of the truly excellent short story collection Refund, National Book Award Finalist Karen E. Bender. I am an enthusiastic fan of Ms. Bender’s work and vision, and I was going to have the chance to work with her in a small group format. In the two-day workshop, we listened to Karen Bender’s wisdom about the craft of writing fiction. All of the participants read one another’s work and came prepared with notes on each story. Everyone got a turn for…

5 Brief Book Reviews

The Infinite Tides by Christian Kiefer The Infinite Tides is a story about a grieving astronaut that is relentless in its integrity. I always appreciate the rare author who can plumb great emotional depths without a hint of sentimentality or a single false note. I read this novel as instructive in craft, as well as a meditative study of grief and mid-life spiritual growth. Indeed, there is a complex spiritual truth woven throughout this narrative about nothing less than what human beings are essentially for. The Infinite Tides is impeccably and beautifully written. This is painfully honest work about grief, manhood, relationship,…

5 Ways I Find Time to Read

1. Read what I want Tell the inner smarty pants who is criticizing my book choice to go to hell. Dump books that aren’t capturing or inspiring me. I don’t have to give any book fifty pages before deciding whether or not to continue. Nobody has time for that. This isn’t dating. Books don’t have feelings. 2. Link the library with frozen yogurt Commit to frozen yogurt on the way home from every trip to the library. This is especially effective in the summer. Start reading the best book while eating a chocolate vanilla swirl topped with mochi bits. Don’t drip on…

What Are You Reading? NaNoWriMo Edition.

On Facebook today, National Book Award Finalist Karen E. Bender (of the excellent Refund, among many others), suggested that during National Novel Writing Month, every participant buy a novel as well as write one. If each one of the estimated 300,000 NaNoWriMo writers bought a novel as well as wrote one, that would be awesome. “Just a thought,” Karen said. A great thought, I say. NaBoReMo I will call it, because short story collections are my obsession right now. Also, I like to spice it up with some nonfiction once in a while too. With reading, I flail around. To get your book buying show…