Back in the fall, I visited the Jewish Child Care Association’s sprawling campus in Pleasantville, N.Y., to sit down with Janmarie Brown for a feature in Westchester Magazine.
Brown is director of Gateways, a residential program for girls who have experienced the horrors of domestic trafficking and commercial sexual exploitation. Some are as young as twelve years old, some have refused help only to come back again, and many have rewritten their lives thanks to Brown and her staff.
So many people think of trafficking as a foreign problem, something that doesn’t happen in their back yard. They couldn’t be more wrong. My visit to Gateways was an eye-opening, unsettling, but ultimately inspiring experience that I will not soon forget.
Read the article in the May 2013 issue of Westchester Magazine, available in stores or online here.
Check out the April/May issue of KIWI, a fantastic up-and-coming magazine that helps families cook, play, eat, grow, and live organically. The current issue offers recipes to please picky eaters, advice on reinventing your career after kids, and my article about bringing that spring garden to life.
Many thanks to my expert sources: Fern Marshall Bradley, author of Rodale’s Vegetable Garden Problem Solver; Barbara Pleasant, author of Starter Vegetable Gardens: 24 No-Fail Plans for Small Organic Gardens; and Sarah Pounders, education specialist with the National Gardening Association.
This month’s Prick of the Spindle is out, and guess whose name is in the table of contents… Right next to the story called Swampfront Luxury…
Well, go find out! You can see it for free here or buy it for the Kindle here.
This is a big deal to me because it’s my first official break into the world of fiction! (Okay that’s a lie. My first break was landing my amazing agent, Michelle Brower. But this is a close second!) As much as I love talking to real people and telling their stories for magazines and newspapers, there’s something truly amazing about crafting an entire world and piecing together characters in your head. If anything, it verifies that I’m not just a crazy person who talks to herself and hyper-analyzes the way your husband hails a cab. I’m an artist
So read up, enjoy, and tell all your friends! Comments are very, very welcome.
I’m thrilled to announce that Prick of the Spindle literary magazine has picked up my first short story, ”Swampfront Luxury.”
It tells the story of a young woman coming to terms with a tragic accident, decades after-the-fact. If you like twists, family drama, internal resurrection, or just the breeze of the sea, definitely check it out.
Find it on Kindle March 31 or prickofthespindle.com March 23.
In honor of Valentine’s Day, I’m participating in the fabulous Heather Webb’s “Where’s the Love?” blog hop. Squishing a meaningful amorous scene into 250 words is tough… so I did the best I could. Please read, leave comments, and then hop around to the other writers’ sites (scroll down) and do the same for them. With every comment comes a chance to win chocolate!!
Note: This is from my current WIP, the second book in the Desperately Ever After series, so didn’t want to give too much away! DEA is currently being shopped to publishers by Michelle Brower of Folio Literary Management.
My Blog Hop Contribution:
Belle waited for the punch line to his compliment. When none came, she looked up to see Gray staring at her. His entire body seemed tilted and his eyes – wide and stormy now – pulsated in time to her heartbeat.
“Would you mind closing the doors a bit?” she asked, motioning to the fireplace. “It’s hot enough.”
“Belle.” Gray leaned forward in his chair. His jeans pressed into the coffee table between them. He said her name again, as if she hadn’t heard the first time.
But she’d heard it just fine. She’d heard the longing tone, the soft inflection, the way in which he made it half sigh, half question. It was just one syllable, which she’d heard a trillion times in a million different voices. But suddenly it caused her stomach to flip inside out and her eyes to burrow deep into the half-finished blanket in her hands – the blanket that would soon belong to the reason Gray couldn’t finish what he wanted to say.
“Don’t forget to –”
“Belle. Something happened today.”
She pitched her chin up. Could he recognize the terror that was flashing through her entire body right now?
Gray wrung his hands together over his knees. Something unfamiliar flitted across his face.
“I know I’ve only been here a week,” he said, “and I don’t want to put myself where I don’t belong.” Belle gripped the cloth and the smooth metal needle pushing through it. She’d stab herself before she let him ruin this – whatever this was. “But I care about you and –”
“Gray, please –”
“What did he do to you?”
Silence dropped with the question mark. The needle plunged into Belle’s thumb but she bit back the yelp. Only the crackle of the fire had the nerve to make a sound.
Please leave your feedback, and then do the same for these guys: Janet B. Taylor, Candie Campbell, Kris Waldherr, Tonia Marie Harris, Janet Oakley, Donna Barker, Julianne Douglas, Betsy Ashton, Jess Shira, Arabella Stokes, Megan Hennessey, Barb Taub, Rae Ellen Lee, Veronica Bartles
Just three days until the fabulous Heather Webb’s “Where’s the Love?” blog hop!
Stop by February 14-15 to read a short scene from my current WIP, book two of the not-yet-released DESPERATELY EVER AFTER series. I promise there will be sexual tension
You can indulge, comment, and then hop around to the other writers’ sites (as will I) and nibble on some more. After all, what is Valentine’s Day about if not sampling? Sampling chocolates… sampling lips… sampling fantasies…
Other participants as of now:
Janet B. Taylor
Tonia Marie Harris
Shop Amazon – Valentine’s Day Event
There are only 7 days left to submit something for the AKC Family Dog’s 26th Annual Fiction Writing Contest.
I’ve been very into dog fiction lately, ever since I found a copy of Dog is My Co-Pilot: Great Writers on the World’s Oldest Friendship at a Cape Cod flea market. It’s filled with fantastic (funny, sad, inspiring, etc.) stories about humans and their beloved canine friends.
I’m still hoping to carve out some time (between my freelance assignments and revising the second book of the Desperately Ever After series) to enter.
Of course, I need to think of a story first. Maybe this weekend. It only has to be postmarked on the 31st…
P.S. I finally opened my copy of The Art of Racing in the Rain, which has been sitting on my desk for months, and cried my eyes out in the very first chapter. My tear ducts are taking a brief rest, but I’ve heard it’s fantastic. It’s been a NYTimes bestseller for, like, centuries. More on that later.
I finished the second book in the Desperately Ever After series over the holidays, and now it’s on to those wonderful weeks of revising.
Luckily, while I sometimes want to throw my computer at the wall, I do in some sick and twisted way love revising. This is when the layers really start to emerge.
For me, the first draft puts me at JFK airport on a two-hour layover. The second, third, and come-what-may drafts get me out onto the streets, strolling Riverside Park at sunset, smelling the chestnuts at the corner of 43rd and Madison, soaking in the lights at Times Square, riding the glass elevators in the Marriott… you get the idea.
The hard part is staying sane while your mind wanders to other worlds and your body stays agonizingly still. Forcing yourself out of the chair every once in a while is key. And for writers, it usually does take FORCE. We could get lost in our manuscripts for days. It’s our nature.
SO pretend it’s New Year’s Day again and make a list of things you can do to let loose for an hour at a time. This isn’t a one-and-done sort of list that you just want to rush through and cross off. It’s a bit-by-bit list. Chores, grocery shopping, and lunch don’t count.
My go-to distractions this time:
- Planning a kick-ass vacation (or at least daydreaming about one)
- Learning to take (and edit) better pictures
- Working out (I want to do an obstacle race this year!)
- Adorning my house with sewing projects (a couch cover, a dog bed, 2-4 throw pillows, and a bench cushion as of now)
- Taking Shadow for a walk or throwing the ball for him in the back yard
Check out my two Westchester/Hudson Valley Weddings articles, filed under both “Journalism” and “The Lighter Stuff.” These were both extremely fun to write, and I hope as fun to read.
Also, I added a new category highlighting my favorite clips. Enjoy. More articles and news coming soon.