Friday, December 03, 2010

Amherst Book Review Club appearance

Yesterday and last night, yet another lake effect snow storm dumped two feet of heavy, wet snow in South Buffalo--on the day that my co-author and I had scheduled one of our biggest author appearances of the year. And wouldn't you know it? The NY State Thruway actually closed down--trapped motorists ran out of fuel and were stranded in their cars with rescuers coming to them by just gotta love western New Yorkers and their can-do attitudes.

But, unfortunately, heavy snowfall meant that the attendance for the meeting was down by almost half and we didn't sell nearly the number of books we had hoped to, but the audience was very receptive, the salmon at lunch was good, and we had fun. (Even if I was too keyed up to eat my dessert--it looked fabulous.) I had brought some Krupnik (Polish honey liqueur) that my mom's Polish friend sent for Andy, so I passed that along to him. It was yellowish liquid in a small glass jar--looking very much like a urine sample--I'm sure any witnesses to the hand-off wondered, "What the heck?" (Why, selling my urine so Andy can pass a drug test, of course!)

92 people had signed up for the luncheon and paid in advance. We had 51 actually show up. But it was really heartwarming to see stooped-over elderly ladies hobbling across the parking lot using their canes in the snow just to come and hear us speak. (I stood there and opened the doors for them while I waited for Andy to arrive. He was almost late--traffic from his part of the state was at a standstill.) All I can say is western New Yorkers are made of tough stuff. Our local TV station prints out T-shirts that read, "Hey, it's Buffalo. It snows. Deal with it."

But all in all it was a wonderful appearance with gracious, attentive hosts and a fine time was had by all--despite the snow. :)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mid-American Review reviews Women Up On Blocks

Mid-American Review
Volume XXIX, Number 2
(Reproduced with permission.)

Women Up On Blocks: Stories by Mary Akers. Winston-Salem, North Carolina: Press 53, 2009. 160 pages. $14.00, paper.

The publisher’s note to Mary Akers’ debut collection of short stories describes it as an exploration of “the price women pay when they allow the roles of wife, mother, daughter, or lover to define them.” In each of these thirteen stories, we meet characters who are keenly aware of these limiting boundaries, and through Akers’ deft narrative strokes, we are able to experience their frustration, resignation, reconciliation.

For some of these characters, their expected roles have been imposed on them by a society that refuses to recognize and validate difference; the narrator of “Mooncalf,” a young woman afflicted by cerebral palsy who dares to dream of happiness in marriage and motherhood is a powerful illustration of this. Other characters have taken on their roles seemingly voluntarily, like the young wife in “Wild, Wild Horses,” who has chosen to give up on an education and a career in order to raise a family. However these stories suggest that there was no true freedom even at that moment of choice, and that these characters have always been stifled by expectations.

“The Rashomon Tree” is interesting because it highlighted for me the idea that I was part of the external world that was judging these women and attempting to put them into neat slots. The two principle characters in this story seem stereotypical—the ditsy hippy and the fundamentalist Christian—and the interactions they have with each other are headed toward expected antagonism. However, by the story’s conclusion, these two women reveal to themselves and to the reader the impossibility of predicting human behavior; though this life lesson did seem a little facile, the story is nevertheless charming, and is narrated through multiple perspectives that emphasize how easy it is to misinterpret one another. By using varies narrative techniques in this story as well as in others in the collection, Akers succeeds in keeping each story distinct and memorable. Her most striking talent is of creating suspense by piling on mundane details that take on a sense of urgency; in the opening story of the collection, “Medusa Song,” we witness a young mother growing increasingly agitated as she does normal household chores. When she puts the baby in the car and decides to drive down to the river in the rain, we follow along, breathless and worried, afraid of what she is capable of.

While these characters attempt to shuffle off societal expectations or at least come to realize how limiting they are, these stories also reveal that this recognition leaves these characters in a place of discomfort or uncertainty; they have had to confront aspects of themselves and others that they did not expect to find. While the metaphor for this uncomfortable self-awareness is perhaps too blatant in the story “Model Home,” which is set in a house that has mostly mirrors for walls, it succeeds in “Animo, Anima, Animus”—in this story, two women with their individual notions of propriety and sexual freedom gaze on each other with pity and revulsion, revealing to what extent they have misunderstood each other and themselves.

--Sruthi Thekkiam, University of Houston

Thursday, October 21, 2010

My Kindergarten Driver Safety Class

Last night my husband and I completed a six-hour driver's safety class, taken in order to receive a discount on our auto insurance. It was an eye opener, and I don't mean the content of the course. I guess I'm naive, but I tend to assume that the majority of people in my town are educated, more-or-less healthy, clean themselves regularly, know the basics of polite discussion...but events like these really make me wonder.

I've surmised that there must be a lot of people in the world who have no one they can talk to. The instructor would ask if there were any questions and time and again someone from the class would raise a hand then launch into a long, rambling description of their own experience of hitting a deer, or some obscure feature of a car they once owned, or their fears regarding all the bad, other drivers on the road (not them, of course). I could just hear my mother the Kindergarten teacher (after asking for questions) gently reminding an overly talkative student: "Have you got a question for me, Johnny?" or "Can you make that into a question, Abigail?"

And the guy who sat beside us? It was a miracle he was even alive, much less driving around. He sounded like he was drowning when he exhaled loudly, which he did often. The rest of the time he was either breathing like Darth Vadar or snoring in his chair, slumped down, hands resting on an enormously round, distended beer belly. Oh, and he also smelled very much like cat piss. Old cat piss. The woman on the other side of him kept moving her chair farther away and holding a tissue up to her nose.

There was a truck driver there, who really couldn't contain himself and kept blurting out the answers that he knew before the instructor could say them himself or even ask a question. Often he'd get so ahead of himself (Kindergarten class again) that he'd start to blurt out the answer that he knew he had somewhere back in the recesses of his mind, only it wouldn't come, so he'd interrupt the instructor with, "Oh! Yeah! The clutch--but the--and then---yeah..." and run a hand down his face and over his beard. Amazingly, the embarrassment didn't stop him from doing the same thing every five minutes or so.

And I don't know if it was my bored mind "going there" or not, but all of the sudden everything the instructor said was sexual. He kept talking about pumping and pumping harder on the brake pedal, then repeatedly rubbed two fingers side to side in a hole created by his other hand to show how to pump gas properly, and then kept referring to the transmission as the "tranny." Example: "You'd be better off stripping your tranny than crashing." But, yeah, it was probably just me.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Negative Scripts

I've passed a good couple of weeks as a writer. The writing life (at least for me) most often involves alternating periods of boom-bust, feast-famine, mania-depression...choose your metaphor, but the fact is we writers often go through long periods of working away quietly at the desk with nothing from the outside world, followed by intense bursts of activity, publicity, and scrutiny.

Summer was basically my "fallow" period and now things are ratcheting back up. I like both states, but I've had enough of being fallow for a while so the activity suits me. At the beginning of October, my co-author Andrew Bienkowski and I had a great book club meeting in Niagara Falls. Great food, great discussion, and some really engaged and astute readers. We also sold a lot of books, which always amazes me at book club events, because all the people attending have already purchased and read the book. So it means they liked it enough to buy copies to share with others. Truly, we are blessed to have such supportive and generous readers.

Later that week I was on a panel at the Erie County Library discussing the influence of Poe on popular culture. Poe's work influenced me a great deal, so it was wonderful to have a chance to talk about the man and his work. Oh, and we even received an honorarium from the library. A very nice surprise, that.

I had to order more books this week, always a good sign. :)

A piece of historical fiction of mine (about a devastating forest fire in the Adirondacks in 1903) just went live at Lacuna: A Day for Burying.

My short story Christmas in Phuket which Literary mama published earlier this year was nominated for Dzanc's Best of the Web 2011, an honor, for sure. And especially heartening as it's part of the marine ecology themed collection that I'm hoping to find a publisher for soon.

I attended an amazing lecture by Her Deepness, Sylvia Earle, Ocean Ambassador. What a generous, expansive, clear-eyed speaker. And she spoke completely without notes. When I grow up, I want to be her. Okay, a cross between Margaret Atwood and her. That's my plan, anyway.

I had a story accepted for an ocean anthology, the proceeds of which will go to help fund the ocean studies of SCRIPPS--excellent, that.

But amid all of these positive accomplishments, I find that I still have negative scripts perpetually running in the background of my brain. It's all too easy to highlight the rejections and downplay the acceptances, the affirmations. And McKenna Donovan talks about this very tendency in a series of ongoing posts at her blog: Negative Scripts--Part II. I participated, as did a number of authors whose work I admire. It's a good reminder that no matter how successful we writers may appear to the outside world, there are always demons we find ourselves are forced to confront.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My first issue as editor is up!

Well, r.kv.r.y.'s fall/winter issue is now live! (A little early, but I can't hold back so you get a sneak peak). I am so proud of the work in this issue, and I didn't write a word of it! There are some really fine pieces here and each piece has its own custom-designed artwork to accompany it. Dawn Estrin is the very talented artist who adopted this issue for us and put so many hours into it.

Special thanks to Victoria Pynchon who created this fine journal and saw fit to pass the torch on to me. :)

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

r.kv.r.y quarterly literary journal

I am very excited to announce that I'll be taking over as editor of the fine, fine literary journal r.kv.r.y. October will be my first issue and I've already received some excellent submissions. Can't wait to see it all come together!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Literary Mama!

I'm thrilled and honored to have a new story up at Literary Mama, one of my very favorite ezines.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Author Exposure Review

I just came across an amazing, generous and thorough review of my short story collection by Joan Hanna over at Author Exposure. What a gift! I *heart* readers. (Check out Joan's blog and read some of her lovely lyrical poetry there.)


"The women in these thirteen short stories will resonate with you long after you read this book. You will wonder about them as if they were your neighbors. You will even feel the urge to call them to make sure they are okay. Akers has imparted a fearless, fully-explored series of stories about how women try to break out of their emotional prisons in a way that will even touch readers who have nothing in common with these women."

The Buffalo Book Fair

Got my tent, got my posters, got my money box, got loads of books to sell, know what I'm reading, pretty sure what I'm wearing (subject, always, to last minute changes), got my maps printed out. I think I'm ready. Hope to see you at the Buffalo Book Fair this Saturday! (If you're at Taste of Buffalo, we're only a block away--come on over!)

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Bounty of a Generous Heart

My co-author Andy Bienkowski was interviewed at New Dimensions Radio back in March and they have produced a wonderful hour-long show which you can listen to on June 30th, or download at their Website, Andy is a marvelous speaker. Enjoy!

Thursday, June 17, 2010


I am an environmentalist who has studied the ocean and her creatures for more than thirty years. Though not strictly a scientist, my voice is as valid as a voice that calculates, quantifies, measures, and speaks with the authority of an advanced degree. We need facts, yes, we need analysis, but we also need emotion. We need to hear the voice of the ocean, measure with the calipers of our embracing arms, quantify with the beakers of our imperfect hearts.

As the world’s ninth largest body of water, the Gulf of Mexico does more than provide Americans with shrimp and oysters and petroleum. The Gulf’s waters, their flora and fauna, help to regulate the earth’s oxygen, climate, weather, and the rainfall we do or do not receive. For every breath you take, for every sip of water, you can thank the oceans of the world.

The most frustrating aspect of this environmental catastrophe is that it did not have to happen. It was entirely avoidable. When we started drilling a mile down, at the bottom of the unpredictable ocean, we knew we were walking in a dangerous neighborhood. We should have had emergency plans and backup plans, tested and proven and solidly in place before the first drill dropped below the surface. Even better, we should have never been there at all.

Sadly, pre-emergency planning is now moot for this spill. We must propel ourselves quickly into dealing with the aftermath. And the aftermath of catastrophe is never pretty. This is not President Obama’s Katrina, as some have said, this is his Chernobyl.

In addition to allowing BP to direct the cleanup efforts, we have given them carte blanche to choose which dispersant they employ to treat the spill, and—big surprise—they chose a dispersant (ironically named Corexit, said: “Corrects it”) that is manufactured by a company with which BP and Exxon both share close ties. Conflict of interest much? Adding toxicity to economic-and-environmental-injury, Corexit is a petroleum-based dispersant (there are less-toxic, water-based dispersants available, just not in the quantities BP claims it needs).

At the time of this writing, over a million gallons of dispersant have been sprayed over the surface of the Gulf or spewed into the deep ocean at the site of the spill—an even more environmentally risky area, as we have no evidence that oil-eating bacteria can function in deeper, colder waters. But I’ve moved too quickly here. I want you to go back and sit with that number for a moment: 1,000,000 gallons.

Scientists have never studied the environmental effects of dispersants used in concentrations this high. We do not know what we are doing, even as we are doing it.

BP asserts that the dispersants are non-toxic. Any toxicologist will tell you, though, that it’s the dose that makes the poison. Most substances are toxic when ingested in large enough quantities. Drink too much alcohol, and you can die. Drink too much caffeinated coffee, and you can die. Drink too much water and, yes, you can even die from that.

Dispersants make the oil spill look better from the air, from the coastline, for the cameras, which benefits BP. They break up the massive sheen of oil on the surface. They mean fewer shots of birds floundering helplessly, mired in oil. They break up the oil, yes, but dispersants do not change the quantity of oil in the water; they simply cause it to collect in smaller and smaller aggregates, rendering it largely irretrievable.

I am deeply concerned that dispersants not only spread the oil farther and wider, but also add another chemical to the water, to an environment that is already extraordinarily stressed by millions of gallons of crude. The warning label for Corexit cautions that it is an eye and skin irritant. It is harmful when inhaled and when it comes into contact with skin. If swallowed, it may cause injury to red blood cells, to kidneys or to the liver. Humans should not take Corexit internally, but sensitive marine mammals, fishes, sponges, corals, turtles and jellyfish are all swallowing it. They are soaking in it. They are breathing it.

Meanwhile, the minute-but-essential creatures in the Gulf of Mexico (phytoplankton, zooplankton, bacteria) are being killed invisibly, beneath the surface, away from the cameras, but no less dramatically. Even the larger fish and marine mammals that are killed will likely plunge to the deep sea floor after they die—completely outside our field of vision.

The birds and mammals at least have a chance of avoiding the oil. And it is possible to clean and relocate them (although the jury is still out on the effectiveness of that strategy). But millions of tiny sea-dwelling creatures in the Gulf have nowhere else to go. If the poisonous oil doesn’t reach them, the dissolved dispersants will.

Right now, billions of fragile eggs and larvae of the bluefin tuna (that spawn only in the Gulf and only at this time of year) are floating in the top ten to fifteen feet of the water column, along with billions of droplets of oil and dissolved dispersant. The very same bluefin who are already in danger from overfishing fueled by our insatiable appetite for sushi. No one knows what effect the oil will have on this critical bluefin nursery, on this threatened species.

But perhaps most compromised of all are the sensitive sessile creatures, unable to move away, unable to avoid the oil. No one is talking about the sponges that are animals, too, but are fixed to the substrate and will filter this poisoned seawater through their bodies twenty-four hours a day. And what about the fragile corals, already threatened by human activity in the form of effluent discharge and agricultural runoff from hotels, farms, golf courses, and cruise ships? The Florida Keys are home to North America’s only tropical coral reef system. The only one.

Dispersants are not a fix-all; to avoid environmental collapse of the Gulf we must halt their subsurface use and carefully target their limited surface use to areas (such as coastlines), where the benefits outweigh the risks.

The tragedy incurred by Louisiana’s residents, the blow dealt to their wetlands and marshes is already unfathomable. And yet, like that first levee breached during hurricane Katrina, or those first few moments when the ground trembled and shook in Haiti, this is only the beginning of a much larger tragedy that will be felt for years, for decades, perhaps even for centuries to come.

Friday, May 14, 2010

IPPY gold!!

Just woke up this morning to the news that Women Up On Blocks won the IPPY gold medal in the Short Story category. Thanks so much to Kevin Watson and his amazing Press 53 for making this possible!!

Friday, April 23, 2010

German edition!

I've just received my author copies of our German version of One Life to Give, and it is stunning. Thanks so much to dtv for making such a lovely version of our book!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Buffalo Book Fair!

Come visit us at the Buffalo Book Fair this Saturday from noon to 6pm at the Karpeles Manuscript Museum at 453 Porter Avenue. We'll be signing books and talking to readers. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Disobedient Girl by Ru Freeman

Ru Freeman’s gorgeous debut novel A Disobedient Girl opens with eleven-year-old Latha enjoying her daily indulgence—an afternoon wash at the well using a rose-scented soap. The soap is a symbol of status and she has stolen it from the Vithanages, a family raising her to be a servant for Thara, their same-age daughter. The two young girls become as close as sisters, but as the years pass and Latha’s duties to Thara increase, she begins to bristle in her role as servant. When she and Thara flirt with a pair of local boys, Ajith and Gehan, the obvious class disparities rise to the surface and Latha fumes with resentment. Thara proclaims Ajith her ideal mate and Latha comes to care for Gehan, a gentle, lower-caste boy who obviously cares for her. But the course of love (as they say) never runs smoothly and the romantic lives of Latha and Thara are no exception. A simple desire to show that she is more than just a servant girl, and to be rewarded for her years of service, sets Latha on a path that will affect the lives of everyone she touches.

Throughout the novel, Latha and Thara’s story parallels that of Biso, a young mother of three who flees an abusive husband as well as a scandal in her small village that she helped to create. How these two stories will intersect is unclear for much of the book, but the author’s steady hand and gorgeous prose lead us along with full confidence that they will eventually come together. A pair of gold earrings, a red sports car, and a series of mysterious explosions give us tantalizing glimpses along the way, but things are never quite what they seem. And the life-changing secrets that bind these women together are the very secrets that tear their lives apart. Moving with the characters through love lost and love gained, through surprise insights and tragic misunderstandings, the reader is enticed forward to a thrilling denouement that is the perfect combination of shock and sudden understanding. Days later, I’m still savoring the bittersweet longing delivered by A Disobedient Girl’s exquisitely resonant final chapter.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

5 quick horror stories for authors

First, let me say that I've had plenty of amazing audiences and great experiences reading. This isn't about wallowing in the hard life of an author. I'm lucky, I know that. What I mean to do is share a few awkward reading stories in the spirit of fun. So here's a recap of five of the more nightmarish ones, in no particular order:

1) The readings I gave with Bronchitis (in Texas) are right up there...I'll lump them all together because the whole week was a blur, anyway. I was away from home, sick, and expected to socialize after it took everything I had to read without coughing, to force my battered voice to be loud (again!) without a microphone. That was also when I got viral induced asthma that made me think I was dying. Generally a whole big barrel of laughs.

2) The reading at a small feminist bookstore was sort of fun in an awful way--with all of two people in attendance and the Madonna of lesbian porn looking over my shoulder as I read.

3) There was that reading at a Polish conference where...well...not to overshare, but Aunt Flo made an unexpected visit and I had NOTHING in my purse, and so I'm desperately feeding quarters into a broken down machine that turned out to be empty, (while a line forms outside the door), and I'm wearing the absolutely wrong undergarments for this whole enterprise anyway...and well, that one was nightmare #3.

4) The reading to the "writers group" that told me only after I'd said yes that they meet at a Waffle House in Buffalo and so I had something like fried liver and onions and sat beside the only "published author" who had written and self-published the story of his mother's cat (or some such) and we read while the waitresses all cleaned up around us, clanking dishes and walking in between us as we read, and not one person bought a book but everyone was crazy talking endlessly about themselves and their projects and standing too close while talking earnestly and rapidly, even talking while following me out to my car.

5) But today may have taken the cake. (Here's a quirky preamble: I decided to run a quick mile on the treadmill before getting ready--take the edge off my nerves. As I'm running, I entertain this morbid fantasy about tripping and knocking my front teeth out and then giving a toothless reading. Haha, right?) So, I shower and try on ten different outfits before I settle on the right one, change shoes (and socks) four times, print out directions, and then go, narrowly missing a collision when Humboldt Parkway--on which I need to turn--is UNMARKED and I dash across two lanes of traffic to get there (sorry white Corolla). The reading is for a group of Western, NY Food Bank folks, and is to take place after lunch (served by them). Always careful about what I eat immediately before giving a reading, I take a bit of salad and a tuna salad croissant. That seems safe. As I'm eating the salad, though, I crunch down on a rock (or something) and get the heebie-jeebies (I'm really fond of my whole, healthy teeth), but everything seems okay, so I take the rock out (which is oddly white and shiny) and set it on my plate and keep eating. Then I take a nice cold drink of Sprite and HOLY CRAP! That was no rock, that was what was left of my tooth and now I have this bizarre, jagged hole that my tongue keeps finding and obsessing over and this Buddhist monk is talking to me very intently about something and I can't hear a word he's saying because my brain is screaming TOOTHTOOTHTOOTHohmygodTOOTH and I have to go on in less than five minutes. So I excuse myself and go the bathroom and check the mirror (sigh) and quickly call my husband to see if he can get me an appointment at the dentist for tomorrow morning, and then I perform with this half-tooth distracting me with its sharp edges and aching pain and I'm certain I'm now lisping and every time I take a big deep breath at the end of a paragraph, yowza! I muddled through it, but I was not at my best and really just wanted to curl up in the corner and cry for my poor little lost tooth. (I still have it in my pocket. It's so pretty.)

The things we do because the show must go on...So...come on. Someone must have something bigger and more horrendous to cheer me up with...please?

Friday, March 05, 2010

Margaret Atwood Speaks in Buffalo

Okay, so I'll just start by admitting that I'm a rabid fan and apologize in advance for my slavering and blathering...

From the start, when the divine Ms. Atwood came on stage, it was clear that she would be sharp and charming and self-deprecating. She talked about how Buffalo, when she was growing up in Toronto, was called "Sin City" because you could see girly shows and drink alcohol at a younger age than you could in Canada (it's the other way around now). She joked about the Canadian slogan for the Olympics: "Own the Podium." Said it wasn't very Canadian at all. More Canadian would have been, "A little podium would be nice" or "I wouldn't say no to a bit of podium, eh?" She said she was reminded of the old joke, "What does a Canadian woman say when asked if she would like some sex?" Answer: "Only if you're having some yourself."

Her format for the lecture was to tell us the most frequently asked questions she has gotten from audiences over the years and then answer them. Here are a few:

1) Is your hair naturally like that (very curly!) or do you have it done that way?

She said a lot of things in response to that, but the most memorable was, "If I were having it done, do you honestly think I would have them do this?"

2) Why have you denied that The Handmaid's Tale and your other futurist stories are Science Fiction? And are you disparaging Science Fiction when you say this? Oh, and by the way, did you like the movie Avatar?

Yes, she liked Avatar. And she said that she refers to those futurist works of hers as "Speculative Fiction" because they involve humans, they happen in this world (on earth), and they involve technology that we are currently working to perfect or that is possible in the future, given what we know today. Most sci-fi takes place on alternate worlds with creatures very different from ourselves. She said if forced, she could put everything under a Sci-Fi umbrella with three main ribs: Fantasy, the type of writing that often involves dragons and unicorns and swords; Science Fiction that might involve frog-men from Mars, or giant blue-ish hued people with very strange tails; and Speculative Fiction that often involves a future-world that is within our grasp and imagination.

(This was all very useful to me, as the near-future dystopia that I'm writing would fit the Speculative Fiction label. I plan to use that in my future query letter.)

3) Do you like men? And the related, do men like you?

She said yes, she likes men, and as for the other question, why not ask the men? Although she knows that some of the younger ones claim to like her, just so they can get into the good graces of the young women they are interested in.

4) Are you a pessimist?

I loved her answer here. She said that no writer could ever accurately be termed a pessimist. The very act of writing is a supreme example of being hopeful. The road is so long and the horizon so far away when you first begin (you must write and revise the book, then find an agent, then find a publisher, then hope that it sells, then hope that readers and reviewers will like it...). Every writer is full of hope.

And she went on to more specifics of her hopefulness, but that first answer was the bomb.

And there were more, but I'll move on to some of the other bits that interested me.

She said never let anyone tell you that the arts are unnecessary. They are as important to human growth as breathing. To illustrate that point, she asked us to think about the creative things that kids do on their own before they ever start to attend school: they acquire language, dance, sing, draw, and color. (Brilliant.)

When asked who she reads, she said some of her favorites are Alice Munro and Hilary Mantel, and she recently read two forthcoming books by Yann Martel and E. O. Wilson in galley form. She liked them both.

When asked which one of her characters she was most like, she said Zenia, the compulsive liar (storyteller) from The Robber Bride.

When asked about the future of paper books vs. e-readers, she said that e-readers are lovely for some things, travel for instance, and aging eyes since you can enlarge the print and brighten the background, but that she doesn't believe that books will ever go away completely because the inherent storage risks are too great. Relying on a power source, surviving being such ways books will always be superior. To illustrate this point she said, "Let me ask you this. Would you keep the only copy of your will on a computer?"

And lastly, when asked for a tip on sparking inspiration, she said, "I have the perfect way to inspire you to write. I promise it will work every time. It's foolproof. Are you listening? All right. First, put your right hand (or whichever hand you write with) onto your desk, on a piece of paper. Next, lift your left hand into the air. And now, hold your arm up in the air until you are inspired to write. Trust me, it works every time."

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

St George's Catholic Church

My co-author and I had a great event this past Sunday at St. George's Church in Buffalo. Our audience was delightful (an Over 55 group) and Andy kept joking that he was holding out for an "Over 75" group. They were attentive and receptive and bought all of the books we had brought with us. it was a lovely afternoon.

Coming up, two days at St. Joseph's Collegiate Academy next week, and the Buffalo Book Fair on March 27th. Should be fun!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Laura Kasischke at Willow Springs

There's a great, short interview with Laura Kasischke over at Willow Springs. I so admire her work, and the way she elegantly and expertly crosses genres.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Foreword Magazine

Foreword Magazine has given One Life to Give an excellent, generous review. Thank you, Foreword!!

One Life to Give review

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Mississippi Review Online

The current issue is all flash fiction, guest edited by Kim Chinquee. Some excellent work, and I'm proud to have my work rubbing elbows with all the talent in this issue.

Mississippi Review Online

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Review for One Life to Give

Thanks so much to Clifford Garstang over at Perpetual Folly for the kind review of One Life to Give!