Who couldn't use a little escape to the beach? I'm giving away a copy of The P-Town Queen, a romantic comedy that one reviewer called "laugh out loud funny."
Enter by following this link:
PS Don't forget to get your free copy of The Whisper of Time. See details below!
Tis the season for giving, and I'm all in!
I'm giving away one hundred free copies of my time travel novella, The Whisper of Time, at Smashwords.
The Whisper of Time is a short, sweet romance about a young woman who moves to Vermont and finds she's moved a lot further than she first imagined. You can read more about the novella on my Whisper of Time page.
To get your free e-copy, go to the link below and at checkout, put in the promo code:
A Question of Love
Look around you-
all the ways of love are in the light dancing on the river
in the rain soaked branches of the trees.
All the ways of love are in the wings of swallows,
in the feather soft riot of flight
When spring comes, they will build again
under the eaves of my house,
layering blade over blade to shelter their hatchlings.
And who can say what love is?
No more and no less than the birds who shelter
their children under the eaves
No more and no less than the branches damp with rain
No more and no less than the river that flows and flows,
gathering the waters of the storm
I will seek
the wildness of the world
heart of my being
wildness of the world
center of my being
Let me tell you a story. Once upon a time, not that long ago, the people of a large nation lost a war. They were reprimanded for the loss, shamed badly, and forced to pay restitution. And so, on top of losing sons and husbands and fathers to a losing cause, they also lost their dignity. Times got hard around the world. The stock market crashed and things got a shade desperate. The people worried they wouldn’t have enough money to pay the bills, they would not be able to provide for their children. And to add insult to injury, crime was on the rise as it often is in hard times. The people now also feared for their safety.
Along came a candidate who promised them he would keep them safe. He promised to upend the weak system that refused to fight for them, refused to help give them a better life. He promised a strong nation that would once again be respected by the world. He also mentioned, once or twice, that communism was ruining the world and that journalists were not to be trusted. Oh, and he said the Jews were an abomination and a threat and that they needed to be, at the very least, driven from the country.
Some people didn’t like this leader’s rhetoric. But he was a heck of a good speaker, one of those gifted speakers who could fire up the crowd. So, those people who didn’t like him were ignored. What did they know anyway? The guy promised prosperity and safety and a good job. Besides, the rest was just idle talk. He didn’t mean it, not really.
They voted him in.
Feeling emboldened by the leader’s rise, some people began turning on their Jewish neighbors. They called them communists, they called them dirty, and they told them to get out of the country. Some of the people didn’t like what was happening, but they didn’t stand up to it. They weren’t Jewish, after all. And besides, what could they do? They were just trying to keep their own heads above water. Life was hard for all them. They didn’t speak up because speaking up could get you in a heap of trouble. If you stood with the Jews, you became one of them, and who wanted to be beat up?
Soon the Jews were being shipped off to camps. And anyone who was crazy enough to speak out was being sent with them. So were gay people and gypsies, because they too were different and therefore a threat to the nation. And communists and journalists, because there was no room for them, either.
This is the story of my birth nation, Germany. It is my grandparent’s story, my parent’s story. We all know this story does not have a happy ending. By the end of it, six million innocent men, women and children had been murdered in the camps. The country was left in a heap of rubble. History judges the German people harshly for what they did. The blood of six million is carried on their souls. I was born more than a decade after the fall of the Reich, and I still carry the guilt of what happened to those six million people.
This story, with it’s terrible parable of unspeakable sin, is why I am so reactive to what has happened in my adopted country this week. I see parallels between the rise of Trump and what happened in Germany two generations ago. Now, you might think I’m over reacting. Honestly, I hope I am. I hope, that six months from now, a year from now, five years from now, you can come back here and call me a fool.
But look around you. Already the hate has started. And before you tell me how the progressives have thrown a hissy fit and how their anger has boiled over into riot, please know that I don’t condone violence. Not on anyone’s side. Before you tell me I’m just another liberal who is trying to make you feel bad, please know that I don’t care what your political leanings are. We don’t get anything done if we spit at one another. But look around, the emboldening of the KKK, the bullying of gay people, of black people, of Latinos, and particularly of Muslims and Muslim immigrants is a real thing. It’s rise over the past few days is a real thing. Children are afraid, people are afraid.
A lot of you who voted Trump are very clear in saying that you are not racists or bigots or xenophobes. I believe you. Some of you are my neighbors, some of you my friends. I know you cringe, as I do, at the idea of genocide. I know you didn’t vote for him because he was a racist. You voted for him for all those other reasons, for better jobs and a kick ass America that the world respects again. You wanted to upend all that gridlock in Washington that isn’t doing any of us any good.
But here’s the other part. If you voted for this man, you turned a deaf ear to the racist remarks he made. When he condoned violence at his rallies, you said the media was just overreacting. When he aligned himself with the Alt right, which includes and welcomes both white supremacists and neo Nazis, you said it didn’t matter. You may not have voted for these things, but you own them anyway. And those of us who didn’t vote for Trump, those of us who saw these things during his campaign and were reviled by them, we have to own them too. Because we wrote Trump off as crazy and we couldn't imagine that more than a few people would vote for him. What matters now is that this is our country and this man is going to president, and we cannot put our heads in the sand.
The only way forward is if we stand together before it is too late. Stand up for what you believe in and value. We all know that hatred and violence against people of color, against gay people or Muslim people, Jewish people is wrong. Dead wrong. You have a sense of decency. Stand up to these things, denounce them LOUDLY. It is the only way. We are good people. Let’s not be the people who have blood on their hands for the next hundred years.
Today, I grieve for the beautiful dream my country has decided to pull apart. I grieve for the legacy of a wonderful president. Today, I mourn the hatred and anger that seems to have swamped us like a tide. I worry for my children, my children's children, and what kind of future we can give them. I worry that democracy doesn't work when half of us did not want this outcome. I grieve for black people, brown people, LGBT people, native people, and people who are not Christians, who must wonder if they still have a place in our nation. I grieve that half the country has decided not to honor diversity, not to honor the rights of women, not to honor our environment.
At the edges of my grief is an unbridled angry. It is not that I didn't get the result I wanted. I could live with that, I often have. It is that this result is so utterly repugnant. This result is terrible in all ways.
To those who voted for this man, I've tried hard to understand your dismay, but at the end of the day, I can't. I'm middle class and white. I do not have a lot of money, I can't afford many of the things I'd like. But get this, my life is blessed. I have a home, good food, a car. I have a family and friends that I love. This country has been good to me, the immigrant daughter of immigrant parents. So I have a hard time understanding your idea of hard times.
You want to make America great again. To bring it back to the hazy, nostalgic wonder days of your childhood. You are looking through rose colored glasses. The past is the past, we cannot go backward. We can only move forward. And, if you were to take those glasses off and truly look, would you find a the past wasn't all that great. Certainly not for women who were harassed in the workplace and who were limited by the very fact they were born female. Certainly not for people of color, who had to endure and fight endless indignities in the time of Jim Crowe. Certainly not for any immigrant group who came to this land poor and uneducated and struggled to find work in a nation that did not always welcome them. Certainly not for gay people, who had to hide their very natures for fear of reprisal. Certainly not for those who went to war and came back wounded and betrayed.
Half of my country has cast away votes on a fantasy, and put faith in a megalomaniac who promises that he alone can turn back the clock.. This is not a change for the good. This is an ill wind that will chill us all to the bone. Make no mistake, it will not go any better for you than it will for me.
But half of us have chosen something else. We wanted something kinder, something that repairs the system we have, that builds on our progress. We grieve now, but we will be heard.
I accept what has happened, but I do not stand by it. For this is my belief: our love is stronger than our hate, our kindness is a far, far better thing than our divisiveness. I stand now and will continue to stand for what I believe in. I live in hope that, in the end, those better things will prevail.
On a recent visit to Provincetown, my husband and I walked through the Province Lands. The sand sculpted dunes brooded under a grey sky, a steady wind whisked the ocean into frothy whitecaps. In the distance, a lighthouse guided ships to safe harbor. It seemed the perfect setting for a mystery, or a ghost story perhaps. Someday I might write such a book—set back in time in along a lonely stretch of sand at the edge of the world
I have written a book set in Provincetown, though the story I wrote is far from brooding and dramatic. It’s a comedy with a cast of offbeat, slightly kooky and all-too-human characters. This is the other face of Provincetown—colorful and bodacious, unapologetic in its attitude while still holding to something older, something timeless as the dunes that surround harbor and village.
Fishing boats dock alongside the wharf, rust stained by age and salt, decks worn by the work at sea. The smell of today’s catch lingers on the breeze, so strong it can be tasted. Tourists stroll by licking ice cream cones bought from the take-out window of a local food joint at the wharf’s entrance. A block away, on Commercial, shops hug the narrow street, selling everything from salt water taffy to sex toys. In front of town hall, near a stretch of green, a guitarist in drag sits on a stool and strums torch songs, her guitar case open for donations.
It was the nature of this place that inspired me to write the P-Town Queen. The characters jumped from the page as I wrote. It’s a rare treat when characters arrive on the page fully formed, but such was the case with this book. It was this little town, it’s diversity, it’s traditions, and its unabashed spirit that formed them as surely as the wind sculpted sand into dune hills.
I like to think on this tiny village surrounded on three sides by water. I can imagine Nikki and Parker walking along the pier, ice cream cones in hand. I can see Jeremy and Billy sitting on the bench, Jeremy’s hands flying about as he talks about his latest scheme. In a nearby coffee shop, Ella pours coffee into Nick’s cup. Aboard the Two Sons, Harry and Pete ready the ship to sail out for the day’s catch. Picturing them makes me smile. I love these quirky folks as much as I love their town.
The P-Town Queen is available through most e-book distributors. For a limited time, you can enter to win a copy on Amazon.
Blueberry Truth was the first novel I had published, though it was actually the fourth book I wrote. It's a novel close to my heart, based (albeit loosely) on my own experiences as a teacher in a school for children 'at risk'. Blueberry is a composite of the kids I taught; many of them tough and aged beyond their years by abuse and neglect. Yet, like Blueberry, many of them had an irresistible spirit. Beanie, the first person heroine of this story, is a tribute to the teachers I worked with. They were and still are on the front lines of a long battle to give these children the gift of education and the hope for a better circumstance than the one dealt them. They are unsung heroes, good people whose quiet work can make a big difference.
I'm giving away a copy of Blueberry Truth. To enter for a chance to win, click on the link below.
I admire Meryl Streep and think she’s one of the best actresses of our time. One of the things I like best about her is her versatility. She’s portrayed historical figures, she’s done heart wrenching drama, she’s done light as air comedy, she’s even sung in a musical. Her talent isn’t boxed in and she’s not known for any one thing. She’s just all around great.
I admire Bruce Springsteen, too. Try to put the music he’s written into a box and you’ll find it hard to do. He has songs that are classic rock, songs that are ballads, bluesy songs, gospel-like songs, torch songs, folk songs and songs with a taste of country. He’s versatile, too, and that’s what I like about him. It’s one of the things that make him such a great musician.
Versatility is a wonderful thing for an artist. Without it, you can get stuck in a rut, saying the same thing over and over again. No one wants to be a one trick pony. Better to stretch your wings and reach for something new. Even if it misses the mark, you learn something. You grow.
I like writing new characters with lives and loves different from my own. I like writing funny books. And I also like writing books that drill down into the heart, and books that are set in another time and place. I’ve dabbled with magical realism, that was fun too. I’ve written poems and blog posts. All of this has helped me to grow as a writer. It’s kept writing alive and interesting for me. The hope is that the books written with passion and love will be full of life and love for you, the reader.
But versatility is a double edged sword. It’s not a good thing from a marketing standpoint, because it can’t be easily catalogued. I can’t put ‘Quirky Chick Lit’ on my business cards because while Confessions of the Sausage Queen might fit that description, Blueberry Truth decidedly does not. Being hard to pin down makes the job of marketing much harder. And I’ve thought, long and hard, about writing one kind of thing and sticking to it so I can sell more. Or using pen names for the various kinds of books I sell.
In the end, though, I have to be true to me. And, in truth, I pride myself on versatility. I like emulating people like Streep and Springsteen. I don’t want to write under a pen name, because all of these books belong to me. They are my universes, my creations. And I’m very proud of them.
So, I’ve decided to embrace versatility. I’ve decided it’s okay to write a historical series and a quirky comedy and a bit of literary women’s fiction. I will not fit into a single box, but I will give each project my attention, I will do my very best with each book I write. I will stretch my writing wings and hope there’s some air under them. And I hope that you, dear reader, won’t mind the variety in my body of a work. I think you’ll like it. I have a sneaking suspicion that you like versatility, too.
This writing journey, this life, is a long road full of pitfalls and wrong turns. Also, incredible beauty, kindness and friendship with those I've met along the way.I'm so glad you're here to share the road..
Find me at Story Finds