Notes From the Toolbox

Historical Fiction Rocks!

Historical Fiction Rocks!

From the time I started reading, I read across all genres— except historical fiction. Historical fiction made me look the other way, reach for a mystery, a thriller, a romance— anything to make me forget all the summers my father dragged me to Civil War battlegrounds...

The Patchouli Factor

The Patchouli Factor

During my teens, twenties and thirties, I believed perfumes began and ended with patchouli. All other scents made me gag or crinkle my nose. I wanted to be a Chanel No. 5 Girl because I longed to become a woman as gutsy and groundbreaking as Coco Chanel, or the Girl...

The Bake Test for Writers

The Bake Test for Writers

Rewriting and revision is a comfortable place for me as a writer because, once upon a time— I love saying “once upon a time”— I was an actress. My favorite part of acting was rehearsal. Performing was fun, especially when the cast turned into a harmonious ensemble,...

My Month with Nora

My Month with Nora

Here’s how it started. My intention was to go to Inquiring Minds— the local bookstore— to order a couple books that will launch later this year and snag a book for a friend. I walked through the door and there she was— Nora Ephron. No flash or flurry. Just Nora with...

The Birth of a Painting

The Birth of a Painting

The Gift This painting hangs in the living room of my house. It didn’t always. Once upon a time there was a large painting of cattails going to seed upon this wall. It was one of the ugliest paintings I’ve ever seen, and I had no desire to see it on a daily basis. But...

Notebooks

Notebooks

I’ve become obsessed with notebooks. I have nothing against loose-leaf paper. Loose-leaf gives me freedom to abandon the stories that aren’t showing me any love. As Margaret Atwood says… The wastebasket is your friend. But the ease of tossing loose paper gives me an...

My Bah-humbug Book List

My Bah-humbug Book List

It's that time of year again. I'm not referring to the Holidays, or setting aside time to take stock of what I did or didn't accomplish over the last eleven months in order to prepare for those dreaded New Year's Resolutions. I refuse to participate in winter...