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Random Musings

You Can't Go Home Again?

Thomas Wolfe told us we couldn't go home again. But here I am. Back in Madison, Wisconsin. I haven’t given up my home in California, mind you, but I’m here for now.

Madison draws me in immediately.
It's still that vibrant, progressive, university town I remember. Built along a chain of five lakes, Wisconsin’s state capital has a small-town feel with an intellectual pull that buzzes with energy and ideas.

What’s not here yet is my stuff (!) – clothes, office equipment, critical files – apparently it’s all stashed amid other people's stuff in an 18-weeler somewhere out there. A “logistics” error, they tell me.

Actually, it’s amazing how little you need to get by with, day-to-day. I have my laptop and walking shoes.

Of course I may be singing a different tune come November without a winter coat and snow boots. But I’m ever the optimist. The truck will arrive this weekend, that’s what they tell me. And again, I’m choosing to believe them. I hope this time they’re right!

Stay tuned!

Watch for my upcoming novel - THE CHERRY HARVEST - William Morrow / HarperCollins Publishers, May 2015.
When a desperate Wisconsin farm wife invites German POWs to work the family orchard, she brings the war home. Read More 
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San Francisco Authors Luncheon - 25th Anniversary Best Yet!

Yesterday we celebrated our 25th Anniversary of the National Kidney Foundation San Francisco Authors Luncheon. And what a fabulous event it was!

About 1200 patrons came to hear and personally meet seven highly acclaimed authors.
• Amy Tan, one of the event founders,  Read More 
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Writing In-Between

A red-shouldered hawk swooped toward my window. I was about to duck when he flashed up, showing me the underside of his strong red breast and wide wingspan. Elegant precision.

Living up in the hills, I feel a special connection with birds. Fat chickadees in the treetops outside my window flit and squeak. House finches, goldfinches, sparrows, and wrens carry seeds and songs on the wind. Green- and red-throated hummingbirds hover and whir like tiny helicopters.  Read More 
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Premiere Literary Event of the Bay Area

I need wine - cases and cases of premium wine. No, not for me, for the National Kidney Foundation’s Authors Luncheon, to be held on Saturday, October 22nd, at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis. Founded 23 years ago by Ann Getty and Amy Tan, this is the premiere annual literary event of the Bay Area, and the largest fund-raiser for NKF of Northern California and Nevada.  Read More 
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More Notes from Door County

Bees are a buzzin and trees are a bloomin!

On Tuesday, Katie and I drove across the Door County Peninsula—-15 miles on County F from the shores of Lake Michigan to the shores of Green Bay—-to Leutenbach’s Orchards in Fish Creek (www.orchardcountry.com). We took a tour of this 100 acre orchard—-80 acres of cherries (8K trees), 20 acres of apples, and the first grapes ever brought to Door County. Great research for my book. Of course we couldn’t pass up the wine tasting… or the cherry Chardonnay.  Read More 
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Notes from Door County, Wisconsin

Visiting Door County to research for my next novel. My daughter and I are staying in Jacksonport on the shore of Lake Michigan. The lake was wild last night and today, waves pounding on the shore. Thunder rumbled, lightning flashed, rain came in hard bursts, then sunshine so bright it ached with color.

Today, after the storm, the lake calmed. We took a walk along the shore at sunset. White gulls of some sort wheeled across the sky and floated on the calm water.

My novel takes place right here during the summer of 1944. It opens in May, when cherry orchards are in bloom. The cherries aren’t yet in bloom this year because of the cold weather. Drat! But I do have lots to learn about the lake and the weather and the people and the place and the history, and I’ve lined up interviews and visits to do just that. Read More 
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You Know You're a Writer When...

You know you’re a writer when…
• You realize it’s dawn and you haven’t gone to bed.
• You feel the earthquake and you take your laptop under your desk so you can keep working.
• In the midst of great sex, you call out the name of your protagonist.
• You wake at 2 in the morning with a new idea and you’re off and writing.
• You go to your favorite restaurant with your novel and a luscious man you’ve never met asks if you would like to join him for breakfast and you decline because you need to work. Read More 
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Finishing That Novel

After living with my JAZZ DANCING characters for two years, it was hard to let go. I could fiddle forever, changing words, sentences, rearranging paragraphs. Writing is subjective; there is no such thing as perfect. You can always make it better… or worse!

I’m in a fabulous writing group of four novelists, but because each of us shares only one of our chapters every two weeks, we don’t always have a true sense of the whole. We look to  Read More 
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THE Literary Event of the SF Bay Area

For the past nine years I have served on the Executive Planning Committee of the San Francisco Authors Luncheon sponsored by the National Kidney Foundation of Northern California. Founded 21 years ago by Amy Tan and Ann Getty, the NKF luncheon remains to this day the premiere annual authors’ event of the SF Bay Area—and the largest fundraiser for the National Kidney Foundation of Northern California.  Read More 
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Learning Jazz

As in music, writing draws upon rhythm and pacing to set mood and tone and define the “players.” While most obvious in poetry, the "sound" of the written word, no matter the form, can impact the reading experience.

In my novel Jazz Dancing I seek to capture the feel of jazz through my choice of words and phrasing. I also strive to fill this work with the sound of jazz itself.

Because my novel unfolds against the rich tapestries of present-day San Francisco and 1920s Paris, when I learned that Stanford University was offering a class called, “Paris Jazz, 1917 to the Present” I jumped on it.  Read More 
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