Sunday, December 4, 2011


Forging ahead with novel 2
Hoping the best for Grace, 'tis true
In November started novel 4
Now 50,000 words (and more)!
As December 12 deadlines near
I believe 2011 is Grace's year

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Next Adventure for Grace at War!

Kate McKean and I met today in Baltimore and we agreed that she will represent the novel! Now begins the search for an editor who will love and nurture Grace into a form a larger audience can embrace. Embarking on this venture with Kate's sure hands on the helm feels just right!

Upon rereading the ms. of Grace at War this morning, I found I couldn't put it down! She had the same reaction reading it on her Kindle! Stay tuned!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Those Guys, That Day, This Heart

 As 9/11 Tenth Anniversary approaches I reprint my piece on "the boys in blue" with whom I worked in FDNY:
 Once I had a key that opened every firehouse in New York City. I went into a burning building in Bedford Stuyvesant. I rode with an arson squad in the Bronx. I had a scanner and knew the 10-code: 10-4 “acknowledge”; 10-9 “off the air”; 10-76 “fire in a high rise building.” I went to Medal Day parties and firefighters’ funerals, which had the same menus as the parties and where the same  stories flowed like beer.

 Those Guys
Jack pulled up to a house in Queens just as a firefighter came bursting through a third floor window, his turnout coat in flames. “Not a good way to start the day,” Jack said.
John knew of three young firemen who got trapped in a cellar and stopped communicating on the radio. Just stopped. “They could have been saved,” John said. “They could have been saved, if they had kept on talking.” Their silence still rang in his ears.
 Tommy told about waking up in the bunkroom on Great Jones Street to see the moon in the window, full-fisted, irresistible, calling him. He said, “I’m not afraid of dying in a fire; I’m afraid of dying alone in a chair in the dark.” 
Joey was at 23rd Street where 12 guys died. “We come up to the scene at the same time as another company and the chief says to us, ‘Go there,’” Joey said. “So we go around the building this way. The chief tells the other company, ‘Go there.’ They go into the store, where, unknown to everyone, the fire’s spread. It’s right under where they go in. They move forward a few feet. The floor drops and they fall into the fire.
“We arrived the same time they did. It could have been us down there instead of those guys.”
That Day
That day 343 New York firefighters died. One of them was my friend, Lincoln Quappe. Linc always wanted to be where the action was—the busiest company, biggest fire, trickiest rescue. With Rescue 2 that day, he was in the heart of the heart of the action. People who knew him said later, “If he had a choice, he would do it again.”

 After Linc’s funeral in October, the local Long Island fire department had a spread. The sun shone, trucks gleamed, grills smoked, and beer flowed like stories. Firefighters from FDNY, from Long Island, and from out of state ate and drank and talked. That day, they talked about funerals and those guys still missing.

This Heart
        This heart is a burned-out building, steam rising from its blackened skeleton. This heart is a silent radio.
       Those guys. That day. This broken heart.

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Trusted Reader's Response to GRACE AT WAR!

...These people (no longer just characters to me) have such intense spirits and they roped me in.  I want to have a beer with Spider and I don't even like beer! ...I was not prepared to see him as the hero second only to Grace.  And Cloud?  She is a gem to this story although I'm worried about her future...but not really I guess because she's more savy than she feels safe to let on.  
The issues that Mason, Doc, Diver,Worth and Spider (and all the others in the demonstrations)... carry around really give the reader a sampling of PTSD... 

This novel doesn't just say war is bad and people suffer.  It tells us about the 2nd, 3rd of 4th levels of suffering.  It educates us about the manners in which people (soldiers, family, community) try to survive through addiction, charity, hostility, denial and devotion.  The book lets you think for doesn't make you hate the "enemy" just makes you want to stop the bleeding.  
Worth...breaks my heart...I want him to be okay and I think he will but he'll never "get over it"..impossible.  That's how it is with PTSD, but it looks like he might find a way to co-exist with it.  I'm glad you ended it with him drifting but being loosely in touch.  It gives us hope but doesn't undermine all of the incredible depth you've given us with a fairy-tale ending.    

There are also lessons about helping, loving a person through trauma.  The book shows us to take them exactly where they are, provide safety within the framework of whatever it is they need to do, be ready to listen, give reality checks in strong direct language (commands, if necessary) give unconditional love and expect little because they can't be about giving yet...and then at some point healing begins and they give you the Merc.  

Thank you Susan.  An honor and a pleasure.  These folks will be with me for a long time.  

P.S. Just one more comment for now, this book NEEDS to be published.   

Saturday, June 11, 2011

One Voice

Just when things seem to have slowed to a crawl in the muggy heat of yet another 90+ day, an agent asks for 100 pages and I instantly dive into the cool green waters of optimism, refreshed.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

War Stories

Incorporating trusted readers'  helpful comments on GRACE and querying YA agents.
The first session of War Stories, a class I conceived and taught at South County Senior Center, is over. Great work by the eight participants. Interesting views about war from non-participants in military, though many had fathers and other relatives who fought in World War II and more recent relatives fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Two lived through World War II in Europe, one in England, twice bombed in the blitz, and one in hiding in Czechoslovakia. The rest of us lived through wars in the US.

I am editing a book of the class's writings appropriate for Memorial Day weekend. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

To My Readers

I imagine you all engaged in my book and smile. Whatever the verdict, I appreciate the effort! Some of you are reading GRACE in hard copy and some have e-copies, at least one is reading GRACE on a Kindle (thanks to a Mac app that converts pdfs to Kindle-ese)!

Thank you all for helping me move Grace to the public forum.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Full Ms Sent Out

Wonderful to have Grace at War out in the agent world again. Go, Grace!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

2011 The Year of Grace

I'm working on Grace using some great comments from Wendy and my own re-seeing of the book. It is humbling and scary. I feel defenceless and yet armed with the power to make the book sing.
Reminds me of therapy, nothing for it but to give myself over--not to grief this time, but to the power of my own imagination. And of the English language.

Revision, the fresh envisioning of a work of one's own hand and mind and heart, is not for wimps.