When Is The Unforgivable, Forgivable?


Happy weekend to you all.  I hope this summer is as wonderful as summer should be.  These last few weeks have been a bit of a roller coaster.  Summer brings its usual joys including drinky dinners outside, a consistent diet of melting marshmellows and chocolate tucked into graham crackers (Are s’mores international? They feel fairly regional.), of course some outdoor concerts (OneRepublic shown below), a very special 4th of July, and a bit of baseball.




I am sorry to say I also attended two funerals these last weeks. Lovely ladies, who both passed well before their time.  My heart goes out to their families.  They have a long road ahead.

In spite of, or maybe because of these few week of highs and lows, I have been giving a lot of thought to stories and story telling. Before the 4th, I started the process of deciding what is next for my first novel Circling and I am taking action toward next steps. I have no idea how things will pan out, but I look forward to the day it will be available to share with all of you – one way or another.

With Circling settling into a good place, I have been spending the last two days reading over the first 35,500 words of draft one of Book 2. I really need to title it already.  I hadn’t picked it up for about two weeks and this was my first go back to the beginning read-through. My memory is weird, or maybe I drink too much when I write. I can honestly say there were some surprises in there for me. Of course I know the story, but the actions and dialog surprised me in places. It felt really, really good too. I am asking a lot of dark questions in Book 2 about forgiveness and retribution, and finding right in the face of wrong. The unnerving part is that even 1/3 through, I have no idea what the answers are – morally, ethically, I’m not even sure what I believe.

I see things in black and white – good/bad, right/wrong, nice/mean, happy/sad, exciting/boring.  My thought process is very definitive. More and more, I am learning that writing, for me, is all about finding a way to think in grays (not 50 shades, though).  Villains and heroes are rarely one or the other. If they are just one facet, they are not very interesting.  Favorite villains? Hannibal Lechter, Darth Vadar, Loki (Thor’s brother for you lesser geeks). Even Draco Malfoy tugs at my heart strings.

If we can get the slightest insight as to what made a villain a villain and if they are moderately engaging, we can love them. Even as they betray our hero, we do love them and hope for them to change, but maybe even root for them (just a little) when they don’t. If they are good looking, all the better! (sorry I am not balancing my villains gender-wise here). My question is how far are we, as readers, willing to take that good will.  How much will we forgive?

I would love to get specific, but I don’t want to give my Book 2 story away.  I am going to try to find the boundaries here, and it is going to dark places, but very interesting places, too.  In the interest of research, I’d love to know…

Who are your favorite villains and why do you care about them?


May The Fourth Be With Us All


I was born into a family of movie fanatics, with a special love for sci-fi. We are working on our third generation of Star Wars zealots and we are hard core. As a child I lived in Rhode Island. On opening night my father took us to Massachusetts because, at the time, there wasn’t a theater in the state of RI that was worthy of Star Wars.

On this “May The Fourth Be With You,” I am thinking about inner power. Please forgive my geekiness today, but this is relevant! What is the Force except the ability to access the magic that lives within. And don’t we all have it? Maybe we can’t suspend star ships or pull the “these aren’t the droids you’re looking for,” but we have it.

The ability to share creativity is magical. Art that can take your breath away. Music that can melt your insides. I can listen to a song 1,000 times over and on the 1,001st, I am still stunned that someone wrote it and performs it and can make me feel their magic. I am sitting in a library right now. I am surrounded by thousands of books from writers who dreamed or lived these stories, and wrote them and shared them. Pure magic.

Real empathy is magic, too. I have a friend and he is a hospice volunteer. Just because. I am mediocre on empathy at times. I can feel it, but I’m not great at figuring out how to show it. He helps me see how to show it sometimes. It takes a village to be a decent human being.

Friendship, loyalty and love are magical too. There are people in my life, old friends, new friends, and family and I am so grateful for them all. They are my true Force.

So on this Star Wars day, I challenge you to acknowledge your inner force and to celebrate it.  And just once, try to move a pencil with your mind.