Sunday, January 26, 2014

Connections - the thrill and the side effect

I checked Facebook one morning and found that Michael Rausch, my book cover designer, had shared this photo to my page. It seems that SCBWI hosted a book give-away for middle-school students in Los Angeles - and the boy in the top left of the photo is smiling and holding Risking Exposure! What a thrill for me to see these excited young readers, even though I doubt I'll ever connect with them in person.

But I have enjoyed connecting with readers in my geographic area in person. An interesting side-effect of all that presenting and speaking with people is that my own interest in pre-war Nazi Germany has stayed alive. I have again chosen a time frame, August 1938 - Spring 1939, and have again begun some research. I need clear information about several key events in Munich during that time - the Munich Conference/Accord, Kristallnacht, and the Kindertransport to begin with. Once again, I'm starting at the local library. Then I'll send my curiosity out to the greater world, gathering in pieces and fragments and weaving them into a backdrop for another story. Hopefully that one will excite readers as well.

Monday, January 20, 2014

The presentation at the Abington Community Library went well!

 A hearty thank you to the library and Laura Gardoski, the Children's Librarian, for arranging my presentation.

  We had a wonderful exchange of ideas and some interesting discussions.
  After the presentation, participants had a chance to look at materials, including copies of photos, my 1936 camera, and a 1938 Sears-Roebuck catalog.

A couple days later, one participant called to tell me about another venue I may be interested in, and one of my beta-readers and Writers Group members dropped my name to a writers' conference organizer as a possible presenter.

So I'm branching out, slowly but surely. I'm ever so grateful for the chance to share what I've learned and to connect with readers.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


In Saturday's blog, I gave the wrong date for the presentation at the Abington Library. The correct date was January 14th. I apologize for any inconvenience. Thank you to Ann Vitale for calling the error to my attention.
If you were planning to come and now find out that you've missed it, it's your lucky day. You can attend the presentation I'll give at the Dietrich on March 9th at 3:00 or the Susquehanna County Library Association Author Luncheon on May 21st. Or you can contact me at

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The big prep

For the last couple of weeks, I've been prepping my presentation called "Writing a novel: A personal journey." I'll deliver it for the first time this Tuesday January 19th at the Abington Community Library at 6:30, so stop in if you can!

In creating the presentation, I've had a chance to revisit, as the title says, my personal journey while writing Risking Exposure. My learning curve was very steep. When I began, I knew little about pre-war Germany, polio, propaganda, or how to write a novel. I didn't own a film-based camera, didn't know what clothes were worn in that era, or how an average home was furnished. I spoke little German, didn't understand the structural organization of Hitler Youth, and had never heard of the procession which takes center stage at the end of the book. I've come a long way, and I'm delighted to share what I've learned.

 But I can't see where I'm going by looking behind me. I've been jotting notes and dictating ideas for my next story, even while I'm organizing this presentation.

So here I am, looking forward to this presentation and the two that follow, March 9th at the Wyoming County Cultural Center at the Dietrich Theater, and May 21st for the Susquehanna Library Association. I hope to meet some folks and encourage them to be brave enough to undergo their own exploratory journey of research and writing. And I'm also looking forward to the time when I can research and write something new.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Footprints in the new year

We woke to single-digit temps and about 5" of snow on Friday. For me, there's always been a certain magic to that scene - the snow draped along the top of each bare branch as if painted there, sparkling in the sunlight, the once-familiar surface of my yard transformed by the soft mounds and dips of its new dazzling white comforter. That snow-covered yard is completely familiar, yet totally new at the same time. As I stare out the window, most of me wants to stay where I am, hands curled around a steaming cup of coffee, snug and warm inside my home. But part of me, the adventurer/explorer/play-lover part, longs to don my winter gear and tromp through that snow, just to be the first set of footprints on that pristine surface. 

That snowy yard is like a new year, stretching out before us open and inviting. The well-trod paths we used before lie buried beneath and out of sight, and so are useless for our immediate purpose. As we orient ourselves and decide on our destination, the adventure is all ours.

At the end of 2014, we'll be able to look over our shoulder and see the footprints we've made. My hope for all of us is that they bring us closer to each other and to our goals.