Summer Sun Award

A few months ago Thursday’s Child and tweep Shanah Wooldrage nominated me for this flashy award. At the time I was in the middle of moving from Maine to North Carolina, so I “packed” it. Figured I’d better unearth it before summer’s completely gone.
The intent of this award is to present it to someone who brightens your day either in blog format or in general and to have a little fun with giving up some summer secrets.

1. Favorite song with summer in the title or the lyrics (give the line): “Summertime” (George Gerschwin) – an amazing mashup of “steam” and lullaby, almost no matter who’s singing it…as long as it’s not me. Lena Horne and Sam Cooke are my two top picks for renditions.

2. Favorite book about summer: Hmm, maybe INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE – all that languid New Orleans swelter combined with suspense and violence…
Favorite hot summer film: “A Room With A View”, which features everything wonderful about summer – getting in touch with one’s earthy, sensual side in the Garden of Eden (or Florence in this case), skinny dipping, sunshine…and it has Maggie Smith, so what more could you want?

3. Favorite summer memory:  slow dancing with hubs to “Wicked Game” (Chris Isaac) one hot summer night in our first house

4. Favorite summer holiday destination:  Maine
5. What books will be in your suitcase this summer? All my books came along this summer (see mention of moving above).
6. What’s your likely destination this summer? North Carolina
7. What hottie would you most like to be sharing the hot days and long nights with this summer? Well, my hubs OF COURSE, but if he wasn’t available Johnny Depp would do. Or Robert Downey Jr., hubs has been told he looks like RDJ so it would hardly even be cheating… Right?

Here are the rules:
1.     Display the Summer Sun Award logo and link back to the blog of the person who nominated you.
2.     Answer the questions listed above.
3.     Nominate a further eight lucky recipients (one for each sun-ray).

I nominate the following people:

1. Denise Falvo – one of the sunshiniest people EVER

2. Veronica Park – because she’s my Dark & Twisty Sister slash CP along with Kristina Perez. (I’d nominate her too, but she doesn’t have time for blog awards at the moment)

3. Kate Michael – because she’s imaginative, clever, and has teenagers (we’ve got to stick together)

4. Vaughn Roycroft – because he’s thoughtful, supportive and has awesome taste in music

5. S. P. McConnell – this is a thinly disguised ploy to get him to tell me his BIG SECRET. Also, the thought of Ballatore Academy winning a Sunshine Award makes me giggle,

6. Paula Harvey – because she’s funny and sweet and says kind things to my kid on Twitter

7. Tabitha Martin – because she and I are going to “fix” Twitter, and then Facebook

8. J. Luis Licea – because he’s a fun tweeter and can belly dance, or so he claims

Dear Nominees, I will absolutely NOT be offended if you don’t play, but I wanted you all to know you’re rays of sunshine in my cyber-universe.

Versatile Blogger Award

Another award!


Thank you so much to Alana Terry and Kate Frost , both of whom presented me with this lovely spring-y looking badge.

According to the rules I must –

  1. Thank and link to the person who gave me the award.
  2. Tell seven facts about myself.
  3. Pass it on to seven other bloggers.
  4. Link to specific posts on their blogs to they’ll be notified by pingback.*

Honestly, I’ve gotten a few awards now, and there’s just about nothing interesting left, so here’s a list that can only be described as “random”.

1. I broke into a Welsh castle when the guard was off to lunch.

Photo by Elisabeth Whipple

Photo by Elisabeth Whipple

2. This past Thursday the appliance-repair guy recited one of his poems to me. It involved a girl with green eyes and a bikini and was actually quite adorable.

3. Some people use socks to make puppets, I used one as toilet paper. It was in Russia, there was no T.P., and I”d forgotten my packet of tissues.

4. I dislike pie crust.

5. Generally speaking, I’d rather be cold than hot.

6. I have a cure for hiccups that doesn’t involve water or holding your breath.

7. My favorite Spongebob character is Plankton.


Alright, so now I will nominate 7 people, to play only if they really want to. Otherwise, just consider it a shout-out to your awesomeness.

1. Kate Michael, because she’s a wicked fabulous friend, CP, and tweep.

2. Cassandra Griffin, who gave me an award not so long ago – right back at you, my lovely 🙂

3. Kelly Evans, because she missed Thursday’s Children last week, so now she has an “extra credit” assignment. Mwhahaha.

4. Liz Penney, ditto.

5. Louise Gornall, because anyone who has pink AND blue hair deserves some kind of award and this is all I’ve got.

6. Jessy Montgomery, as a graduation present. And because she doesn’t have enough going on. Ha.

7. EM Castellan, because if I don’t give her the award, Jessy M. will.

*Actually I’ll be notifying them by Twitter. Rules are made to be broken, right?

My Very Inspiring Blog Award 4/27/13

Thank you so much to the fascinating and talented Cassandra Griffin for presenting me with this lovely award! I’m very fond of the fanciful Victorian script design. It will be hard to come up with 7 things about me that are as interesting as her 7 things (RN turned trucker, for example), but here goes…


1. My first apartment was in a Boston brownstone which once housed a funeral parlor. The scariest thing about it was the shag carpet. In the kitchen.

2. On our honeymoon, my husband and I broke a bed and set off the smoke alarm in a hotel in Halifax. No, we weren’t doing what you’re thinking.

3. I had devil-phobia when I was a child (this deserves its own post so that’s all I’ll say for now).

4. When I was three years old I learned to shift gears in a TR3, but then forgot how.

5. I’m a very cheap drunk.

6. My favorite ride at Disney World is Expedition Everest (for all the fun stuff leading up to the ride, as well as the ride itself).

7. I’m the official bat-catcher in our family. We’ve had three “incidents” so far.

Award Rules:

  1. Display the logo in your blog to show you’ve been nominated.
  2. Link back to your nominator.
  3. Share 7 things about yourself.
  4. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award.
  5. Notify your nominees.

If I nominate you and you don’t want to play, no worries. If you do decide to play, please let me know so I can learn 7 interesting things about you!

In no particular order, here are my nominees:

1. Jennifer Glenn Bartow who makes the best creepy Barbie doll videos ever

2. Kara Glenn-Bartow (Ha! Now you can’t nominate each other. I’m evil like that.)

3. Joan Reginaldo word-magician.

4. Stephen Alix my “source” for tattoo expertise and huggy Twitter chats.

5. Michaela Stoughton fellow Salem witchcraft trial enthusiast and animal-hoarder, um, I mean animal-lover.

6. Veronica Park damn funny woman, even when not tipsy.

7. Jessie Devine best role-player in the Twitterverse and she can cut her own hair and it looks fab.

8. Paula Harvey writer-director-office slave, whose work stories sound very much like my old work stories…only funnier.

9. T. J. Loveless because of bacon and lap-dances. If you missed all that on Twitter, I should probably be glad.

10. Laura Oliva hot tamale.

11. Vicki Weavil new and enthusiastic Thursday’s Child, love that!

12. Shanah Wooldrage because she has a hedgehog, and also whenever I see her name I must say it at least six times. With a British accent.

13. Brooks Benjamin also because of bacon Did you know we’re coauthoring a book? It’s going to be a sizzler.

14. Vaughn Roycroft who’s one of the nicest, most supportive guys in Writerland, and because of 80s music.

15. Karen Lee Hallam jazz singer, writer, mom, workaholic, yup she needs a few more awards, but no more hats.

Thursday’s Children February 21, 2013

Inspired by Pain

A weekly blog hop where writers come together to talk about whatever inspires them. Join us!

A weekly blog hop where writers come together to talk about whatever inspires them. Join us!

I liked Sinead O’Connor’s music back in the day, but her rage, put me off a little. I had no idea why she was so terribly angry.

Now, having read this article, I know.

The notion of suffering being part of the artist job description is pretty widespread, but open to interpretation.

Some people’s pain inspires creative work so magnificent that the world becomes aware of their torment, though the details may remain obscured. For some, their suffering may yield art that will never be shared with even one other person. It still matters.

During college I did an internship in Art Therapy. Every week I worked with three art therapists and a group of troubled teenagers who rode the proverbial short bus from the seedy sections of Boston (Roxbury, Dorchester, Southie, etc.) to affluent Brookline.

Danny and Marco used art very differently.

Danny was obsessed with airplane disasters. EVERY drawing he did depicted planes cracked in half, consumed by flames, with black smoke filling the sky. When he got overwhelmed by his own art, he ran from the room. It became my responsibility to cajole him back in. I always succeeded, but first we had to play his game, which included swearing at me, hiding so I had to go find him, and threatening to hurt me when I did find him. Underneath the “game” was pain, of course. His father was disabled and, as I learned firsthand, his mother was a BITCH. Danny invited me to dinner at their house. I got permission to go as a covert operative, since he never told the therapists anything about what went on at home. Throughout the entire torturous meal Danny’s mother taunted him, belittled him, and make snide remarks about his “useless” father. Freudian interpretation of Danny’s drawings suggested castration anxiety. My observations seemed to support that theory.

Danny’s art was inspired by his fear and his rage. Pouring them out on paper was the beginning of catharsis. After completing catharsis, he could connect. At least a little.

Marco was equally obsessed with his popsicle stick house. Each week he got right down to business and worked straight through to the end of the session, usually skipping snack. None of the kids EVER skipped snack, and with good reason. Marco never told us about life at his house either. But his younger brother Andre did. Theirs was a single parent household. Mom had many male “friends”, most of whom were involved in gang activities. Chaos. Poverty. Violence. Over the months, Marco created a multi-story popsicle stick house with several rooms. Once the house was complete, he used more popsicle sticks to build tiny furniture. Then he carefully painted everything in vibrant hues. We suggested he create some people to live there. He made only one. Himself. He created a space where he controlled everything. A home that was clean, safe, and well-appointed.

Marco’s art was also inspired by his fear and his anger. To cope, he built a better world in the most literal sense.

Though I have no contact with either, both boys continue to inspire me. I write things out of my system that have to be gotten out. And I create worlds for my characters, worlds I can visit whenever I need to.

Is writing ever “therapy” for you?

And now, Sinead O’Connor

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One Inspiring Blog Award

The clever and lovely Raewyn Hewitt, who has thus far eluded my not so subtle attempts to conscript her as a Thursday’s Child*, has awarded me this…


I think maybe she’s trying to distract me, or buy me off. What do you think?

Anyway, here are the rules for those I’m about to nominate. I tried to secure advance cooperation from most of you, but if you don’t want to play, I forgive you.

1. Display the award logo on your blog.

2. Link back to the person who nominated you *points at self*

3. State 7 things about yourself.

4. Nominate up to 15 other bloggers for this award and link to them.

Here are Seven Revelations about Me

1. High places make me want to kill myself. Literally. I NEED to jump. Ferris wheels, hotel balconies, the Eiffel Tower, stepladders. Yes, even stepladders. It’s not funny.

2. Following the Cheesecake Incident of 2005, I was banned from making birthday desserts. The cake batter was supposed to be chilled, then baked. I forgot the baking part, removed the springform ring at the table, et voilà – cheesecake soup tidal wave.

3. Monkeys give me the creeps. Anyone who craves my death should bring me to the edge of the Grand Canyon and release a monkey. We’re all friends here, right?


4. A couple of years ago I bumped shopping carts with Barbara and Laura Bush at WalMart. Fortunately, the Secret Service people didn’t perceive it as an act of terrorism.

5. One of the weirdest and yet coolest places I’ve ever experienced is Les Catacombes in Paris. Those things she’s looking at are artistically arranged skulls and other bones. The passageways go on and on…


6. I was sworn at, bitten, scratched, slapped, and kicked at my first post-college job. On a more or less daily basis.

7. When I was 8, a drawing I did of a tiger appeared in Highlights Magazine. I was still getting “fan mail” when I was 15 (yeah, those doctors’ office issues never really die).

Alrighty, enough about me… Here in no particular order are my nominees. Please hold your applause until the end.

1. Laura Oliva

2. Jessie Devine

3. John Krissilas

4. Veronica Park

5. Lena Roy

6. Owyn Cooper

7. J Luis Licea

8. Juliana Brandt

*Thursday’s Children is a weekly Blog Hop open to all writers who want to share their writerly inspirations with other writers. You can join every week, or just once, or whatever you like. Some of my nominees are Thursday’s Children, and the rest of you are always welcome. For more about the blog hop click here.

My Little Liebster

First, many thanks to the talented Emma Adams  , author of THE PUPPET SPELL, for presenting me with the


Technically it’s my second Liebster Award, but this is a new blog, so I think it’s okay to accept it. The Liebster is for blogs with fewer than 200 followers. The rules require me to answer 11 questions, nominate 11 more bloggers, and make up 11 questions for them to answer. Apparently someone likes the number eleven.

The Eleven Questions I was asked:

1. What inspired you to start writing? I read TWILIGHT. No offense to Stephenie Meyer, but the fact that it wasn’t the best book I’d ever read made me think I should give writing a try. Again. (I’d written half a book years earlier).

2. Which writers do you most admire? Jeanette Winterson, the Brontes, D. H. Lawrence, Daphne du Maurier, Anais Nin, Sara Gruen, Tracy Chevalier, Kathleen Kent, Norah Lofts, the Brothers Grimm. Far from an exhaustive list but I’m a bit strapped for time.

3. What are my all-time favorite books? Jamaica Inn, Rebecca, Sara Crewe, Little Women, Wuthering Heights, Jane Eyre, The Scarlet Letter, The Rainbow, The Passion.I could go on and on. Different books at different times of my life, for different moods…

4. How do you like to spend your free time? Walking on the beach, or in the woods

5. What is your favorite movie? Urgh. Again, there are so many. The Village, Cider House Rules, Dr. Zhivago, Pulp Fiction, A Room with a View, anything with Johnny Depp…

6. Where would you love to travel to? There are many places I’d love to revisit, but for a first time trip I’d like to go to Budapest.

7. What is your favorite music to listen to when writing? I don’t actually listen while I’m writing, but I often listen before I start, to help me get in the right mood for a scene, or into a character’s head. This has meant listening to everything from Scottish bagpipe laments to Patsy Kline to Nine Inch Nails.

8. What are you reading now? Only my CPs’ stuff. Between that and my agent-requested revisions, I don’t have time for reading anything else. Unless you count the biography of Helen Keller I’m reading with my younger daughter for a school book project.

9. Give a random fact about yourself. My mother took me to services at Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish places of worship when I was a kid, with the idea that I would have a better idea which religion I wanted to follow, if any. I’m sure if there’d been any chance of taking me to a Muslim mosque or a Buddhist temple, we’d have gone there too.

10. What are your hopes for this year? A book deal!

11. What inspires you? Check out my Thursday’s Children blog hop posts. Could be anything from turtles to winter landscapes.

Here are my 11 Nominees:

1. Jennifer Lobeth who writes really cool things about rocks, and other stuff.

2. Missy Punk toon-afficiando, Paris-lover (moi aussi!), PitchWarrior extraordinaire. Ooo la la!

3. Michaele Stoughton – I knew we’d be friends when I saw the header on her Twitter profile pic (eerie!). Also she loves greyhounds and is a housework slacker. That’s my kind of tweep.

4. Nazarea Andrews one of the fabulous mentor-people I met during PitchWars

5. Sarah L. Blair who’s very witty, despite having an infant (no small accomplishment)

6. Lauren M. Barrett who appeared out of deep cyberspace to follow my new blog, ❤ mwah!

7. Elle LaMarca who loves deserted beach towns as much as I do

8. Rachel Russell whose blog is a treasure trove of medieval torture devices I can’t unsee…

9. Amanda Burckhard who loves dogs (she has a dachshund named Oscar) and all things chocolate. My people.

10. Sarah Guillory whose book is coming out THIS FALL!

11. Kirsti Jones veteran Thursday’s Children blog hopper and fellow lighthouse enthusiast

And finally here are my Eleven Questions:

1. What’s your writing goal for 2013?

2. If you could write like any author (living or dead) who would it be, and why?

3. What was your favorite book as a teen?

4. What would be the best thing about getting a book published?

5. Ancient Egypt, Classical Greece, Renaissance Italy. You have to go live in one. Pick one, and tell me why.

6. What’s the one thing that makes you decide not to finish reading a book you’ve started?

7. Tell me three things about the MC in the most recent book you’ve written.

8. What’s the single best thing about writing?

9. Sea shell, oak leaf, rock, pine cone, cactus. Pick one, and tell me why.

10. Do you hate or love editing/revising?

11. Scariest book. Ever. Why?

One Lovely Blog Award

I’ve just received a very special award from fellow writer EM Castellan – Thank you so much! 

You should go visit her blog, I had no idea she was an expert on all things Victor Hugo.

The Award

The Award

This award is, well, lovely, isn’t it? Suddenly I’m craving crumpets and Devonshire cream.

The rules of the award state that I must share 7 things about myself and pass the award on to 7 other bloggers.

My 7 Deadly Sins  7 Fascinating Facts about Me:

1. My first paying job was at a racehorse training stable. I mucked stalls, groomed horses, cleaned tack.

2. The most terrifying dream I ever had involved polar bears. Hungry, clever, polar bears.

3. I’ve met two members of the band U2. Does that mean I’ve met U1? I’m not sure.

4. The house in Portsmouth, New Hampshire where I lived for a number of years was haunted.

5. My husband and I got married on Halloween, in a park under a weeping willow tree. So, you can understand why I really had no problem with #4.

6. My imaginary childhood friends included a posse of tiny old men who wore vintage golfing attire. I have no idea why.

7. Rhiann is actually my middle name. I loathe my first name and therefore never use it, unless forced by medical offices and legal contracts.

Now that you know ALL about me, here are seven other people you should get to know, or know better. Some of them I’ve just met on Twitter and we’ve been chatting. Others I’ve known for a while.

1. Kristy Shen

2. Jolene Haley

3. Cassandra Page 

4. Stacey Lee

5. Katherine Amabel

6. Chris Allen-Riley

7. Colene Murphy

If your name is on the list and you don’t want to “play”, no worries.