Over one hundred readers entered the Spring Giveaway drawing announced in the April/May issue of Story Lines. Many received a double-entry by messaging me with the title of their favorite poem about spring--from Emily Dickinson to A.A. Milne, from Robert Frost to Shel Silverstein. Take a moment to enjoy the season in verse.


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"Daffodils" by William Wordsworth

 Write here…

Write here…



This One by Shel Silverstein Made Me Laugh! 








"In just spring," the favorite poem of giveaway winner, Carol Parry. . . 


  e. e. cummings

e. e. cummings

And all of the Other Favorites . . . 

"The First Green of Spring" - David Budbill
The Year's at the Spring" – Robet Browning
"When Lilacs Last in the Doorway Bloom'd" – Walt Whitman
"Daffondowndilly" – A. A. Milne
"There's Always a Springtime" – Helen Steiner Rice
"Spring" – Edna St Vincent Millay
"Spring, Spring is Coming Soon" - Unknown

"Spring Pools" - Robert Frost
"Flower God, God of the Spring" - Robert Louis Stevenson
"I Wish I Were a Glow Worm" - Colin West
"Daisy Time" - Margaret Pickthall
"Spring" - Gerard Manley Hopkins
"The Trees" - Phillip Larkin

"Spring" – Edna St Vincent Millay
"Spring Pools" - Robert Frost
"A Breath of Spring" - John McLeod
"Flower God, God of the Spring" - Robert Louis Stevenson
"I Wish I Were a Glow Worm" - Colin West
"Daisy Time" - Margaret Pickthall
"The Owl and the Pussycat" - Edward Lear

"Spring" - Gerard Manley Hopkins
"The Trees" - Phillip Larkin
"And the Spring Arose on the Garden Fair" from The Sensitive Plant - Percy Bysshe Shelley
"Spring Rain" - Sara Teasdale
"Headache" - Shel Silverstein
"Spring" - William Blake
"April Showers" - Karen Chappell
"Lines Written in Early Spring" - William Wordsworth
"To Spring" ("Au Printemps") - William Blake

"The Fog" - Carl Sandburg

Thanks to all of you who submitted a poem. 

P.S. - And if I missed your poem or you'd like to add one, just let me know.






 My prompt?  You meet the love of your life in the stacks.  The art I received? Lower left, of the four pictured here. 

My prompt? You meet the love of your life in the stacks. The art I received? Lower left, of the four pictured here. 

I'm excited to be participating in Page Rippers, an art exhibit and silent auction with a literary twist. 

The exhibit at Location Gallery in Savannah features the works of 18 local artists and writers who were paired by 18 prompts. Inspired by visits to the library, the prompts are diverse and include: as an adult you rediscover your favorite childhood book on your child's first visit to the library; you wish that farm animals would be allowed in the library; you love the shushing sound a page turn makes; and you think books should be in the shape of their subject matter.  Working from his or her assigned prompt, each artist produced a drawing, painting or collage. The writer who had received the same prompt then constructed a brief poem, essay, or story to accompany the art. My prompt? You meet the love of your life in the stacks. The art I received? Lower left, of the four pictured here. 

The exhibit, a collaboration between Location Gallery and The Refinery, a Writing Studio,  will run from Friday, February 9th through Friday, February 23rd and will feature the work of both the artists and writers. A companion book, designed by Peter Erwin Roberts, will also be available at the exhibit and from E Shaver Bookseller. Gallery profits from the show will benefit the Savannah Book Festival

Find details here and drop by Location Gallery for what is sure to be an interesting show. 



I love living, reading and writing on the Isle of Hope, Savannah, Georgia. I run there too, along Bluff Drive, with the Skidaway River on one side of the road, and historic homes, some dating from the 1850s, on the other. Little wonder that my second -- almost finished! -- novel is set on the island. At this time of year, a run, bike ride, or leisurely stroll along the bluff always makes me merry. I hope these photographs will make you merry too. 


The Thanksgiving issue of my Story Lines newsletter featured a cornucopia of a giveaway: 18 books, all from Lake Union Publishing, all signed by the author. Here are the winners and the books they will receive. 

WINNERS (top row, left to right):

Sonnetta Jones, Kim Kight, Virgie Lane, Blaze O'Rama, Sherri McDonald, Lorrie Castro, Leanna Mattea, Tammy Underhill, Barbara Weintz




WINNERS (bottom row, left to right)

Dawn Bellinger, Kathy Schnitz, Lucille Bransfield, Suzanne Leopold, Laurie Picillo, Pernette Wells, MaryAnn Anderson, Diane Wight, Carol Stock.


When I asked, through Story Lines and social media, for readers to name one of their favorite books, the response was enthusiastic and exceeded my expectations. Here's the resulting list, full of diversity, surprises, gorgeous covers, and something you'll want to read.

The Nightingale was named as a favorite by six readers. To Kill a MockingBird and Before We Were Yours were named by three. 


Named by two readers: 

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Authors with more than one title named as favorites:  



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What Readers love about Chapter 1

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Readers loved the Giveaway in the September issue of my Story Lines newsletter. They entered the drawing by (1) reading Chapter 1 of Breaking and Holding and (2) leaving me a comment about the chapter. A few of my favorites Follow. If you haven't read breaking and Holding, I hope THEY will encourage you to. 

"Best first chapter I have read since...ever! I mean it. Stunningly good. The gift card would be icing on the cake. The real dessert will be inhaling your book. Can't wait!" -- Diana Wenzel

"The last sentence of the first chapter had my eyes wide open and saying to myself, Ooooohhhhh. Lol." -- Caitlin Freaney

"Intrigued? √...Mystified? √...Needing to read more? √" -- Connie Saunders

"Love your writing style and character development. The relationships draws you in and has you quickly wanting more." -- Kim Elliott

"Okay, now I HAVE to finish the book!" -- Diane

"The very first lines truly captured my attention. Barbed wire? And then the last line of the first chapter? I need to read more!" -- Susan Schleicher

"Oh my gosh! When I got to the last line of chapter one I was thinking..."No. She didn't." I felt so bad for Patricia. And I'm very curious now as to what happens to Jack!" -- Belinda

"You got me on the first page." -- Liz



IRELAND, September 2017

My family and I have just returned from ten fabulous days in Ireland, where we found the warmth of the people as gorgeous as the landscape. Share in our journey with the photos below: landscapes, cathedrals and castles, streetscapes, and fun together.

Story Lines -- August 2017

This issue is full of recommendations for readers and writers--and a giveaway too. The winner will receive his or her choice of one of 14 great novels or a $25 Starbucks gift card.To enter the drawing, simply identify the classic novel which opens with this line: "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." Read Story Lines and enter the giveaway here.  


Midway through 2017, here are my top three reads. See my reviews below and give these great novels a try.



As a writer, I read with a highlighter, constantly marking metaphors I love, descriptions of characters that make them easy to know, paragraphs that skillfully and unobtrusively establish a theme or point worth remembering, and moments that move me, whether to laughter or tears. My copy of Cynthia D'Aprix Sweeney's darkly comic THE NEST is so full of yellow markings now, that my friends will want to borrow someone else's or buy their own. 

Every dysfunctional family is dysfunctional in its own way, and the Plumb siblings--Leo, Bea, Jack, and Melody (divorced, single, gay, and married)--are vividly and originally so. Secondary characters are just as well-drawn, and New York City, where all live, is a vibrant part of the story. 

The plot is set in motion by Leo, who abandons his wife at a wedding reception, seduces a young waitress, and plows his car into an SUV. He's driving and the waitress is...well...imagine. A need for hush money arises and depletes the about-to-be-distributed nest egg that all four siblings have counted on for financial security dreams. Prior to a joint meeting with Leo to insist on repayment, the other siblings prepare by having a drink, not together, or knowingly. We meet each one in a different New York bar. Therein, the tone of this hilarious, highly readable novel is set. Ms. Sweeney tied things up neatly in the end, in a bow that I found satisfying, credible, and not over sentimental. Year-to-date, THE NEST is one of my favorite novels.


Paulette Giles had me at page one of News of the World, and held me with her poetic prose, voice, scene setting, dialogue that always rang true, meticulous but unobtrusive historical detail and, most of all, with action and story—just pure story. I didn't read. I rode with Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd from Wichita Falls to San Antonio, Texas in 1870, as he returned 10-year-old Johanna, a four-year-captive of the Kiowa Indians, to her family. Dust, heat, stars, danger, weariness, fear, excitement—I was part of it all and hated to leave the characters I came to love along this 214-page trail. 


I didn't read a novel with a character named Lucy Barton. Lucy Barton spoke to me over the course of 200 pages and a couple of days. Her voice is that real, that human, that distinct. As she lies in a hospital bed, conversing with her estranged mother for the first time in years, Lucy reflects on their relationship; her childhood of extreme poverty and abuse, of shame and separateness; and even many aspects of the human condition -- all of this in author Elizabeth Strout's spare, quiet, yet remarkably resonant prose. Lucy recognizes that: "Lonely was the first flavor I had tasted in my life, and it was always there, hidden inside the crevices of my mouth, reminding me." Her mother, also an abused child, remains distant and hurtful in small, unintentional ways. Though she is unable to say to her daughter, "I love you," Lucy recognizes that "It was the sound of my mother's voice I wanted most; what she said didn't matter." Lucy finds exuberant joy in the smallest of kindnesses: a boy opening a door for an old woman, the touch of her gentle doctor's hand upon her head. She tells of "falling in love" with a grade school teacher because he would not tolerate any student feeling superior to another. As for me, I fell in love with Lucy Barton, a new friend whose voice I listened to for days. I loved her resilience and the wisdom she imparted: "No one comes from nothing." "We can never understand a person fully." The roots of family are always "twisted tenaciously around one another's hearts." This is a lovely, moving read.