Happy Thanksgiving From Martha And Me

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

Wishing you peace and good eating.

I have enclosed a picture of Martha Stewart to assure you that my Thanksgiving dinner will look nothing like hers.

I am hoping not to burn the turkey, drop the gravy bowl, or singe my hair.

If none of that happens, I will call the dinner a success and have an extra slice of pecan pie.

Cheers to you.

Cheers to you.

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Chocolate Smiles

This is an ancient family secret: If you put chocolates in the shape of a smile, all of the calories fly out. Plus, you’re happier when you’re done eating the smile.

I bet you have ancient family secrets, too.


Chocolate 1

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Women Only Weekend – Cannon Beach, Oregon

Come and chat with me on Friday night for Women Only Weekend in Cannon Beach, Oregon.

November 13 – 15. Lots of fun activities…shopping, a cooking class, painting, reading by the waves, new friends….

Women Only Weekend facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/wowcannonbeach/





Beach Sept 2013 002



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Feeling Christmassy?

Is “Christmassy” an official word?

I just don’t know.

Anyhow, “Our First Christmas,” a collection of short stories, is now on sale for $2.99.

My story is titled “Christmas In Montana.” Mary CarterMary Burton, and Lisa Jackson have all written wonderful stories.

Chapter One…

I am, currently, the manager for the hard-rock band Hellfire.

I am quitting tomorrow. My boss, front man Ace Hellfire, real name Peter Watson, son of a pastor, will be unhappy.

It’s going to be a sticky situation, but it doesn’t change my mind.

I have been traveling the world for ten years with Ace, his band, and crew. I have listened to more eardrum-splitting concerts and head-banging rehearsals, and been witness to more temper tantrums and wildness than I ever wanted to see.

My nerves are shot, my exhaustion complete. I don’t think I want to travel again unless it’s to a remote cabin in the woods.

Our First Christmas 350

I love to sew but I haven’t sewn in years. I love to embroider but I don’t know if I remember the cross-stitch. I love to cook, but haven’t followed a recipe in way too long. I love to ski, garden, and ride horses, but I never do any of those things.

I have lived out of suitcases for much of every year, my outfits a collage of color, but now I want to find a home, stay in it, and set up a sewing room.

I am a country girl from Kalulell, Montana, who has been working with hard-core rock musicians out of Los Angeles and I am done. I am headed home for Christmas, and then I will figure out Plan F, the F standing for my Future.

I miss small town life. I have always missed it, especially during the Christmas season. I did not miss, however, what happened on a snowy, dark night on a curvy road. It still haunts me.

Some might say I ran from small town country life, that I wanted the twinkly lights of the city and the excitement.

They would be wrong . I was never running from it. I loved it.

I was running from him.


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Sometimes You Have To Do What You Have To Do

Deadline time.

Desperate times, desperate measures.


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Tell Me What You Would Do

I recently posed this fun (I hope) question on facebook:

Tell me what you would do…

If someone gave you a completely free year at a university what FIVE subjects would you study?

I was walking with my friend, Joan, the other night. We are both working mommas with kids in college and we talked about this for a long time. It was fun.

My answers? Art – the impressionists. Creative writing (of course). Modern Lit. History of Europe 1500 – 1800′s. Art – painting. (NO talent here at all in art, but thought it would be great to dream with a paintbrush in my hand) And you?

These are the answers…feel free to add your own!


Gillian Dorrance Fish Creative writing, pathology, something in the forensic sciences, art (no artist here but it would be interesting to learn more about the process), neurophysiology (our brains are fascinating)

Lillian Aman Nedeau
Lillian Aman Nedeau Art history, photography, creative writing, American Literature, Oil painting…dreamin’

Ruthie DeLancy Talbott
Ruthie DeLancy Talbott Art of all kinds..and music

Robanne McLean Johnston
Robanne McLean Johnston Linguistics, psychology, philosophy, some form of art and music appreciation.

Cathy Davis
Cathy Davis A foreign language, sculpture, mixed media painting, creative writing and excel 4 to feed my soul and one for common sense lol.

Victoria Powell
Victoria Powell Astronomy, French language, Physics (no homework or grades, of course!)

Kristina Martens
Kristina Martens U. S. History – I love learning about how the past has shaped the future.
Creative writing or any writing class for that matter because I love writing stories.
Drama because I think I would make a great actress. 
See More

Bettyann Waller
Bettyann Waller painting, fabric design

Sheryl Jablonski Hoopes
Sheryl Jablonski Hoopes Abnormal Psychology,the History of the UK, Statistics (because, after 40 years I don’t remember much!), French, and Italian.

De Hansbrough
De Hansbrough Maybe sculpture.

Elaine Donoughe Allen
Elaine Donoughe Allen Definitely art! I would like to find out if I have any talent at all or if my twin brothers got it all ! 

Kristen Whitaker Knox
Kristen Whitaker Knox Italian, Creative Writing, Medieval and Renaissance History, Geology, and Photography.

Sarah Austad
Sarah Austad Art history, Water colors, Contemporary Literature, English History, and Early Childhood Education. Audit only…too old for papers and grades. Been there, done that…never again.

Cynthia Dix
Cynthia Dix Creative writing, photography, fiber arts, Asian history, and for my language, Danish.

Terri Patrick
Terri Patrick Six years ago I took theater appreciation (included attending six local productions); speech, analytical essays, fiction workshop, and screenwriting, during two quarters at the local college. It was an awesome way to spend the dreary winters.

Kathleen Bylsma
Kathleen Bylsma Art, the rest languages….I need to brush up!

Prudence Henderson Grubb
Prudence Henderson Grubb Energy healing, religion, world history, sociology, and writing.

Devora Jaye Writing, documentary film, photography, women’s studies, art. (I also have zero artistic ability!)

Cassie Selleck
Cassie Selleck Ditto to what Devora said!!

Robert Andweave
Robert Andweave 1) Intro To Sarcasm. (yeah, right) 2) Grammer/Speling & counting 101, 102 & 104. 3) Interpretive Finger painting 4) Culinary (HopingMarina Elias Starbuck was the Prof) 5) Pre Med classes.

Wendy Webber Deloge
Wendy Webber Deloge Definately nursing school!

Anna Metzer
Anna Metzer Art history, women’s studies, religion, medieval history, political science.

Iris Harrison
Iris Harrison Italian, Spanish, French, Live Drawing, Botany.

Dana Velvet Pixie Bokelman
Dana Velvet Pixie Bokelman Paranormal Psychology, photography, American History, Spanish (I can speak it ..ok… id like to perfect it) something with music wink emoticon

Laura Fenn
Laura Fenn History, Political Science, Law, Literature and Spanish.

Sally Koslow
Sally Koslow European history, American history, studio art, French, more history

 Marisa de los Santos
Marisa de los Santos Neuroscience, genetics, evolutionary biology, Spanish, and ballet.

Barbara Khan
Barbara Khan Anything to do with early childhood development. Focus on children’s literature and art for kids.

Lynne Pinola
Lynne Pinola Italian, Creative Writing, Designing (like clothes), Quilting (Is that even one?) and Dancing even though I have zero chance of ever dancing again.

Molly Duncan Campbell Animal behavior, pottery, Shakespeare, web design, and maybe poetry.

Simone Gonzales
Simone Gonzales Art, creative writing, literature, linguistics, and marine biology or archeology.

Terri Johnsen
Terri Johnsen Oceanography. Astronomy. Medical Care that would put in Hospice work. Creative Art (Mostly Pottery). Spanish! heart emoticon

Sherie Nash
Sherie Nash Creative Writing, Sociology stuff, religion, Criminology, English Lit.

Kimberley Burrows-Hornsby
Kimberley Burrows-Hornsby Arts, languages. Would so love to speak several languages!

Brandi Megan Granett
Brandi Megan Granett marketing, public relations, women’s studies, politics, and writing

Alissa Schad I’d repeat Creative Writing and make those stories have binding. Life Drawing because those part’s looked so much more interesting when they were lines and contours, History of Religion so i could be more aware and respectful of everyone’s beliefs anSee More

Joni Cape-Everson
Joni Cape-Everson Writing- computer science- public speaking-accounting- music

Cathy Doces Foster
Cathy Doces Foster Psychology, child psychology, history, creative writing, music. My favorite subjects that I got A’s in. Definately not a scholar!

Barb Dowdell MacKenzie
Barb Dowdell MacKenzie Intro to psych, abnormal psych, anatomy, creative writing, painting still life.

Linda French
Linda French I would do creative writing too, plus english lit, spanish, art history, and some art class.. I hear when you turn 65 college is free!

Diane Avedovech
Diane Avedovech I love all the arts, including photography, literature and especially music in most all forms as well as field biology. Too many interests and not enough of me.

Sandra Jean Lawrence
Sandra Jean Lawrence Comparative literature, History (dark ages, middle ages), world religions, photography, music.

Dusti Douglass
Dusti Douglass I think I would study Egyptian history, take a Romance language (probably Spanish), a culinary course, definitely a creative writing course, a photography class, and a piano class.

Debbie Rhodes
Debbie Rhodes Criminology. Creative writing. Psychology. Law. Line Dancing. Lol.

Tara White Robinett
Tara White Robinett Geez. I would take jewelry making courses. Metal and glass, rocks and wire.

Connie Binion
Connie Binion Photography,art,culinary arts,natural resources,zoology.

Diane Russom Harrison
Diane Russom Harrison Creative Writing, Italian Language, Acrylic Painting, Jazz Dance, and, Abnormal Psychology.

Kathy Leahy I would take more arts-a couple interior design classes, drawing, painting, and fashion construction – an Arts Institute would be the perfect spot for me!

Nancy Glasgow-Narma
Nancy Glasgow-Narma Creative Writing, psychology, watercolor painting, interior design, any course having to do with Scotland, England and their history.

Janet Castillo
Janet Castillo Psychology, sociology, and criminal justice classes. smile emoticon

Maryellen Sparks Pallow
Maryellen Sparks Pallow What would I study? I’d need some help with that. I want to be a lawyer who knows perfect fashion specializing in helping animals and small children. Sooooo. Help! smile emoticon

Sandra Barrera
Sandra Barrera I would take psychology, children’s psychology, criminology, world religions, and perhaps literature. That made me really think. Thanks Ms.Lamb.



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Going Crazy With The Delete Button


It’s rarely a good idea to be up at 4:26 in the morning, highlighting huge parts of your manuscript, pressing the DELETE key, and cackling.

No, it’s a very bad idea.

Delete. Delete. Delete.


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I’m Turning My Blog Over To Author Nicole Baart Today

Hello everyone,

Today I’m turning my blog over to author Nicole Baart. I rarely do this, okay never, but I really liked her essay on advice to debut writers.

In other good news, Nicole’s wonderful book, The Beautiful Daughters, is on sale for $2.99 as an e – book!



To Every Debut Author

by Nicole Baart

I just celebrated the six-month birthday of The Beautiful Daughters, my eighth novel.

That’s a bit of a surreal sentence to write. I still can’t believe it. I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was five years old, and the understanding that I get to do this thing that makes my soul sing is really rather unfathomable.

Yet here I am, celebrating another milestone… And it’s still as fresh and dreamlike as it was when After the Leaves Fall made its debut in 2007.

But that’s not entirely true. It can’t be. I’m no publishing ingenue, even though I may still feel like it sometimes. Over the last eight years I’ve signed books for hundreds of people who waited in long lines just to say hello. And I’ve driven over an hour one way for an event that drew in exactly two people (one of whom was an elderly lady who came for the air-conditioning and fell asleep in her chair).

I’ve received a starred, featured review in Publishers’ Weekly, and cried over reader roasts that called me “talentless” and implored people not to waste their money on my “pathetic book.”

I’ve written novels that required light editing and others that I had to overhaul. One book I entirely rewrote–not once or even twice, but three times.

It’s been a journey to say the least. One that has been full of surprises (like the phone call I received asking me to write a novel in collaboration with a celebrity), disappointment (I’ve had a book “flop”), and joy (like, every single day I sit down and put pen to paper).

I’ve learned a lot along the way, and though I’m hardly an expert, I want to share a few of the things that are rattling around in my head as I reflect on The Beautiful Daughters and the journey I’ve been on.

I’m not sure what to label these musings. Insights? Advice? Maybe these are just the things I would like to tell my twenty-something debut novelist self as a thirty-something seasoned author.

To every debut author: 

Write what you love. But be smart about it.I’m one of those people who has a hundred stories on reserve. YA, fantasy, sci-fi, romance, chick-lit, thrillers… I hope that I get the chance to write them all, but for now I understand that a sudden jump from upmarket women’s fiction (what I currently write) to, say, YA fantasy (which I have a folder full of notes for) would cause me to confuse, and maybe lose, a lot of readers.

I’m not saying I’ll never write that haunting, somewhat dystopian young adult book with a twist of magical realism and an edge of thriller, but I’m biding my time. Trying to build an audience.

Connecting with readers who love bookclub fiction and honing my storytelling skills. It’s where I need to be right now. Abandoning the tribe I have (no matter how small) would feel a bit like leaving a party I’m throwing smack in the middle of the evening.

Dont be defined by sales (or lack thereof). Of course a NYT runaway bestseller would be about the greatest thing ever (surpassing even having drinks with Nathan Fillion or being chosen as a contestant on Dancing with the Stars).

But whether the books sells 1,000 copies or 100,000, don’t lose sight of the fact that you wrote a book. You bled on that page (maybe even literally—paper cuts are an industry hazard, people) and a part of your soul is forever captured in those words.

That is a huge accomplishment! Be proud of what you’ve done! Don’t let anything diminish the significance and beauty of your work.

Along similar lines: dont read your reviews. Okay, fine, read a few, but have the grace to LET GO. Be resilient and… buoyant. You have to be in this industry. Only the people who have a decent sense of humor and don’t take themselves too seriously will have what it takes to endure the roller coaster ride that is publishing in today’s market.

You win some, you lose some. A few will be enthralled by your work, a couple will detest it. The majority will fall somewhere in between (i.e. they won’t give two hoots). All of that’s okay.

At the end of the day, it’s you in the mirror that’s staring back.

Have fun! Embrace the experience. Throw yourself into it arms, and heart, wide open. There will be so many incredible moments, and if you’re too busy worrying about sales and reviews and whether or not you’ll get another contract, they will pass you by.

Take pictures. Smile big. Drink wine with friends and throw yourself an epic launch party and sign your books with the flourish of someone who thinks every word you put on the page is brilliant (or, almost).

Take selfies with your book baby. At some point, open up that big, beautiful book you wrote and curl up in a chair as if it’s someone else’s. Read it with fresh eyes and marvel at what you’ve done.

Dont take it for granted. It is a dream come true. Pinch yourself all you want, but you won’t wake from it. Come what may, this book will forever be yours and no one can take that away from you.

And, yet. Yet.

Don’t assume you have “arrived.” Don’t wait for readers (and publishers) to flock to you in anticipation of your next book. It is a fiercely competitive market and you will have to work hard if you want to remain a part of it.

Be diligent, never stop learning, don’t expect any handouts. Be gracious to other authors and view them as friends, not competition. And never, never be unkind or arrogant in dealing with editors, agents, bloggers, reviewers, or, well, anyone. Mama’s rules still always apply.

Rock your bad book self and dont be afraid to try to sell books. It’s what’ll keep you doing what you love. And if it makes you feel icky (it certainly does me!), remind yourself that not many professionals are forced to hawk their own wares for a paycheck.

But this is the life we’ve chosen, and for better or worse, it’s a part of our story.

And in the spirit of #6, might I suggest that you take a peek at The Beautiful Daughters?

She’s my book baby and I think she’s gorgeous. Excuse me while I go take a selfie with her.

Happy reading, friends!

Create confidently,

Nicole Baart


Thank you, Nicole!


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Author to Author Interview: Amy Sue Nathan

Amy, before we get into “the guts,” so to speak, of your wonderful book, The Good Neighbor,  I have to tell you that I loved the first line, “The doorbell rang and I knew it was my ex, just like when my lip tingled and I knew it was a cold sore.”  

 I just laughed out loud. Dare I even ask? Is any of this book your personal story?

Nope. The Good Neighbor is not about me, but there are overlaps.

Izzy and I are both divorced moms, and while divorce is no laughing matter, you have to find humor in the horrendous situations we find ourselves in sometimes. (Like having an ex-husband show up at your door twenty minutes early.) I’m also a blogger like Izzy – but in contrast – all my blogging (since 2006) has given me the opportunity to be completely honest and Izzy uses her blogging to tell, let’s say, tall tales.

Or we could call it a Giant Fib. A tiny lie. I loved it. I cringed when she did it, and I kept reading to see what would happy in her future because of it. But I won’t ramble on.  It’s your story, tell us what The Good Neighbor is all about.

In a broad sweep I’d say The Good Neighbor is about accepting yourself wherever and however you happen to be in any given moment and not looking at “the other guy or gal” and wishing.

More specifically, The Good Neighbor is about Izzy Lane, a newly-divorced mom who just can’t find her way. She’s not yet used to being single and is struggling with that, and with the fact that her ex has started dating someone “normal” and her dates have all been duds. It takes her a while to realize she has nothing to be ashamed of, and a lot to be happy about.

Izzy Lane writes a blog about men, dating, life. She did it because she wanted “some sort of a journal…And to be someone else. Someone whose world wasn’t upside down and inside out.”

Izzy made up a person named Mac and pretended that he was a real person, her boyfriend, even talking about him on her blog. 

She writes, “Mac was perfect because I’d invented him – all six two of him, with his full head of dark hair, his humble upbringing, his self – made career. What was his career again?  Did he have one? I wasn’t sure. Oops. But more important than any career was that Mac was devoted to me. Of course he was. He was my cyber version of Weird Science.”

Now that’s a whopper. How did you think of that element? What was the spark for it?

Sometimes it really sucks to say, “No, I’m not dating anyone right now.” So I wanted Izzy to hate it so much that she lied about it, which initially made her feel better. I’ve thought about doing the same thing but I don’t have the energy for lying. Too much to remember. As Izzy finds out.

If you made up your own “Mac” what would he be like?

Just like Izzy’s. Duh. I think I’d add a Scottish accent. Because, why not? You can help me with that, right?

Let’s both agree there is something about a muscular man in a kilt, shall we?  Tea. Crumpets. Scotsman. Yum.

Your character talks about the column she writes “Philly Over Forty.”  A few of her column titles, Cover Up, Buttercup; I Kid You Not, Don’t Do It; Rules Are Meant To Be Broken (However You See Fit.).

You write a column for writers, have you ever thought about writing a column for single women covering these same types of topics?

When I started blogging in 2006 I did write some dating posts because I was divorced and it was more of a mommy blog back then. Now? No, I haven’t thought of that, but come to think of it – THAT’S A GREAT IDEA, CATHY! I have been single now for over twelve years and have a lot of opinions (and experiences).

I would absolutely read your column, Amy, on being single, men, dating, etc. And I’m sure thousands and thousands of other women would, too. There’s definitely a space for it, so start writing, girlfriend.

I understood and appreciated this quote in your book, “The opposite of love was not hate. The opposite of love was not sarcastic retorts.  The opposite of love was not spiteful thoughts. The opposite of love – this love – was indifference.”

I completely agree.  Was it always your goal to get Izzy to this point in her life, where she could look at her ex husband and not want to kill him, where all she felt was indifference, and all she wanted was what was best for her son?

Yes, it was always my goal for Izzy because it was how I approached my own divorce situation way back when. I just wanted what was best for my kids and parents with animosity is never best for kids. I realize sometimes it’s unavoidable but since this was fiction – nothing was impossible.

I wanted Izzy to be okay without Bruce–okay whether she had a man in her life or not. That was key.  You know my motto – I write fiction where the main character saves herself.

We’ve jumped around a little bit, so let’s back up. Tell us a little more about yourself. 

I was born young. I was bald, but very cute. Sorry. I need to amuse myself sometimes!

I was born in Philadelphia, like Izzy, and grew up on a street just like hers! (Street scene pictured here.) It was really important to me to set a book in a Northeast Philadelphia neighborhood, but I didn’t want to go back to the 1970s (when I grew up) so I  had Izzy move back there now.

Unfortunately, where I grew up has changed, so I reimagined the area and voila – Izzy’s street is what I wish that neighborhood were like now (but isn’t).

I’ve always been a writer but I’ve also been a cashier, administrator at a synagogue, pre-school teacher, and right now I work at a NY Jewish-style deli in the suburbs of Chicago. (Would you like a knish with that chapter?) It all feeds my writing and this new job also feeds my belly!

You write an online writer’s blog titled “Women’s Fiction Writers.  No Heroes, No Zombies, No High Heels. Well, Maybe High Heels.  https://womensfictionwriters.wordpress.com/. 

It’s one of Writer’s Digest top 101 writing blogs. Congratulations, first off. Then, secondly, when did you start writing the blog?  What are your goals for it? What do you like best about the work you do on the blog?

Thank you! Though I started blogging in 2006, I started the WFW blog in 2011 because I couldn’t find anything online that met my needs as someone NOT writing romance. So, I followed the advice of a friend and created the online space myself.

My goal is to share authors, books, and writing craft information with aspiring authors and published authors who write whatever we call Women’s Fiction. There’s so much out there for romance novels, and other genres, I wanted a place for US to go and be together!

The best part of the blog is reading guest posts early, and interviewing authors. I always ask questions I want the answers to, and I use my Journalism degree. A two-fer!

What are the other publications that you’ve been in?   Can you paste some links in of a few of your favorite articles and essays?

I’ve had dozens of articles, essays, and stories in publications including The Chicago Tribune, Writer’s Digest, The New York Times and Washington Post blogs online, Chicago Parent, Huffington Post, and The Grey Sparrow Journal.

Asking me to pick my favorite? Egads! I’m probably most proud of my Tribune pieces and my first one is one of my favorites.

Not only do I think it’s a fun article, but it reminds me that anything is possible. Here’s a link to my first published article/essay in The Chicago Tribune: http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2006-12-10/news/0612100058_1_cookies-shortbread-gingerbread-man

I’m also really proud of the short stories I’ve had published. Here’s one from Grey Sparrow Journal. I have a love of writing about older people. Older meaning 80+. Not sure why, but there is one in each novel and many of my short stories.  http://greysparrowpress.sharepoint.com/Pages/Spring2011ShortStoriesNathan.aspx

What is your day like? When do you write? How do you manage to write your books, your blog, and the other essays and articles that you publish? Do you set writing goals, divide your time each day?

My day starts with the dogs. Literally. I have two old dogs who like to wake me up some time between 4 and 5 am. I let them out and make them let me go back to sleep. Then I’m up by 5:30 to feed them. Then sometimes I go back to sleep again.

I’m always up for the day by 6:30, and early mornings I take care of business like my blog, setting up social media stuff for the day, answering emails, etc. But if I’m home for the day, I start writing by 8 or 9. I’m a morning writer. That might change as my schedule gets more complicated – I have that deli job and freelance jobs and sanity to maintain, if at all possible.

I am not a middle of the night or late night writer. Most nights I am asleep, and I mean sound asleep, by 10.

Three places in America you want to visit very badly.

Mt. Rushmore, Montana, Seattle.

Three things you’re afraid of.

Heights. I get wobbly and feel like I’m going to lose my balance. Same goes for steps. A few years ago I fell down my basement stairs and I now hold railings for dear life. Other than that, frankly, I’m really not afraid of anything too much because I’ve had some scary things happen and I came out just fine.

Everyone, this is one excerpt from The Good Neighbor that I loved, and it will give you a snapshot into what this book is about…

I didn’t have the heart or the stomach to tell Ethan how much different parts of Philly Over Forty suited me, how getting lost in the ether of the Internet patched holes in my days and my heart. Comments popped up at all hours, from all over the country, reminding me how it felt to be listened to instead of talked at. As soon as a new post went live on the site, it was tweeted and facebooked, and Tumblred.

My recent post about sex after divorce, with no mention of Mac, went viral with more views than anything else on Pop Philly ever. It was peculiar to be popular. Peculiar in a heart pounding, ego boosting, anonymous kind of way.

Thanks, Amy, for your time, and best of luck with all your work in future.

Chat with Amy here…and do check out her writer’s blog. I love it.

Website: amysuenathan.com

 Featuring the authors, books, and craft of women’s fiction—and a little sass and chocolate—since 2011. 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/amysuenathan

Twitter: @AmySueNathan


THE GOOD NEIGHBOR – forthcoming from St. Martin’s Press, October 2015

THE GLASS WIVES - published by St. Martin’s Press, May 2013 – available in stores and online! 




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A Funny Snippet From My Book, My Very Best Friend

“I detest flying. You could correctly call it ‘pathologically afraid.’ I cannot breathe on planes. I know that I am going to die a fiery death as we plunge into the ocean.

I have studied planes, their engines, and why they stay in the air in depth. My studies took two years. I understand mathematical aerodynamics description, thrust, lift, Newton, and Bernoulli’s principle.

I even had three tours at Boeing.

I have talked to pilots and engineers and examined blueprints for planes. Yet the sensible part of me knows that the plane will crash at any moment because nothing this large, heavy, and rigid was ever meant to be in the sky.

This knowledge is in direct contrast to my physics studies. I acknowledge this dichotomy.

I sat down in my first-class seat. I need room if I fly. I don’t want to be sandwiched next to strangers who will be intruding upon my space by body part or by air. I prefer to die within my own confines.

Inside my carry-on bag I had these things: Travel-sized bottles of Scotch. My list folder. A handkerchief. Travel-sized bottles of whiskey. My own tea bags—chamomile, peppermint, and for my adventurous side, Bengal Tiger. Three journals to write in if my writer’s block dissolves. Pictures of my cats. Travel-sized bottles of tequila.

Two books on gravitational physics and evolutionary biology.

I adjusted my glasses. If we’re going to crash, I want them to be sturdily placed on my nose so I can see our doomed descent. My glasses have brown rims. I affixed clear tape on the left arm, as it’s cracked. I’ve been meaning to go to the eye doctor to get it fixed, but the tape seems to be functioning well. It does make my glasses tilt to the left, though. Not much of a problem, except if one is worried about appearance, which I am not.

I rechecked the top button on my beige blouse to make sure it was still fastened. I had been able to get most of the blueberry and ketchup stains out of it. If I end up in the ocean, I want to be covered. No need to show my ragged, but sturdy, bra.

My underwear is beige or white, and cotton. When there are more than two holes, I throw them out. High risers, you could call them. I like to be properly covered, no tiny, lacy, itchy tidbits for me, even though I put McKenzie Rae, the heroine in all of my time travel romance novels, in tiny lacy tidbits that do not itch her.

If we crash, I can assure you that my underwear will stand up far better to the fire and flying debris than a tidbit would.

I situated my brown corduroy skirt and took off my brown, five-year-old sturdy shoes and put on my blue slippers with pink rabbit ears that Bridget sent me. I took out a tiny bottle of Scotch, as my hands were already shaking.

My seatmate, a man who appeared to be about my age, was white faced. “I hate flying,” he muttered. I heard the Texan drawl.

“Me too. Here. Have a drink.” I pulled out another bottle.

“Thank you, ma’am, I am much obliged.”

We clinked our tiny bottles together. His hands were shaking, too.

We both breathed shallowly. “Close your eyes, inhale,” I said. “Find your damn serenity. Think of your sunflowers…bells of Ireland…catnip…sweet Annies…wild tea roses…”

“Think of your ranch…” he said, barely above a whisper. “Think of your cows. Your tractors. The bulls. Castration day.”

The vision of castration day was unpleasant. I closed my eyes again.

We inhaled.

We drank.

We shook.

We took off. I started to sweat. So did he.

“My turn,” he said when we were done with the first bottle. He handed me a tiny bottle of Scotch out of his briefcase.

“Cheers to aerodynamics, thrust, lift, and Bernoulli’s principle.”

“Cheers to your green eyes, darlin’. Those are bright twinklers. Brighter than the stars in Texas, may she reign forever.”

“Thank you. May Newton’s laws reign forever.”

Third round on me.

Fourth on him, ordered from the flight attendant, who said cheerily, annoyingly, “Nervous flyers?”

The fourth round did the trick. We decided to sing the National Anthem together, then “Frosty the Snowman” and two songs by Neil Diamond. One was “Cracklin’ Rosie,” which made him cry, so I cried, too, in solidarity. The annoying flight attendant asked us to be quiet.

We sang “The Ants Go Marching Down” in whispery voices, then I taught him a Scottish drinking song about a milkmaid. We woke up in Amsterdam, his head on my shoulder.

I wriggled him awake. “It was a pleasure getting drunk with you.”

“The pleasure was all mine, green eyes,” he drawled in his Texan drawl. “It seems we have arrived alive.”

“We did our part. Praise to Newton.”

We stumbled off the plane, shook hands, and I caught the next flight to Edinburgh. I forgot to change out of my blue slippers with pink rabbit ears before I walked through the airport. No matter. The top button on my beige blouse was still buttoned and I was in one piece.

I put my hand to my head. Lord. I hate flying and I hate airplane hangovers.”

– Charlotte Mackintosh in My Very Best Friend. A time travel romance writer who has no romance. A hermit on an island who goes skinny dipping. A woman who puts her cats into a specially made cat stroller. She’s a lot of fun.

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Cathy Lamb
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