Monday, December 16, 2013

Feeling Special

I just found out that out of over one hundred submissions, I was chosen as one of the thirty authors to participate in a book festival at Rochester Central Library (about 15 miles east of my hometown).  I consider that a pretty cool accomplishment.

The day begins with some workshops in self-publishing (those would have probably been helpful to me a year ago!) and then from 2:30 - 4:30pm, all of the authors set up in the Kate Gleason Auditorium to sell books.  Where better to sell books than at a library, right?!  Seems like the perfect crowd, except maybe for setting up a table in the vestibule of a Catholic church....

I'll be in full nunnery, of course.  I've grown quite attached to my habit.  Would it bother you to know that I sometimes wear it around the house, late in the evenings...carrying a glass of red wine.  Its very comfortable and makes me feel good.  My husband pretends not to notice but I sometimes catch him giving me a sideways glance.  When that happens, I bow my head and pretend to bless him from across the room.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Your Jesus Knickers Are Too Tight

The latest Amazon review of "Confessions" is titled "Garbage".

It's certainly attention-getting, I'll give her that.  Very catchy.

I suppose most people would be upset by such a review, but quite honestly, it made my day.  To know I was able to evoke such strong emotion was enough for me.  My writing was enough to make poor Kathleen actually vomit!!  I'd call that a success, not garbage.

I'd venture a guess that she wouldn't enjoy my company any more than she enjoyed my book.  Loosen those Jesus knickers, Kathleen, and try to laugh.

Life is too short to worry about a one-star review!  Now where's me flask?

Here's that little darling's review:
"So very sad.....sad situation but hard to feel sorry for the charachter; I was too busy vomitting and feeling sorry for myself that I actually paid for this. The description sounded appealing to me and I thought it might mimic my upbringing in a comedic light but this was just garbage from the very beginning. The main character is actually quite tragic but I was so repulsed by her descriptive view on life that I just couldn't find it within myself to connect."

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

And We Have A Decision!

After much angst about what passages to read at this weekend's book event in BrockVegas, NY (known by most as Brockport), I've finally made a decision.  Drum roll, please.

The Wedding!  You may recall Patti Anne was desperate to win the affections of her soon-to-be sister-in-law's brother.  (Confusing, I know.  All you really need to understand is that it was a man.)  They were paired together in the wedding party and Patti Anne was smitten.  She came up with a brilliant strategy...or so she thought.  She duct taped bowls inside the bodice of her dress to replicate the ginormous rack of Dolly Parton.  It worked.  Until one of the bowls fell out and smashed on the floor of the church.

Hopefully, the chapter will warm the hearts of those in attendance.  Who doesn't cherish a good boob story?

Now, what shall I read from my latest release, "Fat Chance"?

Monday, September 23, 2013

A Reading From the Book According to...

I was really excited (and surprised!) when asked by A Different Path Gallery, of Brockport, NY, to do a book reading.  Of course I immediately said yes.  Duh.

That was April.  It is now late September.  The reading is in October.  It's becoming more of a reality and I'm getting worked up.  All in good ways, I assure you.

The very lovely Christine Green is organizing the event, and what an event it promises to be!  It's to be held on the 28th of October as a costume party!  Get this; special prizes will be awarded to those wearing religious vestments!!  I love how the gallery is embracing the humorous backdrop of the book.  Life is too short for stuffy, serious literary readings.  At least if I'm involved.

The event is free to the public and ...hello, we'll be drinking wine.  Not that crap they serve from the altar, either.

So as I iron my habit and count my Rosary beads, I contemplate what passages to share with those in attendance.  I doubt they will be a very religious crowd.  God help them if they are.  I suspect at least of handful of them will have already read the book and are familiar with Patti Anne and her Aunt Elizabeth.

I believe the plan is to drink wine and talk for a bit, then have a reading followed by more wine and then another reading.  The event is slotted for two hours...

I'm asking you to share your thoughts about what passages to choose.  I am at a loss and relying on your wisdom to guide me.

Good thing I have a sense of humor...

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Time for a New Blog?

I've written over 200 pages of my second book, Fat Chance, which I hope to release late this year.  Those of you who know me well, know that I don't outline or plan these things; I just let them happen.  That means, of course, that I have no idea how close I am to finishing the book!

The main character continues to do things I hadn't expected.  She's quite a woman.  I honestly have no idea where it's headed, how it will end or when it'll be finished.  What I do know is that the quality will far exceed that of my first book.  I've learned a little bit and worked on some things.  I'm very proud of "Confessions" (very), but book number two will be better.

I wonder if it's time to begin a new blog for "Fat Chance"?  Is Daphne Schneider ready for her own piece of cyberspace?  Do you want to get to know her?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Damned To Hell

I've been home over a week from the authors event I attended in NY.  Since my return, I've had a chance to reflect on some things that happened.

The event at Liftbridge Book Store showcased about a dozen local authors.  Some wrote children's books, others history books or novels.

I had the unusual fortune to be sandwiched between two Catholic women with very strong religious convictions.  Lucky me.

The woman to my left was petite, attractive and friendly.  Never did I see her without a smile on her face.  She looked at the title of my book and asked a few generic questions, but didn't appear to be either interested or annoyed by the title.  She did say her entire education, including college, was with Catholic institutions and made clear that her faith is very important to her.

Her book is titled "Communion of Saints, Talking to God and Grandma".  More about that later.

The woman to my right was elderly.  It was obvious she'd lost a few inches of her original height, as is inevitable when Father Time decides to curve and compress the spine.  She was less than five feet tall with white hair.  As she began to set up her book (a children's book about the Erie Canal), I noticed her hands shook with an uncontrollable tremor.  I gave her my chair and told her I preferred to stand.

She picked up my book and flipped it over to read the back cover.  The look on her face was not one of happiness.

"At what grade did you drop out?" she asked.

"I went K through six," I replied.

She nodded as if that's what she expected to hear.  "Do you believe in Christ?" she asked, unsmiling.

"Yes.  Jesus and I are good friends," I replied, showing all my teeth.

She continued to scrutinize the back cover of "Confessions".

"I damn you to Hell," she said, returning the book to its original place on the table.

I laughed out loud.  I wasn't trying to be rude, but it was humorous.  "You don't scare me," I said, as nicely as I could.  I didn't want to be nasty to a woman old enough to be my grandmother.  "I've been damned by worse," I added.

She turned her back to me and sat sideways in her chair to avoid having to share my space or my air.

About twenty minutes later, she dropped her pen on the sidewalk.  I bent to retrieve it.  She accepted it without a word before turning her back to me once again.

It's only fair that I mention the "What Would Jesus Wear" toy I had displayed in front of my books.  It's a great thing I found in Seattle.  Remember Colorforms?  They were shapes cut out of vinyl and we adhered them to each other, making scenes on a black cardboard background...sound familiar?

The thing from Seattle is similar, but its magnetic.  The pieces allow you to dress Jesus in all sorts of outfits, including a lamb costume!!!  Oh please, "the Lamb of God"??  There's even a crucifix.  The set provides endless hours of fun for those us with a sense of humor.

I'm getting sidetracked.  Before the old bitty damned me to Hell, I didn't say much about the Jesus toy, nor did I play with it, because I didn't want to be disrespectful.  Once she damned me, I suppose I became a little boisterous about the whole "Lamb of God" thing.  In my defense, it was very funny.

She didn't speak to me again for the rest of the afternoon.  I was grateful.

The woman on my left was a joy.  (Her name is Mary Grace.) Although she is a devout Catholic, she played with the Jesus toy, too.  To my extreme shock, Mary stuck the magnetic loaf of bread suggestively between our Savior's legs.  You could have knocked me over with a feather.

She, too, picked up my book and read the back cover.  Then she bought it.

We chatted all afternoon and I bought her book, which I devoured on the trip home.  I was shocked to learn Mary is a former cocaine addict and alcoholic.  What's more, she'd been excommunicated from her hometown parish after seeking guidance from her priest.  Mary became troubled after seeing her dead mother...I mean, the woman was dead!  The author was scared and confused.  When she turned to her Church for help, they kicked her out, even getting a restraining order against her.

Fast forward several years, this lovely lady remains a devout, practicing Catholic... but she also speaks with the dead.  Her book explains why maintaining contact with our loved ones who've passed on is NOT against the Church.  If you're Catholic, you're familiar with the phrase "the Communion of Saints".  You get the idea.

I'm not a practicing Catholic; I'm a recovering one.  Having said that, to each his own.  Regardless of your views on the subject, the book is worth a read.  I found it enlightening.

I plan to stay in touch with Mary.  Maybe she can teach me how to get in touch with Aunt Elizabeth.

Monday, August 12, 2013


Travel is fun, but you know what they say about too much of a good thing...

I've traveled over ten thousand miles in the last three weeks and when I crossed the last bridge to my island yesterday afternoon, I swore I'd never leave again.  I'm ever so happy to be home again.

Crowded airports, shuttle buses and cabs interrupt my writing routine.  I'm beginning to feel like an old person who complains that travel messes up their bowels.  I hope at least one of you knows what I'm talking about.

Surely, I can't be the only person who has (or has had) a family member who complains about not being able to poop once they get away from their daily routine at home.  Be honest.

I'm beginning to understand the feeling, but in a different way.

When I'm home, I have a writing routine and the characters in my book run around my head and their story flows out quite nicely.  It's not hard work; "Fat Chance" (my next book) is pretty much writing itself and I feel as if I'm just along for the ride.

But once I get away from that routine, I feel...constipated.  I know the stories are in there, but I can't get them out.

I can't write while in a bus/car/etc, because I'll barf on the person in front of me.  Motion sickness makes it impossible for me to work while moving.

I don't like writing in a crowded airport if the people next to me can read my laptop's screen.  Writing is very private; I don't let anyone read what I'm writing until it's done.  The idea that a stranger seated next to me can read what I'm writing is enough to make me leave the laptop in its case.

But I'm home now and it's like I took a heavy dose of Ex-Lax before going to bed last night, because the stories are ready to come out.

Please excuse me while I take care of business.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Fat Chance!

I'm so pleased to share the cover for my next book; Fat Chance!!

Your feedback is most you like it?  Does it make you want to read the book?

In other news, the Women of Substance Book Club Revamped (Tallahassee, FL) just selected "Confessions" for an upcoming reading!!

Shout out to those ladies for their interest!!  Many thanks for your support!

Monday, July 29, 2013

The Nun Rides Again!

In case you're looking for her, the nun will ride again!  Several times.

I'll be in full habit for the Liftbridge Bookstore's Authors Under The Awning, August 10th, from 1pm - 3pm.  You can find more about it here:

I've also been invited by the Carrollwood Book Review Club, based in Tampa, to do a reading and book signing.  I'm not sure how these good people will react to a fully-garbed nun, but I'm not going to let it scare me.  It'll either be a rousing success or a flaming failure.  I'll post pictures of it, either way, and that's a promise.  I'm an equal opportunity blogger.

Lastly, I'm thrilled to share with you that A Different Path Gallery (also in Brockport, NY) asked me to be a part of their Fall/Winter Reading Series!

I've never done anything like it before, but on Saturday, October 26th, I hope to entertain whomever is in attendance with a couple of readings and great story-telling.  Hopefully, I can channel Aunt Elizabeth for that particular event, because she'd love it.

Even better,I won't be the only one in costume...all of the attendees will be encouraged to dress up, too!!  With Halloween only a few days later, we can consider it a dress rehearsal.

I consider myself ridiculously, crazy lucky to have these opportunities!!!  Many thanks to those of you who continue to make this happen.  I'm humbled.

I hope you enjoy the next book even more....

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The Next Book!!

On the way to Miami airport last week for a non-stop, action-packed mother/daughter adventure in Seattle/Vancouver, Canada, inspiration struck.  It struck hard.

I've been working on books #2 and 3 over the past few months, but wasn't terribly excited about where either was headed.  Last week, book #3 (which is completely unrelated to book #2) began to take off in an unexpected direction and I became really excited about the possibilities.  I almost regretted our travel plans because I hate to interrupt a great writing streak, but it couldn't be helped.

About halfway to Miami, the book took a hard turn in my brain and guess what we have on our hands now, people?  Are you ready?

A thriller!!!

That's right!  A thriller!  The plot has taken a dramatic and semi-evil twist and I'm very excited to see where it will go.  (I never plan these things.)

Equally exciting  -  the book now has a title:  Fat Chance.

Stand by for more.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

I Did It!!!

An enormous shout-out and heartfelt thanks to the members of The Literary Ladies, a book club based in Shelton, CT!!!

Just this afternoon, those friendly bookworms selected "Confessions of a Catholic School Dropout" for their next read!!  Yep, that's right!  

I hope they enjoy it and look forward to their honest feedback.  This is great!

Just as exciting, the organizer of a book club in Pittsburgh has invited me to host a reading/discussion/book signing event for their members!  I'm just looking into the logistics at this point, but am very excited about the idea.

THANKS to everyone, every single one of you, who support me, encourage me and humor me.

Have one on me!

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Book Signing Event

I've been asked by my hometown bookstore - The Liftbridge - to participate in an event next month, which makes me very proud.

In early August, I fly into Rochester, NY, late one Friday evening.  The next morning, I'll dress in full habit and make my way to Brockport's Authors Under the Awning, a two-day event showcasing local authors.

Read more about it here:

I hope to see you there!!!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


Look what I found while doing a google search!

I'm in no way affiliated with the blog owner, so it came as a wonderful surprise.  It's not uncommon for indie authors to review each others books and sponsor each other on blogs, but this is not the case with The Review Board.

I'm tickled Merlot.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Need A Bigger Candle

Several weeks ago, I had a bee in my bonnet and thought it would be a good idea to go back to a full-time job.  There were a few reasons for this way of thinking, but first and foremost was money.

Yep.  Money.  I want more of it.

Lauren and I have some small-scale adventures planned for this summer and an HUGE one for next summer.  You can keep track of that plan on another blog:

We are the unofficial poster children for the "Go big or go home" approach to vacations.  The one we have planned for June 2014 is going to cost mucho dinero.  Mucho.

My newspaper work and book sales aren't really enough to fund our big plans.  Sad, but true.  I decided a year of full-time work would pay for our adventures and then some, and I was right.

In addition to the lure of the Almighty Dollar, I simply didn't have enough to do.  I felt my brain was beginning to go a little soft from the perpetual Happy Hour that is so often part of Keys living.  I wanted a schedule and responsibilities outside my home, as well as mental challenges to keep me from becoming a Keys Critter.  And since I'm bearing my soul, I admit it felt nice to dress in suits and heels again after five years of shorts, tank tops and bare feet.

One month later, I am exhausted, frustrated and wondering when I'll ever figure things out.

Ten hours away from home leaves little time to 1) be a Mom, 2) be a Wife, 3) contact individuals and business about news stories/write for the paper and 4) work on book #2.

I know you don't want to hear this, because you work full-time and somehow manage to get everything done.  Sure, you're tired but what choice do you have?

I've no doubt, the last thing you want to hear is complaining from someone who lives in Paradise, but this is my blog and I'll whine if I want to.  It's one of the reasons to write a blog.  You know, getting things off one's chest and such.  Bear with me, please, whilst I unload my chest.

Anyway, I find that after getting home around 5:15pm and writing until 9:30 or 10:00, nothing I do is fun any more!  I resent my full-time job because it keeps me from writing by the pool and getting lost in my fictional silliness.  What's worse, I'm so tired after work, I've discovered my creativity seems to have moved away.  Perhaps it felt neglected and ran away from home?  Maybe it felt cheated on and is off in search of a new mate?

I've considered posting "Missing" posters, but my neighbors already suspect I'm a whack job.  I hesitate to give them proof.

At the ripe old age of 45, I find myself in the type of quandary I thought was reserved for people half my age.  Do I quit a job I started only a month ago because it prevents me from doing what I really want to do on a daily basis, even though it will most certainly fund our walk across Ireland?  Or do I bite the bullet, quit whining and find a way to maintain my creativity while working a full-time finance job?

Until I figure out exactly what to do, I in the market for a bigger candle because the one I'm burning at both ends is in danger of going out.

Friday, June 28, 2013

So Close I Can Taste It!

I just had a promising conversation with a lovely lady who is the contact person for the Toronto Book and Brunch Club!  Let's protect her identify and call her "Jane". They are currently reading a fairly lengthy book of 600+ pages, but she expressed considerable interest in selecting my book for the September or October reading.

Deep breath.

If selected, I'll join them for brunch in Toronto to answer questions and talk about the book.  Jane warned me this particular group of book-lovers is rather outspoken and opinionated.  She said the members have no problem telling an author what they don't like.  I can appreciate that, because, well, because I was raised by my Mom.  She's never had difficulty telling me what she likes and doesn't like about my hair, my clothing, my language, my men and the way I conduct my life.  I figure, it'll be like having brunch with my Mom.  Lots of her.  Bring it on!

I'm trying to contain the excitement, but it's not easy.  Perhaps all my efforts to break the book club barrier are about to payoff?  Are you feeling lucky today, punk?

Did I mention the Toronto Book and Brunch Club is 200+ members strong?!?!?!

Please join me in raising a glass to Jane and her book club members!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Something's Gotta Give

I continue to bang my head against the book club wall, trying to break its mysterious, allusive code.  I spend a portion of every day reaching out to clubs, recommending my book for a future reading, and every day I tell myself it's just a matter of time.  Eventually, one of those clubs will latch onto "Confessions" and then we're off!  Right?

I'm convinced this approach to marketing/sales is a damn good idea, but every few days those nasty boys Doubt and Frustration stop by and drip their unpleasant vibes all over my mood, threatening to make me give up.  But guess what?  That day is NOT today!

This evening, a little glimmer of hope hit my inbox.  The coordinator of a NYC-based book club asked me if I'd be willing to do an "author appearance and book signing" if they choose my book for an upcoming reading.

I need to take a moment to breath before I continue.  My heart is beating through my chest and my bladder is threatening to let go.  (By the way, when I hit the big time, one of the first things I'm buying is a new bladder because the one I'm using thinks we're 80 years old.)

Yes, I realize the club hasn't selected my book and yes, I realize it may amount to nothing, BUT!  the coordinator's interest was peaked sufficiently to make her ask the question.  That alone is enough to keep me keeping on.

Please keep your fingers, arms, legs and eyes crossed - as well as whatever other miscellaneous parts you have capable of following suit - that I may have finally made a break thorough!!!  Don't worry about how you look.  Vanity is one of the seven deadly sins.

Stop sinning and cross your parts!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Blog Blitz

As promised....The author being featured on my blog today is Ross Harrison!

Going back to the start - how did you get involved in writing and then self-publishing?
I have no idea how I got interested in writing, but I presume it comes from being read to by my mother and grandmother. My dad also wrote a fantasy trilogy, but I don’t know if that had anything to do with it, because I didn’t learn that until years later.
At first, I just wrote short things for myself and my family. Somehow, I slipped from that into a proper novel, although I didn’t know it at the time. About halfway through that, my grandmother happened to ask me if I was thinking of trying to get it published when I was finished. I said no, since I hadn’t even considered that, but the idea stuck and grew.
I lost that novel thanks to a computer error of some kind but several years later, after I had finished my first novel, Shadow of the Wraith, the idea of trying for publication came back pretty strong. I was too hasty, though, and started sending it off to agents long before it was ready. That resulted in rejections. Probably fifteen or so. That’s when the idea of self-publishing emerged.
I hadn’t really considered it before, as at that time it was really more vanity publishing. But once I’d read about this new thing called Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing, I decided I was going to go for that. I got to work re-editing the book, and it turned into more of a rewrite. The thought that real people were going to read the words I was thinking ‘that’ll do’ about made me start all over again and vastly improve the book.
At that point, part of the book was still up on the writer’s community, Authonomy. About four days from self-publication, an agent from a well respected agency contacted me. He’d seen my work on Authonomy and wanted to read the full manuscript. I said no. It was a hard decision, but I was already too far down the self-publication road (mentally) to put that on hold while he read the full 129,000 words. But it was certainly confidence-inspiring. He actually wanted to read the second book once I’d finished my edit on it, but once that was done, it didn’t feel right to not self-publish that too.
As I said, it was a hard decision, but I don’t regret it.

I notice that you have mainly focused on Science Fiction - why does that genre particularly interest you?
Specifically science fantasy. I think it’s mostly because I like the complete freedom. I’m not particularly limited by what’s possible or plausible. If I want to write something a little more realistic, then I can, and it can easily be set in the same universe as something a lot more fantastical.
Not only am I more free as the writer, but the freedom in the setting of space and multitudes of planets and space stations and so on is very appealing. Practically any genre can be written inside sci fi.

Typical issue - but any advice for those of us who face the annoyance of 'writers block'?
Elmore Leonard says that there’s no writer’s block, just lazy writers. I agree to an extent, but I don’t think just because you get to a point where you can’t think how to proceed it makes you a lazy writer. I think perhaps what he means, or what I take from it, is that the way round writer’s block is to just write. If you can’t think what to write next in your story, write out what you’ve done that day, or describe the scene outside your window. Just write something, and keep writing until you’re not ‘blocked’ anymore.
 That said, I think it’s more of a personal thing. For some writers, I think it’s a sign that you need to give the writing a rest for a little while. Before you give your brain repetitive strain injury!

Making a living out of writing full time can be a tough nut to crack - what difficulties have you faced in selling your work and any tips you have picked up along the way?
I’m still learning the best ways, but what worked well with the first book was finding a few forums to announce the it in. Then follow that up with copying and pasting some reviews. Of course, simply engaging with people in the forums is good too – you don’t have to be plugging your work constantly.
That and approaching review bloggers were really the only two things I did for the first book. For the second I was very unwisely lazy about it, and did very little of the former and was unfortunately unable to find any new review bloggers (it’s nearly as hard to get those as it is to get an agent).
The payoff shows when I can match in a single month (more than once) of book 1 sales, my overall book 2 sales.
One of the worst things to do is sit back and hope that readers will give you plenty of reviews. After hundreds of sales, my reader reviews barely reach double figures. And that’s with two novels and a short story combined.

What's next for Ross Harrison! Any sneak peeks you can share with us on the subject of your next novel?
I took a short break from writing book 3 of the NEXUS series to do a brief experiment. A few months and 70,000 words later, I’ve finished that experiment and started my rewrite. It is that more realistic something I mentioned earlier.
A thriller with a touch of noir, Sixteen (working title) is set in the same universe as the NEXUS series, but pretty far from anything in those books. Harem is a city rotten to the core. Somehow Jack Mason finds its only straight cop after him for murder. To make things worse, Harem’s crime lord wants him dead. Only with the arrival of a government agent does Jack get the chance to prove his innocence and expose the human trafficking that sparked it all.

The point of this blog blitz is, of course, to promote one of your works. So tell us about Shadow of the Wraith.
Shadow of the Wraith is a science fantasy novel, and the first in the NEXUS series. It’s aimed vaguely at the New Adult audience and incorporates a fair amount of humour.
It sounds like a simple assignment: track down the mysterious Star Wraith and put an end to its rampage. But when Travis Archer and his team of inept soldiers find themselves the most wanted people in the galaxy – hounded by assassins, terrorists and their own military – they realise the Wraith is just a symptom of a much larger problem...
Finding war raging between one army intent on destroying an entire species, and another that will destroy the galaxy, Travis must put aside his fears and his past to uncover the truth behind it all. To become the hero he's always imagined.

Shadow of the Wraith is available in digital and paperback format from:

Follow Ross Harrison on Twitter (@AuthoRoss) and Facebook (, and keep up to date via

Monday, June 3, 2013

So This Is Writer's Block

I didn't think it was real, I thought people were being overly dramatic when they claimed to suffer from "writer's block".  I didn't believe in it.  But I'm beginning to wonder.  Is there a doctor in the house?  I need a diagnosis.

There are other things people claim to have that I don't believe in.  PMS for one.  Don't buy it.  You're just in a bitchy mood and drank too much last night.  It's not a medical condition.  Menopause for another.  Don't buy it.  These are the same women who used to suffer from PMS.  Lazy eye.  Don't buy it.  Snap out of it.

Writer's block sounds like another way of saying "boredom".  What I'm experiencing is simply that I don't like what I'm writing about.  It's not a block, it's just boring.  I've never had this happen, so I'm not sure how long it will last.  Until about four days ago, I enjoyed what I was writing about.  Then...well, now I don't.  It doesn't seem worthy of working on, let alone publishing.

I'll just put it aside on work on something else.  I return to the corporate world of finance tomorrow.  I decided I needed to do something that required the use of more than three brain cells.  The perpetual happy hour that is life in the Keys was threatening to turn my brain to mush.  I can't afford to let that happen; I have too many kick-ass things to do.  So back to the board room I go.  Hopefully, it doesn't become a bored room.

A full-time finance job won't leave a lot of time for writing, but I think that might be just the kick in the ass I need.  All those ideas will run around my brain while I'm analyzing numbers and performing audits eight hours a day, and when I get home, I'll have to plop down at my desk to let them out.  You know what happens to people who don't take the time to put ideas down on paper, right?  You don't?  Well, let me tell you.  They start to think they have PMS.  One eye starts to wander in a different direction from the other.  You see?  All of these "conditions" are easily remedied.  Writing cures all.

I'm convinced it's boredom rather than writer's block or else I wouldn't be writing, now would I?

You know what else I don't believe in?  White people who think they're black.  That people actually eat marshmallow Peeps.  Tea totalers.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Blog Blitz!

An independent author named Y. Correa, with whom I've connected on created a one-of-a-kind blog event.  She's calling it "All Author's Blog Blitz"!

Here's how she describes it:
"Imagine if you will, a small dot on a wall.  That small dot happens to grow a very thin thread of silk which then connects it to another dot just like it. Then another thread of silk, and another dot... thusly the dots and threads grow and connect to one another, creating an enormous web of dots. 

THIS is one of the ways that the internet works. One thing connects to another, which connects to another and in that way making them all easily searchable.

THIS is also the aim of the “All Authors Blog Blitz”.

My aim in doing this “All Authors Blog Blitz” is to make OUR WEB larger and more visible. I believe that if we work together that would be very possible. WE, just as the larger publishers, need to stick together. Work together. YOU alone, are just a single speck in a much larger web. However, US together, are a web of specks. Large and mighty."

Here's how it works, at least as I understand it.

I feature an indie author on my blog and a second indie author features me on theirs.  Think interviews, book reviews, giveaways...whatever we want to do to help showcase our work.

This blog event takes place June 15th and on that day, we will use FB, Twitter, Pinterest and whatever other media sights people use to spread the word.  It's our hope to create an explosion in the world of blogging.

Stay tuned...I'll be featuring Author Ross Harrison, who was born in Bath, UK - a place my daughter and I loved!  He now lives in Ireland...can you see how this relationship will work out?  We're countrymen!

Stay tuned to learn more about Ross and his work.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

It You Can't Beat 'Em...

Still unable to crack the book club code, I've decided to start my own.  Yep, that's right.  I'm starting my own Book Club For Winos.  We'll meet monthly to share our thoughts about a book we've agreed to read and talk while swilling wine and devouring cheese.  Nothing too intellectual.  This is about the wine and cheese, mostly, but I have an ulterior motive.  I always do.

I'm going to advertise this new club on, which I stalk daily.  I contact three per day (that's the max the site will allow) to recommend my book to book clubs across the country.  None have taken the bait, but I'm trying to keep a stiff upper lip.

Here's how I see this playing out.  Some independent author like me will contact us and ask us to read their book.  Bingo!  That's when a little quid pro quo comes into play.  You read mine, I read yours, we give each other Amazon and Goodreads reviews.  This sort of thing happens all day long among the independent author pool because without publishing houses to back us, we are without marketing assistance.  We rely on reviews and support from other self-publishers to get the word out.

Am I a jerk?  Well, we know I'm a jerk, but does this approach to marketing make me a bigger one?

Friday, May 17, 2013

Some People

Let me explain why I may appear to be in "a mood", as my Dad used to say.  That phrase always irritated me.  Everyone is in some sort of mood 24/7, right?  But, I knew what he meant...he meant Mom was in a bad mood.  Not just any mood.  A bad one.

Anyway, back to MY mood.  A neighbor recently told me he read my book and found it interesting.  I thanked him and we went our separate ways.  I'll be honest; I've never really like the guy.  I don't have a particular reason to dislike him, but he's a recovering alcoholic who's been sober for six or eight years.  I don't trust people who don't drink, but knew I could make an exception given his addiction.  His years of sobriety have made him into a being better than the rest of us.  You and I are mere mortals who resort to swilling booze while he makes the world a better place simply by being in it.

I guess I am in a mood, right?

Trust me, the guy is a dick.  Even Mother Theresa would be hard pressed to find a likable quality about the man.

A few days ago, another neighbor told me what Mr. Sobriety had to say about my book behind my back.
"What made her think she could a write a book, anyway?  It was the worst piece of filth I've ever read!"

If sexual abuse of a minor and a hand job is the worst kind of filth he's ever read, what the hell does that guy read?  Dr. Seuss?  Even the Twilight series described vampire sex.

I don't mind that he didn't like the book; it's not for everyone.  People are entitled to their opinion and if you buy a book, you've paid for the right to express that opinion.  Oh wait...he didn't buy it.  He borrowed it...but he's still entitled.

What has me in a mood is he doesn't have the stones to share his honest opinion.  What does he think I'll do?  Poop on his grave?  Vandalize his desk?  Force him to drop a turd in a box?

Sunday, May 12, 2013


Mom.  That's probably the greatest thing anyone has ever called me.  It surpasses every other title I've been given.  Mom.

Today is Mother's Day (yes, I already called mine to wish her a wonderful day...she didn't answer the phone but it still counts...and I sent her flowers) and I know a lot of people get all worked up about this particular day.  All of them have vaginas, by the way.  I think it's unfair to put expectations on others simply because Hallmark or the florist industry decided today is THE day to prove how much you love your Mom by; 1) buying a card, 2) sending flowers, 3) taking her to brunch and 4) catering to her every wish.

That's a bunch of crap.

I expect that every day.

That is a joke.  Honestly, just kidding.  Or JK for all you texters out there.  LOL.  I'm actually not LOLing and I don't really like when people LOL me in a text.  I never know whether to believe them.  Are they just saying it to make me feel good about myself or are they really LOLing?

Stop sidetracking me.  I was talking about Mother's Day.  JK, it's not your fault.  LOL.

As I was saying, Mother's Day is just a day.  If your husband forgets or your kids don't dedicate the entire day to you, don't feel bad.  Be happy you have them in your life and go do something that makes you happy.  Drink a beer in the sun while digging in the dirt.  Give the dog a bath in the back yard and let him get you soaking wet.  Take a nap in a hammock.  You get the idea.

As for me, I'm making homemade bagels and then heading down to the pool to do some casual laps before going with my family and nieces to our favorite seaside dump for cold beer, hot shrimp and good music.  My day is already perfect because Peanut called and we had a nice, long chat.  "I love you very much, Mom." was exactly the Mother's Day gift I'd hoped to get.  He didn't let me down.

Zak and Lauren, you both make me proud and I love you like you can't imagine.

Happy Mother's Day everyone.  Now get outside and have some fun!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

On a Tear

In case you're wondering about the title of this post, it's tear.  Not tear.  Yes, they're spelled the same but are nothing alike.  I am not on a tear as in tear drop.  I'm on a tear as in a crazy, ambitious, creative streak to end all such streaks.

Now that we're on the same page....

It started with dog hair.  Doesn't it always?  Dog hair caught between the edge of the tile and the screening that encloses our veranda.  I went out to water my plants and was disgusted by all the hair against the base of the screening.  An hour later and after moving all of the furniture, I'm convinced I won that war.  Sadly, it will begin again next week unless my dogs magically stop shedding.  That's about as likely as me fitting in the jeans I have hanging on my closet door as a reminder to exercise more and stuff my face less.

The jeans brought on the second wave of the tear.  (again, I wasn't crying)

I took everything out of my closet and dresser.  Everything.  Nothing was left untouched.  The top shelf, the floor, all of it.  I organized it by season (thank God we only have one in the Keys) and then by style and color.  That's a no shitter.  I've never done that before and hope I never do again.  It's insanity.  Four hours later, I had a few boxes of things to give to the shelter, but not those jeans.  They're staying put to be a daily source of irritation.  I mean motivation.

Then I sat down to work on book number two when I started a new project.  I cranked out about forty pages before I realized I was bouncing my legs to keep from peeing my pants.  My brain wasn't listening to my bladder because it had a great idea that had to be put into electrons.  I don't know if you'll ever see it, but it was pretty cool while it was happening.  I don't know where it came from, but I suppose it was born from dog hair and closets.

I'd like to say that I'm off to do something equally impressive, but honestly, I'm ready for a glass of wine and some Food Network.  I feel I've done my part to improve the world today.  Oh, I also have eaten only vegetables today.  I'm not kidding.  I wasn't planning to do that, but just realized I've only eaten veggies bread or cheese (I must be dying) or pasta or beer (that's it; call the paramedics).

Can this day get any more weird?!?!

Sunday, May 5, 2013


I realized this morning as I contemplated how the hell to get my book into the hands of book clubs across the nation, that I am a greedy person.  I WANT MORE!

There, I said it.  I'm not ashamed.  Perhaps I should be, but I'm not.

Last month was the best month yet (in terms of sales) for my book, but I'm not satisfied.  I want May to surpass April and June to surpass May and, well, you get the idea.  If that makes me a bad person, then print me a label and I'll proudly wear it.  I know I've done far worse than feel greed.  Far worse.

I'm still unable to break the book club code.  How do I reach the thousands of clubs out there and get them to read my book?  I saw a comment regarding my book on Goodreads, indicating it had been chosen by a book club several weeks ago - and that made my week, by the way - but I'm fairly certain they chose my book because at least one of the members knows me.  That's not to say I'm ungrateful, so don't go twisting my words around to make me look more like an ass than I already do.  Believe me, I don't need your help pissing people off.

Now where was I?  Oh, right.  I'm thrilled that at least one club chose my book!  Here comes that greed do I make it happen again?  And again?  And again?  You with me?

Feel free to shower me with your sage advice.  Please also feel free to pimp my book to anyone and everyone.  Pimping has gotten a bad rap, but I promise, pimp away.  It's okay.  Pimps are people too.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

April Rocked

April was a good month for my book, I sold more copies last month than any other.  THANK YOU for your continued interest and support.

I ended the month with a bang! when "Confessions" was named the most popular book on yet again.  I'm humbled...that's three weeks in a row for the coveted #1 slot.

Enough bragging; I still have enough Catholic influence to realize that the more you talk about how great you're doing, the sooner everything goes down the shitter.  Does that happen to Protestants, too, or is that a privilege reserved just for the Catholics?

I started a third book last week.  Relax, you didn't miss the second one; it's being written but just a few days ago, I got a serious bug up my butt and started another.  I like it better than number two ( as in the book, not the body function ), but I'm not sure where I'm headed.  It's a mystery and an adventure.

I hope you stay for the show.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Taking Matters Into My Own Hands

I really don't want to sound like a whiney jerk, so I'll limit my commentary.  I'm fed up with the online mega stores making more money from the sale of my hard work than me.  If that makes me sound like an ass, then print me a label and stick it to my forehead.  Those rat bastards make a shit ton of money for doing nothing more than providing a link and an online payment system.

Two ( or three or four ) can play that game.  I've waited too long to take matters into my own hands, but at least I've done it.  Brace yourselves.

Those who wish to purchase my book may do so directly from my website.

Ta Da!!

Let me just say, for the record, I'm not a web designer and that will be abundantly clear if you visit my page.  Be patient.  I'm learning and it will become more professional as we move forward. book can be purchased directly from!  For $12.00, I'll send a you a personalized, signed copy with free shipping.  Crazy?  Probably, but I'd rather attempt to sell through my own website and deal with shipping than give money to big corporations who've done nothing to help me edit, market or promote my work.  (If any Amazon reps read this blog, I'll no doubt be booted off. )

Thank you for listening and I hope you'll share my website with those in need of a laugh.  Or a confession.  Or a good cry.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Was It Something I Said?

1,500 miles from my hometown, "Confessions of a Catholic School Dropout" sits in another small town bookstore.  This other town is actually much smaller than Brockport, and the population of readers is proportionately less.

When the owner of the store first agreed to a consignment arrangement, the book was prominently displayed on a large table, just inside the door.  There it sat with works of other authors from the area.  I was quite pleased with the situation.

I recently stopped by to check in and see if more copies were needed.  Unlike the staff from the Liftbridge in Brockport, the owner of this store doesn't email regularly or maintain contact.  Anyway, in I went... happy to have my book in another "real" bookstore - not just in Amazon's and Barnes & Nobles' virtual ones.  Before going to the counter, I glanced at the table where the book had been, but didn't see it.

I greeted the owner and felt waves of unfriendliness spill over the counter.  Hmmm.  All attempts at happy-happy and friendly-friendly were met with one-word, icy replies.

After several minutes of awkward conversation, I asked her where my book was being displayed.  She pointed toward the back of the store.  Eventually, I found it on the back wall on a shelf so high only an NBA player on stilts might notice it - maybe.  They wouldn't be able to reach it, but they might notice it.

I kindly asked if perhaps it could be moved to a location where it might be more noticeable.  Her response?

"I don't want that filth where children can see it."

Filth?  Turns out, she's a practicing Catholic and didn't appreciate my book one little bit.  She admitted she didn't actually read it, she just skimmed it.  "But that was enough."

Do we have a Book Banner in the making?

Friday, April 19, 2013

Don't Look Up!

Still basking in the glow of last weekend's book signing, I received an email from the caretakers of a website dedicated to independent authors, INDIETRIBE.  A few weeks ago, my book snuck into the top ten most popular books on the site (based on viewer clicks) and that was a huge honor for me.  A week later, it jumped to number five and I almost wet my pants.  On Monday, I received an email that blew my mind.  "Confessions of a Catholic School Dropout" was last week's most popular book.  I didn't know how to respond.  I'm still not really sure.

Things are going so well, I'm afraid to look up.  Everything that goes up, must come down.

However, I'm the eternal optimist and while I continue to try wrapping my head around this most recent honor, I'm well into the next project.  Book Number Two!!

Yep, you heard it here first, folks.  A new adventure is well underway and, no, that's not the title.  No idea when it will be done because I don't plan these things; I just let them happen.  I really don't even know how it ends.  It'll be just as much of a surprise for me as it will be for you!

Monday, April 15, 2013

What a Day!

Let me try to describe how bloody flipping awesome last weekend was.  Bear with me while I gush.

What began as a hellish trip from my idyllic island world to BrockVegas, NY, via beautiful downtown Newark Liberty International Airport, eventually turned into something wonderful.  Seventeen hours later - many of them spent in an overcrowded Newark terminal packed full of tired, irritated travelers experiencing the same delays and cancellations that held me hostage - I finally touched down in Rochester.  By the way, no one should have to endure more than thirty minutes in Newark.  In spite of the late hour of my arrival, my best friend was waiting for me as promised and off we went to enjoy a glass of wine and laugh like a couple of crazy old ladies.

On Saturday - book signing day - the wind had an icy bite that made me long for my pool-side lounge chair in the sun.  What the hell?!  It was mid-April, right?  Dressed in full habit, carrying bags of cheese and crackers, bottles of wine and homemade brownies, my Mom and I pressed against the wind trying to reach the front doors of the Liftbridge Bookstore.  I was having a bitch of a time with my veil in that wind.  How the hell nuns manage in Chicago is a mystery to me.  

Mom introduced me as the Mother Superior and herself as the Superior Mother.  She thinks she's pretty funny and laughs at her own jokes.

The guys at the store couldn't have been more welcoming.  They'd set up a table near the entrance with a sign about a local author/booksigning/controversial was pretty damn exciting, let me assure you.  Well, I was totally unprepared for what followed.  I was thrilled to see people I went to High School with - some of whom I'd not seen since graduation 27 years ago - a couple of beloved cousins, my oldest brother and his very generous girlfriend, a couple of my Mom's friends, parents of former Nativity classmates, friends of the family, parents of High School classmates, people with whom I'd only communicated via Facebook and never met in person, an old crush turned good friend, my best friend of 42 years (who also wore a habit) and two treasured friends who are more like family.

The wine flowed freely, we laughed and talked WAY too loudly while munching on brie, port wine and cheddar cheeses.  I frequently heard myself say something like this:

"No shit?"  (in response to a great story) "Fuck, I just swore.  Shit.  Oops."

Habits are hard to break.  No pun intended.

I could go on for hours about all of the old stories we dragged out, the teasing that went on, the yearbooks that were passed around and the red wine that was almost spilled on a table of best sellers.  There was discussion about various characters in the book....who they "really" were and which ones were fictional.  I didn't offer much information - I prefer to let the reader make their own judgments - but everyone was a good sport, even those who thought they may have played an embarrassing part in the story.  I wish I had pictures of the unsuspecting customers who stopped in to casually browse the shelves but instead found a group of loud people - including two nuns - drinking wine and laughing like loons.  They were priceless.

I was particularly touched by the parent of a HS classmate who told me she'd read the book and was "proud" of me for putting it out there.  She said she could relate to a lot of it and something about the way she held my gaze warmed my heart.  She bought a copy for each of her children.  I happily signed them all, grateful to have had the opportunity to talk with her.  So happy, in fact, I followed her to the door and hugged her.  We'd never met but I felt like I knew her.  I wish her endless peace and much laughter.

It was the most successful book signing to date - not because of the sales - but because of the reunion-like atmosphere of the whole thing.  I'm eternally grateful to everyone who stopped by to offer their support. Let's do it again - in warmer weather - and everyone should wear a habit and bring a bottle of wine!!!

As usual, I burned the candle at both ends during my short visit.  I was there for about 36 hours and laughed for about 30 of them.  I stayed up into the early hours of the morning laughing with Leslie and Karen and got up after about five hours of sleep to pack in as much fun as possible before heading back to the airport.  I'll sleep when I'm dead.

My only regret is that the Book Banning Bimbo and her sidekick didn't make an appearance.  I wanted to give them an autographed copy of their favorite book.

I'll post pix as soon as I can get my hands on them!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Never Too Old

It's been quiet since I discovered the Book Banning Bimbo and sidekick are two Lavell cousins.  I still don't understand why their granny panties are in a bunch but I've decided to leave it alone.  You know how I know there's something wrong with me?  I mean, other than all of the obvious, outward signs?  I actually miss the drama of getting called by the bookstore about a sighting and trying to figure out who it is!  It was exciting and now that I know who was behind it, it's no longer interesting.  Sheesh.

I fly off my island the day after tomorrow, back to my hometown of Brockport, NY.  I'm getting the habit ironed and ready for battle, just in case the crazies show up at Saturday's book signing.  I'm looking forward to some time with my BFF, drinking wine and watching her blow snot in her hair.  It never gets old.

Get this: she's gonna show up at the book signing in her habit, too.  See what happens to kids if you leave them in Catholic school too long?

So just when I think I have my Mom figured out, she throws me a curve ball.  She asked me to wear my habit to church because she thinks "it'll be funny".  What?  Did she stop taking her medications?  That's not the woman I know.  Some have suggested it's a trick, a ploy to get me into God's house pretending to be a nun so he'll strike me down.  I'm not worried because I've done far worse in that habit and I'm alive to tell the tale - although I'm keeping most of it between me and Dougie.

Still, it's pretty amazing that after 45 years, she can surprise me.  She hasn't read the book yet, because I asked her not to.  Those of you who've read it know why.  She asked me to sign a copy for her this weekend and plans to start reading it while I'm there.  She wants to know why her nieces want the book removed from Liftbridge's shelves.

I'm rethinking my lodging plans for the weekend.  Perhaps staying at Mom's, on the farm, in the middle of nowhere is not a good idea.

I promise to keep you updated on the book signing (don't forget, I'll have wine and cheese and baked goods to share with whomever drops in) and whatever drama unfolds at the Lavell Farm, aka Nut House.

See you at the Liftbridge at 2pm on Saturday!!  Get into the habit!!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Take That!

Now that the identities of the Book Banning Bimbo and her sidekick have been revealed, I need to figure out how to deal with them.  They are both first cousins - their Dads were brothers with my Dad - we're not super close but out of all of my Lavell cousins, they're some of the ones I know the best/have spent the most time with.

What's weird is that neither of their fathers makes an appearance in the book, not really.  One of the characters has the same first name as one of my cousin's dad, but that's where the similarity ends.  The other one....well, I really can't understand that one at all.  She doesn't have a dog in this fight.  Maybe she doesn't like to laugh.  I mean, after all, she is a Lavell.  They aren't funny people.

I thought about calling each of them to find out what's bothering them.  I first considered email but was wisely  counseled by another Lavell cousin not to put anything in writing to either of them because they obviously have a couple of screws loose and might try to use an email against me.  I've pretty much decided to ignore them.  Or perhaps send them an autographed copy.  I'm still on the fence.

On a more positive book is again in the top ten most popular books on INDIETRIBE, a website for readers to find/authors to share self-published books.  Guess what?  This week, it's number FIVE!  Check it out:

Shameless bragging?  I guess that's exactly what it is but after the lack of love from the Book Banners, it feels great to know there are those who seem to like my book.  Take that, you bitter old book banners!  Why don't you pull whatever is stuck up your butt out and laugh a little.  I promise it won't kill you.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Book Banner Unmasked!

The Book Banning Bimbo (BBB) made another appearance at the Liftbridge Bookstore earlier this week.  She's a persistent hater, I've gotta give her that.  She doesn't give up quietly and slink away into the night.  Not her.

This time she wasn't alone.  She came with an accomplice claiming to be her sister and they told my very reliable source they want the book removed because it's full of lies about "their father".  Hmm....  that narrows the pool considerably, doesn't it?

This is just one reason why I think this book is so well-suited for book clubs....members can discuss (among other things) who they each think the BBB and her sister could be and how best to deal with them.  I mean, what's next, are they gonna start handing out pamphlets outside the bookstore?  Are they gonna tell the pastor at Nativity?  What's their motive?

I'm waiting to hear news of a lawsuit, but so far it's quiet on the western front.  Or northern front, I guess, considering where I live.  All the crazy book banners are far to the north.  No one on this palm tree studded island bans books.  Everyone here is laid back and seems to realize a book is just that.  It's a book.  Pour a margarita, kick back in the sand and read something else, Ms. BBB and sister!

Where's me flask?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Major Breakthrough!

It happened!  My book has finally made it into the hands of a book club!  I don't know anything about the club, like how many members belong or how often they meet or whether they drink wine while they discuss books, but I do know a book club is reading it!  That is a major breakthrough and I'm so damn excited I'm dancing in my chair.  (My dogs are suspicious, by the way.)

How did I find out?  I was about to tell you that but I was bustin' a move.

I saw that my friend Chrisa "liked" a book review of "Confessions of a Catholic School Dropout" on, which if you're not familiar with it, is the world's largest site for book readers and their recommendations.  Clicking on the link, I read the review of a lovely person named Dawn, who said she couldn't wait to discuss my book "at book club with the ladies".  That's when the chair dancing began.  Get your mind out of the gutter.  I didn't say lap dance or table dance, I said chair dance.  It's perfectly innocent.

This really is a huge thing for me.  I wish I could explain it but I can't so you'll have to trust me.  It's a huge thing for me.

My sincere thanks to the ladies of the book club, whoever you are.  Thank you for choosing my book.  I hope it makes you laugh and feel good.  I welcome your brutally honest feedback and if you like it, I hope you'll tell everyone you know about it.  My readers are my most valued (and appreciated) marketers.

Back to the chair dancing everyone!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Ups and Downs

Wow, we humans sure do love controversy and drama, am I right?!?  Hell, I know I do.  I'm betting you do, too, whether you'll admit it or not.

The day I posted about the crazed woman storming into the Liftbridge who demanded they remove my book and threatened a lawsuit, was the biggest day for this blog.  I see normally 5-15 hits/day but that!  You guys hit up this blog more often than a recently released convict hits up a hooker.  It made me proud.

But it quickly fizzled out and I'm wondering how to keep that level of interest going.  I'm trying to think of new ways to stir the proverbial plot.  Who shall I piss off next?

We still don't have confirmation about who the "Book Banning Bimbo" is, but we've ruled out my Mom.  Sorry, Mom, but I thought it might be you.  Triple B claimed to be "Jane Lavell" and my Mom is "Joan Lavell", so you can see why I thought perhaps it was my Mom, but after talking with her and my oldest brother, I'm convinced it's not.  (Quite a relief, actually.)  So that mystery continues, although we have another suspect.... my spies are hot her trail and I promise to keep you current on their reconnaissance.

I've been trying to reach out to book clubs because I'm confident this book is perfect for the book club scene.  It would be a great way to get it in the hands of several people who will hopefully then tell friends/family about it and well, you get the idea.  I've contacted so many Brockport/Rochester area clubs, as well as several in FL, with no response whatsoever.  Not even a, "no thank you".  Sheesh.

My attempts to connect with several African American book clubs were also unsuccessful.  I'm trying not to feel unworthy because of my fair skin and freckles.

Today I found some Catholic book clubs.  Hmmmm....perhaps my next goal will be to get "Confessions" into the hands of one of these groups.  Imagine how much fun that could be!  They might need therapy afterwards, but then again, maybe it'll give them that "Aha" moment that Oprah is so famous for talking about.  Speaking of Oprah, if anybody out there knows her and can convince her to ready my book (and admit to it!), there's something in it for you.  I'm not saying it'll be anything great, but it'll be something.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

A Roller Coaster Ride!

I emailed back and forth a few times with Joe at Liftbridge Bookstore yesterday.  A great guy by the way who I'm proud to be working with.

As I explained yesterday, a woman went into the Liftbridge on Thursday, yelling and demanding that my book be removed from the display window and the shelves.  She said her name was Jane Lavell and she was suing for slander.  I'm not aware of any way one can sue a bookstore because of the books they stock, so I guess she intends to sue me.  Apparently, "Jane" didn't read the page warning page that explained some characters were fictional and some events had been fictionalized.

This is a good time to point out that I'm not aware of a Jane Lavell.  Curious, yes?

While I'm pleased to see my book getting attention and causing a stir (that's one reason writers write), it wasn't my intent to hurt anyone's feelings.  It's a book.  It's nothing more.  Take a chill pill, pour a glass of wine and relax.  If the book offends you, I have the perfect solution: Don't read it!  Wasn't that simple!

Kudos to the owners and staff of the Liftbridge for their continued support!  They are NOT going to remove the book from their window display NOR are they going to remove it from their shelves.  They're a bunch of badasses that way.  It gets better...they won't back down and we're still planning an Author's Afternoon at the store on Saturday, April 13th from 2-4pm!

They've generously given me permission to serve some homemade goodies as well as vino.  Oh yeah, vino, baby.  Please come out and show a local business how much we value them and appreciate their support!

I hope this second attempt to ban my book will light a fire under the butts of everyone in BrockVegas and send them running to the Liftbridge to buy my book as show of support!!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Book Banning; The Highest Form of Flattery

If there are people doing all they can to remove my book from the shelves of my hometown bookstore, then I should feel honored, right?  I mean, it must have really stirred some shit to make people do whatever they can to keep it from getting into the hands of others.  Instead of feeling angry and cheated, I feel like I've achieved something pretty fantastic.  I don't think that's the reaction they (he/she) hoped for and I'm not sorry to disappoint.

Let's start a discussion....who could hate this book so much that they would 1) call the Liftbridge (my hometown bookstore) and demand it be removed from the shelves, and 2) after being told to piss up a rope, allegedly buying all of the books in stock to prevent them from being read?

Those of you who've read the book, please leave a comment about who you think could be responsible.  Consider it nothing more than a game.  It'll stay between us and rest assured, the person(s) responsible are most likely unaware of this blog or they'd have found a way to shut it down!

Power to the people!

Okay, I know that didn't really apply but I've always wanted to say it.  It sort of applies though, because I have a right to publish whatever I want to publish.  In the same manner that people have the right to marry whomever they love, no one has the right to tell me I can't tell a story.  If that story makes them uncomfortable or angry, then perhaps they should find something else to read.

Come on!  Let's start this game.

Monday, March 25, 2013


I joined a website hosted by an independent author who created his site to help other indie authors share and market their work.  It's a great place to discover great books by authors like me who self-published and are struggling to get their book out there.  It's called INDIETRIBE.

Imagine if you will, my surprise when I received an email telling me my book was in the top ten "most popular" books that week.  It may not seem like much to you, but let me assure you, it rocked my world.  Out of the thousands of books on that site, mine was in the top ten!!   (In fact, it was number ten!)  That's enough to make my fat ass do flips.

What does that mean, you ask?  Well, stop interrupting and let me finish.

It's based on the number of clicks each book receives.  When someone clicks on a book, they're redirected to Amazon, where they can buy it.  The clicks are added up and the top ten list is developed.  Clearly, not every click results in a sale or I'd be even harder to live with than I am right now.

Here's the link to the site's top ten:

Raise a glass and cheers me!!  I'm celebrating.

Friday, March 22, 2013

On A Roll

I had another profitable evening last night and I'm not talking in terms of sales, although there were some of those, too.

I had a booth at the 3rd Thursday Walkabout, sponsored by the Morada Way Arts & Cultural District.  It's a monthly event for locals and tourists to wander a couple blocks of our island's art district and check out what local craftsmen/artists/authors are working on.  There's live music and the wine flows freely and by that I mean, the wine is free.  Do I have your attention yet?

This was my second time as an "artist" and I made some great connections, which I think are just as important as sales.  For three hours, I talked and laughed with people - most of whom I'd never met - about all kinds of crap.  It's a great way to connect with people who have an appreciation for all forms of art.

Listening to other authors made me realize how lucky my experience has been thus far.  Yet, in spite of two great nights with fabulous responses and unprecedented sales, I want more!  Does that make me a selfish asshole or just driven to see this thing to the moon?  Hopefully, the latter.  I'm an asshole for so many other reasons, I'd like to think this isn't one of them.

Oh, the best part: several people who'd seen or heard Wed night's live radio show were disappointed I wasn't wearing my habit.  Mark your calendars!  This nun will be at April's 3rd Thursday in full battle gear!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Confession Worthy

Last night's radio interview and book signing at the World Famous Tiki Bar at The Postcard Inn - which we will forever know as Holiday Isle - was so much fun it was confession-worthy.

The fun began when I schlepped into the seaside, outdoor, dumpy bar in a full nun's habit.  I received some strange looks and interesting stares.  I pretended not to notice and went about finding Joey Naples, the radio host, while Dougie ordered drinks.  As soon as he handed me a draft beer, a man came up with a camera and asked if I would pose for a picture with him.

"Of course, my son," I replied.

He led me across the bar where his adorable, scantily-clad girlfriend was waiting, camera in hand.  They had French accents, so as we posed, I said, "fromage" instead of cheese.  Well, let me tell you.  Mr. Picture-Wanter began rattling French off so quickly it set my habit askew.  I told him (in French) that I only spoke a little bit and asked him to slow down.  Um, yeah.  All that did was set his hormones into overdrive because he grabbed me from the side and thrust his nether regions against me and licked my neck while his girlfriend videotaped it on her cell.

"I think I need to go to Confession after that," I said, shaking his hand and walking quickly back to where Doug stood with look that was either irritation or confusion, I'm not sure which.  I didn't ask.  I threw back my $1 draft and asked for another.

It continued from there.  All in good fun!  Lots of neighbors showed up and a former restaurant GM-turned friend came by on his way back from Key West.  It made me feel good to have such tremendous support from people.  I posed for so many pictures I felt like a celebrity.  We all know I'm not, but that's what it felt like.  Even the band pulled me up on stage for a pic...I almost started dirty dancing in my habit but the look on Doug's face was like one that a Mother Superior probably wears, so I decided to keep my habit hanging to the floor, the way God intended.

The interview was fun and Joey Naples made me laugh as always.  I signed a lot more books than I expected and even traded a book for an original painting by a local artist.  Very cool!

I'm proud to have met so many fun people who appreciate a beer-drinking, habit-wearing nun who swears like a sailor.  .  . and the fact that God didn't strike me down with a lightening bolt proves He has a sense of humor much like my own.  I am a lucky girl.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Taking Things Too Far

Tonight is my interview on Joey Naples' live radio show broadcast from The Postcard Inn at MM84 in Islamorada.  I'm doing a book signing after the interview and am pretty stoked about the whole bloody thing.  First off, Mr. Naples is a pretty funny guy who has some interesting Catholic school stories of his own.  Secondly, it's a great opportunity to promote my book and get my name out there.  Last but not least, it's the first time I get to wear my new habit in public.  This is where the title of the post comes into play.

Dougie Fresh (my husband for those of you who may not know the very serious Walter D.), was helping me with the head gear yesterday afternoon.  I was giving it a test drive and couldn't manage the veil on my own.  I was pretty damn excited about how great it looks.  Here's how it went:

Me:  "Isn't this thing great?!?!"

DougieFresh:  "Mmhm."

Me:  "What?  That's it?!?  This thing is awesome."  I may put my hands in the prayer position and given him my most holy of looks.

DougieFresh:  "Yeah, I guess."

Me:  "Huh?  Don't you like it?  I $%(#ing love it!"

DougieFresh:  "If you wanna know the truth, I think you're taking it a bit too far, but do what you want."

Can you say buzz-kill?

I went into our daughter's room wearing my habit, sure she'd laugh and offer her full support.  She looked me over from head to toe and said, "I don't let religious people in my room," and then looked the other way.

Guess what?  I'm wearing my habit anyway.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


Now that "Confessions of a Catholic School Dropout" is available in paperback and all e-reader formats (bloody hell, that makes me proud), I have an author page on Smashwords where people can find out about the book, read a sample and then make a purchase if they like what they see.

Here's a link for those with nothing better to do:

I welcome your feedback and hope you enjoy the book!  Please help me spread the word...share my blog with your friends...or better yet, share it with people you don't like.  Serves 'em right.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Get There However You Can!

This Wednesday night, I'll be joining that one-of-a-kind host, Joey Naples for an interview on his live radio show broadcast from the Post Card Inn - or Holiday Isle as it will be forever known to me.  I'll sign books while we talk about "Confessions" and the similarities of our youth.

Joey is 100% Italian and the poor guy was raised Catholic, but he's a nice guy nonetheless.  He has as many nun stories as I do and its a lot of fun to hear him talk about his Catholic school days.

Come join us around 6pm.  I'll be the one in the full habit, complete with head gear...assuming I figure out how to put it on between now and then...the damn thing is complicated and didn't come with instructions.

Hope to see you there for some great drink specials and Joey's also got some great prizes to give away.  I've no idea where he gets them...if he wasn't a good Catholic boy, I'd suspect him of a five-finger discount, but not Joey.  He's a good boy.

Hop on your tricycle and get your arse down there Wednesday night or there'll be hell to pay!

Friday, March 8, 2013

Slap Yo Momma!

Finally!  Twelve days after it was supposed to actually did.

"Confessions of a Catholic School Dropout" is now available on the Nook, Palm Pilot, Sony and every other e-reader format available to mankind.  You can even download a PDF file to read on your laptop!

Wow.  What an accomplishment.  I'm so damn excited, I bought it on my Nook....kinda dumb, right?  I wrote the damn thing but I bought it anyway.  Perhaps I should seek professional help.  Nah, why start now. I've done way crazier things without seeking help.

Speaking of which, my new habit arrived last night.  This is the real deal, not some crappy cheap thing from a costume store.  There are so many pieces and layers that I felt like an onion when I finally got myself assembled.  It took me over an hour to figure the damn thing out because it didn't come with instructions.  I guess the manufacturers figure they're selling the damn things to chicks who know how to wear them.

Anyway, I finally got it on.  Doug was doing the grocery shopping (isn't that nice?) and Lauren was at a friend's house, so I wandered around with a glass of wine, scaring Boozer.  He didn't like my habit one bit and eyed me suspiciously until I took it off.  But there I was, in full habit, walking around with a glass of Malbec when Doug walks in.

Um....let's just say it was weird.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

How Have I Wronged Thee, Nook?

I don't know when or how it happened, but at some point along the way I seriously pissed off the Nook Gods.  Here we are, ten days after my book was supposed to become available on the Nook and .... no.  You cannot purchase "Confessions" on your Nook.  At least I can't do it on mine and I'm betting mine is not the only "Confessions"-challenged Nook out there.

Barnes & Noble (the Nook's Parents) are playing dumb.  They smile and tell me my book is available in paperback, which is lovely and reason to celebrate, but when I ask about the Nook version, they tell me they've requested that the author make it available in an e-reader form and are waiting for that author to comply.

That's when I bang my head against the wall and explain that I am the freaking author and I've uploaded the freaking file and it's freaking passed all of the content/formatting reviews and I'm just waiting for them to upload it to their freaking website.  They smile and tell me my book is available in paperback.

Can you say vicious cycle?  Can you say conspiracy?  Can you say "More Rum!"

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Is This A Bad Habit?

The owners of the Liftbridge Bookstore in my hometown of Brockport, NY, have generously invited me for a book signing in April.  I'm thrilled to be given the opportunity and hope it's still snowing when April rolls around.  (That probably just cost me some sales by those who still live there.  They get touchy about snow in April.)

I've pretty much convinced myself to wear my full habit for the book signing but every once in awhile I ask myself if that's a wise decision.  I mean, I want people to take me seriously, right?  I want to be considered a professional, right?  I'm serious about writing and want people to know that, right?  Then I remember I'm Patti Lavell and realize the habit is the only way to go.  Come on.

The book is about humor.  I'm not trying to become a expert on some serious topic, for Christ's sake.  I wrote a book to make people laugh and wearing a habit is simply further proof that I endorse the belly laugh.  If there's anyone there who thinks it unprofessional or disrespectful, they can walk two blocks south down Main Street to Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary and light a candle for my soul.

Personally, I think God will get a chuckle out of it.  He's read the book and smiled favorably on my friends and I as we tasted our way through NY's wine country, donned as Sisters from the Order of Constant Flatulence.  I'm sure he'll approve when I continue the bad habit at April's book signing.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Just How Stupid Do I Look?

I guess it doesn't matter how stupid I look because apparently, I'm quite a moron.  I've had the wool pulled over my eyes, been hoodwinked and hijinked and whatever other cutesy ways there are to express the fact that I fell for it.

While I'm thrilled that my book has been available on Amazon and Kindle, I was looking forward to the day when I could publish through Barnes & Noble and every other e-book reader format, like Nook.  Amazon had exclusive publishing rights for 90 days, which expired Monday.  One minute after midnight Sunday, I uploaded by book to a publishing venue called "Smashwords" that makes self-published books like mine available to B&N, Nook, Sony, Palm Pilot and so on.  FOR FREE.  (sounds too good to be true, right?)

Although Smashwords insists my book is available in every format known to man, my Nook can't find it and neither can any other.  Why, you ask?  Have all the Nooks in the universe gotten a virus?  No, you silly wabbit.  The damn thing isn't out there.  Further proof of of getting what you pay for.

My book is available in paperback on B&N, which is a step in the right direction BUT I promised several people that "Confessions" would be available on their Nook when they dragged their sorry butts out of bed Monday.  That was two days ago and book on the Nook.

Oh great, now I'm rhyming.  Is it too early for a beer?

Saturday, February 23, 2013

What a Difference a Day Makes!

I spoke with Archie, the owner of my hometown book store, the Liftbridge, yesterday afternoon.  I was thrilled to hear my book sold out and he wants another case to restock the shelves!  That was a much-needed boost to my enthusiasm.  I ordered those books like my life depended on it.

Then we talked about possible dates for me to go back to Brockport for a book signing.  How exciting!  I think we're looking at either April 6th or 13th, but I'll keep you posted.  That'll be a huge accomplishment for me....signing my own, self-published book in the very same store I used to daydream as a kid.  What an opportunity.  Slap me.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Who Knew It Would Be So Hard?

I thought formatting the book for publication by Amazon was difficult.  Ha!  That was a walk in the park compared to trying to market the goddamn thing.  Self-publishing is a lonely road and I'm stranded.

How to get the word out?  A girl can only Facebook so many times before her "friends" tell her to piss up a rope.  Same goes for Twitter, which I can't stand anyway.  Tweet that.

I'm trying to get a book club or fifty interested.  I think convincing a stranger to let me do a mammogram might be easier and perhaps less frustrating.  Okay, maybe not but you get the idea.

What am I missing?!?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Amazon's Reign is Almost Over

Guess what?  Amazon's ninety days of exclusive publishing rights is almost over.  That's part of the deal when self-publishing through Amazon; authors can't publish the book through other channels for ninety days. What that really means is that "Confessions" was available as an ebook on the Kindle only, allowing Amazon to capitalize on a new publication.

In six days time, "Confessions" will be available for the Nook, Sony, Palm Pilot, Apple, Kobo, Stanza, PDF for laptops, and every other ebook format known to man.  Yay for me.

In theory, this will mean increased sales because not everyone in the world owns/want to own a Kindle (sorry Amazon).  However, the book's been also available as a paperback since early December (Amazon had no power to prevent me from creating a paperback), so I'm not sure if this will really make a noticeable difference.

A girl can dream.  And I do.  Frequently and hard.  You wouldn't believe some of the shit I dream, but that's fodder for a different blog.  Trust me.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Free Whiskey?

I'm pleased to say I'll be selling my book/doing book signings at the 3rd Thursday Walkabout this week in beautiful downtown Islamorada.  I'd like to "do" something for those who stop by my table to chat and/or buy the book.

How does shots of Irish Whiskey sound?  I think it's nice but wonder if there are bogus alcohol laws with which I need to be concerned.  Several galleries give away wine and beer and a local liquor store gives away   blender why can't this former Catholic School Girl give away shots of whiskey?  I don't plan to ask anyone about it.  I prefer to apologize afterward than ask permission ahead of time.  I find my life works better that way.  (It's how I sunk my claws into my wonderful husband.)

If you're out and about on Thursday, swing by my table and we'll share a shot or two of Mother's Milk.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Book Clubs?

I've spent a great deal of my day contacting book's not as easy as it sounds.  As a self-publisher, all marketing and sales are my sole responsibility.  People won't buy the book if they don't know about the book. (See how smart I am?)

I'm confident "Confessions" is a great book club read.  In addition to the laughter and inappropriate goings-on, the story line touches upon some very serious and disturbing subjects.  It would be interesting to hear how people relate to them, how they feel about how those issues were handled by the characters in the book and how they think those events may have shaped the lives of those affected.

But enough serious talk.  There's enough material to keep a book club engaged in conversation for a couple of hours, during which time I would strongly recommend they drink wine and eat cheese.

So come on all you book clubbers!  I need you.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

It Has a Name!

I started working on the next book a couple weeks ago.  What's is about, you ask?  Well, all I'll tell you is Elizabeth makes a comeback.

I was in the middle of something, don't ask me what...I guess it doesn't really matter but Doug was pushing me out the door for one thing or another when an image of Elizabeth flew into my head and I pictured what she would have done in my situation.  She'd have belted out, "Not without me hat!"

And there you have it.  The title of the next book!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Blame Me

Pope Benedict XVI is stepping down from his Holiness' High Chair.  Rumor has it he read "Confessions" and I'm to blame.  What a claim to fame!

Apparently, the hard truths and unrestrained humor are to blame for his "health problems".

Now you know the real story.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Aunt Elizabeth

I'm pleased to say I've been fielding a lot of questions about Aunt Elizabeth?  "Is she real?" is by far the most frequently asked question about "Confessions".

Dear old Aunt Elizabeth is larger than life.  She's a hard core disciplinarian with a big heart who displays to the world a tough exterior to camouflage her vulnerabilities.  She's passionate about her beloved homeland of Ireland and simply can't leave the house without one of her signature, large hats.  There's always at least one flask at hand, probably two, and she's prone to strike first and ask questions later.  Her anger is fierce but so is her devotion to those who've earned her love.

Each of us should be so lucky as to have an Aunt Elizabeth in our lives.

Who is Aunt Elizabeth to you?  Is she the sort of person you'd like to meet?

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Controversy in my Hometown

Oh shit, it's apparently hitting the fan in Brockport, NY.  That's my hometown and the setting for 98% of the book.  Apparently, "Confessions" has ruffled some feathers.  Imagine that!

The kind owners of the Liftbridge Bookstore in my hometown have agreed to nice little consignment arrangement and my book has been on the shelves for less than three weeks.  Rumor has it that an anonymous caller demanded my book be removed from the shelves because it's "full of lies" about her family.  Her.  Her family.

Dum dum dum.

An angry female whose family was featured sufficiently enough to anger her.  Hmmmm.....

Who do you suppose it is?

The Morada Way Third Thursday Walkabout

At the last minute, I was offered the opportunity to set up a table at the 3rd Thursday Walk About organized and sponsored by Islamorada's Morada Way Arts & Cultural District.  It's a gathering of "artists" selling everything from jewelry to fine art to mosaics to post cards.  And then there was me.

Most people had nice market umbrellas with fancy lights attached and pretty teak tables for their wares.  I had a fold up card table covered by a table cloth and a few candles.  I overheard a passerby ask her husband if he thought I was a palm reader.  Ahem.

The night began quite warm and I thought it was sheer dumb luck when I sold a book before I'd even unpacked my things.  I'd like to brag at this point and mention that the person who bought the book was a complete stranger.  The feeling of handing over my paperback in exchange for cash was....odd.  Awesomely so.  Dougie just watched me smiling like a weirdo.

From out of nowhere, the wind picked up and shit began to fly around.  I was freezing and after two hours, we packed up and headed home to the fire place.  (I think it went below 68 degrees!)  All in all, I sold six books in two hours and that was satisfying.  I met some really funny people with whom I exchanged Catholic School stories and they seemed very interested in my book.  I met others who read the title, wrinkled their noses and walked away without a word.  Sheesh.  Some people.

I've been invited to go back next month but it was strongly suggested I buy a more attractive table.  I guess my crappy card table and ill-fitting table cloth isn't the look they're going for!

Girl's Night Out Radio Show

I enjoyed a fun night at the Green Turtle with Kim Chesher and Terri Albury for the Girl's Night Out Radio Show.  We talked about the book and what I find so amusing is that everyone at the table had Catholic School stories of their own.  Each and every lady could relate to the book and that's what I'm hoping will draw readers...familiarity, empathy and a love of laughing at our ridiculous experiences.

Kim and Terri were gracious hosts and I really enjoyed myself.  The rather large glass of Malbec I had sitting in front of me may have contributed...but even without the wine, Kim and Terri are fun to be around.

I thank them both for their support and look forward to great things in the future!