Happy Birthday

Happy birthday to my girl! You’re growing too fast.

Due Today: D.C., Va., Md. High School Poems for Gaithersburg Book Festival Annual Poetry Contest


Today, Feb. 20, 2020, is the deadline for high school students in the Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., area to submit their poems for consideration in the Gaithersburg Book Festival poetry contest.


  • Author must be a high school student (public, private or homeschooled, grades 9-12, in the 2019-20 school year) at time of entry.
  • Author must live in Maryland, Virginia or Washington, D.C.
  • Only one submission per author.
  • The entry cannot have been published elsewhere. It must be an original and sole work of the author.

For more information about the contest, go here.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Holiday

Take this time to reflect on the freedoms we have in this country, and how there was a lot of sweat and blood that went into making them a reality.

Also take a moment to think about how precious those freedoms are and what you are willing to do to keep them.

Finally, imagine a world (like now) in which you need to take action to actively preserve those rights.

What would you do, if you were Martin Luther King, Jr.?

Happy New Year!


Here’s to a splendid 2020! Happy New Year, everyone.

First Book of The Year 2020

It’s that time of year when everyone shares their first book of 2020.

I’m cheating a bit, as I did start this book when I received the ARC this past month, but I want to get back to it. It’s not the book that stopped me from reading, it was life — the swim mom life.

So, I will be getting back to this as my first book of 2020. (drum roll, please)

What’s you’re first book of 2020?

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

We saw some really fantastic creations at this year’s Santa’s Workshop in town. The sculptures were all made by hand by one woman. She is clearly very talented, imaginative, and loves this time of year. She gave each kid a hand knit scarf or other present at the workshop too. I have no idea how she knew how many to make. It was a lovely gesture.






I wish everyone their own happy holiday season! Happy New Year! I hope 2020 is much better than 2019!

Here’s a photo of my daughter and her dad, doing what they love this season — picking out our Christmas tree and cutting it down. This year, she was thrilled that she could saw off some of the lower branches so we could fit it in the tree stand. For a first time, she found it was harder to hand saw a tree than she thought. I guess her dad makes it look too easy.

Happy Thanksgiving

JAFF Writer-Reader Get Together 2019

A few weekends ago, Anna and I took a trip to nearby Virginia to meet some Jane Austen Fan Fiction (JAFF) authors, bloggers, and other readers. Anna and I were surprised (or at least I was) to be asked to speak about blogging and reviewing JAFF books and hosting their authors on blog tours.

I was glad we prepared ahead of time for the discussion, but the audience was wonderful and welcoming and full of questions. It was nice to share our thoughts on blogging and reviewing books for authors on an intimate stage with people we’ve come to know well virtually. It was also a pleasure to meet the incomparable Meredith from Austenesque Reviews.

I really hope I didn’t monopolize the conversation during the blogger panel, but I tend to just keep talking when I’m nervous. The best part was that we didn’t need to use a microphone. That set my mind a bit more at ease about speaking in front of a crowd.

We met so many great authors and learned a lot of inside knowledge about the Amazon self-publishing empire — as well as how much they actually take from authors royalties. It’s a shame that traditional publishing is not more welcoming and generous. I have a feeling they would make more money with JAFF authors if they thought about it hard enough. There is definitely a wide and loyal fan base for these kinds of books, as well as so much territory they have yet to explore.

If you’re a Jane Austen fan who loves fan fiction, this is they kind of gathering you don’t want to miss. And there are some “rumors” that there may be another one in 2020. Keep in the know, here.

As an aside, there was an informal reading of works in progress in the lounge after the Saturday “official” programming ended, and the Austen-inspired authors were kind enough to let me read some poems with them. It was a definite departure from the normal poetry crowd, and I hope they enjoyed the poems.

A big Thank You to Victoria Kincaid and Summer Hanford for all their work organizing the gathering, to Victoria Kincaid and Meredith for the great photos, and to everyone who came and respectfully and enthusiastically listened to my jabbering.

Fall Kickoff of DiVerse Gaithersburg

The third year of DiVerse Gaithersburg kicked off with Kristin Kowalski Ferragut and her powerful poems of self-examination and more. Jona Colson treated us to some dialogue poems that were astounding and inspired me to dig out some old ones I’d given up on. Le Hinton wowed us with his poems tied deeply to cotton and its history. His reading of a poem from the point of view of cotton was unique and engaging.

This is fast becoming a reading series that you must attend.

I really enjoyed listening to each poet this month. I skipped the open mic even though I brought a poem. My allergies had blown up my eye and made me cough at the most inopportune times during the featured readers. The open mic had a variety of readers, some who are familiar to those who regularly attend and some who are new.

If you’re in the DMV in October, do not miss out on the reading with Reuben Jackson, Rose Solari, and Jay Hall Carpenter.

18 Years Ago; We Never Forget

Happy birthday!

A big happy birthday to my brother, Aaron, today.

I hope this year brings you more good things and hopefully, some new activities. It’s been an adjustment over the last couple of years for you, but I hope you are feeling more settled and happier.

Welcome to Third Grade

Vacation is over, and school begins.

My daughter was very excited to have a vacation over the summer that didn’t entail just staying home and doing day trips. She enjoyed Disney very much, except for the extreme heat. She also had a fantastic time at Myrtle Beach with her grandparents. I think she’s found a new activity to enjoy — boogie boarding — and she’ll next want to move onto surfing, or so she tells me.

We’ve been home a couple days and she’s already picked out a week’s worth of outfits for school, set up her backpack, and washed her water bottle.

I think she may be excited to start third grade.