Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Cheerio from Cambridge!

I've been here in England for ten days, and I am in already love with it here! The cobblestone streets, the amazing spired churches and old ivy-covered brick buildings, the market at the city center with stalls selling fresh-baked bread and rich ripe fruit ... one of my professors said about English weather, "We get all four seasons in one day!" and I have found that very true. This morning it was sunny and warm, then it began to drizzle and then there was about ten minutes of heavy downpour, and now it is afternoon and the skyis a cloudless blue.

I am taking two English literature courses here at Cambridge: one one Elizabethan poetry and another on the tragic figure in Shakespeare's plays. I am enjoying both courses immensely -- my professors are brilliant yet also very attuned to their students and lead tremendously insightful class discussions, relating the work we read to events across the span of history and into the present day. I leave each class feeling so inspired, even if it is a drizzly gray day outside. I've been trying to take time to write every day ... if it is sunny, I like to take a notebook out to the garden and spend some time there. This past weekend I went into London with some friends, and spent a very pleasant morning writing and people-watching in Hyde Park. To think of all the great writers who have walked these English footpaths! I feel so very lucky to be here. I have also discovered anew how inspiring nature can be, and even when I return home I plan to spend more time writing outdoors. I think a change of scenery once in a while does wonders for the creative process.

What do you think? Do you have a favorite place to write? Do you ever write outdoors? I'd love to hear your comments!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

I'm spending a month studying English literature at Cambridge University. My blog posts might be a tad sporadic for the next four weeks, depending on what my level of Internet access is. I'm looking forward to sharing stories of my overseas adventures with you!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy Independence Day!

Every year, my family goes up to my Gramps's house on the 4th of July. He lives up on a hill and his backyard has a gorgeous view of the entire city -- and, on this night, the fireworks show. It is one of my favorite holidays because it is not as hectic a gathering as Thanksgiving or Christmas; in the languid summer heat, we spend more time simply sitting around and telling stories. I especially love my Gramps's stories about growing up in a small farm town in Ohio. Many of them later find their way into my own writing, in one form or another.

Who are your favorite family storytellers? Do you have friends or family members who might have great stories to tell, if only someone -- you -- took the time to listen?

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Publication opportunity!

I wanted to let everyone know about this fabulous opportunity to get published in a Chicken Soup book -- you get to see your words in print AND pocket $200! Here's the announcement passed along to me from Christine, the book's editor:

Hello! Want an opportunity to make $200 and be published in a national best selling brand?
I am co-authoring Chicken Soup for the Twenty-Something Soul and this is an URGENT call out for stories, YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE A TWENTY-SOMETHING TO CONTRIBUTE!!

I am co-authoring Chicken Soup for the Twenty-Something Soul with Jack Canfield and Mark Hansen which is a very exciting project for me. In a time when people like Paris Hilton are representing twenty-something life, it is my mission to bring more real-life, inspirational and moving stories to twenty-something's! I am looking for stories about the twenty-something experience told from any perspective.

What does the story need to be about?
Any story about twenty-something life (career, relationships, family, money, life lessons, fate, travel, risks, acts of kindness, challenges, coincidences, tragedies, etc) is welcome. A Chicken Soup story will touch the souls of the readers and make them laugh, cry, sigh or just say, "Wow!" A story can be told from any angle: reflecting back on your own experience, being a part of someone else’s twenty-something experience, or sharing a story about how a twenty-something has impacted you. I KNOW you have a story in you!

What YOU will receive if your story is selected:
  • $200
  • A bio (if desired) giving you the opportunity to promote yourself, your business, a cause, etc. in a NATIONALLY BEST-SELLING BRAND.
  • A free copy of the book, and 50% off the book for eternity.
  • The opportunity to inspire and touch millions of people
It's that easy. You can also submit a story that has already been published elsewhere and/or can publish it in the future. Chicken Soup does NOT ask to own the rights to your story, but does require your permission.

Details on What to Do Next:
  1. Go to and read the “Story Guidelines” which outlines the recipe for a winning Chicken Soup Story.
  2. Write your story – approximate word limit is 300-1200 words (but I'll edit it for you so don't worry about being exact or fabulously well-written!)
  3. Go to, click on "Submit a Story" and be sure to select "Twenty Something" as the book title. Fill out the info and just paste your story in the appropriate box.
  4. Send me an email and let me know that you did this so I can thank you!
Due Date
I really need stories ASAP – July 6th is my first submission date so the sooner you submit your story, the better. Final submission date is August 15th.

Questions? Need more info?
Please contact me at

Monday, July 2, 2007

Haven't been able to find as much time as I would like to write the past couple of days, in between unpacking from the writers conference and re-packing for my trip to England. (On Saturday I'm leaving for Cambridge for a month where I'll be taking two English classes, exploring the countryside, and writing till my pen runs dry!) Today I squeezed in a phone interview with a delightful woman named Sim Carter from 805Living magazine -- they're writing an article about me for an upcoming issue. I loved talking with Sim -- it felt more like a conversation with a friend than a structured, stilted interview. One of my favorite parts of the writing life is promotion, because I get to meet so many people and make new friends and writing buddies. Thursday I get to have a "photo shoot" for the article -- the editor said she'll call me tomorrow and fill me in on "location and wardrobe" for the shoot. It sounds so Hollywood! :)