Quotable Love

It’s January, which means the planning for my daughter’s June wedding is in full swing. This is not the backyard kind of swing that your dad hangs from a tree branch. This is amusement park, three stories high, don’t puke on the guy behind you, swing.

We’re actually doing fairly well and the checklist has lots of little tick-marks.

One thing we are still working on is a collection of “love story quotes”. We’re collecting lines from our favorite movies and books. I won’t spoil her big day by saying how we plan to use them, but they are essential to the reception.

Here’s a partial list of some we have collected.

“Make of our hands one hand. Make of our hearts one heart. Make of our vows one last vow. Only death will part us now.” –West Side Story

“It seems right now that all I’ve ever done in my life is making my way here to you.” –Bridges of Madison County

“Well, it was a million tiny little things that, when you added them all up, they meant we were supposed to be together… and I knew it. I knew it the very first time I touched her. It was like coming home… only to no home I’d ever known… I was just taking her hand to help her out of a car and I knew. It was like… magic.” –Sleepless in Seattle

“It doesn’t matter if the guy is perfect or the girl is perfect, as long as they are perfect for each other.” –Good Will Hunting

“The greatest thing you’ll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return.”–Moulin Rouge

“Did my heart love till now? Forswear it, sight! For I ne’er saw true beauty till this night.”—Romeo & Juliet

 

I’m still collecting quotes, scanning my shelves and my brain for those unforgettably romantic movies and books. Good news is, there are plenty to choose from.

Help me out. What are your favorite romantic movies or stories?

So Old It’s New Again

It’s December. That means we are coming up on the two year anniversary of some rather important life events, including the start of my writing career. I’ll have more later about those milestone. But, as I was reviewing all I’ve done in the last two years I found myself re-reading old interviews and blog posts.

Today I offer a snippet of my favorite interview, blogged by author Keith Houghton. It was originally posted in June of 2012, meaning some of the info is a bit dated, but it’s still a great interview. Rereading it is a reminder of where I came from, all that has happened, and where I’m headed. I’m happy to share it again.

Here’s the opening questions, but I encourage you to follow the link and read the entire conversation.

 

Hello, Sara – please tell us a little about yourself …

It’s always a challenge to define myself. I’m a bit of a nerd. I’m a forty-something mother of two. I’m a widow. I’m a sports fan. I’m a shy, Midwestern girl who doesn’t speak much. I’m a writer. All of those are absolutely true, but I’m not certain that they truly capture who I am.

My life has come in two parts. In life #1, I married young and raised a family while I completed my education. I was a soccer mom, PTA officer, dog owner, all the usual middle-class American stereotypes. There’s not much exciting or unique about Life #1, but it was good and I wouldn’t change it for anything.

I thought Life #2 began when the kids were grown. Like many moms, having an empty nest let me refocus on myself. I’d always been a writer, but with my time free of ball games and commitments my drabbles and short stories shared with online friends began to grow into something more. I published my first book, SNATCHING GENIUS in late 2011.

Eight days later life changed and I found Life #2 wasn’t anything like I expected. My 46 year old husband suffered a heart attack. Just like that I had a whole new life. So, I’m picking up the pieces, starting over, redefining myself. I have hope for life #2, despite the dark beginning it has a bright promise.

What inspired you to write?

Storytelling held a certain importance for me growing up. My paternal great-grandmother loved to tell stories and she would even write them down for us in little books. I lived most of my childhood in the same house as my mother’s grandfather and he was a master storyteller. Having him tell us a bedtime story was the highlight of any day. Both of those grandparents, one on each side of my family, showed me that stories and the effort it took to create them were special.

I don’t remember a time when I didn’t have some kind of story playing in my head. It seemed a natural thing to imagine adventures and excitement. As a kid it was the best way to entertain myself and it became a habit that never went away.

This interview was a pleasure to do and the questions were thoughtful and fun. You can read the entire thing here.

Pilgrims and Fleeing Turkeys

Thanksgiving is fast approaching. How the heck is it mid-November already? But, while I might be caught off guard by the immediacy of the holiday season, I’m totally ready. I love this season filled with family time and memories. It’s a time for traditions.

Every family has their own traditions. It might be an annual backyard-football game or a Black Friday shopping extravaganza, but whatever it is, it makes the days special.

I’m handing off one of those traditions this year.

I’ve moved and my new location means my home is no longer the convenient site for our family’s celebration. So instead, my daughter is hosting. One of the first things she asked is if she could have “Ma’s pilgrims”—the set of Thanksgiving candles her great-grandmother always used for table decoration.

These little guys have been on our dining table every year, and by handing them off, I know that they will continue to decorate our future holiday meals.

 

 

With our oldest family tradition secured, I turned my attention to a more recent Thanksgiving must-do, the Turkey Trot. 

 

 

 

I love the Trot, and that means a lot since I absolutely detest running. But this early, cold, crowded morning is the perfect start to Thanksgiving. We grumble a bit as we don our long-sleeve t-shirts and stocking caps, but we also laugh. And the exercise before we stuff ourselves at the dinner table makes all those calories guilt-free!

Things are always changing in life, but it’s good to know that some things stay the same.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving tradition?

12 Things About Joe

Today is Veteran’s Day. Like most American’s I appreciate the service and sacrifice of the men and women who serve our country. It is a gift we should acknowledge every day and not just once a year.

My fictional hero, Joe Moore is a career army man. He’s a family man, who makes caring for his wife and children his main focus, but his duty is always a priority. He and wife, Kat often argue about the demands of his career, but both remember it is his job that brought them together.

I thought Veteran’s Day was the perfect day to focus on Joe. And so I offer you a quick look at the head of The Moore Family.

12 Things You Might Not Know About Joe Moore

  1. My full name is Joseph Andrew Moore
  2. I was born and raised in Philadelphia.
  3. I joined the army after high school and have spent my life serving my country. I am currently a Lieutenant Colonel. (A hint about book 4!)
  4. I married my first wife at 23 and was widowed at 30.
  5. I’m a decent mechanic and like tinkering with a classic engine.
  6. I love science fiction, especially the classics like H. G. Wells.
  7. I completed two college degrees, mostly via online courses, and hold a BS in American History and one in Public Policy.
  8. The person I most admire is my wife. I am continually amazed at her intelligence, her drive and her charitable heart.
  9. I am a huge sports fan and follow the Eagles, Phillies and Flyers, but my first love is hockey.
  10. I have one sibling, my sister Charlie. She is 5 years younger than me, and while always a pain in my butt, she’s also a great friend.
  11. My wife is an amazing cook. I would eat her chicken rollatini seven days a week.
  12. I’m addicted to coffee.

My Feel Good Fix

I’m a little under the weather. Nothing serious, not even the flu, more like a bad cold. But, despite the desire to stay in bed, I pulled on my big girl pants and went about my day.

When lunch time rolled around there was only one thing I wanted. Soup. Ok, soup and a grilled cheese.

I’m not normally a soup person. It’s ok, once in a while, but generally it’s not my first choice. Except when I’m sick—then it’s the conditioned response. It was the standard meal for any sickness when I was a kid. Usually prepared by my grandma, it was yummy and it was warm and it made you feel better.

These days I don’t get to lie in bed when I’m feeling sick. But during lunch today I felt as warm and toasty and cuddled as a six year old with the chicken pox. Something about that gooey cheese and hot tomato taste makes good medicine.

I’m seriously considering a repeat for dinner.

What’s your feel good food for a sick day?

A Bestselling Labor of Love

Any author will tell you their book is a labor of love. Tuesday, we’ll be honored to see a beautiful example of that, when Humans of New York goes on sale. But the unique thing about this book is that it’s not just the labor of the author, it’s what happens when the world loves a project.

The book isn’t a novel. It’s a photography book, but one with a story to tell. Thousands of stories.

HONY is my favorite Facebook page. It’s my favorite webpage, period. The project started in 2010 as a “photographic census”. Photographer Brandon, walked the streets of New York, taking photos and plotting locations on a map. And then he began to speak with his subjects to get a few details about who he was photographing. Over time the project has evolved. Today HONY is a vibrant chronicle of everyday life. It’s not just points on a map, it is people.

The charm of the site comes in the stories. With each photo Brandon takes, he asks one of several interview questions. Simple things like “Where are you from?” or “What was the saddest moment of your life?” His subjects answer, and HONY followers hear the most amazing, heartbreaking, and uplifting stories. With a photo and a few short sentences, we can see another person for who they really are.

When the idea for the book was floated, most publishers weren’t interested. But the one who believed in the project is probably patting themselves on the back. HONY followers have made the anticipated book a bestseller long before publication—preorders place it on the list weeks ago.

I encourage you to order a copy of the book. And better yet, start following the HONY page. You won’t regret it.

You can buy the book here:

AMAZON: http://amzn.to/10sbtW5
BARNES AND NOBLE: http://bit.ly/16SycBf
INDIEBOUND: http://bit.ly/191EZLF

A Quickie At The Movies

This week’s blog update needs to be a quickie. I’m flirting with a cold (I refuse to get sick!) and my schedule is tight. Something had to give, and this week, it’s the blog.

So for no particular reason and in no particular order, I’d like to share 10 of my all-time favorite movies. These aren’t necessarily what I consider the best movies, but they are ones I won’t skip if I have an opportunity to watch.

The Wizard of Oz—a favorite since childhood. Who doesn’t love it? And I am not afraid of flying monkeys.

The Sound of Music—another childhood favorite. I’ve watched it more times than I can count. A true life (loosely anyway) love story.

The Breakfast Club—the quintessential movie of my generation. I’m pretty sure I can quote the entire movie line-by-line.

Star Wars—my love of sci-fi was sealed here. And he started the story in the middle. Brilliant!

Star Trek II—I cry every time. A lifetime of obsession with this universe pays off in a rich story of sacrifice.

The Blues Brothers—It’s darn near perfect. Another one I can quote all day.

Finding Nemo—Ellen stole the show, and I can’t wait for Finding Dory!

Toy Story—The perfect animated film.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1—My favorite in the saga. The kids are grown up and saving the world.

Independence Day—this one makes no sense, but I will stop to watch anytime it’s on TV. It’s not a particularly great film, and it takes great liberties with the realities of computer viruses, but it’s a fun action flick. And Will Smith plus Jeff Goldblum?…too charming for words.

 

So how about you? What movies will stop your channel surfing?

Banned And Beautiful

Topping the list of banned books in 2012 was: Captain Underpants.

I’ll let you ponder the absurdity of that for a moment.

Dav Pilkey, author of the Captain Underpants series created artwork to celebrate the freedom to read. This was my favorite.

 

I’m often stunned by titles that appear on this list. It isn’t just the banning of a delightful children’s book that caught my eye. How can you ban Pulitzer winners? Are people that terrified of ideas?

I guess they are.

While clicking through links of various banned book lists I came across this one: Banned Books That Shaped America. These are 30 classic and important titles someone, somewhere, feared enough to try (and sadly often succeed) to prevent others from reading. Books that often are required reading in high-level English classes. Books I encouraged my own children to read. I’m not sure there’s a single title on the list I wouldn’t call a classic. It’s enough to make you scratch your head and maybe even make you cry.

Here’s the list:

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Mark Twain, 1884

The Autobiography of Malcolm X, Malcolm X and Alex Haley, 1965 (Grove Press)

Beloved, Toni Morrison, 1987

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Dee Brown, 1970

The Call of the Wild, Jack London, 1903

Catch-22, Joseph Heller, 1961

The Catcher in the Rye, J.D. Salinger, 1951

Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury, 1953

For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway, 1940

Gone With the Wind, Margaret Mitchell, 1936

The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck, 1939

The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald, 1925

Howl, Allen Ginsberg, 1956

In Cold Blood, Truman Capote, 1966

Invisible Man, Ralph Ellison, 1952

The Jungle, Upton Sinclair, 1906

Leaves of Grass, Walt Whitman, 1855

Moby-Dick; or The Whale, Herman Melville,1851

Native Son, Richard Wright, 1940

Our Bodies, Ourselves, Boston Women’s Health Book Collective, 1971

The Red Badge of Courage, Stephen Crane, 1895

The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne, 1850

Sexual Behavior in the Human Male, Alfred C. Kinsey, 1948

Stranger in a Strange Land, Robert A. Heinlein, 1961

A Streetcar Named Desire, Tennessee Williams, 1947

Their Eyes Were Watching God, Zora Neale Hurston, 1937

To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee, 1960

Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Harriet Beecher Stowe, 1852

Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak, 1963

The Words of Cesar Chavez, Cesar Chavez, 2002

 

Of those 30 titles, I’ve read 20. My goal is now to read the remaining 10. And every Captain Underpants adventure.

What’s your favorite banned book?

Happy Banned Book Week!

 

ORAcon Offered Everything a Writer Needs

I missed my Friday blog update.

Why? Because Friday was the kick-off to ORAcon2013!

The conference is the highlight of the year for many writers in the area, myself included. It’s a chance to learn, to mingle, to laugh and to take a risk. Over the weekend I squeezed in all that and more.

Learning: Where to start? There were more informative and beneficial sessions held than I could attend. I wanted to sit in on everything. Among the topics covered were: Branding, Backward Plotting, Reviews, Queries, and Self-Editing. There was simply a deluge of important information. I learned much.

Mingling: I’m not good at ‘the mingle’. I have to work myself up to it and I have to consciously remind myself to keep the conversation going. Let’s face it, if not prompted, I could go days without speaking and be perfectly fine. So yeah, mingling isn’t my thing. But I did it! And it was great. I chatted with ORA members I hadn’t yet had time to really get to know. I talked shop with published authors. I offered words of encouragement to those just starting out on the journey. Turns out, if I set my mind to it, I’m pretty good at the ol’ mingle.

Laughing: Two days spent laughing is always a good thing. We’re a fun group and we enjoyed the company. From the book signing, to dinner, to mid-session breaks, there was laughter.

Risk: I lived through my first face-to-face pitch session! It went as well as can be expected for someone who doesn’t like to talk. And the good news is the editor requested a full manuscript! So, not only did I take that risk, but it paid off.

More: On a whim I dusted off an old project and entered the WETA NICHOLS WRITING CONTEST. I entered the YA/Middle Grade category. Much to my surprise, I won third place. I’m thrilled and humbled to have received the award. One of these days, I’m going to have to finish that project.

Probably the best thing I accomplished at ORAcon, was finding my motivation. You can’t help but be inspired in that kind of encouraging and stimulating environment. I left feeling like a new woman and ready to tackle the challenges of writing for another year.

If you’ve never attended a writers’ conference, you are missing out. Find one in your area, or pick one at an exotic, fun location, or even choose one at random.  The point is, go to a conference. You won’t be sorry. They are the best way to learn. They offer motivation and fun and a reminder that while writing is a lonely endeavor, you aren’t alone.

Interested in ORAcon2014? (I’ll be there!) Sign up for the ORA news here.

Procrastinate One More Day

I have too much to do and very little time.

It’s my own fault. I overcommit to projects and I procrastinate. It never seems to occur to me that if I give myself another assignment I might have to sacrifice something else to make time for it. Apparently in my mind I have a time turner just like Hermione. If I could repeat every day I might accomplish everything. Unfortunately, reality interferes with that plan.

So here I am with a very long to-do list and an ever shortening list of deadlines. It’s rather stressful for someone who is supposed to be living a stress-free (ok reduced-stress) kind of life.

And then something else comes along. Something more important.

Everything on my list is important, vital even.

But I’m going to put it on hold for one more day. My sister-in-law made a surprise trip to my parent’s house. That means the 7 hour drive usually required to see my nephews is reduced to a mere 3. Look at them! How can I say no??

So, screw the rewrite I need to do on that chapter of my WIP. Forget the day I really need to put in at my “day job”. Don’t worry about ironing out what I’m going to say at my pitch session next weekend. And never mind all those other commitments still hanging over my head. I’ll start working on all that on Sunday.

Today I’m going to be signing Wheels On The Bus.