Archive for May, 2009

Summer Beach Read from the GCC

iohh-finalSummer’s on the way, and just in time, Judi Fennell’s new book IN OVER HER HEAD debuts on June 1. When Erica Peck, one terrified-of-the-ocean marina owner, finds herself at the bottom of the sea conversing with a Mer man named Reel, she thinks she’s died and gone to her own version of Hell. When the Oceanic Council demands she and Reel retrieve a lost cache of diamonds from the resident sea monster in return for their lives, she knows she’s died and gone to Hell.
When they escape the monster and end up on a deserted island, she amends her opinion – she’s died and gone to Heaven.
But when Reel sacrifices himself to allow her to return to her world, she realizes that, Heaven or Hell, with Reel, she’s In Over Her Head.

judi-fennell-comJudi Fennell has had her nose in a book and her head in some celestial realm all her life, including those early years when her mom would exhort her to “get outside!” instead of watching Bewitched or I Dream of Jeannie on television. So she did–right into Dad’s hammock with her Nancy Drew books.

These days she’s more likely to have her nose in her laptop and her head (and the rest of her body) at her favorite bookstore, but she’s still reading, whether it be her latest manuscript or friends’ books.

To celebrate the release of each of her books, Judi Fennell and the Atlantis Inn and the Hibiscus House bed and breakfasts are raffling off three romantic beach getaway weekends. All information is on Judi’s website.

And last but not least, I like to ask visiting authors what their characters would have to say to my psychologist character, Dr. Rebecca Butterman. But Judi went one better–she wrote the entire therapy session! Have a look:

Dr. Butterman: So, Erica, why are you here today?
Erica: Well, Doctor, I have this stupid phobia.
D.B.: Why is it stupid?
Erica: I’m scared of the ocean. Well, what’s IN the ocean. There’s a difference, you know. The water doesn’t scare me, nor does the deep, but what’s in it? Yeah. Totally freaks me out.
D.B.: Do you know what instigated this fear?
Erica: (Nodding). Yes, but I can’t talk about it.
D.B.: Erica, if you can’t talk about it, you won’t be able to resolve it.
Erica: That’s not a bad thing, is it? I mean, I don’t need to go in the ocean to live, right? I’m fine on land so it’s a non-issue, really.
D.B.: But I thought you helped out at a marina?
Erica: I own the marina. With my brothers. But they’re off serving our country so it’s up to me to handle the business.
D.B.: Do you do charters from the marina?
Erica: Yes.
D.B.: So how do you manage that? I would think that running charters would entail having to go out on the ocean.
Erica: (Squirming in her seat). Well, that is, I… I did take out a charter. But that didn’t work out so well.
D.B.: What happened?
Erica: (Biting her lip and fiddling with the fringe on the sofa pillow) I… uh… accidentally threw some diamonds overboard.
D.B.: Diamonds? What were diamonds doing on your boat?
Erica: (Huffing) My stupid ex-boyfriend hid them in my grandfather’s urn. Can you imagine? Who hides diamonds in someone’s urn? That’s just gross. But I guess he knew they weren’t going anywhere, since I have this phobia and Grandpa was still in that urn. It’d been a… while.
D.B.: So then what happened? How did your ex react?
Erica: (Sits up straight and folds her hands in her lap) The bastard forced me in the water to go after them. At gunpoint.
D.B.: And how did that make you feel?
Erica: How do you think? I was totally p.o’d. How dare he!
D.B.: But you went?
Erica: Well, yes. I mean, he had a gun.
D.B.: And then what happened?
Erica: (biting her lip again and fidgeting. And playing with the pillow fringe) I… I met a merman.
D.B.: A merman. (arches eyebrow).
Erica: Yes.
D.B.: And did this merman have a name?
Erica: Reel.
D.B.: Were there any other mermen?
Erica: Oh, yes. His brother. Rod.
D.B.: (Her pencil falls onto her notebook and the good doctor interlaces her fingers and rests her hands on top of the notebook.) Rod and Reel. The mermen. Who’s their father? Fisher?
Erica: (Smiling) Oh, you’ve met them, too!
D.B.: (Stands) I think that’s all for today, Erica.
Erica: (watching the doctor leave the room) What’d I say?

Thanks for stopping by Judi and very best wishes with the new book!

A poem for Mother’s Day by Billy Collins

I love this–he’s brilliant!

The Lanyard by Billy Collins

The other day as I was ricocheting slowly
off the pale blue walls of this room,
bouncing from typewriter to piano,
from bookshelf to an envelope lying on the floor,
I found myself in the L section of the dictionary
where my eyes fell upon the word lanyard.

No cookie nibbled by a French novelist
could send one more suddenly into the past–
a past where I sat at a workbench at a camp
by a deep Adirondack lake
learning how to braid thin plastic strips
into a lanyard, a gift for my mother.

I had never seen anyone use a lanyard
or wear one, if that’s what you did with them,
but that did not keep me from crossing
strand over strand again and again
until I had made a boxy
red and white lanyard for my mother.

She gave me life and milk from her breast,
and I gave her a lanyard.
She nursed me in many a sickroom,
lifted teaspoons of medicine to my lips,
set cold face-cloths on my forehead,
and then led me out into the airy light
and taught me to walk and swim,
and I, in turn, presented her with a lanyard.
Here are thousands of meals, she said,
and here is clothing and a good education.
And here is your lanyard, I replied,
which I made with a little help from a counselor.

Here is a breathing body and a beating heart,
strong legs, bones and teeth,
and two clear eyes to read the world, she whispered,
and here, I said, is the lanyard I made at camp.
And here, I wish to say to her now,
is a smaller gift–not the archaic truth

that you can never repay your mother,
but the rueful admission that when she took
that two-tone lanyard from my hands,
I was as sure as a boy could be
that this useless, worthless thing I wove
out of boredom would be enough to make us even.
by Billy Collins

Update on the Madison Murder Mystery

The town of Madison Ct  was bursting with energy Thursday night as participants trooped from store to store picking up clues, sipping wine, and enjoying the ambiance provided by theater students from Daniel Hand High School. dsc00616

Our town selectman, Al Goldberg, circulated throughout the evening, assuring residents that he was alive and well–in spite of the demise of his fictional counterpart.


Below Al and I check for vital signs in the “corpse” arranged in front of the Madison Art Cinema. The “suspects” in the mini-mystery outdid themselves when asked to pose for a photo shoot. dsc00611Before the denouement of the mystery, Roxanne Coady, owner of the fabulous RJ Julia Booksellers, hosted “Behind the Mystery” for patrons of the event. Attendees also enjoyed champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries, and complimentary copies of DEADLY ADVICE (thanks to Berkley Prime Crime). Thanks to the Madison Cares committee for an amazing evening!dsc00619