Sunday, April 25, 2010

Dead Head

When you want to escape from life for a while, what do you read for fun? If you're like me, a good cozy mystery is the answer and the Dirty Business Series, created by Rosemary Harris, never disappoints. If you enjoy gardening (as I do), quirky characters, and a small town setting, then you're in for another real treat with Harris's latest, Dead Head.  

In the trilogy of mysteries, beginning with Pushing Up Daisies and followed by The Big Dirt Nap, Harris has created Paula H0lliday, a smart, gutsy amateur sleuth with whom you'll want to spend time.  Paula is a transplanted media executive who moved from New York City to the Connecticut suburbs to start a gardening business. However, in pursuing her bliss, she chronically find herself unearthing mysteries, and her inquisitive nature forces her to dig for the truth.  Harris has a real flare for intertwining her passion for gardening into comic, off-beat, and brisk-paced suspense plots. 

In Dead Head, Paula's business is suffering amid the current economic climate. She discovers that one of her best clients and a potential partner for her floundering business is living a lie. The woman, a pillar within the community, is actually a fugitive (a convicted drug dealer) who escaped from prison 25 years before. Gee, one never knows just who might be living next door!

Harris successfully fleshes out the story of Dead Head through shifting first-person points-of-view and flashbacks that are bound to keep you riveted to the page . . . distracting you from tilling the soil in your own garden.

For this 'Book of the Week,' I'm offering a special give-away.  Drop me an e-mail at and be entered to win a signed, paperback copy of Rosemary Harris's first in the Dirty Business Mystery Series, Pushing Up Daisies. 

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Bronze Medal

When it comes to contests, who doesn't want to win?  But if you don't win, can you still feel a sense of pride and accomplishment if you at least make the winner's podium?

Such was the case for me in the MAUREEN EGEN WRITERS EXCHANGE AWARD, an honor bestowed via Poets & Writers magazine.  I recently learned that a short story of mine (actually a self-contained  excerpt from a novel of domestic fiction, in-progress) garnered second runner-up. 

Each year, poets and fiction writers from one state, who have never published a book (or no more than one book), are invited to apply for the award. Winners are selected by outside judges based on individual manuscripts. This year, the annual prize, which introduces emerging writers to the New York City literary community, was awarded to a writer who resides in the state of New Jersey.  While I am disappointed that I didn't win first place, I was very pleased to learn that Nahid Rachlin served as contest judge.  I have long admired her beautiful prose and how her work successfully conveys the complexities of family relationships. Therefore, I appreciated her comments about my piece, which included, "This story effectively conveys issues of betrayal and family loyalty." 

You can't win them all, but a word of encouragement from an accomplished writer always helps when you return to your writing desk, roll up your sleeves and once again, try to wrestle words down onto the page. 

Congratulations to the winners! Link HERE to read their work.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The American Voice In Poetry

I'm pleased to announce that one of my poems has been included in a recently released anthology entitled, THE AMERICAN VOICE IN POETRY: THE LEGACY OF WHITMAN, WILLIAMS, AND GINSBERG (edited by Maria Mazziotti Gillan).  The anthology is a compilation of award-winning poems selected to celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College (NJ).  The book has been published with grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and the Discover Jersey Arts program.

It was an honor to read my contribution to the project at the launch party/reading and reception held today at the beautiful and historic Hamilton Arts Club in Paterson (NJ).  What a fun and inspiring afternoon!   

The Record newspaper recently featured a piece about the Poetry Center and the efforts of award-winning poetMaria Mazziotti Gillan, editor of the anthology and the Founder and Executive Director of the Poetry Center.  Link to read THE ARTICLE.

To order a copy of the anthology, THE AMERICAN VOICE IN POETRY, visit: or call 973-684-6555

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy National Poetry Month!

If it's April, then it must be National Poetry Month. Link to this profile about Poets House in New York City.  It was originally featured on Bill Moyers' Journal (PBS).