Recently my husband wanted to see the movie Creed.  I had zero interest in watching it. I expected he knew that and that he would be watching it alone.

Somehow, though, we ended up watching it together.

I didn’t expect to like it, but guess what! I really did!

I thought it was a movie about fighting, violent and bloody. And it was, sort of. But it was also a sweet love story. I liked it so much!

My husband said, “You’ve never seen the first Rocky movie? Or any of them?” and I said, “Duh. No.” He suggested getting Rocky  and Rocky Balboa from the library, so I ordered them, but without much enthusiasm. What were the odds that I would like those movies too? Why not quit while I was ahead?
Anyway, after I picked them up, they sat for 2 weeks before a freak rainstorm washed out our beach plans and we decided to have the Rocky Movie night. (Yay)



Here’s the thing: I loved the movies. Both of them. And it wasn’t just because of the love stories (Yo, Adrian!). It was because of the character Rocky. OMG. The more I got to know him, the more I loved him.

So, of course it’s partly due to the whole ‘he’s Italian’ thing. But, I never thought he was good-looking or anything when I (and he) was young(er). It was about who he (the character) was in the movie. His kindness. His caring. His awkward attempts to show these wonderful characteristics to others, many of whom weren’t interested at all in his overtures. Not one bit. But he perseveres. Not because who they are, but because of who he is.

And it got me. So, you know. That’s why I was crying at the end of Rocky Balboa.


Anita Shreve in Kennebunk

I had the great good luck to find out about Anita Shreve‘s talk at RiverTree Center for the Arts last evening in time to actually go. What a good thing that my husband, unlike me, actually reads the newspaper we buy every Thursday.

2016Shreve2I have had the opportunity to hear her talk once before, years ago, but this is the first time since I published my own book, so I was especially interested in hearing about her process.
I wasn’t disappointed. She talked about how inspiration for her novels comes together from different areas of her life and then explodes into an idea in her mind. It was fascinating to hear exactly how she turned this into The Weight of Water, perhaps her favorite of her own books. Many of you may know that this book also became a movie, and she told us about how exciting that was for her (even if they did change the ending!).

The experience of The Pilot’s Wife being an Oprah pick (and which also was made into a movie) was also discussed. Anita is very honest in giving her thoughts and feelings about her books and her writing and I’m certain this is just one thing that makes her such a wonderful writer.

But my favorite thing she talked about was how, at various times throughout her writing career, she has worried, “What would my kids think if they read this?” How validating for me to hear that I am in such good writer-ly company! My own book would have been published years ago if I hadn’t had that self-sabotaging thought.

No more worrying about what other people, family included, might think about my writing. I am taking Anita’s advice. I am writing for myself.
Thanks, Anita.

NOTE: Anita Shreve has written (I believe) at least 18 books. Her new book, The Stars are Fire, will be available in April, 2017. I can’t wait!

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The BRAVE Interview #2: Jody O’Farrell Breton

Hello and welcome to my new series: The BRAVE Interviews! It’s the Who, What, When, Where, How,  (and sometimes Why) of YOUR ‘one brave thing’!

Welcome to Interview #2! Here we go!

Who:  My name is Jody O’Farrell Breton. I am a (newly) retired (by choice) Respiratory Therapist. I am also an Ordained Interfaith Minister, Ceremonialist and Energy Healing Practitioner. And a tree hugger and a lover of all things earthy :)

Jody Brave PhotoWhat: I retired! After participating in a spiritual event in May I made my decision to resign from my career of 35 years and forge ahead on my own as a professional chaplain.

When:  August 5, 2016

Where: My last full-time employer in South Portland, Maine

How:  I contemplated, dreamed, obsessed, cried, prayed and journeyed on the decision. Oh and discussed it ad nauseam with my husband. Then one day when my stress level reached critical mass at work I came to the decision not impulsively but calmly and with great conviction!

Why:  I realized that I am more than a Respiratory Therapist; I have skills and a calling that will not quiet itself. I know that the Universe continually presented me with obstacles to remaining in the status quo and opportunities to spread my wings and fly!  Re-invent myself….yes!

Jody’s business is Essence of Spirit Ceremonies. You can reach Jody by email:

NOTE: Missed Interview #1 with Kathy Eliscu? Just click on her name to read it now!

BOOK REVIEW: Capturing the Last Welsh Witch by J.M. Davies

jen davies

Jen Davies

Capturing the Last Welsh Witch is the story of Ella and Marcus,  a story that spans time and space. Ella is not who she seems to be. Ella is from the clan of Ariana, and is a being that has lived before. She has always had flashbacks from her prior lives. She is well aware of her incarnations prior to this one.

The book opens with Ella in the thick of it with a very bad man. She comes to battered and bruised, aware of having had an altercation, much of which she can’t recall right away. Vampires and Soul-Shifters and Witches, oh my!

Her memory comes back to her in bits and frightening pieces, as she tries to figure out how she got to where she was and hey, what the hell happened, anyway?

She is soon joined by Marcus, the FBI agent assigned to bring her in. There are multiple layers to his being as well, of which, unlike Ella, he is only just becoming aware.

Their lives intertwine and are underwritten by a tumultuous love story, as they both try to figure out who they are to each other, and what to do with that knowledge once they have it. At the same time that Ella is running from The Elusti, Marcus in running toward them, adding to the tension in the story.

welsh witch

Ella’s sad story is that all of the men in her prior lives have betrayed her, leading to disastrous outcomes. Now she has to decide if past history will predict the present situation, or if she can risk trusting a man.

Marcus is faced with a moral dilemma that many of us have also faced on the job. Should he follow the orders from his supervisor that make no sense, or follow his gut? And just like in real life, when he follows his gut, his true path emerges.

Full disclosure: there is a little more violence in this book than I usually let into my comfort zone, but the nice love story made it worthwhile.

The best quote in the book is this one, said to Marcus by his mother Josephine (p. 84):

Listen with your heart, not your mind.”

Side note: The references to Wells (my town!), Maine definitely made me happy. YAY! WELLS! The friendliest town in Maine!

You can buy Capturing the Last Welsh Witch by J.M. Davies on Check out her Facebook page!

Message from hawk

Red tail hawkI was coming home from an author talk and my husband (who was driving) noticed something by the side of the road.

He: “Hey, did you see that?”

No, I didn’t see it. I never see anything.

Me: “No, what is it?”

He: “A hawk.”

Me: “No way!”

Feeling bad that I missed it, he banged a U-y and we went back to the spot where he saw it. And there it was! A hawk, standing in a puddle on the side of a busy road in Lexington (I think-did I mention that I have no sense of direction?). Like she was waiting for me to come back. To let me see her.

He waited for a long time.

And then I did see him! He posed for pictures! He turned to let me get a shot from every angle!


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Me: “What kind of hawk is it?” 

He: “A red tailed hawk.”

Me: (I knew he’d know. He always knows that kind of stuff. Makes me proud. 🙂 )

So now I know enough now to know that there was a message for me here.

I went to my go-to website for such things ( to find out what the message was.

Here’s what it says:

HAWK signifies being caught up in too many details, so step back so you can get a greater perspective on the situation. Stay alert and focused on the task before you, eliminating as many distractions as possible. Spend some time observing and studying the situation and when it’s time for action, make it quick and decisive. Pay close attention to your surroundings, as you’re about to receive an important message. Be aware of any personal or psychic attacks and be prepared to defend yourself. Stop trying to change others or the situation and work instead on accepting things as they are.


Public speaking

Public speaking has never (ever, ever) been my forte. I remember the first time I had to speak in front of a group of people, in a debate class. I almost fainted from hyperventilation and sheer terror.

Neville author talk, photo by Joanne Nolan

Neville author talk, photo by Joanne Nolan

As an adult, I don’t fare much better (on the inside, at least). I think I’m okay, or okay-ish, but when the time comes, it turns out, I am not, or not-ish.

Have you ever seen the movie, Broadcast News? The scene where Aaron (played by actor Albert Brooks) experiences flop sweats when he does his first live newscast? Well, that was me. Did I mention it was 99 degrees that day? The air conditioner was no match for the room full of people, the heat of the day, and my angst.

Turns out, it didn’t matter. I felt the fear (oh, man, did I!) but I did it anyway.

Everyone who came to listen was very kind and gracious. They all made me feel welcome. They didn’t mind that I had stop to blot my face a couple of times during my talk. Some even gave me some (valuable) feedback about what they thought I did especially well.

For which I am forever grateful.

The BRAVE Interview #1: Kathy Eliscu

Hello and welcome to my new series: The BRAVE Interviews! It’s the Who, What, When, Where, How,  (and sometimes Why) of YOUR ‘one brave thing’!

We are kicking off the series with Kathy Eliscu, author of the wonderful book, Not Even Dark Chocolate Can Fix This Mess.

So, let’s get started-

Me and Kathy at Falmouth Library

Me and Kathy at the Falmouth Library, 2016.

  1. WHO are you? A: I’m Kathy Eliscu. I’m a retired RN (from an injury) and have been writing freelance columns for decades. I have a 7-year-long running humor column in Maine called “Lightly Roasted” and am the author of the humor novel “Not Even Dark Chocolate Can Fix This Mess.”
  1. WHAT is your One Brave Thing (so far!!) for 2016? A: I had been scheduled for a brief reading from my book but asked if I could share some of my “serious” unpublished material and was given the go-ahead.
  1. WHEN did you do it? A: This was in May of this year.
  1. WHERE did it occur? A: At the Local Buzz in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.
  1. HOW did you make it happen? A: Well…I opened my big mouth and asked.
  1. WHY did you do it?  A: I’ve been working on some serious material for a couple of years but felt very insecure about it. I wanted to push myself to try it out. It just seemed like the right time to take a chance. And I got very good feedback on it, so now I feel I have the impetus to continue to do this kind of work as well as humor writing.   

Thank you so much, Kathy!

Kathy’s wonderful book (which I read and loved!) is available on her website: and at


Not even dark choc cover

*P.S. Sorry! I am not sure who took the above picture!

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