Meet the (Maine!) Author: Mary Lawrence

Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting the well-known author of The Alchemist’s Daughter when she gave a talk at the Kennebunk Library. Who knew Mary Lawrence lived in Maine?


I first noticed Mary’s book because of the cover, once again proving the rule: The cover sells the book. This is the first book in a series called The Bianca Goddard Mysteries. Book Two is Death of an AlchemistThe third book in the series is due out right after Christmas, called Death at St Vedast. Note to yourself: If you start reading now, you’ll be ready to read book three by then!


If you ever get the opportunity to hear Mary speak and read from her books, GO! You’ll have a pleasant break from those pesky chores that–let’s face it–are always going to be still waiting for you until you get home. Why not go have some fun first? Oh, and support a Maine Author!

Mary says her books are meant to be fast, fun reads. I can’t wait to read The Alchemist’s Daughter. I will be reviewing it here on my blog when I finish it.

Mary’s books are available at, Barnes and Noble, and Books-a- Million.



The BRAVE Interview #3: Sheila Brownlow

Here is #3 in The BRAVE Interview series! It’s the Who, What, When, Where, How,  (and sometimes Why) of YOUR ‘one brave thing’! November’s interview is with Sheila Brownlow!


WHO AM I?  Sheila Brownlow

MY ONE BRAVE THING—when, where, with whom:  I have stopped discussing eating, how upset I am at my eating, how much I weigh, whether I am peeved at myself for overeating, how awful I am for not weighing 110 lbs., whined about how I can’t eat like a normal person anymore at age 55, or otherwise wasting time – precious time – talking with my friends, so many good friends….about eating and weight.  Not in person, not online.  For one month. 

WHY DO I THINK THIS IS BRAVE?  I’m at this age/stage of my life where I’ve felt compelled to start every interaction with a justification of how I look and why I don’t look like a 30-year old anymore. It’s not ok to essentially apologizing for myself to start every interaction.  To me it’s brave because I have completely shifted my lens on the world.

WHY:  Because I waste so much time and energy where I could be helping others, learning things, doing things, having meaningful conversations, being supportive, just being in the moment…with all this constant food and weight talk I am taking away from the productive possibilities of my life and my friends’ lives. 

So how do I feel about this?  Well, I miss commiserating, and I’m still working on not “leading” with that foot in every conversation (“let’s talk about food, eating, how much, when, regrets…again?”).  I think I am listening better rather than just winding up to say how upset I am about this that or the other weight thing. 

Can I continue?  I don’t know.  Maybe if we all spent a month on something other than our food and body appearance we could make a lot of changes in the world.

Thank you so much, Sheila!

BOOK REVIEW: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

I read this book at the recommendation of a young lady, Angie, who visited my author table at the Kennebunk Community Market one Saturday.
everything-everythingShe told me that Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon was her favorite book. This book says it’s recommended for readers aged 12-17, but I object to narrowing the audience for this book. Anyone of any age could enjoy reading this.

The main character, Maddy, is physically isolated in a way few teenagers are. She is a prisoner on so many levels. This book is not predictable, however. There are surprises to keep your interest.

I had a problem with the nurse, Carla, whom I loved, but she compromised her professional ethics, therefore (in my opinion as a nurse) she deserved what she got.

But it still made me sad. I also didn’t like how the author portrays the other nurse in the book. Don’t even get me started. People! Don’t believe most of the characterizations of nurses you read in books!

Maddy is very lovable until she starts lying to everyone (including herself?) which made me like her much less. Is it acceptable to lie when you believe you are running for your life? I’m not sure. Read it and make up your own mind.

Some of my favorite quotes from the book:

“I am in the world and, too, the world is in me.” -Maddy

“Empty tummy, empty head.” -Carla.

“Be brave. Remember, life is a gift. Live it.” Carla the nurse to Maddy, Disc 3 track 13 on the audio book.

Bottom line: worth reading.

MOVIE REVIEW: Bridget Jones’ Baby

My husband was hoping for a quiet house the other night, so I obliged him by going to the movies.


I’ve seen and enjoyed the two prior Bridget Jones movies, so I was looking forward to this one. And it was great! Except for one thing.*


  1. I loved all the characters, the returning ones and the new ones (especially Miranda, Bridget’s new BFF).
  2. This movie is FUNNY! I laughed out loud unexpectedly several times.
  3. I went by myself, so no one was elbowing me in the ribs, saying, “Mom! Stop! Stop laughing so loud!”
  4. There were many sweet, moving moments, that had me tearing up without warning. (Note to self: You are spending way too much time alone in tears this week.)
  5. There were so many great songs in this movie! Check out #9 on the list by Lily Allen. Whoa!
  6. Emma Thompson was perfect as the obstetrician who never makes eye contact with her patient. strangely, she delivered the baby with no staff. Hello? Everyone knows it’s the nurses who deliver the babies!

So my recommendation is this: If you want to see this movie, go see it! Lukewarm reviews be damned! Don’t bother trying to bring any kill-joys with you who don’t share your Bridget enthusiasm. Go by yourself. Get your popcorn the way you want it (no extra butter!). Smuggle in your bottle of water in your pocket. Live a little (the scene where Patrick Dempsey strips off his shirt to dive into the pool is worth the price of admission, even after you factor in the aforementioned popcorn).

Also, pay attention to the end. There is a set up for a possible fourth Bridget Jones movie. Can I get a ‘Hell, yeah!’ for this?

Here’s the trailer for your viewing pleasure:


**Rene Zellweger’s (presumed) facial surgery was a bit distracting, but this is the only not-positive thing I have to say (#disappointed).

The Dempsey Challenge 2016

I volunteered again this year at The Dempsey Challenge in the Reiki Tent.
dempsey2What a wonderful group of people there!  This was my second year volunteering, and I plan to be part of this wonderful event next year as well.

Every dollar raised by Dempsey Challenge participants directly benefits the Dempsey Center.”

As Ina Garten would say: How great is that?

The only glitch was that when I arrived, they only had size 2XL volunteer T-shirts left. And there I was, without my sash. Anyway, I rocked it!

After my volunteer shift in the tent was over, I went to write my parents’ names, Mary and John Maffeo, on the memory wall. They both died from cancer many years ago, but as anyone knows who has lost a loved one knows all too well, time is nothing. It felt as fresh right then as it ever was. As I stood there looking at their names, my eyes teared up, so I hurried to my car to cry in private.

And then I went back. I walked by the river. I talked to some people. I danced with Mary Dempsey, whom I met at last year’s challenge and who, by the way, is a good dancer!

And this year, I got to meet Patrick Dempsey. I even got a selfie and an autograph! (NOTE: Thank you to the teenaged girl in front of me who gave me that idea!)

How great is that?


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Watch my first TV Interview on Be My Guest!

I was given a DVD with my first TV interview with Jan Lewis on Be My dvdGuest! a couple of weeks ago. I couldn’t figure out how to get it from the DVD to my YouTube Channel or my blog, but I am blessed to have had a child who figured out how to do it for me.

Thank you, Anthony.

So here it is! I hope you enjoy watching it! Please feel free to share this and to comment with any thoughts below!

Perspective Part 1

I have never bought People magazine before, but I picked up a copy last week, just for something different to read.

dempsey-people-magOkay, I bought it because Patrick Dempsey was on the cover. I’m volunteering at The Dempsey Challenge again this year and so I was interested in the article.

Anyway, there was another article about the children of parents who died during the 911 attacks, children who were in utero then and never got to meet their parent. Reading these stories was heartbreaking, but it also made me think about how insignificant what I had been worrying about before I began reading really was.


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