BOOK REVIEW: A Couple by Peter Raymond

There are so many wonderful books that have come into my life as a result of my book, One Brave Thing.

a couple

This book, a couple by Peter Raymond, I discovered at the Kennebunk Community Market. I brought it home and stood it up on my kitchen table. I then began emptying my car of all the flotsam and jetsam from my author table at the market (note to self: streamline this author table deconstruction process already).

My daughter came in and right away she made a bee-line for the book. “What’s this?” she said, and then plopped herself down in a chair and began reading it. “It’s a picture book,” I said.

“It’s a nice book,” she said.

I stopped what I was doing and sat down to read it with her.
There is a picture that includes the word “GRACE“, which is ‘my one word’ this year. That got my attention right away. It felt like a sign that I was supposed to be reading this book, at this time, with my daughter. Next, I saw a picture of a heron. Hello? I have been seeing the heron everywhere lately. When you see a symbol of any kind repeatedly, that means there is a message there for you.

I’ll stop there, because I don’t want to tell you the entire book before you get to read it yourself! Come to the Kennebunk Community Market and get your own copy!

Dancing keeps you young

I went to a local concert last weekend with my daughter, part of the Wells Harbor Concert Series. Every Saturday evening in the summer, rain or shine, there is a free concert (rain venue is the junior high school).

Party Starters

The band for the second concert of the season was a new one for us, The Party Starters.  They were SO MUCH FUN! One thing they did which I’d never seen before was they asked everyone in the room to form a circle, join hands, and sing “I’m Proud to be an American”, followed by The Pledge of Allegiance. They then asked us each to hug the person next to us. I know, right? Hug a stranger?

But we did.

This is a family friendly event! And did I mention, FREE? There will also be a food truck there this year every week, I believe, which is a new and welcome addition to the festivities. There is often a table with baked goods being sold by local teenagers raising money for something important. So buy their stuff.

On good weather days, the show is at the Wells Harbor Pavillion. If you are local, come this Saturday! The Bel Airs will be playing. Bring your dancing shoes!  Lots of people will be dancing…why not you?

If you’re not local, check out your own town website and see what free events are being hosted in your own town!


Cooking class at Stonewall Kitchen: A Sensational Supper with Jane St Pierre

My daughter and I went to a cooking class at Stonewall Kitchen Cooking School.  We’ve been there before, and it’s always a treat. This was the first class taught by Jane St Pierre that we’ve been to, but hopefully not the last. She is a wonderful teacher, warm and funny, but most importantly, she knows what she’s talking about. In addition to treating us to her delicious original recipes, she shares lots of cooking tips and tricks, and also welcomes them from the audience.

How do I know? Because I offered one! I got a little jam for my trouble.

The only challenging aspect of attending classes here is the seating. The seats are high aluminum (I think) chairs that are hard to pull up to the tables and very cold on bare legs. Leave the flip-flops at home; it’s work to keep them on when sitting on the tall chair.  You can request handicapped seating, which will get you regular size chairs that are lower to the floor, hence easier to get in and out of  (but still that cold aluminum).  Also, the front row fills up early. We got there almost an hour ahead of time and the front row was already taken.

Coffee, tea, and water were free. Wine and beer were available by the glass, but cost extra.

Our class cost $60, and was three courses, and the recipes for all were given to us in a handout.

I loved everything she made.

Bottom line: Go, at least once. They are so much fun!

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How Bebe got her name

When I thought about naming the characters in my novel, I thought it would be fun. I could pick any names I wanted! I didn’t have to please anyone but myself! No worries about coming to a consensus with someone else! My father-in -law’s mother chose his name from the society column in the newspaper. One of my siblings was named after the greyhound dog (I believe; it may have been a horse) that my father bet on at the track that kept winning. My husband and I could only agree on one boy’s name and one girl’s name we both liked. Good thing we only had one of each…

Anyway. You know that old saying, ‘Be careful what you wish for’?

The character naming wasn’t as fun as I thought it was going to be. In fact, it was hard. Bebe had several other names before I settled on Bebe. I started out using a baby name book. Then I started writing down names from the credits of TV shows. I don’t remember where I heard to do that, but it was in my memory from way back. I made list after list of first names.

I wasn’t satisfied with any of them.

I knew I wanted her to have a nickname, so I started over with that. I thought the main character was in the process of becoming herself. Becoming… be…Bebe! Beatrice was the middle name of a relative, so that fell into place.

I also knew that I wanted her to have an Italian last name. I thought of Bebe as coming from a family that had secrets, and after making list after list of Italian surnames, a thought presented itself: What is the Italian word for ‘secret’?

Segreti! I spiced it up a little by adding an additional ‘t’ to it and Bebe Segretti was born!

Fellow writers: How do you name characters?


P.S. So far, the voting for who should play Bebe in the movie of my novel One Brave Thing is not going the way I’d hoped…people are not voting for my number one choice!!! (Hint: this is her picture)


Book Review: The Box of Daughter

I wanted to read Katherine Mayfield‘s book ‘The Box of Daughter‘ for a long time before I finally did. This is one of The Box of Daughterthe few times I knew the author before I knew the book. I met Katherine through a Wells-Ogunquit Adult Education class I took several years ago when I was working on my own novel. If you have ever the opportunity to take a writing class with Katherine, do it. You will love her low pressure and motivating teaching style. She creates a wonderful, safe environment in her classes, such that even I, who was always terrified to share my writing with others, found myself reading aloud to the class an essay that I had just written.

Anyway, I was interested to see how she wrote. I immediately related to Katherine’s childhood and teenage years of family dysfunction, trying to please everyone, and chronic ‘I’m sorry-ing”. The feeling of walking on eggshells at home, trying to keep the peace at all costs is oh-so familiar. Katherine gives an honest account of her life with her brother and her parents which (be forewarned) may bring up some of your own difficult memories as you read.

The belt? Check. Bullying? Check. The shock of seeing your grandmother’s teeth in a glass for the first time? Check.

I love Katherine’s reference (p 98) to looking at life through ‘pain-colored glasses’…right? It wasn’t all bad, though. There was some card playing in the evening. The Youth Group in California. Finding her voice in environments that stifled it.

In the end, Katherine’s book reminded me that, most of the time, our parents were doing the best that they knew how to do.

If you like this book, maybe read my book next: One Brave Thing!

Top 10 best tips for selling your books at a yard sale

I had the good fortune to be part of Stonewall Kitchen Employee’s Yard Sale this morning in York (by invitation from my son, Anthony). I set up my table and brought copies of my book, One Brave Thing.

stonewall yard sale

(Hmmm…maybe next time I should have someone else take the picture so that I can be IN it.)

Anyway, it went very well! I was so happy to see my friend Dawny’s face bright and early at 8am when I arrived. I am here to tell you that it’s WONDERFUL to have the support of friends when you go to do your book events.

Here’s some things what worked for me today:

  1. First of all, bring change. Bring 10’s, 5’s, and 1’s.  The first rule of yard sales (and farmer’s markets, for that matter) is that your first customer will pay you with a twenty. Every time.
  2. Bring index cards and Post-it notes. These are useful for writing down price specials or whatever statements you can think of to attract your potential customers. You can make a tent out of an index card to act as a little standing sign.
  3. Bring tape, because the wind will blow your tented index cards away.
  4. The plastic Godzilla that was on my son’s side of the table attracted a lot of people to our table. Just sayin’.
  5. Don’t bring chocolate to your yard sale if it’s going to be 80 degrees. Or if you do, bring some napkins.
  6. If you have a buddy with you, it helps a lot. It’s nice to have someone watch your table if you need to take a bio break (okay, so maybe I shouldn’t have had that second cup of coffee).
  7. Bring some bags. Many people didn’t want them, but the ones that did want them really did.
  8. Be willing to be flexible on your price (hello, it’s a yard sale). Know your rock bottom price in advance.
  9. Bring more than one pen to sign your books. One pen has a bad habit of going missing right when you need it.
  10. Try to find a shady spot, or bring some shade with you. Someone had a tent thing that I was coveting (not that I would have wanted to have to set it up though). Bring a hat. Bring sunscreen.

Bring your good attitude. Bring your business cards, pens, and book marks (or whatever promotional materials you’ve created).

I hope this helps you sell lots of books!

If you have some ideas of your own, please consider posting them below.

Book Review: Not Even Dark Chocolate Can Fix This Mess

Not even dark chocolate can fix this mess by Kathy Eliscu is so much fun to read! I started reading this book weeks ago, when it first came out, and then I Not even dark choc coversadly had to put it aside so that I could finish a project (okay, publishing my own book!). But ‘Not Even…’ called to me the whole time, patiently awaiting my return (okay, fine! I lost it! I had to invoke St Anthony to help me find it and now that I’ve finished reading the book, I can see that he had a vested interest in the recovery effort). All I can say is that it was SO worth the wait.
This book is like a page (okay 309 pages-I checked) from my own life. Maybe from your own, too. From the GYN table to the toilet stall (really? Still wrestling with wings or no wings? I win-I quit that s*** years ago! Sorry, TMI? My bad), Tink had me at “hormones”. Once I picked the book up, I couldn’t put it down again. I read it all at once.
Not Even chronicles the daily life of Tink, which is a cacophony of ringing phones, buzzing beepers, and pinging answering machines, underpinned by the love of her friends, family, and fiance.
A good life.
A few notes to author:
Kathy, my nursing cap was white with 1 blue stripe! Or was it 2? Dammit, now I have to get up off the couch and go look…
Oh, and that gray hair trauma thing in Chapter 15 (insert zipped-lip smiley emoticon here)? Total empathy for Tink (again, sorry, TMI? My bad).
Also, I have one word (okay, 2 words) to add to the ‘SHUT. UP.’ list for nurses: ‘Best Practice’.
There are illustrations in the book. A bonus, like free gift with (book) purchase (thank you, Kathy Eliscu! And William D. Eldridge!). My favorite one is on page 133. Don’t ask me why. Art is personal, remember?!
Now I have to go. That “little portable whirlpool tub” for tired feet? Gotta get me one of those…
This book? READ IT.

(This is my review adapted from the one I wrote for

After you finish this book, read my book! One Brave Thing


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