From sh*t list to hit list

I have recently written about my evolving taste in movies. That got me thinking about some other things that I like now that I used to hate.

Here are a few:

  1. Fish. With the exception of canned tuna, I hated fish. This may have stemmed from when I was young and mom made fish sticks for supper, which I tried to decline. No way. Food on the plate? We ate it. Whether we liked it or not was not even a consideration. We were a family struggling to get by on food stamps. Anyway, she made me sit at the table for hours, telling me I couldn’t get up until I ate it all. I got it down drowned in a quart of ketchup, while sitting on the floor under the table in protest. After I moved to Maine, my husband told me I had to start eating fish, because, you know, it’s the law. I have heard you have to try something you dislike 17 times before your tastes change and you actually like it (“He likes it! Hey, Mikey!). Now I love fried whole clams, haddock, cod, calamari, and I’ve even been known to eat some of Gorton’s crunchy fish sticks (without ketchup!) on occasion.
  2. Margaritas. I used to make fun of women who went out for a drink and chose a margarita. Hello? Classic cliché! And then I tried a strawberry hibiscus margarita at Pedro’s in Kennebunk. Oh. My. God. May I just say that now I am a cliché–I mean a fan?
  3. Christian music. I never paid any attention to my friends who said, “Hey, you should listen to it. I bet you’d really like it!” And then my daughter started putting KLOVE on in the car. And I started listening to it. Guess what? I really like it! Hey Mikey!
  4. Exercise. No, wait. I still hate that.

Pineapple Coconut Margarita at Side Street Cafe

I will leave you with this look back at Mikey. Enjoy!


SPOTLIGHT ON: Zen and Company

zen book with love noteIf you have never been to Zen and Company in Kennebunk, you are really missing out.

Beautiful clothing and (Dansko!) shoes? They have them. A wide variety of oracle cards? They have them. Excellent books*? Yes! The most amazing crystals? OMG, yes! Yes! They have those, too!

Even more important is this: once you pass through the door of Zen and Company, you will not ever want to leave. The atmosphere is so warm and inviting, it just wraps around you like a big warm hug.

All of the staff will welcome you and help you figure out what you want, even when you aren’t sure exactly what that is. Have questions? They can help you. Curious about what the cards in that oracle deck you have your eye on look like, and there isn’t a demo deck open? Just ask them and they will open the deck up for you. You know you need a crystal, but aren’t sure which one? Sue is not only knowledgable, but is also has a knack for helping you define what your own intuition is trying to tell you that you can’t quite grasp on your own.

Maybe you are shopping for a nice dress (eg: a dress you look hot in) to wear to dinner on your twenty-fifth wedding anniversary but you have zero fashion sense (hello? me!). They will help you find the perfect dress! I looked amazing on my 25th anniversary in the dress that Sue helped me pick out at Zen! Just sayin’!

Zen and Company. Go! Tell them Karen sent you!

*So maybe you noticed that I mentioned they have books? One of the (fabulous) books they have is MY book, One Brave Thing. So go, already!


Finding new treasures

Recently, I wrote about attending an author talk given by Anita Shreve. I mentioned that I found out about it at the last-minute from my husband (an avid reader of newspapers). As happens so often in life, this even led me to another happy accident: I discovered a local bookstore that I had somehow missed.

I know, right? Unbelievable!

Book BurrowAfter Kennebooks (seriously, play the violins-I loved that store) closed, I thought that Kennebunk was now bereft of book stores.

Not true.

The Book Burrow sponsored Anita’s talk. That’s how I found out about it! It was like getting a free gift with purchase! I got to see Anita and I found a new local bookstore to love!

When I visited the The Book Burrow’s website, I was welcomed by a wonderful poem by Adelaide Love. Go to their website and check it out!


Fortunes Rocks

One note: I mentioned that I saw Anita Shreve speak years ago. I still have my book that she signed, my favorite book of hers: Fortune’s Rocks.  What’s wonderful about this is that she put the date when she signed it! Yay! So I’ve decided to do this when I sign my book as well.

See? This author talk is the gift that keeps on giving.🙂

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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BOOK REVIEW: A Couple by Peter Raymond UPDATED

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!

UPDATE: Peter’s work is also available at his online shop here:

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!


SPOTLIGHT ON: Nonesuch Books, Biddeford ME

There is a great book store in Biddeford: Nonesuch Books. They have books for sale, of course, both new and used. They also have a lot of interesting magazines along the left side wall of the store, complete with strategically placed chairs, to aid and abet your magazine perusal.


What you might not know is how many other cool things they sell.

  1. Some of the best little greeting cards I’ve ever seen; I buy them in lots.
  2. Himalayan Salt Lamps! At a very good price!
  3. Lots of wind chimes and prisms!
  4. Engraved stones…I found one with myoneword for 2016 on it! Grace!
  5. Tarot card decks! As if you can ever have enough of those…
  6. Stonewall Kitchen products!
  7. Candles!
  8. Chocolate!

This and that at nonesuch

And of course, the best thing they sell is my book, One Brave Thing! I stopped by last night and they still have 2 copies left.

Nonesuch my book

Just sayin’.

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