Meet the Author: ANN BEATTIE


Ann Beattie

I had the opportunity to hear writer and novelist Ann Beattie read one of her wonderful short stories at the York County Community College Visiting Artists Series last week.

Ann explained that her husband helped her choose what to read at the event. “Read something funny!” he suggested.

She took his advice and read a short story called The Gypsy, I think, something like that–sorry I didn’t get the title exactly– about women in a coffee shop that gets held up. After that, she opened it up for questions.

Someone in the audience asked her what she thought of blogs and I understood her to say she didn’t really read them.
I decided to be bold! Before I could talk myself out of it!
I raised my hand and commented that I was a blogger and a writer and an author. I told her that I had only recently made the connection between blog posts being like short stories. I was talking to a person at my book sale who said they didn’t read novels but they did like to read short stories and a lightbulb went off for me! I explained how blog posts might fit that bill for them. I told Anne that a lot of people liked reading my blog. then I said…wait for it…maybe YOU (Ann) would like reading my blog, too!
And guess what! She said, “Maybe I would.”😀
After she finished her talk, I went up to shake her hand, meet her officially, and give her my card.  Isn’t it wonderful that she took it? Who knows? Maybe Ann will become a blogger herself!
It could happen.


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.



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:

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