Shine On, You Crazy Diamond

I don’t know why song titles perpetually pop into my head when it comes time to write an award post, but it seems to be my thing!

I am not, in any way, suggesting Marlyn Suarez Exconde is crazy or encrusted with jewels, but her words are – glittering, not crazy.  As are her light-imbued artistic renditions of moments and movements of her life.

It is an honor, therefore, that she has nominated me for The Lighthouse Award.  That she feels in any small way that my words have been a beacon of light in this world is humbling.  I can only dream of bearing but a spark of flame.  Thank you, Marlyn!

Here are the rules:

  1. Display the Award certificate on your blog.
  2. Write a post and link back to the blogger that nominated you.
  3. Inform your nominees of their award nominations
  4. Share three ways that you like to help other people.
  5. There is no limit to the number of people that you can nominate.
  6.  HAVE FUN.


‘Help’ is something I hate asking for and have a hard time accepting.  I try to offer it to others, however, in simple ways.  1. Listening.  2.  Finding common ground.  3.  Making someone feel he or she is not alone.  Simple, yet fundamental.

Got a light?  These people do – and they’re not afraid to share it:

Momaste – I was kind of surprised when I read a recent post of hers about struggling with depression.  Charlotte is so positive and life-affirming.  Whole lotta light up in here.  (An example for me to follow 😉 )

The Wannabe Saint – Brian culls and creates meditative spiritual pieces that always leave me in a better place having read them.

I’m Fine, but Mommy Has Issues  – Shannon writes an exquisitely expressed blog about parenting a child with special needs and the disabilities it highlights in herself.  Her honest sharing has created an extremely positive community for people walking a similar path.

61 Musings – Chris had me at introvert.  As someone with this acutely inward personality, I truly appreciate the light she sheds on our challenges and strengths.

Infinite Sadness . . . or Hope? – Even when discussing horrifically difficult things, Cate’s magnanimous attitude and lifestyle shine through.  Radiant.

Blog for Mental Health – In a world of light, this blog is a mirror.  It gives as much as it receives.  A voice for those stifled by mental illness, a repository for those stories that fuels awareness and healing.

Calvin’s Story – Christy Shake is the inimitable narrator of her son’s story living with epilepsy.  She offers hope, community, comraderie, and communication – including information on the latest treatments for this debilitating disease.

Burgeoning School Psychologist – If you’ve ever been a ‘first-year: teacher, counselor, school psychologist’, you can appreciate how much better that year would have been had you Mo in your corner.  She offers light in that she reached it at the end of the tunnel of her first year – and kept going.  I dare say she radiates light out of every pore of her body.

Shining on is even more important, the crazier we all – or life – becomes.  Thank you to Marlyn and the lovelies listed above for doing their part.  Shine on.


Uncategorized, Writing

The Next Big Thing

* LATE BREAKING NEWS!  I am pleased to announce a last minute addition to The Next Big Thing Blog Tour.  Annie Cardi, a fellow New Englander writing young adult novels, has joined us.  Please follow the link to her blog as well as the links for the two other writers at the end of this entry.  Thank you!

2013 is off to an auspicious start.

As last year came to a close, the lovely and talented Heather Rigney invited me to join her on The Next Big Thing Blog Tour.  Heather and I met in our first lives as middle school teachers (though our school was having an identity crisis as one of the few named junior highs remaining in the state).  We reconnected in our second lives as writers, attending an institute together at Rhode Island College.  Her work is witty, quirky, and entertaining, involving zombies, mermaids, and, yes, junior highs.  Her blog, Mermaids Love Sushi, showcases her wit and joie de vivre.

Before I could even digest the questions I’d be responding to as part of the tour, RK Bentley – friend, blogger, writer extraordinaire – hit me with another invite.  Rob’s comics have graced my personal library for decades.  Within the last year or so I’ve been fortunate enough to see his scifi novel, Where Weavers Dare, take shape in the writers’ group he organized.  Rob is an integral part of the local writing scene and he shares his “ramblin’s” about that and his other passions on his blog, RKB Writes.

As part of The Next Big Thing Blog Tour, Heather and Rob answered questions about their current work, much like a published author would do to garner support for their latest book.  I think I speak for all the authors taking part in this tour that we do so in the hopes that our writing will, in fact, be the NEXT BIG THING!

So here goes:

1) What is the working title of your book?

Next in Line

2) Where did the idea come from for your book?

Ironically enough, a kitchen remodel.  We totally gutted the kitchen in our previous home and a plasterer came in to patch things up.  He was so knowledgeable and kind that we learned a lot about his personal background, which got me thinking about family businesses and legacies.

3) What genre does your book fall under?

young adult/realistic fiction

4) Which actors would you choose to play in your movie rendition?

I’m really fighting the urge right now to call on the cast from My Big Fat Greek Wedding; my main character’s name is Dmitri Tslakas!

  • Maybe Zachary Gordon from Diary of a Wimpy Kid could play him.
  • Camilla Belle for the lovely yet unassuming Francesca.
  • Olympia Dukakis for Gram?  Sorry, couldn’t resist.
  • Mandy Patinkin with a beard for Spiro, Dmitri’s dad.
  • Isabella Rossalini for Maria, Dmitri’s mother.
  • Can I get Max Cascella from his Doogie Howser, MD days for Dmitri’s friend, Anthony?  This whole thing is wishful thinking, right?maxcasella-now2

5) What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Dmitri, a seventeen year-old sculptor, is trying to build his skills and his strength – to hone his craft and stand up to his father.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Any takers?  I’d like to see what an agent could do for me.

7) How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

~ two years, in fits and starts.

8) What other books would you compare this story to?

  • Takeoffs and Landings by Margaret Peterson Haddix
  • Lord of the Deep by Graham Salisbury

9) Who or what inspired you to write the book?

  • My plasterer and his teenage son on the brink of adulthood
  • any kid who’s trying to get out from the shadow of his or her parent(s) and stand on his or her own.

10) What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

  • Dmitri has undiscovered family history that ties him to the past as well as his father’s expectations pushing him toward the future.
  • He is an amazing, naturally talented artist.

I’m so honored to be part of this blog phenomenon!  A big thank you to Heather and Rob.  I’d like to share the love with two very talented writers both of whose work I highly enjoy and which you should check out, too (They’ll have their posts up in about a week).

Julie Robertson Dixon

Kelly Kittel

Annie Cardi