Bridesmaid Trilogy, Crafts, Writing

Coloring Books


So, have you heard about the new trend of coloring books for adults? For the past several weeks, Johanna Basford’s coloring books, Secret Garden and Enchanted Forest, have topped the Amazon bestseller charts. Full of fanciful illustrations, with plenty of room to color, these books are touted as everything from play for adults to creativity boosts to relaxation and meditation aides.



And I say, yes to all of the above 🙂 I’ve been coloring with Fox for about three years. I started out with free mandalas and downloads from Don’t Eat the Paste. (Several of the ones in the photos are from that site). I saw Basford’s books a few months ago and ordered them quickly thereafter. They are wonderful, detailed and rich, with lots of hidden things to find.


As a recovering type A (my RL friends and family need to stop laughing at that!), I have tried to meditate multiple times. My monkey mind just doesn’t want to cooperate. However, with coloring, I can fall into a meditative sort of trance. I think it’s because the repetitive motion keeps my hands busy and the inner critic quiet.


I keep a notebook beside me and write down any ideas that pop up. That’s how I’m brainstorming my current WIP, Forever a Bridesmaid. Grab yourself a box of crayons or some colored pencils and give it a try yourself.


Writing, wycwyc



Have you heard about the latest wellness movement? It’s #wycwyc (pronounced wick-wick) and stands for “What You Can, When You Can.” The brainchild of Roni Noone and Carla Birnberg, the concept is that the crazy fad diets (cabbage soup, anyone?) and the marathoner mindset don’t help anyone actually become fit and healthy for life. Instead, the small daily actions that we squeeze into our real, overstuffed lives are what actually makes a difference long term.

For example, when going to Target, park as far as possible and get some extra steps in #wycwyc. Or get the side salad instead of the fries at the burger joint #wycwyc. Go to bed early so you’ll be ready for tomorrow #wycwyc.

I’ve been listening to their podcast on my own daily walks (#wycwyc baby!) and I love it. It’s like chatting with my best girlfriends (none of whom, sadly, live close enough to take a daily walk together). Their book recently came out. It’s a series of short essays illuminating and exemplifying the #wycwyc philosophy and integrating it into your daily life. It’s just the daily shot of motivation needed to keep #wycwyc-ing your way to your goals.


Carla and Roni really want to create a social media community of wycwyc-ers coalescing around the #wycwyc on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. They are both super friendly and approachable, real women who really understand the struggles faced by the average woman, in the real world. Roni’s Green Lite Bites has long been a favorite go-to recipe site for me.

As I was reading the book though, I was struck at how I, unknowingly, used the #wycwyc philosophy to change fiction writing from a hobby I dabbled in to my new career. I used to believe that I would write when life settled down and I had time—hours on end to devote to my craft, perhaps with a manservant or two to see to my every need. Guess what? That’s not happening. I will never have hours on end, free of all other responsibilities or interests to pursue my writing.

Instead, I took the Chuck Wendig of Terrible Minds, challenge to write 350 words a day, every day, no excuses. (Link does contain some NSFW language but, if you’re a writer, you can’t beat Wendig’s down to earth approach and fantastic approach. Read Terrible Minds!) So, I started writing 350 words a day, whenever I could squeeze it in. Sometimes that meant at lunch, sometimes waking up before Fox, sometimes staying up crazy late. But I did it. And some days it was just 350 words and then sometimes, I’d make 1000+ words a day. I kept up my streak for 254 straight days, until we took a family vacation at Disney World. By then, writing every day was an ingrained habit.

Some other examples of #wycwyc for writing:

1) Load your e-reader up with writing craft books and read those instead of checking Facebook, again. #Wycwyc

2) Set up a newsreader of your favorite writing blogs to stay up on the industry #wycwyc

3) Listen to writing podcasts on your walk (double #wycwyc). Start with anything by StoryWonk. Their podcasts are master classes.

What can you do to #wycwyc your way to your dreams?

Lost Art of Second Chances, Writing

Meet Me Under the Clock

Filene's Basement
Filene’s Basement

As I discussed in last week’s post, in The Lost Art of Second Chances, Bella leaves Italy and ends up in Boston, Massachusetts to raise her family. Partly, this was to mesh with Lucy’s story, which I’d already set in upstate Massachusetts.

In the book, Jack references a family tradition of Bella taking Lucy to buy a special dress and to lunch at Filene’s. Though the store doesn’t exist any longer, Filene’s was a department store in Boston’s Downtown Crossing area.

Because Filene’s placed their markdowns on the bottom floor, they helped coin the term “bargain basement.” Perhaps the most famous of their bargains was the semiannual “running of the brides” when wedding gowns went on sale.


Filenes also had a famous clock that became a common meeting place for shoppers, hence the phrase “Meet me at the clock.” My mother often reminisces about the lunches she’d enjoy after meeting her girlfriends under the clock and working up an appetite hunting for bargains in the basement.

Sadly, the store filed for bankruptcy and shuttered for good several years ago. The Downtown Crossing store was leveled soon after. So, no more meetings under the clock or running of the brides, except in my novel, The Lost Art of Second Chances. 

Lost Art of Second Chances

Revere Beach

Revere Beach as it appeared today.
Revere Beach as it appears today.


Time again to visit some research for The Lost Art of Second Chances. Once Bella leaves Italy, she establishes herself in America. Specifically, she lives in a suburb outside of Boston. In one key scene in the book, Bella and her family enjoy an outing to Revere Beach.

Revere Beach is about four miles north of Boston. Established in 1895, the beach quickly became popular, especially with immigrants to the area. After a thirty year decline, revitalization efforts in the mid-1990s, along with a sand sculpting competition and festival provided a resurgence to the area.




My mother is from Massachusetts and we still have family there so we often visit. I’ve been to Revere Beach many times. But I’ve heard my mother’s stories about it even more often. Riding the roller coasters (the Cyclone is still famed–my mother still won’t ride a roller coaster after riding that one in her youth) and eating Kelly’s roast beef sandwiches. So, when I needed a beach setting for my scene, I thought of Revere.


Bella’s scene there is set in the mid-1950s. So, obviously, it was a bit different than it is today. An excellent article about the historical sites on the beach can be found here.