Rock Scramble

img_2768

There’s a great hike here in Virginia, and I was privileged enough to spend a large portion of my life with it basically in my backyard. It’s up a mountain called Old Rag and when we were visiting family over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, I climbed it again, for the first time in years. Continue reading

Books & Brews: Triple Love Score / Sweet Potato Sage Ale

triplelovescore

Two of my favorite things in the world are craft beer and books. On the last Thursday of every month I pair a story I love with a pint to sip while reading it. 

Brandi Megan Granett had me at poetry professor and anonymous online Scrabble poet. I’m a sucker for a story with some sort of university connection. Throw in some unexpected online fame and I’m totally intrigued. Granett’s, Triple Love Score, tells the story of Miranda, who teaches poetry at a small upstate New York college and for fun starts making small poems of words related to a theme on a Scrabble board and posting them to social media as Blocked Poet. Her posts start to gather a huge following, and when she signs on with a high-powered brand manager her popularity soars and suddenly there are book deals and merchandise and cross-country book tours in support of her brand. All good and well, except her old-friend Scott has reappeared after a six-year, unexplained absence. (By old-friend, I mean man with whom she was in love and waited for, before giving up and allowing her love to morph into anger.) And he’s brought his daughter with him. All this happens at the same time Miranda is in the midst of a fun, no-strings-attached, fling with Ronan— who’s headed home to Ireland in a few weeks. Which means it’s all very deliciously complicated.

Here’s what I loved about Triple Love Score: Continue reading

Bookends

img_2678

My October weekends have been filled with all sorts of writer-ly, bookish goodness! Two weekends ago I did a reading at the Slover Library in Norfolk, this past weekend I moderated two panels at the James River Writers Conference, and tomorrow I’m headed to Philadelphia to attend the Women’s Fiction Writers Association’s regional conference. It’s odd how things lump together like this, isn’t it? How you’ll go months without any weddings, and then have three friends getting married in the course of five weeks. Or you’ll go six months without seeing your extended family and then seem them repeatedly in the one month span between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Seems like fall is the season for book events, at least in my little section of the east coast. Therefore, I’m officially renaming October weekends: “bookends.” (Get it, like books and weekends …)

Anyway, bad wordplay aside– in celebration of this bookish season, I thought I’d share img_2674some pictures and the excerpt of How to be Alive that I read at Slover, just for fun.

Setup: The scene takes place not long after the death of the main character’s fiancé. She’s trying to reach a panini press on the top shelf of a closet to make herself a grilled cheese sandwich (comfort food): Continue reading

I’ve Been Trying to Do It Right

Last Friday night Mike and I went to see The Lumineers. The show was at an outdoor amphitheater and the evening could not have been any more perfect. Just a little heat from the day rising from the concrete and a cool breeze blowing those little hairs at the back of my neck that always slide out of the pile on top of my head. And if the temperature wasn’t enough to make me believe in the promise of fall around the corner, the moon hung low and full and orange in the sky. The band was everything I hoped for when I snapped up the tickets months ago: harmonies, and cellos, and accordions, and suspender wearing drummers, and powerful emotive vocals. And stories. Man, I love it when the songwriter gives a little of the “why” behind their words. And then there was the beer … Continue reading

On Cozy Coffeeshops & Other People’s Love Stories …

IMG_2186

Last Saturday I had a book signing about forty-five minutes away in Fredericksburg, Virginia, at the coziest little coffee shop ever, Agora Downtown Coffee. The shop is co-owned by sisters, one of whom bakes amazing things and the other who is the biggest champion for local artists ever (as well as a talented artist and craftsperson, herself). In the short time I was there, the sisters’ father and brother stopped by and introduced themselves, a local business owner bought me a cup of coffee because he “knew how hard I worked”, a designer complemented my book covers, and countless folks smiled and wished me well. Continue reading

To Everything … Turn, Turn, Turn

Seasons. What can I say, I love them. I feel very grateful to live somewhere where there are four distinct times of year defined by weather and foliage and what time the sun rises and sets. I used to claim fall as my favorite, but honestly — I think I like them all the best in that moment when they first arrive. Sure I get tired of the humidity, but I’m ready to shed my sweaters and feel the sun on my shoulders. And yes, I grow weary of ice lingering on sidewalks and frigid fingertips, but that first quiet white blanket of snow is still pure child-like joy for me. That being said, here’s what I’m loving about fall right now: Continue reading

August

And suddenly it is August. That one sort of snuck up on me.

Summer months seem to have a way of taking on a life of their own and just flying by. Lots of full weekends and evenings. Always a road trip or a concert or a backyard cookout. I suppose that whole thing about the speed of time when you’re having fun* rings pretty true, huh?

So August. We could be all glass-half-empty* and look at it as the end of summer; the official winding down of all those weekends at the beach, outdoor festivals and charcoal grill flavored food. But I prefer to see it as the beginning. Maybe that’s because for me lots of things start in August:

  • It’s the beginning of the academic year for those of us connected to colleges and universities (welcome, class of 2016).
  • It’s time to start seriously planning those fall vacations (hello, Denver, CO in October).
  • It’s time to start looking through our closets and thinking about fall (this one’s for you, dress I bought in May that doesn’t work with pale legs and sandals but is certain to be awesome with tights and boots).
  • It’s time to start harvesting all that summer squash (right, plant on my patio with your pretty orange blooms?)
  • It’s time to start gathering fall recipes (and by fall I mean anything with pumpkin).
  • It’s time for the brewers in our lives to start crafting those fall beers (and by fall I mean anything with pumpkin).

So much to look forward to! Get out there and have yourself an amazing August!

*It’s also time to start using clichés with wild abandon according to number 2 on this awesome list. Okay. maybe not wild abandon, but you get the point.