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

What’s On …

Just a few little notes about what’s on my playlist, my nightstand, and my stove these days.

On my playlist: I’ve been slowly listening to this great interview with Glennon Doyle cover170x170Melton on the Beautiful Writers podcast. I stumbled on Glennon’s blog years ago and always appreciate her ability to have these amazing no-nonsense, honest conversations about relationships and success and failure and all the highs-highs and low-lows. She’s really, really good at describing the messy parts of life in a way that makes you feel heard and understood and not alone. This podcast is full of all that.

Continue reading

What’s On …

Just a few little notes about what’s on my playlist, my nightstand, and my stove these days.

On my playlist: I listened to an interview with Jesse Browner on The Good Life Project podcast last week. Browner, a novelist, was talking about his recently released memoir HOW DID I GET HERE? The book is his reflection on his decision to leave the Bohemian lifestyle of Alphabet City in the 1980’s (think, RENT) and take a government job. It’s about how he questioned for years whether he would have been more creative and productive as an author had he not taken the “day job” and how he has finally made peace with his decision. This is something I think about all the time and his wisdom and insight helped me see some of my own choices from a different perspective. Pretty sure this is one I’ll need to listen to again. And maybe again. Continue reading

The Long and Winding Road


I attended the James River Writers Conference for the very first time in 2006. I was just beginning to explore this idea that perhaps I could write something (hesitant to call myself a writer). I was working on my first story (hesitant to call it a novel). Last weekend, nine years later, I attended the conference as a writer who has written two novels and two novellas. I taught a master class, moderated two panels and participated on a third. I was busy preparing to speak and speaking and meeting other authors that I “knew” only in the online world, and so, as often happens in the most significant moments in life, I missed the gravity of this weekend until well after it was over. Continue reading

Craft Beer & the Craft of Writing


I write a blog post every month about pairing books and beer, so it seems only right that I welcome all the amazing authors descending on my city this weekend for the James River Writers conference by providing information about the ever-inspiring Richmond craft beer scene. I have to say, being the self-elected purveyor of this important information feels a little daunting to me. There’s a lot of delicious beer in Richmond– what if I forget to list a brewery? And what if the one that I forget was going to be that one writer from Super Far Away’s absolute favorite because pumpkin infused with maple syrup and aged in bourbon barrels is their thing (that’s not snark– it is actually sort of my thing, this time of year).

Luckily, while visiting one of my fabulous local breweries recently, I spied a handy brochure that featured a map of the RVA Beer Trail, put out by the estimable and my fears evaporated. All you have to do if you want to learn about all the great beer in my city is visit their site. There’s a map, and links to websites for each brewery. So there you have it. No brewery left unmentioned and my job here is done. Welcome to Richmond, writers — go forth and find your favorite brew, whether it involves pumpkin, maple, and barrel-aging or not!

*In all seriousness, there is so much great food and beer in my city, so if you’re visiting for the conference (or anything else), feel free to reach out to me for recommendations!