E-books under pressure

 The more books an author sells, the happier a publisher will be. Think of J. K. Rowlings’ Harry Potter or Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight; a series of books enhanced by movies with a cultish following. These authors are super-sellers. A publishers dream. ...more

Nice Things Men Do

This Christmas my dad came up with the greatest present idea ever: Small Acts of Kindness.  Now, no, my dad did not INVENT the idea of Small Acts of Kindness, but because he is a lawyer with a strong attachment to structure, he created a system for executing the AOKs that is worthy of note: he and my mom alternate months throughout the year, and each month, one does two AOKs for the other. ...more

10 Ways To Tell If You Are a Hypochondriac

You are a hypochondriac if: You have memorized your doctor's phone number, or have it listed under "Contacts" on your cell phone. You are not a doctor, but nevertheless possess a medical encyclopedia, the most recent edition of the PDR, and/or an on-line subscription to JAMA. You have ever seriously considered hair testing. You take more than 5 nutritional supplements per day, and/or you can't leave the house without one of those plastic pill dispensers with divided sections for all of your supplements. ...more

I am a hypochondriac. I fully admit it. I have wondered most, if not all, of these things! My ...more

"Sit. Feast on your life."

Today is the first Friday of Lent—no meat for those observing Lenten practices.  And here's some interesting Catholic trivia I found while looking up Lenten fasting: "abstinence," which in this case refers to not eating meat, does not include "meat juices and liquid foods made from meat. Thus, such foods as chicken broth, consommé, soups cooked or flavored with meat, meat gravies or sauces, as well as seasonings or condiments made from animal fat are not forbidden....more

"Something New in the Ashes of Your Life"*

A few weeks ago, I was talking with my dad about what he and my mother plan to do after they retire in June.  Somehow the conversation got around to where they wanted to live, "down the road," which I took to mean when they are quite a bit older, and when they may need more help.  My parents and siblings live on the east coast and I live in Illinois, which I believe my east coast father thinks of as "the prairie."  I told him that they were very welcome to live near us, mentioned the lower cost of living, the relatively good healthcare, the proximity to us, and he s...more

A Different Kind of Tree Hugger

This week the tree behind my terrace was cut down. It was a victim of drought and greed. Its former golf course owners sold the land to a developer, and the tree lost its caretaker. ...more

Why We Write

Or, more precisely within this piece, why I write.  But I want to reach out and find out about you, too, so in the end I know more about why WE write.  Will you share?  I'll go first....more

Radical Lent: A Poetic Approach to 40 Days in the Wilderness

So it's Lent.  If you're Christian, that is. Lent spans 40 weekdays, beginning on Ash Wednesday (today) and ending the Saturday before Easter.  I grew up Catholic, which I consider a privilege, mostly because grounding in any faith tradition gives you something to work with.  Whether you practice it or not as an adult, a childhood spent in a strong religious tradition means you are never homeless.  I may be wrong, but leaving home, while difficult, may be easier than never having had the feeling that you belonged somewhere. ...more

Announcing the Write-a-thon

Anyone worth his or her salt in PR will tell you not to announce something on a Friday unless you want it to fly under the radar.  Friday announcements tend to go unnoticed, buffered as they are by weekend days, making it difficult to generate "buzz."  So I'm going against the grain here by announcing my own personal two-week write-a-thon.  Reason?  I'm excited and I don't want to wait until Monday.  Not to mention I could use the weekend to write!...more

The Dr. OZ Show!!

Dr. OZ is kind and warm. What a great Dr. ...more