This is a question I get asked a lot, so I thought I’d try to sum up an answer. It’s a topic that many writer-mothers talk about. My writer friend Allison Winn Scotch wrote about it here recently. And Christina Katz wrote a whole book on the topic. It’s called Writer Mama, and you should check it out if you’re a mom and at all interested in writing.

But here’s the thing for me: I started my writing career before kids and just didn’t want to set it on the back shelf when the kids arrived. I wanted to both a.) continue writing, and b.) be a full time mom who was there for her kids as much as possible. So far, I’m making it work. Am I tired? All the time. Do I complain? Yes. Do I secretly long for the days of grade school? I’m not going to lie, yes, sometimes. My boys are 1 and 3 and I have a full writing career. I blog for daily (5-7 posts per day), write one to two magazine articles a week, a monthly column, and am now halfway through my second novel. Here’s how I fit this all in with the kids:

Hi my dears! I have been away from this blog for a little while–busy at work over at, of course, and on my book, which I’m happy to report is finished and in my editor’s hands at Penguin (and my editor in Germany, too!) where it is now launching forward in the production process. Woohoo! I worked for about three months on the revise, and I couldn’t be more proud, and thrilled, about how it turned out. Of course, I’ll have two more opportunities to review the book prior to publication next summer, so that gives me some comfort. (A writer is never done revising, right?) The book is getting a title change, so stay tuned about that. And, I’m happy to share that I am nearly halfway through my second book, which I’ll be sending to my agent next week for review. I’ll be writing more here about my process (and inspiration!) for book numero deux, so, again, stay tuned.

For now, I want to tell you about this rose …

These past few weeks I have been using every spare minute of every single day to work on the revise process of my novel. Yep, when you finish the long process of writing a book, landing an agent, editing the book with said agent, and then finally sell it–wee!–you then roll up your sleeves and start a new layer of work on the book. It’s a long process, and not for the faint of heart. But, P.S. I kind of love it! I’ve watched as this book has grown from a little seed of an idea, to a little green shoot, to a bud, and now, thanks to the keen eye of my editor at Penguin, Denise, it is growing into a big beautiful in-bloom flower. (At least, that is our hope!)

As some of you know, my book tells two stories: that of a modern-day woman, and a woman in the year of 1943. As I’ve been living with these characters (really, they’re like old friends), I’ve come to rely on some favorite music to fuel my writing and imagination. And, I can’t tell you how powerful music has been to me as I write, and now, revise. Particularly, for this book, the old songs of the past–the songs my grandparents listened to–and some truly amazing, jazz music as well as modern-day faves, have gotten me in the place I need to be to write well. Here’s my The Violets of March playlist (in random order):

Here’s Russell after his bath tonight. Poor boy has had a high fever most of this week, but tonight he seemed to be perking up. Big sigh. Here’s to hoping he’s able to get some rest tonight (um, and me too!).

In other news … I’m so excited to announce that I sold my first novel! My book, The Waters of March, will be published by Penguin (Plume) in the summer of 2011. I’m overjoyed and excited–and also thrilled to be working with the fabulous Denise Roy at Penguin!

A big thanks to my literary agent extraordinaire, Elisabeth Weed! More on the details of novel-publishing in the months ahead, but for now, here’s the official announcement that appeared on Publisher’s Marketplace today …

Two springs ago, I planned a progressive dinner (remember those?) with neighbors, which was photographed for a feature I wrote for Hallmark magazine (sniffle, sniffle--the magazine folded last year, just before this story was to be published!). My editor was kind enough to send me some of the photos, taken by the super-talented Jake Johnson of Hallmark, and I wanted to post a little snippet of that day here. (I'm still drooling over that food--I developed the recipes for all, but on the day of, we had a chef do the cooking--whew! It's a tough job being a "model"!) It was the most amazingly warm evening in late spring (see how we're wearing tank tops and skirts?!), the food was divine, the drinks were flowing (even if I couldn't drink them--I was 2 months pregnant!), and the wisteria in front of our house was in bloom along with flowers all throughout the neighborhood. We fell in love with the Hallmark producers, stylists--even the makeup gal! What a day to remember! Thanks to my dear neighbors who participated. Let's do it again this spring!

This cheesecake, which is so easy and so amazing, is from a fabulous Glamour staffer. It's made with just a handful of simple ingredients, and then here's the kicker: You put it in a loaf pan and freeze it! Just slice and serve the next day. Genius, right? And, no, I cannot divulge the recipe just yet (it's part of my top-secret project). So, will you forgive me for taunting you with these photos?


I woke up with a wretched cold today, which, after my healthy-eating and hand-washing regimen, makes me feel sort of like a … failure. Ah, well. We all get sick. I couldn’t let the cold get me down because I had a lot of work to do over the weekend. Writing, yes, and a big (and top secret) project for Glamour, which I hope to be able to tell you more about in the weeks/months ahead. I’ll just say that this, er, top-secret project had me doing lots of cooking. And, as fate would have it, one of the items on my list was to make a divine batch of feel-better chicken soup! I also made a swoon-worthy plum cobbler that I wish you could try right now (you’d need a fainting couch–it’s that good). Because the recipes are under wraps, I’ll just share a few photos of my cooking extravaganza, how about that?

blue-flowersI’ve been swamped lately–with work and baby and house and life stuff. In between all of it, I have a novel I’ve written, somehow. A really lovely little novel, if I don’t say so myself. Lovely and rough around the edges. My agent, bless her heart, has big plans for said novel and is working with me to help make it as presentable as possible before she takes it to publishers in the near future. For now, I have the job of polishing and fixing and tweaking–some relatively big changes, some really tiny ones. The novel needs a little work. Surgery? Not really. But maybe out-patient surgery.

Quick incision. A few stitches. Minimal scars.

Even so, I’m convinced that revising a book is harder than writing a book, because of the complexity. If you change one thing on page 29, you better carry it through on page 129–and that’s a lot to keep track of. But, I love these characters and this story (even after 392 reads–or at least that’s what it feels like!), so here’s what I’m going to do to get it in the shape it needs to be in (writers, feel free to take inspiration from this list–or just laugh at me!):