A third of the way up Okemo Mountain in Vermont, you can spread a blanket in a field, recline on your back, and wait for fireworks, which are ignited from across a pond. They seem to spider across the sky much lower than other fireworks that I’ve seen; they seem touchable and more thrilling. And because you’re on a mountain, the noise booms and echoes and sometimes even makes your…

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Gloria Steinem, Boss Hogg, etc.

Hanging in my closet, wrapped in plastic, is a Montreal Canadiens jersey signed by famed Habs (and later Avalanche) goaltender Patrick Roy. I have the certificate of authenticity, too. Someday I’ll get that jersey up on eBay. I acquired it when I was 15 and a huge hockey fan. Patrick and a handful of other big sports stars appeared at a fundraiser at Boston College High School. My friend Andrea…

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Fathers in Books

Happy Fathers Day! Here are some of the literary fathers whom I find very memorable: Atticus Finch in To Kill A Mocking Bird by Harper Lee Reverend Maclean in A River Runs Though It by Norman Maclean Matthew Cuthbert in Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (not technically a father, but a close-enough father-figure, I think) Bull Meechum in The Great Santini by Pat Conroy Dr. Murry in A…

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Leave a comment, win an ARC!

To win an advance reading copy of Simply From Scratch, leave a brief comment below addressing this week’s Deb Ball topic: Ereaders such as the Kindle, iPad, Nook, etc. I’ll choose a winner (perhaps more than one winner, depending on the number of responses) at random and announce it in Sunday’s Newsflash (June 20th). Good luck! ~Alicia Bessette

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Which is which?

Each of the following five short descriptions comes from a book by a 2010 Debutante Ball author. Which Deb wrote which description? Answers later this afternoon …. A: Your husband will enter the room looking like a junkie who can’t wait for his next fix, and after being unable to quickly locate his object of desire, the search and rescue mission begins. Watch your husband toss the throw pillows haphazardly,…

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Making the time

Sometimes when people learn that I write fiction full time, they say, “Wow, that takes discipline,” or, “I admire your discipline.” But really, in showing up at my desk every day, I’m no more disciplined than the person who reports to any standard job. I choose to be present to my work. Otherwise, I wouldn’t eat. I didn’t always have that attitude. When fiction writing was a hobby, it took…

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

A Valium and a couple Oreos

My mom’s known to bust out with funny one-liners from time to time. Behold some of her recent gems … … to my sister, who was stressing out over hosting a party: “Take a Valium and eat a couple Oreos and everything’ll be fine.” … on Starbucks coffee: “The first few sips are kinda like drinking tobacco, but then it starts to taste like coffee.” … while studying her wind-tussled…

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Write how people talk, but don’t write how people talk

On writing dialogue, I hear two common pieces of advice: 1. Write how people talk, because it’ll ring true on the page. 2. Don’t write how people talk, because it’ll be totally boring. I see the wisdom in both schools of thought. On the one hand, you want your characters to sound believable. On the other, you don’t want readers yawning their way through your characters’ conversations. One habit I…

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Shopping in C-Wood (or: drunken goat)

I’m a fan of local shopping. Where I live, there’s plenty of opportunities to local-shop. The Collingswood Farmers Market, for example, happens every Saturday morning from May through November, a couple hundred feet from my apartment, in the commuter train parking lot. There you can buy fresh fruits and veggies from Jersey farmers, homemade honey, truly free-range eggs, just squeezed peach nectar, flowers, croissants …. The people-watching is fantastic, the…

Wednesday, April 28, 2010