My first radio interview

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I had an exciting first with a radio interview at our local PBS affiliate station on a daily 20-minute arts show. I’ve interviewed many people in my previous career as a journalist, but this was the first time I sat for an interview about me.

The studio was so comfortable. I was expecting a glassed-in booth where we both wore headphones (a la Frasier), but Erika Funke, ArtScene’s host, sat across from me at a table where we each had basic looking mics.

The biggest adjustment was realizing quickly that, on radio, you can’t say “mmm-hmm” or make any of the other noises that you do in everyday conversation. I have a habit (maybe being a northeasterner) of cutting people off before they finish sentences to agree or add my own thoughts. I am used to it because we all do it around here.

I quickly learned from watching Erika to be completely silent when it was her turn to talk, as she was for me. She wasn’t lacking expression, though… I felt like a musician in the presence of a conductor with all of her facial expressions and hand gestures conveying when she liked my train of thought. I could almost hear her shouting, “Yes! This is good! Keep going!”

Erika was a pro. She didn’t have any notes in front of her, but she asked many specific questions that showed she had done her prep work. I was really impressed with her clear diction. I started noticing every “t” I softened. (If you’re from Scranton, you know what I mean!)

She made the whole experience so comfortable, like we were having a regular get-to-know you conversation, except that one person was asking all of the questions. I talked about my influences in writing, my past careers, teaching, and my current novel-in-progress.

I’ve posted a link in case you’d like to listen to the interview. I say this was my “first radio interview” because I’m trusting there will be more in the future (thinking positive!).

Thanks for reading!

Grete

 

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Why you need to find your tribe

people-1230872_640When I started out in fiction writing, I got some misguided advice to stay away from other writers (they’re the competition and they don’t buy books). So I toiled away alone for a couple of years, often yearning for a learning community of people who love writing as much as I do.

A few months ago, I joined the Women’s Fiction Writers Association and it’s been exhilarating and amazing. I’m in a critique group with three other novelists and I’m overjoyed for how nitpicky they are.

When I listen to a symphony, I can enjoy the music, but since I’ve never played an instrument, I have very little to say other than “I like it.” Now I have the chance to work with writers who know the guts of a novel, its plot development, dialogue, character arcs, and themes. We can talk shop and know we’re not boring each other.

I realized that other writers are my friends and support network, not people to be avoided. It’s not like buying a car… readers buy dozens of books a year. And I’m a writer who buys books, especially in the same genre I’m writing. After all, I write what I like to read, and I never would have started writing if I didn’t first love reading.

Whatever your interests, there’s a group out there for you, whether in person or online, and it’s easier than ever to find them.

Please comment below and share your passion!

Have a wonderful day and take care,

Grete

[Image courtesy of public domain images on http://www.pixabay.com]

If you enjoy reading my blog, please check out my first novel, Giving Myself Away, about a divorced mom making tough choices and a fresh start.

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How to be a true fan

IMG_8180Whatever your passion is, show your support

If you know me, you’ll look at the photo above and ask “Why is she wearing a Carolina Panthers jersey?” or better yet, “Why is she wearing any jersey?” That’s because I grew up in a non-sports-watching family and I borrowed this for a Super Bowl party during which I wasn’t really rooting for the Panthers because I don’t know anything about them.

That’s when I realized I need to be a better fan to the people and groups I do root for. My biggest passion, aside from my family, is great women’s fiction. This year I joined the Women’s Fiction Writers Association, a group founded by women’s fiction writers to offer support to their fellow authors. Within the WFWA, I also joined a critique group with three other writers and we’re anxiously awaiting critiques on the first pages we sent each other a few weeks ago.

I’ve resparked my reading list and I decided I’m going to write an email to each author I’ve read to thank her for putting her story out there for the rest of us to enjoy. And for the books I really love, I will post reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. These are the things that keep writers going, and since I know that, I am going to send all the positive energy into the universe for other writers to show them how much they mean to me.

I just finished reading a book I really enjoyed, so I looked up the author on Goodreads, wrote her a message, and heard back from her the next day. We have unprecedented access through social media to the people we admire, so why not let them know how much we appreciate their work? I also wrote a review for her book on Amazon…I don’t know about you, but I don’t buy anything without checking the reviews first.

I would encourage you to think about what passions keep you going and how you can nourish and sustain the people who add joy to your life. I’d love your comments on how you’ll bring this to fruition.

P.S. If you’re a fellow writer or an avid reader, please check out this excellent blog by Cathy Day called “Literary Citizenship.” She goes into more detail about how we can support writers and books.

 

If you enjoy reading my blog, please check out my first novel, Giving Myself Away, about a divorced mom making tough choices and a fresh start.

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Free mini-fiction: The worst pickup line ever

Adriennes blog 20 butt picHi, I’m Adrienne.   I’m getting really tired of ranting about my divorce, so I asked my friend Rob what I should talk about.  He said I should tell you about the (very misguided) night my sister Kristen and I went to a bar.

You have to understand that we were both a mess.  I had a baby a few months ago but was recently mistaken for still being pregnant, and Kristen was getting over being dumped… by her married boyfriend.  So we weren’t A+ on the self-esteem scale.

Kristen and I don’t hang out together too often.  She’s a few years younger and doesn’t have kids.  She says she doesn’t want to have kids specifically because of me.  That’s what a stellar mom I am.

Normally Kristen would have a date or a girls’ night out with her real friends, but on this one particular Friday, I was home alone and so was she. I could have dealt with it by putting on PJs and watching The Ugly Truth for the fourth time, but Kristen does not sit at home and she does not spend time alone, ever.

She lured me out offering to make me look better (and less pregnant – she wasn’t promising any miracles).  I have brown, curly, almost kinky hair, whereas Kristen’s is blonde and straight (with a lot of money and labor, mind you).  I put on some mascara at 7 a.m. before work and that’s it for the day, while Kristen believes you must reapply at lunchtime and dinnertime and before going out at night.

I’m sure this is one of many reasons why she dates more than I do, but hey, we’re both single, so I don’t think she’s winning.

After carting in a mini suitcase of makeup, spackling my face, and spraying something sticky in my hair, Kristen pulled half the clothes out of my closet and finally approved of a sparkly black sweater over dark rinse jeans.  She made me put on heels too.

Our choice of hangouts is pretty slim pickings:  either a club dominated by people who are right around age 21 or one of the neighborhood bars where the average patron is 60+.  There’s not much in between.  I vetoed the club, so we ended up in one of those dingy establishments where everyone turns around to look at the door every time it opens to see who’s coming in.  They’re rarely surprised either, so it was an exciting night at the Lucky Mug when Kristen and Adrienne stepped through that door.

Obviously Kristen gets the most male attention, and she deserves it.  She works for it.  Besides, she was like insect repellent – all the gnats were bothering her and leaving me alone.  One guy in a black t-shirt that actually had a hole by the armpit strode up and bumped into her leg.

“I knee’d you,” he said.  “Get it?  Knee’d?  N-E-E-D?”

Kristen just glared as the guy’s friend yelled from across the bar, “Knee with a K, you dumbass!”

“Lay off, Eddie,” the bartender said, shooing him back to his friends, who were laughing at him and high-fiving each other.  He had probably fulfilled a dare just by coming over to talk to Kristen.

“What’ll you girls be having?” the bartender asked us as she wiped down the bar in front of us with an infectious-looking damp rag.  She thunked down a bowl of sad looking half-crushed party mix that I’m sure got scooped back into the gallon-size jar every night at closing time.  I could just imagine that those orange tortilla chips would taste like smoke.

As Kristen ordered us each a beer, I turned my back to the men at the end of the bar, only to hear one of them yell out, “Are those space pants?  Because your ass is out of this world!”  Another riot of laughter started up and Kristen said out of the corner of her mouth, “See, I told you those pants are good on you.  Look at that, you getting hit on already.”

So this is what I’ve been missing?  I think I was better off at home with my pint-sized pals Ben and Jerry.  I’ll tell you the rest of the story next time, but if you want to read more about Kristen and me and our swinging single lives, check out Giving Myself Away.   How about making me feel better by telling me the worst pickup line you ever heard?

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What’s great about being married?

Adriennes blog 16 cake topper picHi, I’m Adrienne. I realize I’ve talked about being divorced a lot, but I was married longer than I’ve been single, and it’s time for me to move on.  I’m ready to stop being bitter and acknowledge how great marriage can be.  I can be happy for my married friends and family instead of envious or cynical about what they have.

So in honor of marriage, please help me make a list of the benefits of being married!

You can read more about my marriage and my divorce in Giving Myself Away, available now.

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Seven Worst Ways to Start the New Year

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Hi, I’m Adrienne.  Happy new year!  I’m one of those people who gets bogged down by high expectations from the possibilities of January 1.  Learn from my experience as I present to you The Seven Worst Ways to Start the New Year:

 

7. Hung over and in a carb coma.  This was no big deal when I was younger.  But that was before I encountered the TWO-DAY hangover.   Just as our eyesight and hearing tend to get worse with age, apparently so does our liver’s ability to deal with a toxic blast of vodka, chicken wings, and Doritos.  What an awful way to start the new year – full of resolve and too sick to do anything about it.

6. Paying upfront for a gym membership.  I also went to the other extreme… there was that one year when I decided to go to bed before midnight and start the new year right with a grand workout routine.  The tan, fit college girl with blonde braids at my local gym convinced me to sign up for six months because I’d save a good chunk of change over paying month to month.  She failed to tell me I’d lose all that money anyway after I made one visit to the gym, completely overdid it to save face in front of the regulars who work out all year, and then limped home in shame never to return again.

5. Making resolutions for other people.  Sometimes I can’t believe how pretentious I was.  It wasn’t enough to make my own resolutions that I couldn’t keep… I had to make a list for my husband too and post it on the refrigerator.  It reliably gave me something to nag him about, which gave him a chance to ignore me, which allowed me to snap out on him for ignoring me, and well, you know how that goes.

4. Deciding that your entire wardrobe needs to be sorted and organized TODAY.  It’s a scientific fact that I am my fattest self at the end of December.  Thanksgiving, Christmas, and eating for hibernation in the fall all lead to me wearing the same couple of big sweaters and pants for a month or two until I rein myself in (with New Year’s resolutions!).  One year I pulled every item of clothing out of my closet and drawers, started crying when I realized how few of these clothes looked good on me, and then slept on the sofa to avoid dealing with putting them all away.

3. Looking at anything that comes from Martha Stewart.  If you want to feel like a failure, you need only check out her lists for keeping a household running smoothly.  What, you missed cleaning out the gutters and wiping down the undersides of your baseboard radiators?  Don’t worry, there are overwhelming lists for every season of the year as well as the BEST way to do your laundry, cook fresh cranberry sauce, and assemble party favors.  Thank goodness she doesn’t delve into the BEST way to rear children, or I’d be suicidal.

2. Making resolutions you can’t keep. I’ve written those lofty lists in which I vow to do everything better without having an action plan for how that’s going to happen.  No wonder it fails.  Goals work best when they are achieved by incremental changes, not complete and instant overhauls.  Our society is always looking for the quick solution.  What else would explain the popularity of shows where people lose a hundred pounds in a matter of months, become professional dancers in a few weeks, or meet, date, and get engaged in less than a season?

1. Doing nothing at all.  For as many times as I’ve failed, I’m still not giving up.  A new year is a chance to reflect on where we’ve been and where we still want to go.  I’m giving up the lists.  I’m not using my day off to make major changes that will overwhelm me.  But I am going to resolve to be more patient and loving and to appreciate the blessings in my life.

Thanks for reading!  If you enjoyed, you can read about some even bigger mistakes I’ve made in Giving Myself Away.

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It’s just a day…

Adriennes blog 13 sunrise picHi, I’m Adrienne. 

Sometimes we get so caught up in wanting a special day to be perfect that we forget it’s just a day.

Before my ex-boss and now-friend Melanie got married, she stressed a lot about the details that go into the wedding day, sometimes to the point that she was unhappy to be planning a wedding at all.  Melanie’s a perfectionist and I’m not, but I wanted to tell her that the wedding would be great, even if a few things didn’t go as they were intended, and that the marriage that follows is way more important than the wedding day.  

We put a lot of effort into planning certain days and forget how important every day is.  I wanted to tell her to make every day with Frank a special day, and to never take marriage for granted because it’s a living thing that needs constant cultivation to survive.

My wedding day was a great day, but it wasn’t the best day of our marriage.  What a depressing thought that would be, if nothing in your marriage could top your wedding. Some of the best days of our marriage were just nothing-special days at home with the kids.  There were no pictures to capture those memories, no one to witness them, no fancy clothes to wear, but they were just as important as our wedding, if not more so.

Whether you’re preparing for your wedding or any other one of life’s milestones, remember that these may be memorable days in your life, but each one is just one of thousands of days you will have, and that every day or any day can be life-changing.  No matter what, it’s just a day.

You can enjoy Melanie’s wedding in Giving Myself Away.  Thanks for reading!

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