Mindfulness and Stress Release

Mindfulness is a massage for the mind and the heart.

ScatteringASHES_VERSA.inddI went on retreat this past weekend to Yogaville, just over an hour from home to pull myself together for this week’s book launch on Friday, September 30th, at 5:30 PM at the New Dominion Bookshop on Charlottesville’s Down Town Mall.

The past couple of weeks have been stressful. The last minute work of getting a book ready to go out into the world has been intense. Plus dealing with Bill’s highly successful shoulder surgery three weeks ago tomorrow,  wore me out. I simply needed to get away and rest. Once there, I was able to get some extra sleep, and enjoyed being with eight other souls looking for peace. Our teacher, Susan Stone was great, helping me find my way back to being nonreactive. I came away feeling two tons lighter and ready to let go of my mind’s constant disruptive rumblings.

I’ll be writing more about mindfulness and how necessary it is, in the coming weeks both here and in my newsletter, which will be a few days late this time around. I usually publish it on the first of each month but with my book launch on Friday, which is the last day of September, I’m going to give myself a few extra days to put it together. This past weekend reminded me that I am not a one-man-band and need to allow myself to take my time and enjoy the process.

Celebrating A New Life


I never dreamt in a million years that this day would come.  I’ve been in labor for six long years and today, SCATTERING ASHES, A Memoir of Letting Go, has officially been born.  Someone asked me yesterday, how it feels to have accomplished this magical feat, and all could say was, “It’s unreal.”

I’ve written a book of two-hundred and thirty-six pages, and I can’t find words to describe how I’m feeling? Humpf! But I know I’m not alone. Every author who pens a book and sees it through to publication is filled with pride and are sometimes wordless when it comes to describing the feeling of having done it.

I can tell you this: I am excited. I am proud of myself. I’ve done something I never thought I would or could do. And I did it!  If I can write a book and get it published, I can do just about anything!

Shall I go for another?  We’ll see.  I have some ideas, but first I must raise the book I’ve just given birth to and send her off into the world.

Please check out my guest blog post over at Create Write Now.

If you’ve read my book or intend to, I’d appreciate it you could write an honest review over on Amazon and Goodreads.  It helps us authors when the word gets out.  Thank you!

Tasa’s Song by Linda Kass, A Review

We can grow anywhere if we never give up.

We can grow anywhere if we never give up.

Last month at Book Expo America in Chicago, I met a number of fellow She Writes Press authors. We took turns greeting passersby and promoting our books in the SWP booth. During my first session there I was accompanied by Linda Kass, author of Tasa’s Song, a novel set in Eastern Poland, about a young Jewish girl, caught in the cross-hairs between Communist Russia and Nazi Germany, during WWII. This book was awarded the 2016 Bronze Medal in Historical Fiction by the Independent Publisher Book awards.

Having spent two years living in Germany just after the war as a young child, and seeing the destruction of that country, I have always been interested in the Holocaust; searching for answers as to why it happened and how the survivors who were targeted by Hitler’s horrific regime came through such an unspeakable time. As the daughter of an American soldier who fought and liberated a number of concentration camps, the focus of my interest has always been on Germany itself. But I have been mostly unaware of how the people of Poland lived through the upheaval and mass destruction of innocent lives as a result of the war. And being of Polish descent myself, I have felt remiss in my ignorance.

Kass’ beautifully written story, inspired by her mother’s life and how she came to America, has filled in many of the blanks for me. I now understand the intensity of the sudden invasion of Poland by Russia, making everyday life a challenge because of the many changes that the Russians forced upon the Poles. When the Nazis drove the Russian occupation back, and started rounding up the Jews to be taken away, Tasa’s family hid underneath a friend’s barn, away from the light of day for an extended period of time. This is a story filled with loss, love, and the grace it takes to keep going in a shattered world.

For me, what is most engaging about this story is how Kass, weaves in the music that Tasa, an aspiring violinist, always carries with her in her head. Through her constant moves and the unending months when she cannot play her violin for fear that any sound she makes could give away her family’s hiding place, it sings in her heart. Using exquisite, lyrical narrative, Kass explores the way a life filled with music can bring us through life extreme adversity, helping the human spirit to shine and endure. Filled with detailed descriptions of daily life in war-torn Poland, this book should not be missed.


As often as I can, I plan to read and review books by authors already published or is in the process of being published by She Writes Press. I feel extremely fortunate to be included in such a group of talented women writers. Brooke Warner and all of the women at She Writes Press have given me unending attention during the sometimes difficult process of getting my book off the ground. From the editors to the publicists they recommend, I feel well supported and grateful that they are there to answer the simplest questions and help as my book moves toward publication.  To learn more about She Writes Press go here.

What’s Happening With My Book


For those of you who aren’t subscribed to my newsletter, I’m posting my May 1st newsletter here so that you’ll know exactly what’s happening with my book.  It’s an exciting and busy time with lots of travel, exploring and learning new things.

memes-bea-chicago4I’ll be making my way to Chicago this afternoon. I’ll be sitting in the She Writes Press booth #1150 at Book Expo America for a few hours on Wednesday and Friday, doing a bit of book pitching and meeting fellow SWP authors. I’ll also get to meet my editor Annie, who I loved working with.  I will also wend my way through the crowd at this huge trade show to learn more about the publishing industry. My first book, Australian Locker Hooking, published in 1980, was self-published long before Indie Writers were doing their own thing. The changes in the industry and book marketing are huge and I want to learn all about it.


My Newsletter, May 1, 2016:

Last week I noticed a big box sitting on my front porch, and asked myself, What did I order that I really don’t need? Running late for my Pilates lesson, I brought the box indoors and left it on the hall table. I didn’t notice the return address. A few hours later between fixing dinner and feeding the dogs, I remembered the package. I still couldn’t remember having ordered anything and as I slit the top of the box open I grew more curious as I pulled out wads of white packing paper. There before my eyes were the Advanced Reader Copies of SCATTERING ASHES, A Memoir of Letting Go. I had completely forgotten that they would be arriving any day — in time for me to take them to Book Expo America in just two weeks. Oh yes, I needed them.

Holding the book in my hands I couldn’t believe that I had come this far. During the last few months there were times I felt it was all a dream and all the work I had done on this project was just a figment of my imagination. But no, there it was. Bill grabbed a copy for himself. When I told him it was only a galley and still needed proof reading, he said, “That’s okay. I want one of each.” We celebrated with a glass of wine and toasted to the book’s success.

I also have other irons in the fire heating up. Last week I ordered postcards to hand out to participants at BEA, and to send to those on my mailing list. They just arrived and they look great with a photo of the cover and several descriptive blurbs. They were designed by a great designer, Alex Baker, out in Seattle.

Last week I heard about the 2016 Journal Conference to be held in Hendersonville, North Carolina, the week after I return from Chicago. I threw my usual need to stay home for a while after a trip aside and signed up to be there. I will have just four days between trips to get laundry and other catching up activities done before I head out to what I believe is going to be a great conference.

I have been journaling for the past 35 years and those writings were extremely helpful to me as I began putting my story on paper. Writing daily journal entries was a huge part of my healing process as I struggled with PTSD and life as my mother’s caretaker. I’m looking forward to meeting other writers and journal keepers and want to begin the process of putting together my own ideas on how to help women in my own community begin keeping journals and writing their own stories as a way of healing the bumps and bruises that life has to offer.

Also happening: My publicist just sent out press releases and ARCs to several publications in hopes of having them write reviews. After I return from my trips I’m hoping to get a few articles written for various publications. Things just keep on happening and at times my excitement gets out of hand!.

I never woulda thunk this would be happening for me!

You can go ahead and preorder SCATTERING ASHES on either Amazon or Barnes & Noble now.