Getting Away From It All

With a full-time job and a 5-year old in preschool/daycare, I neither have the time nor the funds to go on expensive, week-long writing retreats. At the same time, there’s nothing like having several days to dedicate to writing. Luckily, fellow organizer of the South Jersey Writers group, Amy, is kind enough to organize semi-annual weekend writing retreats at cabins in local state parks.

This weekend, eight of us will gather at a Pennsylvania state park to write and reconnect with our creative selves.  It’s not glamourous but it does give several of us the time to get together, make food, enjoy some wine and dessert, and of course, write without the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Plus a cabin in the woods? What a wonderful way to connect with nature and take some time to meditate and recharge!

Off the top of my head, here are some of the benefits of getting away if you’ve never done so:

Downtime       Family and work life can be stressful and even a little break will help you recharge when you remove yourself from the routines and demands of daily life. Depending on where you go, you can recharge with nature or with a bustling city life.

 Camaraderie   Getting away with a few friends helps you grow or reinforce your friendships with other like-minded people (in this case, writers).

 Focus  As anyone with family obligations knows, anticipating uninterrupted writing time is like waiting for Christmas or your birthday. It may seem like it will never come but once it arrives, you want to slow down and enjoy every minute. Having the time to focus solely on writing or editing your writing is a gift – no need to wait for the muse!

Have you ever taken the opportunity to get away? What has it been like for you?





 A day late for the blog tour but I wanted to share my small review of The Hungry Heart Stories by Fran Metzman.

The Hungry Heart stories by Fran Metzman are thoroughly engaging and emotionally entangling. I found myself drawn to the characters within a few sentences and I eagerly devoured the stories. The stories are a fine collection showcasing the desires of the human heart. From the first story, My Inheritance, I was hooked by Metzman’s story-telling voice and insight into the behavior of the characters. This collection did not disappoint!

 About the Book


 THE HUNGRY HEART STORIES is a short story collection that deals with the universal search to fill a void.  Fran Metzman, co-author of UGLY COOKIES, serves up a plate of quirky and disparate characters in these captivating stories.


 A grieving husband in the darkly funny “Right Seasoning” conjures up his deceased wife’s presence in the beloved kitchen they once shared.


 From “My Inheritance” tells of a grown daughter, trying to find the love and peace she has always craved with her dying mother to “Getting Closer”, the story of a woman left with the violent legacy of food that defined her life – we find the characters reaching the low points and triumphs of human emotions.


 Particularly poignant is the story, “The Reunion”, about a woman born into poverty who reaches the pinnacle of success but with questionable sacrifice.


 Each of the twelve stories and one essay incorporates food as a means to some end or fulfillment.  In Metzman’s sure hand we get these fully realized worlds, leavened with passion and sprinkled with humor. 







Fran Metzman Author Bio


 Award-winning author Fran Metzman is a graduate of the Moore College of Art and the University of Pennsylvania.  In addition to publishing numerous short stories and co-authoring her first novel Ugly Cookies with Joy E. Stocke, she also teaches writing at various local colleges and universities.  Her blog “The Age of Reasonable Doubt” can be found at Wild River Review, and deals with the mature (and sometimes immature) dating/relationships and aspects of society that influence all relationships.  Her short story “My Inheritance” was nominated for a Dzanc Books Award for Best of the Web.  On February 1st 2012, a short story collection, The Hungry Heart Stories, will be published.  The stories feature tales of people in crisis, yearning for emotional sustenance, and where food occasionally intersects the empty spaces in their hearts. 


 Ugly Cookies:


 The Age of Reasonable Doubt:


 Wild River Review:


 “My Inheritance”:


Wilderness House Press
ISBN 978 0 9827115  5 2

On Amazon:


On Barnes & Noble:






Update and my Great Idea

Thank you all again for your well wishes and support. I saw my mom last night and she as awake and in better spirits. Still annoyed that she was in the hospital in the first place for what was supposed to be a same-day procedure at the surgical center, but feeling better. She even wanted ice cream so my sister and I went out for that and we all had ice cream together J

I’m hoping that she will be released tonight or tomorrow morning but I havent heard from anyone today, and no one is answering their phones (not unusual in my family) so I don’t know what the deal is as yet.

Tonight I will be catching up on a few things, including a small review and promotional piece. 

Some of you know that I drive to work, which can be a real pain. Unlike my public transportation-bound co-workers, I have no time to read or sleep on the way to or from work so I do a lot of thinking and making stories up in my head while Im driving (I mean, I could pay attention more but I live in NJ, work in PA – no one actually pays attention when driving) and I had a *great* idea yesterday on the drive home (great as in maybe not so great but I like it for now). While writing and revising Small Town Ghosts I obviously discarded a lot of material about minor characters. I really want to work on a series of stories related to the novel’s setting called The Wychwood Ghosts series. I have no idea whether any of them will sell individually or if I should compile them and then try self-pubbing them just for fun but I think it would be a really cool idea to explore, especially as I may get stuck from time to time on Novel #2.


Does anyone have any experience with a similar project?

Fire up your Vimanas!

Well i have certainly enjoyed the break I gave myself after completing my latest draft of Small Town Ghosts (which lasted a couple of days longer than I anticipated due to a nasty cold/infection) and is now in the hands of my writing partners. I still feel crummy today but I’m off from work for a 4-day weekend so I can’t complain.

Right now I have Ancient Aliens on (been playing almost continuously on H2 for a few hours lol and new episode tonight!) and am planning to do some short story revisions and blog tour work. Then I’m going to start on my next novel, Bones of the Ancestors. I had started this a few years ago but gave it over to finish Small Town Ghosts. Now with some new ideas and angles, I am going to finish it.

As I told my writing partners, I really had a block with Bones of the Ancestors because I had it in my mind that it had to be a door-stopping epic fantasy. Once I changed my viewpoint slightly on what this fantasy can be, the clouds cleared and the moon and stars lit the way.

How is your end of the week shaping up?

Small Book Review – Try Not to Breathe by Jennifer Hubbard

I’m horrible at book reviews but I do like to write a little something about the books I read even if I dont always blog it publicly.

That being said, I absolutely loved this book. The voice of Ryan was so perfect and the aftermath of his suicide attempt tenderly chronicled. His struggle to understand himself why he did what he did is mirrored in the questions his new friend Nikki has regarding her own father’s suicide.

As Ryan tries to explain to Nikki that some things are not easily explained, Nikkie seeks out various psychics to speak to the spirit of her dead father. Ryan undergoes transformation and growth as his friendship with Nikki blooms and they both struggle for answers.

What’s amazing is how well Jennifer Hubbard has captured that struggle, when depression and suicide have no easy answers and how fittingly the title is thematically linked to so many scenes within.