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If you’ve ever wondered whether a small gesture can make a difference, read on. Twin preemie sisters, separated into different incubators. One of them was failing until a nurse broke hospital rules and put them together. The healthier one threw her arm over her sister and the failing baby’s heart immediately stabilized and she grew stronger. The healing touch…

This was 1995 and changed the way all hospitals treat infants. One small girl reaching out from her new, little heart, transformed a lot of big adults.

Even when I’m trying to tell a fun story, even a thriller, I’m hoping there’s a little bit of this magic in the mix. We all share our own version every time we share our particular gifts.


Mom Leontine (Tina) Elaine Carr: June 1, 1926 to April 18, 2013

On Wednesday night my mother, Leontine Carr, Tina, died peacefully in her sleep at the age of 86 and finally got to dance with my dad, Dabney Carr again. He had gone ahead of her in April of 2005 to get things ready. That was their usual system but she had missed him every day of those eight years. She was happy and having a good time right until the end, always entertaining someone with her stories and more and more Mom was remembering her younger days like what it was like to have a grandfather in rural Georgia who owned a candy store or to be a young mother with so many kids. There are five of us and my oldest sister, Diana did a great job of looking after Mom these past eight years, Linda and Cary kept in constant contact and sent presents along with my brother Dabney and we all visited and made sure she knew we loved her. She made a point her entire life of telling everyone else how much she loved us. In the end, that’s all there is. Dance with Dad in peace, Mom and we’ll do our best to honor your life in the way we live ours.


What the Campaign is About: I’m asking for help to raise $2,500 to self-publish my next book, a thriller called The List.

There are two ways to live a life – in theory or in practice. One involves talking about what might happen and the other requires taking risks and letting go of the outcome. I was stuck in the first camp for a long time, which meant I preferred to turn over most of the work, the rewards and what I saw as the risk of failure to a traditional publishing house. The results are Wired, The Sitting Sisters and A Place to Call Home – three great books that have been well received. It seemed like enough.

But then in 2009 I was told I had cancer and only a one percent chance of living longer than one more year. I walked out of the doctor’s office shaking, trying to come up with something comforting to say to my 21-year-old son, Louie. Instead, he looked at me and said very firmly, “You weren’t listening. They said there was hope.” Something clicked and I realized that I was going to have to figure out how to be present for every day I had left rather than stare at my death.

It turns out that for now the doctors were wrong about the year but I’ve had four more operations for cancer since then. I’ve had to learn how to live with cancer without making it the focus and to be grateful for the rewards that come along with being reminded that life isn’t a guarantee.

The biggest reward I’ve gotten so far is learning how to ask for help from friends and family. At times I’ve really needed it because I couldn’t walk very well or because my face was bandaged and I couldn’t speak. I’ve learned that help can also be about just needing comfort and company like watching a scary movie with friends or throwing together a potluck or learning how to ride a bike again. That one took four spectacular spills but eventually I stayed on the bike. This past year I even started acting like I plan to live a long time and lost 86 pounds.

It doesn’t have to be complicated.

So, I’m doing my best to let go of old ideas about everything and learn to live in the moment. To make writing more about why I started – to share something – including the journey to get the book in your hands as well as every conversation afterwards. If you want to join in you can take a look at the different things you can get by making a donation. You can even be a part of what is turning into an amazing journey just by letting your friends know about The List Campaign. Share the link Or use the share buttons at the site.

Thank you so much for your ongoing love and support. I am really looking forward to seeing what comes next, whatever it is – and to walking through it, to enjoying it with all of you.

What the Book is About:

The List is a novel of suspense about a happy family caught between two old political powers that have always existed behind the scenes, invisible to most of the public. The two sides have battled over control for hundreds of years actively recruiting new members at a young age to groom them for politics, Wall Street, Corporate corner offices and the military. Good Old Boy networks, private clubs and political action committees were all formed with the same idea in mind to grease the wheels of life because we all want to ensure a nice, fat piece of the American pie, especially for our children. However, families find out a little too late that once they’ve joined there’s no out clause.


What You Can Do & What You Can Get*:

  • First Level: $25 – You receive a signed copy of The List.
  • Second Level: $35 – You receive a signed copy of The List and your name in the dedication.
  • Third Level: $50 – You receive a signed copy of The List, your name in the dedication AND a password that lets you read the next three chapters of the sequel, The Keeper.
  • Fourth Level: $100 – You receive a signed copy of The List, your name in the dedication, a password that lets you read the next three chapters of the sequel, The Keeper AND a Skype visit from me to a meeting of your book club.
  • Fifth Level: $250 – You receive a signed copy of The List, your name in the dedication, a password that lets you read the next three chapters of the sequel, The Keeper, a Skype visit from me to a meeting of your book club and a character in The Keeper named after you. (Only two available at this level.)
  • Sixth Level: $500 – You receive a signed copy of The List, your name in the dedication, a password that lets you read the next three chapters of the sequel, The Keeper and a Skype visit from me to a meeting of your book club, AND an appearance by me, to speak at an event** for the local charity of your choice. All proceeds from book sales on that day will go to your charity.


*All rewards will be processed after March 31st at the close of the campaign.

**Event to be organized by the person or group who chooses this level.


Leela and Nana

I’m off today to my 35th high school reunion to meet up with people I haven’t seen since I was 18 years old. I’ll pause here for a moment so everyone can do the math.

In the meantime, I’d like to introduce all of you to the newest member of my extended family, Leela, Louie’s new dog who he rescued from the shelter just ahead of euthanasia. Not something I even like to think about, especially when it comes to Leela.

Louie introduced us by telling Leela, “This is your grandma.” I bent down close and said, “Nana, call me Nana.” I figured I may as well go with it and get this ball rolling and set the pattern for any future grandchildren as well. I’ve been allowed to walk her once so far, with supervision and have gotten her a new sweater and toy, which seemed very Nana-like.

Leela is of course, the best at everything. She never barks too much, walks on a leash perfectly and crawls up into my lap to curl up whenever I sit down. Louie may have more stories but I’m editing all of them down to the ones I plan to repeat, a lot, which will let everyone know how wonderful Leela is. It’s my job, I’m the Nana.

Happy Friday everyone! Plenty of new stories next week, fresh from the reunion. More adventures to follow.


I have had this list for a long time that in a nutshell started with, when I, fill in a blank and ended with, then I will, fill in another blank.

It covered every area of my life. Career, money, love, health. Everything felt incomplete and way out of my reach.

I had no clue how to obtain a thinner body, a better job, a bigger book deal, a good man and it all seemed very necessary in order to be happy. The magnitude of it made me give up a lot of the time and run around in circles with all sorts of plans that I started and stopped. My life was frustrating and choppy and never quite got me anywhere.

Then, everything changed. Somewhere along the path I got so worn out I stopped and decided to challenge God. It was the only language I knew – contests were my thing. I know a lot of great preachers say, thank God for the great good that is already being created for you, but I had way too much anger and fear to thank anyone for anything.

However, I could throw down a challenge and maybe, this time, I could stand back and take my hands off the wheel. I was just desperate enough, thank goodness.

Okay, here I am about six years later and I never stopped letting God in, in fits and starts and my list is gone. I weight 70 pounds less, I have a better job, my latest book is on a really good path and that man thing, I’m giving a whirl.

The point is, I’m no longer looking to the future for a start date on my life and that presents an interesting idea.

I’ve never been in this spot before. The whole maintenance of life where we basically have the baseline for what we want and are going along with what comes next, doing our part and enjoying how things are in this now moment. I can’t really say much more than that just yet, it’s all so new. But I can tell you I’m happy to be here and I’m excited to find out what it’s all like. No more waiting to find out if it’s possible. More adventures to follow.


Photo by Sean Molin Photography

It’s been awhile since I’ve thought about dating. Okay, the extra 70 pounds may have had something to do with the long vacation but it’s equally as true that I put on the weight to hold men at bay.

Worked like a charm. I was everyone’s buddy, mother, sister, anything that was as far away from romantic as possible. The wise one who could listen to what was going wrong in your relationship or celebrate when it was going well. Anything but actually getting out there myself.

But if not now, when? Enough already, I’m willing to go on a few dates, be myself and let it be as big or as small as it turns out to be.

Here’s the thing, I’ve spent so many years putting as much between myself and even learning how to be in an emotionally intimate relationship with a man – financial worries, extra weight, career ambitions. That’s just the short list. Now, that all of my excuses are gone it occurs to me that maybe this is even the first time in my life that I am heading into the dating pool as just myself.

Nothing to prove, not looking for someone to fill a need and nothing I’m ashamed or embarrassed about this time. In other words, I can be myself and even find out what that means.

I can find out who I’d even like to date. I’m not sure I’ve ever asked myself that question. It’s a new day, it’s a new body, it’s a refurbished soul. More adventures to follow.

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