Friday, December 19, 2014

Holidays approaching

Dear Everyone Out There Who Reads This,

It doesn't quite feel like Christmas yet--our tree is too short and not yet decorated (waiting for Sam to come home), none of my nativities are out yet, it's 42 degrees most days and rainy, and I have a pile of presents in the knitting room to wrap. 

But. Annabelle is in high gear for her ballet, Polar Express, this weekend. And her class breakfast and holiday show tomorrow. And those Christmas gifts are all bought. And the cookie baking plan made. So I'm getting there. 

I'm up at 3:30 because I'm in the middle of a new novel, and my brain is working overtime. Every day, when I could be wrapping presents, I'm working on it. And when I do that, time flies. 

It's almost Christmas and I miss Grace. I can't help but remember how all she wanted were art supplies and anything to do with the Beatles. And I can't help but wonder what she would be desiring at 18, what college she would be coming home from, the joy I'd feel when she walked through the door. My beautiful girl. 

I know many of you reading this are feeling the same about your own beautiful children. Know a mom in Rhode Island is thinking of you. 

Please look for my op Ed on grief in the Boston Globe early next week. I'll post the link here. 

And please, if you're so inclined, follow me on Instagram or Twitter at annhood56. 

Be strong in the days ahead. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

It's my birthday!

I was born during a blizzard, and had today been a few degrees colder I would have celebrated this birthday in one! Instead: epic rain and wind. But happily home, under a blanket reading and listening to the rain falling hard. Lucky to have had lunch with Gogo and done a littleChristmas shopping with her. Soon enough there will be presents and a surprise dinner tonight. For now, enjoying solitude and quiet after a fall of touring and teaching. And tomorrow I begin my schedule of two hours of reading, two hours of writing, two hours of knitting. That's how novels get written, scarves get made, brains get fed, and I get centered.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Belated Happy Thanksgiving

Before we talk turkey, I have to tell you how wonderful the Miami Book Fair was. As always. Every writer you love and/or admire passes by and there's endless hugging and squeals of You're here! Not to mention the panels and readings and warm temperatures. I had the pleasure of paneling with two writers whose writing I adore but have never had the pleasure of meeting until Saturday: Lisa See and Ayalet Waldman. 

Home for 6 hours before driving to NYC the next morning. Ride made fun by having my buddy Tracey along. Ok. She actually did the driving. (Yay! Tracey!) and then back home Tuesday and the shopping and cooking began in earnest. 

Our usual Thanksgiving Eve bash was as crazy as ever. Though the day was a bit more subdued because of various health, work, and travel snafus (thank you, SNOW!!!) But it was just cozier and delicious and filled with family and friend love. 

Today both Annabelle and I battled fevers--no wonder we went to sleep at 7:30 last night, and slept almost fourteen hours--and headaches and general malaise. I did rally tonight to make a remarkable turkey pot pie and go to see Sam in a monologue show. But by the time we got back home I needed to get back in bed, desperately. A wee dram of whiskey always cures what ails me, be it physical, mental, or emotional. So hopefully this will do the trick. Plus, another day in bed tomorrow. Such luxury! Though I've got a date with Gogo to make meatballs in the afternoon. And later with Sam and Lorne for a movie, if I'm better. 

Sunday we will do our traditional tagging of the Christmas tree before I head to NYC, with Sam and Cameron, for teaching and meetings and lots of plays (early birthday celebration). 

But for now, sipping my wee dram and about to read a guidebook to Jerusalem, where I'm excited to go in February for the international book fair!

15 years in the making! Our first thanksgiving fire!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


On Friday I fly to Miami and the fabulous Miami Book Fair, which marks the end of this wild three month book tour! I'm so grateful for all the people I've met and all the places I've gone talking about An Italian Wife. It's been wonderful sharing experiences with so many other Italian Americans. Last Saturday's event in Plymouth MA hosted by Westwinds Bookstore (thank you Brooke!) with authors Christopher Castellani and Marianne Leone added to this celebration  of all things Italian. Our themes and experiences were so similar it felt like being with Mama Rose and family for Sunday Supper!

This week, before I head to Miami, I'm in NYC and get the chance to see both The Underclassman (yay Sara!) and Dogs of DC (yay Sam!). Then a little 80+ degree weather before Thanksgiving goes into high gear. 

Oh! And some exciting news: I finally started the decrease row on my bias blanket! 

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Salem Lit Fest, Hickory Stick Books, Stellina, and Black Sheep Knitting

That's what my week looks like next week and I hope to see you at one of these great spots! Details on my website. 

As the book tour winds down (from August!), I'm tired as heck (hello my old friend anemia!) but happy as can be for the truly amazing response to An Italian Wife and to my own story about growing up in an Italian American family. 

I'm eager to get back to my writing (which I've kept doing of course) in the concentrated and focused way that I need to finish this new novel. And to be in the arms of my family, who have put up with more pizza for dinner than they should have to and with me coming and going at all crazy times. Can't wait to cook for them and hang out with them!

Lots of knitting and reading ahead too. But first, the final weeks of An Italian Wife and me on the road! 

Friday, October 24, 2014


These are a few of my favorite things! Beautiful Westport MA, where my family spent so many golden summers...I'll be at Partners Village Store on Main Rd tonight from 5:30-7. 

Tomorrow's event on Federal Hill is sold out, but directly afterward, at 2,I'll be at Barrington Books. 

And Sunday you can join the KNITTING YARNS crew in Wellfleet. That's Anne LeClaire, Taylor Polites, Marianne Leone, and me at Preservation Hall at 2:30!

What a fun weekend!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Drop everything! Go to Churchmouse Yarns!

As someone who visits a lot of yarn stores across the country, I have to say that Churchmouse Yarns on Bainbridge Island near Seattle WA is one of the best of the best. You know that yarn store you walk into and want, immediately, to live there? Well, you actually could. Because when you tear yourself away from the gorgeous yarn and samples in the front and walk to the back (arms laden with yarn), you will find tea! And interesting food stuff! And bowls and cups and tea cozies and soap made from the lanolin of the wool from sheep in Yorkshire! Yes! Kit and John are the loveliest people ever, and will tell you about the people in Kenya locally sourcing tea and hand designing each box as well as how to increase rows on a pesky pattern. This is why I left with 2 rows of my bias blanket knit, a bar of that soap, two boxed of that tea, a box of Steve Smith tea concocted just for Churchmouse, a pattern for Ferryman gloves and two skeins of yarn to knit those gloves, and a box of Bunches and Bunches ginger snaps made in Portland OR. 

Oh, and I signed lots of KNITTING YARNS and drank a fair share of champagne too!