Monday, December 29, 2014

An online essay writing class by yours truly

If you've been wanting to take a writing class but find the time is never right or the flight is too expensive, this might be perfect for you. Taught online through the Provincetown Fine Arts Center, this three week course has been very popular. I'd love to see you there!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Holiday Blues

It is one of the many mysteries of grief that you can be laughing and busy and baking and noshing and--dare I say it?--even happy, yet get slammed with sadness seemingly out of nowhere. When I was a kid, I spent a lot of time in the summer at the beach. And by a lot, I mean almost every day. I used to be (and still am) fascinated by waves. Watch waves long enough and you discover their pattern. One day, or hour, there might be a pattern of two small gentle waves and then one big curling one. Or several overlapping ones and then one solo perfect wave. This was important to figure out if you liked to ride the waves, which I did. I'd figure out the pattern to catch the best wave, then throw my Coppertone'd self into it headfirst. 
What does any of this have to do with grief, which really has no pattern and acts more like the rogue waves that used to knock me down and drag me to shore? Exactly that. As someone who likes patterns, to know the architecture of a book I'm writing or when someone will call every day, this inability to figure out grief's pattern frustrates me. I'm caught instead by those rogue waves. Like right now. 3:11 in the morning after a truly wonderful day cooking with Sam and wrapping presents with Annabelle, finally decorating our tree and house, a spur of the moment dinner party. Then finding myself an hour ago awake and unable to stop that rogue wave. Was it hanging Grace's tiny slipper on the tree? Or hearing about a boy her age who is now away at college? Or the loss of a friend's child that reminds me of what we've lost. I've come here into my knitting room, walking past a sleeping Annabelle, because it's one of my favorite places to be, hoping I can sleep among all this yarn and this stack of books waiting to be read, the mementos on the fireplace mantle and blue glowing light of the printer. But alas, I'm too knocked down for sleep, even here snuggled into the pink patterned bed linens and plethora of pillows that make this daybed perfect for napping and knitting and reading. So I'm thinking about waves. I'm remembering those long ago days at the beach, the sandy plums and quickly melting root beer Popsicles. The hot sun and salty breezes. The scratchy Navy blanket beneath my wet bathing suit. How carefully I'd study the waves! And oh that feeling of being lifted by a big wave, tumbled about, carried to shore. Despite my prowess at this game, at least once a day I'd get the wind knocked out of me. Perhaps that's why I'm thinking about waves on this eve of Christmas Eve. The holidays, with all their predictable pleasures and ability to lift us, also knock us down and take our breath away. Perhaps that's what I've learned tonight here alone in the dark. That rogue wave that is grief is going to come, and there's nothing to do but ride it to shore. 
Then stand up again, bruised and battered, and find the joy in a sandy plum, a dripping Popsicle. Or better yet, the sleeping people around you, the big messy glorious world outside your window. 

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!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Good Morning, World!

So nice to wake up in my own bed in my own house! I'm having so much fun on the road with An Italian Wife. And I love all the wonderful Italian Americans I've met these past two months who recognize this fictional immigrant experience in their own. I've been fed italian food, from pasta to egg biscuits, and heard so many heartwarming and funny stories. Thank you to everyone who has made this autumn so terrific!

And we're not yet done! You can find the next month of events here on my website. If you're in or near Narragansett RI, Bainbridge Island WA, Wellesley MA, Portland, Falmouth, Auburn, and Wells ME, Miami FL, Watertown MA, or Hickory Stick Books in CT, I'm coming your way in October or November!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Weymouth MA, Narragansett RI, Bainbridge Island WA!

An Italian Wife and I will be at the Tufts Library in Weymouth on Tuesday, October 14 at 7 and the Narragansett Library on Wednesday, October 15 at 7.

Then I'm off to Bainbridge Island for two terrific events: On Saturday, October 18, in the auditorium of Bainbridge Island Museum of Art at 7PM, a troupe of actors will be reading from Knitting Yarns! I can't wait for this exciting event! Earlier that same day, from 1-3 PM, in the same location, I'll be giving a lecture on the art of revision. If you live on or near Bainbridge, I hope to see you at one or both events!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Melrose MA tonight!

How I love reading at the Melrose Library! Looking forward to being there tonight at 7:30. 

First: Pilates this morning. Fresh apples with peanut butter. An interview with Newport Life. Lunch with an old pal. An afternoon of writing. A Skype interview. 

Feeling sad today. But listing simple pleasures reminds me that to look around and take measure and be grateful. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Coming up

If I woke up to my beloved trucks across the street at D'Agostino's then this must be Tuesday in NYC! Sadly no lingering this morning. I'm heading straight home to attend to family and then tonight to speak to Annabelle's school.

Tomorrow night i will speak at a church in Whitinsville, MA. This event was set up by someone near and dear to me, and I'm so looking forward to it. 

If you're anywhere near Melrose MA, come to the library on Thursday at 7. They always fill the place with the most wonderful people!

And Friday I fly to Minneapolis for the Twin Rivers Book Festival. My panel is on Saturday. I love Minneapolis! Please don't snow this weekend!

Home Saturday night, but late. And Sunday? All my favorite Libras and Scorpios are converging at Gogo's for ravioli. Let the feasting begin!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Bari and Brattleboro VT

I'm looking out at the Adriatic Sea, and feeling very grateful for these five days in Italy. Puglia is so different than any place I've been in Italy, or anywhere. The food is simply amazing, all fava beans and orecchiette, and burrata and focaccia. The landscape is breathtaking. And frankly, I'm not ready to leave. 

But leave I must. A bit of a hellish travel day tomorrow. Then a day at home before heading to Brattleboro VT and the Literary Festival there. I'll be on a panel with Paula MacLain, and at the flash fiction event, both on Saturday. If you're in or near Brattleboro, come to the festival. There's lots of your favorite writers there! 

The view from here:

Monday, September 29, 2014

Some random thoughts

Thank you all for your wonderful essays! Sorry to read them in  a truncated fashion, but I think I have read all of them now.

A general comment that I did post in some of my particular ones. Try to avoid the construction of "my mother" "my grandmother", etc. Name them instead. Mom, Mother, Granny, Pop...whatever you called them. The other construction is very clunky (trust me, copyeditors have a hayday with it!)

And then, watch your capitalization. Not "my Mom" but "my mom". "Mom" is a proper noun, like a name. "mom" is a common noun, like dog or tree.

And Emily has rewritten "Accidents". Please take a look?

Lots of synchronicity this week: sapphire rings, china...

I'll check back to see your comments and weigh in again.


I'm in magical Alberebello, land of the gnome-like houses called trulli, for a little R and R. It's a fascinating place, and I've copied the description from the go Italy website for any of you who might be curious, as I am. Otherwise, enjoy the picture here!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Off to Italy!

Here I am, back on Amtrak, heading home ever so briefly. Tonight I fly to Bari, Italy and then on to Matera for the International Women's Fiction Festival. So excited for the festival, and to see this part of Italy for the first time. Matera is in Puglia, which is the heel of the boot, on the Adriatic. After the festival, I'm spending a day and night in Alberobello in one of their trulli, conical limestone houses that look like gnomes should live there. I've wanted to see these for a long time, and can't wait to actually sleep in one. Then a night in Bari before my flight home on Wednesday. An adventure!

I saved the third Elena Ferrante book, and the fifth Maurizio de Giovanni just for this trip. Even though I've fondled both quite a lot, I kept my promise to wait to read them until Italy.

My bias blanket has grown too large to make it a good knitting project for traveling, so I will take either a cable hat (looks hard!!!) or the traveling vines cowl (ditto!). Or maybe both...Resisting the urge to knit dish rags instead because I'd like to have the hat and cowl for gifts, or maybe for me...

I will of course post pictures! 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Tonight in NYC!

I'll be at the Italian American Museum on Mulberry Street at 6:30! Can not wait! Hope to see you there. 

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


Grace's birthday. She would have been 18. Oh! What we have all missed!

Monday, September 22, 2014

I'm so excited to read at Barnes and Noble in NYC tonight!

I'll be at the B and N on Broadway at 82nd Street at 7. Would love to see you there!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Brooklyn Book Festival is today!

What a day of authors and books! Everyone from Joyce Carol Oates and Zadie Smith to Jonathan Dee and Phillippe Petit!

And me!

A Force Unleashed presented by the Brooklyn Public Library

Borough Hall Courtroom 
September 21, 2014 
Add to Calendar

Best-selling author Ann Hood (An Italian Wife), much-lauded debut novelists Matthew Thomas (We Are Not Ourselves), and Tiphanie Yanique(Land of Love and Drowning) and Dutch novelist Tommy Wieringa (Little Caesar ) discuss the life changing roles that mothers and sisters play in their latest novels. These determined women exert a driving force upon the other characters that is sometimes debilitating, sometimes life saving — always transformational. Introduced byLinda E. Johnson, President and CEO, Brooklyn Public Library. Moderated byMeredith Walters, BPL. With the support of DutchCultureUSA and the Dutch Foundation for Literature.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Brooklyn Book Festival Sunday

My terrific panel is at 2, but it's a day full of wonderful writers discussing their books and literary themes. I hope you can come!

I'm waiting for the train to NYC now, ready to spend the next three days there. Monday is my reading at the Barnes and Noble on the Upper West Side at 7. 

Then Tuesday I'm off to a sold out dinner event outside Philadelphia. 

For this afternoon, I'm eager to board my train, take out my computer, and write. Followed by some knitting. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Jamaica Plain tonight!

Get out your knitting needles and join me 

at JP Knit and Stitch in Jamaica Plain MA for the Greater Boston Yarn Crawl at 6 PM tonight!

I don't know about you, but I could use some knitting time. 


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Mystic CT and NYC

Big shout out to Judy, Pat, and Sally from Island Books. They put on a sold out event at The Salvation Cafe in Newport last night that was just wonderful. Great venue (with great after reading food!), great crowd, great night!

Soon I'll be heading to BankSquare Books in Mystic CT for my noon event with Ellen Stimson, author of Good Grief. There will be a yummy lunch too! Books and lunch make for a great combination!

Next week is all NYC (yay!), starting with the Brooklyn Book Festival on Sunday at 2. I'll be on a panel with Matthew Thomas, author of the knock out novel We Are Not Ourselves. 

Monday night I'll be at the Barnes and Noble on the Upper West Side at 7. 

And then next Thursday at the Italian American Museum on Mulberry Street at 6:30. 

A busy week ahead for An Italian Wife and me! Hope to see you!  

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Newport event sold out tonight

But I'm excited to see everyone who is coming to the Salvation Cafe!

And tomorrow (Thursday) I'll be at Bank Square Books in Mystic CT at noon. They do a terrific (and yummy!) lunch event. 

The next couple of weeks are busiest for An Italian Wife and me, including five days in Italy for the International Women's Fiction Festival in Matera, which is in Puglia--the heel of the boot. I've never been to this part of my favorite country, so I'm staying one night in a trulli, one of the odd cone shaped structures they have there. That will be fun!

Knitting my bias blanket has been just what I need. I'm at the widest part of it, so a row takes quite a bit of time. I knit two rows at a time to keep track of the pattern, and just knitting those two rows helps keep me calm and centered during this hectic September. And of course comforts me as Grace's eighteenth birthday nears. Today I tried to write about this birthday, but just couldn't. So instead I picked up my knitting needles. One row at a time, friends. 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Event in Hanover tonight postponed

Unfortunately. But I'm hoping it will be rescheduled soon!

Hanover MA Library, here I come!

A rainy train ride from NYC back home this morning. Everything is washed in gray, and there's a definite autumn chill in the air. 

I'm excited to talk about Knitting Yarns tonight at 6:30! Perfect weather for knitting...which I plan on doing on this train as soon as I get my two hours of writing time in. 

I hope you get to knit today, or read, or write, or sit with your thoughts for a bit. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Hanover MA, Newport RI, Mystic CT, Jamaica Plain MA

An Italian Wife and I will be in Newport at the Salvation Cafe at 6:30 on September 17 and at Bank Square Books in Mystic at noon on September 18. 

And the paperback of Knitting Yarns and I will be at the Hanover Library on September 16 and at Knit and Stitch in Jamaica Plain on the 19th. 

Hope to see you there! 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Off to South Hadley MA and The Odyssey Bookshop

After a really fantastic night at the Barrington Library, I'm excited to head west for my reading tonight at 7 at The Odyssey Bookshop in South Hadley MA. One of my favorite places!

A weekend of rest and friends and Gogo's meatballs before next week's busy schedule in Hanover MA, a luncheon at Bank Square Books in Mystic CT, and the Island Books event at The Salvation Cafe in Newport RI!

Then I get really busy!!! Details on my website And here of course. 

Thanks for making AN ITALIAN WIFE such a big success!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Barrington, Hadley

What a great night in Norwich, VT! I love that town, the Norwich Bookstore, and the lovely Norwich Inn. Gogo and I had a blast, especially when she sang Mussolini songs in Italian while I signed books!

I'm home again, and heading to the Barrington Library in Barrington, RI at 7 tonight. Tomorrow, it's AN ITALIAN WIFE and me at the Odyssey Bookstore in Hadley, MA. Another favorite bookstore of mine!

Here's Gogo in Norwich!

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Newtonville Books tonight at 7!

As you know, I love waking up to the sounds of NYC. And this morning I was lucky enough to do that. I wonder if white noise machines have a garbage truck on city street sound? That's the one I'd pick!

It's going to be a crazy busy autumn for me. Yesterday it began: an NYU class followed by my New School class, with just two hours in between and ending at 10:30 PM. And all my book tour events, which are abundant and exciting. Will need to take my vitamins these next couple of months!

Tonight I'll be at Newtonville Books at 7. Then tomorrow I take Gogo with me and head to VT and the Norwich Bookstore. Home Wednesday in time for an event at the Barrington Library. And Friday off to the Odyssey Bookstore in Hadley MA. All events are at 7 PM. 

Happy to start my day watching knitting tutorial videos. And listening to garbage trucks. 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Only 7 tickets left to October 25 event on Federal Hill!

This event on Federal Hill in Providence on October 25 is going to be wonderful! Lunch at Roma on Atwell's Avenue 11:30-1:30. And an autographed book! Reserved seating for groups of 6 or more. 

Prior to lunch, Chef Cindy Salvato of Savoring Federal Hill will be hosting a food tour. 

You bet I'll be at both events!

For reservations and/or questions, email the fabulous Robin Kall:


Friday, September 5, 2014


Wonderful Judy from Island Books just told me our event for An Italian Wife at the Salvation Cafe in Newport on September 17 is almost sold out! This is a ticketed event, and I don't want you to miss it! You can get tickets here:

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Providence! Boston! Norwich VT! Barrington RI! Hadley MA!

Thank you for all your good wishes and for sharing your own stories with me. Although I'm bruised inside and out, I'm doing what we all do every day: putting one foot in front of the other. 

And hitting the road with An Italian Wife. I hope to see you when I'm at your local bookstore! 

Here's what the upcoming week looks like. Details are on my website 

Tonight, September 4, Books in the Square, Providence. 7PM. 

September 9, Newtonville Books, 7PM

September 10, Norwich Books in Norwich, VT at 7PM. 

September 11, Barrington (RI) Library, 7PM

September 12, Odyssey Bookshop, Hadley MA at 7PM. 

Monday, September 1, 2014

On Being Robbed

I had planned to write here about that September feeling that never fails to hit. Back to school, although filled with so much anticipation and excitement, always makes my grief over losing Grace sharp and terrible and fresh. My own personal calendar always marks September as the start of a new year. And after Grace died, that new year reminded me of all she had been robbed of: first grade, getting her training wheels off, losing a tooth; choosing a middle school, taking art classes at RISD, finding friends and getting crushes on boys; growing tall--the same pediatrician who accurately predicted Sam would be 6't predicted Annabelle would be 5'11; growing beautiful; going to high school and making her art; college visits. This year we would have brought her to college for her freshman year and mourned her absence. That seems ironic. That seems as it should have been. Instead we were robbed of her and all her beautiful life would have been. Sam was robbed of that sister he adored, of making more memories with her. Of sam and grace, that dynamic duo.

Almost everyone I love most was born in September (with a nod to my two April babies): Gogo, GJ, Gina, and Grace. So that even her birthday is wrapped up with the joy of celebrating so many people I love. Ah. September. 

Saturday I flew to Atlanta for the Decatur Book Festival (absolutely wonderful!) and came back on Sunday (yesterday). I went from the airport to Gogo's to spend the afternoon with her, then met hubby and annabelle in Jamestown for a party. They'd camped out the night before. 

We got home some time before midnight and I went to the kitchen to set up the coffee maker. First thing amiss: the Jambox on the floor. Second thing, a window open. My heart immediately sunk because in the 15 years we've lived here, we've been broken into twice, both times through a kitchen window. As a result, I am neurotic about locking up, closing windows, etc. I asked Annabelle to please close the window (right around the same time I noticed the coffee maker was facing the wrong direction). Annabelle said the lock was broken on the window, and puzzled, I stacked cans of tomatoes on it to keep it closed. Upstairs, I went into the dressing room and saw the top of my bureau was empty: beautiful Mexican jewelry box gone. I ran into the bedroom where hubby was calmly reading and began shouting, "We've been robbed!" And babbling about the window and my jewelry box. He squinted and pointed: "isn't that your Mexican jewelry box?" And there it lay, emptied, on the bedroom floor. 

I immediately thought of what was taken: my Mexican necklace. My mother's pearls. My father's wedding ring. My Grace earrings. You see, I don't care for diamonds or emeralds. I wear the same chunk of turquoise on a cord that I got in Guatemala a few years ago almost every day. I'm not one for fancy stuff. But what I have--had--was sentimental and important. To me and only me. 

By this time, we started running around, taking measure of what had been taken. Hubby's great grandfather's gold cuff links. The necklace he made me from a stone from MtKilimanjaro. He climbed that mountain after Grace died, a way to keep grief from making him insane. 

Annabelle cried, "Did they take my violin?" I remembered that long ago, our Japanese exchange student had her clarinet stolen from a bus. So maybe instruments were something thieves take. And that violin? We rent it. I imagined how much it would cost to replace it. Annabelle was crying and scared and I ran to check downstairs. 

And fell down the stairs in my panic. 

The violin was not taken. But I have a pulled bicep, a sprained ankle, a sprained finger and thumb. 

Today was spent swallowing Advil, talking to the truly wonderful Providence police, taking inventory, fixing the window. The thief removed a window box and crowbarred the window. He wore gloves. He knocked over the Jambox as he climbed inside. 

My combination if sadness and anger has fluctuated all day. I've cried. A lot. What's been taken can't be replaced. I don't usually cry over things. Like I said, I'm not fond of fancy jewelry or labels. And I've lost so many people I love that I've come to understand what really matters. But in this month of sharp grief, as I'd already been thinking of what we've been robbed of, this seems especially cruel. 

Tomorrow, my arm will hurt a little less. School will start. September will begin in earnest. Tomorrow, I will still be measuring what we've lost, as if it could ever really be measured. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

Atlanta, Providence

What a wonderful Book Bash in Westhampton! Liz and Jocelyn know how to make a girl happy, and Jason Mott was a delight to share the stage with. 

On to Atlanta and the Decatur Book Festival tomorrow! 6 AM flight makes me already sleepy, but then I'll be on the "Weight of History" panel at 1:30, and hearing and seeing so many other writers that I'll perk up fast. 

On September 4 I'll be at Books in the Square in Providence at 7. If you're in the neighborhood please stop by!

In between, I made four tomato pies and three pounds of pasta with my homemade pesto--basil from our garden!--for an end of summer party last night. I'm going to post a picture of my pies, and try to also post one from Westhampton, but sometimes that goes awry...

Monday, August 25, 2014

Westhampton, Atlanta

That's where An Italian Wife and I are headed this week. I'm already in NYC, about to teach my first class at The New School for this semester. (starting before Labor Day!?) Tomorrow I head to Westhampton, where Books and Books is hosting its Summer Book Bash with Jason Mott and me:

Summer Book Bash with Authors Ann Hood and Jason Mott

Tue, 8/26/2014 - 5:00pm
Join bestselling authors Ann Hood (The Knitting CircleThe Obituary Writer) andJason Mott (The Returned) at the Westhampton Library for a Summer Book Bash! Ann Hood will talk about her newest book An Italian Wife and Jason Mott will talk about The Returned. Both will be on hand for autographing. Attendees will have an opportunity to purchase and have signed An Italian Wife a week ahead of its official publication date.
Following the authors' talk, the festivities begin with a "shout & share" in which all are welcome to talk about their favorite summer reads as well as vote for their favorite book of the summer. Food, raffles, prizes and more prizes will add to the celebration of books and reading.
Ann Hood's new novel An Italian Wife spans the course of three wars and almost a century. It is a multi-generational saga chronicling the story of the Rimaldi family; from the first generation who immigrated to the United States from Italy on the cusp of the twentieth century, to their great grandchildren. This is the American experience writ small, explored through the lens of one immigrant family.
"I loved Ann Hood's An Italian Wife in the same way I loved Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteridge - and for the same reason. The interconnected stories that fan out from a central character - in this case, matriarch Josephine Rimaldi - illuminate important truths about the ways in which our families, our ancestry, and the era into which we're born shape who we become. An Italian Wife is a multi-generational masterpiece." (Wally Lamb, author of She's Come Undone)
"An Italian Wife is glorious. The life of Josephine Rimaldi is the heart of this multi-generational family saga with deep, fertile roots in southern Italy.  Reading this novel was like taking a luscious train ride through the last century.  Full of surprise and wonder, the writing is at turns poetic and sensitive, then dynamic and wise.  Ann Hood is a master craftsman.  This resplendent novel is a grand crescendo in a pitch-perfect career." (Adriana Trigiani, author of The Shoemaker's Wife)
Last year when the poet Jason Mott tried his hand as a novelist, he took the book world by storm with his dazzling, New York Times bestselling debut novel, The Returned.  This disquieting and wholly original story about the dead returning to live once more among their loved ones struck a collective nerve among readers. Praised for its "emotional delicacy" (People) and "singularly eloquent voice" (Booklist), the novel was routinely called "breathtaking" (Kirkus), "masterly" (Library Journal), "exceptional...[and] riveting" (Publishers Weekly). The Returned attracted an even broader audience when it became the basis for ABC television's biggest new hit series, Resurrection.
Registration for this event is required and space is limited.  To register, please call the library at 631-288-3335. 
Wednesday I'll be back home in RI, hosting a welcome party for our new nanny and friend the following night, and celebrating Friday and Monday of Labor Day Weekend.
Saturday finds me at the Decatur Book Festival:
Ann Hood AJC Decatur Book Festival at 1:30 p.m. August 30 at the Decatur Presbyterian Sanctuary Stage. Drawing on her latest novel, she will present “The Weight of History,” addressing such themes as the ways one person’s choices can shape subsequent generations. - See more at:

I hope to see you at one of these events, or at one of the dozens throughout the autumn, all listed on my brand new website

Saturday, August 23, 2014

My new website!

I am so excited to premiere my new improved website! Same address: Check it out!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Come to The Summer Book Bash in Westhampton!

Join bestselling authors Ann Hood (The Knitting CircleThe Obituary Writer) and Jason Mott (The Returned) at the Westhampton Library for a Summer Book Bash! Ann Hood will talk about her newest book An Italian Wife and Jason Mott will talk about The Returned. Both will be on hand for autographing. Attendees will have an opportunity to purchase and have signed An Italian Wife a week ahead of its official publication date.

Following the authors' talk, the festivities begin with a "shout & share" in which all are welcome to talk about their favorite summer reads as well as vote for their favorite book of the summer. Food, raffles, prizes and more prizes will add to the celebration of books and reading.

Ann Hood's new novel An Italian Wife spans the course of three wars and almost a century. It is a multi-generational saga chronicling the story of the Rimaldi family; from the first generation who immigrated to the United States from Italy on the cusp of the twentieth century, to their great grandchildren. This is the American experience writ small, explored through the lens of one immigrant family.

"I loved Ann Hood's An Italian Wife in the same way I loved Elizabeth Strout's Olive Kitteridge - and for the same reason. The interconnected stories that fan out from a central character - in this case, matriarch Josephine Rimaldi - illuminate important truths about the ways in which our families, our ancestry, and the era into which we're born shape who we become. An Italian Wife is a multi-generational masterpiece." (Wally Lamb, author ofShe's Come Undone)

"An Italian Wife is glorious. The life of Josephine Rimaldi is the heart of this multi-generational family saga with deep, fertile roots in southern Italy.  Reading this novel was like taking a luscious train ride through the last century.  Full of surprise and wonder, the writing is at turns poetic and sensitive, then dynamic and wise.  Ann Hood is a master craftsman.  This resplendent novel is a grand crescendo in a pitch-perfect career." (Adriana Trigiani, author of The Shoemaker's Wife)

Last year when the poet Jason Mott tried his hand as a novelist, he took the book world by storm with his dazzling, New York Times bestselling debut novel, The Returned.  This disquieting and wholly original story about the dead returning to live once more among their loved ones struck a collective nerve among readers. Praised for its "emotional delicacy" (People) and "singularly eloquent voice" (Booklist), the novel was routinely called "breathtaking" (Kirkus), "masterly" (Library Journal), "exceptional...[and] riveting" (Publishers Weekly). The Returned attracted an even broader audience when it became the basis for ABC television's biggest new hit series, Resurrection.

Registration for this event is required and space is limited.  To register, please call the library at 631-288-3335

7 Library Ave.
Westhampton Beach
New York
United States
Event Location: 
Westhampton Free Library
Date and Time TBD: 
Use the Date and Time

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Last day in London...

...don't want to leave!

Yesterday we took in the mummies at the British Museum, strolled around Big Ben, Parliament, Westminster Abbey, sat at a cafe and people watched, finished up with most delicious dinner at Nopi (twice cooked chicken, corn and polenta, rainbow chard). 

It's been rainy and from time to time we change our plans. Love the fluidity of these days, our morning coffees and hours at Foyle's Bookstore, riding the (double decker) buses, stumbling upon Carnaby Street. 

Today: Borough Market for certain. But then? Anything goes. 

Lying here awake, thinking about the novel in progress, realized I went in the wrong direction. Can't wait to turn on computer and hit delete! The joy of thinking. 

And the joy of tea time! At Tea and Tattle. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Tower of London

Walked there from our hotel on a glorious cool afternoon. The poppies were impressive! And the Tower too, of course. Tales of Anne Boleyn's talking head, the mystery of the imprisoned princes, the armour and executioner's axe...what's not to love? Line for the Crown Jewels was almost an hour, so we skipped them this time. 

1AM now and Annabelle beside me reading, both of us wide awake. Jet lag should end just when we go home!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014


Arrived in London today with Annabelle and buddy Jane. Beautiful cool weather! And already smitten with this city, as I am every time I visit here. 
We made the long schlep from Heathrow to our hotel, Bermondsey Square, in a very groovy part of town near London Bridge. After breakfast (Jane had something called an egg and bacon butty, which was good for laughs all day) and a swing on the plastic swing in the lobby, we went straight to the Tate Modern and the Matisse Cut Outs exhibit. Surely one of my favorite exhibits ever. For one thing, the art made me happy. For another, the audio guide was brilliant. For another, the show was so well curated. And I bought four Matisse inspired glass rings for 12 pounds! We snoozed the rest of the afternoon, then woke in time for cocktails in hotel bar before dashing across the street to meet friends at Antico for dinner, which was convivial and yummy. 

My roommates here are snoring away, which is making me a little crabby since I've been awake since 1:30. Ah! Jet lag! However even this isn't tainting our most perfect first day. 

Today we will go to the Tower of London where in addition to the usual stuff there's an art installation of over 888,000 ceramic poppies installed, one for every British soldier killed in the Great War. 
Read about it here:

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Back to school

If you're like me, the year starts in September, not January. The smell of new pencils and chalk dust, Indian summer and that first red leaf on a tree. And school! I'm delighted to be teaching an online essay writing class through the Provincetown Fine Arts Center. Would love to see you there. 

Monday, August 4, 2014

Road trip!

Awake here in Charlston, SC because I've been eating glorious food, but too much of it. Wishing I had an Alka Seltzer! Sigh. 

But a good time to write about this most wonderful road trip with Cousin GJ and Annabelle. How I love a road trip! And this short one has me dreaming of planning a longer one. Maybe next summer? Thoughts of driving up to PEI, or through northern CA and up through Oregon, or around Portugal and Spain (can you drive to Morocco?!) are dancing in my head...

We left yesterday morning, stopped in Delaware for something called The Bobbie (a turkey sandwich of impressive heft), drove directly to Peter Chang's China Cafe in Short Pump, VA for Sichuan food (fried dried eggplant is now my new favorite thing), then slept happily in a Hilton before hitting the road again. Today our lunch stop was at Wilbur's BBQ in Goldboro, NC. It was fine, not mind blowing. Except the chicken gravy they serve you to dip your hush puppies in. That was revelatory. I was disappointed we couldn't stop at Ava Gardner's childhood home, but we had a 7:30 reservation at 82 Queen here in charlston so had to hit the road. Our room in The Elliot House is all southern charm. There's a courtyard below and I feel like I'm in Streetcar Named Desire. Champagne waiting for us. Two Bourbony manhattans, fried oysters, and shrimp and grits. Enter that Alka Seltzer I'm dreaming of. 

Biggest surprise? We are listening to the first Harry Potter book on tape and it is entertaining us all. I can't believe how much it makes me laugh. And it provided lively speculation at dinner tonight. Yes, it's true. I've never read the books or seen the movies. I started book 1, and Sam and Grace had no interest. So we moved on to other pursuits. Now I tracked down a copy of book 2 on tape to get us back to RI! A wonderful surprise this has been, and such good company these many miles. 

I've missed knitting my blanket, but as the driver I've time only to look for license plates to add to our map. We have spotted over  thirty, snagging Alabama and New Mexico today at last. The Dakotas, Hawaii, and Alaska are the plums. But we have all the way back home to spot them. 

Today we stay put in Charlston, eating dinner at Husk, the motivation for our trip here. It's right next door, so we have spotted it already. And after shopping and a sunset boat ride, it should be the perfect ending to our time here. 

Friday, July 25, 2014

Winding down

In the homestretch of two weeks of teaching and two Portlands. My voice is shot and my tummy is full of such great local food on each coast. I've had the pleasure of working with such terrific students and colleagues that my heart is even more full than my stomach. 
. Annabelle has had a great time too, with Secret Agent camp in Portland l and glass and metalwork camp in Portland ll. And we got to see friends on each coast.

 But I'm looking forward to packing up the mini tomorrow and heading home. A week of writing and nesting and not talking! Sounds just right. 

Made great progress on my bias blanket!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Online essay writing class!

This online class is one of the joys of my teaching life! You can do it in your pajamas!

Sunday, July 13, 2014


Happily settled into my dorm room at Reed College for Tin House Workshop. Thunder and rain! A dramatic beginning! Arrived late yesterday afternoon and went directly from airport to the wonderful welcome party, where I ate my fill of pork belly/tomato bites and corn pizza, followed by grilled salmon, sliders, and creamed kale. All of this came with my new favorite cocktail: whiskey and lemonata. Perfect for a sultry summer night. 

This morning my fabulous friend scooped me up and took me to Roman Candle for breakfast, where I had egg salad with arugula and bacon on toast. And Stumptown coffee. Oh. At night they serve compari and soda on tap. Sigh. 

Bought gorgeous bouquets of dahlias and zinnias in bright orange and hot pink tucked inside Mason jars to brighten our rooms. A couple Oregon zins to brighten our evenings. 

I love this city. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Off to Portland! And then Portland!

No, you're not seeing double. I'm leaving tomorrow for Portland OR and the fabulous Tin House workshop. And from there to Portland ME and the wonderful Stonecoast Workshop. Two weeks in two of my favorite places, teaching and kibitzing with other writers. Lots of hard work, but always exhilarating. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Truro Public Library Rocks!

What a night last night! Full Great audience. Beautiful Cape Cod night. Tricia and all the librarians there are all wonderful. And her husband Tom went to URI! Thanks to them, and Courtney, Martha, and Lisa. 

If you're on the Cape this summer, check out their reading series. I'm sad to leave here this morning and return to hot and humid Providence. Sigh. 

On a different note, if you're looking for a terrific book of short stories, run don't walk and get BOBCAT by Rebecca Lee. Blew my flip flops off!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Happy Fourth of July!

My father was born on the 4th, and he always said the celebrations were for him! And celebrate we did, beginning his birthday every year with John Philip Sousa's STARS AND STRIPES FOREVER, followed by the biggest party ever. That party moved from our backyard to the beach in later years, but only got bigger and better. I've always preferred a low key 4th since he died. Do Arthur's rainy visit today was fine by me. Spent the morning in Bristol and afternoon with Gogo. Then came home with tulips and the fixings for carbonara. A game of Clue, watched The Leftovers, and went to sleep with the lovely sound of rain on the roof (and blissful cool air coming in the windows)...

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Truro, morning

I had forgotten the beauty and old fashioned summer fun of the Outer Cape. But my week teaching fiction here at Castle Hill inTruro has brought it all back. Kind of a perfect 4 days. I teach in the morning, Annabelle and I forage for lobster rolls or a half dozen Wellfleet oysters for lunch, she takes a felting class in the afternoon while I write, then we head off on an adventure before dinner: climbing the Cape Cod Light, mini golf, a concert at the library, the drive-in. At night we read WONDER together (after more oysters). It will be hard to pack up and leave today...

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Waking up in Las Vegas!

Librarians and slot machines! Here at the ALA conference to sign AN ITALIAN WIFE. And sign I did! Thank you to everyone who waited in line yesterday for an ARC. 

Had a giant rib eye for dinner. Two glasses of wine. Asleep by 7:30 (10:30 my east coast time) and now awake at 6:30! I'll be on the Hot Picks Book Club panel at 10:30 this morning and on a flight home at 2. Did someone say whirlwind?

Started the Bias Blanket pattern from Purl Soho yesterday and LOVE IT! Knitters: try this one. Had to teach myself M1L and M1R (thank you Knitwitch and YouTube) on my layover in Charlotte but now happily knitting. A great summer pattern, and a good one for travel since it starts with 5 stitches. 

Sam arrived in Amsterdam on schedule. So proud of that guy!

If you are on Cape Cod, please come to the Truro Library in July 8!  

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Waking up in NYC

Cousin GJ and I drove down yesterday, arriving in time for Sam to load up his stuff from his old apartment, throw the car in a parking garage, and hightail it to our favorite Mexican restaurant, Empillon, for margaritas, guacamole, smoked cashew salsa, queso fundido, and tacos. GJ and I have been dreaming of this meal for months, but kept getting sidetracked to other fabulous restaurants. Last night, happily full, we went to see the play THE VILLAGE BIKE at the Lucille Lortel. In true NYC fashion, we spotted its star, Greta Gerwig,  walking to the theater. And the Harry Potter guy (Daniel Radcliffe?) and his girlfriend walking out of the theater. In between, we saw the play! Which was so well acted (the guy from one of GJ and my favorite theater experiences, GATZ) and written that I was just happy for two hours. 

Today: taking Sam home! Yay! Saturday he leaves for seven weeks in Amsterdam for an intensive acting training program. Proud of my kiddo. 

Annabelle is at ballet camp all week. 

And me? I'm writing my novel. And starting a new knitting project:

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

And on another note...

Sorry to be silent here for a bit, but someone tried very hard to get into one of my email accounts. Sigh. So I had to do all kinds of security stuff with the wonderful people at Google. 

Otherwise, a lovely week at home writing! This new novel is taking up most of my thinking time, which I love. So days are kind of flying by on a whirl of words. 

School has ended for AB and to celebrate we spent today at the beach with my buddy and his daughter in beautiful Watch Hill, RI. 

A full weekend with a wedding! A birthday party! 

And I'd be remiss if I didn't thank Alison, Priscilla, Peggy, and everyone at QC READS for an incredible night. Here's the proof of how awesome they are:

Happy birthday, Paul!

My first crush! 

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Loving the rainy day

Here in NYC, a lovely drizzle. Gray skies. I think I'd be fine living in Portland, OR or any rainy place. 

Just had early breakfast with Sam and now will spend the morning writing before I drive home. I'm at the point in this new 180 pages so far novel where I can't wait to write, where writing is my favorite part of the day. I'm so lucky to get to do what I love. I count my lucky stars for that every day. 

What a wonderful night at the Gold CoastLibrary in  Glen Head, NY last night! Thanks to everyone who came, and to all the terrific people who put the night together!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

some days...

...out of nowhere, grief just returns with a vengeance. Of course I can point to things that might have brought it on today, but what's more important is just getting through it. I wrote. I knit. I watched the Barefoot Contessa.

Tonight, a book club talk that will help get me out of my funk.

I only post this because I know many of you out there feel it too, and have these days where you just can't find your way out. But we do. Somehow, we do.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Sipping champagne... the Virgin Atlantic Upper Class lounge, and waiting for flight to London (then on to geneva). I have become a total devotee of VA since my flight to NYC on Thursday. They made me a bed and tucked me in. There was a bar--a real bar! With stools! I felt civilized, which is not a feeling I get often when I fly. 

Had breakfast with Sam in NYC. Oh happy heart!

Just saw so many people I love. 

And now eager to get back to France and Annabelle for our final week in Chamonix!

Friday, May 30, 2014


What time is it?! Flew from Geneva to JFK yesterday and went straight to People Magazine book party for the BEA.  Can't intersperse pics here so will put them all at the end. But it was a terrific party, filled with many of my favorite writers, including Lily King (new novel EUPHORIA is wonderful! Read it!) and Christina Baker Kline (ORPHAN TRAIN! Ditto!) Then on to dinner at Barbuto (vodka and rosemary lemonade cocktails!  Kale salad, their famous chicken and potatoes!) with one of my oldest, dearest friends, Matt (flight attendants together). Then collapsed in bed. Now awake at 4:30 am. Book signing at 10:30, lunch at noon, possible collapse after, followed by the premiere of the movie THE FAULT IN OUR STARS tonight. Guess what? Back to France tomorrow!

Monday, May 26, 2014

Side trip to Italy

Why not?! Chamonix is maybe the perfect town: not only is it adorable and charming, but it's near so many excellent places. So we all hopped in the car and drove to Aosta, Italy--another perfect town. Postcard pretty with great little shops and cafes and unbelievable Roman ruins in great shape. Standing in the Forum, feeling history in those ancient stones (25 BC) actually made me cry. 

Cried again when I drove to our agriotourismo for dinner and sleep. Not out of awe but out if sheer terror. Me with my fear of heights had to navigate switchbacks with no railings on hairpin hair raising turns. Might have to just live here now rather than drive back down...

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Back in Chamonix

After a sunny, glorious day in Lyon (including a street market full of produce so beautiful I couldn't stop taking pictures-- think white asparagus and artichokes the size of my head; a funicular ride up to the dazzling Nortre Dame Cathedral; and the best omelette I have ever eaten), we returned to our little Chamonix family. We made kir royales followed by more champagne with the requisite bread and fromage and charcuterie. Then Skyped with everyone back home. They too looked dazzling in the bright afternoon sun in the backyard. And I went to sleep feeling a little homesick. But grateful too for this adventure annabelle and I are having. 

This afternoon, our tribe heads off to Italy for an agriotourismo adventure in Aosta. 

Today, reunited with my wonderful students in our lovely cafe. 

Saturday, May 24, 2014

In Lyon

The city girl in me loves Lyon. Gorgeous gleaming buildings. Lots of statues and fountains. And warm sunshine. Sat outside and sipped champagne before walking across a broad plaza with giant letters that spell out LYON to Le Sud for dinner. The bridge outside has a sculpture of a bouquet of flowers. Everything here kind of makes me smile!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Birds singing...

...outside my window in Beaune. Trying to roust myself out of bed and downstairs where cafe au lait awaits beneath stern eyes of cantankerous B and B owner. 

Fun trip, though not my favorite place. We have done a lot of laughing!
Cheese, wine, Norwegians, more cheese, more wine, mustard, nun mannequins, still more cheese and wine. 

Onward to Lyon!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Adventures in Burgundy

It was hard to leave our apartment in Chamonix, but the promise of burgundy--the wine and the region--sent us west for the weekend. Rain. Highway. Road construction. We'd read about the beautiful, colorful tiled roofs of Beaune, and heard that our hotel was special, so we kept our spirits up despite the ride. 

Well. Our hotel is not so great. Ok. It's kind of depressing. And far from the old town, a confusing walk away down busy streets. And old town proved to be less beautiful and colorful than we'd hoped. 

But! We did a 10 wine tasting for only 15 euro. And for Chardonnay lover me, Burgundy is pretty accommodating. Then dinner at one of the best restaurants I've ever had the pleasure of visiting. There was smoked asparagus. Amouse bouches. Pork. But it was the mashed potatoes that turned excellent to mind blowing. A foamy bowl of creamy deliciousness. Annabelle ate two bowls full! 

The confusing long walk back took the glow off though. Our hot stuffy depressing room made Cousin Gina get us a room change. The old lady smell followed us to our new room unfortunately. 

I think tomorrow's vineyard tour and visit to the mustard maker will take our mind off our troubles. So far, Beaune not so bonne. But hey! I'm in France! And we've already got enough stories from just today to keep us laughing all the way back to Chamonix!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Morning in Chamonix

Feels more Swiss than French here, what with raclette and fondue on every corner and chalets everywhere I look. I love teaching at the local cafe with a cafe au lait and big flaky pastry by my side. What a great, convivial group we have here. Annabelle is having a ball with the other kiddos. There's my favorite widow, Veuve Cliquot, every night along with yummy local cheeses and baguettes. Can't find a thing to complain about!

Here's my "office". Couldn't get that guy to move, so pretend he's not there!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Morning, Chamonix

Greeted by the fabulous Erin Belieu, Michael Dahlie, and Allison Lynn (+kids) and spent an evening of wine, local cheeses, salami, and mini macarons and eclairs. 

Mostly unpacked, though for now I am avoiding the heap of stuff that needs to be hung up still. Coffee in bed as I dip in to Richard Russo's gorgeous memoir Elsewhere before meeting my workshop at 9. 

View from our balcony:

Waiting in Heathrow

Seems I'm doing that a lot lately! A shlep still ahead. Fly to geneva, pick up baggage and rental car, an hour drive to Chamonix, a grocery store stop, unpacking, hopefully dinner at some point. Then my favorite kind of sleep, when jet lag takes over. 

Will be posting pictures soon, after we've settled in and wake up!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Home, Briefly

I have returned from my cruise to Bermuda with Gogo, tanned and rested! What a week! And what a way to spend Mother's Day! Usually, we host Gogo and my mother-in-law, various cousins and aunts. And although I always feel adored and feted, I also cook and entertain. This year, Gogo and I lay on a pink sand beach together drinking rum swizzles and eating grouper sandwiches. And talking. And talking. And talking. Gogo and I have no secrets from each other, and I relish our time together reviewing the good, the bad, and the ugly of our lives, past and present. Real mother-daughter time, now that was a Mother's Day to remember...

It was no coincidence that that night, the lounge act was a guy singing a Beatles' Tribute, as if Gracie was there with me too.

And now I'm back! Just in time to pick up Annabelle from her field trip to Mystic Seaport, and take her to her on-site dance the rain!!! Her dance company, Jump!, is so innovative and exciting. They've done on-site performances at the Rochembeau Library here in Providence, as well as at the Athenaeum, both really terrific. Excited to see them dance down Blackstone Boulevard tonight, and then go to the annual fundraiser.

A crazy day tomorrow as Annabelle and I pack up for our three weeks in Chamonix, France. Our apartment is waiting for us, and I'm already dreaming of sitting around at night eating good cheeses, drinking good wine, maybe working on a jigsaw puzzle...We've got a trip to Beaune and Lyon all booked, and hopefully we will also get to Turin, Italy. But mostly looking forward to getting to know our little town, taking some hikes, and hearing Annabelle's French in practice!

Books I'm taking along with me:
The Possibilities by Kaui Hart Hemmings
Euphoria by Lily King
Elsewhere by Richard Russo
I Hate to Leave This Beautiful Place by Howard Norman
Family Life by Akhil Sharma

That's a lot of books, and with teaching four days a week I'm not sure I'll read all of them. But like friends, I need books around me.

Haven't decided what knitting project to bring. That Bristol and Ivy silk cami takes a lot of concentration...should I limit myself to just dishrags? I'll reconsider once I see how heavy my suitcases are!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Starry Starry Night, City Year

What a night! City Year's 25th anniversary, and I talked to so many incredible young people. Grant from Apex, NC? You rock! As does Molly, Jacob, and Dominic! (from PA, CT, IL) These young people and so many others go into our public schools and make a true difference. Happy I got to talk to them and support City Year. 

Ok. Time to pack. Pink sands ahead. 

Pink Sand in My Future!

What a great way to end my week at the Ames Library in Easton, MA last night! Sold out crowd, KNITTING YARNS contributors, Marianne Leone and Taylor Polites, knitters and readers galore!

Today? Digging out the bathing suits and sunscreen, flip flops and sundresses, magazines and paperbacks, and packing up for Bermuda!

Gogo and I set sail tomorrow at 4. Stay tuned for updates. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

On to Easton, MA!

Just a quick thank you to the 60+ people who attended the Pages in the Pub event last night and made it such a success!

Hope to see you at the Ames Library in Easton, MA tomorrow night at 6:30 if you are in the neighborhood!

Monday, May 5, 2014

New Author Photo

Thanks to the incredible Catherine Sebastian!

Newport, RI; Easton, MA

What great news! I just learned the Pages and the Pub fundraiser for Baby Steps tonight is sold out! Thanks to Judy and Island Books and of course to Lisa Christie from the Norwich Bookstore in Vermont who made this happen. I hope you have a ticket and will be at the Salvation Cafe in Newport tonight at 6!

Wednesday night, I will be at the Ames Library in Easton, MA at 6PM with some of my favorite Knitting Yarns contributors. If you are in that neighborhood, please come and see us. Bring your knitting! I am!

I'm finishing the Whidbey scarf from Loop Knits so that I can concentrate on my Bristol Ivy pale pink cami. This is a challenging project that makes me sweat when I think about it. Stay tuned for progress reports.

Friday, Gogo and I head to Bermuda on our cruise that she won! I haven't seen those pink sand beaches since I was sixteen and I took the money I'd earned from modeling at Jordan Marsh and went there with my friend Nancy. The flight on delta from Boston was $99. Roundtrip! Day One I met a boy (my downfall!) who was there with his family, and he swooped Nancy and I up with him on all their adventures--sailing, dining, rum swizzling. I'm excited to finally go back to that magical island!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Come to Newport for Cinqo de Mayo

Pages in the Pub was started by the lovely women of the Norwich Bookstore in Norwich, VT. It brings together local "celebrities", books, drinks, and frivolity all for a good cause. 

This Monday we'll be at the Salvation Cafe in Newport, RI at 6 for Pages in the Pub, which will raise money for Baby Steps. ( The wonderful Judy Crosby of Island Books will have books for moms, dads and grads. You'll get a free drink and have lots of fun. And a good time will be had by all. 

If you're itching for someCinqo de Mayo celebrating, head over to Perro Salado! 

Hope to see you on Monday! 

Monday, April 28, 2014

North Conway, NH

Tuesday, April 29, 5:00pm
Author talk and knitting circle with ANN HOOD, author of Knitting Yarns: Writers on Knitting, co-sponsored with Close Knit Sisters and Kearsarge Inn

Bring in your knitting or simply join us for a cozy circle and author talk with Ann Hood who will share how the power of knitting, stitch-by-stitch, can teach us to live in the moment and let go.

- See more at:

Friday, April 25, 2014

Exciting news#2

At 6:00 tonight I'll be in conversation. With Andre Dubus lll to kick off the Newburyport Literary Festival! Come if you can!

Exciting news #1

my fourth novel, Something Blue, has been selected for Amazon's “Kindle Big Deal” promotion. FromApril 25 – May 11, it will have a promotional price of $1.99, and it will receive featured placement on the Big Deal page!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Rainy Day

As you know, I love a rainy day. Even when I've left my raincoat in NYC. ☔☔

And today I have to Skype this morning (can't say why) and then it's off to lunch and a movie with Annabelle, Cousin GJ, and my niece's little one. Perfect rainy day!

Yesterday I stared at the stale French bread from Saturday night's lamb dinner and had one thought: bread pudding (of course). Now I love the recipe in the Silver Palate. But Annabelle hates raisins. I considered leaving them out, but then all I'd have is bread and sugar and milk...luckily, I remembered the bread pudding I had years ago at Mother's in New Orleans. It didn't have raisins. It had fruit cocktail instead! Thanks to the Internet, I found the recipe in a flash and am making it today. 

And here's some rainy day good news: I found out yesterday that my essay on Laurie Colwin and tomato pie won a Best American Food Writing Award! It's here:

Monday, April 21, 2014

I made it

That's the best I can do. It's rare that Grace's anniversary falls on Easter weekend. But this year it did. And I got through it, somehow even managing to host a big dinner party Easter Eve (made 4 hour braised lamb a la Barefoot Contessa--try it!). 

But by yesterday afternoon, I hit a wall and burrowed under a blanket with two books--Dani Shapiro's STILL WRITING and Abigail Thomas' THINKING ABOUT MEMOIR--to re read. Then it was on to watch Philomena (loved!) and Mad Men and sleep. 

Today had to take a deep breath to plunge into the week. Still feeling the shadow of grief lingering. 

But there's a lot of great events coming up before I leave for Bermuda on May 9!

The details for my readings in Easton, MA (with some KNITTING YARNS contributors) and North Conway, NH are up on my website. 

And so are the details for this weekend's Newburyport Literary Festival, where I'll be in conversation with Andre Dubus lll on Friday night and reading at Jabberwocky on Saturday afternoon. 

And next weekend finds me doing all things Grub at Grub Street's Muse and the Marketplace in Boston. These are ticketed events, but for the whole schedule please go to 

But here are the details for the wonderful fundraising event in Newport on May 5:

Until then, I'm knitting and reading and visiting book clubs. A trip to NYC to hear my friend Laura Lippman in conversation with Gillian Gone Girl Flynn. Another to have dinner with my buddy Jane Hamilton, and to cheer Sam on in a musical at NYU. 

Looking forward to the pink sands and turquoise sea in Bermuda...

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Library Journal chooses AN ITALIAN WIFE as a fiction pick this month!

Holding the gorgeous Advanced Reading Copy in my hand. And heading home after 5 days in NYC, my spiritual home. Saw plays, met with students, met with editors, saw Sam, had dinner with old friends, shopped, and walked and walked and walked despite the rain and snow and hail and deep freeze. 

Eager to get home now, after missing my train. Ugh. Annabelle is so excited to turn 10 tomorrow, and reach double digits. 

And as most of you know, tomorrow is also 12 years since that horrible day that my Gracie died. It will be tough to get through it, while hosting family to celebrate Annabelle. This year it falls on Easter weekend. I'm hoping the distraction of coloring eggs and cooking and being with my marvelous extended family helps me through. 

Thanks to everyone who has already sent me such loving messages. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


Woke up at 4 with that awful feeling in my gut. Grief. Every year around the anniversary of Grace's death, this week or even the month of April itself, brings fresh waves of grief. 

This year, I'm in NYC all week and have surrounded myself with family and friends and work--all of which have been helpful in keeping me busy and feeling positive. But today marked the anniversary of losing my dad, and I carried that around all day. No wonder grief snuck up on me while I slept. 

Most of you reading this know that this week is also joyful: both Sam and Annabelle's birthday. So glad to celebrate these amazing kids of mine, which began on Sunday and continues in various ways through the week. 

No doubt I will lie here until the sun comes up, letting this sadness fill me. Then the world will wake up (I already hear deliveries to the D'Agostino's across the street), I will drink my coffee and knit until it's time to step out into that world. For any of you feeling grief, fresh or familiar, we can do this today. I'm with you, and I feel all of your arms with me, holding each other up.