Join Me Tomorrow at Symposium Books


Stop into Symposium Books this Saturday from 1 to 3 PM for a spot of tea, a little trivia and some nice conversation with me and three other women authors from Rhode Island about our books, writing, publishing and being an woman author in this wacky little state. Hope to see you locals.

Symposium Books is located at 240 Westminster Street in Providence.


Don’t Quit Your Day Job! Or Should You? The Realities Of Money and Writing /@StephanieKeyes

Don’t Quit Your Day Job! Or Should You? The Realities Of Money and Writing /@StephanieKeyes


I can so relate to this!

I am planning on writing full time once I retire (which is approaching quicker than I’d like to admit), and I’m having all the same angst about both – working full time now, and not working full time later.
Interesting thoughts for anyone who wants to do what they love.

Originally posted on All The Way YA:

When I began my first novel, I had no intention of leaving my job. I loved Human Resources training. Not only did I enjoy helping people, but it was a role that couldn’t have suited me better. So, even as I worked on my first draft of The Star Child, I planned to continue working full-time, dedicating my weekends to writing and family.

So…I Might Have Changed My Mind

My discontent with trying to fit both working full-time and writing into my schedule kicked in after I had my second son–the one we affectionately refer to as Bam-Bam. With a generous maternity leave, I not only had time to spend with the new little guy, but also to self-publish The Star Child. It was a huge accomplishment–especially with a newborn. It also planted a seed:

What if I don’t go back to work?

It was a big decision. There were…

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The Best Mothers Day Gift


My daughter’s absolute favorite song is Bridge Over Troubled Water sung by Johnny Cash.  I wonder if she remembers it from her embryonic days, but will never mention this to her, as I’m sure she will once again proclaim my weirdness and stop talking.  She actually loves several versions of this song, and yesterday we sang them all in the car on the way to Mimi’s and Nana’s and back home again.

I realize that I am by no means a gifted singer.  I am a shower singer, a driving in the car by myself singer, a person with music, good and bad, sifting around in my head all day singer.  The right phrase spoken out loud by stranger can trigger a song in my head and sometimes out of my mouth.  Such words Spoken by a friend can lead to both awkward or funny blurts of melody and lyrics, based on my timing.  Timing is everything.

Newport BridgeWhen I was pregnant with Julia, I not only sang to myself, but I sang to her.  I felt like I could communicate to her through my car and shower singing rituals.  But just in case I couldn’t reach her, I spent many relaxing hours with a pair of headphones on my belly so that she might get exposed to some people who could actually sing – George Jones, Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson to name a few.  Mellow, sweet and sad songs that could calm her while opening and forming her little unborn mind.  Songs about love and loss, which sounds depressing, but it was the tonal quality of the voices and the music that I was after, to soothe her, and myself.

Once Julia was born, the music really began.  I sang to her in the car before she could consciously object.  I danced her around the house to George Harrison All Things Must Pass and other Beatles songs every evening before bed.  Reading stories included music and singing songs, always.  From infancy to at least 2 years old or so, she stopped crying almost instantly whenever I sang Michelle to her.

The first song she ever sang was the Winnie the Pooh theme song.  We’d drive to daycare and kindergarten singing Elmo and other Sesame Street character hits; I grew to enjoy Elmo’s screeching little high-pitched laughter (I no longer can tolerate him, thankfully).  As she went through elementary school, we’d still sing in the car in the mornings, to everything from Julie Andrews to Hannah Montana to Weird Al Yankovich, based on whatever stage she happened to be going through in.  The songs she learned in school were also belted out on the way to the grocery store, bank, or whatever other errands we ran together.  Singing with her, though not a conscious activity (as in NOW WE SHALL SING), was our way of connecting.  I never thought that would change.

If you’ve read some of my past blog posts, you will learn that eventually, around 5th or 6th grade, in Julia’s mind, our music became “your music” and “my music.” ( Read   or  Me singing Julia’s music became … unappreciated.  In fact, it was very much frowned upon.  My heart shattered, my ultra sensitive feelings crumbled.  How could she shut me out?  How can I believe that she still loves me?  So many parts of our relationship began to change.  She became a DT – Disagreeable Tweener.

I’ve now learned to appreciate the moments when we are both together and somewhat aligned, and that’s certainly helped me accept her become the individual that she is.  They are small and sometimes short-lived moments, but relished and sealed in my heart forever.  And becoming more frequent these days, thankfully.

So yesterday was Mothers Day and included car rides to visit my mom and my mother-in-law.  Julia normally changes the radio to one of “her” stations as soon as the ignition turns over, or plugs in her phone and her music before I even get a chance to object.  But not today.  Today Paul McCartney belted out Till There Was You without interruption or eye-rolling.  No looking out the car window with disgust, just a patient tolerance.  And then after came our medley of Bridge Over Troubled Water.  Some gifts are priceless.

Take a listen to Julia’s favorite renditions, in order of preference


You Must Have a Happy New Year, and Other Unsolicited Advice

You Must Have a Happy New Year, and Other Unsolicited Advice

The official time has arrived – to reflect, review, re-ponder and beat ourselves into the ground about the past year. Often we focus more on what went wrong, what we did wrong, than what went really well for us and because of us. When I say we, I mean me, of course. At least that’s what I’ve done for as long as I care to remember. Unfortunately I do this every day, but I’m trying to be better. Really.

I do not want to come off all preachy, but what better time of year to bestow advice onto people whether they want it or not? Here goes.

As 2014 draws to a close, I am aware that I have things to work on, just like last year, and most likely just like next year and every other year I live on this planet. My emotional maturity needs to expand and evolve; I need to get better at confrontation and emotional regulation so that I can get through those awkward moments that leave me sleepless at night with worry, or in perpetual replay in my OCD brain, saying ‘Why did I do that? Why did I let that happen? Why didn’t I fill in the blank?’

I’m also aware of what I want to accomplish. I want to do well at my new job and make real contributions to the new team. I want to eliminate the drama from my life, and learn to be a better mother, daughter, wife, sister and friend. It would be awful nice if book 2 finally got drafted in 2015. And there’s a little matter of weight, which has been on my To Do list for almost 50 years. I’ve gotten close at times, and at others just moved so far away from having a healthy body that I didn’t even recognize myself.

This year I hope to keep it simple. No I don’t mean throwing out everything I haven’t used in a year, although that’s an awesome idea for someday. I’m not going to live in a thatched hut and eat nuts and berries while crafting the Great American Novel of the 21st century. Lonely and way too much in terms of dietary fiber for this old gut.

I’m letting go of the extreme expectations I have for myself that I try to use as a means of controlling my less than positive behaviors. After many years of trying to plan out my perfect life only to fall short on day 2 and give up, I believe the best course for me is to take it slow. Plan each day once it gets here instead of planning weeks and months of my life that just aren’t going to happen. For example, many is the time that I’ve started a new diet, for example, and forecasted how long it would take me to lose the desired amount of weight, to the week, and the day sometimes, only to fall off the wagon and abandon all plans and all goals to get healthy. Or I’ve put together an impossible to keep writing schedule over three months, only to miss the first scheduled time period out of sheer procrastination and obsession with keeping structured.

Structure is awesome; it keeps me focused and moving in some kind of direction, and decreases those feelings of total overwhelming chaos that I fight more and more as I age. But structure for structure’s sake is a sure way to kill creativity and motivation. Working to make the plan work just doesn’t work.

I recently came across a newsletter from a self help guy out there that many of you may be familiar with, Dr. Wayne Dyer. He is world renowned for his practice of positive affirmations, practicing selflessness, and internal introspection.   He has had a profound effect on my life through his Power of Intention series, which helped me stop being so negative and start being open all kinds of possibilities. I admire his method of effectively communicating complex spiritual and reflective concepts so that they are understandable and tangible to people like me. This week’s topic in Wayne’s Weekly Wisdom: For 2015, Let’s Live in the Now. This is something that anxious and obsessive people like me are very bad at. We are always worrying about the dangers of the future, steaming about the mistakes of the past, and left in a state of static limbo and inaction. I’m not that horrible these days, but there was a time in my life when I could not enjoy the present moment and was always anticipating the next move. Job-wise, family-wise, everything-wise.

This is my preachy advice and wish for all of you – live in the moment. The moment is all that we can control, it’s all that we can influence. We certainly reflect on the past, but it doesn’t exist. We possess the power to remove past negative remnants and feelings from our day to day lives. You can prepare for the future versus not sitting on your bum waiting for things to come to you, but you don’t have to sacrifice being engaged in the present moments of life. That is my hope for me, and for anyone else that sometimes feels lost, or failing, or unable to get his or her arms around the huge complexities and changes which life constantly provides. Not an easy thing to do, especially letting go of the pain and disappointment of the past. But it can become a good healthy habit that you do have control over.

Check all of this out for yourself if you like:

With this link you can enter the Hay House Newsletter page and subscribe to Dr. Dyer, or any number of other Hay House authors who provide positive, reflective advice to those who choose to use it.

Have a wonderful, safe and satisfying 2015. Amen.


Proud to be a Member -come to the Expo!

Proud to be a Member -come to the Expo!

Fantastic article in the Sunday ProJo. Steven and Dawn Porter are dedicated, talented artists and promoters. I’m not always a big “joiner” but I have great respect for the Porters and their efforts to bring Rhode Island authors together. I find most authors understand that there is “some for everyone” and freely support each other even as we struggle to support our own writing, as one local reader for one author will definitely benefit another as we promote the extensive and varied local talent in Rhode Island.

Come visit next Saturday if you’re nearby. You will be sure to find some unique treasures for yourself and to give as gifts. I speak from experience as I always find something special and have given local books to friends and family with very satisfying results.