About Me

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Hello! I'm a writer from central New York who has bipolar disorder. Among other topics, I write about mental illness and writing. I have short stories published in Lynx Eye, Lost Coast Review, The Outrider Review, Sliver of Stone Magazine, The Mondegreen, The Linnet's Wings, Cobalt Review, Breath & Shadow, The Round Up, Postscripts to Darkness, and several other journals. I have essays about mental illness in The Ram Boutique and Amygdala Literary Magazine, and an essay in Parts Unbound: Narratives of Mental Illness & Health, a book that was published by Lime Hawk Literary Arts Collective. In December of 2016, The Mondegreen nominated my story "Santa Lucia" for a Pushcart Prize. I've written a novel entitled Purple Loosestrife and a novel entitled Hoping It Might Be So, both of which I am submitting to agents and publishers. I'm working on a novel called Dark and Bright as well as a book called Violets Are Blue: Essays About My Bipolar Life. I have a B.A. in English from SUNY Buffalo and an M.A. in English from SUNY College at Brockport. I hope you enjoy your visit to my blog!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Poor Matthew

I'm putting the main character of my novel, Matthew Holman, through hell right now. A lot of tough things have happened to him, and he suffers from major depressive disorder and is in the midst of a terrible episode. I'm cruising into the end of this novel, and I'm tormenting Matthew all the while. Will things get better for him in the end? We shall see. I know what happens, but I don't want to spoil anything for potential readers of this novel (whether they be family and friends, or God willing, this book gets published and they're readers of the published novel).

I seem to put a lot of my characters through hell. My short stories tend to be dark, and there's been darkness in both my novels (in Purple Loosestrife, Spencer, one of my main characters, suffers from schizoaffective disorder and has an overall melancholy about him). It's not that I don't have happy or funny moments, but I tend to like darker pieces of work, both when I read and when I write.

By the way, Hoping It Might Be So and Purple Loosestrife happen in the same literary universe. Both take place in my fictional Finger Lakes town of Haversville, which is located on the shore of Seneca Lake. I love traveling to Haversville in my mind.

Monday, April 18, 2016

In Memory of Anne Purcell

Anne Purcell was in my second grade class and lived, for a time, in my neighborhood. We were good friends. I had so much fun when I would play with her. After second grade, Anne switched to Catholic school, and shortly thereafter, she moved out of the neighborhood. We didn't keep in touch, which would have been tough to do as a kid in the 1970s. Even if we'd had e-mail and cell phones, we would have been too young to use these things.

I found out the other day that Anne died of breast cancer. She was forty-nine years old, married, and the mother of two daughters. My heart is heavy and even though I haven't seen Anne is decades, I miss her.

This is the second young friend I've lost in the past few months. I lost Lori, my close friend and former college roommate, in January. And now Anne Purcell is gone.

Rest in peace, Anne.

"Seventy Years to the Day"

I have to this point not written about the last short story I wrote, "Seventy Years to the Day". It's about a man named Nathan, the secretary of the Chemistry Department at a college, who's in love with a woman named Tricia, a celebrated chemist who is on the faculty. Nathan also has an obsession with a gull he visits on the Erie Canal in Fairport, New York, where he lives (Fairport is my actual hometown). It's a 1,400 word story--just a short journey into the life of Nathan, but hopefully a journey that will resonate with the reader.

I've submitted it to a few journals for possible publication. I hope it finds a home. I'm fond of the story because it takes place in my hometown, and because I just love Nathan.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Progress

I'm making progress on my novel Hoping It Might Be So. I'm on chapter 24 of what I think will be 26 chapters total. It's at nearly 90,000 words--Purple Loosestrife is 68,000 words so, as you see, this is a longer novel than my first. I feel like I know more about how to construct a novel. Not that this is the reason it's longer, but I think it's a little more complex. I have one main character, Matthew Holman, and then four other major characters: Gil Egan, Sadie Egan, Veronica McFadden, and Danielle Porter. I don't have as many major characters in Purple Loosestrife.

I'm really enjoying writing this novel and look forward to working on revisions. Then, as with Purple Loosestrife, we'll see where it goes when I start sending it out. This probably won't happen for a while, though, since I have to do the revisions. I've included in this post a picture of my hard copy of the novel, which I keep in a huge pink binder. It's also in a big basket in which I also have the hard copy of Purple Loosestrife and my memoir so far.

I'm making progress in other areas of writing as well. I recently finished a 3,800 word short story entitled "A Good Priest". It's about Father Connall O'Riordan, a man who really is a good priest but has his own ideas about what being a priest is all about. So I keep taking breaks from novel writing to to write short fiction and memoir (memoir not as often since I find it hard to write).

I'm making progress in other areas of life, too. My Fleet Feet No Boundaries WalkFit program is going well. I'm doing a lot more walking on my own during the week than what we're given as homework. It's sunny and warmer this weekend, so it's ideal walking weather. The program would have us walking three times a week, but I'm doing five (or more if I can fit it in). And I'm walking longer distances. So all in all, everything is moving along well. I'm feeling good about April so far, even though it is "the cruellest month".