Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Creative Ideas for Hosting a Disappearing Key Book Club

One of the most common reactions I’ve received from people who’ve read The Disappearing Key is that they are eager to talk about it. I seriously wish I could sit in on every single book club scheduled to discuss my book.

Did you know, over the course of the next year I’ve challenged myself with a goal to have at least one book club from every state read my novella?

Today, I’d thought it’d be fun to present you with some ideas if you’re the one hosting The Disappearing Key discussion.
(Inspired by details found in the novella.)

Serve key lime pie
Prosseco toast to good friends and great discussions
Locate an Italian bakery & purchase, then serve cannolis (Gabrielle’s favorite)
Buy Trader Joe’s Spanakopita, heat, and serve
Cook the classic English dish of fish & chips
Bake key cookies. Feel free to take a bite out of one. Hey, they’re supposed to be disappearing, aren’t they? ;-)

Here are two ideas from Pinterest:

Decorations & Ambiance
Have Edelweiss or potted Sweet Williams “Wee Willies” as Viola calls them on the table
Set colorful place settings in honor of Oriana’s synesthesia
Use key decorated place markers or wine charms
Place a Bavarian “looking” music box as coffee table centerpiece
Program Michel BublĂ© or Jack Johnson on Pandora

Offer “key”psakes
Hand out bookmarks with a key stamped on them
Give any of the aforementioned cookies away
Buy & pass out extra copies of The Disappearing Key for members to use as stocking stuffers for family or friends (or hostess gifts)

Points of Interest
Talk about the movie Return to Zero 
If you’re hosting a mom’s group, encourage guests to bring ultrasound photos & create a game where everyone tries to match mom to baby picture
Cut out scrap pictures of what you imagine the characters to look like. Discuss similarities and differences
Talk about what it might feel like to have synesthesia.
Go through Book Club Questions located in the back of the print version of The Disappearing Key and the end of the ebook version of TDK.
Feel free to contact the author. I have a gut feeling she’d love to be in on your book club action.

Now for a chance to win a set of “key” imprinted cards, you tell me a creative book club idea related to keys or details of The Disappearing Key plot that would enhance a book club experience. Most creative answer gets the key cards! I’ll announce winner next Tuesday.

New England: 7
Florida: 2
Pennsylvania: 1
Iowa: 1
*If you know of a book club that is planning to read The Disappearing Key, please ask them to notify me so I can include them in my Key Book Club from Coast to Coast Contest. Thanks!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


The reviews are coming in, people! Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to provide feedback about my novella.

I’ve noticed a few similarities keep cropping up in the reviews. I’ve divided them into three different categories and pulled direct quotes from my fantabulous reviewers.

Can’t put it down

I could not stop reading this book from the first sentence.”

“It was a riveting page-turner I couldn't put down!”

“While reading The Disappearing Key, I experienced something very rare for me...I actually did not want to put it down and was glued to the book until I finished!”

Great book club selection

“As soon as I finished this one, I wanted to talk about it. Which is why I'm excited that my book club will be reading it!”

“If you are tired of the same old, same old stories and want something fresh, original, and masterfully crafted, this should be your pick.”

“Can't wait to tell my book clubs about it!”

“If you love stories chock-full of intrigue and fodder for your next book-club conversation, I can't recommend this one enough!”

“I think this is a great choice for a book club. There are so many aspects to discuss.” 

Connecting with the characters

“I love to really be able to ‘feel’ the characters with their struggles and growth.” 

“The plot is unique and amazing, the characters are real and 3-dimensional, and the writing is superb.”

“The interesting characters reveal themselves throughout this absorbingly well written, science-meets-mystery tale.”

“I always judge a book by evaluating if I want to read more about the characters and in this case, the answer is an overwhelming ‘Yes’!” 

“Each of the characters was painted with realism, drawing me in and making me want to see them find what they desired.” 

For fun, today I thought I’d take a closer look at the three main characters in THE DISAPPEARING KEY by asking them what they thought of the novella…


It’s always challenging for me to be introspective, to take a hard, honest look at myself. This book made me do exactly that. I know many women (moms in particular) will relate with me, however, I’m still hard on myself. I’m just so thankful I grew by the end of it.


Even though I knew exactly how it would play out, I still found myself engrossed in the story. I wanted to see what would happen between me and Topher…still kind of wondering about that. Oh, and I wish every single one of you could tell me your perspective on the key and what went down at the very end…have a feeling I’d love hearing all your thoughts!


I found myself amused while reading some scenes and my heart broke while reading others. So much of the rawness of life came through in this work. The author didn’t hold back, and though at times I was splayed out on the page vulnerable as a newborn, I wouldn’t have written it any differently. My favorite scene was with my brother in the cottage…for many reasons, oh, so many reasons.
Grateful for every single review!

Do you read reviews on Amazon or Goodreads before buying a book?

*Later this week I’ll be announcing some exciting news regarding my novella!
**I also noticed a theme in the reviews about readers looking forward to my next work. I’m working hard to make that happen.

***Don’t forget to notify me if your book club is interested in being signed up for my Key Book Clubs from Coast to Coast Contest.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Story Behind the Dedication

I dedicated my novella, The Disappearing Key to my friend from college. Years ago, I could not stop bawling when I heard Erin’s story. Her loss settled so deeply inside me I felt compelled to write about it. So began the first scene in The Disappearing Key.

Recently Erin agreed to answer a few questions for my readers…

1. Erin, I’m moved you’re willing to visit with me to share about your experience. What would you like people to know about your loss and what life has been like for you since?

First of all, I am so very touched that my experience helped to inspire The Disappearing Key.  I appreciate the opportunity to share a little more about it.  Hopefully it will enhance your readers’ experience with the novella as well as in their own lives, as so many of us have been impacted by pregnancy or infant loss in some way. 

I never imagined that after an uneventful almost 39 weeks of pregnancy that I would have to say hello and goodbye to my first born child at the same time. My son Colin was born still on March 1, 2008.  He was a beautiful, healthy 7 lb, 6 oz little boy, the spitting image of his daddy. Colin's death was completely unexpected and I was utterly unprepared. I was fortunate to have some amazing support right from the start, but the grief process was long and hard. I don't think it is something that I have ever "gotten over," but I have learned to live with it, made room for it in my life, and moved forward.  It changed me in so many ways and I hope mostly for the better. 

Colin's little brother and sister entered our lives 16 months after he was born. They bring so much joy and love to our home. I thank their big brother for them because, without him, they would not be here. They know about their big brother and ask questions at unexpected times like 4-year-olds do. It is so bittersweet when they talk about him and wonder why they can’t play with him.  It brings me so much peace that Colin is not forgotten in our home. I think that is important for anyone who knows someone who lost a child during or shortly after pregnancy. The loss is real and it never goes away but the pain does diminish and is replaced by the life lessons and unexpected gifts that the experience brings. 

2. I’m grateful you sent me a poignant letter about what it was like to deliver a stillborn child. It truly helped shape my first chapter. What was your reaction when you read the first chapter of The Disappearing Key? And your response to the novella as a whole?

Knowing a little about the novella's subject matter and story, I was not sure how I would react to reading it or even if I would be able to read it. Oriana's birth brought back memories of my experience giving birth to Colin (along with a slight pit in my stomach).  I related to Roy and Gabrielle’s panic and desire to fix things.  I would have done anything to bring my son back to me. 

Once I started reading, I had a hard time putting it down.  I quickly became engrossed in the characters and wanted to know what was going to happen next.  It stopped being about the stillbirth itself and had me thinking about our role as parents, medicine, the effects of grief…loved it.  I am ready for your next book, Wendy!  

3. Thank you for letting me know that October 15th (today) is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day (& that October is the Awareness Month). This topic is close to my heart. Why do you think it helps for people to gain a greater understanding regarding infant and pregnancy loss?

I had the opportunity to connect with others who experienced a similar loss after Colin died and I know that is what got me through it. I have also had the opportunity to serve as a resource to families beginning their journey with loss.  Although the stories and details are different, we are connected in a way that only those who have experienced this loss truly understand.  Pregnancy and infant loss are more common than people realize (or want to realize) and it is not commonly talked about (by myself included).      

Pregnancies are celebrated and honored in so many ways, with so much anticipation and excitement. Yet when they do not go as planned, often people do not know what to do or say. Since it is not something that is commonly talked about, it can be a very isolating and lonely experience. By better understanding it, we are better able to support those around us who are touched by the experience. Importantly, a greater understanding honors and remembers the children that were so highly anticipated, desired, and loved. And hopefully, it will bring increased focus and resources within the medical community to better understand the causes of stillbirth and other forms of loss to reduce the instances in possibly preventable situations. 

Readers, how did Erin’s responses move your thoughts today?

Erin always takes pinwheels to the cemetery and has them at her house 
as a reminder of Colin. 

Here’s an updated picture depicting the numerous book clubs already participating in 


The winner of Spreading the Key Chain Love Contest is Beth Vogt (with the creative vote going to Heather Day Gilbert). Beth, I’ll send you the key chain & Heather gets a coffee treat!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Spreading the Key Chain Love

I’m excited to announce a way for you to win this beautiful key chain. I’m celebrating the recent release of The Disappearing Key. It’s been so rewarding receiving initial reactions. As many of you know word of mouth is king in the world of publishing.

Here’s where you come in.

We’re going to play our own little version of six degrees of Kevin Bacon.

Six Degrees of The Disappearing Key.

Women are natural connectors. We chat on the phone, text, and FB with our friends and family.

I want you to do some “key” connecting by keep a tally of how many people you personally (phone, text, FB, but keep it personal) tell about The Disappearing Key. (Dogs don’t count. I mean, they count, but not in this contest.)

Let me know in the comments how it’s going and how many family members and friends you’ve shared with. 

I need all tallies by Sunday, October 13th 9:00pm. (EST)

Here’s simple logic for you, the person with the highest number wins the key chain.

On your mark, get set, go!

*I’ll present a bonus gift to the person who comes up with (and shares in the comments) the most creative way they spread the word about The Disappearing Key.

**Next week I’ll post the latest map of the U.S. highlighting Key Book Clubs from Coast to Coast (see this post for more details)

***make sure to stop by next Tuesday to see who wins and to read a powerful post when I introduce you to the woman I dedicated The Disappearing Key to. (Call photo by stock.xchng.)

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Key Book Clubs from Coast to Coast (+ Release Day for The Disappearing Key)

I’m announcing a Coast to Coast Contest!

Get your copy on Amazon
(& soon Nook)

Help your book club win gifts!
I’m taking names…of book clubs that is.

My goal
from October 2013 – October 2014
is to have book clubs from EVERY STATE reading

Here’s what I need from you:
A contact person from your book club to email me (see right sidebar for my contact info.) with…
  • their name
  • contact information
  • the name of the book club (as appropriate)
  • how many members are in the book club
  • which month you will be reading my novella
  • if you’re interested in having me Skype with you or visit
  • picture(s) of your club for fun

Upon receiving each email, I will attach a key with the book club name (or contact person) on the represented state. I'll post regular updates.

All clubs will be entered into a raffle to win the final prize(s).

Let’s do this!

Taking Time

college applications                 homecoming                            flag football                basketball             SATs   ...