Hi, My Name is….Introvert


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Some of you will read this title and think, ‘Not Martha!’  I know. I play a good game of it.

Last week I attended an event with my pal Lynne. I didn’t think I’d know anyone there. I ended up seeing a couple of former co-workers (people who were actually nice), and I was introduced to a few of Lynne’s colleagues. Smiles and handshakes all around. Nodding at conversation.

And yesterday I attended my 40th high school reunion. It was a very successful day, and, as I’d had a hand in the planning of the event, I received plenty of compliments and positive feedback about the day.

After a few hours, I couldn’t wait to leave.

Now hold on – it wasn’t that I didn’t want to see old friends. I did! And they’re really great people. Yes, we’ve all grown up (way up), and after forty years, much of my teenage angst is pushed back. Maybe not forgotten but certainly diluted by life’s joys and accomplishments. I had a chance to speak with just about everyone, and even led a goofy trivia contest.

Well, that doesn’t sound like an introvert, does it?

But here’s the thing, and I thank Lynne for the conversation last week as we were driving back home from the beach event: an extrovert derives energy from being around people – an introvert’s energy is sucked out by being around others. An introvert may work hard at being sociable, but it’s draining.

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Introverts don’t like small talk – not because they dislike people, but because it serves as a kind of barrier. Introverts sometimes feel alone, even in the midst of familiar faces. Introverts can be excellent public speakers (yes!), but find it more difficult and stressful to mingle with others afterwards. Introverts start to shut down after they’ve been active for too long. And I did, at both events. So, my apologies to my high school friends for leaving the party without saying my goodbyes. I was so grateful to be in your company! And for the ones from my high school class who couldn’t attend the reunion, meeting one-on-one or in a small group would be absolutely perfect. But you knew that.

Hot Songs – 1976


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Next week is my 40th high school reunion (ack!). So I’m reflecting, of course, and listening to music from 1976 – forty years ago. The 70’s gave us some great songs, ranging from the folky music of the early part of the decade to the raging disco music at the end.

Here are some of my favorites from the summer of ’76:

“Love is Alive” by Gary Wright. Peaked at #2.

“Silly Love Songs” by Wings. McCartney answered his critics with this one.

“Afternoon Delight” by the Starland Vocal Band. Hit #1 in July 1976.

“Get Closer” by Seals and Crofts. Sorry about the poor quality (it’s 1976!). S&C’s last Top 10 hit.

“Moonlight Feels Right” by Starbuck. Their debut single and biggest hit.

“You’re my Best Friend” by Queen. Reached #16 on the Billboard charts.

Happy Book-iversary (to me)!


99centsMy first novel, Chocolate for Breakfast, was published on August 12, 2012 – nearly four years ago! (It was republished with a new cover in April 2013.) In those four years, I’ve written and published six novels, all of which have given me tremendous pride and a sense of accomplishment. I’m doing what I’ve always dreamed of doing, and that is sufficient. Well, pretty much.

New novels can trigger a sales flurry, but sales drop off after a time, even for beloved best-sellers.

So….for the coming week, every one of my six novels will be discounted to 99 cents for the e-book (Kindle version). I have no control over the print price, but if you come to the RI Authors Book Expo on December 3, 2016 http://www.riauthors.org/riexpo/ , I’ll have print copies available for a great price.

You can grab a three-book series, described by one reader as “writing (that) draws wonderful pictures of the characters and allows you to really ‘fall into’ the book ~ which is one of my favorite things about reading.” Or read about a group of classmates readying for their 25-year high school reunion and visiting old grievances. A novel about a young woman pursuing her dream of becoming a best-selling author, only to face a harsh reality check. And finally, a lighter story involving two friends who gamble on a dream of turning a rundown farm into a premier wedding venue. If you’ve already read these books, here’s a chance to give some gifts. In any event, I’m grateful – so very grateful – for all the positive feedback and encouragement I’ve received, from friends and strangers new friends, over the past four years.

Looking Back


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It’s been nearly forty (what???!!!) years since I graduated from high school. No, really, how the heck did that happen? Now I’m helping to plan a reunion, to be held this August. Unlike some past reunions, this will be in a very casual setting, because at our age, we’ve earned the right to be comfortable.

I stayed away from my high school reunions for years, certainly before I became reconnected to many of my classmates through the marvel of Facebook (hey, it helps – remember that cute boy/girl who broke your heart? He/she doesn’t look the same, believe me). Without social media, we tend to recall only that awkward, sometimes painstaking period of life – you know, before you stopped giving a damn what people thought of you. I even wrote a novel about the lead-up to a fictional class’s 25th reunion.

Do young people even have high school reunions? Or yearbooks? I have no idea (I live in my own little world). But as we get older, time goes faster (man, does it ever), and the opportunity to reconnect with old friends is a chance to laugh and remember something good. Life was easier in 1976, I’m telling you, and perhaps we can look back on that moment in time, when fashion was horrible, music was wonderful, and our future was full of promise.

Bits of Broken Glass


Long Ago and Far Away - James Taylor
Long Ago and Far Away – James Taylor

Wow. I’ve written another book. This is my third, and although I don’t expect to release it for at least another month, it’s pretty exciting!

This one is not part of the ‘chocolate’ series, but there’s one more to come, probably around November (I’ve already completed the draft), titled Bittersweet Chocolate. It will finish the series and I’m happy with it.

But this book, Bits of Broken Glass, is different. Many books have been written about high school or college reunions. While I was writing this story, one of my favorite authors, Claire Cook, published Time Flies, about a high school reunion. Now, I’m no Claire Cook, but she’s definitely been an influence, as have Anna Quindlen, Elizabeth Strout, and Catherine Ryan Hyde as storytellers.

Bits of Broken Glass is contemporary women’s fiction. It’s not a lighthearted romp to the past by any means. And when I call it women’s fiction, I don’t mean that it’s just for women. But I do include a strong female character in my books, and, as a woman, I write from a woman’s point of view.

And if you’re wondering about the record at the top, this is the song that inspired the title. My main character grew up listening to the album, hearing her mother sing the song, and it’s been significant to her in her life. At the end of this blog post, I’ve included a You Tube video of James Taylor singing “Long Ago and Far Away.” Have a listen.

I didn’t attend my five-year high school reunion (I was living overseas at the time). I found out about my ten-year reunion after the fact, when I ran into a classmate in the city. Apparently no one knew where I was living. I almost attended my fifteenth. A friend from high school persuaded me to attend a planning session for the reunion, even though I really didn’t want to. Despite the fact that I lived in the same state, I hadn’t kept up with my high school friends. That evening, at the reunion planning meeting, I was greeted effusively by my classmates and promptly asked three questions: ‘Are you married?’ (No.) ‘Oh, sorry, are you divorced?’ (Nope! Never been married!) ‘Well, do you have any kids?’ (Um, no.) And that was it. I had failed their test, apparently, and there was nothing more to discuss. I wanted to say, “Wait! I’ve traveled, I’ve lived in another country, I’ve had some really bad dates that are actually pretty funny.” But they weren’t interested. At least that’s how I perceived it, and I skipped my fifteen-year high school reunion, feeling completely inadequate.

When the twentieth rolled around, I couldn’t go. All the talk about children would have been too painful for the girl who’d just learned she’d likely never be able to have children. I didn’t have the inner strength to attend.

So, when the twenty-fifth loomed, I told my husband that I wanted to go, only because I didn’t want to regret not going. And it was really a lot of fun. Many of the ghosts from twenty-five years previous had evaporated, or were simply forgotten.

Where are you on the high-school reunion circuit? Do you love them? Loathe them? Avoid them like the plague?

Bits of Broken Glass will be released in the fall. Don’t worry, I’ll be publicizing the heck out of it as the release date gets closer!