Wednesday, November 26, 2014

David W. Berner on Being Writer-in-Residence at the Kerouac House

The Kerouac House, Orlando, FL

Earlier this year, one of the more special places in my life received long overdue national recognition. The Kerouac House in Orlando’s quaint College Park neighborhood, where Jack Kerouac wrote The Dharma Bums and lived for a time after the publication of On the Road, was registered as a national historic landmark. On the small lawn outside the wood frame home with the tin roof now stands a beautiful black marker telling the world the artistic and literary significance of the house. But no special marker or national symbol will ever truly tell how significant this home was for me.

The phone call came quite unexpectedly. I was having deep-dish pizza with a friend at one of Chicago’s classic pizza places when my phone rang. The number on the screen was not familiar, a strange area code. I let it go to voicemail. I ate my pizza, drank a second beer, and when my friend went to the restroom, I curiously checked the message.

“David,” it said, “we’d love for you to be our Writer-in-Residence at the Kerouac House. Can you give me a call back?”


I had completely forgotten about my application for the residency. It has been several months since I sent it in along with a sample of my writing, a story about a chance encounter with Mohammad Ali at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, a personal story about my father’s love for boxing and his influence on my two sons, a story that would eventually become part of my memoir, Any Road Will Take You There, the book I would write at the Kerouac House.

It would be months before I would pack up my hatchback and drive 1160 miles in two days to the old house in a neighborhood of live oak and orange trees, and would settle in for a 2-month stay to finish my memoir. But during that waiting time, I thought more realistically about what had happened: I had been accepted as a writer to work rent free and a small stipend in the same spaces as Kerouac, the same small room where a New York Times reporter and photographer captured Kerouac at work after he had gained notoriety after On the Road. I was a very lucky man, unexpectedly lucky. When I applied, I really had no idea what a writer’s residency was all about. It just seemed so utterly cool to be able to push all other responsibilities aside and focus only on writing. This is what a writer’s residency asks, even demands of you. Since I am an associate professor at a Chicago college, I could make the time in the summer to get away, plus I was ready to polish my manuscript, so the stars were aligned. But still, the idea of being a writer-in-residence was foreign to me. Could I really settle in to this place and do good work? Two weeks after moving in I had my answer.

One quiet early morning I made coffee on the stove the way I had been doing every morning since arriving at the Kerouac House, and then I headed into the backroom where he slept and wrote to begin my day’s work.  I was still feeling a bit out of place. But that morning, I asked out loud if Jack would help me, if his presence, his ghost, might spur me on or encourage me enough so that I would be certain I was on the right track and at the right place. Now, I don’t necessarily believe in ghosts, but I’m also not ready to dismiss them idea either, especially after reading an entry in house’s guest notebook. Inside the nicely bound journal were the comments, notes, and observations of many other writers who had been privileged to spend time at the house. Somewhere in the middle was a young poet’s description of lying in bed at night during a thundery Florida storm and hearing the branches of the giant oak tree next to the house scrape across the tin roof, as if “Jack were scribbling out words with his pencil.” There was no storm in the area that early morning. The winds and the skies were peaceful. But the image of Jack’s ghost somewhere nearby had stayed with me. And when I asked him that morning to “give me a sign” I truly believe he did. It came as a sensation, a moment of cool air touching my face, the feeling of someone standing next to me, a presence in the room. Now I’m not saying it was Jack, but I’m also not saying it wasn’t. No matter, what I experienced was real, visceral, and honest. And it solidified my belief, albeit tenuous, that I was deserving of being the writer-in-residence at the Kerouac House.

And you are too. If you’re a writer can afford to get away or adjust your schedule to make the time, applying for a residency in any of the many venues across America and worldwide is more than worth the try. You can find a list of the most current in publications like Poets and Writers, or simply do a Google search. Many include free lodging for the accepted applicant, others will cost you some, but either way the experience is a dream and simply cannot be duplicated by just giving yourself some alone time at home or a few hours the local coffee shop. And don’t be intimidated. Residencies do not discriminate. You don’t have to be a writer with a book on the New York Times list of bestsellers. In fact, many of the residencies would rather have new and emerging writers. I had one book published by a small publisher at the time of my residency. Good writing, available time, and a willingness to commit to your art are far more important to those making the decisions about who will be a writer-in-residence than a list of accomplishments.  

I wholly cherished my time at the Kerouac House. It was one of the most memorable times of my writing life. And there are mornings now when I awake from a dream, thinking about the scratching of Jack’s pencil on the roof of that perfect little Florida house. 

Thanks for reading!  Please feel free to leave questions/comments for David below.  Read on to learn more about him and his latest work, Any Road Will Take You There: A Journey of Fathers and Sons.

Author Bio

David W. Berner, the award winning author of ACCIDENTAL LESSONS and ANY ROAD WILL TAKE YOU THERE, was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania where he began his work as a broadcast journalist and writer. He moved to Chicago to work as a radio reporter and news anchor for CBS Radio and later pursue a career as a writer and educator. His book ACCIDENTAL LESSONS is about his year teaching in one of the Chicago area's most troubled school districts. The book won the Golden Dragonfly Grand Prize for Literature and has been called a "beautiful, elegantly written book" by award-winning author Thomas E. Kennedy, and "a terrific memoir" by Rick Kogan (Chicago Tribune and WGN Radio). ANY ROAD WILL TAKE YOU THERE is the author's story of a 5000-mile road trip with his sons and the revelations of fatherhood. The memoir has been called "heartwarming and heartbreaking" and "a five-star wonderful read."

Connect with David
Twitter:  @davidwberner
Twitter:  @anyroadbook

About Any Road Will Take You There

Any Road Will Take You There: A Journey of Fathers and Sons is a heartwarming and heartbreaking story told with humor and grace, revealing the generational struggles and triumphs of being a dad, and the beautiful but imperfect ties that connect all of us.

In the tradition of the Great American Memoir, a middle-age father takes the reader on a five-thousand-mile road trip -- the one he always wished he'd taken as a young man. Recently divorced and uncertain of the future, he rereads the iconic road story -- Jack Kerouac's On the Road -- and along with his two sons and his best friend, heads for the highway to rekindle his spirit. 

However, a family secret turns the cross-country journey into an unexpected examination of his role as a father, and compels him to look to the past and the fathers who came before him to find contentment and clarity, and celebrate the struggles and triumphs of being a dad. 

Recipient of a Book of the Year Award from the Chicago Writers Association, Any Road Will Take You There is honest, unflinching, and tender.

Publisher: Dream of Things (September 23, 2014)
Paperback: 300 Pages
Genre: Memoir
ISBN-10: 0988439096
ISBN-13: 978-0988439092
Twitter hashtag: # AnyRoadBook

Any Road Will Take You There: A Journey of Fathers and Sons  is available as an e-book and paperback at Amazon.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Garbage Pail Kids, or so much for nostalgia

After that nice review on my Blue Monday Feature, I meant to share the article that inspired "Garbage Pail Kids," so here it is: 87 Things Only Poor Kids Know. Poverty, of course, is not limited to a single era, and nostalgia for the 80s and 90s isn't all mixed tapes and slap bracelets. I'll be performing this poem at the Uptown again, so keep an eye out for me.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Because what says 'holidays' like dragons and trolls?

I confess, I am one of those terrible people who doesn't mind when stores start putting out their holiday displays and neighbors start stringing up lights the day after Halloween.  I also like to listen to Christmas carols year-round.  Feel free to throw things.

But this translates to good news for you guys-- I've put my holiday books on sale.

The Ice Dragon and The Winter Prince are now just 99 cents, from now through New Year's Day!  If you love fantasy and fairy tales, you will love these winter stories, and of course, they're great to read to your little ones.

Buy The Ice Dragon: Amazon, Smashwords, or Createspace.  Read an excerpt here.

Buy The Winter Prince: Amazon, Smashwords, or Createspace.  Read an excerpt here

Happy Thanksgiving!  Merry Christmas!  Happy Hanukkah!  Happy Kwaanza!  Happy Festivus!  Blessed Winter Solstice!  Happy-any-holiday-that-I-missed!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Choosing Memoir Over Fiction: Guest Post by Linda Shapiro

As with anyone who writes, there are surely many different reasons why an author opts to write a memoir. Interestingly enough, I did not set out to write one. In fact, until I did, I never identified myself as a writer.

I was a voracious reader as far back as I can recall and as a child and teen-ager, I did write poetry (for myself). When I was eleven, I started to journal after reading Anne Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl, and I have done so on and off throughout my life. But I never had dreams of becoming a writer. In fact, I never afforded myself the luxury of taking seriously any passions I may have felt about my love for the theatre or literature, in particular.

Growing up with my mother’s mental illness casting a shadow over most of my days and living in a perpetual state of hyper vigilance, there was no time to indulge in fantasies. As long as my mother was not experiencing one of her emotional break-downs and I was able to breathe without being consumed with worry, I considered life to be as good as it was ever going to get.

In high school and later when I was away from home on a scholarship to Bennington College, it was easier to allow myself to broaden my options. I was required to think critically and to write critical papers. That process was extremely invigorating. But, I never considered writing as a career.  After graduating from college and starting Master’s degree in education, I’ve had several careers including teaching in elementary school, serving as an editor of an international edition of Encyclopaedia Britannica, holding an entrepreneurial position with PROJECT A.R.I. (Action for Russian Immigrants). Once I was married and until my children were born and my oldest was ten, I did volunteer work. I then returned to graduate school, receiving a Master’s degree in Human Development/ Counseling and numerous related certifications, all of which led to my spending the past 31 years as a behavioral psychotherapist/addictions counselor/mental health advocate/oral historian and, most recently, author.

In the 1990’s when self-help books were the rage and I was recommending them to my patients at a clinic for recovering addicts and their families, I realized that few – if any – were written for adult children of the mentally ill. All were addressing the effects of growing up with a parent or sibling who suffered from one addiction of another. The template was there and I thought it would be a quick and easy project. Yet, three pages into it, I realized there were deeper feelings to be plumbed when I began to sob. I knew in that moment that others could write a self-help book and write it well, but I had a story to tell and it was my story.

Once I began, the writing seemed to write itself. I had the outline for the entire book within weeks. What I didn’t have, though, were the tools to best help me show my story without telling it, without writing in my therapist’s voice and/or assuming that readers knew things about what it was like to be the daughter of immigrant parents, living in a ghetto-type neighborhood, how we dressed, talked to one another, interacted within the family and within our community. In short, I had to teach myself -how to write creatively.

I attended only a couple of writing groups, each was unsatisfying in different ways.  It was only after being accepted into a summer program at Sarah Lawrence College,  Writing the Medical Experience, where I received crucial information and enormous support for my writing that I was able to have the confidence and determination to complete this memoir.

In retrospect, I know now that in never giving up, mine was a labor of love and tenacity over a period of many, many years.

Since my mother had always told me that if her life story could help even one person, she would tell it if she were a writer, I have to believe that she would be proud to know that in telling her story and mine, we are helping people in the telling. Named #1 in memoirs written by women last week and having just been given the honor of being one of the outstanding women of the year by the National Professional Association of Women, I am now proud and able to identify myself as a writer.  

About the Author

Behavioral psychotherapist, addictions counselor, oral historian, mental health advocate and author, Linda Appleman Shapiro earned her B.A. in literature from Bennington College, a Master's degree in Human Development/Counseling from the Bank Street College of Education, and a Master Certification in Neuro-Linguistic Programming from the New York Institute of N.L.P. She has further certifications in Ericksonian Hypnosis and Substance Abuse/Addictions Counseling.

Linda Appleman Shapiro is a contributing author in the casebook, “Leaves Before the Wind: Leading Applications of N.L.P.”

In private practice for more than thirty years, Shapiro also served as a senior staff member at an out-patient facility for addicts and their families. As an oral historian, she has documented the lives of many of New York's elderly.

Her first memoir, Four Rooms, Upstairs, was self-published in 2007 and named Finalist in the Indie Next Generation Book Awards in 2008. Her blog of three years, “A Psychotherapist's Journey,” earned Shapiro Top Blogger in the field of mental health by WELLsphere.

Married to actor and audiobook narrator George Guidall, Linda Appleman Shapiro and her husband live in Westchester County, New York. They have two adult daughters and two grandchildren.

About She's Not Herself

She's Not Herself: A Psychotherapist's Journey Into and Beyond Her Mother's Mental Illness is a journey to make sense of the effects of multi-generational traumas. Linda Appleman Shapiro is ultimately able to forgive (without forgetting) those who left her to fend for herself--and to provide readers with the wisdom of a seasoned psychotherapist who has examined human vulnerability in its many disguises and has moved through it all with dignity and hope. The result is a memoir of love, loss, loyalty, and healing.

On the surface, her childhood seemed normal--even idyllic. Linda Appleman Shapiro grew up in the iconic immigrant community of Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, with her parents and a gifted older brother. But she spent her days at home alone with a mother who suffered major bouts of depression. At such times, young Linda Appleman Shapiro was told, "Your mother...she's not herself today." Those words did little to help Linda understand what she was witnessing. Instead, she experienced the anxiety and hyper-vigilance that often take root when secrecy and shame surround a family member who is ill.   


Paperback: 249 pages
Genre: Memoir
Publisher: Dream of Things (September 2, 2014) ASIN: B00N9PY1CQ 
Twitter hashtag: #SNHerselfShapiro

Connect with Linda

Thanks for reading!  Please leave questions/comments for Linda below.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Types of Memoirs: Guest Post by Jerry Waxler

I began reading memoirs in the early 2000s for what I thought was a simple reason. I wanted to learn how to write my own. I soon realized that memoirs opened me to a whole universe of personal experience, as seen through the author’s eyes. And there was an extra dimension to this learning bonanza. Each one of these authors had spent years turning life into a readable story. I became a student of each book.

To share what I learned, I began writing a blog, and once I realized I had an audience, I became more diligent about communicating my thoughts. I spent hours on each book, attempting to sort out my ideas. After a few years, this research and passion turned into the basis for my book about the memoir wave, what I came to call the Memoir Revolution.

As my memoir shelves overflowed, I noticed that my mind automatically began gathering together books on similar subjects. For example, the books about growing up started to feel like a subgenre. When I wrote about one, I tended to think about how it compared with other books in its category. I noticed other groupings, such as books about recovering from grief. The more I read, the more categories I noticed. There were books about children trying to understand their parents and others parents trying to understand their children, books about travel, books about overcoming trauma, and so on.

By lingering on each memoir, and considering how it related to other books of a similar vein, I was able to draw additional lessons, and go deeper into my understanding of that particular individual in that particular set of circumstances. Often, I saw how the shape of the memoir was influenced by the dramatic forces at play in that person’s life. I extended my notion of “types” to include not just the subject matter of a memoir, but also the structure.

For example, most coming of age stories are written in the child’s voice, as if the story was being told in present tense. For example, Linda Joy Myers Don’t Call Me Mother operates from the young person’s point of view. In some cases, a person might need to tell the story as an adult in search of her past. A.M Homes discovered her biological parents and her memoir is a sleuthing story, trying to find the truth about her past. Judy Mandel’s memoir Replacement Child includes reconstructed accounts of events just before she was born. In this way, each of these three memoirs is about a girl growing up and trying to find herself, but each one is a different “type” in the way it is written.

I don’t mean to imply that categorizing memoirs trivializes the uniqueness of their author’s experience. Even though two memoirs are the same “type,” author’s personality, voice, and variations in the time and place and characters all shine through, making each book a unique experience.

As an illustration of how varied memoirs can be within one “type” consider a few of the variations on Coming of Age: a girl abandoned by her mother in the Midwest (Don’t Call Me Mother by Linda Joy Myers), a girl growing up in the Midwest grieving a brother killed in a tragic accident (Name All the Animals by Alison Smith), a girl whose sister was killed before she was born and she grows up in her deceased sister’s shadow (Replacement Child by Judy Mandel), a girl growing up orphaned in New York, raised by her two uncles (Sleeping Arrangements by Laura Shaine Cunningham), a girl who ran away from an abusive home and lived in a shelter (Girl Bomb by Janice Erlbaum), a boy who grew up in a Christian commune in Europe (Crazy for God by Frank Schaeffer).

Another “type” of memoir is about recovering from setbacks. These too would have some similarities (a person’s life is derailed in some way, and then must climb back to higher ground, find courage, make renewed sense of life). Like all memoirs, books of this “type” would also have enormous individual variation. Some of these would be about reclaiming dignity after the loss of a loved one. Others would be about maintaining your own mental health while caring for someone with a debilitating illness. Other shelves would be about recovering from child abuse, combat trauma, rape, mental illness, or physical disease.

Another intriguing type of memoir are about cultural mixing. Millions of us must adapt to life in a different country, as immigrants ex-pats, or exiles. And many millions more are descended from parents or grandparents who have moved from one country to another. Stories of cultural mixing are rich in their inquiry into discovering one’s true self.

Even though a memoir is a particular “type,” in almost every case, there are several things going on inside each memoir. Some memoirs about Coming of Age are also about grieving. Others are also about cultural mixing. (Funny in Farsi by Firoozeh Dumas). Some travel memoirs are really about raising a family (Freeways to Flipflops by Sonia Marsh). Some books about disease are also about spirituality (My Stroke of Insight by Jill Bolte Taylor). Books about caregiving are also about family relationships (Inside the Dementia Epidemic by Martha Stettinius, Mothering Mother by Carol Odell, 100 Names for Love by Diane Ackerman).

To take advantage of these observations about the type of a memoir, think of writing a memoir from two vantage points. In one vantage point, enter into the story in a sort of “writer’s hypnosis” in which you are discovering your experience and shaping it into an interesting story.. Allow your mind to slip inside the timeframe of the story and provide the reader with the unique, emotional power of your circumstances, environment, and your own thoughts and reactions. The way you react to situations will be the most unique thing in your book.

The second vantage point is from the reader’s point of view. When a reader looks at a book from the outside, they will wonder “what sort of journey is this book going take me on?” Naturally you can’t tell them the whole story in the blurb, so you have to imply and hint and raise some expectation. By learning how to raise those expectations you increase the likelihood that they will pick up the book and begin reading. By learning to raise the stakes and fulfill those expectations, you will reward your reader with an interesting experience they enjoy, and recommend to their friends.

About the Author

Jerry Waxler teaches memoir writing at Northampton Community College, Bethlehem, PA, online, and around the country. His Memory Writers Network blog offers hundreds of essays, reviews, and interviews about reading and writing memoirs. He is on the board of the Philadelphia Writer's Conference and National Association of Memoir Writers and holds a BA in Physics and an MS in Counseling Psychology. 

About Memoir Revolution

Memoir Revolution is Jerry Waxler’s beautifully written story as he integrates it with his deep and abiding knowledge and passion for story. In the 1960s, Jerry Waxler, along with millions of his peers, attempted to find truth by rebelling against everything. After a lifetime of learning about himself and the world, he now finds himself in the middle of another social revolution. In the twenty-first century, increasing numbers of us are searching for truth by finding our stories. In Memoir Revolution, Waxler shows how memoirs link us to the ancient, pervasive system of thought called The Story. By translating our lives into this form, we reveal the meaning and purpose that eludes us when we view ourselves through the lens of memory. And when we share these stories, we create mutual understanding, as well. By exploring the cultural roots of this literary trend, based on an extensive list of memoirs and other book, Waxler makes the Memoir Revolution seem like an inevitable answer to questions about our psychological, social and spiritual well-being. 

Available as an e-book and in paperback on Amazon.

Paperback: 190 pages
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Neuralcoach Press; 1 edition (April 9, 2013)
ISBN-10: 0977189538
Twitter hashtag: #MRevolutionWaxler

Connect with Jerry

Thanks for reading!  Please feel free to leave questions/comments for Jerry below.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Read an excerpt of Meredith Stoddard's The River Maiden

Celtic legends collide with modern sensibilities and style in this contemporary gothic tale.

Sarah MacAlpin has always felt like an outsider. Raised by her Scottish grandmother deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Sarah grew up with one foot in the old world and one foot in the new world. Her childhood friends were the stuff of ancient Celtic legends.

But Sarah's seemingly idyllic past hides a horrifying secret. As a little girl she watched her mother's inexorable slide into madness. She hasn't let her past stop her from building a good life for herself. She is a graduate student with good friends, a boyfriend and a career preserving Appalachian culture all planned out.

Until she meets Dermot Sinclair. The handsome Scot seems to be dogging her every step. At best he's a colleague who can help her research. At worst, he may be stalking her. All Sarah needs to finish her dissertation is one folk song that proves her thesis. Unfortunately, finding that song also means unlocking some painful childhood memories and a dangerous destiny set in motion generations ago. It's a destiny that might get her killed.


Sarah was still a bit breathless from dancing as she picked her way through the sea of tents and fallen revelers. The music from around the fire wafted over the campsite, and she caught herself wondering if Dermot was still dancing. She told herself that her concerns about him were irrational. In the short time she’d known him, he’d been charming, sardonic, and maybe a little arrogant, which proved nothing beyond the fact that he was Scottish. He’d given her no reason to suspect him of anything other than wanting to be her friend. By the time she reached the tent she and Amy shared, she had determined that she would have to be nicer to the man.

A breeze whisked through the campsite and stirred her hair. It brushed the back of her neck like icy fingers, cold even for the mountains. As Sarah bent down to unzip the tent, a flash of white near the tree line caught her eye. She straightened up and stared into the woods behind the tent, trying to catch a glimpse of the thing. “Hope it’s not a skunk,” she thought, bending down again and opening the tent. She had crawled halfway in when she was stopped by a sound behind her. It was an odd sound, not a gasp, but like air being sucked in quickly between teeth. Sarah turned her head to look over her shoulder just in time to see a woman turning away and walking toward the trees. From her position half in the tent, she only saw the woman’s legs and the trail of her white skirt. Sarah backed out of the tent and took a few steps toward the woods.

“Wait,” she thought…but before she uttered a word the woman turned to look back. Sarah’s breath caught in her throat as she found herself staring into her mother’s eyes. They stood frozen for a moment. Then Molly turned and walked deeper into the forest. Sarah trailed after her. They wound through the trees and around rocks. Molly always managed to stay a few steps out of Sarah’s reach. Even in the dark, she could see the crown of spring flowers ringing Molly’s head, just as they had done nineteen years before when Sarah had put the crown there. Molly was moving faster, almost running, and Sarah tried harder to keep up, afraid she might lose sight of her in the trees. She wanted to call out to her mother, asking the questions that had lingered in her mind for years, but she was nearly out of breath. Sarah threw herself forward, trying to catch Molly, but she disappeared around an ancient and sprawling tree. Sarah rounded the trunk and stopped dead.

Molly was standing in the center of a clearing. Her face was a blend of sadness, fear, and anger. She leaned from the waist toward Sarah and spoke a single word. At first there was no sound, like someone had hit the mute button. Then the word came to Sarah in a gust of frigid wind that hit her square in the face.


Sarah plunged into the clearing, but Molly vanished just as Sarah reached the center. Sarah spun around, looking for her, but there were only trees and stones and silence. On the ground at her feet was the crown of flowers. Sarah knelt to pick it up. When her hand touched it, there was a flash of white light. Sarah looked up and into the eyes of an old woman whose face was kind on the surface, but her eyes were hard. The woman reached down and took Sarah’s hands. She began singing as she pulled Sarah up to stand. The woman’s voice sounded old, older than the giant tree on the edge of the clearing, older than the stone, as Granny used to say. It was a song Granny had taught her about the king lost in the mist. The verse ended with the words that had rolled around in Sarah’s head for five years—her grandmother’s last words, in a language she couldn’t understand.

Another flash of light transformed the clearing into a cave and the old woman was gone. The air was cold and damp. She heard heavy breathing behind her and turned. In a silvery shaft of light, a couple was making love on top of a large square stone. The man’s back was to her, but Sarah could see that he was fit and young with dark hair. Over his shoulder, she caught a glimpse of honey-colored curls. Sarah stepped closer and to the side until she could see more of the woman. She tried to be quiet. The vision seemed so real she was afraid to disturb them. With a gasp of pleasure, the woman raised her head and turned to her. Sarah felt a stab of pain deep in the pit of her stomach, and her breath caught in her throat. She stared aghast at herself there on the stone with this faceless man thrusting into her. Her other self started a second at seeing her, and then her face seemed calm, self-assured. She knew this would happen.

In another flash Sarah was in the upstairs hall of her grandmother’s house. She was standing in front of a door. She didn’t have to wonder what was on the other side. She knew. She started to turn away, but the door opened by itself and Sarah saw Molly fall limp to the blood-soaked bed. She ran to the bed as she had done on that day years before. Knowing she couldn’t stop it but desperate to ask why. Molly lay lifeless before her, unseeing eyes gazing at the wall above. Sarah lifted her head to see what her mother had been looking at. It was there on the wall, scrawled in Molly’s own blood, the only message that her mother had left: Ruith.


Purchase The River Maiden on Amazon.

Author Bio

Meredith R. Stoddard is a writer and fiber artist living in Central VA. She studied literature and folklore at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before working as a corporate trainer and instructional designer for 11 years. She now devotes her energy to fiction and creative non-fiction. When her hands are not holding a book or touching a keyboard they are likely knitting, spinning or felting. You can follow her adventures in fiction and fiber on her website.

Connect with Meredith
Twitter - @M_R_Stoddard

Thanks for reading, and as always, please feel free to leave your questions/comments for Meredith below!