Hope to Meet You

I put off writing a blog for a long time. It seemed everyone and their mother had one–what could I add? But I really wanted to write one. I love personal essays. I love the everyday stories of everyday people.

And everyone was telling me that if I was writing a book, I needed to get myself online. Have a “presence” and whatnot. But I didn’t want to start a blog unless it was me. So I thought and thought about it. It seems simple now, but it was about a year before I had the idea to make this blog what it is today–a place to share stories in an effort to better understand ourselves and one another. The simplest is usually the answer.

So I started True STORIES., established the almighty platform. But all of you readers here mean so much more to me than any step in a marketing plan. You are my refuge, my grounding, my reminder of why I write–not only these essays but even my novel. When the book world gets scary, as it often does, I come back here.

In fact, I consider this such a refuge that I sometimes forget to fill you in on the book side of my life. So I’d like to invite you to some of the events that have already been planned, in hopes that some of you might be able to come and we can meet. I’ve pasted them below. If none of those work for you, my friends will be hosting a Google Hangout on the evening my book is published–April 22, 7pm Central. Here’s a link to the event description:


My friends and hosts even created a questionnaire so you can ask me questions that I’ll answer that night.  It’s super easy to fill out and submit, I’d love for you to be part of the conversation:


Other upcoming events:

April 16 — Arlington Heights, Illinois.  Official Book Launch! Barnes & Noble, 13 W. Rand Road. 7-9pm. This event is free and open to the public.

April 22 — Online. Google Hangout, 7pm Central.

May 1 — Palatine, Illinois.  Palatine High School’s Writers Day. For students and faculty of Palatine High School.

May 2 — Minneapolis, Minnesota.  Reading & signing. Magers & Quinn Booksellers, 3038 Hennepin Ave. 7-9pm. This event is free and open to the public.

May 12 — Denver, Colorado.  Reading & signing. Tattered Cover, Historic LoDo, 1628 16th Street. 7:30pm. This event is free and open to the public.

May 21 — St. Joseph, Michigan.  Reading & signing. Forever Books, 312 State Street. 7pm. This event is free and open to the public.

May 28 — Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  Women’s Speaker Series, Lynden Sculpture Garden. 7-9pm . Tickets include an autographed copy of The Rooms Are Filled, refreshments, and admission to the sculpture garden. Register online now.

That’s what I’ve got so far, possibly more to come. If you’d like to stay updated on future events and publications, please sign up for my newsletter. My Facebook Author page doesn’t reach everyone who has “liked” it, so a newsletter is the best way I can figure to get you information. As long as I remember to send it. 🙂

Va – LIT – zik

Not only did my vacation screw with my half-marathon training, but I left my blogging schedule somewhere in Wisconsin. For anyone out there who cares, apologies. I’d like to get back on schedule, though to tell you the truth, it’s hard to make mental space for 1. all the preparation that goes along with publishing, 2. writing a second novel, and 3. finding people to interview for my Monday Morning Meetings. Oh, and 4. my children. Forgot my children (again). I have ideas–there are always stories. It’s just that I have a sort of end-of-summer energy level.

Luckily, BookMarks, a site I enjoy, has provided me with an almost ready-made post. She nominated me for the Liebster blogging award (thanks very much, Karen Mesa!) and that stipulates that I answer some questions and list a few facts about me, which I’ll do here:

1. My last name is pronounced Va-LIT-zik. It’s Czech.

1a. It took me one year to change my name after I married. I didn’t like the thought of taking my husband’s name but my maiden name, Null, was pretty boring. As a lover of words, this was important.

2. I think running full marathons is less than intelligent.

3. My daughter has two middle names after her two maternal great-grandmothers: June and Edith.

4. My son is currently trying to convince me that we should buy a farm.

5. We might buy a farm.


  • Favourite place you’ve visited?  Dingle Peninsula, County Kerry, Ireland.  Or Belize. Charleston, SC, is good, too. Yellowstone….
  • What’s your dream job? Writer
  • One place in the world you’d love to move to? Maybe Sullivan’s Island, SC. Or somewhere near Yellowstone.
  • Favourite Book? To Kill a Mockingbird
  • Favourite Movie? Bull Durham. Or Fried Green Tomatoes. Or Dances With Wolves.
  • Best Memory? Incredibly hard question. In the children category: hearing my son’s first cry when the doctor pulled him out during an emergency c-section
  • What’s the most delicious thing you can cook? Um…….
  • Sunrise or Sunset? Sunset (mostly because I’ve never seen a sunrise)
  • Something you’ve crossed off your bucket list? Write a novel
  • Favourite Childhood Book/Story? Anne of Green Gables
  • Blog you visit (almost) everyday? Seth Godin or Kristen Lamb or Momastery (My Blogroll, to the right of this post, lists the blogs I read regularly.)

In other news, all’s well that ends well:


Big-Girl Bed

To Us

It’s been one year since I wrote my first post.

I started this blog on my birthday last year. And, now that I think of it, I wrote that post at my local library, which is where I am sitting right now. Weeeiiirdd. I did not plan that. Universe. Synching.

A virtual kiss, in honor of our one-year:  **SMOOCH**

I very much appreciate that you read my writing, that you leave comments, and send me emails and Facebook messages.

Thanks again.

(Go easier on the tongue. There. Now you are saved from future embarrassment.)




It’s Tuesday


I had planned to introduce you yesterday to a woman who works in the ER–she’s got some crazy stories. But this little piece of hell called a synopsis got in the way. If you don’t know what that is, it’s as bad as it sounds. I love writing books and I love talking about them, but I don’t like writing about them. I didn’t like it in high school and it turns out I still don’t like it. Not even when it’s my own book I’m writing about.

One thing that’s helping me get through it is this short piece by John Warner. If you are a Midwesterner, and/or if you love writing and/or books, you’ll enjoy it. I like to think it describes me and my writing, too, so it’s been pushing me along.

One more thing and I’ll be on my way back to hell. Fellow writer and friend Eva Rieder nominated True STORIES for a Liebster Blog Award. These awards would be like chain letters except they come from people who admire your blog. So while some turn their nose up, I am grateful. Writers can use all the support they can get, and Eva is a dedicated reader who has written some very nice things about me.

According to the rules, I’m supposed to nominate anywhere from 5 to 11 other bloggers and I will do that in a future post. For now, I’ll answer a few of her questions:

If you could have anything you wanted, at this moment, what would it be? A finished, and stellar, synopsis

What is your guilty pleasure? Giuliana & Bill

If you were trapped on an island with only three things, what would they be?  Laptop, Chapstick, boat

What is your favorite animal? Wolf

What is your favorite television show, and why? All-time I’d have to say Gilmore Girls, even though toward the end I got tired of their witty banter. But I own all the episodes and they’re perfect for a rainy day when I wanna feel all cuddly and snug.

You are offered $100,000,000, but you may never write again. Do you take the money? Hell, no.



Back to Real Life

Morning, all!

I have wonderful stories to share about Ireland–some I’ll tell you directly, some will be masked behind other things  for the sake of other people’s privacy. I will get to them, but this morning I am off to LASIK surgery. Please keep your fingers crossed for me. Please.

I’ve got some other grand (to borrow an oft-used word from the Irish) stories lined up this month. But for now, I’ll leave you with this, from County Kerry: