The resume-type bios will tell you that I am a health and science writer based near Raleigh, North Carolina. I have been the coauthor on books with some pretty impressive experts, including the ever-bubbly Joy Bauer, nutritionist on the Today show. Our first book together hit #1 on The New York Times bestseller list. (Want to know the dirt about Joy? There isn't any! She is exactly as she seems on TV--happy, enthusiastic, supportive, and wicked-smart.)
My latest book, due out in September 2017 by Chicago Review Press, is about our sense of balance. I spent nearly two years researching and visiting the labs of balance specialists to find out the latest gee-whiz information about this mysterious sense. I would tell you more, but the publication date is too far out--I don't want to ruin it for you. I'll just say that you'll learn some cool things while chuckling once in a while (I hope).
The tough part about being a book author is that you can't talk about your current passion as it is happening. "Save it for the book tour," I'm told (even though there will probably be no book tour). The information block is all about maintaining anticipation. Let's say I tell you today that I'm going to bake you some cookies...two years from now. Who doesn't love a good cookie? You'll get excited for a moment, maybe wish you had that cookie to go with your afternoon coffee, but then you would forget about it. Excitement passes. And what if every time I see you, I tell you about that delicious cookie I'm going to give you if you just wait long enough. After a few months of this, you won't care, and when the cookie finally arrives, you'll probably think, "Meh, what's the big deal."
I am already at work on another book, but I can't tell you anything about that yet, either.
That's what being a book writer is all about--working on enormous projects that won't see the light of day for months or years, and which must remain secret. That's what makes me really boring at a cocktail party. (That's the reason I tell myself, anyway.)
Stuff Even My Publicist Doesn't Know
Since I can't yet talk about my upcoming book or the book I'm working on now, here are some completely true bits of info about me that few people know:
I was kicked out of Catholic school in 4th grade for being "too argumentative." It had something to do with not wanting to write a book report on a book I read a year earlier on my own, but when I suggested an alternative (as any 8-year-old is wont to do), I was labeled difficult. Heck, yeah! I like to think I was practicing negotiating skills, but tomato/tomahto, you know?
I left the Girl Scouts that same year because I thought my troop was moving too slowly on the whole badge situation. If you don't know about the Girl Scouts, part of the uniform was a sash that had your troop number on it, as well as round badges you could earn for any number of activities. In order to earn a badge, you would have to complete several tasks that would demonstrate competence. For example, I remember one task for the photography badge was to take a picture of something, like a tree, in each season of the year. I went through that GS handbook like a demon and completed something like 20 badge requirements in the first month. My troop leader then told me that it didn't work that way, that we had to work on badges together. You know, cooperation instead of competition. So 8-year-old me walked away. (A banner year, for sure.)
I am a party-planning dud. I have a good heart and good intentions, but nothing comes together. Just yesterday I thought about planning a birthday party for my dog because...fun! But then I looked up what other people did for their dog parties on Pinterest and I realized how puny my party would be in comparison. No party for Roxie!
I have been camping only once. It rained. My shoulders ached for days after canoeing. We lost half our food in the river. The rest of the food had to be strung up in trees to avoid bears, but no one brought string so I huddled in the wet tent worried about bears all night. That was it. No more camping. Don't even ask.
My grandmother once had lunch with Eleanor Roosevelt! Apparently, grandma was quite a Democratic fundraiser in her day. I wish I could ask her about it, and tell her how proud I am of her activism.
I drink watered-down peppermint tea while I write. Don't judge.
I love tattoos, but I don't have any. Every time I think I know what I want, I wait too long and then I don't want it anymore. In this way I have avoided some ink I know I would have come to regret. But I do so love the body art.
I still get chills when I look in my husband's ice-blue eyes.
Friends and neighbors will tell you that I make a mean chocolate-chip cookie. My own recipe, which I never share. (Sorry.)
I also have an amazing old-world recipe for Polish Potato Salad, which I learned from my tiny Polish grandmother. She visited for a few months when I was in college. She spoke no English, I spoke no Polish, but I stood by her as she cooked and I took notes. It's a great recipe, and I will share it if asked.
My mother was and is the most glamorous person I know, and my sister Ann has the biggest heart of anyone I know. How I am related to them is a mystery to everyone.
I wrote my first book when I was 7. It was 5 pages long, handwritten with letters 1-inch high. A total rip-off of The Little Mermaid, which my mother had read to me the night before. She told me it was someone else's story. I told her mine ended differently (it didn't), and I asked her to look in the phone book for publishers. (Phone book = Google for old people) She handed me the phone book and said, "Look yourself." Mom's mic-drop moment.
The best feeling is getting invited to a "family only" event when you're not family.
Finally, if you haven't figured it out by looking at my website, I love dogs. I also love cats and have two, but they are camera-shy. There is also a small pond in our yard that is home to about 112 oversized goldfish. (Some of them may be koi, but I can't really tell the difference.)