Two-Wheeler Blogging

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I’m new at this. By “this,” I mean This Whole Thing. The novel-getting-published, eponymous-website, people-might-want-to-know-what-I-think-about Thing. And though there are lots of blogs out there that seem based upon the presumption that people want to know details like what the blogger ate for breakfast, or the disagreement she had with bagger at the supermarket about whether the cantaloupe should go on top of the eggs … I’m guessing you don’t. Not really.

So, I’m going to give blogging a whirl. And knowing it’s my first time, you’ll read it and smile indulgently and think, “Isn’t that cute,” as if I were wobbling down your street, the training wheels on my blogging having just been removed, with a look of exhilarated panic on my face. Trust me when I say, that’s exactly how I look.

Not surprisingly since I’m a writer, what I want to talk about is books: those I love, at least at the moment. On vacation in Vermont last month, I read Belong to Me by Marisa De Los Santos. It’s the sequel to Love Walked In, which I haven’t read yet, the experience of Belong to Me being complete in itself. It’s about three women in the suburbs and the unexpected ways in which their paths cross. Ms. De Los Santos writes with juicy lyricism—the woman knows her way around a metaphor, let me just say. She explains an image or a feeling or an experience as you’ve never heard it described before, but nonetheless makes you think, “Yes! That’s it exactly!” I also love the way she offers up the most brilliantly awful character and by the end you are absolutely rooting for her.

At the moment I’m reading The Geography of Girlhood on the reliable advice of my teenaged daughter. It’s young adult fiction at its best, especially if you want to know what teenaged girls are freaking out about and hoping for and ignoring. Also, it’s written in verse, which I thought would be distracting, but isn’t. Instead, Kirsten Smith uses poetry to boil everything down to the pure essence of the main character’s experience. It’s a deep, fast, funny, heart-rending read. See if you can find those four adjectives strung together in any other book review.

Okay, look at me: my helmet is slightly askew and my hands ache from clutching the rubber grips on the handlebars so hard my fingerprints are practically imbedded in them … but I did it. I don’t know if I’ll get any better at this blogging thing, but you’re a kind cyber-neighbor—you’ll wave as I teeter along and call out, “Keep going!”

28 Responses to “Two-Wheeler Blogging”

  1. Claudia Street Says:

    February 18th, 2010 at 12:19 pm

    I just finished reading Shelter Me and I thoroughly enjoyed the story. I was so sorry for the story to end. You are a very good writer and I look forward to your next book. Thank you for sharing your stories.

  2. Charlene Oster Says:

    November 7th, 2009 at 3:55 pm

    It was great meeting you, at the Melrose Public Library, Thursday evening (11/5/09). I’m the woman who asked about “Father” (vs “Rabbi”) JAKE. (By the way, I thought he might turn out to be gay, but you fooled me by not fooling me.) Shelter Me is a wonderful book—“emotionally honest,” as others have observed. I’m looking forward to your next book—and your next visit!!!

  3. shirley Bly, Says:

    August 6th, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    This the first time I have ever taken the time to look up an Author of a book and let them know how much I love their book. Shelter me was great! You are going to be a famous writer, and I can hardly wait to read your next book. I would say good luck, but you really dont need it! thank you for giving me a very good book to read.

    Shirley Bly, Aug.6,2009 Tennessee

  4. Betty Martin Says:

    July 28th, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    Just read your book “Shelter Me”. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am looking forward to your next novel.

    Betty Martin from Pennsylvania

  5. Lori Bair Says:

    July 22nd, 2009 at 8:55 am

    I told my bookclub that I had a “must read”-it’s been quite a while since I’ve picked up a book that I didn’t want to put down! It’s the day after the last page and I’m actually missing the story. I ‘ll wait impatiently to see what you create next…Nice work!

  6. Karen Doyle Says:

    June 29th, 2009 at 11:38 am

    Dear Juliette,

    As others have noted, I too have never written to an author before. I loved “Shelter Me”! I started Friday evening, picked up again Saturday afternoon and finished at 3:30am Sunday morning. I don’t remember the last time a book captivated me so. Many of Janie’s sharp reactions and comments were eerily familiar to me… When reading your thoughts at the end of the book, I realized that many of us have the same fears ~ losing our loved ones and how we’d carry on.

    The idea of “pology” baked goods is wonderful!! I’m going to try to make the Lemon Cake ~ just because.

    Congratulations on your first novel and I look forward to reading your next!

    Karen Doyle from Connecticut

  7. Sue Says:

    June 22nd, 2009 at 4:00 pm

    I just finished reading “Shelter Me”. I bought this book to read on my long weekend at the Cape. Started to read and cound not put the book down. It is wonderful, makes you have a lot of different feelings. Thank you for a great read – what is next? But, now what am I going to read this weekend?


  8. Janet Says:

    June 13th, 2009 at 10:09 am

    Juliette, I have never written an author before and I have read a lot of books but yours is one of the best books I have ever read and I felt the urge to write. I couldn’t believe it is your first book. I work in a library and now that I am almost thru with the book I have put holds on it for my daughter and another woman who works in the library also. It has 58 holds on it so it looks like other people like it too. I read a couple of pages and then quit because I don’t want it to be completely read. I hope you are writing again and are planning to give us many more books in the caliber. Thanks for a wonderful book!

  9. Tina Kitchin Says:

    June 11th, 2009 at 12:14 pm

    LOVED IT!!!! Your book is the first I have been able to pick up and read cover to cover since I had kids…seriously! I was reading a chapter here and there when I had time but one day I became possessed! I sat and read for 4 hours straight, I just could not put it down. I had one chapter left when I finally had to put it away to go to work but I’m sure you can guess what I did the minute I got home!

    The “Pology” cake was priceless, and definitely an idea I may have to use someday!

    I liked Janie so much and I also “got her”. I could totally relate to her when she was ready to go off the deep end! After all, we all have our “moments”. 🙂

    I would love to hear more about what happens, perhaps another book about this same lot of characters…..please!

    Looking forward to reading more of your stories in the near future.

  10. Juliette Says:

    April 27th, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    Hi Gail ~

    No actually, for me the writing is the easy part — or at least the most enjoyable, if not always easy. I love my characters, and I love to be “with” them. (If that sounds a little wacko … well, I guess it probably is.)

    Finding an agent and a publisher is very hard. It’s a tough business, especially for people with no track record and no advanced degree in writing. Some agents won’t even consider looking at your work if you’re not already a somewhat proven commodity. I’m quite sure there is a lot of good unpublished work out there that just never found a friendly ear. So I feel very, very fortunate to have found a really good agent who got me to a really good publisher.

    Thanks for your very kind comments–I’m so glad you liked it, and I love your idea about “research” in Italy. That does involve researching the food, too, doesn’t it? 🙂

  11. Gail Griffin Says:

    April 27th, 2009 at 12:39 pm

    Loved your book, I carried it everywhere with me until done and then I was sad when the story ended. Laughed when you had Tug buy his boxers at Target as I work at the Target store in South Jersey and I was reading your book there during lunch breaks.
    I know your next book deals with the subject of a divorced Mom and I’m sure it will be good but I think you also could write more about ShelterMe’s characters.Maybe develope some of the secondary characters like Cormac/Barb at the bakery and Noreen in Italy (of course you need to go there to do research!)
    You did an amazing job on your first book. How did you find your publisher and agent? Was that the easy part?

  12. Deborah S. Says:

    April 25th, 2009 at 11:14 am

    Dear Juliette,
    I just finished “Shelter Me” while sitting on my side porch on a beautiful, warm, sunny spring morning. I cried. I will admit that at the beginning of the book I felt Janie was too whiny and snipey. I began to understand her as I read on. I loved the book and especially toward it’s end, how beautifully you wrapped everything up. I was sad to see it end but satisfied with its ending. I hope there is a movie made — who would I cast, let’s see…for Janie, someone between a Minnie Driver/Rachel McAdams type – strong, beautiful…for Tug, somewhere between that hunk Eddie Cibrian and the actor who plays Mike (the plumber) on Desperate Housewives…earthy, hunky, soft spoken and sweet all at once.
    Thank you for this wonderful book – there were a few phrases in it, too, that hit me hard (“a parent’s love is the most desperate thing on planet Earth”) and your description of the little boy smell…how well I remember that and miss it terribly!
    Keep writing, can’t wait for the next one.

  13. Diane Wozniak Says:

    March 21st, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    Dear Juliette:
    I have been promoting and praising “Shelter Me” around Seattle, and I hope when you immerse yourself in your next novel you will just screen out all pressures whenever possible and inhabit the process the way you CAN. Do it for yourself, first; that’s what works for the rest of us lucky readers! ~Diane Wozniak

  14. Linda Viner Says:

    March 19th, 2009 at 12:47 am

    Juliette, Like all the rest of the writers on this page, I too loved your novel. There were so many satisfying aspects to the book; multidimensional characters that drew me in, angered, puzzled, and enticed me to read on long after the lights should have been turned off at night! Unsuspected twists of plot.. surprises and such lovely kindnesses by the characters, I was wishing I knew them all in my own life. The dialogue was brilliant, and I ‘felt’ Janie’s emotions right along with her, more than I have identified with a characters emotions in any book I think I’ve ever read. There was something so ‘natural’ about life in this book, that I too , like others comments on this page, did NOT want the book to end. You have a true and unique gift, and I was delighted to read that you are already working on #2. Congratulations ! oh yes, I loved the ‘faith’ aspect of ‘Shelter Me’ it added wonderful depth and reality for me. My faith is what causes me to see my life in a 3 dimensional way, physically , emotionally and mentally, and spiritually and I loved that Janie did the same.
    ” Well done thou good and faithful servant!” You have used your talent well. 🙂

  15. Starr Tingle Says:

    March 18th, 2009 at 9:34 pm

    I finished your beautiful book four days ago and have been suffering from melancholy…I miss the characters so much. You did a really beautiful job and I anxiously await your next work. Congratulations on this first endeavor and thank you for sharing.

  16. Pat Grassis Says:

    March 4th, 2009 at 12:36 pm

    Hi Juliette: I work with your aunt Janet. She lent me a copy of your book. I LOVED IT!!! I didn’t want it to end. I was wishing that I had a “Tug” in my life. I hope you will be writing another book.

  17. admin Says:

    February 5th, 2009 at 8:06 pm

    I was looking for a name that would convey the sense of Janie being on a journey, and that’s what I came up with. I hope it made it a little more meaningful for you, seeing a familiar name!

  18. Lois Taylor Says:

    February 5th, 2009 at 7:27 pm

    We were wondering how you came up with the LaMarche name. It is a family name on my mother’s side.

  19. Ann Staffeld Says:

    January 26th, 2009 at 9:31 am

    This is one of the most emotionally honest novels I’ve ever read, in a long lifetime of much reading. I don’t find it easy to say why – in part, because the words used to praise such novels have become hackneyed – and also, to divulge details about plot, theme, or characters could not begin to capture the fascination one feels from experiencing them first-hand. Suffice it to say, I was grabbed by this book from the beginning and the fascination intensified as I read on. About midway, I began reading more slowly, because I didn’t want the experience to end (one of my hallmarks for a great read). When I got to the denouement, what a joy to find it not only believeable but inevitable, even though I hadn’t forseen it.

    Despite the long process of recovering from a major loss, which is so graphically shown here, Shelter Me tells a basically life-affirming story. The cast of characters is large and varied; each is vivid and believable; their conflicts, attractions, and interacting in the ordinary business of life create a world of kaleidoscopic intensity, as the innumerable ways in which people comfort or repel each other are portrayed by a gifted story-teller. In a largely domestic setting, this story covers the entire spectrum of human emotions. Even in scenes of rage, hurt feelings, or crushing disappointment, there is always an awareness that these lives are interlocked, and a sense of the great beauty of unnoticed, everyday heroism.

    Recently, I woke up one morning thinking – “It’s January 14th. That’s the day Robbie died.” Was Robbie one of my own nearest and dearest? No, he’s a character in your book! I think that’s quite a tribute to the insight and artistry you possess, and I already look forward to your next creation.

    Ann Staffeld, editor (retired)

    Harvard University Press

    Little, Brown and Company

  20. MJ Says:

    January 22nd, 2009 at 2:08 pm

    Thank you for writing such a great & powerfull novel. I loved every page of it.

    When is you next novel coming out?

  21. Leisa Says:

    January 20th, 2009 at 10:45 pm

    Congratulations ! Shelter Me was GREAT ! I told everyone to read it ! Looking forward to your next one – happy writing !

  22. Judy McClain Says:

    January 18th, 2009 at 6:42 pm

    I just finished reading Shelter Me and didn’t want it to end. It was terrific. I can’t wait until your next one is available.

  23. admin Says:

    January 14th, 2009 at 9:43 am

    Thanks for that very kind comment! Nice to know the good people of Seattle are reading Shelter Me and liking it (at least one, anyway). I think “least-cliched” has got to be about one of the best comments any author can hope for. I would love nothing better than to revisit my old stomping ground … we’ll see what the future and the publishing gods see fit to bestow. I’ll take a look at “Eating Heaven” — thanks for the suggestion.
    ~ Juliette

  24. Diane Wozniak Says:

    January 13th, 2009 at 11:53 pm

    Juliette, You are so talented at the many essential facets of superb fiction, with characters a reader can CARE about: Incredibly exact and authentic dialogue, the way Janie/Jane could express herself in first person and also be presented in third, the truthful and chimingly real moments of non-preachy faith, growth, and self-realization. Yours is the best and most gratifying, least cliched book I have read in so long! You absolutely accomplished your goal of writing a book that surpasses most clever-literary-device or other forgettably boring selections. I am not a stern critic of narrow interests, because I LOVE to read….but I still know a gem when I find it! I am also impressed by your connection with Seattle, because both of my daughters attended Bishop Blanchet High School, which has a wonderful tradition of service in the community. If you ever DO come here, perhaps your publicist can contact the Queen Anne Bookstore or the Magnolia Bookstore, 2 of my favorite independent booksellers. Meanwhile, I hope you take your own sweet time about the next book even though I can’t wait to savor it. I have more thoughts, but will end here for now. Have you ever heard of a novelist named Jenny Shortridge? Try her “Eating Heaven” book, set in Portland, OR. Happy New Year! ~ Diane Wozniak~
    P.S You made me laugh often while reading “Shelter Me”, and I have really needed to lately: Thank you!

  25. Liz Price Says:

    January 10th, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    Yeah!!! I am so excited that you have published your first book! I hope that it is the first of many…. I look forward to reading Shelter Me and again, congratulations.

  26. Megan M Says:

    October 15th, 2008 at 9:46 pm

    I’m pre-ordering copies for myself and for some friends. Your book is a must-read for some women I know. Thanks for sharing your gift of writing and GET GOING ON THE NEXT ONE!

  27. Stephanie Elliot Says:

    October 9th, 2008 at 6:49 pm

    Keep going! Keep going! People are going to want to know more!

    PS–I met Maria de Los Santos at a writer’s panel and the moderator there GAVE AWAY THE ENDING OF THE BOOK! Maria was mortified! But graceful about it.

    (PS–I sent you an email about and our Betty’s Lit Lounge!)

  28. Darrell S Says:

    September 22nd, 2008 at 12:25 pm


    Congratualtions on your on going success. I have wanted to write about my early days growing up in Jamacia Plain and Roxbury, I grew up in a second generation Irish family and have so many memories and stories.

    You have inspired me to get off my tush and get going. Thanks for this, your friendship and your terrific husband and children.

    Darrell S

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