Dear Doc Dreidel: Is This The Year I Solve My Santa Crisis?



Dear Dr. Dreidel, must I deal with my existential cognitive dissonance about Santa forever?

Oh, Santa. Baby. How many years have I been writing about our tortured love?

In 2009 I shamelessly pled for you, staying together, once again, until finally breaking up in 2012. In 2013 we acted like friends with benefits. In 2014 we pretended everything from Thanksgiving to Hanukah to Christmas was one big bacchanal for us. 

In 2015 we went to therapy. Didn’t we deal with our issues? Remember?

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Do-Gooder Gifts: Lovely & Helpful

I love giving gifts.
I love helping nonprofits.
Combining the two?
Below: my annual list of  shops where profits are plowed into good
& the choices are terrific. 

Helping Survivors  Sex Trafficking: The Resilience Bracelet, is one of many exquisite pieces of jewelry made by Her Future Coalition 

“Our mission is to provide shelter, education, and employment to survivors of human trafficking and extreme abuse, so they can become and remain free forever. We engage in long term, intensive interventions with the goal of financial independence.   Our programs give survivors the tools to overcome tremendous stigma and to advance far above the poverty line, transforming their identity and social status.”

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How Long Does it Take to Get Published?

Recently, a thread in an online writer’s community popped up, beginning with someone (who hadn’t begun querying) asking why folks sent query letters to so many agents.

Did they have that many “dream agents?

Why not send to just one or two top choices?

And, really, how long does it take?

Answers flew in—achingly honest and reminiscent of everyone’s distant and not-at-all-distant (often painful) publishing journeys.  I thought back to how long it took me.

The answer? You got some time?

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The Year Google (and Goya) Saved Thanksgiving


My sister and I may not have grown up rife with traditions–when when Jill and I hung our socks on Christmas eve, the flat unfilled sight of them the next morning may have reminded us that Santa didn’t stop for little Jewish girls–but darn it, we had the stuffing handed down from Grandma Millie. If we were on death row, our last meal would be the stuffing.

You could tweak it (Jill uses garlic, I don’t) but you never messed with the main ingredients: Uneeda Biscuits and stale rolls. The stale rolls might change from year to year—we’re flexible. Recently I’ve discovered that Bertucci’s rolls are perfect and we make sure to stop by the restaurant where our take out order is, um, 2 bags of rolls.

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Posted in Family, My Life, Sisters | Tagged , , , , , | 18 Comments

Re-reading Old Favorites: MOSQUITO COAST

Re-reading . . . how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

I love the guaranteed happiness (how often does one get that?); I love meeting old friends and familiar enemies; and oh, how I love the anticipation of coloring in the faintly remembered.

Truly-addicted readers have books to which they repeatedly return; we become so entranced by an author’s words we even hope (in bouts of the truest example of suspension of disbelief) that perhaps this time, if we read very slowly, or very carefully, or with one eye squinted half shut, events may change. (Don’t die, Johnny Nolan!)

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The (Dis)Comfort of Money

Women with money and women in power are two uncomfortable ideas in our society.”– Candace Bushnell

Money is the last taboo. People will spill seamy details about their sex lives, before they talk about their salary or, savings accounts. And yet, money is so often at the heart of marital fights, broken dreams, and wake-in-the-middle-of-the-night fears.

That’s why I wrote The (Dis)Comfort of Money – second in my ‘comfort’ series.* The short book includes wisdom, humor, writer’s being honest about their relationship with money, and more. All about the topic with which we are the least comfortable.

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Posted in Book Clubs, The (Dis)Comfort of Money, The Comfort of Food | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Is He Abusive? Signs of Relationship Danger

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. 

When I worked with batterers, people always asked why the women stayed.  Why didn’t they ask why the offenders were violent? Is it because it’s easier to blame the victim? Is it because these abusive men scare us as much as they scare their victims, so it’s easier to confront the victims?

Women (and I mainly talk about women—because my experience is all with male abusers and female victims) often don’t recognize patterens of abuse until they are in so deep that escaping takes more money or power or strength than they can muster.

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(The Real) Sexy Responsible Heart-Throbbing Heroes


Could it be possible that our lust for the bad boys—a hunger which begets dreams that bear nightmares—begins the night we aim our reading flashlights on Rhett Butler and his ilk? Face it—who took away our breath? Who were we trained to want? Namby-pamby Ashley or the dashing Rhett?

How about the other side? The sexy good men (and aren’t the truly good and responsible ones men, not boys?) who step up for justice, or catch a killer, or save the town, without trampling on women’s hearts or bending the rules with a smirk on their faces—how many of them do we worship?

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What To Do Before Your Book Launch: A Guidebook

What to expect when you’re expecting your book? What’s going to happen first, and second, and third?  Pre-launch of my debut novel,  the breadth of information I had to learn overwhelmed me—were there an eight-day week into which I could tap.

During the 2-24 months between signing a book contract and receiving those freshly pressed books, there is much to do and little guidance available.  In 2009, For the secrets of debuting, I turned to the underground, where surreptitious bands of debut novelists come together in the shadows to share the secrets they’ve learned from already published brethren.

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Posted in Launching a Book, My Life, promotion, Teaching, Writing | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Postcards from The Widow of Wall Street


“When Phoebe and Jake Pierce meet as teenagers, she knows he’s someone on the way up, and she wants to be there as he climbs the Wall Street ladder. He gets everything he ever wanted. When it turns out that Jake’s success rests on a huge Ponzi scheme, Phoebe has to make an excruciating choice.
New York Post ‘Must Read Books’

“ . . .as this compelling story unfolds, you realize nothing is as uncomplicated as it seems.”
Associated Press

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