Photo by Leila Thiel on Flickr
Happy Spring!

Wild Ginger is now available in paper and ebook from Barnes and Noble and Amazon. It's getting some great reviews. 

Here's a sampling:

Dana Burgess - "I loved Tara Woolpy's first novel, Releasing Gillian's Wolves and her second offering, Raising Wild Ginger, solidifies Tara's place as one of my favorite authors. "

Literary R&R - "Emotional and touching, Raising Wild Ginger needs to be added to all fiction-lovers' bookshelves. Even though it's the second book in a series, this book can be read and understood on its own merits."

Lori Caswell - "Woolpy has penned a sensational sequel to her outstanding debut novel Releasing Gillian’s Wolves."

Photo by Luis Argerich from Flickr
“Any man who knows a thing knows he knows not a damn damn thing at all.” K’naan

We’re into 2012 now, our resolutions already fading as we come back to our real selves, flawed as they are.  There’s something very valuable about the self-evaluation forced on us by calendar dates, New Years, Yom Kippur or the day swimming suits hit the department store racks. Our lives tend to be overly busy, filled with the minutia of survival, so opportunities to pause and reflect make us better simply by their existence.

And yet, there’s a danger in resolutions because when we overshoot, our sometimes fragile sense of our own goodness and worth can take a beating. We live in a society that says that our value lies in how well we fit the ideal of thin, beautiful and rich. So when we fall off our diet or mess up the budget, it’s proof that we’re unworthy.

And yet, our true measure has nothing to do with the scale or bank account but with our hearts and minds, which are all the more beautiful for being full and large.

May 2012 be for us a good year and may we be gentle on ourselves and each other as we stumble through. We are already better than we think.

Photo by jeffreyw at flickr
  The daily beast had a long post about the Cain marriage. No doubt Gloria has had her share of heartache in their 43 years of marriage. My heart goes out to her and I sincerely hope she learned about Ginger White's 13 year affair with her husband before it became national news.

I have to admit that Ginger's confession was refreshingly honest. I like a woman who can admit to a strictly sexual affair, although it's a shame that others got hurt in the process.  Of course, she hadn't made any vows to Gloria Cain. And evidently there are an infinite number of people who could come forward with sexual harassment allegations against Herman Cain.

 Infinite. Hmmm. That's a lot of groping.

According to CBS news, when asked by the New Hampshire Union Leader if he would drop out of the race if Gloria asked him to he said,"Yes. But my wife wouldn't ask me to get out. She wouldn't ask me to get out. I would make a decision based upon how all of this stuff is affecting her. Because I will put her first. But she is not the type to say: you ought to get out."

I wonder if she'll say it to herself.

So Cain has stepped down and another serial adulterer, Newt Gingrich, has stepped up to fill his shoes. It's a crazy world. All I can say is, don't marry a politician.

Photo by Alexkerhead on Flickr
November is almost here and I'm aquiver with excitement because it's almost Nanowrimo time!  For those of you who haven't tried it, Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month ) happens every November.

Scores of people sign up hoping they'll write a novel (or at least 50,000 somewhat related words) in 30 days – that's 1667 words/day.

This will be my 4th year as a Nano participant and so far I've "won" each year, meaning that I managed to get to 50K by midnight November 30th. Releasing Gillian's Wolves was my 2008 Nano novel. That year I managed almost 70K in a month of fevered writing. I hope to bring out Midnight Supper at the Rise and Shine, my 2009 Nano, sometime next year.

Here are three reasons I love the Nanowrimo.

1)      Writing fast and every day is a great discipline. Of course, that November novel, written in a headlong rush, is the epitome of a rough draft. But as Louis Brandeis said, “There is no great writing, only great rewriting." And there's no rewriting without the huge clunky finished body of the rough draft.

2)      I get to prioritize my writing time and everyone in my life understands. I clear the decks before November 1st, finishing the garden and yard work, trying to get ahead in my day job so there's some slack in my schedule and telling my friends and long suffering spouse that I really won't be available for the next month. If I was a full time writer maybe I'd do this every month, but I'm not, so carving out this single slice of a year seems miraculous.

3)      A wonderful virtual writers community develops during Nanowrimo. It always takes me back to my school days, when day or night I could always find someone interested in talking about plot, character, syntax or the life of the mind. In my small northern town we have a tiny writers community and we certainly speak of these things, exchange work, go to each other's readings and support other writers as much as we can. But we also have jobs and lives that limit our availability to one another. During Nanowrimo I have twenty-four hour access to a community of thousands, all struggling to pound out a story at breakneck speed.

If you've done the Nanowrimo or you're interested in doing it this year, I'd love to hear from you. And feel free to "buddy" me – I'm tlwoolpy on the Nano site.

See you there!

Oh, and I won't be around here much this next month because….well, I guess you know what I'll be doing.

Those of you who have read Releasing Gillian's Wolves know that coming out wasn't an easy thing for either Sam or Edward. Sam's parents disowned him and Edward's mother still struggles with her middle aged gay son. But both of them would tell you that coming out was worth the drama (and in my dream world there would be no drama). It got better for both of them, and even better once they found each other. Their story is the next Lacland book.  Look for it this spring.  In the meantime, may you be happy and healthy and free.
From the New York Times
I have an eighteen year old step-daughter. I certainly hope she's not interested in having sex with a 56 year old Congressman, even if he is the sort of fun guy who likes to dress up in a tiger suit. Wu resigned today after it came out he's that been having an affair with the daughter of a donor (talk about biting the hand that feeds you). 

At least Representative Wu is already divorced. He resigned to protect the "well-being" of his children. A bit late for that, eh?

On the other hand, I can't really get mad at the guy. He's simply the latest in a summer-long gaggle of diddling politicians lining up to help sell my book.  Thanks Dave.   

I had a great time discussing the recipes in Releasing Gillian's Wolves on the book blog Always with a Book. Kristin was also kind enough to review the book and her review follows my post.

Click on image for photo credit
Reading Silda’s story is another reason for Gillian’s reluctance to confront Jack about his infidelities. When you’re married to a politician family dramas get supersized. Silda’s husband frequented prostitutes when he was out of town on business. It wouldn’t have made the news except he was a Governor. He lost his job and his name became synonymous with exorbitant sex. It’s a couple years later now and he’s starring in this own TV show on CNN. Silda Wall is a Harvard educated lawyer who, aside from other things, founded a philanthropic organization. Before he went into politics she worked as a corporate lawyer and made more money than he did. She quit after the birth of their third child in order to spend more time with the kids and to focus on charity work. She built Children for Children, an organization devoted to teaching young people the joys of helping others. Always ambivalent about her role as a political wife, she did nothing wrong. Yet she spent months being pilloried in the press for standing by him. The press debated whether she should have stood by her husband and discussed why she didn’t leave him, all accompanied by a photograph taken on the worst day of her life. Sure, she’s said some dumb things about how if she’d only… then maybe he wouldn’t… But that seems pretty human to me. Who’s business is it whether she decided to stick it out with the father of her children or not? She wasn’t an icon of wronged womanhood or a symbol of feminist strength. She was a woman whose twenty year marriage hit a spectacular train wreck and it was her choice and hers alone whether to try and glue back together the pieces or to walk away. It never helps to have to make that choice with flashbulbs popping.

Click on image for photo credit
Click on image for photo credit
John Ensign has been back in the news lately. Last week he finally resigned from the Senate, although, of course, he claims he did nothing wrong. Well, except cheat on his wife while getting his parents to help him convince his lover's husband to pimp her out for money and connections. Yep, this is the same guy who supported the Defense of Marriage act saying, "Marriage is the cornerstone on which our society was founded. For those who say that the Constitution is so sacred that we cannot or should not adopt the Federal Marriage Amendment, I would simply point out that marriage, and the sanctity of that institution, predates the American Constitution and the founding of our nation." Evidently marriage is so sacred that it can't be allowed for gay and lesbian people but not sacred enough to keep Johnny from violating its basic tenets. But enough about John. I want to talk about Darlene, his betrayed wife. That's her in the picture. Isn't she beautiful? Why on earth would he cheat on her? Maybe she was cold, frigid, too busy. Because it's probably her fault, right? Certainly the most important fact about her is that her husband cheated. Do a google search and prove it to yourself. There aren't many hits out there that don't include the name of her husband's mistress, his apology and her forgiveness. Very little about the three children she's raised and her work on the Nevada Community Foundation. Plenty of photos of her standing by her man as he discusses his betrayal and their subsequent marriage counseling. She says she loves him. Good for her. But do you wonder why Gillian Wolf Sach doesn't want to open that can of worms? Her husband, Congressman Jack Sach, has been unfaithful for years. She should leave him, of course she should. But think of how the world would buzz. Would you want everyone scanning your photo to decide if you were pretty enough to deserve faithfulness? How about online polls about whether you should divorce him (here's one for the Ensigns)? It's a grim world of exposure for the betrayed political wife. I don't blame Gillian for her reticence. But we all know he isn't worth it.


It's Spring!


Photo by David Pfeffer
And here in the upper Midwest we’re preparing for the biggest snow storm of the year.

Fourteen inches by Wednesday. 

And we thought the ski season was over. My leek and broccoli starts are a couple inches tall and I’m hoping to get the tomatoes planted before the storm. Time for a cup of tea and a good book. Too bad Releasing Gillian’s Wolves won’t be out until late summer.

In the meantime I’d like to share the first few lines of my favorite cheery spring song, Tom Lehrer’s Poisoning Pigeons in the Park.

“Spring is here, a-suh-puh-ring is here

Life is skittles and life is beer

I think the loveliest time of the year

Is the spring, I do, don't you, of course you do

But there's one thing that makes spring complete for me

And makes every Sunday a treat for me


All the world seems in tune on a spring afternoon

When we're poisoning pigeons in the park

Every Sunday you'll see my sweetheart and me

As we poison the pigeons in the park”