My Night with Keith Urban
added on 11.12.18
Remember that time I went to see Keith Urban with my Mother In Law?
BJ’s Standout Reads: October 2018
added on 11.02.18
This month I read a spooky stalker book, and historical fiction. Check out what I devoured in October.
BJ’s Standout Reads September 2018
added on 09.26.18
In September I have a rock star romance and a book about domestic violence. Polar opposites yet both were great reads.
My Obsession with the Mysterious Gould Island
added on 09.21.18
There is an island in Narragansett Bay that I am convinced is a secret underground lair for the military elite. If only I could get onto the island and explore. I've tried unsuccessfully a few times. Here's the story about my obsession with Gould Island.
Denny’s Parking Lot by Night
added on 09.12.18
When I was 12 in 1986 we went to the Grand Canyon. And then we slept in a Denny's parking lot.
Our First Ever Sailing Trip
added on 09.04.18
Todd and I love to travel on our sailboat. We've owned three boats together, and the first was on Lake Champlain in Vermont. We embarked on a 10 day trip together and got hooked. Check out some blast from the past pictures in this post.
What I Read on Summer Vacation: 2018
added on 08.28.18
This vacation was a bit unusual for us, and so were my vacation reading selections. The ocean we sailed on was dark and moody, and so were my reads.
BJ’s Standout Reads August 2018
added on 08.22.18
This is a short one only because soon I'll post my list of books I read on vacation this year too. But here are some juicy ones I read this month.
And Yet #MeToo
added on 08.01.18
The Me Too movement has been an incredibly powerful way to start the conversation about sexual assault and harassment. This is my Me Too story.
BJ’s Standout Reads: July 2018
added on 07.23.18
This month we have two rock star romances, and one by Jodi Picoult. One of the rock star romances is incredibly sexy.
BJ’s Standout Reads: June 2018
added on 06.27.18
Summer is here! Looking for something to add to your summer reading list? Check out what I read and loved in June.
I Get By with a Little Help From My Friends
added on 06.26.18
There is an army of people behind every great thing we do. Here's a few people in my little army.
My Last First Kiss
added on 06.20.18
First kisses are a very addictive part of getting to know someone. But how do you know when you kiss someone that it'll be the last time you ever get to experience a first kiss with anyone? Do you try to memorize every detail just in case, or do you just hope that you will?
BJ’s Standout Reads May 2018
added on 05.22.18
Looking for something new to read? Here’s what I devoured and enjoyed in May. I hope you like them as much as I did.
Help Me, Rhonda, Get into a Chevy Monza
added on 05.13.18
I am the youngest of five children. I was desperate to keep up with my older siblings, and did so through their music. I have these wonderful memories of the music they brought into my world--thank you all.
Why Yes, I Think I Will Be Your Guest
added on 05.11.18
I got the chance to do a TV interview with Jan Lewis on Be My Guest. TV interviews are great, but there was the whole question of what to wear?
Beside the Music Perfect Score in the 2018 BookLife Prize
added on 04.30.18
Beside the Music scored a 10 out of 10 on all categories in the 2018 BookLife Prize by Publisher's Weekly.
BJ’s Standout Reads, April 2018
added on 04.24.18
This month I have a memoir by a former Playboy Playmate and a thriller. I know I am mixing genres, but I promise they are both well worth the read.
How To Make Every Day Earth Day
added on 04.20.18
If we all change a few habits in our daily routine, we can make a huge impact for our planet. Here are some things I do to save the earth.
The Ballad of the Trophy Wife
added on 04.17.18
You can't call someone else a trophy wife, unless you call yourself one first. And you can only do it if you're joking with a friend you've known since you were 16.
BJ’s Standout Reads March 2018
added on 04.02.18
The path not taken? A mysterious man on the beach in the rain with no memory of who he is? Check out my standouts from March.
The Jug on the Counter
added on 03.29.18
The week before Easter my mom put out a ceramic jug on the counter. Here's what was in it.
Wicked Game of the Hunter
added on 03.26.18
My review of Tracey Ryan's Wicked Game of the Hunter
Lent Gets in the Way
added on 03.19.18
When I was a kid my parents observed Lent to the letter. I have to be honest, the last thing I ever gave up for Lent was the only thing I'd ever managed to be successful at giving up. What I had given up was giving up things for Lent. But when I was a kid Lent interfered with my social life in seemingly tragic ways.
How We All Escaped with our Lives
added on 03.12.18
The latest birthday adventure with my crew: escaping the rooms in Boston.
While You Were On Mars
added on 03.05.18
On March 5th my mom would have been 81. She died when she was 64, and she's missed out on so much.
BJ’s Standout Reads Feb 2018
added on 02.28.18
February was a short month. I also slept more soundly in February so I didn't stay up late reading as much as I normally do. Here are my standout reads, but there are only 2 this month.
Why Beta Readers Are Crucial to Making a Great Novel
added on 02.26.18
Writing a novel? Is it any good? Find out by having someone beta read it. Someone other than your mom or your spouse.
added on 02.05.18
Book recommendation: Second Guessing by Gail Ward Olmsted. If you're looking for a rock star romance with a bit of mystery and a page turner, check this out.
The Ghosts of Savannah
added on 02.01.18
Todd and I drove to Florida. We took 4 days to cover a distance that would normally be done in 20-something hours. We had a blast exploring the ghost ridden streets of Savannah, Georgia.
BJ’s Standout Reads Jan 2018
added on 01.31.18
Here are my faves from January, including one from my pal Gail Ward Olmsted.
My Trip Down Pneumonia Lane
added on 01.15.18
I don't understand how people can possibly function with walking pneumonia. I had it once, and I literally could not deal with anything. Here's my story of traveling to Seattle and getting diagnosed with walking pneumonia.
Writer’s Digest 25th Annual Self Published Book Award
added on 01.09.18
While I didn't win the prize, the comments by the judge were pretty awesome. I am beyond honored!
In 2017 I Read 27,562 Pages
added on 01.08.18
I love to read. Reading helps me to learn how to be a better writer, here's all that I read in 2017.
BJ’s Standout Reads: December 2017
added on 12.27.17
Looking for something new to read, here's what I read in December.
Songs from Uncle George’s Basement
added on 12.23.17
My Uncle George had this amazing vinyl collection in his basement. At Christmas time I always remember hanging out in his basement and listening to these gems.
Epic Cake Fail
added on 12.21.17
I tried to make a fancy cake for Todd for his birthday. It was supposed to look like a hedgehog.
Let’s Talk About All the Times I Hit a Deer
added on 12.04.17
Hitting a deer with your car is inconvenient, gross, and a complete bummer.
The Kindness of Strangers: A Thanksgiving Miracle
added on 11.26.17
There was that time when we were driving to Vermont for Thanksgiving, when the car died and we had the surprising good fortune of the kindness of strangers.
BJ’s Standout Reads: November 2017
added on 11.17.17
Here are my top 3 reads from November 2017.
I Am a Freak Magnet
added on 11.13.17
I am generally friendly. I even offer candy to strangers. But sometimes I swear people see the sign written on my forehead that says "Approach me and tell me your deepest, darkest and craziest."
So, How Much of the Story is True?
added on 11.06.17
I get asked all the time how much of me, my life and the people in my life found their way in to Beside the Music.
My First Time Trick or Treating—I was 12
added on 10.30.17
I went trick or treating for the first time when I was 12. I didn't realize it wasn't customary to tour the richest lady in town's mansion when you trick or treated at her house.
Symphony Not So Fantastique
added on 10.23.17
I had my own Julia Roberts Sleeping with the Enemy moment when the Barenaked Ladies started randomly playing when I was home alone and in the shower.
BJ’s Standout Reads: October 2017
added on 10.19.17
Here are my top three I've read for October. Go check these out, they were awesome!
When a Drama Queen is a 73 lb Male Chesapeake Bay Retriever
added on 10.16.17
Meet Potter, my 73 lb Chessie drama queen.
The Last Dot Com Job
added on 10.09.17
Early in the day job career I was a Dot Commer. This was my last go at a Dot Com before the bubble burst. Reading this, you'll know why it burst.
Did Stephen King Actually Have a Rabid and Murderous Dog?
added on 10.02.17
What happens when a group of readers makes up a story about the author of a novel, based upon novel. And what happens if it's untrue and they spread that story anyway? Asking for a friend.
To NaNo or Not To NaNo: That is the Question
added on 09.25.17
Should I do NaNoWriMo this year?
My Reading at the Elephant Room
added on 09.18.17
On August 31st I was fortunate enough to participate in a reading at The Elephant Room in Cranston, RI. Pics and video in this blog entry.
BJ’s Standout Reads: September 15, 2017
added on 09.15.17
I read a lot. Here are the top 3 I've read recently.
Where I Was
added on 09.11.17
We used to ask back then "Where were you when the 9/11 attack happened." This is where I was.
The Girl on the Bike with the Dog
added on 08.28.17
When I was 8 I had a paper route? Can you imagine letting an 8 year old on her bike go down the street and deliver a newspaper to drug dealers?
Restoring Dying Coral
added on 08.21.17
We volunteered at the Coral Restoration Foundation to help replant some endangered coral. Every diver should do this to fully appreciate the gorgeous reefs we love to explore, and give back to our underwater world.
Shipwreck Diving: The Spiegel Grove
added on 08.14.17
The first day of our 2017 scuba vacation was spent diving in Key Largo, Florida. Let me tell you all about diving the wreck of the Spiegel Grove.
What I Read On My Summer Vacation: 2017 Edition
added on 08.11.17
Looking for a vacation read? Here's what I read on my summer vacation.
Landing a Plane While the Pilot is Passed Out
added on 08.07.17
Do you think you could pack a suitcase for your husband? Easy right? Now, could he pack one for you?
added on 07.31.17
Normally I don't remember my dreams. But this one was a doozy, a reminder of a job I once had which was a nightmare I faced during the day.
Enter to Win a $50 Amazon Gift Card
added on 07.24.17
What would you do with $50 at Amazon--where you can literally buy anything? Read and review Beside the Music on Amazon.com and enter to win $50. Contest ends November 30, 2017.
It Must Be my Mediterranean Skin
added on 07.24.17
Driving around in a convertible has made my skin tan, only because I marinate in sunscreen before I leave the house. But being Polish must mean I tan easily, no?
A Bloody Nose in Abu Dhabi
added on 07.17.17
I was waiting for Todd in a restaurant in Abu Dhabi, and he walked in with blood all over his face and down the front of his shirt. Whaaaa?
My Fuzzy Little Time Bomb
added on 07.10.17
On Friday we just found out that Nemo, our beagle, has Cushing's Disease. I am not really sure what all that means yet, though.
Let’s Talk About Love. True Love.
added on 07.03.17
There are many ways to express love, but let me tell you about the ultimate act of true love.
Free Admission to Bird Theatre
added on 06.26.17
A former co-worker of mine had bought a bird feeder to entertain her cat from inside her apartment. She called it Bird Theatre, and the name stuck with me. Now I call the daily performance on my deck Bird Theatre. Free admission!
How I Fixed a Sinking Ship
added on 06.12.17
Todd and I have restored 2 and a half sailboats together. It's our passion. Here is the story about how it all happened.
My Top 6 Favorite Books About Cults
added on 06.05.17
I am obsessed with reading about cults. Here are my favorite memoirs and novels about life in cults.
When Keith Met Tamsen
added on 05.14.17
Are you wondering how Keith met Tamsen? Sneak preview of Before the Music.
And Now For Something Different: Fresh Water Diving
added on 05.08.17
We did some fresh water diving in a spring near Orlando, FL. No sharks, but crystal clear water. Still a worthwhile trip.
Wait, What Did They Just Sing?
added on 05.01.17
Few things crack me up more than misheard song lyrics. Here are some of my favorites.
My First Time: Scuba Diving
added on 04.24.17
My first time scuba diving had me wondering what the appeal was. Truthfully, I hated my first dive. And this feeling is actually quite common among new divers.
If It Weren’t For Anna’s Mom, I Wouldn’t Exist
added on 04.17.17
Life really is a series of decisions that build up to who you are and where you are right now. My Mom had the choice to move to Massachusetts when she first came to the US. What if she hadn't?
I Won’t Turn Into a Label Whore, But There Was That One Time
added on 04.10.17
I typically don't care about designer clothes. I can't relate to the women on Sex and the City, nor can I wear those crazy shoes they wear. But there have been times I've been a tiny bit of a label whore.
Awesome Book Recommendation: Frozen Voices by Lynne Heinzmann
added on 04.03.17
I just read an awesome book, that took place right here in Rhode Island. If you like historical fiction, check out Frozen Voices by Lynne Heinzmann.
Ich Bin Ein Rhode Islander
added on 03.27.17
I've lived in Rhode Island for almost 16 years. I've absorbed some of the local tics, here's why RI is unique and wonderful.
BJ’s Top 10 Beach Read Picks for 2017
added on 03.20.17
Looking for something to read on vacation? Check out my top 10 for 2017. You will not be disappointed.
2 Cool Things I Found While Geocaching
added on 03.13.17
Geocaching is pretty much the best activity ever. Here are some cool things I've found while participating in this awesome activity.
Let’s Rent a Van and Go to Martha’s Vineyard
added on 03.08.17
My birthday adventure on Martha's Vineyard. There is no greater compliment than people who want to go on a trip with you for your birthday!
Guardrail: A Song for My Mom
added on 03.05.17
My mom would have been 80 this year. Guardrail is a song I wrote for her the night she died. And I can barely sing it without crying still
My Dirty Little Secrets: Shows That I am Obsessed With that I am Embarrassed to Watch
added on 03.03.17
Yes, I watch these shows. And yes, I am embarrassed as hell for it. To properly handle embarrassment, I will tackle it head on and admit it to you.
My Date with the Supposed Australian Financier
added on 02.23.17
It's this story that makes the 42 year old me ask the 20 year old me, "Are you fricking insane?"
How I Met My Husband
added on 02.20.17
This is the story of how I met my husband. Also, it's the story of how Brenda and Tim met in Beside the Music.
I Used to Busk in Sydney
added on 02.16.17
When I was 20 I had purple hair and I used to play my guitar on the street for loose change.
Meeting Authors Is Not As Hard As You Think
added on 02.13.17
You never know where you'll meet your next favorite author, it could be at the library in your town. After all, people like Jodi Piccoult and Stephen King live somewhere and get spotted at the supermarket... if I see you in the supermarket, I promise to smile and nod and not judge what's in your cart.
How to Love an Author: Write a Review
added on 02.06.17
I didn't anticipate just how important reviews on Amazon are for my success as an author. Here's how it works, and why you should write a review as your ultimate expression of love for an author.
Sneak Preview! Chapter 1: Before the Music
added on 02.01.17
Here is the first chapter of my new book, Before the Music
Authors: How Do You Know What to Write?
added on 01.30.17
Do we go by what we think will sell, or what I want to write? How do I know if an idea is a good one or not?
My Book List: In 2016 I Read 22,043 Pages
added on 01.26.17
I read a lot of pages in 2016. 22,043 to be exact. Here are my reading stats from the year.
Day 5: Blue Lagoon and Departure
added on 01.23.17
Our last day in Iceland. We made the most of it by visiting the Blue Lagoon again on our way to the airport.
Day 4 Tuesday December 20, 2016 Diving Silfra, Iceland
added on 01.16.17
On December 20th I went scuba diving between two tectonic plates in 32 degree water at Silfra Iceland. And I lived to tell you all about it.
Day 3 Iceland Adventure: Reykjavik and Fontana
added on 01.09.17
On our third day in Iceland we bombed around Reykjavik and then headed for another geothermal hot spring. I have a new love affair with geothermal hot springs, and now I want to drill for one at our house.
Day 2 Iceland Adventure-South Coast
added on 01.02.17
On the second day in Iceland we toured the South Coast. I literally asked the guide, 'What's the next spectacular thing you want to show us?"
Day 1: Arrival in Iceland
added on 12.26.16
Todd and I were lucky enough to spend 5 days in Iceland. A land that's very difficult to describe succinctly. This is the first of a multi part blog series on our trip to Iceland.
added on 12.19.16
I am proud to announce that I am a winner of the Human Relations Indie Book Awards.
That Time I Lost 17 Pounds
added on 12.12.16
Losing weight is hard, but it is possible. Here's how I lost 17 lbs.
The Time I Got Stung by a Wasp on Christmas
added on 12.05.16
When I was 5 a wasp crawled up my leg and stung me on Christmas Eve. And then I got the best present ever.
Spoiler Alert: I Actually Need a Spoiler
added on 11.28.16
What's next for me and my work as an author? A very good question.
That Time the KKK Held a Rally in my Hometown
added on 11.21.16
Who would have thought that the KKK would hold a rally in little ol East Windsor, Connecticut. Well, it happened.
My Top 6 Favorite Movies About Writing
added on 11.14.16
When I'm not writing, I like to watch movies about other people who are writing.
The Grinch Who Stole Halloween
added on 10.31.16
"So, you want to go door to door begging for food?" Mom asked. Then I stomped my feet and told her that she didn't get Halloween. And then I wasn't really interested in Halloween either. Until now, as an adult.
How an 80s Metal Band Ends Up Living with a Normal Couple
added on 10.24.16
People often tell me, "The story is interesting. But how does the band come to live at Brenda and Tim's house?" Good question. Let me tell you all about it.