Archive for Writing

Jen Lancaster + Emily Giffin = Chick Lit Perfection!

I want to be the perfect combination of my two favorite Chick Lit Authors. Feel free to call me “Jen Giffin” OR “Emily Lancaster”, I don’t care, they are both phenomenal. I recently had the enormous privilege of meeting them both, yes my idols, within 30 days of each other AND completed my first ever manuscript in-between <gasp>! WHAT ARE THE CHANCES? Why do I love these women? Let me count the ways. They are down to earth fabulous women. The kind of women you know you would be friends with should the circumstance arise.

Jen Lancaster

d.d. marx and Jen LancasterCase in point, Jen Lancaster and I are “sisters” as in sorority sisters! We have a secret handshake and everything. I took a very important private oath to never divulge it so it will have to remain our little secret, sorry girls. When I met her at her Gallery event in Lake Forest, highlighting her other passion, painted furniture, I felt like it I was visiting with a long lost friend. She was extremely personable not to mention she rocked the event with her sunglasses strategically placed on top of her head, just like me. In reality I carry a small wallet wristlet so my sunglasses don’t fit. She also happens to put on her lipstick in mid-sentence which is also another signature move of mine. I had to capture the moment on film.

She’d.d. marx Jen Lancaster and friends just as beautiful as you would imagine and made everyone there feel important. I just wanted to give her a big hug. Scanning the crowd you could see the excitement in the other fans eyes being star struck, circling the room waiting for the perfect opportunity to ask her for a photo or autograph. I’m quite sure my personal footprints are still ground into a particular crazy eight pattern, in the Gallery carpet, from front to back attempting not to be a stalker. Look kids Big Ben, Parliament. Jen, did you like my reference there to Chevy Chase? I know it’s from Vacation but Chevy Chase was also Fletch, and your husband’s Fletch and he was there too so didn’t want to leave him out.

Emily Giffin

Emily Giffin Book SigningThen there is Emily Giffin! We both grew up in Naperville, IL, two years apart and went to rival high schools but know several people in common. She took Andersen’s Bookstore by storm visiting with all her hometown favorites. She was such a delight! She didn’t rush anyone. She took time to hear each small-world story and take a picture even though Potter’s Place margaritas were screaming her name. She really has stayed true to her small town charm. She’s a class act. I told her I just submitted my first manuscript which was inspired by my dear friend who passed away after high school. She seemed genuinely touched and even put up a personalized Facebook post to me the following day.

In conclusion, these two incredibly inspirational women have blazed the trail for funny, smart and witty novels for women and continue to deliver again and again. If I am lucky enough to have one small iota of their success, I will consider myself eternally blessed. Thank you for being my literary heroes!


My weekend with Erma Bombeck…in spirit!

I feel like I went back in time into the late 80’s as I stepped onto the grounds of the University of Dayton (UD) Ohio. As I made my way on campus, I headed straight for the book store to pick up my UD gear to celebrate the recent Flyers run in the NCAA. The students looked like kids; the campus looked beautiful and it still felt like home. I was there to attend the Erma Bombeck Website ImageErma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop. It started with dinner at the Marriott in town where Phil Donahue was the Key Note Speaker. I remember growing up watching him on TV as my mom ironed. He kicked off the weekend remembering Erma Bombeck who was a neighbor and on his TV show multiple times. He shared the impact she had on his life and countless others. With the permission of the family he re-read the eulogy he gave at her funeral and described the beautiful, funny woman we knew and loved.

You Can Write! Mug Image

The next two days were full of laughter, tears, inspiration, motivation and learning. There were hundreds of women empowering other women. The underlying theme throughout the event was the inspirational phrase given to Erma: “You Can Write!”

Brave woman after empowered woman stood up to tell their incredible stories of challenge and struggle yet who made the conscious decision to have that be the fuel to create their voice in this world. So much incredible talent and exactly where I needed to be and what I needed to hear. The fact that I was back on campus to pursue my dreams two decades later just made it that much sweeter and rewarding!

So I will leave you with the messages I took away loud and clear:

  • • Be “Off-Brand”…be unpredictable and unique
  • • Be narrow-minded; be picky like the zoom lens on a camera
  • • Remember, the subject doesn’t have to be funny, the way you write about it can be
  • • Channel your inner horses-ass; if it makes your cringe you are on to something
  • • Network like your life depends on it
  • • Always, always, always speak your truth!

But the most important thing I heard was “You CAN Write!”  It touched my soul to be validated in the very same classrooms where it all began. I left the weekend feeling BEYOND inspired but most of all grateful for the new 300+ cheerleaders I gained. Thank you for your legacy Erma! XO

Meeting Best Selling Author Kelly Corrigan

All I keep hearing is the publishing industry has done a complete 180, nothings the same, the landscape is different. If I were writing this book 10 years ago I would have a 1-3% chance of becoming published. What’s changed? The world of social media has turned the everyday person into an instant celebrity through channels like YouTube. Things can go viral in an instant so that also means there is more noise than meaningful content. Now ANYONE can publish a book, so how do I find the sweet spot between being ANYONE and SOMEONE. My approach is very simple and mirrors my approach in life, seek out the people I admire and emulate them. What are they doing that makes them stand out? What is it about them I like? What is it that they are saying that makes me want to hear more? The common denominator is they are all being their true, genuine selves.

Last night I went to a local book signing for the New York Times Best Selling Author, Kelly Corrigan. I watched the venue fill up with women my age that were chomping at the bit to hear what she had to say. Her latest book, Glitter and Glue, talks about her journey through motherhood and how it has changed her life-long perceptions of her mom. She was witty, funny and relatable to every single woman in that room. She provided a much needed break for moms during the monotonous bedtime routine to share an experience with other woman just like them, a girl’s night out if you will for woman to laugh and share in her experiences.

Although I am not a mother, I am an Aunt and my sister is my very best friend. I am what you would call the “third parent” or the “alternate”. I get called in frequently, especially when my brother-in-law is traveling. Inevitably two kids need to be picked up at the same time, someone forgot something, there is a parent-teacher conference at school and I need to provide cover at home. More importantly, I am also the blessed, godmother to both children, the confirmation sponsor, the cool aunt that will drive their friends around or take them to the waterpark, amusement park and scary haunted house. So I guess what that really means is I am the “bonus” parent and wouldn’t have it any other way. I laughed just as hard as the other women because I could relate in my own personal way. In addition, Kelly is a fellow “Catholic” and spoke about her treasured high school and college friends which hit the core of my being.

So I don’t know how I am going to navigate these crazy, crowded waters of becoming a “known, sought after published author”, but what I am going to do is keep following the “Kelly’s” of the industry to emulate, support and follow in their very big footsteps.

What a pleasure meeting you Kelly Corrigan and thank you for what you are doing for women!


A Book Inside You

Have you ever had a book inside you that you wanted to write?
Have you ever been wanting to do something yet you seem to be the only one standing in your own way?

I’ve been talking about writing a book for YEARS! Most of my friends have heard the storyline and plot and have complained, “When are you going to write this thing?” After years of not doing it I FINALLY took the plunge. I took a break from my J.O.B. and went to Florida to get some much needed sunshine, surf and down time. I said, “That is it! I’m going to finally start writing!” And that is exactly what I did. I started writing like a crazy women. After two days of this I got a random call from my cousin who said; “Hey! My friend has an extra ticket to a conference in Florida on how to write a best-selling book. I know you’ve talked about writing a book. Would you like to go?” I was like, “Would I?!?!?! YES, YES, YES!!” Once I stepped off the ledge and committed to the actual writing process, suddenly doors started to miraculously open. I believe there is a reason for everything and that I’ve been divinely guided by my dear friend Dan every step of the way on this journey of writing. I’m meeting amazing people who are helping me and now I’m getting to share it all with you.

My blog is my way of sharing my journey and experiences with my guardian angel Dan. I’m also sharing the characters within the novels I’m writing which are fictional, yet based on actual experiences in my life.

My message to you is never allow yourself to be stopped by you! You are far greater than you know and if you have a book inside you, JUST START Writing. Write what you know. I read a great blog recently on the topic of writing and not knowing where to start that said, “Just copy the ingredients off the back of the cereal box, just WRITE!” Miraculous things may happen as a result. My first book, Beyond Believing is coming soon. Stay tuned! Now…get to your writing! ~ d.d.