Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Moving Day!

This blog has been instrumental in bringing us together.  It is not leaving, but it is MOVING - Yay! - to my new website  (How happy am I that I got that domain name?  Can you believe that some other mmfinck has the gmail address?)  

Following is even easier now.  All you have to do is enter your email address on the private contact form on the CONTACT ME page.  No private information, no sales, ads, or questions.

You guys who have been with me here, some since this blog's inception, you know me.  I'm heart with feet.  I talk a lot and have a goofy sense of humor that makes me laugh most of all. Even when you groan I still laugh.  I love being a part of our community.  As an author, I deathly focused and driven; passionate about my characters and their stories; and a little nutty due to all the voices talking in my head.  I am also the most grateful person on the planet for you guys and for the opportunities and work ethic instilled in me by my parents that have gotten me here.  My site was designed to bring all of those parts of me together.  I think my blog did that.  I hope you feel it on my site too.  Click around.  Share it.  Keep talking to me in all the ways you do.

All love,

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Collectible, Tweetable, Quotable

Hello my lovely friends,
I have been collecting the quotes for this post over the past six months.  In moments of despair or quandary, I find comfort in our human lack of uniqueness as illustrated in attributable quotes.  Someone, somewhere, at some point in time, felt what we're feeling and is giving us the words to articulate it.  Or they are simply more sagacious or comical than we are.  There is a reason I leave stand-up comedy to my friend, Matt Fulchiron.  Only I find myself funny.  That's okay.  My loved ones find me finding myself funny, funny enough.  Follow that?  I'm cracking up.  See what I mean?  :)  Enjoy!

Art, art of any kind, shows that folks are trying. - Walter Kim

Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. - Benjamin Franklin

I'm not interested in money, I just want to be wonderful.  - Marilyn Monroe

But a mermaid has no tears, and therefore she suffers so much more.  - Hans Christian Andersen

I am certain there is too much certainty in the world. - Michael Crichton

She looked at nice young men as if she could smell their stupidity. - Flannery O'Connor

No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn. - Hal Borland

But luxury has never appealed to me, I like simple things, books, being alone, or with somebody who understands. - Daphne du Maurier

Love doesn't just sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; remade all the time, made new.
- Ursula K. Le Guin
Numbers constitute the only universal language. - Nathanael West

No medicine cures what happiness cannot. - Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez

There's something ugly about the flawless. - Dennis Lehane

To me the purpose of art is to produce something alive...but with a separate, and of course one hopes, with an everlasting life of its own. - Henry Green

Imagination does not become great until human beings, given the courage and the strength, use it to create. - Maria Montessori

I don't like people who have never fallen or stumbled. Their virtue is lifeless and it isn't of much value. Life hasn't revealed its beauty to them. - Boris Pasternak

What's terrible is to pretend that second-rate is first-rate. To pretend that you don't need love when you do; or you like your work when you know quite well you're capable of better. - Doris Lessing

I read so I can live more than one life in more than one place. - Anne Tyler

None of us really changes over time. We only become more fully what we are. - Anne Rice

All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. - Leo Tolstoy

Remember if people talk behind your back, it only means you are two steps ahead. - Fannie Flagg

Charm is the ability to make someone else think that both of you are pretty wonderful. - Kathleen Winsor

The men who cannot laugh at themselves frighten me even more than those who laugh at everything.
- Anne Perry

Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish. - Euripides

Many people, myself among them, feel better at the mere sight of a book. - Jane Smiley

Wheresoever you go, go with all your heart. - Confucius


Friday, September 20, 2013


Every now and then I look down at my clothes and for one quick second I am incredulous.  I did not grow up in a wealthy family.  Straight-down-the-middle middle class.  My sister and I were the same size.  Once a year we could go clothes shopping and we had to agree on how to spend our fairly meager clothing allowance because we would be sharing everything.  Fortunately for me, my sister's interest in style was brief.  Mine however - sorry, dear husband! - has been life long.  Our money went further at shopping centers than shopping malls.  Name brands did not often fit into the equation which was fine.  My parents worked very, very hard.  We never wanted for anything.  Education was everything.  

All that I am, I credit to this school of thought and way of life.  My gratitude and respect for my parents knows no bounds.

Still, I love style.  I love clothing, jewelry (not gems, but handcrafted, artistic pieces), and natural cosmetics.  When I look down at my ensembles now and I see a top from Urban Outfitters and shorts from Banana Republic (plus flip flops from Target, lip gloss from Walmart - it's not all glorious.  Too much glory would nauseate me.  I still have my roots.), I shake my head.  How did I get here?  How did I get so lucky?  (The real answer is education and excellent parenting, but I digress...)

I had that moment yesterday professionally.  

I found myself emailing back and forth with a many-time NYT bestselling author, complete with inside jokes and emoticons.  She wants to connect me with another superstar in the writing world.  There was a text on my phone from another guy, a prize-winning author.  And Isabel Allende - Isabel Allende! - and I are working with the same literary magazine.  Not to mention, seeking advice from an old friend - the incomparable Michelle Gable - whom I've known since before either of us were writers and now her novel is upcoming from St. Martin's Press.  She is not a contact.  She is my friend.  But how lucky am I that she can be a contact too - by that I mean, share advice?  Am I awake?  How did I get here?  (The real answer is education and excellent parenting, but I digress...)

You should give it a try.  Take inventory of your life.  I guarantee that there are parts of it that will make you incredulous.  

I hope you are well.  Thank you so so much for all the shares and feedback.  You are wonderful.  Everyday you make me grateful.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Women Writers Women Books

Dear All,
I wrote an article for Women Writers Women Books about presenting ourselves as who we want to be even  (especially) when we feel like frauds.  Act it. <=> Feel it. <=> Be it.  Readers have been getting in contact with me practically hourly since it was posted which, of course, delights me to no end.  Check it out.  I hope you like it too.  Share.  Take care until next time!


PS  By the way, don't you love this photo of my dog?  "Turn out the lights.  Close the laptop.  The story will be there in the morning.  Goodnight already."  Canine groan.

Friday, August 9, 2013

I Hear Better With Hands Over My Ears

Greatest compliment I’ve ever received – “You have natural talent.” 

Graciously given to me throughout my career, those four words get me through a lot. 

They are a gift like a key to a friend’s apartment.  When the chill of rejection (or frustration or self-doubt) turns my lips blue, I slip that key in the lock and hide out under some blankets.  I drink in them in – I have natural talent. – like hot cocoa until I come out stronger, flushed and with a plan.

It is a statement that encompasses so much:  This pursuit is a valuable use of time.  I was made to do this.  Straight out of the gate, I’m ahead of some. 

Talent is intrinsic and forever whereas failure is a mere moment until I try again, smarter, wiser, better. 

No one can take away our innate gifts, but are they enough?  Some say writing is like comedic timing – It can’t be taught.  (shhh… Don’t repeat that to any MFA administrators.)

When Liv Tyler was a young girl – twelve, I think – she appeared in one of her first film roles, and the director, somebody big time I can’t recall, famously told her not to step foot near an acting class.  He said that instruction would ruin what was unique and natural about her.  Someone very close to me fears the same thing about voice lessons.

It’s all the same.  Writing, singing, acting, comedy, architecture, design, art, education... police work.  I am the proud daughter of a cop.  In his thirty years on the force, my father has survived many unthinkable, dangerous situations, not without injury, and solved who knows how many crimes.  His training was continuous, expensive, and valuable, but what saved his life and the lives of others many times over was his inborn gift of reading situations and people.  My father was born with good instincts.
(Personal note - Now you know where my affection for writing dark characters and situations comes from.  All my life, I've been surrounded by rough-talking cops and their stories.  Daughters can go on as many "ride-a-longs" as they like.  A writer too, my father prized his reports.  He kept immaculate records of his cases - in duplicate.  As a child, I maintained his home files, reading every terrifying folder before I slid it down into the metal drawer.) 

The Civil Wars' (Possibly their last ever album dropped this week.  So sad.) Joy Williams does things on “The Tip Of My Tongue” track that were not taught.  I’m quite certain that they are not even on the sheet music.  Her stylings are from her soul.  Her instincts told her what sound to make and how and when to make it.

That said, someone taught her to read sheet music.  Someone taught her to play instruments.  If they also told her to be quiet until it was her turn or not to sing over her partner, she wisely ignored them.

She kept her “voice” sacrosanct.  So did my dad.  So must we.

Like you, I try to keep up with the news and climate of my chosen industry.  I accept advice and ask for guidance about my career.  I workshop my work and chose the most honest critique partners.  For anyone counting, that is three levels of “in.”  But if I don’t measure the inflows, I won’t have any “outs.”  A friend of mine hasn’t written in two years.  She is paralyzed by all the inflows – blogs she follows, discussions she participates in, etc.  I believe that she simply needs to sit at the computer and turn on the faucet, and I believe that when she’s ready she will.  But what she is going through I have felt whispers of too, like its own suffocating chill.

[Insert big “However” here.] 
However, if we want to see farther than our talents can show us, we must stand on the shoulders of giants. *

There is no question that without the likes of Sol Stein and John Truby, I would not have evolved from my first novel.  I may have had talent but I had no training.  The best thing I ever did for my career was to stop trying to make that manuscript better.  The words “ad nauseum” were invented for what I was ineffectually doing.  I desperately needed some expert inflows

I read books, took classes, sought advice, participated in workshops, and attended writers’ conferences.  I listened to every word every published author I knew said.  When I went back to writing, I had the tools to use my talent.  I still use this pattern.  After every major deadline or draft, I take a break from writing to study craft.  I suppose that someday, I won’t anymore, but for the foreseeable future I will.  I am reminded of things I’ve forgotten and internalize new techniques and perspectives.  While I’m busy learning, the other side of my brain is free to hear my next (and sometimes most recent) story.  Doors swing open that were hidden from me before. 

Give me the tools, dear Craftsman, and I will do the work.  Make no mistake, I have my fair share of discipline, but that isn’t what drives me.  I love the work of my passion.  I hope you do too.  Plus, I am and always will be a detail dork.  Different profession, same tendencies. J The technical stuff, the vocabulary, the acronyms, the catch phrases – the language of my second life – it all makes me giddy.  I want to be a brilliant storyteller.  I never want to stop getting better. 

But sometimes I need noise-cancelling headphones.  Even with writers I like and respect, I actually have to cover my ears to our discussion!  Or rush to the x-out button!  Or close the cover on the trade journal!  Inside of me my inflow-meter is rising and rising until all of a sudden my eyes squeeze shut and my hands slam over my ears.  Too much inflow messes with my own “voice.”  I have to shut everything else out.  It’s a good thing my hair is long enough to cover my odd little spectacle until I can excuse myself for tea.  J

The sweet spot – the one I speculate the best writers (artists, singers, teachers, etc.) have found – is the three-headed yin yang of natural talent, training, and experience.  

This example is from my friend and one of my favorites, Caroline Leavitt, from her bestselling novel Pictures of You

It is a father looking at his sleeping son.

"Without him, he might dissolve into a thousand pieces.  You breathe, I breathe, he thought."

Caroline keeps going from the father’s girlfriend’s perspective.

“Charlie reached over and stroked Sam's hair, so gently that it made Isabelle swallow hard.”

Caroline has been writing for a long time and is a huge student (and teacher) of story structure.  But structure doesn’t lead someone to articulate “You breathe, I breathe” or to choose the beat of swallowing hard when witnessing a gentle touch.  That is natural talent, ladies and gentlemen.

Whatever your talent is – macramé, pastels, singing, teaching, parenting, policework – give yourself the gift of tools and practice.  If you don't think you have natural talent at something, you are wrong.  Soul search.  You will find it, I promise.  What a ride it will be.  Sometimes heartrending, sometimes rapture, always electrifying.  Just don’t forget your ear plugs.  Protect what is yours.  Your talent is intrinsic and forever.  J

Enjoy the last hot days of summer! 

* “If I have seen farther it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” – Sir Isaac Newton

Monday, June 10, 2013

You, Me & Emily

(formerly titled "Demagnetize The Compass, North Is Always North.")

So, okay, I'll be honest.  I want to be liked.  I like to be close with all kinds of people.  I am always exposed and reaching.  Cruelty is a no-go characteristic, but faults draw me in as much as anything else.  It's the mystery and honesty of a flaw that I like.  Stories draw me in more than anything.  I have a very diverse family with more crazies, heroes, stories, and skeletons than I could fit in a memoir.  Does this sound like your family too?  Background stories, yours and mine, instill in me a wider world view and empathy.  I am unendingly interested in passions - any!  If it lights you aflame, I want to feel the burn too.  You can guess - I may be considered overly-sensitive in some circles.  Perhaps I would hurt less if I were different.  Some days I wish I was.  That's the truth.  The whole turtle without a shell phenomenon.  But feeling as much as I do is why I am as good a writer as I am.  Facing the world with an open heart means that pain, but also love, happiness, and wonder affect me deeply.  Leonardo DiCaprio once said that if an actor says he doesn't care about approval, he's lying.  I won't lie to you here.  I yearn for validation and approval.

Does this make me a willow in the wind?  No, thank God, no.  No one's approval defines me.  I know who I am with or without outside validation.  Whoever I owe my internal North too, I don't know.  But, boy, do I.  In my industry, you'd blow away without it.  Maybe in life in general, you would too.

Am I perfect at it?  No, God, no.

I got a review point recently.  No one else - of all my reviewers - had ever made the same point, but I knew.  It was completely, totally, exactly right.  I felt like I was tapped by a magic wand or something.  I was so grateful.

Then I lost my North.

The best of us do.  This is a letter from Emily Dickinson to a man she had never met.  He was a literary critic she'd followed in the newspaper.

Dear V. Higginson,
Are you too deeply occupied to say if my verse is alive?  The mind is near itself it cannot see distinctly, and I have none to ask. Should you think it breathed, and you had the leisure to tell me, I should feel quick gratitude. If I make the mistake, that you dared to tell me, would give me sincerer honor toward you.  I enclose my name, asking you, if you please, sir, to tell me what is true?  That you will not betray me it is needless to ask, since honor is its own pawn.
Two editors of journals came to my father's house this winter, and asked me for my mind, and when I asked them "why" they said I was penurious, and they would use it for the world.  I could not weigh myself, myself.  My size felt small to me.  I read your chapters in the Atlantic, and experienced honor for you.  I was sure you would not reject a confiding question.

Doesn't she sound insecure, yearning for approval, overly eager?  I am not that woman on the outside. Not even most of me on the inside.  But aren't we all a bit of that?  Somedays a bigger bit?  Who can't relate to not being sure of themselves?

I was so aggressive in addressing my review point - for the record, it was a review point couched in heavy, specific praise - that my husband closed my laptop on me mid-keystroke.  I had lost my perspective.  I couldn't see what was good anymore.  I was Van Gogh.  I was like a lot of artists.  Without realizing what I was doing, I was ripping my canvas into shreds.  Overwhelmed by what needed fixing, I thought that my entire concept was crap.  No one could convince me otherwise.  That is the downside of the internal true North.  In a panic, the only person I can hear is me.  If I'm deluded, I'm an island.  Relate?  :)

I got some sleep.  I recalled the praise.  I confirmed I had a back-up file from before I mercilessly hacked away. :)  I read other people's books.  I took a break.  I got back to it.  It is a slippery slope back to merciless, but we have to wear cleats.

Yes, we want criticism.  Can't get better without it.  But, we can not give ourselves away.  I was on the precipice of a big problem, and I will always be indebted to the woman who told me about it.  But I am a writer.  If writing is the solution, I'm the perfect person for the fix.  When I regained my perspective I saw exactly what to do.  All it took was a few perfectly placed things here and there to be inserted, reworded, or deleted.  It was always in me.  

Be yourself.  No one else can.  Find someone you trust who knows who you are, who believes in you, who will remind you when you need it.  Even Emily needed it.  Generally, keep the study doors closed (a Stephen King reference) - I absolutely believe this - but sometimes you need someone like John Mayer's producer who says, "Calm down, man.  It's not all sh**.  There is a lot here to be salvaged."

There is no replacement for an internal true North.  But don't forget your back-up file manager, sleep, and the praise you skipped over.  Do not tear your canvas.  Compartmentalize as minutely and numerously as you need to to address what needs fixing.  Take a break.  But do not destroy the good.  You can't give yourself away.  Nobody wants us too.  We wouldn't be worth the energy of the criticism if there wasn't more to save.

Thank you for reading my blog, my lovely friends and followers!  Things are going so well, I really can't believe it.  Keep your fingers crossed and hands folded - I adore you!  I will keep you as updated as I can.

All love,

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Excerpt from Caroline Leavitt's "IS THIS TOMORROW"

Caroline Leavitt is a longtime literary idol of mine.  A mutual publishing friend suggested Caroline's novel PICTURES OF YOU as a comparative title for my own work. Since learning of this, Caroline has been nothing but lovely and generous to me. I bought her newest release, IS THIS TOMORROW, a couple days ago. I can't wait to read it. chose to highlight it by publishing a one page excerpt.  I am not sure if nonmember can view Red Room, so I am posting it here for you.  Enjoy!


"Red Room Editors Gina and Huntington selected a page from Is This Tomorrow (2013), by Caroline Leavitt, to share with you today:


She came home to find him in her kitchen, her son’s best friend, Jimmy Rearson, a twelve-year-old kid home from school, with a crush on her, reading all the ingredients on the back of a Duncan Hines Lemon cake mix.

“How’d you get in here?” Ava asked. No one, except for her, locked doors in the neighborhood. It wasn’t that she had anything to steal, but still, there was Brian, miles away, breathing down her neck with a custody threat, telling her he got a lawyer and she’d better get one, too, because he was going to file to revisit their agreement.

“Your lock was easy,” he said.

He watched as she rustled around the living room, looking for her purse. She’d wasted her whole morning running to a lawyer to talk about Brian’s custody threat. It was five years since Brian had left them, barely sending money, and all of a sudden he was telling her that she now posed a psychological and physical danger to their son.

She told the lawyer how Brian used to have a drinking problem. He’d abandoned his son—and her—after things at his job went bad. He hadn’t even seen Lewis in nearly five years, so how could he possibly think about wanting custody now?

“Circumstances change,” he said. “You said he has a full time job, but you only work part time, which puts him in a more stable financial situation than you. It could look like a better environment for a kid.”

“You’re joking. My environment is just fine.”

“Is it?” He rolled his pen between his fingers. “You said he thinks you have a lot of men coming over. Can you prove you don’t? Can you show that your bills are paid on time?”

Ava thought of the careful way she went through her bills every month. She had a whole separate bank account of money she was saving so she could buy her house instead of rent it. “I have savings. I have a house.”

“You rent the house. And banks don’t like giving mortgages to women. If you can’t prove your finances are sound, we may have a problem.”

She came home, feeling sick, and there was Jimmy, staring at her. She was a grown woman with grown up problems and suddenly she was in no mood for Jimmy’s quiet devotion.

“Lewis will be home soon from the dentist,” she said. “You can wait for him at your house. I can walk you home.” She reached for her newspaper, glancing at the headlines. Communists and the pale baked potato face of Eisenhower warning everyone about nuclear disaster. We have to be safe.. She had seen Khrushchev on the TV news ranting about Stalin and all she had thought of was Lewis when he was five and how he had had a tantrum in the middle of Better Dresses in Filene’s because he wanted to go home.

Last week, the paper had reported a car had swerved onto a curb in Belmont and frightened a little girl. The kids seemed riled up by the news, especially Jimmy, who kept asking Ava how much faster could a man run than a child? “What do they do to you when they have you?”

“That’s not going to happen, so don’t you even think it,” Ava told him.

They both stepped outside. Everything looked wilted in the heat. “Where is everyone?” Ava wondered aloud. Why was everything so empty and still, as if the air itself had stopped in place?

And then Jimmy ran, all arms and pumping legs, her son’s best friend in the world. She was shamed to think that sometimes he was the best company she had. He tore out across her lawn, to his house. When he got to the door, he turned and waved with both hands, grinning.

Later, that’s what she told the police. How happy he was. How he smiled.


If you love books, please donate $1, $5, $25, $100, or $250 to the Red Room author community and bookstore today. You’ll get a great thank you gift!

A $1 donation allows you to buy any of Caroline Leavitt's books today at 40% off. For a donation of $5, $25, or $100, you’ll get 40% off all books purchased in the next week.

Friday, May 31, 2013

On Your Shoulders

Torchbearers, I love you, love you, love you for emailing/facebooking/asking about a new post.  How do deserve you???  I wanted to have it up for you today.  Alas, I couldn't.  I have been working on novel rewrites for someone and I couldn't pause until I got that "glow-y" feeling inside that tells me I've finally (oh, finally!) reached that place where I have done right (and better) by my characters, story, and themes.  It just happened.  The sun is shining.  The birds are singing.  Can you hear them?

I hope you know how you carry me through every agonizing page until I get there.  :)

The blog post is half drafted and will be up here soon!  Have a great weekend everyone!


Friday, May 10, 2013

No Gift Can Suffice. Still, We Try!

As you know my favorite way to connect with people is through books.  My own mother is getting a bag of them on Sunday.  Most, not all, of them are promotional copies.  I went to a writers' conference not long ago and two of her favorite authors were there.  Oh yeah, "Favorite Daughter." It's in the bag!  (terrible, terrible  :))

Wanna win the title in your family?  Here are some ideas -

  • Mom & Me & Mom by Maya Angelou (Brand new.  She'd be the hip mom on the block with this one in hand.) Here is a page from it:
Frequently, I have been asked how I got to be this way. How did I, born black in a white country, poor in a society where wealth is adored and sought after at all costs, female in an environment where only large ships and some engines are described favorably by using the female pronoun—how did I get to be Maya Angelou?
Many times I have wanted to quote Topsy, the young black girl in Uncle Tom’s Cabin. I have been tempted to say, “I dunno. I just growed.” I never used that response, for a number of reasons. First, because I read the book in my early teens and the ignorant black girl embarrassed me. Second, I knew that I had become the woman I am because of the grandmother I loved and the mother I came to adore.
Their love informed, educated, and liberated me. I lived with my paternal grandmother from the time I was three years old until I was thirteen. My grandmother never kissed me during those years. However, when she had company, she would summon me to stand in front of her visitors. Then she would stroke my arms asking, “Have you ever seen arms more beautiful, straight as a plank and brown as peanut butter?” Or she would give me a tablet and a pencil. She would call out numbers to me in front of her company.
“All right sister, put 242, then 380, then 174, then 419; now add that.” She would speak to the visitors, “Now watch. Her uncle Willie has timed her. She can finish that in two minutes. Just wait.”
When I told the answer, she would beam with pride. “See? My little professor.”
Love heals. Heals and liberates. I use the word love, not meaning sentimentality, but a condition so strong that it may be that which holds the stars in their heavenly positions and that which causes the blood to flow orderly in our veins.

This book has been written to examine some of the ways love heals and helps a person to climb impossible heights and rise from immeasurable depths.
  • The Lost Daughter - A Memoir by Mary Williams (African American girl adopted by Jane Fonda as a teenager)  This book sounds so deeply wonderful and inspirational.  A literary personification of motherly love from a damaged-turned-healed daughter's perspective.
  • Is This Tomorrow? by Caroline Leavitt - Not mother-related, but just came out this week and a wonderful author and person.  Her next book after Pictures Of You which is so good it led me to discover the highlight function on my kindle.  This one, if possible, could be even better.
  • Invisibility by Andrea Cremer and David Levithan - more for you than her, unless she likes YA.  This one also came out this week.  David is one of my favorite authors and I think this one sounds fantastic.  I just have to share it here. :)
  • Where'd You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple.  This is one of my favorite books of all time and every mother I know, young or old, has loved it as much as I do.  It is not directly about mothers or mothering, but the main characters are a daughter and her mother.  It is hilarious and affecting.  A great read, all around.
Obviously, there are millions of great books out there.  These are just the few on the top of my mind today.  If you can, buy them at an independent bookstore instead of Barnes and Noble/Amazon.  This is the perfect occasion for it.  I'm going to misquote this, but I heard something like - "The chains lead you to good sellers.  Booksellers lead you to good books."  (I think I like my version better.  Maybe.  Possibly.  :))

Some other mom-type quotes, too good to paraphrase, that might make a great card?!
  • I remember my mother's prayers and they have always followed me. They have clung to me all my life. -Abraham Lincoln
  • Some mothers are kissing mothers and some are scolding mothers, but it is love just the same, and most mothers kiss and scold together. -Pearl S. Buck
  • The heart of a mother is a deep abyss at the bottom of which you will always find forgiveness. -Honoré de Balzac
  • When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child. -Sophia Loren, Women and Beauty
I hope everyone has a great weekend, celebrating or being celebrated!  To those whose mothers have passed, my prayers are with you on Sunday.  What a glorious legacy she left behind in you.

Take care!  All love!

M.M. Finck
Writer, Women's Fiction

Saturday, April 13, 2013

You Thought I Was Detail-Oriented Before. I Can Spot The Mite On Your Dust Now, Buddy!

Not really.  I have professional racehorse blinders to dust.  I can't bring myself to care about it.  I've got better things to do.  Like write!

But it does bring me to the subject of this post.  I don't notice dust, but I do notice many other details beyond what is noted under normal attention.  I've always been this way.  Sorry, Mom.  :)  My training as a writer has intensified it.  Sorry, Husband.  :)  Specificity makes language, at a minimum, more memorable and at best, beautiful.

Example 1A - a red sedan
Example 1B - a burgundy Crown Vic
==> more memorable

Example 2A - tan spots
Example 2B - speckled faintly as a bird's egg  
==> beautiful, right?

"Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens.... Brown paper packages tied up with string.  These are few of my favorite things."   Listening to that song as a child I was jealous that the songwriter had noticed all those cool things that I had only seen theretofore as mundane.  Maybe that was when my eye for detail was born.
Writing has taught me not only how to articulate my imagery specifically, but to see the world with a keener eye as well.  Think about all the beauty that you can see, all that you can be grateful for if you lower your radar.  I am far from perfect at it.  Your friend, MM Finck, is an extremely tasky, tunnel-visioned chick.  But I try.  Considering what comprises my own list of favorite things is a cherished driving-by-myself past time.  Here's what I came up today with while I drove alone (ahhhh... driving alone.  One of my very favorite things.) next to green pastures on two-lane Virginia roads.

MM'S FAVORITE THINGS, a lifelong work-in-progress 

  1. The glow that emanates from everything green right after the rain before the sun has cleared away the clouds.  
  2. Dilapidated barns and houses, old brick foundations, etc.  I collect discarded wooden shutters and hang them in my house like art.  
  3. When I pass a house built alongside the road and I can see through the front and back windows to the sparkling river behind it.
  4. The fuzz of a baby's head tickling my nose when I caress it with my cheek. (I limit myself to one baby-related thing.  Too easy to get tunnel vision.  I love babies with a ferocity they could name addictions after. :))
  5. Weather that permits long sleeved shirts and shorts.  It is rare where I live and so a gift each time.
  6. The soft crunchy feel of new carpet under my feet.
  7. The annual surprise when perennial flowers come into bloom.
  8. Warm doughy bread.
  9. The certainty after only a few notes or lines that I am hearing a song that will soon become my new crush.  
  10. A great mix tape.
  11. When I turn the last page of a book and my heart and soul swell to push at the outer boundaries of my being.  The need to force the book into the hands of everyone I know and meet.  
Do you want to try it too?  Yes, do it!  Email it to me.  Comment here.  Post it on facebook.  Tweet.  Whatev.  It helps foster gratitude and positivity, and who can't use a big more of that, right?  Plus, it's a fun party game.  :)  Try it! Try it!  One or ten!  However many.

No fair using obvious things like the beach.  If you want to use that, get smaller, way way smaller.  A sea shell clutched in your palm, its ridges pressing into the meat of your fingers.  It doesn't have to be pretty writing.  You can just say sea shells. But try to think about the specifics of why they are one of your favorite things.  Don't be shy.  You never know.  It could show up in one of my characters!

Take care, everyone!  Comment, email, share, post, etc.  Can't wait to hear from you!  <3


Saturday, April 6, 2013


3 Posts In 1

Last night's post -

I'm calling it! Our title has been decided! You voted! This experience has exceeded my wildest dreams! THANK YOU! I love every one of you. OK, I know, enough gushing, even though I mean every word of it - drum roll please... Our new title, which, mind you, is different than the one I've been using for the past two years (!), is.... "Forget We Met" with a whopping 40% of the vote, never ever dropping below 38% and first place! I love it. I can't thank you enough. We will never known how big of an impact you made, but I suspect it was a big one. The title I've been using, that I thought was lovely, topped out at 15% on its best day. We've got it now and we are rolling on, my friends! You are amazing and THANK YOU! Remember - Forget We Met by MM Finck! ♥

This morning's post -

Bear with me again as I thank you, one and all, for your enthusiasm in naming my novel and for sharing that enthusiasm with people I could never have reached without you. You R.O.C.K. As requested and promised here is the breakdown of the poll results:
Fishes for Eve (my previous title) - 15%
Stage Left - 10%
Forget We Met - 40%
The Unfathomable Costs of a Replacement Life (my husband's favorite & serious contender during polling for top spot) - 25%
The Accidental Actress - 10%
Thank you for every single one of your votes. A fun part for me was that I have a warm spot in my heart for all of them. I couldn't be happier that they all got votes. If you shared the poll, please share the results! More than anything, please keep in touch. We make a great team! :)

This afternoon's post -

Just heard from a very important person in publishing. When she saw us doing the title poll, she asked me to tell her how it went and what we picked. I just got this email reply: "Absolutely love it!!" I absolutely love YOU ALL! Thank you so very very much! Couldn't have done it without you. Literally, I couldn't. The title I picked came in at "the bottom three" as shown below [or in this case, above]. :)

Here's to FORGET WE MET by M.M. Finck!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

TITLE SURVEY! Have your say! :)

It was suggested to me that I do a Title Survey and I love the idea!  I wouldn't be here if it weren't for you.  I want you to have a say!  Click on this and vote.  Please.  The votes are pouring in.  This is so exciting!  My insides are doing flip-flops.  :)

I'll tell you OUR title within days!  Ahhh!!


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Playing Playwright With Your Psyche - It's a Love Thing

My twitter profile (@MMFinck) ends with "Ruled by the golden rule and glasses half full."  If you follow me, know me or "like" me, you know which direction this will take.  :)  Please allow me, your Chief Over-Analyzing Officer, a little rein to get there.  This inspiration for this post began as loss.  It ended up somewhere completely different.

There are losses for which there is no upside.  I do not presume to speak to those.  Please know that if you are struggling with a loss like that, you have my most heartfelt prayers and thoughts.  May your every month be easier and more joyful than the last one.  I would not diminish losses of that depth by posting about them.

However, those are not the only losses that hurt, that make us sleep to cope, eat to cope, not eat to cope, drink to cope, cry because we can't cope; that fill us with feelings of hopelessness and fear about our futures.

The writing biz is rife with opportunities for fear and crushing disappointment.  Coming up with a good plot, good story, good characters, good setting, etc. is tough.  Writing through exhaustion, writers' block, plot/character/timeline problems, sickness, kids' fighting in the next room, writing in a van (an author just followed me on twitter who wrote her first book in a mini-van when she was 45.  now she's famous and has had at least one of her novels made into a major motion picture! @clairecookwrite), writing at a school desk at night in the laundry room (Stephen King), navigating seemingly impossible rewrites, etc. is tough.  But, in my opinion, none of that is as hard as what comes next.

Getting an agent.  Getting an editor.  Getting good reviews at all stages.  Cover and back copy choices.  Earning back your advance.  Appropriate sales figures.  You go from total control over your manuscript to what feels like none over what happens with it.  (How much control you really have is a matter of debate.  Believe me, I do everything I can.  I'm the flippin' energizer bunny.  I have the long-eared headband and the pink fluffy tail.)  My point is:  No matter of promotion or marketing can make someone laugh and cry over your manuscript.  You can't make someone buy your book and when they finish die to tell their friends that they have to read it too.  It's a love thing.

Which brings me to an unnamed friend - picture someone beautiful, adventurous, smart, successful, and kind.  At the same time that I was going through a painful literary rejection, she was going through a painful romantic one.

Believe it or not, it was the same.  It's a love thing.

This is what I learned -

A Little Hate Is Lovely.
Again, I'm the chick who sips from only full glasses (tries to anyway) and uses the word "love" so much that she fears it may come across as insincere (which it isn't).  BUT, I do believe that a little "hate" goes a long way in healing.  I might have told my friend:  That guy is an idiot.  He's weak.  He's a liar.  He's whatever-whatever.  The point is not to internalize hate but to pull yourself up from feeling "less than" the one who so "wisely" dumped you.  Sure, absolutely, you probably have something to learn too about how you could have been better.  Learn it.  Now you're better and he's still an idiot.  (joking, joking.)

You Skated, Dude!
Maya Angelou says, "The first time people show you who you are, believe them."  My friend's ex was perfect in many, many ways.  But there were things.  Tiny things.  It was like that for me too.  Tiny things that niggled at me that I ignored because of all the perfection and all those dreams that I'd been working so so hard for.   Now is the time to blow those tiny things up.  Think about living with them and realizing how lucky you are that you don't have to.

No agent/boyfriend is better than a bad agent/boyfriend.  Ask anyone who's stuck with one.

You always have to know that whatever is on the horizon is better than what you missed.  You are lucky for the broken road.

I'm Grateful For This?!?
Yes.  Yes, you are.  Ask yourself, "Is my life better or worse for having had this experience?"  I bet it's better.  We wouldn't be so sad to lose it if it weren't.  Find things to be grateful for.  If nothing else, every miss is one closer to the hit.    Personally, I always have:  weathering is good for writers.  :)

I often find healing gifts in the timing of things.  I signed up for a conference that turned out to be held two weeks after my rejection.  There is no better place for a writer to be than with other writers.  I met people with similar stories who were not only on the conference panel but on the NYT bestseller lists too.

Be grateful.  All of our experiences make us more ready for when we finally get what we really want.

Rewrite Your Script
When I get reviewer comments back on my manuscripts, I have to ask my husband to read the cover letter.  I'm too close to it to feel the weight of each sentence.  The good ones are barely visible on the page and the possibly negative ones are in a larger font and bolded.  It always goes like this:  "I heard back from So-And-So."  He says, "Oh, good.  Did they like it?"  I say, "I don't know.  I can't tell."  Then I stand by chewing my nails while he reads it.  He says, "Okay, so they love it.  What's your problem?"   Me:  "But, what about...?  What about...?  I just can't tell."

Then he inevitably reads the upbeat parts aloud and tells me that I can't just pick one less than glowing sentence and run around and around with it.

Yes.  Yes, I can.  That is what I call my "script".  But I know this about myself, and I do actually crave criticism on my work.  I need it.  I can't get better without it.  So I rewrite my script.  I hit pause on the single negative phrase riding on my mind's merry-go-round, and replace it with a more accurate, forward-thinking, hopeful script.  Erase the old one, let the shame go, and get to work.

An early agent on my first attempt at writing rejected me.
Bad script:  "You would benefit from a workshop.  You're not ready."
Good script:  She told me that I have natural talent, and that she is "quite intrigued by [my] story and protagonist."  She took the time to give specific feedback and recommended that a workshop may be able to close the gap for me.  She invited me to revise and requery.  This can not happen often.  I am one step closer.  I am grateful.

(This is not my friend's script.  It is just another example.  Woman dumped.)
Bad script:  It always happens this way.
Good script:  It didn't work out, but I attracted an intelligent, successful man and I was attracted to him.   I'm swimming in the right lake.  It was closer than last time.  I'm certainly better off without that last guy.  The next one will be better.  It's only a matter of time.  Besides, I have a totally great life.  I'm going shopping/hiking/dancing/having a dinner party.

I love angsty music.  The more raw it is the more I like it.  But, that's not what helps here.  Think of the positivity you surround yourself with as bracket that keeps your script in place until the glue dries.  Uplifting music.  Uplifting movies, tv, books.  Optimism by osmosis.

Give Yourself a Future
We are telling ourselves that the future will be better, right?  Then we have to have one.  Plan something to look forward to.  Know your next step.  Always have something on the horizon.  Keep your eyes on the prize, as they say.

When everything fell apart for me all I could feel at first was numb sadness.  I questioned myself, my talent, my choices.  But there was a little version of me inside (an internal MM Polly Pocket :)) who didn't really care about how I felt.  She had things to do and I was in the way.

Soldiers don't just fight battles.  They fight wars.  You can't win the war if you give up after a battle, no matter how bad it is.  I fought for her and it was the best thing I could have done for the rest of me.  Not to mention my work.  The people I work with now are of an even higher caliber than my "miss".  Amazing people are on my side now.  I wouldn't have them if things had happened differently.

You can't make someone love you, but you have to know you are worthy of it.  You have a bright future.  That harm of believing that, even if it's untrue, is nothing compared to the harm of not believing it.  The perfect job, spouse, writing team is awaiting us.  I have absolute faith in your future and I love you for your faith in mine.  "You are the leaves on my family tree."*

A personal tidbit (though I'm not sure if it's possible to be more personal than I have been today :)) - Here is a photo of my husband, Chris, and me at his cousin's wedding this weekend.  The night before we spent with one of our favorite families in the world in their amazing house in TriBeCa and then out for a night, sans kids, on the town.  Phenomenal fun.

I'm working on extending my reach.  If you care to, please feel free to share this or my fb page with your friends.  I'm on twitter too.  I <3 social media!


*Train.  I think the song is "Sing Together"?

Friday, March 1, 2013

I'll Miss You, Man(ually)!

"...these organisms often dispense with traits that are made unnecessary through parasitism on a host."
- Scientific American

After struggling for two days to decipher my handwritten notes and transcribe them into Word, I can draw no other conclusion than that the above from Scientific American describes me. I have always had terrible handwriting, no patience for it. But now my hands - the same hands that fly effortlessly over a keyboard - are too stiff to write with a pencil. Selective adaptation. I have become parasitic to my "host" laptop.

Oh, what would my grammar school nuns say? I'm so sorry, Sister Gracette. It's not your fault. You did everything you could. 

Have a great day, everyone!  :)  Thank you for coming by.  I am reading Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children (loving it) and working on my next novel.  Hoping to meet with some publishing people next week.  Things are going well.  It means so much to me having you along for the ride!  Take care!


PS  I am sorry for the gigantic photo of myself that I am forced to include at the end of each post.  I am not an egomaniac, I swear.  If I don't include it - and at this size - blogger uses a photo of Abby Wambach from an earlier post as the cover photo of my blog when it appears in searches or links.  Odd, odd.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Valentine's Day The Sequel: I HEART Happiness

I once offended an IT guy who was working on my firm-issued computer for me on Valentine's Day.  Our conversation worked its way around to me admitting that I didn't like Valentine's Day because I suspected that by night's end it hurt or disappointed more souls than it lifted.  He concluded that I was single and bitter.  I wasn't actually, either.  I'm an oldest sister and my dad was a cop.  It is in my DNA to look out for people.  When I see people hurting, it hurts me.  Happiness at the expense of other people's is what I objected to and only that.

You know from following me on twitter (@mmfinck) and facebook (, that the word "love" shows up frequently ("I am loving this workshop!",  "GOAL!  I love Abby Wambach.",  "I loved Hemingway and Gelhorn.", "I LOVE this book!!") in my posts.  I wonder from time to time if my free use of that word makes my remarks comes across as insincere.  I re-read, shrug, and post.  The sentiment doesn't come from shallowness.  Inversely, depth.  I experience things deeply.  Good and bad.  I admit it.  (Common characteristic of writers, I suspect.)  I just happen to celebrate the good publicly and the bad privately.  My friend brought over her new puppy to see me the other day.  After only one short visit, I love that puppy.  I suspect that I will love her all her life until she is no longer.  Her snuggles made me deeply happy.  That feeling burrows into my heart.  I welcome it.  It fulfills me to have reciprocal, personal connections with as many things as possible.  This quote by C.S. Lewis captures it for me.
"Affection is responsible for nine-tenths of whatever solid and durable happiness there is in our lives."
~ C.S Lewis

I don't say that I "don't like" Valentine's Day anymore.  I just like to expand it beyond romantic, even parental or familial, love.  I still don't prefer pre-fixe menus or extravagant gestures.  But there is little better to celebrate than:  affection, kindness, personal connection, and inviting happiness/people/things into our hearts. 
 "Come live in my heart, and pay no rent."
~ Samuel Lover, Live Heart Come

~MM Finck

[Please allow me one aside.  I wouldn't be the big sister/mother of daughters/feminist that I am if I didn't say:  Inhabitants of our hearts must be worthy of it.  "Love is not abuse."]

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Get Ugly. Get Great.

Do you know Alex Clare's song "Too Close"?  The first time I heard it, the video was playing on a television in a room I couldn't see.  My brow furrowed.  I stopped what I was doing, stared into space, and listened with perked ears.  To me, it is kind of acoustic singer-songwriter-y which I tend to like, but it is hard too which I also like.  Then there are these unexpected techno sounds around the refrain.  I felt his breaking through what bound him, his giving voice to his torment, his freedom.  My adrenaline rushed.  It got me.  Or I got it.  I don't know.  We intertwined.  

Each year I make a playlist of my favorite songs from that year and put it on cd's for my friends.  Too Close was a given inclusion.  On the way here this morning I was listening to it.  As I sang it, my chin lifted, my eyes squinted, and my face twisted.  "...I'm just too close to love you...."  I was feeling it.  When I pulled up next to a truck at a traffic light and the driver glanced over at me, I realized that there is no way to sing that song without getting ugly.  

That got me thinking.

Megan Rapinoe is my favorite soccer player. She is amazing on the field.  The first time I saw her play I was struck by how she was EVERYWHERE.  As a woman who wears many hats myself, I related.  I have two Rapinoe tee's.  I love her.  But, Abby Wambach is my hero (and FIFA Women's World Player of the Year, may I add).  I don't relate to her, I look UP to her.  She is the leader I'll never be but always strive to.  As a player, she never stops pressing, pushing, digging deeper, no matter what.  Before the 2012 Olympics she is quoted as saying that she would leave her "human being-ness" on the field.

When she plays, she is ugly.  Understand this:  I think Abby Wambach is beautiful.  What I am trying to put a name to is the complete absence of vanity she has when she is playing.  Look at her - wild-eyes, sweaty, strained ligaments in her neck.  No self-consciousness.  She is a vessel for greatness.  

(It absolutely kills me to remove Abby's photo but search engines were using it as my blog's cover photo.  Can we say, "Confusing to the reader"?  Imagine her majesty here.  :))

I've seen Dave Matthews roll his eyes back in his head.  Sometimes, I swear, that man speaks in tongues.  Check out this photo of gumby-faced John Mayer.

These are not ugly men.  My very attractive husband is actually Dave's goofy doppelganger.  John Mayer once dated the gorgeous Jennifer Aniston.  

Pulling from the depths of our honesty, using every sinuous fiber - it looks ugly.   

It is anything but.

Get ugly.  Get great.

~MM Finck
@MMFinck on twitter

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sometimes I Read Something I Just Have To Share...

I love this:

"Are you done?  You can't honestly believe any of this nonsense.  People like you must create.  If you don't create, Bernadette, you will become a menace to society.          Paul"
- Maria Semple, "Where'd You Go, Bernadette"

I become a menace to myself when I don't create.  I get all itchy and irritable.  Depressed.  It's not pretty.  No wonder my husband bought me a laptop.  :)

Happily worshiping at the feet of the goddess of MS Word,
~MM Finck

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Bok or Cluck, It's Still A Chicken

A woman at my nephew's birthday party last fall said that she knew I was the "writer-sister" because I looked the part.  "The part," according to her, being my wild hair and appliqued dress.  The glasses and the laptop, also sure signs.  I tried to tell her that a writer is not all I am.  She couldn't believe it.  I'm not sure if you will either, but, in my past life, I was a numbers geek.  Finance and accounting all the way, baby.  I loved it.  Still do.  To my writer friends this always inspires a chuckle.  

Before the short appliqued dresses, dark tights, and high boots came business suits, a brief case, and trunks of client files (remember paper files?) that weighed more than I did.  I had fulfilling jobs at exciting organizations.  There was so much to learn.  The harder it was, the higher I felt.  I worked with brilliant people.  I made great money (particularly when compared to the poor writer's salary I pull in now! :)), and traveled all over the country.   I lived on both coasts.  I met one of my best friends in San Diego (home of the best produce and frozen  yogurt) where we worked all day and danced all night.  The campus of Georgetown University provided a lovely working environment, to say the least.  But, my favorite C.V. bullet point was my role as the Assistant Controller for Special Projects at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

I'll be honest with you here:  it was better than you'll believe.  I was surrounded by creative, passionate people, the best of the best.  Can you imagine the Kennedy Center on Halloween?  You've never seen such costumes.  Christmas?  So much beauty.  On any normal day, if I didn't eat lunch at an amazing restaurant on the Georgetown Waterfront, I ate in the back of one of the theater houses and watched rehearsals.  It was a phenomenal experience.  I loved every bit of it.

And then... dun, dun, dunnn... I moved.  Now, beyond talking through really gnarly (read: cool) finance or accounting conundrums that my husband is dealing with at work or straightening out my dad's Elks' books, I don't do much of that stuff anymore.  

I am an all-in writer and, even in light of the Kennedy Center glory, I have never been happier.  I've also never been such a CHICKEN.

I did some pretty high-level stuff before.  But still this is scarier.  How can that be, right?

With numbers, I was building something, translating something, solving for something.  Was it stressful?  Absolutely.  I worked ridiculous hours under tremendous pressure and the work was hard.  But scared?  I wasn't ever scared.

With writing?  I am Chicken Little's shaky cousin who hides at her sewing machine.  Obviously, publishing is scary because of fear of rejection, criticism, failure, bad reviews, and so on.  But why does writing itself put the jelly in my fish?  I work my own hours.  I'm my own boss.  I love it more than any job, even hobby, I've ever had.   What gives?

Here it is:  I give my heart and soul and bit of my flesh to CREATE something REAL out of thin air, which is no small task.   Like taffy, I push, pull, and stretch my imagination to its limits.  And then when my creation is as tight, exciting, and evocative as I can get it - I BREAK IT.

Into bits.

Every bridge beyond repair.

It's like I DIE.   

And when I am reborn, I am someone new who is only acquainted with the old me and I have to assess the pieces of my story and BUILD IT INTO SOMETHING ELSE, something satisfying.  This is difficult and the fear that I won't be able to do it, makes me manic.  Meals are skipped, telephone rings are ignored.

Then I finish .  There is nothing like it.  Pure joy.  I usually go shopping to celebrate.  Maybe an appliqued dress or a to-die-for scarf.  Or both.  Just kidding, honey!  (He knows I'm not. :))

Then come the reviews.  Fear peeks around the corner, looking for an opportunity to come on in.  I can usually stave it off though because I actually want criticism.  Can't get better without it, right?  I pick different reviewers for the different things they are good at.

Then the revisions.  Here is where all the lights go out.  Heart racing, hands shaking.  I don't mind the work.  But... What if in fixing it, I break it again?  

And that fear - what if in fixing it, I break it again? - tortures me.  People track word counts while they write.  I personally use a handy-dandy excel spreadsheet (You can't take the numbers out of a numbers person. :)), but I don't really need it.  In the writing phase, the story seizes and enslaves me.  I have no choice but to write and breathe, breathe and write.  All else wanes.  It's in the editing phase that I have to push through my fear.  Bok or cluck, I'm still a chicken.

But I'm a writer too.  And that gives me superpowers (see previous post "How Writing Is Like Dog-grooming and Characters Tantrum Like Two-Year-Olds").  I am terrified, but I do it anyway.  Today, after an extended writing break due to the holidays and flu, I sat my poultry self at my laptop and closed my internet browser.  One point at a time, one word at a time, I worked through my list.  Guess what?  I didn't break my story.  I love the fixes.  They made my manuscript shine.  I am filled with gratitude and relief.

Am I cured?  No way.  Am I scared to go at it again tomorrow when my alarm screams at 4:33 am?  You betcha. 

Because do you know what's next?  What's scarier than revising?  Finishing.  That's when I say officially that this is the best I can do.  THAT vulnerability is terrifying.  But I'll do it anyway.  Because it is also the most rewarding thing in the world.  The first time I saw a manuscript I'd written printed, even though it was a simple bound copy from Kinko's with a nothing but a clear plastic cover, I lost my breath.  Aside from my newborn children, it was honestly the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.  I'll never forget it.

The reason I decided to write this post is to tell you that I am "in it" too.  I am Chicken Numero Uno.  If you want to do something you're afraid of, find your courage.  Statistically, even some chickens must be brave.  Be a brave one.  It's the only way to "have done it" and there's nothing better.  Trust me.  I'll be the shaking one right next to you.

I hope you are well!  Take care!  Thanks for stopping over today!  :)

~MM Finck
@MMFinck on twitter