Sneak Peek 2

2Emma’s first glimpse of the Enson-Mortons:

“The three danced into the house as their parents stumbled through the doorframe, kicking the wooden front door closed with a shrouded foot, the brass knocker tapping as the family disappeared within their coddling walls.

I stayed on the back step for a half hour, hoping they would reappear, all five of them, hoping they would sit on the tire swing and invite me to fly with them. But there was no sign of anyone, inside or outside, and sunset came, blue fading to pale orange as Mom called through the mesh screen to say it was closing time and we were heading home.

While Mom buckled me into her five-year-old Volvo in the back parking lot, I glanced behind my shoulder at the house; she told me to stop squirming. Clutching my 24-pack of crayons and my recent masterpieces, we pulled away. As we did, the lace curtains in Mrs. Nelson’s house parted, revealing a tiny face peeking out the window, maybe at me, maybe at something else. I will always wonder; I will never know.” –To Mean Something to Someone


Tomorrow, Tomorrow

Dear Friends,

As a reminder, the first chapter of The Lettuce Novel will be released tomorrow. New chapters will follow on Saturdays, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays unless otherwise noted. All are set to be published at 12:00 A.M. PST.

I can’t wait to hear what you all think, so please feel free to tell me in the comment section tomorrow. And, if you’re so inclined, please follow the blog (bottom of the page), like the Facebook page, follow on Twitter, and on Tumblr. The greater number of readers, the more fun this will be, so share with family, friends, strangers you pass on the street, etc.


Photo by Darcy Hemley via Cup of Jo


Photo by Anna Moller


Photo by François Halard for Vogue

In case you missed it, here again is a summary of the novel:

Emma Johnson returned home from a family vacation fifteen years ago to find that her childhood best friend, Romaine Enson-Morton, and her family had disappeared. Prompted by the recent engagement of a friend and friction in her own relationship, she searches for clues as to why on a weekend trip home, needing to come to terms with the fact that they left her without so much as a “goodbye.” The Enson-Mortons—enigmatic and paradoxical nomads who named their children after varieties of lettuce—had appeared two years earlier as suddenly as they disappeared, welcoming a seven-year-old Emma into their home, where games of hide and seek could go on for days, teatime became the most cherished ritual, and bad manners had no place. In her search, Emma shines light on the murky events of her childhood and realizes that the past is not always as idyllic as remembered.

See you tomorrow!


Coffee Shop Writer

Most of To Mean Something to Someone was written and revised in coffee shops. I need the bustle to stay focused. The summer after my freshman year of college, I returned home to find my house oddly silent. I couldn’t concentrate, so I decamped to my local coffee shop every afternoon after work. Since To Mean Something to Someone was written over a span of several years, my coffee shop locations have changed as I’ve traveled. Here are a few of my favorites:


Priscilla’s, Toluca Lake

I wrote the majority to To Mean Something to Someone at Priscilla’s. I would arrive, order a coffee, sit down, open my Moleskine, and scribble for the next two hours. A man once asked if I was writing in my diary, which seemed both quaint and unsettling. The Priscilla’s staff probably deserves a mention in any future acknowledgments.

Photo 107

Starbucks, Palo Alto

Several of my favorite scenes were realized here. I try to avoid taking photos of myself at Starbucks, but at least you can see my notebook here.



I eventually filled my favorite red Moleskine, necessitating a blue replacement. I couldn’t bear to retire my beloved red notebook though, so for several months I carried both with me. Taken days before I finished the novel.



I have a complex post-it revision system. I won’t attempt to explain it, but it makes sense to me– most of the time.


Tryst, Washington, D.C.

More revisions. I had one day off work, and I had no intention of squandering it. The large café au lait played a wonderful supporting role.


Les Deux Magots, Paris

Further revisions and the writing of several additional scenes. I used to visit Les Deux Magots every Sunday morning. A few neighborhood residents sometimes joined me, but I often sat on the front terrace alone. My life read like a Parisian cliché.

Of course, many more coffee shops hosted my tattered red Moleskine and me, but these were the ones where I returned again and again. They also happen to be the coffee shops where I took photos.

Anyone else have favorite writing spots?