2 March, 2017


Marilyn Simon Rothstein is the author of Lift And Separate (Lake Union, 2016), the hilarious and heartwarming story of a woman who is forced to restart her life after her husband, the owner of a bra empire, leaves her for a perkier fit. The deRothsteinbut novel is from Lake Union Publishers.

For more than twenty-five years, Marilyn owned an advertising agency in beautiful downtown Avon, Connecticut.

The author grew up with her two sisters in Flushing, Queens.  She went to Francis Lewis High School. Marilyn earned her degree in journalism from New York University, and began her writing career at Seventeen, the magazine. She has a master of arts in liberal studies from Wesleyan University, and a master of arts in Judaic Studies from the University of Connecticut.

Marilyn is married to a man she met in an elevator. She dedicated Lift And Separate to him. She has two daughters. One is an award-winning playwright (By The Water, All The Days, The Invested), and the other one makes a living.

She enjoys theater and movies and other activities that do not require motion. Marilyn has few hobbies, other than hosting large, boisterous groups for holiday dinners two nights in a row.

The author is now at work on her second novel, a searing social commentary about a woman who owns a Volvo. A sequel to Lift And Separate, the book is scheduled for release by Lake Union Publishing in January 2018.

8 February, 2017


Happily settled in the Rochester, NY, area with her husband and two young sons, Susan Gilbert-Collins is always a little homesick for her home state of South Dakota. That’s probably why a lot of her fiction is set there, including her first novel, Starting from Scratch (Touchstone at Simon & Schuster, 2010).author photo_042315

“I wanted to explore what it’s like to lose one’s mother as a young adult,” Gilbert-Collins says, “and I tried to do so with a lighter touch, with humor and compassion, so the reader could witness the main character’s grief without being overwhelmed by it. My main character, Olivia, loses her mother very suddenly, and after that she doesn’t return to ‘normal,’ whatever that means, quickly enough to suit her family. This is a typical response to grief in our culture: you’re supposed to move on fairly quickly, which I found hard to do when I lost my own mother as a young adult.”

Olivia, the youngest of four high-achieving siblings, resists family pressure and at first wants only to bury herself in her mother’s kitchen, finding solace in their shared passion for cooking. But as a family secret comes to light and startling announcements are made by two of her siblings, she finds herself drawing on her mother’s memory and spirit to navigate the shifting family dynamics.

Gilbert-Collins’s short fiction has often explored loss as well and has appeared in ConfrontationThe Greensboro Review, Prairie SchoonerAlabama Literary Review, and Kansas Quarterly/Arkansas Review. Her stories have been finalists in Glimmer Train competitions and nominated for a Pushcart Prize.

Along the way, Gilbert-Collins has freelanced in technical writing and test development, taught English as a Second Language, worked briefly in grants and development, and studied at Oberlin and the University of Minnesota to put off the inevitable (a real job).  And before any of that, she spent the summer between high school and college as the worst pizza deliverer in the history of South Dakota.

Find more about Gilbert-Collins:

10 January, 2017


nancybansheeNancy Cowan’s life has been all about understanding animals and their relationships to Mankind.  An accredited riding instructor as a teen, as a young mother living in New Hampshire, she became interested in sled dogs and the history of  US exploration o f Antarctica by dogteam.  Her conventional split in a conventional subdivision soon had the unconventional accessory of six huskies living in the backyard.  Nancy became known around the globe for her writing about sled dogs as a sportswriter and author of seven self-published books.  While running her own team and occasionally racing them, Nancy rediscovered an inner satisfaction she had known with her horses.  Halfway measures have never been enough for her, so when Jim, Nancy’s husband, began a quest to make falconry a legal hunting sport in the state, she became involved right away.   Now, more than 30 years later, both Cowans are Master Falconers as well as owners of the internationally known New Hampshire School of Falconry.

Life took an unexpected turn when Nancy and Jim were asked by wildlife experts and federal officials to take on the task of becoming licensed Wildlife Rehabilitators with a mission to rehabilitate and evaluate for release the State’s injured peregrine falcons.  Through falconry, Nancy formed a connection with the wild peregrine, N Z,, not with the intention of taming him but rather to prepare him to return to live in the wild.  This connection was so strong, so sweet, and so amazing, it changed Nancy far more than any change she had effected upon the raptor.   Her book, Peregrine Spring, A Master Falconer’s Extraordinary Life with Birds of Prey, was written to bear witness to  the surprising  understandings she has learned from years of working with hawks and falcons, something Nancy teaches daily in her classes at her School.  Ably agented by Jacqueline Flynn, her book was bought by Lyons Press, which released it in March of 2016.

Parents of grown children and grandparents of two, Nancy and Jim Cowan reside in the small town of Deering, New Hampshire, where Nancy served 16 years as her town’s Town Clerk and Tax Collector.   She and Jim are both now retired…or as retired as running a busy school can allow.  They share their lives with five hawks, six falcons, and two Gordon Setter dogs.


10 January, 2017


susan-scheff-red-1Sue Scheff is a nationally-recognized speaker, parent advocate and internet safety expert. She is the founder of Parents’ Universal Resource Experts, Inc., an informational resource for parents struggling with challenging teenagers. She is also the author of the upcoming SHAME NATION: The Global Epidemic of Online Hate (coming Fall 2017 from Sourcebooks) which dives into the dark side of today’s digital reality where countless people are being electronically embarrassed each day, whether it’s from trolling, cyber-slamming, digital drama, revenge porn, sexting, doxing, hacking or other malicious virtual take-downs. This culture of destroying people with the simple stroke of a keyboard is much more than a fadit’s the new normal. SHAME NATION will survey the wreckage of the most shocking digital debacles, revealing how truly pervasive this phenomenon has become, and advising what we as concerned citizens need to do about it. This book will tap into a nerve in popular culture about our fascination and fear of digital shaming, sprinkling actual social media posts from Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and more to illustrate how unbelievably mean things have actually become. The book will also provide practical solutions on how to handle a cyber-disaster, should one occur, as well as guide individuals how to recover from the emotional aftermath of a digital shaming.

Scheff’s previous books Wit’s End! Advice and Resources for Saving Your Out-of-Control Teen (HCI, 2008), and Google Bomb! How the $11.3M Verdict Changed the Way We Use the Internet (HCI, 2009), co-authored by the late John Dozier,  recount her personal story of being victimized online and cyber-stalked due to her advocacy work with troubled teens. She went on to win a 2006 landmark case for internet defamation and invasion of privacy. Since then, her name and voice have become synonymous with helping others who have been victims of online abuse as well as educating people of all ages about the importance of good digital citizenship and protecting their online reputation.

Today she is a much sought after expert who has been featured on major media outlets including GMA, CBS This Morning, ABC News, 20/20, The Rachel Ray Show, Dr. Phil, CNN, Anderson Cooper, CBS Nightly News, Lifetime, Fox News, CBC, BBC, Dr. Drew HLN, CNN Headline News, InSession Court TV, and noted major publications such as USA Today, AARP, Parenting Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Miami Herald, Forbes, Sun-Sentinel, Asian Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, LA Times, and many more.

6 December, 2016


Marianne Kirby writes about bodies both real and imagined. She plays with the liminal space between vanishing kirbyand visibility; she thinks the things that go bump in the night need to spend some time in the sun. A long-time writer, editor, and activist, Marianne is a frequent contributor to women’s interest publications, news outlets, and tv shows that require people to have opinions. She has been published by the Guardian, xoJane, the Daily Dot, Bitch Magazine, Time, and others. She has appeared on TV and radio programs ranging from the Dr. Phil Show to Radio New Zealand. Marianne was born in Florida and returned there, because Florida Weird calls to its own. She has briefly escaped again but is already plotting her eventual winter migration. She lives in Alexandria, Virginia.

Marianne’s debut novel, Dust Bath Revival, a horror story about insatiable hunger, was released November 21, 2016 by Curiosity Quills.  Her previous books include Lessons from the Fat-o-Sphere:  Quit Dieting and Declare a Truce with Your Body (Perigee/Penguin 2009) and Screw Inner Beauty (Amazon Digital Services, 2010).


18 October, 2016


Lisa Anselmo-Author-My (Part-time) Paris Life-0054-Carla CoulsonLisa Anselmo has spent most of her professional career in magazine publishing, working on such iconic brands as Allure, Mademoiselle, InStyle, and People. She’s been everything from a creative director to an opera singer, but ultimately she followed her passion to become a writer, with her memoir, My Part-Time Paris Life (Thomas Dunne Books/Macmillan, October 2016), which grew out of her blog of the same name.

Anselmo started traveling to Paris regularly more than ten years ago—at first, to cover the fashion trade shows for a lifestyle website. But soon, she had cultivated friends—both Parisians and expats—and eventually built another life across the ocean. After losing her mother to breast cancer, she was motivated to make her other life official, buying an apartment in Paris’s Right Bank.

In 2014, she decided to leave her day job, and now splits her time between New York and Paris, where she writes full time. Her experiences inspired the memoir My (Part-Time) Paris Life, a candid narrative of a woman searching for hope and healing in the city she loves.


series:  my parttimeparislife

twitter: @Lisa_Anselmo

Facebook:  mypartimeparislife

Pinterest: lisaanselmo16

Instagram: lisa_anselmo

9 September, 2016


Helaina Hovitz is a native New Yorker who has always had the unreasonable notion that she can help change the world. Her greatest passion is writing inspiring stories about charities, social good, nonprofits, social issues, animal rescue, mental health, and recovery.Helaina Hovitz Credit Celestina Ando Photography
Her first book, AFTER 9/11: One Girl’s Journey Through Darkness to a New Beginning, was just released on September 6, 2016 (Skyhorse Publishing).
Hovitz is Co-Founder and Editorial Director of the brand new Headlines for the Hopeful, a digital news service designed to spotlight the unique and innovative efforts put forth by people and organizations working to create a better future.
She is a contributor to Forbes, Huffington Post, Downtown Magazine, xoJane, Recovery.Org, and the New York City Restaurant Guide Editor at The Daily Meal. Helaina has also written for The New York Times, Salon, Newsday, Teen Vogue, Glamour, Chicago Tribune, The New York Observer, SCENE Magazine, SheKnows, Bustle, VICE, New York Press, Narratively, amNewYork, New York Post, the Downtown Express, and others. I previously served as Managing Editor at the Good News Network, Editor in Chief and Co-Creator of Affect Magazine, and as a Contributing Editor at Avenue Magazine.
She lives in New York with her fiancé, Lee, and their rescue dog, Wiley.

31 August, 2016


Paige Rien is a designer and author best known for five seasons on HGTV’s Hidden Potential and for her appearances on Curb Appeal. Paige consults with families all over the world to make their homes more personal, reflecting how they truly live.  After renovating and restoring many homes together with her husbandpaige_rien_pink, Francis, she finds nothing more exciting as a new house project.  Paige’s interest in houses was stoked while studying Urban Studies at Brown University.  She lives near Washington, DC with her husband, three sons and daughter.

LOVE THE HOUSE YOU’RE IN:  40 Ways to Improve Your Home and Change Your Life (Roost Books/imprint of Shambhala Publications, Distributed by Penguin Random House, March 2016).

14 July, 2016


Last year saw a monumental Supreme Court decision: the affirmation of the constitutional right for same-sex couples to marry. It was a long-awaited victory for much of the country, but Jim Obergefell, the named plaintiff in the case Obergefell v. Hodges that prompted the decision, had a particularly personal relationship to it. Fighting for Jim headshotlove and fueled by love, he had become, in his words, an “accidental activist.”

Obergefell came out to his large Catholic family in his mid 20s, and in 1992 began a long-term relationship with John Arthur. After meeting twice at a Cincinnati bar, the two met for a third time at a party thrown by Arthur, where sparks flew. Soon enough they fell deeply in love and forged a quiet, happy life together in Cincinnati. They worked with one another as consultants in IT, followed a shared passion for collecting art, and enjoyed an extensive network of friends and family. Their relationship was never an issue among the people who knew them — but living as an openly gay couple in Cincinnati was at times very difficult. In fact, after an amendment was passed in the city that banned laws protecting the LGBTQ community, Cincinnati was dubbed “The City without Pity”. Ohio’s legislative opposition to gays became especially problematic for the couple in 2013, when Arthur’s illness of ALS worsened and Obergefell proposed marriage.

jim2 Although Ohio did not allow same-sex marriage, Maryland did. So Obergefell raised $14,000 to hire a chartered medical jet to fly them to the Baltimore airport, where the two men were married by Arthur’s aunt on the tarmac. Yet despite this perfectly legal marriage, Ohio was going to refuse to recognize Obergefell as Arthur’s spouse on his death certificate. Unwilling to accept this injustice, the newly married couple decided to sue the state of Ohio, and the case, given its story of love in the face of terminal illness, quickly received national attention. Obergefell was aware that winning his case could help guarantee rights for LGBTQ Ohioans. But he could not have expected that his case would rise as high as the Supreme Court, where it became clear that something greater was at stake. In June 2015, Obergefell won the case with a 5-4 majority — and the rest is literally history.

Now, a year after the Supreme Court decision, Obergefell has teamed up with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Debbie Cenziper to chronicle LOVE WINS: The Lovers and Lawyers who Fought the Landmark Case for Marriage Equality (William Morrow/June 2016), an in-depth look at the case that led to nationwide marriage equality. The book interweaves the stories of Obergefell and his late husband, and the decades-long career of civil rights attorney Al Gerhardstein; readers will get to know not only the facts of the case but also the faces of its advocates. Exactingly recounted, Love Wins is urgent in its subject matter and unforgettable in its emotion.

From the beginning, Obergefell and Cenziper were in agreement that the book should be about more than just one couple and their lawyer. “Throughout the entire process,” Obergefell says, “I knew it was never just about me.” The book introduces other plaintiffs ad some of lawyers in the case as well. It took many people to achieve justice for many people — and now Obergefell’s case has granted marriage equality not only for millions of Americans today but also for generations of Americans to come. “One person, a group of people, can actually do something that impacts the world, that makes our world a better place. I discovered that it really can happen.” Today, even Obergefell’s home city of Cincinnati has changed in its attitude towards LGBTQ issues — Cincinnati has since elected an openly-gay council member and in fact was the second city in the country to ban conversion therapy.

Since the Supreme Court ruling, Obergefell has embraced his newfound role as a civil rights activist. He has worked with organizations such as the Human Rights Campaign and Equality Ohio, and has been honored with awards from organizations such as Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Elders (SAGE). Foreign Policy magazine named him one of its 2015 Global Thinkers.

5 July, 2016


In 2013, a man named Jim Obergefell went to great lengths to marry his terminally ill partner John Arthur in Maryland — only for his home state of Ohio to later refuse tDebheadshoto name him as the spouse on Arthur’s death certificate. Like millions of other people, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Debbie Cenziper followed the ensuing lawsuit Obergefell v. Hodges in the paper. But unlike most readers, Cenziper had a personal connection to the Obergefell case: her first husband was Arthur’s first cousin. In fact, Obergefell and Arthur were present at Cenziper’s wedding twenty-five years ago, and they had kept in touch on and off over the years through family.

Cenziper had long kept her eyes peeled for something to write her first book about, and Obergefell and Arthur’s story moved her deeply: she knew at once that she wanted to write about their case. She promptly called Obergefell and told him about her idea — and to her excitement he was on board. Two months prior to the case’s Supreme Court ruling, Cenziper took an unpaid leave of absence from her job at the Washington Post and began the intensive process of writing a book.

Now, a year after the Supreme Court decision, Cenziper and Obergefell have published LOVE WINS: The Lovers and Lawyers who Fought the Landmark Case for Marriage Equality (William Morrow), a comprehensive look at the long road to marriage equality. The book interweaves the stories of Obergefell and his late husband and the decades-long plight of civil rights attorney Al Gerhardstein, against the larger context of the historical injustice faced by LGBTQ people. Readers will get to know not only the facts of the LGBTQ struggle for equality but also the faces of the cause’s many advocates.

During her research, Cenziper found herself inspired not only by the stories of the plaintiffs but also by those of the local civil rights lawyers. All of the people involved in the case were just regular Americans, fighting for simple freedoms like an accurate birth certificate, who managed to achieve something monumental for the whole country. While some books with similar topics focus on history or politics, Love Wins is a book foremost about people. “It’s a book about love and commitments — what spouses do to protect each other, what parents do to protect their children.” And in this way, the book’s messages are universal. Named by Oprah as a “must-read book of the summer,” Love Wins is urgent in its subject matter and unforgettable in its emotion.

Cenziper has won major prizes in American journalism, including the Pulitzer Prize, the Robert F. Kennedy Award for Journalism, and the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting. In addition to the Washington Post, she has held reporting positions at the Miami Herald and the Charlotte Observer. She grew up in Philadelphia, graduated from the University of Florida, and currently lives in Washington, DC.

-Nicole Blum