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Meet the books* that continually inspire and form me as a Creator & a Writer.

*Click the image of any cover 

to learn more.

Creativity and Writing


Big Magic

Liz Gilbert teaches me to take joy in creating and welcome the process as a gift, not a chore.


Bird by Bird

Anne Lamott gives me permission to write a sh***ty first draft and so much more!


Writing the Romantic Comedy

Billy Mernit guides me along the path of crafting emotional and hilarious connections between characters.


The Artist's Way

In this seminal work, Julia Cameron continually gives me the tools to tap into the creative source and nurture my inner creative.


They Say/I Say

Graff and Birkenstein guide me and (my students) to honestly examine multiple sides of an issue while still taking a stance.


The Scene Book

Sandra Scofield teaches me how to create movement—beats—in a scene.


If You Want to Write

Brenda Ueland convinces me that everyone has unique thoughts and insights which can be crafted into writing.


Mystery and Manners

Flanney O'Connor challenges me to ask deeper questions about meaning and life itself in my writing.


The Right to Write

Julia Cameron pushes me beyond my comfort  zone in these short chapters packed with: hard questions, writing exercises, and permission to experiment and embark on new writing forms.

Novels, Short Stories, and a play


A Gentleman in Moscow

has become my gold-standard for admirable characters who are also delightfully human—not to mention this novel  even employs footnotes! (As does Icelander—see below!)


Little Black Book of Stories

boasts contemporary fairy tales, but one in particular that I wish I'd written: "Body Art." This story mixes the profane and divine as I've never 

experienced before.


Say You're One of Them

brims with poignant and lush stories that read like a punch to the ribs.


The Shipping News

changed my life by elegantly giving flesh to underdogs and exploring the flavor of quiet romance.


The Goldfinch

invites us into the vivid worlds of hyper-realistic characters, while demonstrating how distinct settings, with aesthetics almost in contradiction, can all tell a cohesive story.



exemplifies how to skillfully switch between narrators to create an one-of-a-kind comedy of the absurd.

People I Wanted to Be, Gina Ochsner

People I Wanted

To Be

is a collection, written by my real-life mentor, that compassionately introduces us to peculiarly captivating lives. 


The Book Thief

was my first encounter with prose that tastes like rich poetry, crafted by an author who manages to mix metaphors with great relish and success.


The Importance of Being Earnest

is my mentor for verbal acrobatics and politely absurd comedy. (A copy of this play was my sole literary companion during a summer spent in Kolkata, India!)

Who are your literary Mentors & Best Friends ?

Please use the comments below to share an important title or two and what those books teach you.

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