Authors Visiting Authors: In Virginia with Rachael Steil

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Authors Supporting Authors

My New Mantra–because it works 

Today is Thursday January 7 2016, early in this new year.  On Saturday, Rachael Steil, a very young woman with an incredible writing skill, will fly in from Grand Rapids, Michigan, for a two-day visit.  We plan to talk, read, walk my neighborhood, eat the finest pizza on the planet, see at least one movie, and spend most of Monday with someone whose mission is supporting authors and helping authors to support authors.  

Today I shop for groceries, clean my house, and–of course–read and write.

Several months ago I “met” Rachael, first by email, then on the telephone, and did some editing on her book, Running in Silence.  She is a fine writer.  Since 2012 she has had a blog of the same name where she posts weekly on the subject of eating disorders and diet fads among serious athletes.


In October, when I flew to Michigan for book signings for Looking for Lydia; Looking for God, Rachael and I finally met in person.  One thing led to another; we exchanged guest blogs,

Mundane Perfection

Addiction Chasing the High

and Saturday, Rachael will get off a plane in Norfolk, Virginia.

Authors Supporting Authors

Also, authors eating pizza and going to movies with authors–

because that works, too

And, finally, today is Saturday January 9 2016.  Rachael’s plane arrived on time; she picked up a rental car, set her GPS, and headed my way, arriving without mishap.IMG_1672

We have talked, laughed, taken photographs, seen a good movie, cried, and eaten a good dinner.dean2

We are actually sitting here at the moment on our respective laptops, both of us contentedly typing away.dean1IMG_1669

Does one type these days?  Or is it “keyboarding”?  Old authors want to know.

Sunday morning coming down.  I am up at my usual 5:00, shower, and sit quietly, checking my email, sipping tea, reading a novel called Thanksgiving which I will review here for its author, Mary Arno.  It’s a a lovely read for a warm morning in my neighborhood.

Around 9:30, Rachael appears, showered and dressed, and I make soft-scrambled eggs with cream cheese and dill.  We take photographs of our laptops for the Featured Image, then return to our MacBook Airs (I wonder if I get a commission from Apple for that mention). We sorted through quite a few pictures that we finally rejected as Featured Images, but they’re possibly worthy of a glimpse.

 First was my attempt to include a page of Rachael’s book; good idea, but it’s just not readable.  And Isaac felt it didn’t show him at his best.IMG_1682

In the next shot, you can almost make out the text,  but we really wanted both laptops in the picture.


We discussed all the activities available to distract us from our writing.  We like them all.

I’m expecting a local friend today and the three of us will walk down to see “Spotlight,” which promises high-quality intensity of a very different kind than yesterday’s “The Danish Girl.’  I am old enough, of course, that this new film immediately takes me back to the Watergate scandal and “All The President’s Men,” still one of my favorites.

There is something exciting and quintessentially American about these hard-hitting newsroom stories.  Classic movie reviewer, Ellen Bunton, tells me that they were popular at least as early as the 1940’s and recommends “Foreign Correspondent,” one of Hitchcock’s from 1940, and Billy Wilder’s “Ace in the Hole” (1951).  And, of course, “Citizen Kane” is about one of America’s most notorious newspapermen.

From yesterday, “The Danish Girl”

Ahead, “Spotlight”

Monday January 11 2016   I sleep inexplicably late–almost 7:00; Rachael is up early.  I give her cold pizza for breakfast. We visit, type on our laptops, dress, and leave at 10:00 for our appointment with friend and publisher, John Koehler.

Rachael has managed a photo without my noticing, which I now notice she has posted on Facebook.12476086_10153316582965808_777379598_n (2)

It is nearly impossible for me to report on our time with John.  We sat for an hour in the beautiful space that is Koehler Books and Studio.  He talked; he asked Rachael questions; he listened; he shared exactly the relevant information from his years in the world of publishing; he suggested gently; he advised firmly; a few times, he issued instructions.

He was John Koehler12528036_10153316582790808_765130599_n

We went to lunch. We blessed our food.  John ordered an appetizer of Oysters Benedict which I love and Rachael had never tried.  I think she liked them.  At lunch, more questions, more listening, more information and advice. We are authors; we talked about writing.

We laughed and we learned and we were mindful of every moment of this lovely day.  Rachael and I raced back to get her on the road to the airport.  And she’s headed home with her notes to think, to consult, to make decisions about the next steps.12506652_10153316582610808_1933658013_n

 Rachael boards her rental car, headed to Norfolk International Airport

I walk home to reclaim my space, knowing I will miss her presence in it.12506884_10153316582900808_661737010_n12506766_10153316582750808_949402011_n

Authors Supporting Authors; Authors Visiting Authors

because it works.

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