Fiction vs Nonfiction Computer Geek

Fiction vs Nonfiction Computer Geek

Computer Geek Challenges a Medieval Outlaw!

That’s the tagline for my first novel, Fairly Certain. Today, as I was preparing to go forth with my young adult novels (I’ll was just at The Yellow Umbrella Bookstore in Chatham, Massachusetts on July 31, thanks for stopping by!), I came across a 2015 correspondence from a fan of Fairly Certain.

Fan: Let me tell you that “Fairly Certain” is so good!! I laugh out loud a couple of times, so original. Why a computer geek?

Me: Yay! I’m so glad you liked it. Why Computer Geeks? I love Computer Geeks. They are a marvelous combo of intellectual swagger and social incompetence. I’ve taught them science for 20+ years. They don’t believe in themselves, but step forward when anyone needs something. They just need to get out of their own way. They don’t hide who they are from me because as their teacher, (a) I don’t pose a threat, and (b) they don’t think I’m paying attention.

My first two books were works of fiction. They contained a light dose of humor and adventure, with a few life lessons and family values thrown in there, culminating with an ending with a twist. The main characters reflected the people I know best after teaching high school for so long: blossoming teens.

Three years later, I’m writing my first nonfiction book, How To Keep Your Daughter From Slamming the Door: An Awesome Mom Handbook, which will be out later this year. I considered my newest gem to be a complete departure from my previous YA books… or, so I thought until today when my comments to my fiction fan created an echo in my head.

If I hadn’t been doing the final edit when I found that conversation, I probably would not have noticed that the first chapter of How To Keep Your Daughter From Slamming the Door starts with me sharing the same philosophy:

I love teenagers, with their flashes of brilliance, their occasional bravado, and the vulnerability that underlies it all. They are magnificent WIPs— Works In Progress — who vacillate between shining with extreme cockiness, to freaking out over a pimple. Sarcasm is a teenage pastime. Every teenage emotion is magnified. Any negative expression within eyeshot is a personal insult. Instant joy is just a word away. So is immediate devastation.

I now realize how much of the same humor and sense of adventure, the life lessons and family values, are recurring themes in everything I do. That was a pleasant surprise, to say the least.

The reality is that we bring who we are to the table every time, no matter how different that table might be. As the author, who I am is reflected at the Fiction Table and the Nonfiction Table, and at the Adult Table and the Kids Table. Does that mean it’s all the same? No, if you consider me different when I wear different clothes for different occasions… and, Yes, if you consider it’s still me inside those clothes.

This bit of insight makes me wonder about people who write other genres, like mysteries, horror, or technical journals. Somehow, who they are must be present at those tables, don’t you think?

Here’s a brief excerpt from How To Keep Your Daughter From Slamming the Door that I wanted to share with you. Enjoy!

Ten years into my teaching career, I became a mom. To my surprise, I discovered being a teacher and a mom were not the same thing. When faced with the issues created by my tiny dynamo of a daughter, I needed to shift gears. I was no longer the caring, but objective educator of teens; I was Mommy… and I was in way over my head.

Thank goodness she learned to talk.

Are you an Awesome Mom? It turns out I was an Awesome Mommy, even when I didn’t know what I was doing. That’s because we moms aren’t Perfect, but we are Awesome. We never stop trying when it comes to our children. When we don’t know how to do it, we find someone who does, or we look it up. We collect stuff (recipes, articles, hand-me-down clothes, toys, books, lists of child-enhancing activities, pets, the neighborhood kids, etc.). That’s what Awesome Moms do.

Yes, I was an Awesome Mom, even on the days when the Tooth Fairy was a no-show, or when we sang Happy Birthday over a lit candle stuck into a Fig Newton because I forgot to pick up the cake, or after the preschool teacher called us in when our Bored Cherub executed a series of somersaults during Circle Time… and I made (unwelcomed) suggestions on how to restructure Circle Time so it wouldn’t be so boring.

Parenting is tough. And because I was used to teaching high school kids, I wasn’t prepared to handle everything that my Little Cherub threw at me. But, after a little over a decade of trial and error, I graduated from being an Awesome Mommy, to being an Awesome Mom who finally knew what she was doing. That was when my daughter finally caught up to my expertise: Teenagers. I had hit my parenting stride, and with, I might add, a much broader arsenal at my disposal than the average parent.

Your relationship with your tween/teen daughter is the most important female bond in her life. If you want to strategies for reaching your walking volcano, my Awesome Mom Handbook will teach you how to cultivate and maintain the relationship you always wanted. Your daughter is depending on you to help her through this journey, but now, you don’t have to figure it out on your own.

To be notified when How To Keep Your Daughter From Slamming the Door: An Awesome Mom Handbook comes out, contact me at

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