I have been looking into schedules. Even when we read physics, we inquire of each least particle, What then shall I do this morning? How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour, and that one, is what we are doing. A schedule defends from chaos and whim. It is a net for catching days. It is a scaffolding on which a worker can stand and labor with both hands at sections of time.
~Annie Dillard, The Writing Life


On the first of each month,
a guest writer
how he or she spends the day.


September 1, 2020: Lisa McGuinness


I am delighted to introduce my publisher and brilliant editor, Lisa McGuinness, as the next writer in the series. Lisa’s second novel, Across the Deep, will be published October 20th, and I had the pleasure of reading it back in November. I couldn’t put it down.

The city went about its business. Men and women were out—business people walked to or from lunch back to their offices. Bicycle messengers delivered packages; life happened in their midst. And yet no one was aware. She was another girl being moved from one place to another. Trafficked. She had learned the English word for it, and it evoked an image that haunted her in its accuracy. Girls, children, people—like so many cars on a highway, being delivered for other people’s use like objects. She visualized a crowded road, full of girls like her and it made her want to weep. The fact that human beings used others for their bidding—whatever the bidding—was an offense.

From a shipping container in Thailand to the docks of San Francisco, Lisa puts names and faces on the real and growing tragedy that is human trafficking. We fall hard for these characters who slide between victim, survivor, and hero. No one is safe. Despite the darkness, this is a story of caring for others in a world of faith, hope, and love.

As the novel opens, Suda, who was raised in Thailand, is now trapped in a shipping container on her way to the U.S.

As days passed, she stopped treating the darkness as an adversary and accepted it as her companion.  She was relieved to have her appearance and her surroundings hidden from herself.

From inside the crate, Suda hears fog horns. “But from inside the inky blackness, they sounded like the earth weeping.”

Simone lives in a converted Victorian in San Francisco, running a safe house above and a bakery, below. “Each girl travelled her own road; their journeys took them up and down through brokenness and healing. Some were success stories, others not. Or as she liked to call them, not-yet-success stories. She still had hope.”

Claire arrived at the safe house two weeks before Suda.

Claire always had a book in her hands. When Claire read, her face softened and relaxed. It made her look different, even prettier than she already was. Claire often absentmindedly twirled a strand of hair around her finger when she was lost in a book and she looked like she didn’t have a care in the world.

Add sex traffickers looking for Suda and a wonderful undercover cop named Chai to these strong women, and the result is a thriller and a love story. It’s a world I had only heard of, and now I can see it all. Across the Deep is available for pre-order now.

Lisa’s first novel, Catarina’s Ring, is the story of one family and two women whose lives echo across generations. Catarina Pensbene travels from Italy to America, and Juliette Brice, Catarina’s granddaughter, takes the journey in reverse. The novel alternates between the two narratives, and I have to tell you, I was equally mesmerized by both women and both storylines. This novel comes with two bonus features–lots of Italian delicately sprinkled throughout and descriptions of food that almost made me want to cook.

[Catarina] couldn’t bring herself to pack any more yet. Instead, she walked outside and sat on the stone wall that surrounded la cucina giardino, the kitchen garden, which faced out to the olive orchard. The air was warm and still and it felt good to be out of her stuffy attic room.

[Juliette] was in the mood for crusty bread with mozzarella slices and olive tapenade to go with a roasted artichoke.

Lisa has recently become the Creative Director at Mango Publishing and is also the founder of Yellow Pear Press, which includes the imprint Bonhomie Press. She’s been in the publishing industry for twenty-five years and worked in the editorial, sales and production divisions during her time at Chronicle Books. She is also the author of Hoppy Trails, Caffeinated Ideas Journal and Meaningful Bouquets, the co-author of several children’s books including the New York Times bestseller Bee & Me and Baby Turtle’s Tale—both animated picture books written under the pen name Elle J. McGuinness, as well as the co-author (along with Leslie Jonath) of The Dictionary of Extraordinary Ordinary Animals and the co-author (along with Chris Boral) of Gotcha Covered.

Stay well and…

Come back on SEPTEMBER 1st to read how LISA MCGUINNESS spends her days.