Getting Our New Son’s Visa in Guangzhou

The day before we were to head to the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, the visa issuing system went down. Tech issues. Yep, seriously.

I put a call out on Facebook for positive visa system energy (maybe a first?!) and y’all complied! (Many thanks!)

I’m happy to report that all that positive energy worked! The visa system at the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China, was up and running this morning! We’re now back at our hotel, waiting for Yao’s passport with his U.S. Visa.

Wait! Is that a light at the end of the tunnel?!

Yes! Yes, it is.


Hong Kong or bust!!!

U.S. Consulate Ticket_Guangzhou

And finally…today’s math equation: Consulate + heat + humidity = sleeeeepy boy. (And one happy mama…)

Sleepy Boy After Consulate Appointment_Guangzhou

And so we are a family of four!

On July 13, 2015, we adopted this awesome little guy in Tai Yuan, China. We are happy, tired, and oozing big, big love. More soon!



Shanghai, Here We Are!

Yesterday, after way too many hours in an airplane, we made it to SHANGHAI!!!!!! So happy to be back.

Our journey to our new son has begun. Spending a week in Shanghai, getting over jet lag, revisiting old haunts, touring around with Tully to all the places she frequented as a little kiddo, reconnecting with our China roots (and doing a bit of research for the new novel…).


Baggage claim in Shanghai!



View of the Huangpu River from the hotel. Lovely.


I so missed the attention to umbrella care!

First glimpse of the Oriental Pearl Tower!

First glimpse of the Oriental Pearl Tower!

Great Fun at the Emma Andrews Library in Newburyport

Last night, at the Emma Andrews Library in Newburyport, author Holly Robinson and I talked about our most recent novels (Hers: BEACH PLUM ISLAND. Mine: THE ART OF FLOATING) and the ins-and-outs of place/setting in fiction. Great crowd, great discussion, great venue (speaking of place!), and, yes, great cookies!

A big thanks to Priscilla and the Emma Andrews Library team for putting together such a spectacular event! And thanks to all who came, listened, asked good questions, and bought books!


Reading at Emma Andrews Library

Book Club Visit in Boise, Idaho!

A big thanks to this spectacular book club in Boise, Idaho! I Skyped in for a wonderful discussion about The Art of Floating. Nothing like a glass of wine and good book talk. (It was my first book club visit in Boise, Idaho!)

Book Club in Boise, Idaho

Book Club in Boise, Idaho

Happy 2015, Year of “No Mud, No Lotus”

“No mud, no lotus”

This is my mantra as I write this new novel, continue sharing THE ART OF FLOATING, and shift into 2015.

The necklace is a Christmas gift from my hubs. The wisdom on writing (& life) comes from Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk I’ve been following for years.

Happy New Year, all!

No Mud No Lotus

2 More Wonderful Visits with Book Clubs!

Crazy busy, wonderful week for me and THE ART OF FLOATING! Three book club visits and today, a reading at Booklovers’ Gourmet in Webster, MA. I’m a bit hoarse from all the talking, but happy, happy that so many wonderful readers want to talk about Sia and Toad and floating and sorrow and things lost/found and love. And oh, yes, plovers!

A big thanks to the book clubs who hosted me this week! Y’all made me laugh and think. Great combo.

Friday night Book Club

Friday night Book Club

Tuesday night book club!

Tuesday night book club!

Sunday night book club!

Sunday night book club!





Another Marvelous Book Club Discussion About THE ART OF FLOATING

Earlier this week, I had a terrific discussion about THE ART OF FLOATING with another marvelous book club! The host, Maria, put together a delicious spread (beach themed, of course)! And offered a perfect wine for the occasion (Plum Island wine, to honor the setting of THE ART OF FLOATING).

Since most of the book clubs I’ve met with have been made up of women, it was fun and informative to have a couple of men in this conversation. All in the book club were smart, thoughtful readers with great senses of humor. Thanks for hosting me!

Maria Dankens Book Club_5

Maria Dankens Book Club_3

Maria Dankens Book Club_2

Upcoming Reading at Booklovers Gourmet! Webster, MA, Here We Come!

Plum Island, MA | 2013

Plum Island, MA | 2013

Live near Webster, Massachusetts? Come on out on Saturday, September 20, to Booklovers’ Gourmet for an afternoon of crazy booklove!

Author Holly Robinson and I will be reading from our novels (mine THE ART OF FLOATING, hers BEACH PLUM ISLAND), answering questions about writing and life, talking about Plum Island (the setting for both of our novels!), and much more.

When: Saturday, September 20, 2014

Time: 1:00pm

Place: Booklovers Gourmet in Webster, MA


  • You’re an insatiable reader.
  • You love to discover new authors.
  • You read our novels and can’t wait to talk with me and Holly.
  • You are a writer.
  • What better way to spend a Saturday afternoon?
  • You want to know why the heck plovers (see photo at right) are relevant to this conversation.
  • So, so, so many reasons!

See you there!





Beautiful Review of THE ART OF FLOATING

I’m oh-so-thankful for this beautiful review of THE ART OF FLOATING. There’s more, and if you’re compelled to read the entire review, click here:

“…What is so beautiful, haunting, and even bewildering, about this novel is the way in which Bair O’Keeffe can first introduce us to a story we think we know, and twist it into something symbolic, surreal and highly-bodily, which immediately removes The Art of Floating from the common “beach read” section and propels it to the realm of literary fiction—and presents it as a gorgeous example of literary fiction, at that.

9780425271483_large_The Art of Floating_HIGH RES“When I was first introduced to this title, I did the unthinkable thing—something that I am very guilty of doing on a regular basis, despite my extreme dislike for spoilers: I read the back cover. And I knew, deep in my gut (perhaps in the same place where Sia finds her flopping fish), that this book was different. In the first line of the synopsis, it summarizes, “When her beloved husband, Jackson, disappeared without a trace, popular novelist Sia Dane stopped writing, closed down her house, stuffed her heart into a cage, and started floating.” I read that line over and over, gushing with excitement, at the sheer potential of the novel being refreshing and different. When the book arrived at my home, I wanted so badly to break the reading order of books I had “scheduled” before this one, but I held my ground, clenched my teeth, and waited until it was Bair O’Keeffe’s turn—and, boy, was it worth the wait.

“It was more than I could have bargained for, expected, or dreamed of. The events detailed on the back cover do indeed happen, for real, within the context of this novel. This reality is created and made acceptable—made beautiful and strange and heart-felt—within the first several pages of the book, when Sia discovers the man on the beach (who she names “Toad”) and feels a literal wave of his sadness enter her body—as well as a large, flopping fish in her stomach, which she feels move whenever she feels empathy for another person. Obviously, this is outside the operational realm of our bodies and the abilities of them; but that, in the end, is what makes these surreal moves so beautiful and true, when we are given that image that is, at once, strange and capable of retelling those emotions that we otherwise feel are beyond the reach of description. In their surreal nature, they apply truth….”