New Mercury Reading Series

I write both fiction and nonfiction, and, in my mind, the fact that I have been able to support my family and myself on words has been the stuff of dreams.

Hailing from the immigrant classes, girls like me grew up to be nurses, teachers or nuns, and being a writer did not cotton to the immigrant mentality of finding a profession where work never runs out. My parents began exploring career options for the four of us when we were in elementary school, and writer did not make the list. I remember telling my dad I didn’t want to be a nurse because I didn’t want to be around sick people, and he half-jokingly said, “then become a mortician because people die every day and you’ll always have a job.” America meant economic stability. My parents’ Italian heritage gave them a keen appreciation for all kinds of art, knowledge of how those artists suffered for their work, and they didn’t want me to be a starving writer in an American attic.

With Deborah Rudacille,
author of Roots of Steel

As a child, reading proved the most important and desirable activity, and I often snuck away with a book or two from a multitude of chores delegated to my sister and me, hiding out in my grandmother’s house next door. When I was in second grade, my mother was reading Daphne De Maurier’s novel, Rebecca, the story from the point of view of an unnamed narrator about being a second wife to Max De Winter, a wealthy Englishman, and living on his estate—Manderley—which was occupied by a horrible housekeeper named Mrs. Danvers and endless memories of the first Mrs. De Winter for whom the book is named.

My mother, who later told me it was the first novel she’d read, didn’t know I was reading it alongside her, quickly surpassing her bookmarked page. I do remember getting in trouble for taking it to school, reading it surreptitiously under the desk while my fellow students were maddeningly and frustratingly stumbling over stories in our reading book about a staunchly Catholic family who owned a parakeet named Pretty Pete and who prayed together at bedtime. While I remember the vivid details of Du Maurier’s novel, except for Pretty Pete, I can’t remember a single thing about that boring family in the primers. That was just something I had to suffer through in school. After reading Jack London’s adventure stories, Call of the Wild and White Fang, in sixth grade, I knew I wanted an adventuresome life like the boys in London’s tales rather than the boring one I saw laid out before me of housework, cooking, and other drudgery foisted upon my sister and me but exempting my brothers.

Addressing a class in Patiala, India

I clung to my decision, my vision, through high school and college, through busted marriages and single parenthood, struggling to put words on paper that would bring me some reward, money or satisfaction, preferably both, and which would help me illuminate parts of the world that fascinated or outraged me.

This website provides ample evidence that perseverance and determination remain the twin secrets to success in any field. On this site, you will find short stories that have snagged the interest of editors who published them in literary magazines, or which have garnered some other kind of recognition or award. You’ll find newspaper and magazine stories that helped make the ends of my sometimes anemic budget wave at each other, if not exactly meet. Armed with determination and perseverance, anyone who never ceases learning the craft of writing and the art of storytelling and who wants to explore the human condition through words can find themselves on the path to the writing life. E.B. White said it better than I can: “All that I hope to say in books, all that I ever hope to say, is that I love the world.”

My love letter to the world is just beginning and far from being completed. Hope you enjoy the reads.