"Biting Back takes a compelling look at self-care, setting boundaries, and protecting ourselves from friends, loved ones, enemies, and sometimes even ourselves. Written in a page-turning and warm style, Claudia’s refreshing addition to the self-help shelves offers empowering solutions to effectively remind us to stop inviting troubleinto our homes and souls." -- MELODY BEATTIE, NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF CODEPENDENT NO MORE


Surely My Nicest Interview Yet

I had the pure pleasure, a few weeks ago, of being  a guest on a show called, "Energy Stew." It's hosted by a really lovely man, Peter Roth, and airs every Thursday night at 8 p.m. (EST) on PRN, The Progressive Radio Network

If you listen to the interview, you'll understand why I loved talking with him so much:  Mr. Roth really read and really "got" my book, and was as kind and generous as I've ever known a person to be.

If you'd like to listen, just click HERE.


Note, too: To any interested readers, please let me say that I regret having to stop just as I was getting started on my review of the rules from Biting Back.  There has been an illness in the family (we'll be fine) that has kept me busy these past few weeks, but I'll be back soon to finish our coverage.




Revisiting The Basics: Rules For Vampire Slayers And How To Bite Back

I've been  feeling a need to get back to basics for some time now - to remember the principles that provide me with a foundation for living that works.   For me that means spending more time with my family and my work, and it definitely means spending more time in prayer and meditation.  

It also means reviewing the stuff I've gotten complacent about: the principles that I'm so smugly sure I know by heart and don't even really need to think about in terms of who I am today because I imagine "I've already done all that."

I was talking to a couple of friends the other night after a meeting, and one of them commented on how nice I looked.  I was already well into my answer to them about how it wasn't really me that looked good, but rather my clothes or makeup - when my friend Suzanne whispered leaned in close, and then whispered in my ear, "Just say 'thank you.'"

Well.  If you've read my book you know this is one of the big lessons I claim to have learned -- the one about the importance of saying "thank you" to life and all it offers us instead of pushing love and gifts like that away.  In fact, that would have been a golden opportunity for me to be able to say, "Hey, you don't have to tell me about saying, 'thank you' - I wrote the book on it!" except of course that I couldn't, what with having forgotten what I'd written and all. 

So what this all boils down to is that it's time for me to get back to all the stuff I think I already know so well, and to review it.  And this is  why I'm  going to spend the next couple of weeks going over the rules of practical vampire slaying, or "Biting Back,"(if you prefer) and taking a closer look at them...and I hope you will, too.

I'm going to list them in their entirety today, and then, starting tomorrow, I'm going to discuss each one in detail - one every other day - until we've gone through the whole list. 

A list of nine.  9 rules!  Now how did that happen? I mean: I couldn't have rounded it out to a nice clean 10?  Or the ever-popular 12?  A number with a little more zing to it perhaps?  One with just a tad more fame?

Well... all I can tell you is that it's too late now.  Nine rules is what there are and so, Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you:

The Rules

Rule #1:

A vampire can’t just walk into your house and start sucking your blood.
First, it has to be invited.

Rule #2:

A vampire does not need an invitation every time they cross the threshold.
One invitation grants a lifetime pass.

Rule #3:

Every host has the option to revoke an invitation they’ve extended to a vampire, but they have to know the rules if they want to do it right.

Rule #4:

Every host must claim responsibility for their invitation
before they can reclaim their power to revoke it.

Rule #5:

Our revocations must, above all, be clear...
and before we can be clear with our vampires, we have to be clear with ourselves, first.

Rule #6:

All vampires’ appetites are insatiable.

Rule #7:

Never look into a vampire’s eyes.

Rule #8:

A vampire cannot see its reflection a mirror.

Rule #9:

When it comes to hosts who never revoke their invitations:
They become vampires, too.

So we'll start with Rule #1 tomorrow, and then do the remaining rules -  one every other day.  I hope you'll join in if you have the time, the interest, and any questions or any arguments you'd like to present.  Or start.

With Gratitude
I Remain Yours Truly,

The Practical Vampire Slayer


Interview With A Vampire Slayer

This is a radio.
 I bet you don't even know this, but I had a radio interview about a month ago. 

It was on a show called "Dresser After Dark," and when my publicity person over at Llewellyn told me about it, I have to admit: the name of the show fascinated me.

This is him. 
 The show's host turned out to be an energetic and friendly man named Michael Ray Dresser, and he led me through the interview with kindness and skill. 

Thanks to my old pal Dan Berghaus, you can listen to my part in the show by clicking HERE.


If That's Not Nice, I Don't Know What Is

(In case that title doesn't ring a bell for you, it's a variation on something 
good old Vonnegut once suggested we do - described here, if you're interested.)

Two of the very nicest things that have ever happened to me in my life just happened this last September:  I'm talking about my book signings in Polson and Chicago because boy oh boy: nice is what they were!

That's my daughter Maddie (L)  with her pal Machaela Roberts
behind me.  Jackie Ladner (standing and talking with me)
saved my life later on when, during the presentation and well into the Q&A,
she noticed that I still hadn't mentioned the most important
aspect of the book (the vampire "invitation rule") and she posed a very
innocent-sounding question about its significance. Thank you, Jackie!!!!

First, in Polson:  Marilyn Maier, owner of Page by Page Books  put on one of the prettiest events I've ever seen in our great town, complete with champagne and sparkling cider, and held in her truly exquisite bookstore.
      Thanks to her ferocious publicity campaign and the kindness of all our friends, the signing drew a crowd of over 75 people.
     That's a LOT!

Many thanks to Marliyn, and many thanks to our excellent friends who came and made it all work.

To quote The Kinks:
"All of my friends were there...not just my friends,
but their best friends, too."


And then later that month in The Windy City...

My sister Julia sent this invitation out to a bunch of her friends and a few of mine who are still in that area, and then we all got together at the Union League Club for a warm and elegant early evening of perfect drinks and food (which I never got a chance to try until it was over since I never once stopped talking long enough to put it in my mouth) and really fun conversation and company.  Everyone was so kind and so interesting!
My mother Dorothy Nowicki, my brother Mike, niece Anne Nowicki and cousin Dot Spransy all came (I wish I had pictures to show you but those aren't in yet!)...and then, out of the blue (literally: he flew in)...my brother-in-law Bill Cunningham managed to bring my hair straight up to standing postion when we found him seated in the party room, waiting for us to arrive. 

It was all too excellent for words. 

Here are a few shots of the event - I apologize for the size: I can't figure out how to enlarge them without distorting them, and it really doesn't do the event justice. 

The sign says it's me
and that I'm going to
be there.

Entrees and Intros

Sister Julia, me, Brother Bill


As I say: it's one of the nicest things that have ever happened to me in my life - and one of the greatest memories I'm sure I'll ever have.

Thank you.


Extra! Extra! Read All About It: Llewellyn Journal Posts Cunningham Article On Our Love Affair With Vampires...Extra!

Okay, even I'm dying of corniness from the title of this post...but here's a link (below) to the article, if you're interested.  It's about why I think vampires are so popular these days.

That's right: more opinions.  Just what the world needs.  And what you were dying to hear.

Note: See if you can count the number of puns I managed to stick in there. I'm not even sure I know myself...they were unintended.


Our Undying Love for Vampires      (click on that title there -- to the left)

AND: In our next post I'll tell you about the signing, and show you some pictures, too! 


This Is It

So. Today's the day my wonderful local bookstore, Page by Page Books, is hosting a book signing for me and Biting Back.  This is the picture that Marilyn, the store's owner, took of the display that's sitting there as we speak.

The place is gorgeous.

The food is going to be lovely.

There's even going to be champagne.

I've got a new dress and scarf.

Earrings.  Bracelet.



I'm having trouble breathing, though, as I am not what you'd call "a relaxed public speaker."

In fact, I made it through high school speech class (twice) without ever giving a speech: that's the kind of scared I get.

I'm going to try it anyway: after all, I actually finished writing a book and it got published, which, next to getting sober, married, and having Madeline is the coolest thing that's ever happened to me. Also, my friends want to come and celebrate. And one last thing: I'm fifty-two years old now and sick and tired of being pushed around by my fears. If I start reading and have to exit and run screaming down the street, so be it. At least I'm going to try. Otherwise I'll someday have to say that I didn't even do that much.

Thanks everyone.

Now here goes.


It's Here...and There Now, Too

So... today's the release date for Biting Back... and I almost forgot mention it here on the blog.   Everyone who's read it and confessed as much to me has had something nice to say about it: so many love the title, lots love the writing, tons are crazy about the cover and layout, and simply everyone tells me, too, how they also love the feel of it. 

Llewellyn really did do an incredible job:  the book really is nice to hold, to look at, to touch - even to read!  I don't know what kind of paper that is they used, but it's delicious.  I discovered this morning on the Llewellyn website that they also have what is surely the coolest "look inside this book" gadget I've ever seen :  You can check it out here: biting back look inside this book gadget .

The book is available at Amazon and Llewellyn, of course - at Barnes and Noble and just about everywhere else, too, I think.  My new friend Marilyn at Page by Page Books will have it too:  she's hosting my launch and signing on September 17th, from 5-7 p.m, and it sounds like she's going to do a really lovely job.  I'll announce it again when I'm absolutely positive about the details.  I'm supposed to get up and read out loud to you guys.  Ahem.

We'll see about that!

Anyway:  while I've had such kind feedback on the book so far that I would blush to share it, there is one thing I've heard that I just have to tell you about:

I gave a copy of BB to my wonderful hairdresser (Jaye McDonald/owner of Bella Vita Salon in Polson) - and although she didn't have time to read it that first night after I gave it to her, her husband, Brian, did.  Brian called first my husband Robert and then later on, me, too - to say how much he enjoyed it.  But it was something he said to Jaye that just about killed me:  After reading it, she told me, he came into the room where she was resting and said, "Hey honey?  Am I ever a vampire to you?" 

Can you imagine?  Talk about great husbands!  And talk about great results I never in a million years anticipated! 

Which is one of the things I LOVE about books:  there's just no telling all the wonderful things that people might see in them, you know?  You can't even begin to guess.

Thanks, Readers.  Writers.  Publishers.  Libraries.  Bookstores.