My New Year’s Resolution and Finding the Moments That Matter

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Before I wrote this post – an update on my New Year’s resolution – I reread my post from the first week of January. Honestly, I’m kind of impressed with my January self. Poised on the edge of a tumultuous year, I managed to find a moment of introspection that would prove all too rare in the months that followed. In six weeks my oldest child will go to college….

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How to Plan a Launch Party That Won’t Make You Craz(ier)

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

After I signed my book deal it didn’t take long before I started hearing about something called a “launch party.” Most of the authors I met seemed to agree that a book’s arrival in the marketplace warrants a shindig of some sort. Big or small, they said, a launch party is a great way to celebrate your achievement and promote your book at the same time. Being a fan of…

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The Music That Made THE LOST GIRLS

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Music is critical to my writing process. When I sat down to work on THE LOST GIRLS, I’d turn on Pandora and hit the playlist I’d — unoriginally — named “The Lost Girls.” Out flowed a brooding soundtrack of melancholy, loss, helpless faith, and forlorn love that shivered all along my nerve endings to my fingertips. (Doesn’t that just make you want to race out and preorder the book right…

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The Two Kinds of Story

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

John Gardner, the author of one of the greatest craft books of all time, THE ART OF FICTION, once said there are only two kinds of stories in the world: “a person goes on an adventure” or “a stranger comes to town.” I thought this was a gross generalization when I heard it quoted at a writer’s workshop, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized he…

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Feeding the Muse a Cookie

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

This week I’m confronted by a topic that doesn’t bear much relationship to what I write: food. Unlike Jennifer’s MODERN GIRLS, with its evocative descriptions of traditional shabbat meals, or the baked goods Louise’s protagonist makes that are so rich you can taste them if you lick the page, THE LOST GIRLS doesn’t feature food in its storytelling. At all. I agree it’s a powerful tool, but it’s one I…

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“Divine Sparks”: A Guest Post By Julie Christine Johnson + Giveaway of IN ANOTHER LIFE

Saturday, June 4, 2016

I started hearing early buzz about Julie Christine Johnson’s debut novel IN ANOTHER LIFE late last year, and my interest was instantly piqued. A time-bending historical murder mystery set in southern France, flavored with a soupçon of romance? I could not wait to read it, and wow, did it deliver. Historian Lia Carrer returns to southern France to mourn her husband and try to reclaim her life by finishing her…

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Hell, Yes, I Have Regrets

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

I confess: I’m jealous of Louise and Jenny, with their nonexistent and paltry lists of regrets. Because I do have regrets. Not so much on the real life side of the equation, where I share their look-forward-not-back attitude, but on the authorial side. And, being as how one of our missions here on the Ball is to offer guidance by reverse example, I am going to list them all right here…

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A Woman of Letters

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

When I was a young lawyer fresh out of law school, I was one of ten women in a class of forty incoming associates at a large law firm. On weekends, the male associates got invited for golf outings with the partners at their private clubs. Naturally, they were also assigned to the “best” partner mentors — the ones who represented the most lucrative clients and worked on the highest-profile…

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The Memory of Water

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

THE LOST GIRLS was born of water. Not just any water, but the very particular lake water of my childhood. I first saw the ocean as a teenager, and its grandeur made me so dizzy it knocked me off my feet. But the water of White Earth Lake – fecund and drawn close with mystery – was a part of my life before I could walk, and it always seemed…

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Interview With Tara Conklin + Giveaway of THE HOUSE GIRL

THE HOUSE GIRL by Tara Conklin
Saturday, May 14, 2016

I read Tara Conklin’s THE HOUSE GIRL at a pivotal moment in my own writing, when I was floundering with the structure I’d chosen. I had two protagonists, one living in the modern era and the other in the 1930s, and interweaving their stories in alternating chapters was giving me fits. Then THE HOUSE GIRL came out, and it was a revelation: the stories of two women living in different…

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