The Writer’s Education—MFA versus NYC

Monday, May 11, 2020

In a widely read essay entitled “MFA vs NYC,” bestselling novelist Chad Harbach (The Art of Fielding) argued that the American literary scene has split into two cultures: New York publishing versus university MFA programs. His book brings together established writers, MFA professors and students, and New York editors, publicists, and agents to talk about these overlapping worlds, and the ways writers make (or fail to make) a living within…

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Hidden Secrets in The Talking Drum

Monday, April 27, 2020

I’ve hidden a few secrets in The Talking Drum that close family members and friends will probably be able to identify. The character, Percy, a Vietnam veteran, owns a German shepherd named Bridgette. Percy is never seen without his dog and the two are regulars in the community. Coincidentally, or not so coincidentally, growing up we had a German shepherd in my household named Bridget. She was very protective of…

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My Favorite Independent Bookstore is a Booklover’s Paradise

Monday, April 20, 2020

I met up with Santa Claus in the fiction section of R J Julia Booksellers in Madison, Connecticut. This was a few years’ back, the weekend of Thanksgiving and I was on my way home to Massachusetts after visiting my parents in Bridgeport. My timing was perfect because Ol’ St. Nick was making his rounds to find out who among us bibliophiles had been naughty or nice. He regaled us…

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Lending authenticity to my novel, one succulent morsel at a time

Monday, March 30, 2020

One of the more appetizing parts of my research for The Talking Drum involved trying dishes I’d never heard of that were served at one of the toniest restaurants in the city of Boston. A few years into my writing process I knew that I wanted to create the character, Uncle Mustapha, a Senegalese restaurant owner. Uncle Mustapha operates one of the most popular restaurants in his neighborhood, Petite Africa,…

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In the face of the pandemic, bookstores find a way to keep the engine running

Monday, March 23, 2020

Ever since you were a child you knew you wanted to write a novel. But as the years went by, life and career kept you from pursuing your dream. Finally, in your 40s, you crafted your story, the one that had been stuck in your head for more than a decade. You spent years fine tuning it as best you could before submitting it for publication. However, after a while,…

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My Perfect Day

Monday, March 16, 2020

My perfect day wouldn’t be spent at my home. In fact, it wouldn’t be spent in my town, my state or my country. My perfect day would probably be spent on a tropical island in the Caribbean in a beautiful home with lots of views facing the ocean. I would share this home with other writers because the home would be part of a writers’ retreat. I would get up…

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My Favorite Types of Scenes to Write and Why

Monday, March 9, 2020

I have a love-hate relationship with scenes that establish setting of the story. I find these scenes the hardest to write, but also the most rewarding. When I write them well, my readers tell me that they feel as if they are there, perched somewhere in the scene itself, having a bird-eye view of the action. They can visualize the scene, experience it along with the characters. Setting is the…

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The World of The Talking Drum: Real Places Versus the Fantasy World

Monday, March 2, 2020

In The Talking Drum, one of my main characters, Omar Bassari, reminisces about the day in 1965 when his father, Ibrahim, sat him down in their Senegalese village and told him that The Festival of the Black Arts was coming to the capital city, Dakar. Kings, emperors, and presidents from all over the world would be coming to the festival. Ibrahim’s musical hero, composer, pianist, and orchestra leader Duke Ellington,…

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What My Writing Revealed About My Personality

Monday, February 24, 2020

I never realized that my personality influenced my writing until I had an agent take a look at an early version of The Talking Drum. The agent read it through several times and gave me an in-depth critique. One remark she made stands out from the others. She said that every time my characters came close to having a conflict I would have them retreat and resolve matters quietly. She…

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Interview with Leah Garriott, author of Promised

Saturday, February 22, 2020

I am so happy to welcome Leah Garriott to the Deb ball this week! Although she earned degrees in math and statistics, Leah Garriott lives for a good love story. She’s resided in Hawaii and Italy, walked the countryside of England, and owns every mainstream movie version of Pride and Prejudice. She’s currently living her own happily ever after in Utah with her husband and three kids. We’ll be giving…

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