I Got the Best Writing Advice from My Mother

Monday, December 2, 2019

  When I look back at my elementary school years, some of my fondest memories were the days when the box arrived from the Weekly Reader Book Club. The teacher would open it in front of the class and distribute what we had ordered weeks before. It was like having Christmas and my birthday rolled together month after month. I’d bring my books home and binge on Nancy Drew mysteries—The…

Read More >>

Interview with “Byline Bible” Author Susan Shapiro

Saturday, November 30, 2019

  Not only is Susan Shapiro a great writing mentor to many (including me!) she’s the bestselling author/coauthor of 12 books her family hates including Five Men Who Broke My Heart, Lighting Up, Unhooked, The Bosnia List & the new inspiring writing guide The Byline Bible. She and her husband, a scriptwriter, live in Greenwich Village, where she teaches her popular “instant gratification takes too long” classes at The New School, NYU and in private…

Read More >>

So Much to Be Grateful For (And Yet…)

Friday, November 29, 2019

“You have a book coming out. Aren’t you excited!” “Excited” is not the word that I or anyone around me would use. A chicken running around without her head, is more like it. Others wouldn’t be so kind. But the run-up to a book can be very fraught. You have to get blurbs, those advanced praise quotes you see on the back of books and on websites like Amazon and…

Read More >>

New writers: It’s okay to start somewhere.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

At the beginning, it’s perfectly okay to have no idea what you’re doing. It’s okay to spend hours at a bookstore, running your fingers over the spines of new releases and dreaming. It’s okay to imagine your book sitting on a shelf there, even if you’re years away from your first query letter. This is how you learn what sells. It’s okay to write fanfic until five in the morning,…

Read More >>

My Book Pitch Letter

Friday, November 15, 2019

We can discuss pitching and pitch letters till the sky turns green, but what would probably be more helpful is if I show you my book pitch. Unlike fiction and possibly memoir (the debate is out there on memoir) non-fiction, which needs a lot of research to complete the book, is sold on proposal. (I’ll talk proposals another time). But you still need a pitch letter. So here’s mine. Dear…

Read More >>

How to Deal with Distractio– Wait is that a Text?

Saturday, November 9, 2019

Hey, let me tell you what I’m trying to do at this very moment: prep for my author marketing meeting, watch videos for learning how to write a TV treatment, upload all the business cards of people I met at a professional conference this weekend, write an article about a conference I attended two weeks ago, photoshop my author photos, upload guest author interviews and write this piece. Oh, and…

Read More >>

What is Scarier than Empty Space?

Friday, November 1, 2019

Well, I’m glad Halloween is over. Now it’s time for more prosaic fears. Myself. Yup, it’s that time of year again, when my book edits were submitted (“This is the last time you can make substantive changes,” GULP) and I am in that twiddling thumb space. I’ve been in this space before — the first time I handed in my draft in June — but after that I collapsed. I…

Read More >>

Fight or flight, fear and failure

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Do you want to know my number one writing fear? Writing this blog entry. Ha, ha. I’m mostly kidding. I have panic disorder, so “confronting my fears” is something I do with a lot of preparation and self-care. However, I feel like I might share my number one writing fear with pretty much every debut author who ever waltzed on to the scene, so I don’t feel alone in this….

Read More >>

Funny Thing About Working with an Editor

Friday, October 25, 2019

Maybe you don’t know this about me yet, but I’m a big procrastinator. I mean BIG. So when I ship my book/story/article off to an editor, I’m like whew. I’m not fretting about what they’ll say, worrying if it’s good enough, or how to make it better, I’m just done.  Like, it’s not my problem anymore. (It is though, but not at that very moment.) I felt the same way…

Read More >>

My Desert-Island Top 5 Books (That Influenced Me)

Friday, October 18, 2019

To paraphrase Nick Hornby, My desert-island, top-five most memorable books in chronological order: 1. Escape to Witch Mountain Tony and Tia were different. (Didn’t we all feel that way as kids?) They could both read minds and had telekenisis – they could move objects with their minds. That was a talent I tried to practice as I suffered silently at the dinner table. Instead of paying attention to what was…

Read More >>