The Tears That Helped Inspire My Debut Novel

Monday, September 9, 2019

I can point to many sources of inspiration for my novel, The Talking Drum, but one of the major sources of inspiration was an incident that occurred about 10 years ago at my church, Myrtle Baptist, in West Newton, Massachusetts, during a meeting of the history committee. We were making plans to create a commemorative book on the history of the church in celebration of its 135 years in existence….

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Year’s End

Friday, August 23, 2019

  In many ways my debut year was full of surprises. I received so many wonderful gifts that I hadn’t planned on—a blurb from one of the writers I most admire, positive reviews in outlets that still terrify me (can you say Kirkus, anyone?), pictures of my book purchased by friends old and new, near and far. I was truly surprised by how many friends not only bought the book…

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A Party for THE DREAM PEDDLER

Friday, August 16, 2019

  I considered not having a launch party for my book. I’m not a big fan of being the center of attention (which is funny, because when I was ten years old this was my favorite thing ever), and I didn’t want to hand sell books to close friends. I was excited for them to buy it—I just didn’t want to be the one selling it. But publishing a book…

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Work in Progress

Friday, August 9, 2019

    I used to have this weird typo tic where I never got the acronym for work-in-progress right. It always came out WOP. I’ve even tweeted about my wop and never noticed until it was too late. Maybe there was something Freudian about this little tic. Because “wop” always makes me think about a cartoon where some character is being repeatedly bludgeoned over the head. Not that my works…

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Bluebeard’s Drawer

Friday, July 26, 2019

    I have two manuscripts in the drawer. Although they’re not actually in a drawer, and I have no idea where they went. They are so old now that I know not if any current software could even read them, so I’ve pretty much abandoned the idea of ever looking at them again. This may be for the best. The first time I wrote a book, I sat down…

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Why Can’t I Name Characters Not After Famous People

Friday, July 19, 2019

  Let’s see, hilarious mistakes. There is no doubt in my mind that I made far more of these than I can remember right now. Actually, I can remember a lot of mistakes I made, and I even caught a lot of them myself before we went to copy edits (that woman missed NOTHING I tell you), but they’re not particularly funny. One of the things I had to be…

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Cutting Room Floor

Friday, July 12, 2019

    When I finally felt as though I had a reasonable draft of The Dream Peddler, the one I began sending out to agents, it came in at right around seventy-nine thousand words. This was a nice length for a debut literary book, as in, appropriate to the genre and not so long as to be scary. I had cut many things, because I tend to go on and…

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Just Write and Other Groups

Friday, June 14, 2019

    I’ve moved around a lot in the past decade, and I’ve had to cull my writing friends from a number of different sources. The first time I joined an actual writing group was when I moved to the outskirts of Philadelphia and found one through Meetup that was only a few minutes from my children’s school. In many ways, Just Write changed my life. I had started a…

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Her First Ball

Friday, June 7, 2019

        A debut year for any writer is exciting and joyful. And it can also be stressful, frightening, frustrating, and lonely. In my little corner of the world, it’s been hard for me to find other writers to connect with, although I’m lucky to have a small circle. Even if you live in a big city, though, with lots of different writers’ groups available, the odds of…

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A Writing Education

Friday, May 24, 2019

    I’m always interested in talking about formal education when it comes to the arts, because these are vocations for which anything goes—you can study painting at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris, or you can paint in a completely naïve, unschooled manner, learning everything by feel, and the validity of your art will not necessarily be affected. You will simply invite different kinds of judgement. I always go…

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