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Showing posts from March, 2015

Adrienne Rich and I know you are reading this poem...

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Sunday Groove: Depeche Mode "Policy of Truth"

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Because shoulder pads never really go out of style...

Bloom where you're planted (Fresh ink and yahrtzeit for my mother)

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"I don't understand tattoos," Gary said yesterday. "I don't get what it is or why people feel the need to do it." Anyone who contemplates getting a tattoo should probably think that question through, in addition to contemplating the pain and money and huge risk that it could go awry.

The best explanation I could come up with: A tattoo is the karmic counterpart of a scar. A scar is (usually) an involuntary statement of the skin: "I was in this place and this thing happened, and I healed, but I am changed." A tattoo is elective, but it makes a similar statement. For whatever reason, the person feels the need to express: "I went to this place in life, and I am changed."

Even a stupid little Tweety Bird or ill-chosen tramp stamp is the branding of a moment, a scar left by rebellion. Not all scars are beautiful or worth the misadventure, but every one of them marks a lesson learned. Same is true for tattoos.

The topic came up because Jerush…

The Novel gets falsely reported dead more frequently than Willie Nelson

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Had to laugh this morning when I saw this Vox list of 30 times the novel has been declared dead, from 1902, when Jules Verne declared the novel had been replaced by newspapers, to 2014, when the death of the novel got its own Twitter.


Seems fishy to me that the novel sort of gelled into the form as we know it during the same era that literary criticism became a thing, and now, as literary criticism loses ground, critics are stepping up the novel death watch.

My humble opinion: it's literary criticism that's on the brink of extinction. The novel just has a severe case of gout brought on by a spavined publishing industry business model that just came into being within the past 75 to 100 years. Storytelling was around thousands of years before that, and it will be around as long as human beings cling to the planet.

To me, the most baffling thing about the "novel is dead" debate is how little is ever said about life support for authors.

#First50Words: The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton

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The stately opening lines of The Age of Innocence sweep us into a genteel world about to be rocked by scandal.

Celebrate outside-the-box fiction by authors who write beyond the boundaries. www.WomenWriteWomen.com

Betsy Talbot pops in to talk about world travel, wild ideas, and romance on a dare

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A few weeks ago, I paid a virtual visit to Spain to do a guestie with Betsy and Warren Talbot on Married With Luggage, and try I as we might to stay on topic, the conversation ended up ranging all over the map. As Gary closes in on retirement, we're planning our own expat adventures, so I came away from the podcast inspired by their lifestyle and hoping we can all share a bottle of wine next time we're in Spain. 

Meanwhile, I invited Betsy to pop over to BoxOcto and tell us about her fiction debut, Wild Rose, the first installment in her Late Bloomer series

Here's Betsy!

Have you ever wondered why most of the good love stories happen to women under 30? It’s not like we stop loving and living after that age. And we certainly don’t stop reading.

That’s why a writing a series about a group of friends in their forties who were still loving, adventuring, and traveling the world was so appealing to me. If you don’t like the way the world looks, you have to do something to chang…

What We Really Are: What's changed about the way people view indie publishing?

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Remember the "What they think we are/What we really are" meme trend back in 2011? Navigating the unmapped territory of self-publishing for the first time, flailing away at this new thing being called "platforming" (part of a whole new vocabulary that also included "meme" and "gamification"), I created this one for indie authors. I laughed out loud this morning when I saw it reposted on Facebook, partly because you never know where this sort of paper sailboat will end up, partly because it's been such a bullet train the past few years. It's good to stop once in a while and look out the window, surveying where we are and noting how far we've come.


What literary agents think we are
THEN: Agents were actively discouraging established authors from self-publishing and warning debut authors that it was the kiss of death, smacked of desperation, made you look like a loser.

NOW: There are a few luddites, but most agents have recognized that s…

#First50Words Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë (Desolation loves company...)

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Have you visited the Heights lately?

A few final words from Terry Pratchett you may #applyasneeded to writing and life

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"If it wasn't for the fun and money, I really don't know why I'd bother."

"The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it."

"For an author, the nice characters aren't much fun. What you want are the screwed up characters. You know, the characters that are constantly wondering if what they are doing is the right thing, characters that are not only screwed up but are self-tapping screws. They're doing it for themselves."

"The ideal death, I think, is what was the ideal Victorian death, you know, with your grandchildren around you, a bit of sobbing. And you say goodbye to your loved ones, making certain that one of them has been left behind to look after the shop."

"This isn't life in the fast lane, it's life in the oncoming traffic."

"The only superstition I have is that I must start a new book on the same day that I finish the l…

"...her pages scattered across our bed..." First 50 Words: Blue Mercy by Orna Ross

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Orna Ross's Blue Mercy brings intense family drama to Outside the Box: Women Writing Women, a digital box set of seven top drawer novels by bestselling and critically acclaimed authors.

"One nuclear bomb can ruin your whole day." First 50 Words: Rocket City by Cathryn Alpert

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Buy the book!

Gertrude Stein's answer to everything (#applyasneeded to writing and life)

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Georgette Heyer throws shade via FB header of the week from Women Writing Women

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Oh, snap. Feel free to steal this perfectly sized meme for your FB cover. Just click to expand and right click to save. And don't miss out on this amazing box set offer from Women Writing Women!

'Scuse me while I call BS on this article about Creative Writing MFA programs

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Several of my Facebook friends have recently shared Ryan Boudinot's recent article in The Stranger: "Things I can say about creative writing MFA programs now that I no longer teach one."

I understand why people praise him for his brave honesty, but if I'm to be equally candid, I gotta call BS on most of this, and I don't have time to post comments every time I see this thing, so here goes:

I’m not an MFA or MFA instructor; I’m a working author and ghostwriter whose resumé includes several NYT bestsellers, all the preferred critical kudos and thousands of hours as a book doctor and editor. I’m not rich or famous, but I’ve dedicated 20 years to the art of writing, and for most of that time, I've made an excellent living practicing the craft I love.

People like this guy do such a grave disservice to aspiring writers who invest thousands of dollars and years of their lives to learning the craft of writing.

First, Boudinot says: “The vast majority of my students …