Writer Wars, Hierarchy & Can We Get Over Ourselves?

I’ve been mid-book since my addiction began at age four and I pray to have a TBR stack until the moment I die. On that heap I want it all: pounding plots, the wow of discovery, the comfort of recognition, and astounding characters. If I’m lucky, some will have all of the above. Whichever book I’m holding, I don’t want to be judged or lauded for it and I don’t want to shelve my books by race, class, or gender.

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chicken with pearls
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Art from Books — Books to Art

Skeletons on the book


Books are a many splendored thing. If I could, I’d decorate my home with framed book covers (perhaps I will convince my husband . . . ) Already my home is decorated with books of every type—soothing me each way I turn. Now, I see books being made into art and these creations remind me of Kintsugi, described this way “a Japanese method for repairing broken ceramics with a special lacquer mixed with gold, silver, or platinum. The philosophy behind the technique is to recognize the history of the object and to visibly incorporate the repair into the new piece instead of disguising it. The process usually results in something more beautiful than the original,” on Colossal.

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Skeletons on the book
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Widow of Wall Street final jpeg

The Widow of Wall Street: A novel about the seemingly blind love of a wife for her husband as he conquers Wall Street, and her extraordinary, perhaps foolish, loyalty during his precipitous fall.

Phoebe sees the fire in Jake Pierce’s belly from the moment they meet as teenagers. As he creates a financial dynasty, she trusts him without hesitation—unaware his hunger for success hides a dark talent for deception.

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How Long Does it Take to Get Published?

Recently, a thread in an online writer’s community popped up, beginning with someone (who hadn’t begun querying) asking why folks sent query letters to so many agents.

Did they have that many “dream agents?

Why not send to just one or two top choices?

And, really, how long does it take?

Answers flew in—achingly honest and reminiscent of everyone’s distant and not-at-all-distant (often painful) publishing journeys.  I thought back to how long it took me.

The answer? You got some time?

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Balancing Shrill, Skill and Shill


“It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.” – Abraham Lincoln

Selling–the worst part of writing. Writing a book takes a certain set of skills: intense concentration, imagination, the ability to read the same 400 pages time after time, and the fortitude to take criticism (excuse me, ahem, critique) without weeping.  You must learn to shut out all noise at a given moment and you must love solitude.

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Worshipping at the Library Alter


“The library was a little old shabby place. Francie thought it was beautiful. The feeling she had about it was as good as the feeling she had about church.” A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith.

Some books etch themselves on your soul. I don’t remember how old I was when I first read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. Perhaps eleven? (Francie’s age when the book begins.) How many times did I read it after that? Ten? Twenty? Enough so that every scene, every character indelibly marked me.

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Before there was the movie, and the other movie, there was, The Book.

I liked the first movie.

I loved the second movie. Denzel Washington. John Travolta. Luis Guzman. What’s not to like?

But the book, ah, I loved the book.

“Steever stood on the southbound local platform of the Lexington Avenue line at Fifty-ninth Street and chewed his gum with a gentle motion of his heavy jaws, like a soft-mouthed retriever schooled to hold game firmly but without bruising it.”

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Rescuing Children With Happiness, Once Again


Being invisible is pretty hard for a kid. Crummy childhoods take many forms and usually it’s an amalgam of yuck. Smacks and screams thankfully have a time limit, but neglect is the evil gift that never stops.

Even the most benign neglect—like being a latchkey kid—can foster loneliness.

When trouble fills a family, kids are pushed to the background. I lived in a land of my own imagining, where I believed my real parents, President Kennedy and Jackie, had left me to fend for myself, testing a ‘cream will rise to the top’ theory. Meanwhile my beleaguered sister, by nine, was trying her sullen best to cook me supper.

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The Push and Pull of Mothers and Daughters


2 Mom in GownI never met a book by Ruth Reichl I haven’t loved, and my adoration continued with this book. Where others were hearty meals, Not Becoming My Mother (retitled for the paperback as For You Mom, Finally) was a deceptively simple snack. (I’m certain that Ms. Reichl, editor of Gourmet Magazine, would find a more elegant food analogy, but I, alas, am but a quick and dirty cook, though one who loves reading the work of educated ones—like Ruth Reichl)

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mom in gown
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Give Mom Some Schadenfreude for Mother’s Day!

Two years ago ago, at an event at the incredibly wonderful Reading Public Library (in Reading Massachusetts) one of the librarians bought my second novel book, The Comfort of Liesfor her mother. For Mother’s Day. Using a large amount of not-usually-available-to-me control, I didn’t say any of the following:

“Nothing says Happy Mother’s Day like a cheating, anger, and hating-being-a-mother book!”

In fact, that’s true. Who the heck wants to get Little Women on Mother’s Day? Not me. Does anyone want  to psychically compete with Marmee?

No. I. Don’t.
I want to be feted with a pile of books that say:

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