Category Archives: My Life

What To Do Before Your Book Launch: A Guidebook

What to expect when you’re expecting your book? What’s going to happen first, and second, and third?  Pre-launch of my debut novel,  the breadth of information I had to learn overwhelmed me—were there an eight-day week into which I could tap.

During the 2-24 months between signing a book contract and receiving those freshly pressed books, there is much to do and little guidance available.  In 2009, For the secrets of debuting, I turned to the underground, where surreptitious bands of debut novelists come together in the shadows to share the secrets they’ve learned from already published brethren.

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Another Storied Recipe: Mystery Novel Chocolate Pie Supreme

 About a million years ago I read (a now out of date) mystery, Gastronomic Murder, by Alexandra Roudybush (look for this book. I got a second-hand copy recently. Try the library. That’s where I got in back in the day. At that time, I couldn’t afford to buy books and the local Boston library was my savior.

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The Amazing Jewish Book Fair Ride

 Don’t forget; Jewish people read an enormous amount,” my lovely (and Jewish) literary agent said before my book launch. “We really love books.”

I nodded. Yes, I knew that—at least I knew it inasmuch as I was Jewish and I read—as did my mother, my sister, and my daughters, but could I raise that sample to the status of landslide? Discerning what was true in my culture was fraught with difficulty. I grew up with a slight case of anomie, surrounded by a cultural belief that all-things-Jewish=equals families-pushing-one-towards-great-achievement, while, among other family oddities, my grandmother taught me to shoplift.

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Woman vs Man Preparing for Book Launch & Events



Woman: weeks (months?) getting ready for book launch.
Buy new dress.
Return dress.
Decide to wear edgy jagged-hem blouse.
Realize anyone using word ‘blouse’ is too old for edgy.

Pick  black dress from among 12 similar black dresses in closet.
Try 12 similar schmattas (aka shrugs, cardigans, wraps) to cover upper arms.

Spends hour trying on necklaces to enhance neckline.

Remembers Bobbi Brown admonition to women of a certain age: Color near face for brightening!!!

Buys scarf of every color.


Looks for best arrangement of said scarves to
a) Hide neck wattle
b) Brighten!! (see above)
c) Prevent scarf-induced hot flash.

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Also posted in Book Tour, Cultural Politics, My Opinionated Self, promotion | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

How Jobs Taught Me What To Write

wordificator (2) Our writer’s code, written into our secret writer club rules, remind us that day jobs stand between us and a published novel. I understand. For years I thought if only and when and someday. And yes, working one, two, three jobs at a time took a big bite out of what would certainly have been my fast track to a Pulitzer. But slogging through, learning at, loving, and hating a number of jobs, that’s what formed and hold up my novels.

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Love me! Read me! Buy me! Writer’s Fear-Clenching Book Launch Thoughts

 

Book launch day shoots towards me like an asteroid.

Three weeks.

Not ready.

Almost-final drafts of essays surround me. Fear, sleeplessness, and worry consume me. I won’t get reviewed. I will get reviewed—but they will all hate me. I have nothing to wear to events. Okay, I do have stuff to wear, but nothing will fit, since I can’t stop eating.

Anyway, it doesn’t matter, since no one will come to my launch readings.

Okay. My husband will come. (That’s a law, right?)

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Not Our Shame

1-randy-susan-meyers-and-sister-jill-meyers-children

With every listen, the Trump sex assault tape sounds worse. Every syllable engenders feelings of being small and wretched and humiliated. I search for the genesis of these emotions, for the source of my desire to curl up into an invisible ball.

And the truths wash in:

The time my neighbor’s boyfriend covered my six-year-old crotch with his (fifty? sixty?) year-old fingers, inserting them through the fabric, while giving me a swim lesson in Coney Island. My shame, even now, floods back. My shame. My sister was with me. We were two little girls.

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Also posted in Cultural Politics, Domestic Violence, My Opinionated Self, Uncategorized | 8 Comments

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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Food and Loathing and Hamper Cookies

beach kids

Everyone hates a fat woman. Or is it that a fat woman thinks everyone hates her? Or does a fat woman simply hate herself?

As someone who’s measured her worth in dress sizes, waistbands, and, when in the midst of bravery, the hard-core truth of pounds, I’ve felt all of the above. We are a harsh country, filled with both self-loathing and a Calvinist push towards walking off, dieting away, running away from, and when all else fails, surgically sucking out unwanted fat.

Do men suffer as women do? I’m not sure. I don’t think so, not as much—not when fat men on screen are allowed to bed and wed women as lovely as Katherine Heigl. I think being fat is painful for men. I simply don’t think they’re as reviled; they need to climb far higher up the scale to merit as much hate as heavy women.

I recently re-read (even re-bought, when I couldn’t find my copy) Food and Loathing by Betsy Lerner. From far too young, Lerner’s existence rested on her body size—real and perceived. The book begins thusly:

“It is 1972. I am twelve years old. It is the first day of sixth grade, and I am standing in the girls’ gymnasium waiting to be weighed.”

 

If your flesh doesn’t crawl with those words, if you don’t want to either go running for a cream cheese smothered bagel, or conversely, vow to stop eating as of tomorrow, this book will still

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My Father Bought Me Pretty Shoes

dad 3

I dreaded Father’s Day as a child. Every year (during those far less aware days) we were asked to make a card for our father as a classroom project. My father died when I was nine, so from that day forward I made cards for my grandfather, embarrassed by my lack.

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Also posted in Family | Tagged | 30 Comments