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Showing posts from December, 2011

The Royalettes "It's Gonna Take a Miracle"

The Joy of the Grind

Don't get me wrong. I love the holidays. I love the shopping and the wrapping, the cooking and the family time, and there's nothing like hanging with the kiddo watching A CHRISTMAS STORY or HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS for the hundredth time. But I've had a manuscript to revise, another to complete, and an Art Fact Sheet hanging over my head, and today was my appointed moment to get back to the grind. I have to admit that I love it. I love starting off my morning with a goal and a purpose. I love ticking off a completed item from my list (the Art Fact Sheet, used in the creation of the book's cover by the publisher's art department, has been put to bed), and most of all, I love getting down to brass tacks and creating. In other words, I love my work, which is a real gift and also a darned good thing, since like most writers, I'm rarely really "off." What I'm not enjoying is how far behind I've fallen in the past few weeks, which is why I&

Eddie Vedder and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan "The Long Road"

FREE today on #Kindle: Dwight Okita's deliciously quirky novel PROSPECT OF MY ARRIVAL

One of my favorite reads of 2011: Dwight Okita's strange and wonderful The Prospect of My Arrival is available free for a limited time on Kindle. I loved this book. The premise is genius, and the beautiful writing totally delivered the goods. I was intrigued when I saw the trailer. It sounded like "Benjamin Button" meets "What Dreams May Come"; could the author actually pull that off? You're in some very dicey territory, endowing the unborn with a persona. I suspect a lot of editors and agents would look at that and glaze over instantly. Not gonna touch that with a vaccinated cattle prod. This book is not a no-brainer. It's quirky and delicious. Like ice cream with bacon. But it's also profoundly uncomfortable in places. One moment two loving parents are tucking their child in under a magical lit up ferris wheel mural, the next moment something incredibly dark unfolds. (And here the editor who hoped for an easy trip to the acquisition committee cough

Buy This Book: Coping With Transition, Men, Motherhood, Money and Magic

Transitions. Everyone goes through them, but even when they lead to something wonderful like marriage to the one you love or the welcomed birth of a child, they can be unsettling. Coping With Transition, Men, Motherhood, Money and Magic , edited by Susan Briggs Wright, is a memorable collection of memoirs from women who were born between 1935 and 1960. It was a pivotal era for women, a time when transitions, especially difficult ones, were seldom discussed. Women’s lives, family life, life in general was supposed to resemble the images Norman Rockwell captured on the pretty and serene covers he did for the Saturday Evening Post . The reality was often far different. Messier. Confusing. Rules were numerous. Young women were cautioned to adhere to certain standards. “My father was strict about who I could go out with,” relates Suzanne Kerr in her memoir titled, Waiting For Marriage, Sex, and My Mother’s Life (In That Order) . Suzanne’s dad went on to tell her as she was leaving the nest

Merry Christmas!

Fear and Loathing meets Ironweed in THE LONG DRUNK: a hilarious heroic journey on the skids

I hardly know where to begin. The most off-putting first chapter you'll ever be hooked by? The most offensive protagonist you'll ever love? The most revolting cast of wretches you'll ever stand up and cheer for? I just finished reading THE LONG DRUNK , and I honestly don't know which of us is more appalling: Eric Coyote for writing this bodily-fluid-soaked misadventure or me for loving it. As a die hard Raymond Chandler fan, I was intrigued by the idea of an "ultra noir" novel about a homeless man in Venice, California who uses Chandler's books as a primer when necessity compels him to solve a mystery. Coyote very wisely opens with a poetically vivid glimpse of Venice's soft underbelly before plunging us into the unfiltered conversations and filthy hand to mouth existence of Murphy, the damaged anti-hero, and his fallen crew. If I hadn't had that preface - that initial assurance that, yes, this is an incredibly talented writer - I wouldn't hav

Taylor Mali "Conviction" #yesplease

LP "Into the Wild" (awesome song from Citi card rock-climbing gear commercial has been in my head)

A Girl You Should Date

Someone on facebook posted this link , and I had to pass it along. Ha, I think the girl described in this post beats the Proverbs 31 woman hands down! (Oh, the blasphemy of such a statement!) One of my favorite gems from the post: If you find a girl who reads, keep her close. When you find her up at 2 AM clutching a book to her chest and weeping, make her a cup of tea and hold her. You may lose her for a couple of hours but she will always come back to you. She’ll talk as if the characters in the book are real, because for a while, they always are. Have fun!

Got Amazon Prime? Read SUGARLAND free!

My sophomore novel, Sugarland , is out of the vault and available to read FREE to Amazon Prime members. If you don't have Amazon Prime, it's one of the best values on the web. I ship all my Christmas gifts from Amazon every year, and it easily earns out the $79 price tag. Now Prime members can borrow one book a month (no due dates) on Kindle, Kindle Fire or Kindle apps. Read a free sample and borrow or grab the ebook for just $2.99 through January 2012.

John Mellencamp "Cherry Bomb" (We were young and we were improving...)

Best Laid Plans

As a writer, I am by nature an organic writer--or a "pantser," if you will, meaning that I prefer to feel my was forward one page, one sentence at a time, with plenty of backtracking for course corrections. By practice, however, I'm forced to be more of a plotter, to organize my ideas for the book long before it's actually written. This allows me to work out kinks in the plot, avoid writing down 150-page blind allies, and sell books on proposal (since I'm an experienced novelist). It's a huge time-saver, allowing me to figure out which ideas have a shot at selling before I've invested the six months to a year it generally takes me to write a book. But sometimes, it flat-out doesn't work, and I find myself second-guessing all my well-laid plans, reinventing everything beyond the bare bones of the story, and panicking that my pantser-plotter hybrid--a Frankenstein's monster of an amalgamation--will never come to life. This is stressful enough und

Foxy Shazam "Oh Lord" (Your Creative Spirit Anthem du jour)

A disabled writer's book unfolds a tap at a time

I've been feeling seriously stressed and challenged lately. Reading this story of Peter Winkler, the biographer forced by disability to type out the biography of Dennis Hopper using a single chopstick, reminded me of just how precious our ability to communicate, to touch others through the written word, is. And of the lengths to which some courageous souls will go to achieve it. Read this and ask yourself, if Peter Winkler didn't give up, how can you? Do you want to achieve your dream this badly? If not, maybe you should move on to the next. A disabled writer's book unfolds a tap at a time

Get to work! (The Cure "Just Like Heaven")

Awesome flash mob "Deck the Halls" (Okay, now I'm in the holiday mood.)

Radiohead "Creep" (character in a nutshell)

Two terrific workshops happening at Beauty and the Book's Girlfriend Weekend

Perfect post-holiday excursion (and you know you'll earn it): Beauty and the Book literacy diva Kathy Patrick , founder/ goddess elect of the internationally known Pulpwood Queens book club, will host the 12th Anniversary Girlfriend Weekend January 12-15. In addition to the Author Extravaganza and Greatest Show on Earth activities, two terrific workshops are being offered: You're invited to Kathy's house Wednesday, January 11 for a first time memoir workshop with Robert Leleux, columnist for The Texas Observer and editor of LONNY Magazine in New York. Fee includes lunch and a signed copy of Leleux's latest book, The Living End: A Memoir of Forgiving and Forgetting . Stay an extra day for a voice workshop with film, television and radio voiceover artist Elaine Clark, author of There's Money Where Your Mouth Is: An Insider's Guide to a Career in Voice-Overs . For all the information, visit the Beauty and the Book website . Hope to see you there!