Sunday, October 30, 2011

TSS: Frightening Book Cover Edition

Is there anything scarier than a three-handed femme fatale? (Can you find the three hands in this book cover photo?)

I don't know. I attended a Halloween party last night and the costumes were incredibly inventive. They included Betty Draper. A gold-digger. Two pirates. A wizard. A Wall Street protester. night stand.

Hope you've had a terrific week. I finally finished Charles Frazier's NIGHTWOODS and simply loved it, especially as the tension and drama ramps up at the conclusion.

I also finished a terrific middle-grade book titled CALL ME HOPE by Gretchen Olson. It features a young girl's introduction to The Diary of Anne Frank and the impression the lessons of that story impart on her as she struggles with a challenging home life.

And in writing news, I'm feverishly working on the edits to my own book for my editor. It is pure joy to write THAT sentence!

What new books have captured your attention this week?


Posts from this week: The Writer's Clock

Friday, October 28, 2011

This Writer's Life: The Writer's Clock

This has been a busy two-weeks. I received my edits from my wonderful editor last Monday. All that work and revision has taken a significant lease on my writer brain. (It's not unlike this picture of the Writer's Clock.) The consequences of this lease include:

 - Zero Halloween decorations around the house and yard.
- I'm overdue for a haircut
- Daily dinners are becoming more of "freezer surprise"
- I've developed a fondness for Starbucks Via coffee
- I've been reading the SAME book for two weeks. (Not a reflection of the book's worthiness!)

As I told one friend, the pattern of my days is best described as EAT, PRAY, WRITE!

But the fruits of my labor are starting to take shape within the novel. That's one of the great things about working with an editor who has great insights and fresh eyes. And, one of my best writer friends advised me to read through the larger edits and let my subconscious start work on them for a week while I attended to the smaller line edits. That advice has proved golden. Huzzah to supportive writer friends!! And to family who is enduring my lack of Halloween-ness and frozen dinners.

Speaking of family, my six-year-old came up with a new word the other day. Attackal - to attack and tackle at once. So, now I'm going to go attackal my edits.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Worth Reading: On Writing and Avoiding Doubt

"Save doubt for later... I have to divide my brain into two parts - one that makes art and one that judges art. They cannot coexist. When I have doubt about what I’m doing, I shut the doubt down. I tell myself that this is not the time to judge."
Read more from author Ann Patchett in this wonderful article.

Also, you might want to check out Patchett's memoir The Getaway Car: A Practical Memoir About Writing and Life.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: True Grit

My great uncle, Warren Chase, at the helm of his company's moving truck,
circa 1930s.

A dream doesn't become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination and hard work.
Colin Powell

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Sunday Salon

Thanks a lot National Book Awards. As if I didn't ALREADY have a bunch of books in my TBR pile. So many great titles in the fiction and young people's fiction category. Read the complete list here.

2011 National Book Award Fiction Finalists
Andrew Krivak, The Sojourn
(Bellevue Literary Press)
Téa ObrehtThe Tiger's Wife
(Random House)
Julie OtsukaThe Buddha in the Attic
(Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House)
Edith PearlmanBinocular Vision
(Lookout Books, an imprint of the Department of Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina Wilmington)
Jesmyn WardSalvage the Bones
(Bloomsbury USA)

2011 National Book Award Young People's Literature Finalists
Franny BillingsleyChime
(Dial Books, an imprint of Penguin Group USA, Inc. )
Debby Dahl EdwardsonMy Name Is Not Easy
(Marshall Cavendish)
Thanhha LaiInside Out and Back Again
(Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers)
Albert MarrinFlesh and Blood So Cheap: The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy
(Alfred A. Knopf, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books)
Lauren MyracleShine
(Amulet Books, an imprint of ABRAMS)
Gary D. SchmidtOkay for Now

Aside from gathering ideas for new reads this week, I also acquired a ticket to hear Stephen King speak in Dallas next month!! He's going to talk about his upcoming release 11/22/63.

I am so excited about this that I just can't stand it. Isn't this the literary equivalent of going to see The Beatles?

Lastly, did you see this literary movie news?

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A picture has how many words?

My Dad as a child with his grandfather, 1937.
There is so much to love about this picture. The grandfather. The child. The dog. The manner of dress. The shadows across the lawn. The kind of day this must have been.

When I think about writing a single scene, I try and remember how much rich detail is found in a single photograph. Then, the words come rapidly. All the senses are ignited. The word pictures form.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Go Along For The Ride

This must have been a fun day.

My great uncle carting around two cousins - Truro, MA.

In the process of writing, it can feel as if you are being dragged through a field in a wooden box. You don't know exactly where you are going. It's bumpy. But if you're willing to go along for the ride, it can be great fun.

Friday, October 7, 2011

New Reads

This is how I feel about new books arriving in my mailbox today.

Much anticipated new reads I can't wait to hug include:

The Cat's Table by Michael Ondaatje
Nightwoods by Charles Frazier
The Taste of Salt by Martha Southgate

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Blessing of the fleet

My dad and grandfather at the blessing of the fleet. Massachusetts, circa 1950s.

Never a ship sails out of the bay
But carries my heart as a stowaway.
~Roselle Mercier Montgomery, The Stowaway

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Where I'm from

Future writer in Sears polyester pantsuit

I am from being the second daughter of a second daughter.

I am from a yellow brick house with a red front door; from a yard that grew cantaloupe and tap water that tasted like dirt at summer’s end.

I am from hand-me-downs and hand-sewn stuffed animals and kitchen haircuts and mortal embarrassment and wistful nostalgia.

I am from rock and roll while house-cleaning and silence while writing.

I am from the computer keyboard is my piano and though sometimes it sings, sometimes needs tuning, I commit to make daily music anyway.

I am from Kerouac and Hemingway and Carver and Faulkner and the college writing professor who caught me in the hallway after making an example out of my bad writing and said, “I’m not telling you to stop writing. I knew you could take it. Keep going.”

I am from ten years later bringing my first published novel and a grin that wouldn’t quit to that professor.

I am from making my house smell like autumn using the trick my mother taught me: pressing cloves into oranges until your fingers almost bleed.

I am from believing my dog is fur covered affirmation.

I am from a closet that belongs to a woman with a different life, where tailored business suits have given way to jeans and a faded Mickey Mouse t-shirt.

I am from pick up your socks, put away your backpack, stop annoying your sister, is it time for Chardonnay yet?

I am from contradictions and gentle critics and second chances.

I am from using my passport, but loving my own bed.

I am from the School of Mistakes is the best teacher and hanging that degree on my wall.

I am from by the grace of God, there go I.

I am from discipline and creativity and collecting every word inside a drugstore notebook.

I am from visiting Hotel Rejection and leaving the next day in a fast car with the sunroof open.

I am from having the windows open as much as possible and getting easily distracted by that squirrel on the fence.

I am from encouraging high drama and conflict on the page, but peace in real life.

I am from sitting in the elementary school car-line and watching hope in a backpack and pink socks sprint from the school door.

I am from searching twenty minutes for my favorite pen.

I am from being the mother of one girl who wants to believe in Santa Claus, but requests proof - and another who doodles on her notebook: Wonder + Believe = Magic and how does she know this already?

I am from faith, hope and love, but the greatest of these is love.


The inspiration for this post came from this poem:

Where are you from?