• Bridge Ladies

    Bridge Ladies When I set out to learn about my mother's bridge club, the Jewish octogenarians behind the matching outfits and accessories, I never expected to fall in love with them. This is the story of the ladies, their game, their gen, and the ragged path that led me back to my mother.
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First I Was Afraid I Was Petrified

Image result for heroin needles

I spoke tonight at a writer’s conference. I hate breaking hearts and you can’t talk about trying to get published without invoking hardship and pain. How do you find an agent? How do you write a query letter? Do you need a social media presence? Everyone says they love my book, but no one wants to take it. It’s like one of those climbing walls where you get so far and then fall with no one to catch you. I try to be honest and entertaining, but I saw at least three people nodding out. I told myself that they had been in workshops all day or were shooting heroin.

What would you like to ask me. I’ll try to answer.

25 Responses

  1. I would be interested in learning about finding an agent.

    • Best resource is PublishersMarketplace.com where you can search genres and see what book have sold and by what agents. There’s lots on line with agent’s names — then search their agency website to see who they represent and submission requirements

  2. how do you know when you’ve found “it” in an ms? what is “it”? maybe an example from one of your clients that helps illustrate? #justasking


    • Look at Bettyville by George Hodgman. For me it’s all about voice. “It” is when you have the feeling that HAVE to tell people about the manuscript. It’s visceral. Taste is entirely subjective so what’s IT for me isn’t necessarily IT for someone else.

  3. How does one get over self?

  4. are you writing more poetry, aside from this blog?
    Are you doing okay without your mom?
    Do you feel like you ended up getting what you wanted/needed from her (as a daughter) before she died?
    Do you have any regrets from writing the memoir?
    I recommended it to 3 people and gave my copy to my sister-in-law.
    I always love seeing your name in my inbox—i know i’m going to read something worthwhile.
    Thank you.

  5. Does talent ebb?
    I’m the opposite of young, scrappy and hungry, so what does that make me?
    Where’s my fire? Where’s my angst?
    My manuscript haunts me.
    Am I too old for this?

    • No. We want to hear not just from the young and scrappy.

    • IDK. I find I’m hungrier, more ambitious, angrier, etc. It sounds like low grade depression. Get some help, some meds, and back on the horse even if she is a little slower.

      • Thank you but not at all depressed. More like inured. Wisdom and experience have brought me an uncomfortable calm. I want to burn again.

  6. No questions. Carry on.

  7. No questions today. You’ve answered them all over the years.
    Just some thanks for keeping this blog alive. None if us are nodding off. True, you are not Pollyanna, but you do spread seeds of hope in a fickle & challenging industry.

  8. How do you know when it’s time to send The Fucker out (again)? I know there is no generic answer to this question.

    • You’ve workshopped it or gotten some high level reads from sophisticated readers. You have a great title. You’ve cut 20,000 words from it. It grabs you from the first sentence. It’s has an ending. If you’ve been writing it over a long period of time, you make sure all the writing is on par with your best (presumably more recent) writing. You’ve killed your darlings. On some level you don’t give a fuck. No one is going to tell you your worth. No one can take writing away from you. They may not publish your novel but no one puts baby in the corner. Do you feel me?

  9. Did you ever straighten your hair, wear high heels and a push up bra? If you did, did you like you? If you never did, did you want to? If you’d rather die then play dress up does that mean you like you?

  10. What startles and delights you? From a manuscript, of course.

  11. How do you overcome the paralyzing fear of self-promotion?

  12. What a brave invitation! When I read it at 3 am today (don’t ask), I knew I wanted to ask you with a pathetic bit of grade school trepidation, “So, was it my query or the project itself that didn’t appeal?” I knew getting a positive answer would be like winning the lottery, but I was feeling lucky that day. I’m still plugging away, but could’ve used a lesson or two along the path. And besides, I know a bar in San Francisco that still serves a free drink for every rejection letter.

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