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THe Best Things In Life Are Free

Just sayin’ (this year’s Forbes list)

James Patterson $90 million
Dan Brown $28 million
Nora Roberts $23 million
Danielle Steel $22 million
Janet Evanovich $20 million
Jeff Kinney $17 million
Veronica Roth $17 million
John Grisham $17 million
Stephen King $17 million
Suzanne Collins $16 million
JK Rowling $14 million
George R.R. Martin $12 million
David Baldacci $11 million
Rick Riordan $10 million
El James $10 million
Gillian Flynn $9 million
John Green $9 million

What is the point of this post? To make you feel bad. No, no. It’s just a vicarious thrill. I love lists in general and lists about richest people or most successful things in particular or worst dressed. Every Monday morning the first thing I look at in the newspaper are the highest grossing movies and at the end of the week the bestseller lists. I know there’s more to life, only what?











Shining Star for You To See


Took this off the web, not entirely sure it’s SHana.


PEN Emerging Voices Fellow Shanna Mahin’s OH! YOU PRETTY THINGS, a roman a clef about a young woman in L.A. whose efforts to escape the manic orbit of her former child-star mother land her in the employ of one of the hottest starlets in Hollywood, to Dutton, in a significant deal.

You know, every once in a great while I actually feel completely happy for someone else. When I read in Publisher’s Marketplace that Shanna sold her novel I felt like this was the best motherfucking news I had heard in a long time. How many drafts, revisions, xanax? How many therapy sessions, break ups, tantrums, reams of paper, forests felled? How much blood? How many tears? And what about lift off? Days when you get out of your way, where there is a direct line from your brain to the words. When it all finally starts to happen on the page. ANd someone says, yes, we would like to publish your book.  Our little girls is growing up. ! Give it up for Shana! Congrats girl!  Don’t forget the little people!

When You’re Alone and Life Is Making You Lonely

It’s been a while since I went to a book party, and I gotta tell you I was rusty. In the first place, I completely forgot to frisk the medicine cabinet. Then, I didn’t get my mitts around a glass of Cabernet for nearly a half hour. By then the party was in full swing and I was desperately searching the room for a friendly face. Another glass of wine and 36 baby carrots later (guess who’s back on Weight Watchers!?), I hit my stride, saw some old friends, chatted with some mucketies, thanked the host, hugged the guest of honor and headed home feeling only a vague sense of self loathing. All told: a good night.

I also ran into Walter Kirn and I’m saying this even though he’s NOT MY CLIENT: I love the guy’s writing. His new book is coming out next month and it sounds fantastic especially if you’re like me and imagine the person beside you is almost always a killer. And here is a home video which proves that highly intelligent people are not immune : http://walterkirn.blogspot.com/2014/02/video-killed-literary-star.html?spref=tw

Being writers and all, how do you do at parties? Honestly.

Someday We’ll Be Together

Generally I hate hearing that this blog helped people or, god forbid, that something I said inspired someone. Community shommunity. I’ve done everything I can to make you feel as shitty and insecure about yourself as I feel about myself. I’ve begged you to embrace writer’s block and stop seeing your therapists. But every now and then one of you breaks free and makes a god damn go of it. And so please my friends, give it up for Averil Dean. And by that I mean buy her book. Thank you, Averil. I can’t wait to read your book. I love the title and the jacket. Really cool. Congratulations from everyone here on the ward. As for the rest of y’all, I hope everyone completely alienates their families tomorrow by talking about their writing non-stop. Like the entire plot to your novel. Love, Betsy

So I TUrned Myself To Face Me

Dear Friends of this blog: Remember Sherry Stanfa-Stanley? She was one of the nutters who regularly showed up  here at the mental institution. Well, it looks like ECT may be in order. SSS is embarking on a project called THe 52/52 project wherein she attempts to defy life’s all around go fuck yourselfness and, um, break free? Break down? Break out? Get a book deal? C’mon, friend her. Or at least do an intervention. How can you not love SSS? I do. By the way, she wins an eating contest? BFD, I do that every day. (Is it me or does that hot dog look 3-D?)

My name is Sherry, and I am changing my life.

As I whimpered past the age of 50, I realized I’d spent the last 30 years doing the same ordinary things. Every. Single. Day. I know many people, especially my female friends, who are in a similar rut: those who spend more than their share of evenings folding clothes in front of the TV, daydreaming about the world out there while they contemplate having that second bowl of ice cream. So, in the last three months, I sold my house, bought a condo, and lost nearly 30 pounds (with more than a few to go). And then I started pondering how I might shake up my life in a number of smaller ways. Thus was born, The 52/52 Project

As I turn 52 this year, I am embarking on a list of 52 things I’ve never before done—experiences well outside my comfort zone. They range from taking belly-dancing classes (already begun and soon-to-be ended for humane reasons) to spending the night in a haunted house (I do believe in spooks, I do, I DO), to getting a Brazilian wax (just shoot me now). Join me in jumping the curb, taking a detour from the cul-de-sac to visit personally unexplored territories.

Follow along at: https://www.facebook.com/The52at52Project

Hey There, You With the Stars In Your Eyes

Hey Guys, remember when I said stay in touch with good news (though of course bad news and general carping always welcome at the Betsy Lerner Institute of Psychotherapy)? Well, our own Jessica Lahey has landed a major book deal (see below) based on a popular article in the Atlantic. Hot shit. Congrats Jessica, and thanks for not approaching me to agent you. What the hell does a girl have to do around here?

Pubs Have Feeding Frenzy Over Lahey’s ‘Gift’

After a three-day auction featuring 10 bidders, Jessica Lahey’s The Gift of Failure was acquired by Gail Winston at Harper. Winston bought world English rights to the book, based on an article Lahey wrote for the Atlantic, from agent Laurie Abkemeier at DeFiore and Company. Lahey is a middle school teacher and her story, “Why Parents Need to Let Their Kids Fail,” drew impassioned reactions online, after it ran in late January. The book, Abkemeier said, will be “a manifesto and action plan about why parents must learn to refrain from stepping in any time children experience disappointments… so that they may grow up to be successful, resilient, and self-reliant adults.”

It’s a Wonder That you Still Know HOw to Breathe

Today, a client described the feeling of waiting for his book to come out in the new year. “One minute I know nothing’s going to happen, it’s already over.  And the next minute I’m winning the Pulitzer.” I’m not going to say the truth is probably in the middle because more likely than not nothing will happen, another worthy book will slip beneath the waves, or as a writer once said of publishing a book, it’s like carrying a bucket of water to the sea.

We can talk about the terrible odds of getting recognition. We could also talk of the writer’s ego, the grandiosity and the insecurity, the hopelessness and magical thinking. Or we can talk about the opening night jitters, the complete and total lack of control over whether you will be reviewed at all, and if so what will be said, and then, of course, will it sell.

I ask my client what he’s working on. It’s a sleight of hand question to distract him from the oncoming traffic, but I also think that a new project is the hair of the dog and the only way to move on, move forward, to understand that this one book is just that: this one book. It does not a career make (unless you are Harper Lee). Or, like me, you can continue to shamelessly flog a ten year old book. I’ve seen embittered writers who swear off ever writing a book again, write again.

I don’t think it’s about the triumph of the human spirit. In fact, the desire to keep writing and publishing is more likely a triumph of human perversion. I want to know: does it ever get easier. Does a writer ever say, I’m good. Or, I’m happy. Or is that for other people?