I wrote a book called THE FOREST FOR THE TREES. It's an advice book for writers, though it's more about what makes writers tick. For four years, I blogged every day about the agony of writing and publishing, and the self loathing that afflicts most writers. A community of like-minded malcontents gathered and thus ensued a grand conversation. I post less frequently now, but hopefully with as much vitriol. Please join in!

    Gluttons for punishment can scroll through the archives. If I’ve learned one thing about writers, it’s this: we really are all alone. Thanks for reading. Love, Betsy

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Every Little Breeze Seems to Whisper Louise


Guys, guys!!! Look who has a book coming out. One of our very own peeps, Rea Tarvydas. CONGRATULATIONS. Such a cool title: How to Pick up a Maid in Statue Square. Buy a copy HERE. Here’s a little interview I did with Rea. Please spread the work, share with your FB friends, tweet and all that meat.

  1. What did it feel like to hold a finished book in your hands?

It was surreal. I mean, I knew it was my book because it had my name on it but it was a different emotional experience than I expected. Vulnerable. A shiny, black book exposing what troubles me: the dark, the lonely, the isolated.

  1. How did you come up with the title?

Actually, my press came up with the title. It’s the title of one of the stories in the book, in which Fast Eddy instructs on how best to pick up Filipina maids on their rest day. I’m SO BAD at titles. I mean, it took me two years to come up with a working title (The Globe) and it’s adequate because it’s the name of the bar that my characters frequent.I like the title. I think long titles are trending.


  1. If one famous person could read your book, who and why?

John Cusack. I pictured John Cusack playing the character of Fast Eddy from the collection. I sent a copy of the book to his production company. Why not?

  1. Which is your least favourite part of the process?

House style.

(what the fuck does this mean? Is it like Gangnam style?

  1. Why do you write?  Two reasons. I write because I’m trying to figure something out and I’ve discovered I don’t know anything. I mean, I attempt to understand but I have no fucking idea what’s going on.

I write because I want to be called by name. I think this is tied to my upbringing as the “Sergeant’s Daughter”. My Dad was in the RCMP and we moved every three years throughout my childhood. When you move that frequently you’re referred to as the “New Girl” and then the “Sergeant’s Daughter”. Followed by “Narc” and “Sarge”. I ended up in the nursing profession and was referred to as “Nurse”. If I didn’t show up for work, another nameless person took my place.




Everything Looks Worse in Black and White



140929_tv_tambor-crop-promo-mediumlargePeople are just as likely to ask what you’re watching on TV as what you’re reading. TV is exploding and binge watching is the only acceptable thing to binge on. I actually watch some programs on my phone under the covers, the way I used to read as a kid. My favorites are Luther, THe Killing, Happy Valley, and Transparent.

What are yours?

Lay Down Your Money and You Play Your Part



Let’s talk about the impostor complex. Who me? You talking to me? Thinking that your work sucks is baby stuff. I’m talking deep, ingrained, institutional self disgust. I’m talking about a baggie and a twisty. A-list celebrities going down on you. On page 1: Bruce Springsteen sprinkles gold tarnished fraud. I wish I could be Bruce Springsteen for five holy minutes. The better I feel the worse I feel. I hear that senators and kings suffer. Bradley Cooper. The twins. You say we’re all impostors. You say everyone thinks about it. Ashton Kutcher. This is what you say when you leave the office meeting dinner elevator:

When do you feel like an impostor?


Now Come and Join the Living, It’s Not So Far From You


berkshire-4415-sheer-ct-pantyhoseOver the weekend, I had a book event/fund raiser in Westport, CT. A bridge club invited me to read, followed by a luncheon, and two hours of duplicate bridge. First of all: this is my life. Is this my life? Who am I? Did I write a book about five Jewish octogenarians and learn to play bridge? Do I go to readings with my mother and kibbitz on the way there and back. And actually want to spend this time with her. And feel all this incredible connection with people about the book. Me? At one point, while signing books, someone yanked my dress (yes, I wore a dress!) and I discovered that the back of my dress was tucked up into the waist of my pantyhose and everyone could see my control tops and my ample arse.

What was your finest hour?

I Just Called To Say I Love You


529143cf5443a17d3dba87430cf3710fWhen did this become a thing: a person emails you and tells you to call him. Please don’t ask me to call you. Please let’s not make a phone date. Just pick up the phone and call. If I’m not there, leave a message and I’ll call back. Isn’t that how we used to do it? I always thought that was a pretty good system. What’s the point of using email to make a phone date. It’s an extra step and it puts the onus on the wrong party.

Am I right?



I Will Always Love You


I’ve been editing a manuscript for the last week and I am reminded how much I love it. When the book is meh, it’s kind of thankless. But when you’re working on a book that is beautifully written, surprising, risk-taking, and emotionally powerful it’s like having a thrilling conversation. It’s like sparring with someone you respect, fear and love. You prod the writer with questions that hopefully compel him to respond in a way that makes the book even more fully realized, or change up transitions to keep it moving, or cut scenes that don’t advance the story. I love suggesting one word for another if it strikes me to have more clarity or accuracy.

Are you a good editor?

The Love You Save May Be Your Own



I used to go to an optometrist who caught six home-run balls over the years. I asked him his secret. Well, first, he played baseball in high school and college and throughout his adult life. He said when a home-run ball is hit, people in the stands start jumping around trying to catch it. He planted his feet and snagged the ball out of the air.

I could be out of my mind, but it seemed like an apt metaphor for writing. You’ve got to do it for many years (it just doesn’t “happen”) and you’ve got to settle.

Do you have a metaphor for writing?