Brief Thief – Perfect Picture Book Friday

Made it through Reading for Research Month (ReFoReMo), the picture book marathon of reading and studying various picture book attributes, so now it's time to recommend perhaps a book or two from my reading that were not on the prescribed reading list. While I was combing the stacks of the San Francisco Public Library's children's picture … Continue reading Brief Thief – Perfect Picture Book Friday

There’s No Story Like “Snow Story”

Folks, when I read Mike Allegra's (children's book writer extraordinaire) post this morning, I couldn't stop laughing.   Oh, yeah, Mike prefers laughing rats over laughing cats. Here you go, Mike: The answer to the often-repeated question "How do you know if you've got a character-driven book?" lies within his hilarious anecdote.  And for those of you … Continue reading There’s No Story Like “Snow Story”

Smacking Fiction with Poetry

One of the Christmas presents I bought for myself, asked the bookstore to wrap, and gave to my husband to put in my stocking was Jane Hirshfield's book of essays called Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry. I'd heard Hirshfield read years ago, perhaps in 2000, and knew a little of her work. It … Continue reading Smacking Fiction with Poetry

Message from My Igloo

So I'm sitting in front of the keyboard, shivering and needing to use the facilities, but just can't make myself go out into the cold to do it--meaning leave my office and face the world's distractions.Yes, folks. It's NaNoWriMo time. And I'm working on a novel that's been in the works for twenty years. But … Continue reading Message from My Igloo

Time Out – Squaw Valley Writers Workshop

I'm heading east on I-80 tomorrow, turning right at Rt. 89 and right again into Olympic Valley, otherwise known as Squaw Valley, site of the 1960 Winter Olympics. One solid week of writers and writing. Nirvana! I've been busy this past week, revising the story I'm taking for workshop (the one critiqued by the Dogpatch … Continue reading Time Out – Squaw Valley Writers Workshop

Virginia Woolf: Words Fail Me

Leave it to the BBC to store bits of Virginia Woolf's psyche for us mere mortals to sift through on a whim. The broadcast of Woolf's essay, "Craftsmanship," was first heard on April 20, 1937. Five years later, it was published in a book called "The Death of the Moth, and other essays," the year … Continue reading Virginia Woolf: Words Fail Me

What a Feelin’!

Just wanted to share a little somethin' that one of the "dogs in the patch" posted on DogPatch Writers Collective. It's a hoot! Thank you for the trip back in time and thoughts about character development. What a Feelin'!.

Carving and Writing, A Match Made By Esterly

I don’t know why I picked up this memoir, The Lost Carving, at my local bookstore (Christopher’s Books). Maybe I was attracted by the blonde wood shavings juxtaposed against the dark chocolate cover, or maybe it was the subtitle, A Journey to the Heart of Making, that seemed so promising. I do know that when … Continue reading Carving and Writing, A Match Made By Esterly

Dialogue Me, Baby

So I’ve got this group of characters hanging out together in the crowded living room of my novel, and they just can’t keep a reader awake. What might I be doing wrong? Am I using them to explain the story? Yes? Busted! The agent/editor accuses—amateur!—and throws the manuscript into the can. Or maybe my characters … Continue reading Dialogue Me, Baby

Washing Denis Johnson’s Feet

Tonight, I worship at the altar of Denis Johnson. Yes, I had read his short story, "Work," in The New Yorker a long time ago. I tepidly recalled that I had enjoyed it. But how could I have forgotten one of its most exquisite sentences? "Where are my women now, with their sweet wet words and ways, … Continue reading Washing Denis Johnson’s Feet