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March 24, 2017

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May 2, 2019

My dad loved to read the obituaries. He used to sit in his broad wing-back chair with a gin and tonic at his elbow and peruse them like some fathers would peruse the sports page. This always disconcerted me. Stories of death are disconcerting. We only want to know what someone died of so we know what to avoid. And his reading all those stories of death was depressing. 

When I told him maybe he should try a nice human interest piece from the Bay Area section, he said: I’m already reading the most interesting h...

May 18, 2018

I gave up on my first book.

And not like I gave up for a few minutes or for a couple days. Not like when a Twitter friend gets a book deal and you despair and hustle through a Whole Foods Chocolove after which you wipe away the smeary corners of your mouth and say: it’s OK, my time will come.

It was not like that.

It was like this: I wrote a book about twin sisters who take separate paths in dealing with their parents’ lies about their sexual identities. It took me about a year to get a first draft, another thre...

March 24, 2017

The first rule of Sub Club:

Don't Talk About Sub Club.

No, authors don't talk about being on submission. No one does. OK, I'm doing it right now, but it's an act of bravery/ desperation and will likely throw me into a tailspin of self-loathing akin to the time I ate an entire box of Little Debbie Peanut Butter-Chocolate Wafer Bars (a total of 12) and didn't even have the sense to throw up afterwards. It really is that bad. I mean, it's actually a perfect analogy because you think it's going to be so good, but...

March 24, 2017

So, I have some pretty famous writers friends. Like almost everything, I wasn't born with them. We started out unpublished, friends through writing groups or MFA programs or through our kids, and then, slowly, we started to get book deals. First you're writing alone and working alone, and you feel so alone. And then slowly, over time, there are these other people you collect who write too and you become friends and you share manuscripts. And then lo and behold--some of them become published.

Of the...

June 17, 2016

If you're a children's book writer and you're serious about your craft, you've probably been to SCBWI conferences where there are Q&As, panels, or talks about The Perfect Query Letter. And yes: you should have a good query and if you need information on that you can find it on The Knight Agency website or you can just google Awesome Query and you'll find millions of pieces of advice. But it's not all about the query.

It's about persistence.

I felt like giving up sooooooo many times. If it weren’t for...

June 11, 2016

Querying is incredibly daunting, and I hope I never have to do it again. Fore real. It's the worst. But the Year of Querying made my manuscript SO MUCH BETTER. What's amazing about the process is that there are people out there who you can send your manuscript to, and yes--some will just write "no thanks" back, but many of them will tell you what they liked or didn't like (equally important information). And that's amazing. 

When you're in the query trenches, there are many ups and downs, but mostly-...

June 10, 2016

I've heard many male authors say that they write like a job. Nine-to-five. Or, eight hours a day. I find that amazing--that they can do such a thing. It isn't that I don't want to, I'd love to. But I have a job as a professor, I'm the mother two two children, and childcare costs are very high. I would love to write all day. But most days--I can't. 

But since high school when I read Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own, I knew I needed just that. I still don't have it--not in my home. But I do have a room of my...

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designed and illustrated by danika Corrall