Three Part Invention

Mona settles into her seat at the concert seeking only familiar pleasure. Her life with Howard is padded by a series of rituals in these later years. The same concert series, tea afterward at the bar and grille,  Sunday morning sex after a good night's sleep. Howard has refused to abandon the patterns of a lifetime .Probably a good thing, too, especially in the case of the sex. It would just be too absurd, two out of practice sets of old bones flailing away, trying not to injure each other....more

River of Forgetting

from my new sequence: BayViewWhy do you go? Last time, she twisted your rings until you noticed hers were gone. Stolen right out from under her.You want me to see you are still needed.You want me to promise that none of thiswill happen to you.They make her sit with all the others,displayed like an open sore. She screamsat passers-by,“Do you know who I am?”With your mind on fire you tell me this:What do we do with the thing called Hope?When you dangle by a thread, I’ll cut it for you....more

Poetic Novels: Oxymoronic?

When a writer I know proudly called her prose "poetic," she meant to highlight its lush language. She was crestfallen when readers found it weedy, overgrown, and humid.  Decked-out, souped-up language that calls attention to itself isn't poetic in the best sense.There are subtler elements to consider when writing a long piece. Sonics, for instance, count heavily in an art form meant to be heard. Rhythm, cadence, and phrasing, are all musical elements that drive a story and make a reader want to turn the pages....more

Shoes Hair Nails: a book review

A mother as Minnie Mouse, a haircut as barometer of change; the origin of red Chinese slippers, a friend who announces “Every man is a shoe fetishist.” Image functions as symbol in Deborah Batterman’s first book of beautifully balanced, psychologically complex stories. Written mostly from the POV of middle-class American women, the characters pull us into their struggles with love and family. “When one Southern character speaks…an echo of all southern life can be heard,” as Flannery O’Connor once said....more

7 Ways to Get Your (Writing) Groove Back

The holidays are long past, and you still haven't settled back into your creative groove? Here are a few home remedies: 1. Don’t vamp for time: there is no perfect clutch of hours in which to write. Establish a schedule and stick to it. "Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work," Flaubert told us. A corollary to this might be, “Don’t wait around for inspiration to strike. It’ll only hit you when you’re at your desk.”...more

Variations on a Theme with Harmonica

Animal Magnetism

Congratulations t...more

The Blog Tour: What to Expect

Virtual book blog tours are an inexpensive way of getting the word out about your newly released book. Bloggers in a particular niche tend to know one another, and can build buzz through comparing notes and making recommendations to their readers....more

Book Promo: What NOT to Do

Google “writing forums” and set up profiles at as many of these as you can. Don’t worry if the focus is on different genres from yours –you’re giving them a chance to broaden their tastes,  the way you do when you send your collection of stories, say, to publishers who do not publish story collections.See where they ask for “occupation” in your profile?  They WANT you to promote yourself, so lie a little....more

How to Fall in Love...With Your Novel

attraction You’ve always had the idea in the back of your mind to write a novel “someday,” but that’s one elastic time frame. How to make the first move? As with all relationships, the action starts with a spark. For me, it was a TV show documenting an Indian’s decision to leave his family and renounce the world according to ancient principles of sanyasi. “Do they really still do that? “ I asked my husband....more