Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sweet Reading

So far, I'm overwhelmed with the response to my little short story collection. Friends are telling me how much they enjoy reading it.
A bakery isn't the first place one would expect to find reading material. On the other hand, why not? It's where you'll find the author.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Announcing my New Arrival!

Friday night I held my first book in my hands. I can only liken the feeling to the moments when I held each of my sons and granddaughter for the first time. Euphoria. Wonder. A whole thesaurus gallops through my head in one glorious moment and I'm rendered speechless. (Sort of.)
Many thanks to publisher Lou Turner of High Hill Press and editor Delois McGrew. They worked as hard on THIS, THAT AND SOMETIMES THE OTHER as I did.
Next step. Marketing. Oy. While I don't expect to make the NY Times Best Seller list with my short story anthology I've been overwhelmed by the response from my workmates and friends. Also I'm blessed with a proud, doting husband who sold 11 copies at work yesterday.
In less than a week all 70 copies are spoken for and I'm preparing to order another 50. Hey Kids, act surprised when you open your present this holiday!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Winding Down

After a year of intense work, writing stories and sketching illustrations we're nearing the home stretch!
I've heard people talk about "the process" and how exciting it is, but I've come to experience it for myself. Harley riders have a similar expression. They say it's not about the destination, it's the ride. So it has been with writing.
Remember how frustrating it was to have to write a 500 word report in school? How do I come up with that many words about the Boston Tea Party? Now I see words as something pliable, like clay or paint on canvass.
In any case, the fourth galley is nearly complete and ready to send to Lou, my publisher. I have to admit to feeling a little sadness at being so close to the end. These short stories have been so much a part of me. Not that they'll be any less a part. It just won't be the same.
Whatever shall I do with myself now?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

A Step Closer

On the heels of completing edits on my short story anthology, This, That and Sometimes the Other, I received an email from Louella Turner, head of High Hill Press. She told me my cover art that seemed unique and cool in the beginning was no longer relevant to the stories in the book and urged me to make changes. At first I bristled and prepared myself with all the reasons why that picture was still perfect just the way it was.
When she called last Tuesday night to discuss it she knocked down all my defenses. In fact, within our forty minute chat, I realized that Lou was 100% spot on. By the time I hung up my head was spinning with the perfect replacement.
This week I emailed the scanned painting. She loved it and I'm much happier with it, too.
Blessed are the flexible for they shall not be bent out of shape. Semper Gumby!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Novel Ideas

With the short story anthology put to bed for the moment and a little vacation time, I'm back to the novels I've been working on for the past six years. Each new bit of knowledge precipitates a journey back to the first one to incorporate what I've learned. Currently I'm doing rewrites on the second.

On the whole, Please Say Kaddish for Me, the first of the trilogy has been an immense learning experience. Because it has required tons of research to keep it as accurate as possible I've learned more history than I ever did in school. Of course, back then, I never saw the reason to pay attention.

The three novels with working titles, Please Say Kaddish for Me, From Silt and Ashes, and As One Must One Can chronicle a Jewish woman and her family's survival of the pogroms (Czar-sanctioned, organized massacres of the Jews in Russia and surrounding areas of Eastern Europe known as the Pale of Settlement) and subsequent immigration to the United States. The stories take place at the turn of the twentieth century. I've referred to PSK as "The Dark Side of Fiddler on the Roof."

The first novel has been turned down by four agents so far and accepted by one. Unfortunately, at the time the one accepted it, I was in the process of preparing it for a NY agent who'd shown an interest but said it was too short. In the end she turned it down. The next NY agent said it "was incredibly moving" and brought her to tears, however, it was too long and needed more editing than she was prepared to deal with.

I am in a heated debate with myself as to whether or not I should approach the one who accepted it two years ago to see if she still might be interested in the first one and, possibly, the series. I've made a lot of changes after expanding it and then shrinking it. I don't want to sound desperate or groveling but, on the other hand, I could use an agent. Right? Of course right.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Hold the cakes!

At present I'm in California visiting my son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter Olive. Everything else can wait for a while. Just this morning she turn from her back to her tummy and her bubbe got to see it first.

Now that's something to write home about!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What? My writing's not perfect just the way it is?

Someone thinks my writing is worthy of publication! How intoxicating is that? I have arrived! Right? Well...not exactly.

The first galley arrived two weeks ago with an encouraging note from the editor. She loves my stories. Strong voice, she says. But...(here comes the inevitable)...I have a lot of work to do.

Overuse of gerund. For those of you, who like me, are running for your dictionary because you slept through English grammar, gerunds are "ing" words. She says I've also overdone the punctuation.

My OCD kicks in and I go on a witch hunt, pencil-slashing through every colon, semi-colon and out of place comma. Gerunds, beware! You're going down next. Then I change words and questionable syntax.

At last I'm satisfied and ready to send it back and wait for the second galley. It arrived Monday with a nice long letter from the editor. Now she says she didn't mean for me to whack all the gerunds.

After a nice long chat with her on the phone yesterday, I feel less daunted. Gratitude for the opportunity to learn the craft floods me. It's good to have another pair of eyes with more experience to help me along. I turn the page to make more corrections. A printed book I'll be proud of can't be far behind.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Back to the other World

After two days of sequestering with computer and manuscript it will be nice to have human contact. I've enjoyed my own company in my own little corner of the world. It's a little cluttered, but, then, so is my head.

Now it's back to work decorating cakes. These days I really enjoy my job and my coworkers. All things considered, I'd rather be writing.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Right up my Galley

It's been an educational day for me. I've spent the day making corrections to my manuscripts. I hope that I'm understanding the editor's directions.
Nonetheless the process is exciting. So tomorrow I'll send the first galley back to High Hill Press and await further instruction to come with the second galley.

Where do I Begin?

This is a first for me. I've never blogged before. But then again, I didn't consider myself an author until about five years ago. So has begun a new chapter in my life. (Pun always intended.)

My first book "This, That and Sometimes the Other" will be out by the end of this year from High Hill Press. It's an ecclectic collection of short stories and original illustrations. I've had a great time writing them and I hope that others will have a great time reading them.

The process has been both exciting and frustrating. At present I have the first galley in front of me and am following the editor's suggestions to make it a better book.