While I’d planned to resume this blog on Monday, I keep finding too many good things to share this weekend! This post also gives me an excuse to let you know that on Monday I’ll have a review of Rebecca Rasmussen’s debut novel, The Bird Sisters, as well as a chance for you to win your own signed copy 🙂 .

What bookmarkable blogs and articles and videos have come your way lately?

picture of bookmarkThe Proper Subject of the Novel

“universal human experience grounded in the minutiae of ordinary life”

The sentence that jumped out at me from this weekend’s New York Times profile of Beverly Cleary was not something Cleary herself wrote or said, or even from Judy Blume, who is quoted extensively. It was this: “Cleary also kept in mind her writing professor’s advice: the proper subject of the novel is universal human experience grounded in the minutiae of ordinary life.”

I can think of no better description of the kinds of novels that move me and stay with me, that call to be re-read and remembered.

This was another interesting aspect of Cleary’s life:

“An only child, whose parents were forced to sell the family farm, Cleary was painfully shy. Troubled at school and beset by bad teachers, she didn’t learn to read until the third grade. Though, as she remarked tartly in our conversation, ‘My mother always read to me, so why should I learn to read?'” Read More


The Magic of Reading Is Back

My March goal was to read—or, more to the point, to finish—more books; specifically, I set out to read one fiction and one non-fiction book per week. It’s a goal that is working well for me. I didn’t fulfill it completely in March (for those who are interested, I’m listing the books on the right side of the blog and might give them their own page soon), but I’m definitely building momentum. More important, and something that was somewhat unexpected, I’m happier when I read more and when I finish reading more of what I start. I also recently began to use Goodreads, which I’d joined awhile ago but never took the time to learn how to use.

I was thrilled to see on Nina Badzin’s terrific blog this week an update of her book-a-week challenge, which she declares a “raging success.” I completely agree that simply setting a goal for myself in terms of reading has helped to bring back the magic:

“My to-be-read pile next to my bed no longer induces anxiety. I’m getting tons of ideas in terms of structure and execution for my novel-in-progress. And most importantly, I’m learning to enjoy reading again. After reading so many how-to writing books and working hard on writing novels, I’d found it next to impossible to get lost in a book. Well, the magic of reading is back.” Read More


Making Tough Choices

Author Jody Hedlund’s writing advice is always down-to-earth and relevant to my own needs. In a post this week on 4 Ways To Make Your Writing Schedule Work, Jody echoes Nina Badzin’s thoughts on scaling back and making choices in order to create room in our lives for what is important to us, for the magic:

“We really can’t make more writing time unless we’re willing to sacrifice. The sacrifice will look different for all of us. Maybe we’ll have to give up TV, sleep, traveling, golf, ladies’ night out, etc. Anytime we sacrifice, we experience pain and loss. In other words, the process of giving up other pleasures won’t be easy. But most of us will have to make those tough choices in order to have more writing time.” Read More

As you’ll see in the video below, social media and marketing are a big part of authors’ professional lives today, but these new to-do items come on top of everything else we already have in our lives, not instead of them. It’s up to us to make the right choices for ourselves, even if it means marring our reputation as the friend/parent/neighbor/family member who always says yes. We can say no once in awhile, in a planned and purposeful way. As Jody suggests, we can allow ourselves to experience the pain and loss and think of those feelings as normal. And then we write.


What Are Blog Tours, and Why Should You Care?

Last but certainly not least, in May I’m excited to be hosting an interview by author and colleague Christine Fonseca as part of the blog tour for her newest book, 101 Success Secrets for Gifted Kids. What’s a blog tour? This video by internet marketing and publicity expert Kathleen Gage offers a very good overview: