Category: Blog

What is your novel about?

THE STORY THIEF begins with an unlikely scene: in a middling Portland hospital, a stillborn comes back to life, and her skin turns an inexplicable, vibrant cobalt blue. This is the beginning of Elspeth Noura Rummani, though it’s not even close to the start of her own family‚Äôs tale. As things stand, her parents are … Read More »

Toni Morrison on post-Obama writing

We sometimes think of novels … as mere entertainment. The good ones are bodies of knowledge. From GalleyCat. By “post-Obama,” I think she means the age in which Internet has come into its own as a vehicle for social transformation. Thoughts?

Mountain Writers Conference

What: Mountain Writers “Memory and Place” workshop, taught by Annick Smith Where: Hood River, Oregon When: Sunday, June 21, 2009 Details: I’ll be attending with client Kezban Barzilay to learn and get inspired. She’s writing a beautiful memoir of her childhood in Izmir, Turkey, and I look forward to spending the day with a strong, … Read More »

When pathetic is good

At the conference, writers attended a two-minutes, two-pages workshop in which we read our first two pages aloud to a panel of agents. The agents listened as though they were reading the pages on submission, and would say, “Stop,” whenever they would normally have lost interest in the writing. Then they explained why. The number-one … Read More »

Last day in NY

The third and final day of the conference was theoretically the same length as the others, but thanks to a combination of sunny weather, fatigue, and mental overload, it ended for me after only three hours. I had done what I’d come to do–meet nice people, learn, and figure out what to do next with … Read More »

Day 3 in NY

As expected, the conference is busy. Even though I’m staying with L on the Upper East Side, the hotel at 32nd and Broadway feels like home base. But the sightseeing can wait until a Christmas visit in December, because I will forever plug the Backspace Writers Conference. After a day of panels, I have blog … Read More »

Day 2 in NY

Thursday was Agent-Author Day. That means that I showed up at the Radisson with 25 copies of my query letter, my first two manuscript pages, and a piece of paper that now looks like a paranoiac’s last will and testament. That would be my pitch, fully revised four times while sitting in the back row … Read More »

Day 1 in NY

You know you’re not in Oregon anymore when strangers don’t make eye contact. And you know you’re in New York when everything gets narrower, dirtier, and darker–starting with the brown tile stairs down to baggage claim at LaGuardia Airport. On my obligatory I’m-here-alive phone call, E said I sounded nervous. I feel fine, I said. … Read More »

Backspace Writers Conference

What: Backspace Writers Conference Where: The Radisson Martinique Hotel, New York City When: Thursday, May 28 to Saturday, May 30 Details: The conference will be a great learning and networking experience, and from what I’ve heard about conferences, a great drinking experience, too. The goal is to remember the “beer before liquor…” jingle, and oh, … Read More »