Awkward Party Conversations with Writers

By Kelly Ford

At some point, I took the plunge and told people that I’m a writer — without any unnecessary adjectives like “aspiring” or “terrible.”

Unfortunately, now that people know, they ask me about it during parties and gynecological exams*.

Let’s be honest, the best thing about the upcoming holiday season is the food. The worst thing is the conversation. In general, I avoid parties and gatherings unless I know at least 45% of the people in attendance. I’m not necessarily a curmudgeon**. I’m just genetically conditioned for awkwardness and my awkwardness makes others awkward and then everyone feels a bit like they need to scratch their skin from the inside out.

Writers can avoid blogging and having a Twitter account, but they can’t really avoid social interactions if they want people to remember them and their work — unless they are far more talented than the rest of us. So you can stay home and grumble, or you can go to the party. Think of it this way: there’s no better time to try out some self-promo than on your party host’s unwitting friends and neighbors. It’s like free beta testing. With food! Read More →

Friday Feast: Writing Centers! Books! Gratitude! Hollywood Dreams!

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Does everything hurt and you feel like you’re dying?*

It’s not you. It’s November.

Put on your rainbow-colored glasses and indulge in these positively positive lit links that will (maybe) trick your brain into believing that it’s a soft-serve-filled summer again and everything is awesome.



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By Carol D. Gray

It’s the first afternoon of the Novel Incubator Alumni Writing Retreat in Jackson, NH. From my room up in the eaves, I read over the last chapter of the latest draft of my novel, attach the whole thing to an email and push SEND. My draft flies off to two extremely generous writer friends willing to read it and offer feedback.

I breathe deeply and go for a walk filled with optimism. The woods around Jackson Village are the prettiest woods in the whole world. After years of writing, I am getting close to actually FINISHING A NOVEL! Read More →

Dharma Buds: Revision Road with Buddha and the Gecko


“Gekkoninae Rhacodactylus ciliatus orange” by annakilljoy

By Lisa Birk

I have just spent two-and-a-half years revising my novel.* The odds on getting it published feel, well, long. My writer friends (published and in-the-queue) tell horrific tales of editors** who do not buy the manuscript, but offer advice, “What if you told the story through the pet lizard’s point-of-view?” (Tales told by pet dogs being now passé.)

The writer thinks, Well, I would like to be published, and a tale by a reptile, well that is new, that is different, that has potential. Read More →

Friday Feast: Syndromes, Solitude, Psychological Comforts and More
As the holidays draw near, the days grow shorter, the nights colder, the calendars more full. Waistlines expand, and walls close in with people and conversations and music playlists that tax the ears.

Draw a bath, grab some champagne or cognac or cocoa, and restore thyself with these links for the solitary souls among us.


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How to Start Building a Social Media Presence: An Interview with Crystal King


By Kelly Robertson

Crystal King is a 20-year marketing and communications veteran. Currently she leads social media for Keurig Green Mountain and has directed global social media programs for companies such as CA Technologies and Sybase. Crystal is also a freelance writer and Pushcart-nominated poet who has recently finished her first novel and is embarking upon her second. She holds an M.A. in Critical & Creative Thinking from UMass Boston and has taught classes in writing, creativity and social media at Harvard Extension School, Boston University, Mass College of Art and UMass Boston. Find her on Facebook at, on Twitter at, Google+ at or at her website:
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Happy Indie Story, Part Seven: Enrica Jang and Erica Schultz


Erica Schultz and Enrica Jang

By Jennie Wood

After “What’s next,” the question I’m asked most often is, “What drives me, what keeps me going?”

One major source of inspiration is other writers carving out a way of their own. It doesn’t matter what genre they’re working in, I’m always inspired by and learn something from their story. What often gets lost in the indie publishing conversation is the thing I’ve found the most rewarding—the people I’ve met while putting my work out there, people willing to share their experience and knowledge. Two of those people are Enrica Jang and Erica Schultz. Read More →

Friday Feast: SweetN’ Low, NaNoWriMo Success and Storytelling Tips

Halloween sugar crash. Daylight Savings Time. Wacky weather. Election overload.

Oh my people. This post alone took me 23.5 hours to compile. Maybe some artificial sweetener, NaNoWriMo success stories and other sweet links will energize us after this long week. Feel free to read under the covers or over your dinner plates.


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An Interview with Heidi Durrow, Author of The Girl Who Fell From the Sky

By Margaret Zamos-Monteith

Heidi Durrow grew up as the middle child of an African-American enlisted Air Force man and a white Danish woman. Raised in North Carolina, Turkey, Washington state, and Germany, she spent summers and holidays in her mother’s Danish hometown. A former corporate lawyer and journalist, she holds degrees from Stanford, Yale, and Columbia universities. She also worked as a Life Skills trainer for NBA and NFL athletes. Ebony magazine named her one of its Power 100 Leaders of 2010, she was nominated for an 2011 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Debut, and she has received scholarships, grants, or fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the New York Foundation for the Arts, The Jerome Foundation, The American Scandinavian Foundation, The Elizabeth George Foundation, The Lois Roth Endowment and other places. She is a well-regarded public speaker who has been featured as an expert on multiracial and multicultural issues and identity by NBC Nightly News, The New York Times, CNN, National Public Radio, the BBC, Ebony magazine and the San Francisco Chronicle. In addition to her writing career, Heidi heads the Mixed Remixed Festival, an annual free public event celebrating stories of the mixed experience through films, books, and performance, and she hosts an audio and video podcast called The Mixed Experience. Read More →

Personal Artifacts: Researching Your Own History

By Alison Murphy

I was on the phone with my dad the other day, and just before we hung up I said, “Yalla, bye!”

This was strange for a number of reasons. First, “Yalla, bye” is a weird phrase. Yalla means “let’s go” in Arabic, yet the phrase “Yalla, bye” is used chiefly by Hebrew speakers as a casual way of saying goodbye, despite the fact that there is already a Hebrew word, lehitraot (literally “see you later”) that fulfills the same function. Read More →

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