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Midweek Notes from a Practicing Writer

Beyond-Your-Blog-Hall-Of-Fame-Showcasing-our-favorite-writing-from-our-readers-who-have-been-published-beyond-their-blogsI’m Famous!

Well, sort of.

This week brought the happy news that a piece of mine had been “chosen” for the Beyond Your Blog “Hall of Fame.”

You’ve probably seen me mention Beyond Your Blog before–I find it an inspiring and helpful site. I’ve also joined the BYB Facebook group, where, each month, members are encouraged “to post their best work that has been featured outside of their personal blog. A guest editor selects five favorites (in the areas of humor, non-humor, how-to/informational, reported stories & essays and editor’s choice) to be featured on this page and we also promote them in our newsletter and on social media.”

When the February call came around, I decided to share the link to my poem “Self-Portrait with Root Rescue™,” which appeared last month on Silver Birch Press. And, lo and behold, it “won” the humor category.

I’m especially grateful for the kind comments of this month’s judge, Norine Dworkin-McDaniel, who said, “I thought this piece was so clever, riffing on the frustrations of getting older without the negativity. Really made me laugh. Well done.”

Photo credit: Lorin Klaris

Photo credit: Lorin Klaris

Dispatch from the Day Job

Since the last midweek notes, I’ve had the pleasure of meeting author Abigail Pogrebin in person. Fig Tree Books, where I’m Media Editor, recently acquired the rights to Abby’s book My Jewish Year: 18 Holidays, One Wondering Jew.

I’d known about Abby and her work for years. But I hadn’t yet met her–until we met for lunch last week.

She’s a delight. I’m looking forward to working with her to help her book reach readers (publication is scheduled for March 2017; My Jewish Year will include a foreword by A.J. Jacobs). This will be FTB’s first nonfiction book.

Remember, FTB welcomes agented and unagented submissions, year-round.

yishunlai_coverFrom My Bookshelf: Not a Self-Help Book: The Misadventures of Marty Wu

Speaking of new independent presses, I’ve been following the development of Shade Mountain Press with interest. An announcement about advance reading copies of Yi Shun Lai’s Not a Self-Help Book: The Misadventures of Marty Wu caught my attention in particular, because I’d had the good fortune to meet Yi Shun during her graduating residency at the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts/Whidbey Writers Workshop MFA Program, when I was invited to teach a few seminars. (Sad news about that program: It’s closing.)

But I digress. In addition to impressing me with her writing and social-media savvy, Yi Shun was simply so friendly and kind that of course I wanted to read her novel! As of this week, I have.

As I wrote in my Goodreads review, “Set in New York and Taiwan (with a significant episode unspooling in Las Vegas), The Misadventures of Marty Wu introduces us to a young woman seeking her way, both personally and professionally, often with the ‘help’ of advice manuals that advocate the writing-down of one’s thoughts and experiences. Some of the challenges she faces are of her own making; others stem largely from lifelong conflict with her mother, conflict which Marty eventually comes to understand and deal with more successfully. Snappy and entertaining throughout–notwithstanding the tension-filled mother-daughter moments.” The novel will be out in May.

So those are some of my week’s writing-related highlights. Any of you care to share yours?

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