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I maintain two blogs: Practicing Writing and My Machberet. Posts for both blogs show up on this page, but you can visit each blog by clicking on the appropriate link. It's also possible to subscribe to each feed.

Practicing Writing: Here you'll find updates on writing and publishing opportunities (especially handy between issues of our popular monthly newsletter). You'll discover ONLY opportunities that charge no fees, and ONLY publications/contests that will pay for your writing. The blog also shares writing-related news, resources, and quotations; book reviews; and occasional updates regarding this practicing writer's own work.

My Machberet: "Machberet" is the Hebrew word for notebook. Since it's also (appropriately) one of the very first words I learned in my first Hebrew school in Brooklyn (and, I confess, one of the few conversational Hebrew words I still remember), I've chosen it to title this blog, where I offer write-ups on Jewish news (especially of the literary sort) and occasional commentary.

Fiction for, If Not of, Our Times

I have such respect for D.G. Myers. I’m so grateful that he launched this topic on Twitter today. And I’m going to share with you his subsequent tweets for your reference and edification (and for mine). Continue reading ›

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Wednesday’s WIP: Happy News from Fellow Writers

Stuart Miles/FreeDigital Photos.Net

Stuart Miles/FreeDigital Photos.Net


I don’t know–maybe my online universe is expanding–but within the past week or so there’s been a wave of happy news shared by *several* people in my writing community. These are genuinely nice people as well as genuinely gifted writers, so I’m moved to give them all a public shout-out right here.

  • David Ebenbach–he of multiple genre gifts–will see his first full-length poetry book, We Were the People Who Moved, published by Tebot Bach, as the winning title for the latest Patricia Bibby First Book Award.
  • From Michelle Brafman: “I’m very happy to announce that Washing the Dead, my first novel, will be published by Prospect Park Books in June of 2015.” Just a few weeks ago, Michelle shared that Shebooks will be releasing an e-book of hers, We Named Them All, later this summer.
  • Karen E. Bender’s story collection, Refund, will be published by Counterpoint in January 2015. (Here’s my take on Bender’s most recent novel, A Town of Empty Rooms.)
  • Many hearty congratulations to all.

    Want to let us in on good news about any of the writers in your circle? Why not do so here, in comments?

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    Words of the Week

    Just a few of the memorable–and important–lines that I’ve discovered over the past few days:

    From David Horovitz:
    “Just three days ago, my colleague Mitch Ginsburg wrote the following: ‘Haim Yellin, the head of the Eshkol Regional Council, told The Times of Israel, standing outside a tunnel discovered several months ago, that many residents in the region are so scarred by the prospect of a tunnel attack that they hear the phantom scratching of shovels when they close their eyes at night.’ Well, now we know that it was not the ‘phantom scratching of shovels’ they were hearing. It was the scratching of shovels.” (“Hushed, Determined Israel in a War ‘for Our Home,” The Times of Israel)

    From Michael Oren:
    “Unwittingly or not, the international media is complicit in Hamas’s plan. While some may think they help the Palestinians by highlighting their plight, in reality, the journalists only worsen it. They effectively absolve Hamas of culpability for using Gaza’s population as a human shield, of stealing its aid money to buy munitions and dig fortified tunnels with the sole purpose of killing Israelis, and of contributing nothing to Gaza’s welfare.” (“Hamas Media Strategy Relies on Death of Civilians,” CNN.com)

    From Thane Rosenbaum:
    “Surely there are civilians who have been killed in this conflict who have taken every step to distance themselves from this fast-moving war zone, and children whose parents are not card-carrying Hamas loyalists. These are the true innocents of Gaza. It is they for whom our sympathy should be reserved. The impossibility of identifying them, and saving them, is Israel’s deepest moral dilemma.” (“About Those ‘Innocent’ Palestinian Civilians,” The Wall Street Journal.)

    From Fania Oz-Salzberger, the daughter of famed Israeli author Amos Oz:

    And from Rabbi Eric Yoffie:
    “The issue was never ‘proportionality’; it is the suffering and dying of too many Arabs and Jews. And while there is much that is complicated about the Middle East, ending the violence in Gaza is not complicated. Hamas needs to halt the missile attacks and provide credible assurances to Israel and the world that they will not be resumed. If the rockets stop, quiet can come tomorrow. And tomorrow is not soon enough.” (“The Bizarre Moral Criticism Against Israel,” Time.com)

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    Monday Markets for Writers: No Fees, Paying Gigs

    dollar-sign-mdMonday brings the weekly batch of no-fee competitions/contests, paying submission calls, and jobs for those of us who write (especially those of us who write fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction). Continue reading ›

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    Sunday Sentence

    In which I participate in David Abrams’s “Sunday Sentence” project, sharing the best sentence I’ve read during the past week, “out of context and without commentary.”

    “That’s what you want to hear when someone is photographing your heart: beautiful shot.”

    Source: Robin Rinaldi, “The Mystery in the Machine”

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