Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Amy Tan snippet

Today, Reuters has an interview with Amy Tan.

At the end of the interview, she says, "I never talk about what a new book is about as it will leave me. There is a story in Chinese where a man goes to a magical place and is overwhelmed by the beauty and the peace. He has to leave and they tell him that if he tells anyone where this place is he will never find it again. That is the metaphor for writing. You are in a secret place and discovering it but once you tell people it is gone."

I write about this very thing in Pen on Fire, how talking about a work can cause it to evaporate. I used to talk about my works-in-progress so very much. Dangerous stuff.

Hence, shhhhhh........

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Real quick.....

Have you donated to Darfur yet? I just did. I've been meaning to, but you know how it goes.

So my class just ended, Trav is at a friend's, Bry is at a gig, and I turned on the TV--wishfully hoping for Angels baseball snippets? Instead, my attention is captured by images of a refugee camp accompanied by a Tony Bennett soundtrack and then Tony comes on and urges the viewer--me!--to donate to the cause, and I got right up and marched to the laptop and did it. TV rarely moves me to do a thing. I was moved.

Only $100, but it's something.

It's serious over there. I can't even imagine.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

A cool web site I just discovered

I just came across this portal to all sorts of literary links. It's called New Pages.

Utne Magazine, one of my very favorite magazines (to which I subscribe), says, "NewPages.com, the best overall Internet portal to the alternative press, independently organizes pages of links to hundreds of magazines, independent publishers and bookstores, literary magazines, newsweeklies, and review sources. NewPages.com also publishes unique book and zine reviews, and an interesting weblog broadly covering the world of arts, publishing, and libraries."

Check it out! (Just don't spend so much time there that you forget to write.)

Monday, June 11, 2007

Fee-charging agents

A friend wrote to me and said a friend of his was interested in an agent who charged a "registration fee." This wasn't a fee to read the manuscript, the agent said.

Sounded like a crock to me.

So I asked Linda Konner, a literary agent in NYC that I met through ASJA (American Society of Journalists and Authors), and here's what she said:

"Registration fee? Hmmm... What precisely are you registering for? It does sound like a convenient variation on a reading fee which, as we know, isn't charged by respectable agents, eg, members of AAR (Association of Authors Representatives). Some agents will charge clients minimal expenses fees associated with the submission and follow-up of proposals and related author materials. But unless this agent is promising something beyond the standard agent duties, no up-front fees should be paid."

Enough said?

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Can you spot a fake smile?

(If you tried this link the other day and it didn't work, try again; I re-pasted it.)

I don't generally go for tests and such, but this one was fun, and gave me much to--ahem--smile about.

Click here to take the test.

Report your results. I got 12 out of 20, which surprised me. I thought I knew fake smiles!

Monday, June 04, 2007

Cormac McCarthy and Oprah

There's an article by Eric Miles Williamson in today's Los Angeles Times about Cormac McCarthy and Oprah's concern with moral fiction.

Click here.


Anyone else see it?

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Through the second draft--or is it the fourth?

I've reached the end of the second draft of Starletta's Kitchen, or is it the fourth draft? In his new little book, This Year You Write Your Novel, Walter Mosley says that reading through your novel completely is considered one entire draft. I've read through it twice, outlining it, making notes, following Carolyn See's directions on revising, so I guess that means I'll be going into draft number five.

Done through chipping away, every day, an hour or two, sometimes more. Making it a priority.

I have so much work to do! But the book is coming into focus. I need to take a look at the plots/subplots. Make sure enough is happening, make sure the structure is solid.

So, actually, there's still no end in sight...