• books,  dogs,  literature,  madison,  pets,  publishing,  storytelling,  wisconsin,  writing

    Q&A with Author Erin Celello

    Today I’m thrilled to be featuring an interview with Madison author Erin Celello about her latest novel, Learning to Stay (NAL/Penguin 2013), which, as Erin describes it, explores “the question of what happens when one person in a marriage becomes someone fundamentally different.” In Learning to Stay, what triggers the change is a traumatic brain injury that the husband, Brad, suffers while serving in the Iraq war. The injury dramatically alters his personality, transforming him from a thoughtful and patient man into someone who requires much more care than his wife, Elise, can provide while also keeping up with the demands of her career as a lawyer.  I’m not yet finished with the book–so…

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  • writing

    In Recognition of the Saints Who Live With Writers

    When I was a kid in Catholic school, November 1 meant dressing up as a saint and parading down the aisle of our parish church. A lot of the costumes involved plastic, medieval weaponry. At least one girl always dressed up as Joan of Arc, complete with sword and shield. There were a lot of angel wings and halos, too. I no longer go to church on All Saints Day, or much at all. As an author, November 1 now has a very different meaning. November 1 kicks off  NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), when writers all over the world commit to a writing marathon of sorts, where they vow to write…

  • agents,  publishing,  vintage,  writing

    Big Book News

    Waiting to announce a book deal reminds me of the initial weeks of pregnancy, when you’re waiting until a certain time to share your good news. Perhaps it’s out of caution–maybe it hasn’t been an easy road and you want to wait until something “official”– a doctor’s visit, maybe, or the end of the first trimester. All the while, you’re glowing, dizzy, maybe even nauseous. Well it’s official, as far as my books go! I’m thrilled to announce that my debut novel, Vintage, will be published by the William Morrow imprint of HarperCollins in 2014, to be followed by a second book in 2015. Here’s the official deal announcement, from Publishers…

  • agents,  blogging,  publishing,  writing

    Literary Matchmaking

    A lot of writers have compared the process of finding a literary agent to online dating. Sending out a query letter about your novel is like creating that perfect online profile–with just enough information to pique people’s interest and leave them wanting to find out more, but not so much information that you come across as desperate, egotistical, or just plain crazy. All the while, you’re waiting for someone to fall in love… with your writing. One blog, Cupid’s Literary Connection, takes the dating/querying analogy literally. Cupid, the mythical creature behind the blog, is an anonymous, agented author who has dedicated her entire web space to contests, agent and publisher…

  • books,  fall,  geekery,  nerdiness,  summer,  writing

    Back to School Style for Grown-Ups

    The hot hot summer has begun to cool and soon it’s time for back to school. Since I’m not a teacher and no longer a student, and since my son is still in diapers, I can think about the first day of school without panic. (Though I do still have that recurring dream about not knowing where any of my classes are…)  Memories of the first day of school are heavy with nostalgia for me and, I imagine, for many of you.  I was a nerd kid, and I used to lay out all of my school supplies on the carpet just to look at them in the weeks before…

  • agents,  books,  creativity,  fiction,  poetry,  writing

    The “YES” (in other words, agented!)

    I have a quote, framed and printed on a letterpress card, next to my desk. It’s a reminder to help me through all the “nos” and the “maybe ifs” that come with being a writer and putting my work out into the world. Today, I’m here to attest that it’s true. That after the final no, there really is a yes. And sometimes, in the midst of all the work and the worry, there is more than one yes. And then you get to be the one to say yes. YES! Today I accepted an offer of representation from a literary agent for my novel, Gently Used.  And not just…

  • drink,  edible madison,  kombucha,  local,  recipes,  writing

    The Flavors of Summer

    The summer issue of Edible Madison magazine is out, both in print and online. For this issue, I met with the fun and fabulous ladies behind NessAlla Kombucha. I didn’t know a whole lot about kombucha before interviewing them for the article, so I learned a ton, including how to home-brew kombucha. You can get a recipe and read all about it here.

  • art,  coffee,  poetry,  writing

    Is there a place for poetry?

    April, what T.S. Eliot called “the cruelest month,” is National Poetry Month. And, in our modern world of clamor and clutter, I have to wonder: is there a place for poetry? I’d like to think the answer is yes. I have dozens of poetry books on my shelves that have not been opened in years. But it does not matter. I can go about my days, and the verses still sit there, poised inside those pages, ready to spring goosebumps to my skin if I only take time to remember, and read. Today, April 26, is “Poem in Your Pocket Day,” first created by the City of New York in 2002…

  • blogging,  coffee,  creativity,  writing

    Why We Write

      Ask any writer why he or she writes and you are likely to get the answer, “Because I have to.”  You’d probably get this answer from a bestselling author who’s on deadline to deliver her next manuscript. And you’d probably get the same answer from an unpublished teenager who taps away at a computer in her parents’ basement. One makes money from writing, the other doesn’t. At least not yet. So money doesn’t explain the need they both feel to write.  I recently read an article by Ann Lamott that, for me, explains this need. She says, There is nothing you can buy, achieve, own, or rent that can…

  • beer,  fashion,  holiday,  style,  writing

    So Much to Celebrate

    On New Year’s Eves past, I’ve stood with my toes in the sand on a Mexican beach, danced on a ballroom floor in San Francisco, bummed a seldom cigarette at a Chicago bar, cozied up with Fat Tires and football in a Colorado condo, and waved my arms on many a curbside, shivering and looking for elusive empty cabs. This year, I’ll be all of two blocks away from home, celebrating with close friends and a tribe of tots aged 3 months to 3 years. The gathering will be modest, but never have I had so much to celebrate in bidding farewell to a year. In 2011, I finished a…