Catch All

“A Bargain at Twice the Price” (AUDIO)

Read on The Story Discovery Podcast by Onyx Publications

If you had known Beth would leave two months after the closing date, you never would have bought the shoebox starter home on Oak View Drive in a sleepy commuter town with one shitty pizza joint and two convenience stores and nothing to do on weeknights but hang out at the rat-hole townie bar drinking too much bottom-shelf whiskey.

If you had known Beth would find you so utterly lacking as a man and a human and a partner, that she would look at you with such disappointment that shame would rush down to the soles of your feet and back up to the roots of your red hair, you never would have proposed on that trip to the Keys with the ring you bought with your third-to-last paycheck from the cable company that would soon lay you off due to “unforeseeable market shifts.” You were a customer service agent. Now you’re a chump, and according to Beth, an alcoholic.

If you had known all that and more, you wouldn’t be sitting shirtless and hungover on your tiny front porch in pajama pants, drinking your fourth cup of black coffee, watching Tim across the street water his half-dead lawn for the third day in a row. You wouldn’t be hoping for someone to walk down the sidewalk with a dog or two, maybe a fugly baby, just to have something interesting to look at.

But you didn’t know, so here you are, tits out, and Tim just waved so you raise your coffee cup in an oddly formal salute and get ready for the nothingness of the day to settle into your bones like a damp chill.

Click the podcast link for more, or go to Etched Onyx Magazine to read the text!

Juggling WIPs

The view from my office window.

This is not trying to be instructional. This is more or less a rambling cry for help.

How do you decide what to work on and when, if you have lots of writing projects started? Especially if demands in your life are all grabbing at your legs like toddlers? (Some of you likely have actual toddlers grabbing at your legs.) I have to get a lesson plan ready for Intro to CW class at 4 today and proofread a typeset novel for my other job. But I’m distracted by thoughts of the last two stories I need to finish for my speculative fiction collection, and the poem that’s almost done but not quite, and the essay about writing I started yesterday that today I’m thinking might be garbage (and if it is, how much time I spent on it).

I also saw a sub call yesterday for ghost stories (Can I write one by the end of May?) and a horror poetry collection that doesn’t accept simsubs (Where do I have that one poem out? Must remember to check my sub list). There are several titles I’m trying to read before StokerCon, too, so, of course, add reading to the to-do list.

How do you focus? How do you organize your projects? Do you have an order of importance, and if so, is that by deadline or by interest? I’m excited about everything, and I love having a lot going on, but instead of doing any of it, I’m staring out the window.

“Makeover” (AUDIO)

Read on the Blood & Jazz Podcast by Last Girls Club

“What are we doing with this one?” asked Janine, Bernard’s uncertified surgical assistant.

The Sculpting Clinic was world known, at least in certain, whispering circles. Clients were mostly women, but men came in too—not that the clinic’s services came cheap for any body. Patients submitted willing flesh and blank checks to Bernard, The Body Sculptor, agreeing to a carte blanche plastic surgery makeover. Perfectly legal, at least in this country. Bernard was an artist, after all. If people wanted basic nips and tucks, they could stay in the U.S. and pull over at any suburban L.A. stripmall.

Janine circled that afternoon’s client, the woman’s naked, unconscious form laid out on the operating table like a spring picnic. Janine was more than an assistant, really—she was an apprentice. At least that’s how she thought of herself, here to learn from the master. Ever faithful, she’d followed him from state to state and then country to country, outrunning laws and lawsuits and license revocations until they’d found this blessed safe harbor where they could work in peace and impunity.

But with freedom to practice came a certain boredom for Bernard. Janine heard it lately in his sighs and caught him, often, staring out his office window at the back alley’s brick wall.

She saw it again now. “Doctor?” she said. She only called him Bernard in her head.

He spoke without looking at her, his eyes assessing the corpse-like figure on the steel table. “I’m sick of breast augmentations and removals. Ass injections. Facial rearrangements.”

“You’re evolving,” said Janine, liking the way the word wrapped around her tongue.

Silence.

Then, “I’m evolving,” he repeated. And again. “I’m evolving.”

And just like that it was back—the fevered, glorious look of an artist inspired by a blank canvas and his own simmering genius. The look that gave Janine’s life direction and purpose so long ago. She felt a throb low in her sea-green scrubs. But she told herself it was mostly professional admiration she felt for him, the awe of a rapt student. Mostly. She swallowed and gave her capped head a little shake. Focus, she told herself, on the art. The process. She pressed play on the stereo in the corner; barely perceptible acid jazz seeped into the room.

Then Bernard grabbed the purple surgical marker Janine held out to him like a baton. He drew in a frenzy, long slashes across the woman’s chest, dotted lines on her thighs, squares on her sagging stomach. Something like a spiral on her neck. Then he stood back and looked to Janine, waiting.

She hesitated. The heart rate monitor beeped once, twice, three times.

“Wow,” she said finally, because that’s what she always said, and why rock the boat now? The woman would stand out in a crowd. That’s what all Bernard’s clients wanted, anyway—not to fade into the background. “So… Avant-garde,” she continued. “Almost… Cubism? Expressionism?” She bit her lip. Her turn to wait.

Silence.

But it was the right thing.

Bernard grinned and pulled up his face mask. Janine let out the breath she’d held trapped in her chest and got ready to suction.

“We don’t create feminist horror; it imposes itself upon us,” an interview with Lindsay Merbaum

Lindsay Merbaum is a queer feminist author, workshop leader, high priestess of home mixology, editor, and more. Her debut novel, The Gold Persimmon, is available now.

Q: Feminist Horror is not new, but it does seem to be experiencing a bit of a renaissance. Can you tell us a little about the genre and its unique opportunities, and why people are celebrating it right now?

A: Feminist horror is borne from the experience of femmes and/or the female-bodied. Often our first encounter with real-life horror involves subtle interactions with imposed gender norms, or not-so-subtle acts of violence such as bullying, assault, and rape. In this sense, we don’t create feminist horror, it imposes itself upon us. In a time of renewed fascism, where the right to abortion access is disappearing before our eyes, where rates of domestic violence have soared during the pandemic, as the Earth continues to heat up, causing death and destruction, there is a renewed interest in finding ourselves in the stories that employ speculative and horror elements to address real-life occurrences. Fiction often expresses the unspeakable and, in this case, feminist horror explores the monstrous nature of misogyny in all its forms. 

Q: Your novel The Gold Persimmon has just debuted, to rave reviews, and is unlike any other work out there. Helen Phillips said “The Gold Persimmon is a place where grief, sex, and mystery mingle,” and the novel has been called “dark,” “experimental,” “queer,” “feminist,” “horror,” “eerie,” “atmospheric,” and more. How did you conceptualize this? Did you consider its classification as the story developed, or did you leave all of that to sort itself out later? 

A: I spent many years writing and re-writing The Gold Persimmon, but the only classification I applied to it was fiction. Of course I knew it was a queer book, but I didn’t realize others would see it as experimental, or even feminist horror, until it started to reach a wider audience outside of my editors and former agent. I think I wrote it the only way I could, in the only way that made sense to me. It turns out what I wrote is shocking to some, and deeply unsettling not only in content, but form as well. Readers find the shift from Part I to Part II to be jarring. They find themselves lost at times. To me, this contributes to its effect as a work of horror. I also believe that every reader’s experience of the text is valuable and interesting, regardless of whether or not they pick up on the connection between the two narratives the book contains. 

Q: In addition to being an author, you are also a mixologist and a workshop leader. How do these different parts of your life fit together?

A: I like to say I have two passions in life: books and booze. Mixology provides an outlet for bringing the two together, as I continue building a library of booktails: cocktails and mocktails inspired by books of all kinds. This work actually involves so many more passions, however, like photography, sculpture, and playing with food. I’ve got white chocolate skulls and marzipan teeth lying around, not to mention all the pounds of sugar I’ve dyed and scattered about. What I read is now largely dictated by what drinks I want to make, or by the authors who commission me to booktail-ize their work. As a result, I’ve gotten the chance to expand the scope of my reading and delve into genres I’d never explored deeply, like romance and sci-fi. It is an expensive project, though, both in terms of time and materials.

[To find out more about Lindsay’s booktails, including personalized potions, Ostara cards, recipe packages, and book + recipe bundles, go to her website.]

Q: What are you working on right now? Why are you excited about it (or them)? 

A: I’m slowly building a proposal for a book of booktails. My next novel is also currently out with beta readers. It’s about a magical midwestern queer bar, a locus for the riotous convergence of witches and goddesses. Though I pull from several mythologies, Sumerian myth looms largest, with the goddess Inanna taking center stage. Fun fact: the earliest recorded poetry was composed by Enheduanna, a Sumerian high priestess of Inanna. Born around 2300 B.C.E., Enheduanna was the high priestess of the most important temple in Ur, a city in the south of Sumer that embodied the culture of the time. She lived eleven hundred years before Homer–around five hundred before Abraham–and wrote her poetry about three hundred years after the cuneiform vocabulary had just developed to a point where poetic phrase was even possible

My next-next novel was inspired by Sami ancestor worship and the belief in an afterlife that is right under our feet, our steps mirrored toe-for-toe by those who came before. It’s the story of a lesbian marriage and it’s kind of like a combination of Outlander and Being John Malkovich.

Emissaries

Published on 50-Word Stories

Photo from Cornell’s feederwatch.org.

They first came during Covid, the only bright spot of lockdown, one brown head, one red, building their nest in a faded holiday wreath. Every morning I said hello and made small talk, maybe to remind myself I still knew how, and the house finches cocked their heads and listened.

Meeting Nancy (AUDIO)

“Meeting Nancy” is a true ghost story, read by Antony Frost on the Terrify Me! podcast. Episode 8, March 2022.

Years ago–2012 or 2013–my then-fiancé and I went to a ghost hunt at the Dunkirk Lighthouse, a historical lighthouse that is still in use in Dunkirk, NY. It dates back to 1827, and has seen its share of death–not only those who died in it and near it on land, but unfortunates who died in the waters of Lake Erie in shipwrecks just off our shores. It’s a popular ghost-hunting location, and this particular event was also a fundraiser for the upkeep of the lighthouse itself…

(For the rest of the story, follow the link above to the Terrify Me! podcast, Episode 8.)

“I look at everything as a story,” an interview with Christina Consolino

Christina Consolino, senior editor at Literary Mama, freelance writer and editor, and author of the award-winning novel Rewrite the Stars, shares what it was like to launch her first book during the pandemic, what she’s working on now, and why writers should always, always pay attention to the world around them. Thanks, Christina!

Q: Happy Book Birthday! You launched Rewrite the Stars during the pandemic last March, a novel that has landed as finalist for several awards and garnered an impressive list of blurbs. What was that experience like? What were the highs and lows of debuting when the world was (and still is) knocked sideways?

A: Thank you so much for having me here! It seems hard to believe so much time had passed! I signed a publishing contract in April 2020, after much of our world had effectively shut down, and my novel debuted in March 2021. Because Rewrite the Stars is my first novel, I had no experience to compare its launch to. In retrospect, I think that’s a good thing—my bar was set pretty low! (Which seems like a horrible thing to say as I strive to be an optimistic person.) Everything I did to get the book ready for publication and beyond—approach authors for blurbs, submit to awards, pitch to podcasts and the launch itself—was done virtually. As an introvert, I found the virtual route easier than if I had to do anything in person. As a woman with many obligations, I also found it easier to plan for a Zoom launch because finding an hour to do something is far more palatable than finding two hours.

Because I debuted a year into the pandemic and the world was used to the virtual platform but not completely fatigued by it yet, my launch was well attended and held an abundance of energy. I consider that launch a highlight! Having never had a novel out in the world, it was wonderful to see readers, supporters, writing partners, friends, and family with my book in their hands. A low point for me involves the lack of interest by the library and bookstore in the city my characters visit on vacation. The library especially plays a role in the story (and in my life when I visit), and I would have loved to find my book there or even hold a virtual reading. And while reader reviews have been positive, because the number of in-person events has been limited, the connection I’d love to forge with the reader has been dampened. (Thankfully, some readers feel comfortable emailing with a line or two about how the novel affected them. These words mean so, so much to me!)

Overall, the experience enlightened me to what an author must do to launch a book and keep the book present. It also showed how adaptable (or not) the book industry can be. I hope to apply everything I learned to the next book.

Q: I am always interested in a writer’s “other selves,” and the way those interests and lifestyle facets work together. You are a scientist as well as an author, having taught anatomy and physiology at the college level for years. How does writing affect your scientific brain, and how does your knowledge of science affect your writing?

A: Writing has always been near and dear to my heart, and years ago, I grappled with the choice to pursue a creative degree or a more practical degree. With guidance from well-intentioned parents who wanted me to be able to support myself fully, if necessary, I chose the practical route and earned a doctorate in physiology. But even as I lectured on the cardiac cycle or the structure of skeletal muscle, a little voice spoke to me. “Write,” it said. While my children—I have four—were little, that meant blogging; it’s all I had time or energy for, and capturing snapshots of our lives then, maybe inserting snark or finding the humor in them, fulfilled me. A decade ago, though, the voice changed from the generic one prodding me to write to a full character telling me their story. As you might know, it’s difficult to ignore a voice that’s constantly pestering you!

That’s a lot of (perhaps unnecessary) backstory, but I share it because the answer to your question took me years to fully realize. When I reflect back on my time in graduate school—even just the application and interview process—signs pointed to my true desires to write. At my interview with the graduate school chair at the time, a gastrointestinal physiologist, he said, “Your essay is quite different from what we normally see. It’s a beautiful story.” I often think back to that hour I spent with him. What if I’d recognized then that my stories needed to be told? Would I have left the physiology department with a polite “Thank you for your time,” and applied to English or creative writing instead? Who knows?

My point: I look at everything as a story, and I want to connect the dots, find a structure, and produce a storyline. When I taught, my lectures had a beginning, a middle, and an end, and the “story” flowed, and I chose my words carefully, much like a writer does. And now, though I don’t teach science, I use that background every day, either in writing or in freelance editing. Being able to formulate questions, make suggestions, dig deeper, and test hypotheses serves me well in the writing arena and allows me to ask questions or hold a perspective that not everyone else has. Furthermore, most of my fiction revolves around some physical or mental health issue—the science lover in me still exists—and knowing the disease processes, how the body works, and what questions to ask puts me at an advantage when it comes time to do research.

Q: What project or projects are you working on right now? Why are you excited about it or them?

A: My work is mainly categorized as women’s fiction, and my next novel, The Chocolate Garden, is no exception. The story centers on seventy-seven-year-old Frank Raffaelo, a retired serviceman who loves his family but doesn’t always understand them or their motivations. An accidental fall forces Frank to face a fear—that his memory might be failing him—and rely on his three children: Gabe, the oldest, who’s overseas; Nico, the youngest, who is keeping a secret from his family; and Marissa, the middle child, who wants to feel like she belongs and matters to her family. Marissa is also a nurse practitioner, and with time, she realizes that while Frank might not show any abnormal cognitive changes, his wife of forty-two years, Angie, does. When Angie’s denial of her symptoms results in dangerous consequences, the Raffaelo family understands that life as they know it is about to change.

In 2015, my mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. That summer, I spent many hours with my parents, and I sat with my mother as she was assessed for cognitive changes and diagnosed with “changes consistent with Alzheimer’s” (definitive diagnosis can only occur upon autopsy). Since then, I’ve taken on the role of point person for her health and well-being. This book reflects my experiences since that summer and exposes the toil and hardship that dementia can cause for partners and families. I hope it resonates with readers who have had similar experiences and helps them realize that they and their loved ones aren’t alone.

Aside from The Chocolate Garden, a few other projects are also in the works, but it’s a little early to divulge any of their secrets!

Q: Finally, I believe the writing community thrives when writers support one another and share their experiences. What advice do you have for the rest of us for hanging on to our creative selves when life is so messy? What techniques can you share with us for finding energy when we’re running low on it? 

A: Finding solace in writing—which, for me, is usually a solitary affair—is something I do every day. Shutting off from the real world is integral to maintaining my personal health and well-being (and sometimes, those characters just won’t be quiet!). Times exist, though, when my virtual writing friends are just what I need. Despite my ineptitude with social media and my dislike of the venue, there’s a draw there, and it comes from the writing community. They are a generous, welcoming, safe lot that understands why you’re stressed about life. They know how difficult it is to find minutes to write between parents or kids or grandparents or jobs or partners or bouts of loneliness. They understand that messiness and offer you a listening ear, advice, encouragement—whatever you need. So one tip would be to involve yourself in a good writing community and become involved. And by involved, I mean don’t just lurk there (though that’s a good start!). Participate in whatever way you can. Comment on a post, share a post, read a book and review it. Make friends! These folks will be your lifeline through the whole publication process.

As for hanging onto creativity and finding energy . . . I think it’s important to have other creative outlets that bring us joy. When a story just isn’t working for me, I often bake. The process soothes me, I enjoy it, and I always have a finished product (that usually tastes great). Somehow, being able to hold something concrete in my hands energizes me and clears my head. Walks outside also help; the air and nature rejuvenate my cluttered mind. Lately, I’ve also relied on my fifteen-minute solution: I set a timer and concentrate for fifteen minutes on the task at hand. At the end of the time, I celebrate (usually just a mental high five) what I’ve accomplished. The task can be anything from my own writing project to a client’s manuscript to dusting my home or weeding the garden, and I get a lot accomplished in fifteen minutes. That sense of accomplishment helps fill the empty vessel within once again.

A toast to music and history: Guest post from Melanie Gall

Melanie Gall is a woman of many talents. She is an author, an editor, a historian, a musician, a performer, and more. She tours within and outside of the U.S., putting on shows full of razzle and dazzle and all that jazz: A Toast to Prohibition and A Talent to Amuse: The Noel Coward Story are just the latest. Check out her albums on her website, and preorder her book Deanna Durbin, Judy Garland, and the Golden Age of Hollywood here.

The other day, I was at New York’s Museum of Natural History with a couple of friends. Safely masked and vaxxed, for the first time since the pandemic began, we had a regular girls’ day out. As we wandered through the Hall of Gems and Minerals and then the Hall of Biodiversity, my friend noted that one of the stuffed bears had been in the collection since 1892.

“That’s a hundred and thirty years ago,” she said. “I wonder what New York was like back then?”

Without thinking I replied, “Easy. That’s the year Eddie Cantor was born in the tenements of the Lower East Side. It was when the anti-sparrow protection laws in New York were in full force, and the year Merry Gotham opened on Broadway.”

One friend was a lifelong New Yorker, so she took this all in stride. But the other gave me a look that made me pause. I was suddenly aware that it was a bit odd to have so many seemingly random bits of historic tidbits at the ready. At least, it would seem that way to someone whose writings didn’t center around presenting and preserving history.

You see, I’m a music historian. Over the pandemic, I wrote and secured a book deal for Deanna Durbin, Judy Garland, and the Golden Age of Hollywood, a biography of 1930s Hollywood star Deanna Durbin. And to properly understand and recount life of a forgotten historic figure—in a way that both serves history and presents the material in a compelling and relatable manner—there needs to be context. And to effectively build that context, I immersed myself in the popular culture of the time. And learned a lot of, well, unusual history.

Wondering about millinery trends in the early twentieth century? I got it. Pondering when the first “morality clauses” were introduced into Hollywood contracts? I’m your gal. Feel like hearing about the litigious nature of inventor Thomas Edison? Oh, don’t get me started…. So many random facts, and it’s all just part of the job.

You see, every writer needs the skills and tools to properly serve their genre, and this is something a lot of people don’t sit down and think about. If you’re writing Science Fiction, Fantasy, or any sort of Apocalyptic or Dystopic novel, you need to be able to build a world, defining and remaining consistent with the rules that govern your universe. There’s memoir, where the writer needs to be able to tell a personal story while looking beyond their often still-raw emotions to create a work that is both relatable and marketable. A mystery has to be mysterious. Erotica needs to actually be scintillating. And so on.

I recently edited a manuscript where the writer fully admitted that he had never read any other books in the genre. Not one. My first piece of advice (after “don’t capitalize every word you happen to like in the next draft or I’ll stab myself in the eye with a fork”) was, of course, for him to research the genre. Understand the conventions. Understand what is trite and what is original. And learn what tools you already have or that you need to gain to write the best book possible. And for a history book (and no matter how much I’d love to craft a world with magic gerbils and flying toasters, I know my strength is non-fiction) one of the strongest tools needed is an in-depth knowledge of the history surrounding and influencing the events in the book. Because as a author/historian, I’m not just preserving history, I’m making vital decisions about how it will be remembered. And that is a heavy responsibility.

It’s probably a good thing that there haven’t been any parties for the past two years, because I’d
probably be that person expounding upon the most random things while other people chat about the weather and the most recent Marvel film. But meanwhile, I’ve just finished my second book, which is a history of house sparrows in North America. And oh, you have no idea the crazy things I’ve learned….

Should you create an author website? Yes.

I’ll keep this one short.

Recently, I stopped waffling about whether or not I should create a website and did it. Or, rather, I paid someone else to do it, because I’m from that in-between generation that didn’t grow up with computers but now we’re forced to use them for everything and to be honest, we’re still a little disoriented. (I had a word processor in high school that was, for then, top of the line.)

I dragged my feet about it because I thought, well, I don’t have a book. I’ll make one if I get my collection published. In the meantime, I racked up publications one by one, here and there, in smaller journals and online magazines, anthologies and even on podcasts (two of those forthcoming!). I realized I had plenty to put on a website, BUT, even if I didn’t, it still would have been worth making one. Create a website for the writing life you want, not for the writing life you have? Something like that?

If you create a website, you are basically making yourself “findable” via internet search. You are giving people a way to contact you. You are creating a professional presence, so that WHEN you get published (gotta believe, right?), you already have that piece in place. When you get stories or poems picked up by journals, small or large, you can actually fill in the “website” box on the bio form. And if you’re a blogger (whether it’s shouting into the void or talking to a few people or to many), it gives you a handy place to keep posts.

One of my favorite things about having a website, though, is a thing just for me. I love having one place where all of my publications and little accolades get to live. It’s like a digital creative resume. An online scrapbook. It’s nice to see all of my work together–like the last, oh, decade and a half of writing and revising and submitting has amounted to more than nothing.

If you don’t have money to spend on a website right now, create one for free on WordPress or a similar platform. You can upgrade it later and update it as you go.

(Also, it’s worth noting that there have been very few days with zero website visitors.)

If nothing else, I bet your mom/partner/best friend/dog/cat will think your website is cool.

“Comparisons are a waste of time,” an interview with Ellen Birkett Morris

Award-winning author Ellen Birkett Morris, whose titles include Lost Girls, Abide, and Surrender, shares here her philosophy on writing and the ways in which her career has continued to change and evolve, always coming back to words and their power. Find out more about Ellen, see her list of publications, and check out other interviews at ellenbirketmorris.ink.

Q: One thing I often remind myself and cheer on other writers with is this idea of determination and resilience–belief in one’s work, stubbornness even. Your own publications and projects are impressive in both their number and variety–you write and teach and publish in so many genres. How have you developed persistence? What can you share with others on the topic? 

A: My work is fueled by the fact that I really love to write.  Before I pursued creative writing seriously I worked my way into jobs in journalism and freelance writing that allowed me to write. Once I started to write creatively I learned how hard it is to get published and how much rejection was involved. I started by taking classes and working with a writing group. I made my work the best it could be. Then I reminded myself that each writer brings a different style and level of talent to the work so comparisons are a waste of time. I focus on what I do best. When it comes to rejection I realize that different editors like different things. It isn’t a reflection of my worth as a writer. If I get a no then I revise the work and send it elsewhere. No one is going to work harder than me to get my voice in the world, so I believe deeply in my work.

Q: Do you have a “home genre,” one you are more comfortable with than others? If so, which is it, and what about it appeals to you? 

A: I love the short story form the most and think I am good at it, but poetry is where I began as a writer. Poetry is my home. I love how crystalized poems are, how they capture experience through just the right image and in so few words. As a writer you have to bring the camera in very close in poems so you reflect both an outer world and an inner existence. Each poem is a beautiful puzzle. I have a new chapbook out called Abide from Seven Kitchens Press.

Q: What are your current projects or undertakings, and why are they energizing you right now? 

A: I am currently working on a collection of stories centered on the theme of home. Home is something we can all relate to and it can be looked at through so many different viewpoints.

I am also working on revising novel-length work. I just hired a developmental editor and I can’t wait to learn a lot from him about how to make my novel work better.

Q: If developing and writing and revising are one side of a coin, the other side is submitting and querying and promoting. That second side is the one many of us struggle with–either because we don’t have the skills or the inclination. How have you found a balance between the two over the years, or at least the tools and time needed to market and publicize your work? Do you have any advice for the rest of us? 

A: I had the advantage of working in journalism and getting used to seeing my work in print. I brought that same drive to my creative writing. As a reporter, I was on the receiving end of pitches and got to learn a bit about marketing. I’ve spent over 15 years doing contract public relations for a women’s foundation so that has helped build my promotion skills. I remind myself that my work won’t get published unless I put it in front of an editor. Once it is published it won’t catch reader’s eyes unless I promote it. That keeps me going. It is hard to find the time, but worth it. There are great resources on social media, especially The Writer’s Bridge run by Allison K. Williams and Ashleigh Renard. I also love “Before and After the Book Deal” by Courtney Maum.

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