My Writing Process — Blog Tour

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The Book of Laney -- available for pre-order now!

The Book of Laney — available for pre-order now!

Thank you to one of the Engine Books family, the lovely and talented, Courtney Elizabeth Mauk, for inviting me to take part in the Writing Process Blog Tour.

Here’s how it works. I was given some questions to answer (see below) and I was asked to nominate a few other writers so that they might answer the same questions a week after I post. Here we go…

1) What are you working on?

I am finishing up the edits on my forthcoming YA novel, THE BOOK OF LANEY.  I am excited about this book and also quite nervous about how it will be received. This book is extremely close to my heart as is the main character, Laney. I hope that readers will feel for her the way I do and understand the message I am trying to send through this book. I honestly can’t wait for it to be published so that I can get out there and talk about it some more.

2) How does your work differ from others of its genre?

 I don’t know whether it differs or not. Does it have to differ? Is that what we’re striving for? It’s not something I think about when I’m writing. I just write.

3) Why do you write what you do?

Recently, someone asked me about THE BOOK OF LANEY and what it was about. When I told her, she said, “Don’t you get depressed writing about stuff like that?” It wasn’t until much later when I’d gotten over the shock of the question that I thought of what my response should have been and that is: I would be depressed not to write about the dark and the sick in the world. I would be depressed to see something horrible and not use my work to formulate a response to it.

4) How does your writing process work?

I don’t know if I have a process so much as I have a bunch of quirks:

  • I set goals for myself–500 words a day, 1,000 words a day, etc.
  • I deny myself things I love until I make goals. For example, earlier this spring, I would not allow myself to watch the new season of Game of Thrones until I finished a rewrite. I pushed myself to get that rewrite done because I could not even consider waiting to watch GoT.
  • I tend to under promise and over deliver.
  • If my house isn’t clean, I can’t write.
  • I don’t write every day, unless I have set a goal for myself.
  • I tend not to write anything new in the summer but I do rewrite in the summer. I need the autumn and winter light to get my juices flowing.

Up next on the Writing Process Blog tour (look for their posts on July 17th or thereabouts): 

Kathy Fish‘s stories have been published in Indiana Review, Denver Quarterly, Guernica, Slice, and elsewhere. Her work is forthcoming in “The Lineup: 25 Provocative Women Writers” (Black Lawrence Press, 2014). She is the author of three short fiction collections, “Together We Can Bury It” (The Lit Pub, 2012), “Wild Life” (Matter Press, 2011), and a chapbook in “A Peculiar Feeling of Restlessness” (Rose Metal Press, 2008).

Paul Myette is the author of several short stories and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. He is curently working on his first novel. He is a graduate of the Breadloaf School of English and lives in Byfield, MA with his wife and kids.

THE BOOK OF LANEY — Now Available for Pre-Order!

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NOW available for preorder from Lacewing Books.

Here and now I am in this place far away from my home. Here, with the cold wind blowing down from the north and the stars piercing through the cloudless sky. Here I am.

But my story does not start here.

My story starts months ago and hundreds of miles south of where I am now. My story starts in the place I used to call home. My story starts with violence and heartbreak.

After her brother is involved in a grisly murder-suicide, fifteen-year-old Laney is sent to live with her grandmother in the Adirondack Mountains. Laney gradually warms to her new home—especially her relationship with a mysterious neighbor—but before she can appreciate her new life, she must uncover the secrets that have haunted her family for decades.


book of laney

Available March 2015 from Lacewing Books.

The Virgins, by Pamela Erens

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Pamela Erens‘ smashing second novel, THE VIRGINS, is a novel destined to be a classic, mostly because it is so expertly written and expresses such truths, but also because it pulls from many classics all the while inverting them, offering readers a fresh view of that which we thought we knew.

In many ways, the novel’s narrator Bruce Bennett-Jones is Nick Carraway to Seung Jung’s Gatsby, as Bennett-Jones smugly and expertly narrates all of the action and emotion of the characters around him at his East Coast prep school, especially that of fish-out-of-water turned golden boy, Seung, and his sexy and exotic girlfriend, Aviva. The world that Bennett-Jones creates for us is fully his own, but director that he is, he is completely comfortable showing us the work of those who act around him, casting them, oftentimes, against the grain of expectation.

At the center of Bennett-Jones’s world are the beautiful, aspirational couple of Aviva and Seung. Bennett-Jones both covets their relationship and is repulsed by it. He does not wish to posses Aviva in every emotional way that Seung does. Instead, he wishes to ravage her, which could make Seung the hero, the romantic lead, Romeo Montague, and Bennett-Jones the villian. But wait, that is all too simplistic, for Aviva is no Juliet. She is not willing to give up anything for her romance with Seung, certainly not her life.

Aviva wants out. She wants someone who can please her as much as she wants to restrict herself from pleasure. She wants to breathe. She doesn’t know what she wants other than she wants to not be a virgin anymore, because after all, she is not the woman everyone perceives her to be. She’s a kid, she’s starving herself, and she’s scared.

She is also liberated. She can ask for sex. She can want to have it. She can be disappointed when she doesn’t get it.

So is Aviva Emma Bovary then? Is she Anna Karenina? Is she Edna Pontellier?

Through the eyes of Bennett-Jones, she is all of them and none of them, for she is not oppressed by anything external to her own thoughts and the desires that she wished she didn’t have. It is Seung who is oppressed. It is he who has to fight most against the confines of the world where he exists and the expectations of those around him, especially those of Aviva and his parents.

And it is Seung who, like Bovary, Karenina, Pontellier, pays the price in the end, as he stupidly sacrifices himself for that which he thought was lost.

Though they are central to the plot, the novel is not really about Aviva and Seung. From the beginning, we know who we are meant to follow and that is Bennett-Jones, who is Meursault in L’étranger, guilty, judged as much as he is The Talented Mr. Ripley, easily pushing forward when he has ruined the lives of others. And yet he seems to have something of a conscience, or at least he wants his audience to believe he does.

Even though we are not meant to like him, we can’t help but admire the way he maneuvers through his life and the lives of others, eventually getting his way (or at least telling us that he does). Ultimately, Bennett-Jones is utterly compelling; out from behind the curtain, he becomes the star of the show, and when it is his turn to take a bow, we give him a standing ovation.

Enter for your chance to win a copy of I AM HOLDING YOUR HAND

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 I AM HOLDING YOUR HAND is forthcoming from [PANK] Books in January 2013.

Click here and enter for your chance to WIN one of two signed copies. And please spread the word!



2012, a year in preview


In 2012….

my son turns five

he graduates from preschool

he goes to kindergarten

I turn 45 and vow to focus on my health

I celebrate my ten-year wedding anniversary

my first novel debuts

my first short story collection debuts

I vow to run more, to read more, to eat less, to eat more

I finish my thesis and finally receive my MA in English Literature

sometimes I am sad

sometimes I am happy

I am loved, I love

Someone hurts my feelings

I hurt someone’s feelings

I am intimidated

I face my fears

Sometimes I am lazy

Sometimes I stay up too late

I seethe over a passive-aggressive comment

I watch TV

I worry about global warming

I become outraged by political commentary

I read a book that makes me cry

I make a new friend

Someone dies

A child is born

Wishing you all the best in 2012, good people of Earth!