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Showing posts from August, 2013


Earlier this month, I was feeling frustrated by the length of time it is taking me to finish my novel. I came up with the concept and started working on it four years ago, and right now all I have to show for it is an outline and ten finished chapters. And I've been practicing at writing novels even longer, for almost double that time--about seven years. The more I thought about it, the more discouraged I felt about ever completing my book.

But then I went outside yesterday and counted my apples.

Three years ago, just before conceiving Nux Gallica, I planted three spindly little apple trees in my front yard. Some people teased me, saying they were scrawny, ugly things that wouldn't produce anything for many years. But I knew then that planting seedlings, like trying to conceive a child or beginning a novel, was the start of a long-term process.

I conceived Nux just about a month after planting the trees and about five months after starting my current novel, Briars and Black Hel…

Does this uterus make me look fat? Kate's Middle!

Is anyone else confused by the conversations about Kate's middle?

Let me be brutally honest. I am a skinny minnie mom. I've always been thin, and I have never put any effort into remaining thin; on the contrary, the only times I've ever made an effort to change my weight, the goal was in the positive direction. And it was hard, and it never really worked. I'm convinced that our bodies, through some calculus of genetics, development, and habits from birth, are hardwired to do everything possible remain at a constant baseline weight. That baseline is determined through a dance among DNA, diet, and environmental chemistry. Yes, a tiny minority of humans succeed at changing that baseline in a sort of permanent way, but that doesn't mean we all can. If you just change "diet," you may not lose weight. You may gain weight. You may get healthier or less healthy. And if you follow the exact same diet as someone else, you may get completely different, even opposite…

Unicorn Sparkles

Are you a writing advice junkie? Well, quit reading those tips now and find your unicorn sparkles, because they are the only thing that works every time to produce literary genius.

In the picture above, Nux Gallica is playing with a pile of unicorns while hiding under my writing group colleague's desk to take a poop in her diaper. It's like a performance art piece about my work in progress.

In Nux's current favorite show, My Little Pony, the theme song introduces the half dozen main characters with their special gifts and talents and then says, "and magic makes it all complete." It's like that with a good novel, too. You can have all the basic elements--a talented and hardworking author, a solid plot structure, well crafted characters--and still end up with something that is just OK. The magic happens when you find that spark, that trigger, that fairy godmother dusting that sends you into The Zone.

The tricky thing is that each author's unicorn sparkles a…