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Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale wins 2013 Writers League of Texas Fiction Prize

September 4, 2013

Tags: Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale, The Reading Life, The Writing Life


Happy to announce that Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale has won the

2013 WRITERS LEAGUE OF TEXAS Book Award for Fiction.

Honored beyond words.

For a complete list of finalists and winners in other genres, click here:

2013 Writers League of Texas Book Awards


Faith Bass Darling's on Vacation in Martha's Vineyard

August 31, 2013

Tags: Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale, The Reading Life, The Writing Life

Was just sent this snapshot via a Martha's Vineyard vacationer...

...a gift shop with one table of books:

See it?

Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale is in good literary island company, eh?

Lynda's Twittery Writing Advice Column #10: RESIST

July 19, 2013

Tags: Lynda's Twittery Writing Advice Column, The Writing Life

Column #10: RESIST

Want to be a writer?
•Master the art of the Resist:
•Resist expectations...
•Bad goal: Bestseller next year.
•Better goal: A book one fine day
• Best goal: Write for yourself and watch yourself grow.
•Resist comparisons to others....
•...the green-eyed monster prowls and devours.
•Resist distractions...
•...unless distraction is exactly what you need (and often it is).
•Resist excessive email/texting/facebook/twitter/social media du jour...
•...rule it; don't let it rule you.
•Resist limitations...
•...that's an editor's job.
•Resist the urge to tell your story to others...
•...unwritten oral rule: If you tell it, you won't write it.
•Resist the idea you'll never have another idea.
•Resist resisting the blank page...
•...brainstorm. Free associate. Doodle. It's all good.
•Resist others' expectations:
•Good goal: Just say "No" to timesucks.
•Best goal: Save some "yes" for yourself.
•Give in when you must, because that's life. But, daily, practice the writerly art of the:
•Resist.

Southwestern American Literature Journal Review

June 2, 2013

Tags: Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale, The Reading Life, The Writing Life

Spring 2013 Southern American Literature


My inner professor is very proud that my novel Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale was reviewed in a fine academic journal, American Southwestern Literature. Frequent book reviewer Dr. Herb Thompson of Virginia's Emory & Henry College reviewed it for the Spring 2013 issue. Thanks, Prof. Thompson, especially for calling it "one of the best books you've read in awhile."

Lynda's Twittery Writing Advice Column #9: REPEAT

June 1, 2013

Tags: Lynda's Twittery Writing Advice Column, The Writing Life

Column #9: REPEAT

Want to be a writer?
•Write something, then do it again. With gusto.
•Work on voice: Clear literary throat.
•Experiment. Write. Delete. Repeat.
•Give your inner smart aleck full rein, then rein it in.
•Channel inner smart aleck into dignified prose.
•Practice some pathos. Switch hitters play more.
•Get a job as a copywriter. That'll teach you.
•To wit: Try cutting that 3000 word masterpiece to 500.
•Result: Talk about zing.
•Repeat.
•Have epiphany: First drafts are not fun; fun is in rewrite.
•Grasp meaning of Gertrude Stein's famous quote: "To write is to write is to write is to write is to write."
•Google Gertrude Stein: Yearn to live in 1920 Paris with young E. Hemingway et al.
•Remember Hemingway's answer when asked why he rewrote a last line 33 times:
•"To get the words right."
•To write is to write right:
•Repeat.

Southern Living Magazine "Book Report"

April 24, 2013

Tags: Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale, The Reading Life, The Writing Life


Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale was the subject of a "Book Report" in the April edition of Southern Living Magazine that even got a plug in for what is probably the biggest antiques fair in the country. An excerpt:
This Texas author's debut novel has us gearing up for the 45th annual Round Top Spring Antiques Fair this month. Set in Bass, Texas, the book centers around the wealthiest woman in town who after 20 years of hiding, comes out with a yard sale where Tiffany lamps and Louis XV clocks are sold for pocket change. There's high society drama and debaucherous family secrets that make for an enthralling Sunday read...."

Book Club Fun-Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale and Moi

March 23, 2013

Tags: Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale, The Reading Life, The Writing Life

Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale and I have been having lots of book club fun, be it Skyping, Call-ins, or In-Person events. (See info about it on "For Book Club" page) Crazy fun!

Sometimes one of the members brings a camera, and sometimes even writes about it on their book club blog. That's what happened with the Round Rock New Neighbors Book Club that has been meeting at their local Barnes & Noble bookstore for 20 years. Here's one of the photos. link to an album of the fun as well as Claudia Harbert's wonderful review of the event. Thanks, Claudia and Frank Campbell!

And thanks to the dozens of book clubs I've had the honor of attending virtually and in-person this year! More to come!

Lynda's Twittery Writing Advice Column #8: TRAVEL

February 23, 2013

Tags: Lynda's Twittery Writing Advice Column, The Writing Life

Column #8: TRAVEL

Want to be a writer?
•Travel.
•Risk geographically. Leave your comfort zone.
•Take long drives.
•Travel back roads away; this will stimulate.
•Travel interstates home; this will meditate.
• Look. Really look. Until you see.
•Travel through the desert at least once.
•Empty your mind: Listen to the whole lot of nothing.
•Think big wordless thoughts, as big as vistas.
•Stop at tourist traps; gawk; buy weird souvenirs.
•Take a long train ride at a window seat at least once.
•Feel oddly connected to whizzing world outside window.
•Go out on the ocean beyond sight of land at least once.
•Feel small and yet chest-busting large.
•Wander a foreign city without knowing the language at least once.
•Feel oddly connected to spinning earth outside words.
•Savor the tingle, fear: That's your perspective adjusting.
•Embrace what goes wrong; it's the stuff of your best stories.
•Just don't drink the water.
•Proust: "The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes."
•Listen to the guy.
•Shake up your vision: Take a see voyage.
•Travel.

Pulpwood Queens Girlfriend Weekend Panel

January 21, 2013

Tags: Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale, The Writing Life

Pulpwood Queens Book Club Girlfriend Weekend
Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale was chosen for the 2013 Pulpwood Queens Book Club Girlfriends Weekend where hundreds of book club members from the 500+ chapters across the country descend on Jefferson, Texas to meet and hear 35 authors talk about their books while having a good time with their fellow book clubbers. Here I am on a panel with Kara McLaren and Amy Hill Hearth with their books "How I Learned to Sparkle Again" and "Miss Dreamsville." The panel was a hoot. Thanks to Kathy Patrick, founder of the Pulpwood Queens who chose Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale for its June main selection as well as for Girlfriends Weekend!

Lynda's Twittery Writing Advice Column #7: LISTEN

December 21, 2012

Tags: Lynda's Twittery Writing Advice Column, The Writing Life

Column #7: LISTEN

Want to be a writer?
•Listen.
•Eavesdrop.
•Enjoy waiting in line.
•Choose 50 items or less line at grocery store.
•Scan tabloid while listening. Appear nonchalant; be cool.
•But listen.
•Take the crowded bus, the packed train.
•Listen to rude cellphone chatter.
•Train your ear.
•Everything is material because everything's alive.
•Your writing should be alive.
•How?
•Specifics: Details spring words to life.
•Don't ask: "Why won't that bird shut up?"
•Ask: "What kind of bird was that?"
•Don't ask: "Why won't that guy shut up?"
•Ask: "What kind of guy says that?"
•Be invisible; be wallpaper, a fly on the wall
•Feel blood pressure drop when delayed, jostled, waitingwaiting
•Never be bored again.
•You are a spy:
•Shut up. Listen.
•The world is a noisy mess.
•Make it work for you.
•Capture mental soundbites to relay to page, then
•Revel in the sound of silence:
•Ahhhhhh
•Now fill it up with what you've heard.
•Listen.

(more to come-stay tuned)

Lynda's Twittery Writing Advice Column #6: JOT

September 17, 2012

Tags: Lynda's Twittery Writing Advice Column, The Writing Life

Column #6: JOT

So you want to be a writer?
•Jot.
•Jot, jot, jot.
•Jot a lot.
•Give yourself permission to be a writer who respects his/her ideas enough to jot.
•Got a good memory, you say? Famous last words.
•Jot on paper napkins, receipts, magazine page margins (then rip discreetly and pocket.)
•Interrupt conversations if you must. Be self-deprecating, apologetic, or lie like a dog, but jot before the idea flies away.
•Borrow/swipe pens if you must.
•Jot on your arm.
•Text yourself.
•Leave yourself a voicemail.
•Buy one of those tiny Swiss knifes with a pen.
•But jot that thought. Or curse yourself in the morning.
•The edges of forgotten ideas can haunt like ghosts.
•Your creative mind is a fickle thing. The spark may flicker and fade.
•It may not even be a good idea, but if you don't jot, it will become the Idea of the Century, the Bestselling, LifeChanger that got away.
•Who needs that grief?
•So learn the power of the scribble.
•Jot.



Lynda's Twittery Writing Advice Column #5: WHINE

September 5, 2012

Tags: Lynda's Twittery Writing Advice Column, The Writing Life

Column #5:WHINE

Want to be a writer?
•Learn the fine art of the whine:
•Feel paranoid; unappreciated; ahead-of-your-time.
•Take other writers' successes as a personal affront since they're not as good as you (They may not be).
•Spend lots of time at coffee houses expressing this feeling.
•Whine until you're sick of the sound of your own voice...
•Then go out and live.
• Out. Out there. Beyond your door. Away from the vapid glow of your computer screen and comforts of remote controls.
•Build a house with Habitat for Humanity, pick up cans along the highway, walk dogs for cancer, shelve books for the library, read to the blind: You get the picture.
•Offer your way with words to help the cause.
•Get good at it; good for the good.
•Feel on-the-nose appreciated.
•Feel less self-involved yet inspired.
•Take that feeling back to the vapid glow of your computer screen, then
•Cordone off a no-whine zone: Create.
•Realize most artists aren't appreciated until they die.
•Don't die. Live. Write. Right now. For the sake of it. For the art. For your soul.
•Then and only then, take a nanosecond when you feel the urge as a nice cleansing purge and...
•Whine.
•Feel better?
•Good.

SKYPE Book Club Summer Fun

September 2, 2012

Tags: Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale, Garage Sale Fun, The Writing Life

Part of the BIG FUN of being a 21st CENTURY novelist is you can actually "visit" Book Clubs anywhere, everywhere, anytime, if they invite you. Seriously.

You either pick up the phone ("Call-in") or click on over via your computer with "Skype" and voila! THIS I DID NOT KNOW. Now if the wine didn't have to be virtual, too, I'd be even happier.

I've been having great fun this 1st summer of "Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale" doing both with a dozen or so book clubs across the country in New Jersey, Alabama, Ohio, Texas, and Tennessee who bought the hardback or the ebook, instead of waiting for the paperback, and asked me in on the discussion fun. A writer's gotta love that. And I have.

Thanks to all ya'll. Looking forward to more. Got a book club this fall? This sound like fun? I'd be honored. Check out the "For Book Clubs" webpage for contact info. (Here's what the St. Agnes Belles Lettres Book Club of Memphis sent me to show of the shindig they threw in honor of my little East Texas-set fable. )

Lynda's Twittery Writing Advice Column #4: LAUGH

August 26, 2012

Tags: Lynda's Twittery Writing Advice Column, The Writing Life

Column #4: LAUGH

Want to be a writer?

• Laugh.
• Take your craft seriously but not yourself.
• Lighten up.
• Even the moodiest writing often has comic relief:
• Billy Crystal and Robin Williams played Hamlet's gravediggers. Look it up.
• Humor is one of the sharpest tools in your box:
• Use it sparingly in your writing soup, like salt.
• But on yourself? Pour it on...
• Pour until you crack yourself up.
• Not a born wit? No worries. Not the point.
• Master the art of self-deprecation. That'll do.
• But don't overdo. Same goes for humor.
• (Unless you're Billy Crystal or Robin Williams.)
• Understand the writing life is tough enough without laughter
• Brevity may be the soul of wit...
• Laughter is the soul of sanity.
• Cry and laugh if you must, but do it.
• Brood if you must, but keep it short.
• Rhino hide is a writer essential, but even rhinos hurt.
• Rejections pierce any hide: Expect it.
• But laugh and you can handle anything.
• Life is too serious not to treat with humor.
• Did you hear the one about the writer who never learned to laugh?
• Died young. And wrinkly. And had not one iota of fun.
• Save the moody darkness for the page.
• Save the literary angst for your book jacket photo.
• But for yourself?
• Laugh.

Tattered Cover Bookstore Blog's VIDEO interview

August 8, 2012

Tags: Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale, The Writing Life

FAITH BASS DARLING'S LAST GARAGE SALE had fun in DENVER in late July, making the Denver Bestseller List. Tattered Cover Bookstore, one of the biggest and best independent bookstores in the country hosted a signing and reading of it, after which I was asked if I'd liked to do a video interview for their blog.

"Sure...." I said, with my best deer-in-the-headlights look.

Here's the result for your entertainment: Two short "vlogs"--one is all about the novel, the other is about publishing and advice to writers.

Video Interview with Denver's famous Tattered Cover Bookstore's Blog

Lynda's Twittery Writing Advice Column #3: FAIL

August 2, 2012

Tags: Lynda's Twittery Writing Advice Column, The Writing Life

Column #3: FAIL

Want to be a writer?

•Fail
•A lot
•Rejoice in failure (ok, that maybe's going too far):
•Be ok with failure
•How to get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice.
•Failing is practice
•Like a stuntman, do it without getting hurt
•Like a stuntwoman, learn the right way to fall
•Like baseball, there's no crying (or at least not for long)
•There's only the stubbornness to see failure as prelude...
•Tattoo this somewhere: Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
•Research says it takes 10,000 hours to perfect a skill.
•See every rejection as notes on how to get there quicker.
•Make failing work for you
•Expect it. Learn from it.
•99% of writing is rewriting; all but 1% then is failing.
•Get it?
•Don't let it get you. In order to pass, let yourself:
•Fail.

Meeting Fellow Amy Einhorn Books Author Eleanor Brown

July 21, 2012

Tags: Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale, The Reading Life, The Writing Life

One of the MOST fun aspects of writing a novel is getting to meet other novelists you admire. And here's a pic to prove it! Here I and Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale are, posing with fellow Putnam/Amy Einhorn Books author Eleanor Brown, author of the bestseller The Weird Sisters (that she's holding) at my Tattered Cover Bookstore event in Denver this month. So great that she dropped by. We sent the photo to our editor/publisher Amy Einhorn for a little novelist fun.

Lynda's Twittery Writing Advice Column #2: WRITE

June 30, 2012

Tags: Lynda's Twittery Writing Advice Column, The Writing Life

Column #2: WRITE

Want to be a writer?

•Write
•Sounds obvious? You'd be surprised.
•Dreaming is not doing: DO.
•Where to start?
•Decide WHY.
•Flannery O'Connor: "I write to discover what I know."
•You: "I write to [your answer here.]"
•Write because you can't not write; if it's not love, it's not right.
•Be Flannery.
•See the journey as the destination.
•Find your inner [Insert fav author's name here].
•Then find your own literary self.
•Play with words. IS writing play? If not, stop.
•Don't rush to a computer; you'll be there soon enough, long enough. (Trust me.)
•Buy a little bound notebook; savor the move of thought to pen to paper.
•Know the joy of the jot. (See column #3)
•Journal but not obsessively (unless you're in therapy).
•Keep a diary (but with a key).
•Blog (but remember the internet is for everyone forever more).
•Do all 3 if only to learn to grasp the concept of audience.
•Apprentice yourself:
•Take a class.
•Start a writing group.
•Write short pieces; submit.
•Collect rejection slips with gusto.
•Improve. (And you will.)
•Get going putting it all into words.
•So you want to be a writer? There's only one way:
•Write.

2012 Writers League of Texas Conference Faculty FUN

June 22, 2012

Tags: Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale, The Writing Life

Writers League of Texas Conference June 22-24
HONORED to be part of the 2012 Writers League of Texas Agents Conference faculty-an opening panel for my debut novel "Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale" and teaching a craft-session: "How's your Hook-First Page."

Texas Writers? Ya'll coming? Hope to see you there.

Here's a list of the rest of the faculty, agents included:

2012 WRITERS LEAGUE OF TEXAS AGENTS CONFERENCE

What if Antiques Could Talk?

May 21, 2012

Tags: Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale, Garage Sale Fun, The Writing Life



I’ve come to believe writers don’t have ideas, ideas have writers. And the one that inspired my novel Faith Bass Darling’s Last Garage Sale occurred to me so long ago, it had to bide its time until I figured out what it wanted to say to me. You see, years ago, my mom, who still lived in our old two-story house full-to-busting with stuff that five kids left behind, began having garage sales. I found this out, living thousands of miles away by that time, when she called to tell me she’d sold, for a dime apiece, my long-forgotten stash of comic books yellowing in the back of one of her closets (My dad owned a drugstore; I had hundreds).

“Do you want the money? “ she asked.

“No, Mom, that’s ok,” I said, “keep it.”

But I felt suddenly, inexplicably sad. I remember laughing at myself, surprised by my feelings. Why was I so attached to those old things? Heaving a nostalgic sigh, I shrugged it off. Then, not a month after that, I heard the first Superman comic book sold for a million dollars, and I knew exactly what I was feeling: shock. And awe. And sadness that I didn’t own that comic book.

I was already watching PBS’ “Antiques Roadshow” series with the rest of the world, mesmerized by the spotlight sections–the “omigod” stories in which, garage-sale finds were treasures unaware. Or the stories revealing that Granny’s chamber pot, say, was worth a fortune, the grown grandchild admitting to using it as an ashtray, and the fun speculation of whether the family keepsake gets kept or sold. I began to think not just of an object’s value, but its history, its provenance—its own “life story” often consisting of dozens of lost human life stories. How objects live on after their owners vanish with the memories that made the objects valuable, and how poignant that was in such a human way.

And that’s when the ah-ha bolt of inspirational lightning struck. What if our antiques could talk? I glanced at my granny’s antique bookcase in my office.

“Hey,” I asked it, “what would you say?”

My spouse and my dog both looked at me askance, but since this sort of behavior from me was not all that unusual, they let it pass, although I think they both secretly paused to see if I got an answer. Later, I learned the bookshelf was not really my grandmother’s; it was my great-grandfather’s, a sheriff in the little Texas town in which my family lived for a century. And then I really wanted the bookcase to talk. Alas, it kept mum. But that long-ago garage sale idea gave me a poke: Garage Sales + Antiques = Hmmm. Are we possessed by our possessions? Or are we possessed by our memories of them? Or both? Glancing at my granny’s bookshelf, I realized it does talk to me in it own way, as all our most precious possessions do. Don’t they?

(***Guest Post on SheReads.org where Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale is this month's selection. CLICK HERE to read more and enter for a giveaway during May.

Blue Willow Bookshop Event-Houston

May 16, 2012

Tags: Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale, The Writing Life, The Reading Life

FUN, fun, fun at Blue Willow Bookshop event, especially with Valerie's Garage Sale Rum Punch.

Thanks to everybody who came out!

Here's a link to Blue Willow Bookshop, a great and successful independent bookstore in the Houston area:

Blue Willow Bookshop May Event

Book Launch Event!

May 11, 2012

Tags: Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale, The Writing Life, The Reading Life

Book Launch Event at BookPeople Bookstore, Austin

April 30, 2012


We had a great time. Champagne, munchies, literary chit-chat and a nice crowd. Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale was #3 on Bookpeople's April Bestsellers List.

Wish you were there!

Book Launch Party SNAPSHOT

May 10, 2012

Tags: Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale, The Reading Life, The Writing Life

Snapshot of the BookPeople Book Launch FUN!

Here's a link to BookPeople, Austin's incredible independent bookstore:

Austin's BOOKPEOPLE.

Another Book Launch SNAPSHOT

May 9, 2012

Tags: Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale, The Reading Life, The Writing Life

Another snapshot of the BookPeople Book Launch FUN!

Former Writers League of Texas' director Cyndi Hughes and I as we wax deeply literary during her interview of me at our BookPeople Book Launch Party.

Of 1st Lit Loves: Nancy Drew, Harper Lee, and the "Easy" Faulkner

May 8, 2012

Tags: Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale, The Writing Life, The Reading Life

When I was a kid, the only time I wasn’t trying to break my little tomboy neck every single day was when I was reading, which was also every single day: I devoured Superman comic books from my Dad’s drugstore and all the Hardy Boy and Nancy Drew mysteries at my small town’s Carnegie Public Library. And they led me to "The Phantom Tollbooth," "Tom Sawyer," "A Wrinkle in Time," then "To Kill a Mockingbird" and beyond. But I wasn’t one of those kids that cherished one book; I cherished them all. It was the fact of reading, the new worlds I entered every day that mattered.

I read my way to a B.A. in American Literature, where my required reading was the classic Southern literature that would haunt my style and story-telling psyche when I began my own writing: Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, the stories of Flannery O’Connor and Eudora Welty, the “easy” William Faulkner such as “As I Lay Dying,” and the “hard” Faulkner, like “Sound and the Fury,” which I hated as a reader/later appreciated as a teacher/and much later surprisingly loved as a writer. These are in my ear and in my voice. I love them still.

And what of favorite books by modern writers? The touchstones on my own modern writing journey? There’s Pat Conroy’s "The Water is Wide" and Marilynne Robinson’s "Housekeeping" for language, Lee Smith’s "Oral History" for voice, and Larry McMurtry’s "Lonesome Dove" for sense of place, Amy Hempel’s "At the Gates of the Animal Kingdom" for brevity, and Margaret Atwood’s "The Handmaid’s Tale" for fearlessness. They keep reminding me what can be done with words. But my literary first love were those empowered kids’ series that made me first love the imaginary world of words as much as the real one.

(**written for "Literary First Loves" column SheReads.org Online Book Club. For more including a GIVEAWAY of Texas goodies as well as a signed copy of the novel, CLICK HERE)

Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage-An "IndieNextPick" May List

April 5, 2012

Tags: Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale, The Writing Life



Love those independent bookstores!

Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale has been named to the The May 2012 "IndieNext" Great Reads List.

Truly proud to be on it.

The IndieNext List is a dozen or so chosen titles from across publishing by Indiebound, the independent bookseller's association. Click on the link below for more good reads for the month. These people know a good read:

The May 2012 IndieNext Great Reads List

Twitter "Head of Culture" Creates/Sends Real Letters

March 1, 2012

Tags: The Writing Life, The Reading Life


True confession:

I probably wouldn't be a writer if I hadn't been born in the computer era. Even typewriters would have taxed my patience and my A.D.D. need to fiddle with every word on the page. And editing a handwritten piece...how did they do that? But oh how I love the idea of pen and paper, the feel and texture of both.

So as a twitterer-in-training, when I heard that one of the twitter execs had her own letter press and actually wrote "real" snail mail letters, I felt my heart flutter. It wasn't just me; it was the human condition. There is something low tech about our souls, no matter how hi-tech our minds and modern tools might be. If you agree, you'll love this Wall Street Journal article by Katie Rosman about it. QUOTE: "I think there are a lot of us who live frantic, digital lives and long to make things with our hands."

Wall St. Journal: Lead Tweets at Twitter

GOODREADS.com and LIBRARYTHING.com Galley Giveaway thru Feb. 29

February 1, 2012

Tags: Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale, Garage Sale Fun, The Writing Life, The Reading Life



BE the FIRST on your block to attend "Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale."

Are you a member of GOODREADS.COM or LIBRARY THING? Both of them are winding down their Galley Giveaway Countdown for Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale." My publisher has put 25 copies up for early grabs. All you have to do is enter. It closes Feb. 29. (And if you're not a member, maybe this is a good reason to join?) C'mon over and check it out ASAP. Because you know how the good stuff always goes first at garage sales:

GOODREADS.COM GALLEY GIVEWAY COUNTDOWN: Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale

FIRST SIGNING: Galleys This Saturday, Jan. 21, at ALA DALLAS

January 18, 2012

Tags: The Writing Life, The Reading Life, Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale

GALLEY SIGNING/GIVEAWAY
MIDWINTER ALA MEETING
DALLAS Convention Center
Penguin booth 10-11 a.m.

I'll be signing and giving away galleys (ARCS-Advanced Reader Copies) THIS Saturday. In honor of the librarians I'm about to meet, here's a fascinating article about public library innovations I'd bookmarked for use some day. Today's the day. From unusual design to the Library of Congress on the web, here you go:

Brainpicking.com's "Public Library Innovation"

GALLEYS ARE HERE: "Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale" all dressed up

January 13, 2012

Tags: Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale, The Writing Life

Galleys (also known as ARCs-Advanced Reader Copies) just arrived. Yes, I'm smiling.

And even more fun, I'll be signing and giving away these gorgeous pre-book "books" on Saturday, Jan 20, from 10-11 a.m. in Dallas at the MidWinter American Library Association convention to those most marvelous keepers of the reading flame: Librarians.

"Don't they look great?" (she said, smiling and nodding at photo.)

Lynda's Twittery Writing Advice Column #1: READ

January 1, 2012

Tags: Lynda's Twittery Writing Advice Column, The Writing Life

Column #1: READ

Want to be a writer?

• Read.
• Read.
• Did I mention you should read?
• Read cereal boxes, read ads, read old magazines in waiting rooms, read good books, read bad books, read everything, anytime, anywhere.
• Read so much your mind's awash with words.
• Read for love.
• Read for money.
• Read to swell your vocabulary.
• Read to outspell spellchecks.
• Read to quote good writers.
• Read to become a quotable writer.
• Read different genres; stretch; discover.
• But be free from book-finishing guilt.
• Can you put it down? Put it down.
• Ponder why you could put it down: avoid.
• Know librarians and bookstore people, a reader's (and writer's) best friends.
• So many books, so little time.
• Do not speed-read; eschew such heresy.
• Slow-read. Savor. Study.
• Grasp the trick of each sentence. Syntax is a beautiful thing.
• Imagine your own words on the printed page.
• Your favorite book may be the next one.
• That life-changing book is in your pile.
• Who would you be without the books you've read?
• To be a writer, first:
• Read.

Google Art Project & a Gilded Age Mansion Peek

December 27, 2011

Tags: Garage Sale Fun, Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale, The Reading Life, The Writing Life

Van Gogh's "3 Books"
Seen the latest Google feature called: Google Art Project?

If you're like me, and happen to be the type of museum-goer who inches near to see the paint globs up close and personal when the guard isn't looking, this site's for you. It's the next best thing to being there. You can zoom in closer than real life ever allows without face time with museum personnel.

My favorite: NYC's Frick Collection. Why? (more…)

All About Book Covers

December 7, 2011

Tags: The Writing Life, The Reading Life, Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale


My cover's done. And ain't it beauty? The frustrated artist in me LOVES book covers.

It's not a stretch to say that while you can't judge a book by its cover you darn well can mess up its sales potential by being ugly. Covers are supposed to not only intrigue the passerby (There's something called the "airport test," I'm told. Will a passerby take a second glance at a cover of a book someone's reading?) but also attempt to suggest the story in an image.

They were originally "dust covers," and some people still call them that, which tickles me a little since we all love covers so much that who even thinks about taking them off to read 'em. And oddly they may be one of the biggest reasons I resist an e-reader.

For fun, here are some links about book covers. First is a New York Times article about covers that WEREN'T chosen--designers' favorites that just couldn't be used. You decide why:

The Cover Not Chosen

Next, here's one from the UK's Guardian about the possibly first book cover ever:

The First Book Cover

And here's on from Los Angeles Times about an actual art show showing classic cover art and the titles that might have been if the titular characters' genders were reversed:

The Classic Book Covers ReImagined

The Most Famous Query Letter (Set to Music)

November 30, 2011

Tags: The Reading Life, The Writing Life

An agent responds to the most famous query letter of all time: The Beatle's "Paperback Writer."

(And for those who have neither memory nor interest in The Beatles song, it still gives great advice on how to write a query letter.)

"Agent Responds to Beatle's Paperback Writer."

Hook 'Em, Author-First Lines

November 17, 2011

Tags: The Writing Life, The Reading Life

(Been thinking about first lines today. Here's a tip I thought I'd share for aspiring writers, taken from a craft course taught at the 2011 Writers League of Texas' Agents Conference)

Question #1: What's the most important part of a manuscript you want to sell?

Answer: the first five pages.
And really, the first page.
And really, the first paragraph.
And really, the first sentence.

That sounds crazy, but let's just admit that this whole writing and publishing thing IS crazy. (Now. Feel better?) So, how's your hook? When was the last time you took a second look at the first page of your manuscript? Let's put this another way:

(more…)

Road Reverie

October 15, 2011

Tags: The Writing Life, The Traveling Life, The Reading Life

Tumble down my rabbit hole--a literary travel writing web experiment.

Twelve literary travel writing pieces with creative links. The fun part of a scholarly project about literature in cyberspace. Thought you might get a kick out of it.

After all, where else can you find poetic Bathroom Graffiti from an Arizona Truck Stop?

Or a Bumper Sticker Poem?

(Originally published: Kairos Journal 15.2)

A Fun, Quirky Little Q&A with Scribe

October 1, 2011

Tags: The Writing Life, The Reading Life



I just did this quirky-fun Q&A for my upcoming WLT class in Scribe. Loved it!

Hey, you never know what a writer will say when asked crazy questions...

The Scribe Q&A with Novelist Lynda Rutledge



WEEK LINK: The Blue Bookshop Door

September 18, 2011

Tags: The Writing Life, The Reading Life, Garage Sale Fun

Every old "thing" has a story, but this antique-of-a-whole-other kind has its story written all over it...

In 1925, a popular bookstore in Greenwich Village closed, but before it did, the place was a hangout for the bohemian crowd that included literary lights of all kinds--flames and flickers--and the owner asked the "usual suspects" to sign a narrow blue door at the back of the shop.

Along with icons such as Theodore Dreiser, John Dos Passos and Sherwood Anderson, the door records the "passage of forgotten poets, socialist pamphleteers, suffragists, Ziegfeld girls and multitasking oddballs," as the New York Times article put it. The door was removed by the manager and bought by the U. of Texas' famous Harry Ransom Center in 1960, after a dealer spotted an ad in the Saturday Review asking, “Want a door?” Where it was during all those years, who knows? But from 1960 to now, it had been forgotten until somebody stumbled across it in storage at the Center. You've got to love it. Everything has a story, even a blue door.

This week's New York Times Book Review section offered the article about The Blue Door from the 1920s as well as a slide show, both fascinating. (more…)

My Very First Web Interview

September 13, 2011

Tags: Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale, The Writing Life, The Reading Life




The nice writing gang behind "What Women Write" invited me over this month for my first web interview:

What Women Write BLOG-CLICK HERE:

"Lynda Rutledge stops by
to chat about her soon-to-be-released Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam novel Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale and the craft of writing."

The Picture Window: My Ground Zero memory

September 11, 2011

Tags: The Writing Life, The Reading Life, The Traveling Life


New York City
10/11/2001



When I think about those days now, I see a dark street in some continuous midnight.
A man in a tuxedo carrying a cello from Carnegie Hall.
The sound of a sonata behind closed doors.
A Goya by a mansion's staircase, a Shakespeare folio under glass.
A flickering television in the apartment across from my 12th floor hotel window.
Only then, do I see why I was there and where I walked an entire November night—the gaping Ground Zero gash that was once the World Trade Center. The expected images have faded, mercifully if slowly, the images everyone knows without having to go there, the ones we'll always see. But the unexpected, what the mind chooses to hold on to and where the soul finds itself again, can be a lasting surprise.

I came to Manhattan a month after 9/11 to write a book with a crisis chaplain I'd never met. At 11:30 p.m., he walked into the hotel lobby in full blue tactical uniform, introduced himself, then led me immediately to the subway. (more…)

Cherubs want to know

September 2, 2011

Tags: The Writing Life, xCherubs, The Reading Life, Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale

April 2012: Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale.

A WRITER'S MORNING

August 31, 2011

Tags: The Writing Life

5:30 a.m. Wake Up-New Commitment to Morning Writing Time
6:00 a.m. Wake Up Again
6:35 a.m. Dog Breathing in Face. Get Up
6:40 a.m. Stumble Down Stairs
6:45 a.m. Make Coffee; Waves to Morning Person Spouse Rushing Out Door
6:50 a.m. Nuke Bran Muffin
6:52 a.m. Overnuked Muffin; Give to Dog
6:58 a.m. Gulp Coffee
7:00 a.m. Brighten; Feel Creative
7:04 a.m. Have Inspiration
7:05 a.m. Rush to Home Office
7:06 a.m. Wait for Computer to Boot; Begin to Lose Inspiration
7:07 a.m. Grab Pen and Paper Scrap to Save Idea
7:08 a.m. Pen is Dry
7:09 a.m. Begin to Repeat Thought like Mantra So Not to Forget It
7:10 a.m. Find Working Pen; Quickly Scrawl Idea
7:11 a.m. Dog Wants Out
7:12 a.m. Phone Rings; Attempt Not to Answer; Fail
7:13 a.m. Deal with Boring Issue on Phone with Spouse 7:14 a.m. Deal With Spouse Who Does Not Think Issue, Paying a Bill, Is Boring
7:15 a.m. Be Irritated That Spouse Disrespects Your Artistic Impulse (more…)

Let's Fire Up This Blog

August 1, 2011

Tags: The Writing Life, xCherubs, The Reading Life, Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale

HI.

I read somewhere that the least a blogger should do is be either helpful or entertaining. Or both.

In that spirit, with the aid of my own experience and an attitude my high school teachers awarded by sending me out to sit in the hall, I'm starting with a post about the writing life. Here's how Mr. Charles Bukowski, legendary free spirit who I bet spent a little banished time in school hallways himself, explains it via poets.org:

 Charles Bukowski's "so you want to be a writer"

Enjoy, feel the burst, pass it on.







Want To Be a Writer?
Lynda's twittery writing
advice column


Column #1:
READ.

Want to be a writer?
• Read.
• Read.
• Did I mention you should read?
• Read cereal boxes, read ads, read old magazines in waiting rooms, read good books, read bad books, read everything, anytime, anywhere.
• Read so much your mind's awash with words...
[CLICK HERE for the rest:]

Lynda's Twittery Wrtg Advice Column #1


Other advice columns:

•Jot
•Repeat
•Travel
•Fail
•Whine
•Laugh
•Listen
•Write
•Resist