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Lynda's Twittery Writing Advice Column #4: LAUGH

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.
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Tattered Cover Bookstore Blog's VIDEO interview

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 Read More 
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PBS' Antiques RoadShow-Antique Inspiration for Novel


We read about such stories everyday: A comic book found at a garage sale is worth $48,000. An ugly lamp is an authentic Tiffany worth $100K. A cracked vase turns out to be a rare Egyptian urn somebody's grandfather swiped during World War I from North Africa.

If you've read Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale, you'll know that antiques are actually characters themselves and play a pivotal part in the story that unfolds at a rich old woman's garage sale on the last day of the Millennium.

A rolltop, a dragoon, 44 Tiffany Lamps, an heirloom wedding ring, a museum-quality elephant clock...all are there for the buying. Cheap.

This is why we love Garage Sales and why we dream of being the next big find on PBS' Antiques Roadshow Episodes. Antiques Roadshow has made people clutch their hearts on spotlight episodes since 1995 and has become part of the nation's psyche. And I don't mind admitting that watching this show was one of the varied inspirations for Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale from your friends at Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam who brought you "The Help."

This episode about a Tiffany "fish" lamp worth $100,000 impressed me so much that a fish Tiffany found its way into my character Faith's Sale (where, by the way, the Tiffanys are going for a $1).

PBS' Antiques Roadshow Episode-TIFFANY FISH LAMP--$100,000 FIND.


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Lynda's Twittery Writing Advice Column #3: FAIL

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.
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Tattered Cover Bookstore Event: DENVER/Highland Ranch-JULY 19

Tattered Cover Bookstore Event: DENVER

Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale and I had a great time at Tattered Cover Bookstore, Highland Ranch. Honored to be considered for hanging...that is..to be hung...on that author's dream of a bookstore's wall. Click below for all the fun info:

Tattered Cover Event-Highlands Ranch, Colorado JULY Read More 
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Meeting Fellow Amy Einhorn Books Author Eleanor Brown

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.  Read More 
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Lynda's Twittery Writing Advice Column #2: WRITE

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.  Read More 
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2012 Writers League of Texas Conference Faculty FUN

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  Read More 
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Look at the BOOK

LOOK: Faith Bass Darling's Last Garage Sale is a cover girl!

Look at the book this New Jersey book club group is holding for a local magazine story entitled "Top Shelf" about Good Summer Reads. They'd already chosen it for their book club before a local indie bookstore added it to the picks offered for the article, which is terrific.

THANKS, "Kindles & Cocktails" book club! Our Skype was fun.  Read More 
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What if Antiques Could Talk?



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.  Read More 
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