Posts Tagged Publishing

Monday Morning Coffee

Mosaic-HR_author_namesI hope everyone had a wonderful weekend, and you’ve gotten your free copy of Mosaic, A Compilation of Creative Writing by The Cartel Collaborative. If not, I set up a permanent page over the weekend where you can get it off my site, just by clicking the above link. For those who want paper, sorry, we couldn’t do a paper book without charging you, and we couldn’t decide how to we split our twenty cent profit between our eight wonderful authors, so we decided to be all electronic. 😉 That said, you can get it in just about any electronic format you can imagine.

I’m proud and excited about this professionally edited, professionally designed, book of short stories, short short stories, and poems. I enjoyed re-reading my collaborators’ stories when I proofed them, and we’re getting great comments from others who’ve read them. Please take the time to leave us a review (at least click some stars!).

Now for another plug. If you live in New York City, I am so jealous, because you can go see my wonderful nieces perform this Wednesday, at Gibney Dance. I don’t know if this fundraiser is open to the public, but here’s the Fb page. If I could, I’d fly out to see it. Audrey’s been dancing since she was four, and every adjective I see about her is in the category of amazing. I’ve only seen her live once, and she was still in middle school ( 😦 ). I’ve seen videos and she deserves the praise.  Theresa is doing a reading  – she’s published a series of short stories in literary journals. They’ve banded with other artists, to put together a creative evening of live music, dance, and more. I so want to go! Oh, I said that already, but it bears repeating.

In other news, I spent the weekend getting cold weather veggies (parsnips, beets, spinach, …) in the ground and beginning the task of setting up an author WEB site. It’ll be awhile before that site is ready….. Oh, and go on over to to read my short story, Columns.


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Book Review: As the Heart Bones Break, by Audrey Chin

Heart BonesAudrey Chin rocks in her newest novel, As The Heart Bones Break.*     She beautifully spins the drama of one man’s life, from his childhood in Vietnam during the war to late middle-age as a world-traveled business and family man, into a fascinating tale of personal growth, intrigue, love, and loss, while at the same time weaving bits of history, the conflict between those who supported the Communists and those who supported the Americans, the difference between traditional Vietnamese beliefs and those of children born in the United States, karma, love, what it means to be part of a family, and many other themes effortlessly into the tale.

With sentences like this:

Turning away from her friends, she flipped her long pony tail of ebony black hair over her shoulder and looked straight past Binh and at you, the large double-lidded eyes in her oval porcelain-pale face flashing with scorn.

she brings you into the scenes, breathing life into them, until you know Thong Tran’s thoughts, emotions, and experiences almost as well as he himself knows them.

Except for a chapter about his childhood, Chin begins the thread of Thong’s life when he’s already a young married man living in California, working as an engineer. But he is not finished with Vietnam or the past. His family and his career conspire to make him remember. Through his memories, we see how his youth in Vietnam shaped him, and how, only by sharing his secrets and exploring those of his family, can he grow into a person who can be loved and love in return even as tragedy envelopes him.

I adored this lovely, graceful novel about a man who survived an awful war that tore families and friendships asunder. If you enjoy learning about the human heart, and about other lands and cultures, you will love As the Heart Bones Break. Honestly, it’s so good that I’m expecting her to win awards for this work. It’s one of the best novels I’ve ever read. It gets five out of five stars, without any doubt.

*If you live in the United States, you can still order the book or read it on Kindle, even though she’s still looking for a US publisher. See Audrey’s comment for the links.

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When I take this novel to an agent, everything I have read on getting published advises that I must define its genre. No matter how much I hate being put into boxes, that is just how the publishing game works. I can rule a lot of these out immediately. It certainly isn’t:

science fiction
historical fiction

However, there are other genres I am not so sure about. I wonder, is it chick-lit? It is written by a woman, primarily for women. My initial draft did have that humorous lift to it that seems to be a mainstay of such wonderful novels as Good in Bed, or The Devil Wears Prada.

Hoever, when I rewrote, that funny side went out the window. There are still hints of it in the conversations between the three friends, especially Lauren and Tiffany, but the tone of the novel became much more serious. On the other hand, not all so-called chick lit has that personal, humorous side. I see The Time Traveler’s Wife and Eat, Pray, Love listed as chick-lit on at least one WEB site, and I didn’t find Jody Picault’s My Sister’s Keeper to be at all funny, but it was on that list as well. Another thing that perhaps rules out this category is that no one goes shopping in Naked Lobster. Oops.

Besides chick-lit, though, there are two other possible categories. One is literary fiction. I probably don’t have the right degrees to call my writings ‘literary’, and I have also tried to avoid pretentiousness in my writing (but, then again, so did Hemingway and I certainly don’t use words as sparingly as he did).

Also, I have to wonder if very many men would relate to Naked Lobster. So that leaves one more category: woman’s fiction. But if I don’t call it literary fiction, then it won’t qualify for literary prizes (see A Guide To Literary Fiction). (Not that I think it’s that good, but I am sure doing my best). And I do think some of the issues explored in Naked Lobster, such as grief, the existence of supernatural phenomena, and the devastation of lives because of alcoholism, are universal, which once again puts it back into the literary fiction category.

Truth is, I am going to have to decide on this pretty soon, but not yet.

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