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patry francis

Weekly Wrap: Staggering Generosity

by Susan Henderson on February 1, 2008

Quickly, before I get to the weekly wrap, I have a some music for my friend, Patry Francis, who was the focus of LitPark this week. This is a little gift to her from my kids, plus my very good friend, Kenny, who is the heart and soul of my Sunday soccer team.


“Time” – Pink Floyd

Also: “You Better, You Bet” – The Who; “Strawberry Fields” and “A Day in the Life” – The Beatles

*

I am overwhelmed with gratitude. And speechless, for a change. So instead of sharing my thoughts from this week, I’m going to quote some of the people who participated in the amazing, world-wide LIAR’S DIARY Blog Day.

* * *

Today is the day that we, as a community of writers, show our support and encouragement for one of our own, Patry Francis, author of The Liar’s Diary. I remember how thrilled I was leading up to the publication day for my first novel. The idea of going from city to city and meeting people who had or would read my book was incredibly exciting, and I looked forward very much to that day in June. I cannot imagine what I would have felt if, after all the hard work writing the novel, editing it, meeting my publisher and publicists, and all the planning that goes into launching a novel, I discovered that I had cancer and that I would have to shelve all the plans that I had worked so hard for.

This is what happened to Patry Francis. I don’t know her personally, but I feel bound to her by our craft and by the deep and intimate love that we writers have for it. I am proud to be one of hundreds today to show support and encouragement for her. I urge you to visit her site and read her blog. And of course read The Liar’s Diary.

And Patry, here is to continued recovery and a prosperous and healthy 2008 to you. ~ Khaled Hosseini, THE KITE RUNNER

* * *

Dear Patry,

Health care professionals thought I had a mere two weeks to live. In 1999. I was so weak, I could barely lift my T-Square off my drawing table. When I attended my first and last book signing for “Chili-Chili-Chin-Chin,” the distance from my parking spot to the fairgrounds where my books awaited me seemed like the Long March. I needed to sit down every few steps in order to gather strength and breath. My voice—my “chi”—was a mere whisper.

The night I came home from the hospital to continue infusions at home, my great grandfather came to me in a dream and said I had no excuse to be in bed when I still had his story to complete. Today, nine years since that dream, I am my healthy self—new and improved 😉 I am certain my deep desire to complete the manuscript kicked my body back on the path to life.

Patry, I know you have many more books to send out into the world. They are awaiting your return to vibrant health, stories that only you can tell.

Now that my legs are muscular and my voice strong and clear, I will be your legs and voice in helping you carry “Liar’s Diary” out into the world. I promise I will send emails to friends with the link to your webpage http://www.patryfrancis.com/ in the weeks to come. ~ Belle Yang, BABA: A RETURN TO CHINA UPON MY FATHER’S SHOULDERS

* * *

About two years ago, a galley of a debut novel called LIAR’S DIARY by Patry Francis turned up in my mailbox. I receive galleys all the time, and the author of this one was unfamiliar to me, so I had no reason to pay any special attention to it. Often I don’t have the time to even crack open the covers, much less read them. But this one had a seductive cover, and since I was headed up to Canada for a medical conference anyway, I threw the galley into my suitcase. A day later, sitting in my hotel room in St. Andrew’s, I started reading it. In straightforward but compelling prose, it opened quietly. No explosions, no murders, just a gnawing sense of domestic unease that grew more acute and more disturbing with every chapter. I was caught like a hooked fish and reeled helplessly into the story. I recall sitting in a seaside restaurant, my outdoor table facing the water, but my eyes glued to the page. The waitress who came to refill my water glass commented, “Wow, that must be a good book.”

Damn right it was.

I was delighted to give that book a blurb, and delighted to hear that so many other readers shared my opinion of it. Patry thanked me profusely and although we never met, we did exchange several emails. The book was released, Patry’s career as a novelist was launched, and I looked forward to seeing other books from her.

Then, on Patry’s blog, she recently revealed that her life had taken a sudden and devastating turn. She was diagnosied with an aggressive cancer, for which she had to be hospitalized. Although she’s home now, and her prognosis is good, naturally it’s her recovery that’s consuming her attention. Not the novel writing. Not anything as trivial as fictional stories and people who don’t exist.

She is coping with real life.

We writers often get so caught up in our fictional worlds that we forget our own lives and our own needs. It takes something like this — a real illness, a real crisis — to make us focus on what’s truly important.

Here’s to you, Patry. May you come back from this illness stronger than ever. May you go on to write many, many more books like LIAR’S DIARY. All of us — readers and writers alike — are rooting for you. ~ Tess Gerritsen, THE BONE GARDEN

* * *

I wasn’t really going to blog about Patry Francis today. I told myself that she had so many other amazing bloggers and writers in her corner, helping her celebrate and publicize the paperback edition of her book, The Liar’s Diary—what could I add to the discussion? In the grand scheme of things, my voice is very small. So I would sit on the sidelines and cheer for the important players on the field.

And then I realized—how utterly un-Patry like of me. She is someone I deeply admire in part because she has insisted on putting forth her words and her vision—even when she was a working mother struggling to balance the needs of her children with her writing. Even now after the diagnosis she received—an aggressive strain of cancer.

Last year, she fulfilled a long standing dream and published her first book, The Liar’s Diary, a psychological thriller about how the friendship between two women exposes dark secrets at the heart of their lives and families. Throughout the process of getting the book written and published, Patry shared much of her experiences and wisdom on her blog, Simply Wait. Those of us who are still writing, still dreaming, still hoping, found a champion in her…someone who had some of the same limitations, the same (or more) responsibility, the same STUFF that makes up a life, and who still realized her dreams through her talent and her tenacity. She’s such a vital presence in our creativity community, always ready with encouragement, humor, wit, perseverence, and breathtaking writing.

Patry has shown me that it doesn’t matter about the size of your gift, or your audience, or your voice.

It just matters that you open your mouth, pour out your words, and sing.

So, everyone, go out and support this amazing woman and writer. Go buy a copy of the newly published paperback of The Liar’s Diary.

You’ll be so thrilled that you did. ~ Mardougrrl

* * *

Today, while stealing time for some all-too-brief blogrolling, I kept encountering the story of Patry Francis. There certainly were a lot of people blogging about her, so perhaps you’re familiar with this story too now. But, in case you aren’t, you can learn why today (er, yesterday now, as it’s past midnight on Wednesday) is The Liar’s Diary Blog Day.

I’ve been thinking about Patry Francis all day, thanks to her friends and the perfect strangers who’ve agreed to write about her. She sounds like a wonderful person, and I wish her the best of health and many years of productive writing. Patry Francis reminded me of something that, just now, I really needed to be reminded of, and that is the nobility of the struggle to create.

We all have things we struggle through, and yes, it can be easy to both dismiss our own challenges or to grow them into monsters and then cower under the bed. I don’t have all the details of your struggles, and you don’t have all the details of mine, but they’re not really necessary, are they?

My point isn’t so much about keeping things in perspective as much as it is about remembering to keep up the fight–and encouraging those around us to do the same.

At the end of the day, we’re the only ones who can decide how to make our dreams come true while continuing to work day jobs, take care of our families, maintain friendships.

Patry proves it can be done. Patry proves it should be done. Today was about Patry’s fight for so many people, but, more than that, it was about everyone who struggles to type a line of dialogue that doesn’t sound fake or get a description down on the page that does justice to the image in your head.

So it’s not saving the world. (Except I’ve got a theory that says that it is, actually, doing just that on a small scale, every day. I can make these kinds of sweeping, arrogant statements, not because I’m a writer and I think my work is going to change the world, but because I’m a reader, and I’ve read books that have changed mine.) It’s not a waste of time, writer. It’s well worth the struggle.

I solemnly swore I wouldn’t buy any more books until I’ve whittled away at the bins of To Be Reads by my nightstand, but I’m bending that rule in honor of Patry, my own particular struggles, and yours, too. I ordered her book just now, and I’m bumping some things down the list so I can read it as soon as it gets here. The way I see it, Beowulf’s waited for centuries; it can hang out another few weeks.

And frankly, I don’t think I can stomach epic poetry right now–I’m in a liar’s diary kind of mood, you know? ~ Jennifer Duncan

* * *

This morning I sent out a mailing to the 4 or 500 people who read my political rants and forwards, only this morning, I urged them to buy Patry’s novel as a way of helping themselves and of helping her. I felt particularly good doing this, because I’ve been cranky of late about how a ‘virtual’ community is not really a community at all, and how much of the blather about the Internet is really self-congratulatory, and basically a very watery meal. A community brings you soup when you’re sick or buries you when you’re dead. They pick up your children from school when you can’t.

The deficiencies of the virtual community become stark to me when I consider that at this point in his Presidency, Lyndon Johnson was a broken man, unable to rule and exercise power, while George Bush, despite low double-digit approval figures, is still planning and conducting pointless wars and destroying the economy. The largest contributing difference to these two times is, to my mind, the internet and the unintended consequences of fragmentation. While we stay home, composing and forwarding political screeds, and blogging our asses off, the apparatus in Washington continues unabated.People are not “out in the streets”, or attending teach-ins, reveling in the visual affirmation of thousands of like-minded souls rubbing shoulders with them, demonstrating and practicing civil disobedience.

However, this morning, by linking Patry’s work to a far-flung community of disparate souls, by joining this conscious community effort, and by asking my “reader” friends to enter the world of Patry’s imagination, and support her , I felt the hard-and-fast line between virtual and actual communities soften and blur a bit. The blurring of hard and fast lines, reminded me, how in most cases, life presents itself as “both-and” and not conveniently as the “either-or” I try to bend it into. I’m grateful to Patry for being the occasion of that insight, and grateful to this community who have banded together to try and be of help to her. I’m grateful for the invitation (and occasion) to sit and re-think a bone-dry prejudice. A deep bow to all. ~ Peter Coyote, SLEEPING WHERE I FALL

* * *

You shouldn’t buy a novel because the writer has cancer.

You shouldn’t buy a novel because a writer is poor, or talented but unnoticed or has an abusive husband or lives in a besieged place.

You should only buy a novel because it’s good, and I know that Patry Francis’ novel ‘The Liar’s Diary‘ is good wrting and even better reading. I know because I read it and loved it and wrote about it a year ago when it was only in uncorrected proofs.

It’s a story of murder and love and betrayal (always a promising mix) but more than that, it’s a story with honesty and skill burned into every line.

And Patry Francis, whose book, ‘The Liar’s Diary,’ comes out in paperback today, does have cancer, and is fighting it with every ounce in her body — just as she fought to write when she was a waitress on Cape Cod with three kids and no hope of ever being published. It’s an aggressive form of cancer but Patry is an aggressive sort of woman who won’t let this bastard win without a fight down to the mat.

If you’re in the market for a good book today, and it’s my way of thinking that everyone should be… every day, follow this link to Patry’s website or to the place on Amazon where you can buy ‘The Liar’s Diary.’ It sounds a bit odd and silly; but I want to help a good writer write more. We writers are seen by others as grasping and greedy, unwilling to write kind things about others’ books unless we’re sure those books won’t pose a threat to our own.

That’s not true.

Or it’s not true for many.

The very best writers have mighty hearts.

Most of them whom I know have an excess of compassion for others who serve this demanding goddess.

And so, today belongs to Patry. More than 200 other authors are mentioning her today, in their blogs, as well. I’m only one of them, but proud to be. ~ Jacquelyn Mitchard, THE DEEP END OF THE OCEAN

~

Now, many of you know I told Patry not to comment on every blog and every post because the whole purpose of this was to allow her to rest and focus on her health. But, okay, Patry has really wanted to say something to all of you, so here she is…

Talk about spinning heads! When I first wrote about my illness, I decided that if I was forced to drink an ounce of pain and trouble, the only answer was to counter it with two ounces of bliss. Little did I know that through all of you, I would consume a whole case of it. As a consummate daydreamer, I’m in awe of Sue, Laura, Karen, Jessica, Tish, my agent Alice, Sue’s agent, Dan, the folks at Backspace and Red Room and Circle of Seven Video and so many others who envisioned this day, pooled their resources and really made it happen. To them, and to all of you who have responded with such amazing generosity, I send a bottomless case of gratitude. Huge thanks and love to all of you. ~ Patry Francis

~

Thank you. All of you.

I’ll see you Monday for a new Question of the Week.

{ 43 comments }

THE LIAR’S DIARY Blog Day

by Susan Henderson on January 28, 2008

Today, over 300 bloggers, including bestsellers, Emmy winners, movie makers, and publishing houses have come together to talk about THE LIAR’S DIARY by Patry Francis. Why? To give the book the attention it deserves on its release day while Patry takes the time she needs to heal from cancer.

Before I talk about this book, I’d like to tell you a story about how this extraordinary day happened.

First, you need to know something about Patry Francis.

What if you worked for years as a waitress and then went home at the end of the day to your husband and four kids, and in those rare minutes of free time, you dared to dream that one day you might write a book? This is the story of my friend, Patry – a story that leaves out years of false starts, revisions, and rejection slips. It’s a story that writers know intimately, though the details are different. Every one of us is well acquainted with the struggle of getting a story on paper, of honing it and believing in it enough to send it out, only to receive rejection, or worse, silence for our efforts.

Imagine, after many years, you beat the odds. You finish that book. You find that agent who sells your manuscript. Your dream is about to become a reality. But just as your book is due to be released, you discover you have an aggressive form of cancer.

Patry’s story struck such a deep chord with many of us, not just because she is our friend, but because those of us who know her or read her blog have relied on her company through the ups and mostly downs of trying to write and sell a book. She is our buoy. She has shown us time and again her great gift for shedding light in the dark. Even her blog post about her cancer showed this – in her greatest time of need, she was still somehow comforting all of us and showing us glimpses of joy.

Patry is part one of this amazing story.

Now you need to know something about Laura Benedict:

On New Year’s Day, or thereabouts, Laura wrote to me, calling my attention to Patry’s publication date. “Perhaps we could do a ‘Patry Francis/Liar’s Diary’ blog-o-rama or carnival or something to promote the book?” she wrote. “I’m such an amateur at this stuff that I don’t know what’s possible.”

I didn’t give a moment’s thought to what we might try to pull off, or how; I simply said, “Yes! Let’s do it!”

It’s very important to me that Laura is recognized for her initial gesture – not just because she’s a great and generous woman, but because it says something about the strength of the heart over the kinds of power most of us are without. When you see the amazing outpouring of support and the high-profile people who joined this effort, remember it started with one small voice.

Laura is part 2 of this amazing story.

Now let’s talk about you:

In less than one month, over 300 bloggers, writers, readers, and just big-hearted people signed on to take part in this day. I am overwhelmed and grateful for every single person who said yes or helped spread the word, but let me reserve some enormous thanks for the people who traded hundreds of emails with me to put this together: Karen Dionne of Backspace, Jessica Keener of Agni and The Boston Globe, Tish Cohen, author of TOWN HOUSE, Dan Conaway of Writers House, and Alice Tasman of the Jean Naggar Literary Agency.

What began as a personal gesture of caring for a friend became an astonishing show of community – writers helping writers; strangers helping strangers; and most surprising of all, editors, agents and publishers, who have no stake in this book, crossing “party lines” to blog, to make phone calls, and to send out press releases.

This effort has made visible a community that is, and has been, alive and kicking – a community that understands the struggle artists go through and rejoices in each other’s successes. It’s a community made up of many small voices, but – guess what? – those many small voices can create some noise. So while today is for Patry, it’s also a symbolic gesture for all of you who work so very hard for little or no recognition, for all of you who keep going despite the rejections, and for all of you who have had illness or other outside factors force your art or your dreams aside. We are in this together.

*

Time to talk about THE LIAR’S DIARY.

Whether you like text, audio, or video, I have a taste of the book for you. Let’s start with an audio clip of THE LIAR’S DIARY. This audio clip comes courtesy of Eileen Hutton at Brilliance Audio.


This video for THE LIAR’S DIARY was created by Sheila Clover English, C.E.O. of Circle of Seven Productions, who was moved by Patry’s story and volunteered her lightning-speed creativity!

Here are the publisher‘s words:

Answering the question of what is more powerful—family or friendship? this debut novel unforgettably shows how far one woman would go to protect either.

They couldn’t be more different, but they form a friendship that will alter both their fates. When Ali Mather blows into town, breaking all the rules and breaking hearts (despite the fact that she is pushing forty), she also makes a mark on an unlikely family. Almost against her will, Jeanne Cross feels drawn to this strangely vibrant woman, a fascination that begins to infect Jeanne’s “perfect” husband as well as their teenaged son.

At the heart of the friendship between Ali and Jeanne are deep-seated emotional needs, vulnerabilities they have each been recording in their diaries. Ali also senses another kind of vulnerability; she believes someone has been entering her house when she is not at home—and not with the usual intentions. What this burglar wants is nothing less than a piece of Ali’s soul.

When a murderer strikes and Jeanne’s son is arrested, we learn that the key to the crime lies in the diaries of two very different women . . . but only one of them is telling the truth. A chilling tour of troubled minds, The Liar’s Diary signals the launch of an immensely talented new novelist who knows just how to keep her readers guessing.

And now, here are Patry’s words, which I lifted off her blog: “Though my novel deals with murder, betrayal, and the even more lethal crimes of the heart, the real subjects of THE LIAR’S DIARY are music, love, friendship, self-sacrifice and courage. The darkness is only there for contrast; it’s only there to make us realize how bright the light can be. I’m sure that most writers whose work does not flinch from the exploration of evil feel the same.”

Ready to buy the book? Why not buy one for yourself and one for a friend? And if you like it, tell people!

Here are links to THE LIAR’S DIARY at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Powell’s. You can also buy directly from Penguin to save 15% (after you add the book to your cart, just enter the word PATRY in the coupon code field and click ‘update cart’ to activate the discount).

*

A long list of thank yous.

You’re about to see a very long list of those who are taking part in THE LIAR’S DIARY Blog Day. I hope you’ll check out the links because some of these folks got very creative. For example, my friend, Aurelio O’Brien, made up these buttons and stickers:

Wow… to every one of you on this list! Thank you, so sincerely:

Patti Abbott
Barbara Abercrombie
Mario Acevedo
Susan Adrian
Mary Akers
Samina Ali
Christa Allan
Alma Alexander
Amazon
Shorts – Featured Author

Anne-Marie
Joelle Anthony
Darlene Arden
Jorge Argueta
Vicki Arkoff – MAD Magazine, Nickelodeon, MW Book Review
Melanie Avila
Tricia Ares
Neil B
Backspace
Backstory
Terry Bain
Gail Baker – The Debutante Ball
Anjali Banerjee
L.A. Banks
Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Elizabeth Bartasius
Carolyn Burns Bass
Brett Battles
BCB
Laura Benedict
Pinckney Benedict
Malorie Bennett
Janet Berliner
William Bernhardt
Alexander Besher
Bev
Marcie Beyatte
Brenda Birch
Beryl Singleton Bissell
Roberto Bonazzi
Jason Boog
Bookfinds
Raven Bower
Laura Bowers
Beatrice Bowles
Tara Bradford
Gayle Brandeis
Stacy Brazalovich
Susan Breen – Gotham Writers Workshops
Heather Brewer
Eve Bridburg – Zachary Shuster Harmsworth
Sassy Brit
Heatheraynne Brooks
Debra Broughon
Josie Brown
Pat Brown
Ruth Brown
Ken Bruen
Rachel Kramer Bussel
Aldo Calcagno
Austin S. Camacho
Bill Cameron
Lorenzo Carcaterra
Vincent Carrella
Karen DeGroot Carter
Rosemary Carstens
Alexander Chee
Lee Child
Circle of Seven Productions
Cynthia Clark – Futures Mysterious Anthology Magazine
Terence Clarke
Jon Clinch
Kamela Cody
Oline H. Cogdill – Sun-Sentinal
Tish Cohen
Eileen Cruz Coleman
Myfanwy Collins
Dan Conaway – Writers House
Laurie Connors – Penguin
Eileen Cook
Richard Cooper
David Corbett
Auria Cortes
Peter Coyote
Elizabeth Crane
Bill Crider – Pop Culture Magazine
Kim Cristofoli
Ann Mare Cummins
Sheila Curran
Kristie Cutter
Tom Crum
Jordan Dane
Josephine Damian
Daryl Darko
A.J. Davis
Kelli Davis
Alyssa Day
Alma Hromic Deckert
Jim DeFelice
Mike Dellosso
Katrina Denza
Bella DePaulo
Kerry Dexter
Karen Dionne
Susan DiPlacido
Felicia Donovan
Julie Doughty – Dutton
Gerry Doyle
Terri DuLong
Firoozeh Dumas
Jennifer Duncan
Susanne Dunlap
Xujun Eberlein
Christine Eldin
J.T. Ellison – Killer Year
Sheila Clover English – Circle of Seven Productions
Kate Epstein – the Epstein Literary Agency
Kathryn Esplin
Gayle Etcheverry
Clinton Fein
Sean Ferrell
Rachel Fershleiser at SMITH Magazine
Ryan Field
Carol Fitzgerald – Bookreporter.com
Michael A. FitzGerald
William Floyd
Natasha Fondren
Matt Forbeck
Brian Ford
Jamie Ford
Connie May Fowler
Heather Fowler
Therese Fowler
Jenifer Fox
Thaisa Frank
Shelley Frost
K.G.
Michelle Gable
Gary Gach
Leighton Gage
Neil Gaiman
Colin Galbraith
Jayson Gallaway
Jane Ganahl – Red Room
Erika-Marie S. Geiss
Linda Gerber
Shane Gericke
Tess Gerritsen
Karin Gillespie
Dara Girard
Anne Glamore
Kathi Kamen Goldmark
Jewelle Gomez
Eric D. Goodman
C.W. GortnerHistorical Boys
Susan Helene Gottfried
Deborah Grabien
Elizabeth Graham
Caroline Grant
Robin Grantham
Bob Gray – Shelf Awareness
Nancy O. Greene
Robert Grudin
Lisa Guidarini
Mireille Guilano
David Habbin
Jim Hanas
Lynette Hart
Melanie Harvey
Michael Haskins
Melanie Lynn Hauser
Bill Hayes
Maria Dahvana Headley
Susan Henderson – LitPark
Heidi the Hick
Georgia Hesse
Bethany Hiitola
Billie Hinton
Vicki Hinze
Jenn Hollowell
Lori Hope
Khaled Hosseini
Charlotte Hughes
Sharon Hurlbut
Eileen Hutton – Brilliance Audio
Gina Hyams
Jessica Inclan
International Thriller Writers
David Isaak
Susan Ito
Noria Jablonski
JKB
Lisa Jackson
Lori James – All Romance eBooks
Luke James
Arachne Jericho
Jerri
Allison Johnson
Jen Jordan – Crimespree
Jungle Red Writers
Lesley Kagen
Polly Kahl
Andrew Kaplan – Media Mensch
Alan Kaufman
Jessica Keener
Douglas Keister
Charles Kelly
Lisa Kenny
Beth Kephart
Jackie Kessler
Merle Kessler
Kristy Kiernan – Southern Authors Blog
A.S. King
Jeff Kleinman – Folio Literary Management
Sandra Kring
Kyra
R.D. Laban
Rebecca Laffar-Smith – Writers Roundabout
Clair Lamb
Daphne Larkin
Larramie
Judy Merrill Larson
Aaron Lazar
Caroline Leavitt
Leah
Virginia Lee
Leslie Levine
John Lescroart
Mary Lewis
Richard Lewis
Liane
Sharon Linnea
Jessica Lipnack
Aimee Liu
Julie Anne Long
Ericka Lutz
CJ Lyons
Laurun M.
Jonathan Maberry
Amy MacKinnon – The Writers Group
Tim Maleeny
Mardougrrl
Ric Marion
Kerstin Martin
Nancy Martin
Adrienne Mayor
L.C. McCabe
Damian McNicholl
Ellen Meister
Melba
Christa Miller
Kyle Minor
Jacquelyn Mitchard
P. A. Moed
Terri Molina
Pat Montandon
David Montgomery
Alexis Moore
Joe Moore – Inkspot
Michelle Moran
Amanda Morgan
Sarie Morrell
Murderati
Amy Nathan
Nathalie
National Post
Tia Nevitt
Nicole
Kristin Nelson – Nelson Literary Agency
Carolyn North
Aurelio O’Brien
Martha O’Connor
Andrea Okrentowich
Lori Oliva
Jodie Osinga
Tamara Palmer
Aimee Palooza
Pamela
Michael Palmer
Stephen Parrish
Dan Passamaneck
Marie Peck
Micah Perks
Marcia Peterson – WOW! Women on Writing
Jeff Pierce – The Rap Sheet
Jason Pinter
Anthony S. Policastro
Neil Pollack
Douglas Preston
Publishers Marketplace
Edie Ramer
Terese Ramin
Reader’s Entertainment TV
Jody Reale
Martha Reed
Janet Reid – FinePrint Literary Management
Kamilla Reid
Lance Reynald
Linda L. Richards
Michelle Richmond
Jess Riley
Maria Robinson
John Robison
Gregory Roensch
J. Shannon Roggenbuck
James Rollins
M.J. Rose – Buzz, Balls & Hype
Renee Rosen
Carol Rosenfeld
Jordan Rosenfeld
Rosie
Russell Rowland
Anneli Rufus
Hank Ryan
Marcus Sakey
Harris Salat -Visual Thesaurus
Rachel Sarah
Maria Schneider – Writer’s Digest Magazine
Nina Schuyler
Michele Scott
Dani Shapiro
Rochelle Shapiro
Charles Shaughnessy
Jessie Sholl
Robert Siegel
Clea Simon
April Sinclair
Lynn Sinclair
Jen Singer
Shelley Singer
Single Mom Seeking
Sisters in Crime
Sky
Robin Slick
BPM Smith – Word & Bass
Bridget Smith
Claudia Smith
Kim Smith
Stephie Smith
Alexandra Sokoloff
Char Solomon
Samantha Sommersby
James Spring
Emilie Staat
Kim Stagliano
Maryanne Stahl
Bella Stander
Kelli Stanley
Marta Stephens
Bronwyn Storm
Jennifer Talty
Judith Tannenbaum
Mindy Tarquini
Alice Tasman – the Jean Naggar Literary Agency
Charles R. Temple
David Thayer
The Book Pirate
The Boston Globe
The Memoirists Collective
The Outfit
Theresa
Veronica Towers
Joyce Tremel
Danielle Trussoni
Louise Ure
N. L. Valler
Barbara Vey – Publishers Weekly
Bev Vincent
Nury Vittachi
Brenda Wallace
Therese Walsh – Writer Unboxed
John Warner – Tow Books
Gary Wassner
Brenda Webster
Jennifer Weiner
Sarah Weinman
Laura Wellner
Kimberly M. Wetherell
Diane Whiteside
Dan Wickett – Emerging Writers Network
Susan Wiggs
G. Willow Wilson
Jacqueline Winspear
Liz Wolfe
Patricia Wood
Cheryl Wyatt
Stephen Wylder
Irvin Yalom
Belle Yang
Dawn Yun
Michele Zackheim
Victoria Zackheim
Ernie Zelinski
Crystal Zevon

If I’ve accidentally left you off the list, or if you’ve just now decided to join us, drop a note in the comments section with a link to your blog. Every single voice counts!

{ 166 comments }

Reminder: Tomorrow is THE LIAR’S DIARY Blog Day

by Susan Henderson on January 28, 2008

Here’s a reminder that tomorrow is THE LIAR’S DIARY Blog Day, and more than 300 of you said, “Count me in!”

THE LIAR’S DIARY at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Powell’s

My post will go up at midnight tomorrow, and you are more than welcome to take any text, photos, audio or video you like in order to make it easier to participate on the big day. Everyone who takes part will be linked to LitPark, and it is not to late to join us.

As a little surprise for Patry, a gift before the big day, here’s something she hasn’t seen this yet – it’s from her husband, Ted, who included in his letter this photo he’d taken of Patry at Skinner State Park, 25 years after their first date there.

One of the happiest days of my life was the day I met my wife, Patry Francis for the very first time. I had just moved to Northampton, MA after graduating from Penn State University and had stopped to eat lunch at a restaurant where she was working. It was love at first sight. She was the most beautiful woman I had ever set my eyes on and it took me about two months to get the courage to ask her out on a date. Little did I know at the time how she would transform my life from a shy, insecure, college grad into a happy and proud father and minister; a better and holier person. She has so many qualities I have tried to emulate and she continues to inspire me with her enthusiasm for life and her ability to enkindle others with her actions, as well as, words.

She taught me the meaning of compassion and has the ability to make everyone around her feel important no matter whom they are or what they do, especially the poor and least among us. She has been given a gift to see situations from the heart which she uses to help others bring out the best in themselves and no one is turned away who asks for advice or help.

She exemplified the meaning of sacrifice as she forfeited many years of her writing career to help support our family. Working the difficult and physically demanding job as a banquet waitress and raising our four children left her little opportunity to spend doing what she loved most, writing. She also put off her endeavor to get back into serious writing while I attended the seminary for five years. She never once complained always putting everyone else’s needs before hers, including mine.

In short, words can’t describe how lucky and blessed I am to have Patry as my spouse. She is a woman filled with love, peace, and goodness and every day I marvel and am amazed what an awe-inspiring twenty five years it has been to be with her. Of all the gifts I have been given in life, wonderful parents and sisters, four beautiful and talented children, the miracle of three special grandchildren (one more on the way), none have been greater than the day God introduced me to my beautiful wife.

Finally, I would like to thank Susan Henderson, Laura Benedict, Jessica Keener, Karen Dionne, Tish Cohen, Alice Tasman (the Best Literary Agent in New York) and *all of you* who are trying to help make Patry’s book a success. Yet again, we have been blessed to be part of such an inspiring community of talented writers and to witness the goodness and love that all of you have shown to Patry as she journeys through her difficult situation with cancer.

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See you at midnight tomorrow, and my sincere thanks to everyone who took time out of their busy schedules to help this dear friend and awesome writer! xo

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Patry Francis

by Susan Henderson on December 13, 2006

Patry Francis is a mother, a wife, a blogger. She is also the author of THE LIAR’S DIARY, due in bookstores this February. Her book has already received incredible praise from authors Tess Gerritsen and Jacquelyn Mitchard. And talk about a killer premise:

What would you do if your best friend was murdered – and your teenaged son was accused of the crime? How far would you go to protect him? How many lies would you tell? Would you dare to admit the darkest truths – even to yourself?

How does Patry balance it all? (And does she?) I asked her.

Since blogging and writing are things you do from home, how do you know when the work day ends?

When I first started writing, work meant only what Orhan Pamuk described in his recent Nobel Lecture. It meant you went into a room alone and spent long moments, hours, and years, trying to mine what you believed you had inside you. Frequently something no one believed in or cared about but you. It meant staring down your own self-doubt and weakness and fear every single day. It meant going 300 pages deep into a novel only to discover that 280 of them had taken you nowhere but the wrong direction–and then walking the hard road backward. And beginning again. It was the kind of work no one would undertake if they weren’t under the influence of some crazy compulsion.

Of course, it still means those things – and if a writer forgets that, she may find herself holding the world’s largest megaphone with absolutely nothing to say. But now writing also means blogging – which for me is pure play. It means networking, answering emails, promoting, being on fire with new ideas every single day.

So there’s the hard, lonely work of writing which ends when I meet my daily goal – usually three or four pages of new writing or a couple hours of revision. It doesn’t sound like much; but it takes pretty much the whole day. Some of my most important work is done when I’m lying in bed in the morning thinking, or hanging clothes on the line, or walking my dogs.

Some of it is done when I’m sleeping or despairing that I’ll never get it right or fixing another cup of tea and chastising myself for my laziness. But all the while, I’m navigating my way to the heart of the story.

Then there’s the play-work which doesn’t really end. I take “real life” breaks from it, but it’s still there. My computer is like a pot on the stove; something’s always simmering, and I’m always aware of it.

Do you have trouble clearing your head of characters and story ideas?

Once a genuine character arrives, they’re not going anywhere till they’re done with you. My characters become so real to me that sometimes I see them turning the corner when I walk down the street. I love them, get angry with of them, cut them out of the will, and never stop missing them when they’re gone. The only way my family can live with me when a character or several of them take over my life is to read the work and get acquainted with this particular band of hungry ghosts.

Trouble concentrating on work when the family is buzzing around you?

I do my best, most intense work when I have the house to myself, when I can pace up and down and talk to myself and then set down to do my daily pages without interruption. But I’m trying – and somewhat succeeding – to train myself to write in the midst of life. I’ve always been inspired by a story about Charles Dickens writing while simultaneoulsy entertaining guests, looking up to join the conversation then going back to his manuscript and writing a few lines.

I think we writers can get too precious and mystical about the conditions under which we work – only in a certain room at a precise temperature, at an exact hour of the day. Lately, I’ve challenged myself to produce even when my son’s playing his electric guitar, my daughter has three friends laughing in the next room, the phone’s ringing, and the dog’s begging for a walk. And surprisingly, I can often find a page or two right there in the midst of the noise and distraction.

Talk to me about guilt, about how the need to write and your love for your family bump into each other.

For most of my family life, I worked as a waitress four or five nights a week; and then I had to squeeze both writing and family time, and life into the hours that remained. I was often tired – and no matter what I did, I felt I was neglecting something else. Guilt was my own private rubber room; I bumped into it constantly.

Now that writing is my job, it’s much easier. When someone complains that I’m not paying enough attention to them or that we’re having leftovers for dinner again, I remind them that a year ago I wasn’t even home. (And then of course, I stop and pay attention.)

Tell me what you’ve learned about creating a balance between work and family, and what you still need to learn.

What I’ve learned:

Part of raising unselfish, empathetic human beings is to teach them to respect their parents’ work and their passion. It took me a long time, but I do demand that respect now – for their sake as well as for mine.

That, however doesn’t mean that family, real human beings, don’t take precedence over a bunch of demanding fictional characters. They always have, which may be why it’s taken me so long to get a first novel out there. There’s a wicker chair that sits beside my computer, and at least once a day someone shambles in while I’m working, plunks themselves down, and starts talking–about boyfriends, school, music, whatever’s on their mind. And no matter how engrossed I am in a scene, I put the computer on sleep and listen.

With any luck, my characters will keep following me around, challenging me to unravel their stories for years to come, but my children are young adults now; they won’t be slipping into the wicker chair for much longer. I’ve learned to savor the time.

What I still need to learn: In February, I will be coming out of my happy little writer’s cave, and spending a lot of time away from home as I promote the book. Since I’ve never traveled without my family before, that will begin a whole new balancing act. Yikes!

Anyone have any advice?

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Bio:

Patry Francis has published stories and poems in The Ontario Review, Tampa Review, Antioch Review, Colorado Review, The American Poetry Review, Massachusetts Review, and elsewhere. She is a three time nominee for the Pushcart Prize and has been the recipient of a grant from the Massachusetts Cultural Council twice. Her novel, THE LIAR’S DIARY will be released from Dutton and Brilliance Audio in February, 2007. She has four children. And you can, and should, visit her fabulous blog, Simply Wait, as often as you can. All of you MySpace addicts can “friend” her right here.

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