April 2007

Question of the Week: Writer Communities.

by Susan Henderson on April 30, 2007

What’s your experience been with writer communities and workshops, whether real-life or online?


Wednesday, Karen Dionne of Backspace will be here. I had a hunch Karen was well-loved by more than me so I went behind her back with my two super-sleuths, Lauren Baratz-Logsted and Carolyn Burns Bass, to see if any members of Backspace wanted to share their opinions of Karen.

They did….

Jessica Keener: “Karen Dionne has transformed the way I experience my writing life on a daily basis. With the creation of Backspace, along with Chris Graham, she has attracted an impressive roster of writers and literary professionals in a short time span, bringing together writers of immensely different backgrounds, levels of experience, and genres. It works because Karen treats everyone fairly, with intelligence, grace and extraordinary generosity. It’s an exceptional forum. I’ve seen nothing that compares to it. And I’ve gained a friend in the process.”

Lauren Baratz-Logsted: “When people ask me what to do to improve their chances of getting published or their existing careers, the first thing I tell them is to join Backspace. There is no better site that I know of for writers to come together and inform, celebrate and commiserate over all things writing. Three cheers for Karen for creating it!”

Cornelia Read: “Karen Dionne has not only created one of the most amazingly supportive and useful writers’ communities EVER, she is also a tremendously talented author and downright boon companion. It is both a pleasure and an honor to know her.”

Heather Brewer: “Karen Dionne is a true gift to the writing community. Through her selfless effort in creating the Backspace Organization, writers have access to inside information about how the publishing industry works and countless answers to the questions that are brewing in their skulls. To top it all off, she’s written a book that sounds incredible. Let’s face it, the woman is a god.”

Joanne Levy: “Karen Dionne is to writers what Nurses are to patients – nuturing, caring and willing to work tirelessly to do everything she can to help, and then some. I’ve had the pleasure of ‘knowing’ Karen viturally through the Backspace Forums and am thankful for her hard work and generous soul.”

Kristin Nelson: “Karen Dionne is a force to be reckoned with in the publishing industry. Several years ago, she took an idea (the idea of a private writers’ forum where published authors could feel comfortable sharing their knowledge without fear of internet trolls) and turned it into a reality. And then she went a step further, she created the definitive website for writers…a site full of great educational tips, articles, writer resources etc.

“That’s the professional Karen. The personal Karen has a huge heart. Despite being on her own journey to get published, she set aside time to inspire and mentor other writers on their journeys. To me, that makes her not only a great author but a great human being…and there is no higher compliment than that. I’m honored to call her a friend.”

Steve Hendlin: “I’ve known Karen over five years and witnessed her unfailing generosity in helping writers at all levels with her good cheer, information, and support. She refused to give up on her own writing, and her dogged persistence paid off in selling Freezing Point. My desire to support her and Backspace led to my decision to contribute Your Write Mind to the site.”

Lori F. Weinrott: “Karen’s manifold talents remind me of the story of the five Chinese brothers; she’s always got another angle on something. Come to think of it, maybe she’s one of the Dionne quintuplets, and there’s really five of her. How else to explain? I’ve never met anyone so thorough and accomplished. She even manages to do it all with such care and kindness. She’s a blessing in disguise!”

Lynn Sinclair: “There’s no doubt in my mind that Karen is the result of the first successfully cloned human. Either that or she has ten arms and five heads. Not only did she co-create Backspace, she continues to maintain the popular website; co-ordinates the conferences; her book, Freezing Point, is soon to be released; continues writing, and takes care of a busy family and business. The woman is a wonder, and one I’m proud to call a friend.”

Terri Molina: “Karen is like that favorite aunt you had as a child – loving, supportive, encouraging. She makes you believe you’ll be a published writer and you can’t help but want to make her proud.”

Ian Barker (IanB): “I first came across Karen several years ago on another writers’ site. She was always a voice of calm and reason in the sometimes crazy world of Internet message boards, so when I heard she was forming Backspace I knew it would be a serious project and that I had to be a member.”

Sandra Kring: “Altruistic, humble, and exceedingly supportive, Karen Dionne is the figurehead of, leading aspiring writers, and established authors alike, through the choppy waters of the publishing world.”

Marlys Pearson: “We writers of Backspace might occasionally find the Muse elusive, but we always know where to find our Grace. Whether it’s her own writing career, the creation of an ambitious web site for writers, or dealing with a creepy internet stalker, Karen Dionne handles the situation with common sense, good humor, and aplomb. If what goes around, comes around, then Karen’s book is going to be a runaway best seller – and that will just be an advance payment on the good things she’s due. I can’t wait to see what happens next.”

Tish Cohen: “Karen is the den mother I never had. She cheers for her cubs’ successes, separates them when they gnaw on each other, and never makes them feel crummy for being computer illiterate – as cubs are wont to be. And she’s a soon-to-be-published author in her spare time. She’s incredible.”

Martha O’Connor: “Karen Dionne is one of the most giving, caring, creative people I know. I’m so pleased to see her finally receiving the recognition she deserves. Huzzah, Karen!”

Carolyn Burns Bass: “Karen was one of my first real online friends. We met at a crazy, noisy, sometimes troll-infested writing group, where she was one of the sane voices who didn’t attack you for asking newbie publishing questions. What made Karen stand out was her transparency. She never wore an online mask, nor attempted to be something she wasn’t. She had every hope to be a published author, worked tirelessly on her own projects, yet always had time to help others. Backspace is the result of her passion to foster the growth of others. She and co-founder Chris Graham have created a community of writers that circles the world with the purpose of writers helping writers. When Karen announced the sale of FREEZING POINT I rejoiced for days. I’m still rejoicing.”

Rebecca del Rio: “Karen Dionne is a treasure; she’s the perfect embodiment of Backspace’s slogan, ’Writers helping writers.’ ”

Melanie Lynne Hauser: “Karen Dionne is one of those people you just know is going to succeed in this business. Not only is she a terrific writer but she’s the hardest working writer I know – and the most positive one, too. I just know she’s going to have a long, successful career – and there’s nobody who deserves it more than she does!”

A.S. King: “Karen Dionne is one of those people who just automatically does good things. Her positive outlook, generosity, and modesty have been an example to hundreds of writers. The best part is – she would never admit to this!!”

Mark Bastable: “Karen founded Backspace because she’s a serious writer and she could see the need for a resource that supported people like her. The time that she spends running Backspace is time that she might otherwise spend writing. In other words, she sacrifices her own writing in order to enable ours. That tells you just about all you need to know about Karen.”

Harry Hunsicker: “What’s the term for a kind, gentle, deserving, gifted writer? Oh, yeah . . . Karen Dionne.”

Kelly, aka Keara, Backspace member: “Karen Dionne works harder at achieving dreams than anyone else I know, and for every moment she devotes to her dreams, she spends an hour helping others pursue theirs.”

Ty Drago: “From the day she invited me to join Backspace, Karen has been the unshakable backbone of this forum. Her unwavering fairness and unflagging commitment has never failed to impress me. There simply would BE no Backspace without her. Karen is truly a devoted writer’s advocate and an absolutely amazing person!”

Kristy Kiernan: “Karen Dionne’s unflagging commitment to the writing community is a constant source of inspiration, and if they ever work out those pesky kinks in cloning she’ll be one of the first people on my list.”

Renee Rosen: “Karen’s generous spirit prevails throughout the entire Backspace site. She has pulled together a wonderful group of writers and publishing professionals, giving us all an invaluable oasis of literary support!”

Katie Alender: “In my experience with Karen, she’s just about the most thoughtful and helpful person on the planet. How she manages not only to maintain this site, stay active on it, AND write, all without turning into the savage beast most writers are known for being, is beyond me. But I’m glad she does. I love being a part of Backspace.”

Rozinante from Backspace: “With the patience of a master seamstress, Karen Dionne has stitched together a vibrant community of thinkers and wordsmiths. Backspace is a breathing thesaurus, a personal research service, a marketplace of ideas, a WWF smackdown and a MaryTylerMooreShow group hug. Karen had an artist’s vision and poured into it the elbow grease of a craftsman. We are the ones reaping the rewards. Brava!”

Carrie Kabak: “One hell of a businesswoman! Hardworking, and efficient to the max. I applaud Karen’s tenacity, success and generosity.”

EJ Knapp: “Writers tend to be isolative and egoistic. Put a dozen or more in a room together and half will seclude themselves while the other half will scream at each other. Karen Dionne, with a grace and aplomb far exceeding anything I could imagine mustering, has gathered together a hundred times that number of writers in a multi-roomed virtual world known as Backspace and not have the place go nuclear. Karen is a sharp tactician, an excellent negotiator, a superb writer, a gentle teacher and a good friend.”

Tasha Alexander: “You’d be hard pressed to find a writer more generous than Karen. She’s talented, energetic, and tireless – I’m amazed by all that she’s accomplished.”

Rachel Elizabeth Cole: “Karen is my inspiration, my hero. She’s proved time and again that if you want something badly enough – be it a book deal or the best darn writing site on the world wide web – you can do it. I can’t say enough how much I admire, respect and really love her. She’s like my mom, my best friend and my sister all rolled into one. And she’s a darn good writer too.”

Marcus Sakey: “Backspace is a family of writers, and like any family, it centers around the mother. Without Karen, god love her, a bunch of us would be orphans.”


Weekly Wrap: Hopeful.

by Susan Henderson on April 27, 2007

I’ve been juggling a little more than I’m used to lately. Both my boys are in play rehearsal right now (for different plays), and I’ve been trying to get ahead with reading and interviewing for LitPark. I want my plate to be clear when my novel edits come back from St. Martin’s. Which reminds me…. there are two people I enjoy working with so much: Regina Scarpa, my editor at St. Martin’s, and the remarkable Tommy Kane, who’s doing my book cover. I couldn’t feel luckier, and you will never hear me complain of being too busy. I like movement.


This week we talked about hope and hopelessness. It’s easy to fall into the latter when you’re a writer. Creating that story and getting it right is hard enough, but sending it out is the real whammy. Rejection can make you question your talent and your value. Sometimes you wait and don’t even get a rejection.

This past week gave me reminder after reminder of what makes me feel hopeful, and what I hang on to when times are tough: it’s the little things. I’m going to give some anecdotes from my week, and maybe you’ll see what I mean…..

I volunteered at the annual fundraiser gala organized by Nile Rodgers’ We Are Family Foundation. The foundation was created in response to 9-11 to encourage dialogue and respect between different cultures, and some of the folks I recognized at the gala included Dionne Warwick, Tommy Hilfiger, Tony Bennett, one of the Van Zandts, one of Muhammad Ali’s daughters, Paul Simon, Katie Couric, Montel Williams, and Micky Dolenz of the Monkees. I understand how people responded to 9-11 with bitterness and a desire for revenge. But every time someone responds to hate with love, it gives me hope.

As many of you know, it’s almost impossible to get me to sit down and watch TV. I have nothing against TV; it just doesn’t suit me, for some reason. I watched the entire O.J. Simpson trial when I was on bedrest with Bach-Boy, and ever since, I’ve hardly watched a complete show.

But this little anecdote is about watching TV because Bach-Boy pleaded with me recently to let him watch American Idol. He said all the kids and teachers talk about it at school, and he wants to be a part of the conversation. This required an extension of his bedtime, and also required me to watch the show with him because he wanted this to be family time. So we do that now, when we remember, and I try not to fidget or leave the room before the show is over. And if you’ve been watching, you know there’s this American Idol Gives Back thing going on, where you can call in to vote for your favorite singer, but your money goes to save kids from malaria and AIDS and poverty – and Bach-Boy wants to save those kids so bad. So Tuesday he talked me into calling in a vote, and I asked him which singer’s number I should call because I knew he was torn between Melinda and Jordin. And he said, “I want to vote once for every singer because then we’re not hurting anyone’s feelings and we’re saving more kids.”

Lindsay with a very shy Grant Bailie.

This week, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, David Halberstam, died, and my most adorable friend, Lindsay, who plays with my hair when I talk (and I love that about her), told me a story about when she met him. I asked her if I could share the story here, and she said, Yep:

i met him once. it was at this weird thing i attended right after high school graduation where all these famous people were honored and high school seniors from around the country came to listen to them talk. we talked for a while and he told me that he had won every award his profession gave out, and that not one of them was worth anything. he told me never to do anything in order to win a trophy, and i would be okay. later in the conference i asked the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff what he thought about that einstein quote about how you can’t simultaneously prepare for war and encourage peace. he found me after and patted me on the shoulder and told me to keep quoting einstein. i remember we laughed about something, and i thought he was so warm and so funny, and how odd that he cared to spend twenty minutes talking to me when tom selleck was at the next table.

i thought he was a pretty magic guy. i knew he’d die and i’d end up telling someone this story, but i didn’t think it would be so soon, or in a car crash. i only have a picture he *took* of me, posing with dr. nancy wexler, this scientist who did most of the work leading up to the isolation of the gene for Huntington’s disease. i just got it out to look at it. i wish i’d asked her to take one of us.

It’s nothing I didn’t already know, but I need reminding now and then: It’s your heart that counts. If you measure success by how you treat people, you can have success whenever you want it.

Each morning, I like to see what Tommy Kane’s put up on his blog. I like how he can say a lot with just a few lines and words. There’s something pretty wonderful in sharing spontaneous, unpolished thoughts – maybe because honesty and personality tend to show themselves the most in first drafts.

Green-Hand‘s staying home from school, exhausted from last night’s dress rehearsal. That means a whole day full of the little, important stuff: reading together under a blanket, watering the garden, walking to the bakery, and sharing something with the dogs when we get back.

If any of you could use some hope today, maybe you could focus on the little things. Open the window, pet your dog, buy yourself a bouquet of flowers, give something to the charity of your choice, put on music that makes you weep so much you feel like you have company, and then put on music so silly and happy, you can’t help but feel a shift.


Thank you to everyone who answered the Question of the Week: PD Smith, Anneliese, David Niall Wilson, Clare Grant, A.S. King, Nathalie, Aurelio, *Joe*, Betsy, Richard Cooper, David Thorpe, Kimberly, Antoine Wilson, Tish Cohen, Carolyn Burns Bass, Jonathan Evison, Julie Ann Shapiro, Shelley Marlow, Mark Bastable, Terry Bain, Robin Slick, Jordan E. Rosenfeld, Simon Haynes, lance reynald, Ric Marion, Lori Oliva, Gail Siegel, amy, Jim Hanas, and Jason Boog.

And thank you to Jolene Siana for her story and for kicking off such a great discussion! See you Monday with a new Question of the Week.

Oh, and P.S. – Amy Wilentz has a new web page and blog in case you want to visit or link her. Thanks!


Jolene Siana

by Susan Henderson on April 25, 2007

GO ASK OGRE is the story of a teenager who feels so alone with her pain that she writes her heart out to a stranger, the lead singer of Skinny Puppy. In fact, she sends him 73 letters, 14 postcards, and 5 notebooks filled with her most private thoughts. Remarkably, Ogre saves these letters, and years later, returns them to her.

14 February 1987
Nivek Ogre,
I’m Jolene. I’m 17. I’m a senior at an extremely boring school. It’s packed full of heavy metalers. Do you like heavy metalers? Sorry to say but I don’t get along with them too well. I hate this school…. My mother hates me….
– from GO ASK OGRE

GO ASK OGRE+ is a collection of those letters, including the sometimes blood-stained drawings she sent with them. The memoir is a story of a young girl looking for something to hold on to during a time when life seemed hopeless.

Some people go through hellish times and come out bitter and hard-shelled. Others, and Jolene is one of them, manage to take a bad experience and become loving and wise.

+ You can buy GO ASK OGRE from lots of bookstores like Amazon and Powell’s. But if you’ve been in on LitPark discussions regarding the survival of indie presses, you know, it’s better to buy directly from the publisher, and in this case, it’s Process Media .


Talk to me about self-loathing – how it takes hold, and the toll it exacts.

Self loathing and negative thoughts”¦Well, I know what generally brings it on and how to deal with it before I’m in too deep. Over the years I’ve had a lot of therapy and have also been lucky to have the influence of my smart and healthy friends. I know that when I’m tired it’s easy for me to slip upon unhealthy thoughts so as soon as that begins to happen I just remind myself that I’m really tired. I try not to overanalyze things when I’m feeling that way and focus on the present. For example, I don’t think about my writing or art or relationships or anything that could upset me. It seems easy enough but it has taken me years to learn this. There is a term for this called “mental slippage” that I learned about in a book called, Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy by David D. Burns, which is about cognitive behavioral therapy.

It’s really fascinating and informative and has helped me tremendously. It’s about how you can change your brain chemistry and thought patterns through cognitive behavioral therapy and how it is possible to do so without drugs, which is what I prefer. That’s why I chose the Anais Nin quote to begin GO ASK OGRE because I’m frustrated with doctors these days and how pushy they are about suggesting drugs as treatment and put psychotherapy as a secondary solution. It’s especially disturbing when they do this to young adults before they even have a chance to fully develop. I know a lot of people benefit from these medications but, I think that those drugs should be secondary to therapy.

I wish I could wake up some morning and be someone else.
– from GO ASK OGRE

In your memoir, the teenage Jolene reaches out to a most unlikely confidante, Skinny Puppy’s lead singer. At the time, what would you have said your reason was for seeking him out?

At the time I had a lot of pen pals. I was very much into correspondence and the mail art scene. I was also being introduced to a lot of new music by way of my pen pals and a show that was on MTV at the time called “120 Minutes,” which is where I first saw a video for Skinny Puppy, which lead me to purchase their album “Mind the Perpetual Intercourse.”

I had reached out before to musicians that I had admired. I can’t explain why my letters to Ogre were so immediately personal. I really don’t know why. It’s still a bit of a mystery even to myself. I guess I could point out the obvious. His look was interesting to me. I liked the black spiky hair and torn jeans and the dark eye make-up. And from what I could tell from his lyrics, he seemed like he was familiar with pain, which I could identify with.

My “mother” just went crazy. She’s throwing things in my room. She ripped my posters and then she pulled my hair.
– from GO ASK OGRE

I have to say, while the subject is often so serious, there’s something so playful and humorous in the letters and in your comments to Ogre acknowledging the weirdness and the frequency of the letters. It has a Morrissey quality to them, kind of dramatic with tongue in cheek. Can you comment on the surprising humor that’s in there?

I was suprised myself when I was going through the letters before I began transcribing them. I did make my own quirky jokes about how much I was writing to him and what I chose to share with him. But I also laughed at some of the 80’s references. Like how devastating it was to me to be out at a show, the night that I met Ogre and to look in the mirror aftwards to see that my hair was flat. And other things that are kind of sweet. Sentiments that come from the heart that are kind of warming.

Then there’s the dark humor… and the humor that you attempt when trying to lighten up situations. For example, when recounting a particularly dramatic fight with my mother, throwing some humor in there to make it less painful.

Now that you have healed some and gained distance, how do you understand that act of reaching out to a stranger?

I still can’t figure that one out! I guess it has a bit to do with the safety of being extremely honest with someone who you are not close to. It’s hard to be so open with friends or family about such personal things sometimes.

I can have my own opinion when I write.
– from GO ASK OGRE

You were seeing a therapist during this time, or part of it, but neglected to mention the letter writing. That fascinates me, though I think I would have done the same. Can you say why you kept that private, and what eventually made you reveal the secret?

I wasn’t seeing a therapist regularly. After my grandparent’s passed away in 1986 I told my mother that I wanted to see a therapist. She wanted to get therapy together, as we were having problems but I didn’t like that. I wanted to speak to someone on my own so I wasn’t happy with our sessions together, which we eventually dropped.

There were times throughout the book when I would see a therapist for a session or two but it wasn’t long term.

I’m such a loser. All I want to do anymore is write you and sleep.
– from GO ASK OGRE

How old were you when Ogre sent the letters and notebooks back to you? And can you tell me what it was like to receive that package?

I was 31, I guess. I had known that he still had the letters. He was living in LA and the letters were in Calgary with a friend of his so it took about a year to get them back. I was really anxious about it. Ogre told me that some of the letters were unopened (which, I was thankful for) so it was really strange to open a letter from myself from 17 years ago. I was engrossed. There were so many letters that, days later I was still opening letters”¦ I was surprised by my sense of humor at the time which I don’t remember having and of course, the dark things”¦ the suicide attempt. I had blocked a lot of things out of my mind so reading them opened a few wounds. I fell into a mind depression but I think it was good for me to re-live that. I think it allowed me to fully heal to re-read and transcribe those letters.

I’m not afraid of dying, I’m just afraid of how I will die. The kind, the ways of death. I’m terrified of being murdered. I have a fear that when I’m driving, if I pass a car the people in the car are going to shoot me in the head. I don’t want anyone to slice my body up. I’m afraid of being stabbed to death. I don’t want my body thrown in a river or put into a trunk of a car. I have a fear of having my head cut off. I don’t want anyone to cut off my fingers and make me eat them.
– from GO ASK OGRE

The book is full of some hateful episodes between you and your mother; and yet the epilogue is so awfully forgiving. What changed, and how?

Well, getting out of that environment was the first step. My mother and I have always had a love/hate relationship due to our mood disorders. We’ve never seemed to be able to communicate properly during any sort of crisis. We were both very emotional and immature. I went away to art school and became a little more aware. I learned that most relationships were not like this.

In my early 20’s my mother and I had an argument and she told me that she hated me. I learned to detach a bit and though it was painful, I told her that I found it very sad that she hated her daughter. That was the first time I was able to successfully detach. She didn’t respond well when I put up my boundaries but over the years I continued to do so, cutting her off when her behavior was unhealthy. In my late 20’s I began to get regular therapy after an unhealthy romantic relationship. I found a therapist who I really connected with and I learned a lot from. I began to understand a little about my mother’s behavior with her alcoholism and mood disorders and her abuse history. I encouraged her to get therapy as well, which she did and she’s grown a lot.

When I first began working on the book she was concerned about how she would be portrayed. I didn’t want to hurt her. I told her this. The process of putting the book together took a couple of years, which, gave her some time to digest it all and she asked me to use a pseudonym for my last name, which I did. But something really beautiful has happened with the release of this book. My mother completely supports it. She came to my book signing in Toledo, Ohio, my hometown and invited all of our relatives to come. She has finally forgiven herself for the past and sees the book as a way for her to close that chapter. It’s had an amazing effect on our relationship.

Despite our past, I would never want to hurt my mother. Although what is documented in GO ASK OGRE does not portray her in the best light, she was wonderful in a lot of ways.

My mom said, “It’s over!” once again. Once again, it’s over.
– from GO ASK OGRE

What kind of feedback have you heard from your readers?

People usually thank me for being so honest in the book and I appreciate that because as excited I was about having a book published, I was also terrified about exposing myself. Because these were letters that I had never thought I would ever see again, let alone share”¦ you know if I had written this book with the intention to share it with the public it would be less “stream of consciousness” style. But people seem to like that. It makes them feel that they are reading thoughts directly transcribed and I guess that’s interesting.

Hear one R.E.M. song, you’ve heard them all! I’m going to have nightmares about too loud R.E.M.
– from GO ASK OGRE

If you received a letter from a teenage girl who hated herself like you did, what would you say to her? How does a kid go from self-loathing to healing?

I do get a lot of letters from people who are going through a tough time and I feel for them. I try to encourage them to reach out to counselors or family members whom they trust. I tell them not to feel so alone because a lot of people feel this way and that things can get better but that it takes time. I tell them to focus on the little things that make them happy. That’s what I do and it seems to work!

Jolene, thank you for your book and for taking the time to do this!


If you’re on MySpace, you can “friend” Jolene and Go Ask Ogre.


Question of the Week: Hope

by Susan Henderson on April 23, 2007

What gives you hope when times are tough? What do you hold on to?


Wednesday, Jolene Siana will be here. Her book is a compilation of letters and journal entries from a time she felt hopeless. Come join us and find out how the singer from Skinny Puppy helped her get through.


Tonight is Nile Rodgers’ We Are Family Foundation gala, and I’ll have more to say about it at the end of the week. I’ll bet I’ll have some swag to give away, too. Kenny, Kathy, and Mike, don’t forget to pick me up at 2!


Weekly Wrap: Taking Our Next Steps.

by Susan Henderson on April 20, 2007

Here’s a secret about me. If I don’t know what to do next, I’m happy to turn to my horoscope or use Neil Gaiman’s magic 8 ball. Why do I do this? Because moving in any direction at all is better than drumming my fingers. (Can you tell I’m an Aries?) In my experience, there are many, many right moves to make. You just have to get started and take a step.

Maybe, after finishing your manuscript, you’ve done what many do, which is to stick the manuscript in a drawer for a month so you can read it with fresh eyes. But during that month, join Publishers Marketplace and research agents. Read Miss Snark’s blog and learn tips for querying. Go to local readings and talk with the authors and editors there. Write your back cover blurb. Write your one-line elevator pitch. Work on your next book. Get yourself in shape for your book tour. And most importantly, tell people where you are in the process. You might be surprised by how many would be happy to open doors for you.

Finally: believe in yourself. You wouldn’t have wasted all that time if you didn’t have something to say. Take that next step with confidence!

P.S. If you missed this link in the comments section, it’s worth it to put those rejection slips into perspective: Joshua Bell plays in the subway.


My boys and I spend too much time lately watching Criss Angel videos on YouTube. These videos make me laugh so hard, and some weeks, I need help remembering how to laugh:


Thank you for your answers to the Question of the Week: Claire Cameron, amy, Elizabeth Alan, lance reynald, Aurelio, Ric Marion, Nicole, Lori Oliva, Silvia, A.S. King, Robin Slick, Carolyn Burns Bass, Lauren, Ronlyn Domingue, Noria, Karen Dionne, Kaytie, Simon Haynes, PD Smith, Julie Ann Shapiro, wendi aarons, Jody Reale, Juliet, Jordan E. Rosenfeld, Daryl, Suzanne, Karen Dionne, billie, Darrin, Anneliese, and David Niall Wilson.

And thank you to Lori Oliva for kicking off such a great discussion!

See you Monday with a new question.