Wednesday, March 18, 2009


I've been revising The Bodley Boys to resubmit to an agent. Last night, fueled by ideas that wanted out, I worked from 1:30-5:30am. I felt possessed, as if I were just a go-between to get the words written.

Today, my son and I were going through my father's WWII letters for a school history project. We haven't gotten very far, but I just found this bit in one of his letters:

July 16, 1945

“I wrote a short story today. After I edit it I think I’ll send it to a magazine just for the hell of it. Most of the guys think it is pretty good—but it really isn’t too hot. Maybe I can rework it.”

How timely, as I'm doing my own revisions to find this gem from the past. And to see a bit of my father's personality as well.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Market Looks Good for Ghosts

Yesterday from Publishers Weekly:

“A weeklong, three-round auction culminated yesterday with Scribner editor-in-chief Nan Graham taking U.S. rights to Audrey Niffenegger’s second novel, Her Fearful Symmetry, for a figure reported to be just shy of $5 million…”

“Her Fearful Symmetry
, is described as a 21st-century ghost story and centers on two American teenagers, identical twins, whose lives change when an aunt whom they didn’t know dies and leaves them a flat overlooking Highgate Cemetery in London. Feeling that their lives can finally begin, the twins have no idea that they’ve been summoned into a tangle of fraying lives, including that of their dead aunt herself, who never got over her estrangement from the twins’ mother, and in fact can’t seem to leave the flat.”

I have so many thoughts on this. First, WOW. Publishing is not dead. Of course the advance has something to do with her brilliant writing and The Time Traveler’s Wife selling a bajillion copies. However, it means publisher’s still believe books sell.

I was both elated and crushed at the plot details of Her Fearful Symmetry. You see, in my WIP, one of the characters lives across from Highgate Cemetery. Another shares a flat with a ghost. Yes, I started writing it ages before I learned about her book. In THE ARCHITECT AT HIGHGATE CEMETERY, an art restoration specialist uncovers objects hidden by a wronged nineteenth century architect, including design plans and a letter incriminating the architect of record of stealing more than ideas.

Several books have taken place in Highgate, Tracy Chevalier’s Falling Angels to name one. Interesting tidbit: While researching her book, Niffenegger ran into Chevalier, who was volunteering at the cemetery. Visit the cemetery’s official website here to learn why it’s such an intriguing setting.

Thanks to agent Nathan Bransford's “Negativity Week (which is actually short for How To Remain Positive in the Face of Negativity But That's Too Long of a Blog Title Week, or HTRPITFONBTTLOABTW for short)” I choose to look at it positively.

Yesterday, I got another agent request to read THE BODLEY BOYS. Indeed, the market looks good for ghosts!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Dreaming of Oxford

If I seem depressed in April, it's because in addition to not attending the London Book Fair, I'm also missing the Oxford Literary Festival.

Thanks to Stuck in a Book, (Masters student at Oxford and former Bodleian employee!) I just read about the event on his blog. Since completing THE BODLEY BOYS, I haven't done as much research on Oxford. I've even stopped listening to the Oxford podcasts, because I've been trolling London's Clerkenwell, Hampstead, and the incredible Highgate Cemetery via internet, all places the characters of my next book will inhabit. But now I'm dreaming of Oxford again.

In my fantasy, one of the agents now reading THE BODLEY BOYS falls in love with it, sells it to a publisher, and next year I'm packing for a literary trip to the UK.

As Gigi Dottie says, "Got our dreams, haven’t we?"

Tuesday, March 3, 2009


I'm fortunate enough to have a core group of writer friends, a critique group, and Sophia Nash as a mentor. Her third book in The Widow's Club series, Love With the Perfect Scoundrel, just hit the shelves. Her books are intelligent, witty and sexy. I’m waiting for my copy to arrive in a brown box on my doorstep any day. Sophia’s clear focus on the business of writing inspires me and she’s always willing to share valuable insider tidbits. I know she’ll be thrilled when I’m published, she’s told me so.

Many of my writer friends are on the cusp of being published. When they are, I will push any jealous thoughts away (I’d be lying if I said I won’t have any) and celebrate their launch. I’m pretty sure they’ll do the same for me. After all, I’m a better writer because of every one of them.

Jennifer Jackson of the Donald Maass agency links to one of her clients blogs. Jay Lake mentions a situation of professional jealousy that ruined a friendship. He writes, “As a result, someone whose name should be in the dedications of all my books is instead someone I have not seen or spoken to in years, and probably never will again.” That's just sad.

He offers some wise words: “My friends are my friends, and their successes only magnify our friendships.”

I agree!