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Friday, August 26, 2016

Don't Kill Your Darlings

I have an essay today at Women Writers, Women's Books about not killing your darlings. Thanks to Barbara Bos and her excellent crew for letting me contribute!

"Often we cling to our darlings because we lack confidence in our own abilities (“I’ll never write something so fantastic again—how could I?”). However, by doing so, we’re both challenging ourselves to create another, more beautiful darling and proving that, yes, we are capable of another darling—many more, in fact.

So they say. Between us, I’ve never actually killed my darlings."


To read more, go here.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

"Possessions" in The Baltimore City Paper


I have a short fiction piece, "Possessions," in the Baltimore City Paper's Special Fiction Issue, curated by award-winning author and fellow Baltimorean Susan Muaddi-Daraj. It's a great issue, full of some of our greatest working writers and poets.

"And you will insist that I take your regrets, that you shouldn't have been so critical, so quick to anger, so jealous and controlling. That you wish you had appreciated me more, that you hadn't cheated. You will press them on me when I leave, like a missionary tract or a Jehovah's Witness pamphlet. You will hope I examine them later, in some moment of reflection, and convert back to your way of thinking."

To read more, go here.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

"The Hard Truths" at The Nervous Breakdown



I have this essay at The Nervous Breakdown on writing about controversial subjects in fiction: 

"If I do have a responsibility to my readers, it’s to be the best spokesperson for my characters, to make them as fully realized as possible, to discover their hard truths and not shy away from them."

To read more, go here.

Friday, August 19, 2016

New Post at Medium: I Saw the Sign




"Everyone knows the signs. There are hundreds of books, websites, videos, dedicated to them: flickering lights, unexplained touches, items in the house disappearing, temperature changes in the room, dreams visits, audible hallucinations, shadows. The list goes on and on of ways that your loved ones are attempting to contact you from beyond the land of the living, letting you know they’re okay. In the almost two years since my mother died, I’ve never seen a sign. " 

 To read more, go here.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016


Today at David Gutowski's awesome site,  Largehearted Boy, I got to share my music playlist for my new novel, The Summer She Was Under Water (Queens Ferry Press) on Book Notes:

"My second novel, The Summer She Was Under Water, is actually two books: one I started years ago and put away because the themes of family dysfunction (specifically, parents and their adult children spending a weekend at their lake cabin to relax but instead creating a powder keg of built-up grievances) seemed so overdone, and the other a magical realistic novella, called Water Moon, I wrote about a man who discovers he is pregnant. Although completely different in tone and subject matter, they seemed to be speaking to each other, and it was only when I wove them together did I discover the terrible secret hidden in an already broken, blue-collar Baltimore family. (I don't recommend you always plan novels this way, but it seems to work for me.)

I don't remember exactly what I was listening to years ago when I wrote The Summer She Was Under Water or Water Moon, and they were separated by years of other projects, but when I was going over the edits of the final book with Erin McKnight at Queens Ferry Press and seeing the novel fresh again, I viewed it like a movie, and since I love music scores, I wondered how someone would score it, scene by scene."

To read more and listen to the playlist, go here.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Five Novels That Influenced Me as a Writer

Some books you return to over and over again, not only because you love them, but because they altered your direction as a writer the moment you read the first few sentences. Today at Rainbow of Books, I discuss five such books that altered the course of my writing life. 

Every line is a carefully arranged flower in a bouquet. Roy taught me that every line, every word is important, just like every cell in our bodies, every organ, has a purpose (except maybe the appendix).  

To read more, go here.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Writers Digest: Seven Things I've Learned So Far

My second novel, The Summer She Was Under Water, just released this week, and it's been a long road, from the first story to the first draft to the first novel. It's hard to write and even harder to be a writer. But I've learned a lot of things, and I talk about seven of them today at Writers Digest:


Readers love to be surprised and challenged, and it starts with the writer challenging him or herself, going to uncomfortable places

To read more, go here.