THE TIN HORSE

THE WRITING LIFE

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Rabbi Lawrence Kushner: A Dance Review

Rabbi Lawrence Kushner doesn't bill himself as a dancer, and I didn't go to see him Sunday in my role as a dance critic. But the rabbi's got moves! Rabbi Kushner was giving... more...
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Yikes, I’ve Been Studied!

I had no idea I was "mak(ing) clear how well popular culture can entertain nostalgia, trivialize history, and relieve, without really working through, the traumas of the past." Turns out that's what more...
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Blog Tour Goes to Cafe Bassam and Nia Class

Thank you to J. Dylan Yates, who invited me to follow her on this blog tour. Dylan's first novel came out just a week ago! Called "The Belief in Angels," it's about a young... more...
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Now Read This! “The Knife-Sharpener’s Bell” by Rhea Tregebov

Everyone's a critic. Especially me. I write dance criticism. And, as a novelist and writing teacher, I've made an art of picking apart the most heartfelt, lovingly crafted prose. All of which means that when... more...
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Did you get to choose your book cover? Well, sort of…

"It's an uneasy embrace," my editor kept saying when I voiced reservations about the first cover Random House proposed for "The Tin Horse." Granted, I said, the photograph of two little girls hugging conveyed... more...
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Pioneer Jews

My nominee for one of the most intriguing book titles ever is "Pioneer Jews." It is not an oxymoron! As this deeply researched, terrifically readable history by Harriet and Fred Rochlin makes clear, Jewish... more...
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The Wisdom of the Burnout Sisters

We all know the stereotype of a book club, that it's a bunch of women who, under the pretense of meeting to discuss books, just socialize and drink. That hasn't been my experience at... more...
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Happy Birthday to The Tin Horse!

It's hard to believe, but it's one year since "The Tin Horse" was published - January 29, 2013! Year 1 has been an amazing ride. A few highlights ... * The launch party at Warwick's... more...
Kendra Harpster (l) with publicist Michelle Jasmine and assistant Kaela Myers, wearing Tin Horse necklaces

Scenes from an Editing “Marriage”

Kendra Harpster (l) with publicist Michelle Jasmine and assistant Kaela Myers, wearing Tin Horse necklaces I just came across an online discussion on "The Editing Myth" in which many... more...
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My Passion for Judaism

Last weekend, I led two Jewish services, one on Friday night at my synagogue and the second on Saturday morning for my Renewal group. I led prayers - singing and playing guitar and drum - and... more...
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7 Rules to Write By – Links to All 7!

For everyone who's making a New Year's resolution to finally start - or finish - that novel ... here, in one place, are all 7 of my rules to write by, with links to the... more...
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Thou Shalt Afflict Thy Protagonist

George Cruikshank engraving It happened again yesterday. A friend in my writers group kept taking her protagonist into situations that made everyone squirm ... but then backed off. For instance ... The character is... more...
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Stories Everywhere: Crying Men & A Seal Birth

"We are narrative beings," said Margaret Atwood, an author I revere, at the Los Angeles Times Book Festival last spring. Along with food, shelter, and sex, one of our most basic needs is... more...
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A Sexagenarian Rant

As a San Diegan, I've heard ad nauseum about our headlocking former mayor, Bob Filner. So I've seen multiple references to one of the recipients of Filner's amorous advances, widely described as more...
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“No one has to walk backwards without applause”

Today, September 11, would have been the birthday of Lynn Luria Sukenick, the teacher/mentor/friend/matchmaker (really, she told Jack and me to meet each other) who saw in me things I hadn't yet imagined. Lynn,... more...
Kendra Harpster (l) with publicist Michelle Jasmine and assistant Kaela Myers, wearing Tin Horse necklaces

7 Rules to Write By – #7. Choose an editor who shares your vision

We all know what happens when a novel is sent out to publishers. There's one rejection, and then another, so many that the author can paper a wall with them. And then finally, when the... more...
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7 Rules to Write By – #6: Choose your agent carefully

I found my uber-agent on the internet. Here's how I did it ... and (mostly) avoided some pitfalls along the way. Although I'd been published before, The Tin Horse was a very different kind of book... more...
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Rx for Writers’ Mental Health: Bird by Bird

Every few years, I reread Bird by Bird, the wise, funny book by Anne Lamott that's aptly subtitled Some Instructions on Writing and Life. Anne Lamott validates all of the ways that I feel... more...
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7 Rules to Write By, #5: Write a Strong Query

Here I am in New York (actually Brooklyn) yesterday morning, with my agent, Susan Golomb. Along with being a warm, lovely person and an insightful editor, Susan is a mega agent; her list includes... more...
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Grandpa Tiny and the Priest’s Daughter or: Family Stories and Selective Memory

I love it when people say they figure the stories in The Tin Horse are based on my family stories, because they feel so authentic. Actually, most of the book is made up ... except for... more...
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7 Rules to Write By – #4: Have the will and skill to revise

It's Jeff's turn to be critiqued, and he's doing everything right. He listens carefully, taking notes. He doesn't argue or try to explain; he gets it that if people are confused by what's on the... more...
My maternal grandmother's family, the Antons, shortly after they came to Milwaukee from Ukraine. My grandma is the tiny baby.

The Urge for Going: Is it in Americans’ DNA?

My grandmother's family, the Antons, shortly after they came to Milwaukee from Ukraine. My grandma is the baby. I visited a book group recently, and one of the members, Cheryl, brought up an idea... more...
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7 Rules to Write By – Rule #3 (continued): Your Red Teacher’s Pencil

In the last 7 Rules post - on Rule #3, choosing the right critique group for you - I talked about the etiquette for giving and receiving critiques. Before moving on to Rule #4... more...
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7 Rules to Write By – #3: Choose the Right Critique Group for You

Recently my friend "Alice" told me about a writing workshop she'd joined. She was the only person who was writing memoir; everyone else was doing fiction. And she found the critiques of her work... more...
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Foolproof Passover Apple Cake

I have a number of things in common with the Greensteins in The Tin Horse. Like Barbara and Elaine, I'm into modern dance. Like Elaine, I've always been a reader. One thing I didn't... more...
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7 Rules To Write By – #2: Do the Work

My last blog was about Rule #1: Go toward what scares you. The second of my 7 Rules to Write By has to do with the Muse.

 Some people wait for the Muse to show... more...
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7 Rules To Write By – #1: Go toward what scares you

Hi, writers. This blog post is for you--or really, for anyone who takes the risk of following their artistic vision and putting it out into the world. I recently gave a... more...

Book launch at Warwick's Jan. 29

Djewess Unchained: ProsenPeople blogs

I've been blogging up a storm, writing four posts for last week's stint as guest blogger for The ProsenPeople, a project of the Jewish Book Council and the Jewish Daily Forward. You can link to... more...
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5 Remedies for Pre-Release Jitters

1.  Go to a Day of Mindfulness at Deer Park Monastery. Do an hour-long walking meditation. Sing sweet, cheery songs with hand gestures led by beaming Buddhist monks and nuns. 2.  Feel absurdly comforted by... more...
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Literary L.A. – and no, that is not an oxymoron!

The Sunday L.A. Times carried an article by Hector Tobar that made this Southern California writer put down her cup of green tea and look for a... more...
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Where do you get your ideas?

I've heard authors say that their least-favorite question is "Where do you get your ideas?" Not me. For one thing, I am not one of those writers who keeps a file box (or the... more...