Tag: literature

What They’re Saying

“I started with Lucky Critters and your reading reminded me for all the world of the cadence of Larry Brown reading from his works years ago, one of his first, at a Jackson literary festival. It was when Larry was getting to be noticed.” Lynn Watkins, journalist, lawyer, Mississippi reader  LISTEN: “Lucky Critters” :

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Cain’t Do Nothing with Love

Terra firma info: Launch date: Thursday June 27th Time: 6:00 pm Location: The Booksellers at Laurelwood Memphis, TN What it is: collection of award-winning short stories written and read by the author (me) and made available on CD Ether info: Launch date: earlier than June 27th Time: anytime I choose Location: on the ethernet What it...

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Squids, quicksand, and the baby chicks apeeping

I am refilling a manuscript with a contest I entered last year at this time. To do so, I must justify the refilling, describing how the manuscript has changed. Thus, I’ve had occasion to review what last year I thought was a nearly complete version of The Bone Trench, this novel I can’t seem to give up on. This earlier version of the manuscript...

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The Next Big Thing Blog Roll

Thank you to Susan Cushman for including me in this The Next Big Thing Blog Roll project. Susan has been an inspiration to my writing career in many ways, the primary one being her graciousness in inviting me into the writing community. To me—who is so focused on community—her immediate welcome has meant a lot. Like so many participating in this...

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It’s only a $9.95 check . . .

At one point, I was on fire to be a published author. I transitioned out of practicing law and began learning how to write. I went to writers conferences (Sewanne for fiction, Kenyon Review for nonfiction). I read goo-gobs of books. I submitted my work to literary journals, keeping a methodical record of what I sent where, who requested more...

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The Uncertainty of Being Southern

As my husband ate a haystack, munching away, I thought about my earlier conversation with the man at the fireplace shop. “Why are they called dog irons?” I asked. I only asked the man this question after walking through his entire 50,000 square foot store and not seeing one dog on the fireplace equipment. He said, “They’re not. They’re andirons.” Southern...

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A Novel I Love More than Christmas

At Beth’s Bookstore, I slipped a paperback from the shelf. I read the first line. That’s how I chose a book: the first line, then the first paragraph. Sometimes if I’m unsure, I continue further down the page. Then I either buy the book or I put it back. I’ve been burned using this method—occasionally, a book doesn’t live up to the opening—but...

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How Not to Choose a Freelance Editor

At Beth’s Bookstore, I slipped a paperback from the shelf. I read the first line. That’s how I chose a book: the first line, then the first paragraph. Sometimes if I’m unsure, I continue further down the page. Then I either buy the book or I put it back. I’ve been burned using this method—occasionally, a book doesn’t live up to the opening—but...

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Obvious Things I’ve Learned While Reading My Stories Aloud

The Story Tittle Matters The title does so much of the initial work of the story. Not only does it establish the tone, it provides the reader with subliminal clues, such as the setting, the plot’s main conundrum, etc. I’ve always known my titles encapsulate the meaning of the story—if you didn’t get the title, I haven’t written the story well...

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“Buck Up, You Fool!” or Crying at Your Own Writing

I’d been working on the short story for years. An early version was workshopped in Richard Bausch’s Moss Group. Later, the story received an Honorable Mention in the Memphis Magazine Short Fiction Contest. But I’d never successfully placed the story for publication anywhere. That’s because it wasn’t right. “Ain’t No Commies ‘Round Here,”...

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