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FEBRUARY Newsletter

Volume 23

greetings friends:

As we ski, sleep, read, or walk our way through winter, however we do it, my focus for

the next six months is on the marketing and publicity plans for the new book.

Most of us writers don’t find this the most fun part! And there are days when I don’t either…but then there are days when we find new connections, make new friends, bring on new members onto our launch teas who are perfect and arrive at just the right moment (aka Julie Lambert!).

An example of my new searches, here: The Butcher, the Embezzler, and the Fall Guy focuses on a family history story that explores the themes of Poetic License (complicated family legacy and our reverence for heroes) but also includes a true white collar crime angle (by the embezzler, natch!). This past week I was researching true crime–especially white crime–podcasters and found so many of them! No wonder there's such a big market for true crime stories. What was fascinating about these shows was the varied angles they take–fraud, insider trading, deceptive financial structures, ponzi schemes, even white collar crime that includes murder (Sarah Stewart Taylor, Shelley Blanton-Stroud, any interest?). Who knew?

I guess I’ll be dipping my toe in and I’m sure I’ll learn more from the interviewers.

Fair warning about now til summer: Most of us writers are highly focused on our characters, our stories, and crafting a good read. That said, the reality of being a writer, especially an Indie writer, is that there's the business of selling as well. I'll apologize here for what may appear -- and likely is -- an effort to gain sales through the coming half-year. But once you’ve preordered the book and suggested it to your friends, feel free to skim over those parts as I’ll also include my usual latest swoon books, musings on the writing life, and an occasional flash piece for your enjoyment!

Let me know if there’s anything in particular you’d like me to address in upcoming newsletters and if you have any questions! Any question is a good question and I look forward to answering them in the next edition!

news and events

THE BIG NEWS for FEBRUARY: We’ve sold the audio rights for The Butcher, the Embezzler, and the Fall Guy to Tantor Media! This is a dream come true since it came unsolicited and will provide for those you prefer the sound of a book as much as the story. That option should be available pretty quickly after the print and e-books come out in June! I look forward to working with Tantor as they offer options for narrators! Tantor was interested in part because of the white collar crime angle and that they find few written by family members connected to the crime with a story that also is connected to a brand name company (Hormel). Thank you Tantor Media !!

February 23rd 9 PM EST/6 PM PST

LA Talk Radio Rendezvous with a Writer live or to follow with link on Social. Looking forward to speaking with Bobbi Jean Bell and Jim Bell on their wonderful show! We’ll be talking about both books. :-) You can also check out LA Talk Radio here. Thanks to Krista Soukup at Blue Cottage Agency for snagging me a spot!

And thanks to www.BookSparks and Tabitha Bailey, publicity lead, for taking on the publicity for my new book! Tabitha is coming up with things daily. Much more in the months to come!

other Coming Events:

  • April 6 - 1-2 PM EST - Launchpad with Grace Sammons -- a conversation with my writing group--the RBGs (Radical Badass Girls, Who Write) Ashley Sweeney, Deb Thomas, Shelley Blanton-Stroud, and me about the FOUR new books we helped each other create during 18 months of Covid. This will be fun! More info on Social.

  • First scheduled book reading/signing - Date and Time TBD -- My first Brooksville Public Library, Brooksville, Maine.


Swooning Over:

Our Wives Under The Sea - by Julia Armfield – wow, wow, wow!! Just my kind of book. Armfield’s second novel is terrific even if I haven’t quite finished it yet but I can't wait to tell you! A British marine biologist who leaves for a routine mission on a submarine vessel sinks to the bottom of the sea unexpectedly before returning to her wife months later. Beautifully written in two voices, this is highly interior and full of life's conflicts and transitions and transition. I’m in awe of Armfield’s poetry. Kristen Arnett calls it “one of the best books I’ve ever read”. My copy is heavily underlined and starred and will certainly serve as a guide for book #3 to come. I’ve now bought and/or sold at least a half dozen copies of it to friends and family. If you’re a reader of mine, you’ll love, be moved, be challenged, by this book.


Trust by Hernan Diaz. This is a dazzler. A complex literary mystery and wonder of construction, imagination, and, as Jacqueline Woodson noted “jaw-dropping story-telling.” This was a book I could not skim AT ALL. It took my full brain not only to appreciate the way Diaz approached this story of wealth, greed, philanthropy, family mythology, New York’s financial center in the early 1900s, and scandal, but also to watch as each revealing piece of the story unfolded in his hands. Longlisted for the Booker Prize 2022 and, actually, a very good complement to The Butcher, the Embezzler, and the Fall Guy (same period, same financial themes, same backdrop of American history) but in fictional mode that reads as really good memoir/nonfiction. Rachel Kushner said, “Diaz understands, and deeply, how strange money is, as an omnipotent and imaginary substance that controls our lives.” In his hands, the omnipotence and imaginary come to life. This one will stay on my shelf and be read again.

And just picked up:

Very Cold People, by Sarah Manguso. Introduced to me by latest teacher Beth Kephart, this is a story set in of western Massachusetts where Ruthie grows up learning to see the dark underbelly of her family and town. I’m looking forward to digging in. The LA Times called it “succinct and devastating.” The Washington Post wrote what any author would love for a blurb, “crackles like a room-temperature beverage poured over ice.” Manguso won the American Academy of Arts and Letters Literature Award for a different book (the club my father was a member) and I’m thrilled to make her acquaintance!

Really, in winter, is there anything better than just curling up with a pile of good books and every now and going outside for a little air?

Until the first (in New England) fickle spring days of March–stay well and in touch!


Buy Poetic License Here:


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