Tuesday, December 29, 2015

No, My Relatives Don't Work at Kirkus!

Here's some more good news about THIS ANGEL ON MY CHEST:

Kirkus Reviews has named it to their list of 11 Most Overlooked Books of 2015.

Yay, I'm on a list...about being ignored! The book business is what it is, and I don't personally feel ignored. It's been a wonderful fall! I'm grateful--always--for readers who connect with my work, whether they are people who tell me to my face, who email or tweet me kind messages, or who--apparently--work at Kirkus and care about books and about this book in particular. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Spice Nog Flip...and More Links about ME!

Oh, I’m so, so, so, so, SO far behind on EVERYTHING! Please pardon this giant wrap-up of a million links all about me. But as a reward at the end of this post I’m including an excellent holiday drink that I made all by myself when Steve was away! It is rich and delicious and easy, and you know what? You deserve it!

Biggest news of all! I adapted the first story in THIS ANGEL ON MY CHEST into a non-fiction essay which is featured on the cover of the Washington Post Magazine! It’s really a lovely layout, with stunning illustrations. The web version is pretty—but imagine the print version being 10 times prettier!

I was featured on The Quivering Pen, in the “My First Time” feature, and I wrote about my first time creating a literary community, when I co-founded Folio literary journal while in graduate school.

THIS ANGEL ON MY CHEST was selected by Kirkus Reviews as one of 16 best short story collections in 2015. There doesn’t seem to be a direct link, but if you want to confirm I’m not making this up, you can click at the top to the “best of 2015” link and scroll though the lists.

Here’s a quickie interview on The Story Blog in which I reveal that my ideal writing day would end with watching “Jeopardy”!

Modern Loss is featuring my short story “I Am the Widow” (which maybe you already read if you read the book, but there’s a beautiful picture to accompany the story, so check that out!)

As promised, here is a recipe for Spice Nog Flip, from Cocktails for the Holiday by the editors of Imbibe magazine (yes, that’s a magazine about craft beverages!):

Spice Nog Flip

2 ounces black spiced rum [I am lucky enough to have some excellent rum from Haiti, but I don’t think it’s spiced and the drink tasted fabulous; Captain Morgan’s is spiced rum]
1 tablespoon powdered sugar
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg [I love nutmeg so added more]
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 ounces half & half [I’m sure whole milk is good, or real cream!]
1 egg
Dash of vanilla extract
Ice cubes

Combine the rum, powdered sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, half & half, egg, and vanilla in a shaker. Add ice and shake well. Double strain [or simply strain if you’re as lazy as I am] into a chilled mug and garnish with a dusting of nutmeg and a cinnamon stick. [Or decide you don’t want to waste a cinnamon stick and you’ll be fine.] [Also, I actually served this over ice in a tall glass.]

AND DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE EGG! IF YOU SHAKE IT ENOUGH, YOU WON’T EVEN KNOW IT’S THERE!! [Think of it as adding nutritional value.]

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Where Do Titles Come From?

I consider myself fairly title-challenged, so I was especially interested in this article about where authors find their titles. (Side note: I combed the Bible many times over looking for the right title for a novel manuscript and came up with diddley-squat!)

…Consider Evelyn Waugh’s A Handful of Dust (from T.S. Eliot’s modernist revelation, The Waste Land); Haruki Murakami’s Dance Dance Dance (from W.H. Auden’s “Death’s Echo”); John Kennedy Toole’s comic masterpiece A Confederacy of Dunces (from a Jonathan Swift essay); Madeleine L’Engle’s A Swiftly Tilting Planet (from Conrad Aiken’s “Morning Song of Senlin”); Cormac McCarthy’s No Country for Old Men (from Yeats’s “Sailing to Byzantium”); E.M. Forster’s A Passage to India (from Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass”); David Foster Wallace’s sprawling Infinite Jest (from Hamlet, which, by itself, has provided titles for dozens of novels). And the richness of Hamlet is hardly Shakespeare’s only contribution to the world of titles. The Bard’s oeuvre has inspired countless writers to plunder from his seemingly endless riches, from Joyce Carol Oates (New Heaven, New Earth) to Edith Wharton (The Glimpses of the Moon), from Isaac Asimov (The Gods Themselves) to Dorothy Parker (Not So Deep as a Well). If imitation is indeed the sincerest form of flattery, it isn’t hard to see how our most ambitious authors hope to create seriousness and clarify intent by echoing the elder masters in a legitimizing osmosis-by-title….


DC-area author Leslie Pietrzyk explores the creative process and all things literary.