Bursting at the Seams

I’ve been waiting to post here until I could take the time to write something poignant and meaningful, offer some deep reflections on the days before my book is born into the world for real. But, man, releasing a book requires hustle. So maybe—hopefully—that post is on its way, but this is not it.

In this post I want to tell you how full I feel. Stuffed, actually, bursting at the seams with news, with gratitude, with pride. I feel nervous, happy, scared, loved…this process has been a wild ride, that’s for sure. And it’s only going to get wilder.

More musings to come, but for now, let me share with you some of the latest news about Hand Me Down.

  • People Magazine gave the book 3.5/4 stars! They called it a “compelling read.” Look for the review it in the April 23rd issue, on sale today.
  • ML Johnson at the Associated Press wrote this wonderful review of Hand Me Down, which was then picked up by dozens of news outlets, including the Huffington Post and the Washington Post! “Melanie Thorne’s debut novel is raw with emotion.”
  • Last Sunday the San Francisco Chronicle included the first line of Hand Me Down in their book section of the paper and online. W’s mom called all excited to see that I’d shown up in her Sunday paper.
  • Cindy Wolfe Boynton at Book Page wrote a thoughtful review, Reality Sparks Affecting Debut” that made my day. She called the book “impossible to put down” and said, “Readers vividly see and experience right along with Liz, thanks to Thorne’s sharp storytelling.” It was included in this special edition of Book Page. Plus, she interviewed me for a piece that is going to run in the Salt Lake City Tribune.
  • Daily Candy featured my book in their “Spring Ink” section, “15 Books to Read While the Trees Blossom.” The other books in this list look really interesting, too!
  • Hand Me Down made it onto Kirkus Reviews “New and Notable Fiction” list for April.
  • Confessions of a Vi3tbabe posted a great review this week. “A heartfelt story that I couldn’t put down…Hand Me Down is truly a moving and empowering story, one I think everyone should read.”
  • Candace’s Book Blog also posted a wonderful review. “This book was pretty fantastic. I thought it would be one I’d only read just a little at a time…but the second day I picked it up I ended up reading the whole thing. It sucked me in and I totally and completely ached for Liz and her horrible horrible situation.”
  • And finally, I got a tiny mention in the Press Democrat in an article about books set in Sonoma County along with fellow Dutton authors Sere Prince Halverson and Jennifer Chiaverini. And, this reporter may do a feature on just me a little later!

See, that was a lot of news! Not to mention the Goodreads reviews—mostly great—my launch event tomorrow night at Copperfield’s, my event with Pam Houston at the Booksmith in SF next week, my other upcoming events, my live interview on Capital Public Radio in Sacramento on May 1st, and a forthcoming Q&A in the East Bay Express. Phew!

I’m so happy for all the attention my labor of love is getting, and I really appreciate all the support from my friends and other authors and booksellers and people I don’t know who took the time to write something kind about my book. Thank you, thank you.

Writing Wednesday

I’ve been thinking about how to share all the great posts about writing I read, which is a lot, and this seems like the best way, so welcome to Writing Wednesday (until I think of a better title)! Since I am, you know, a writer now, it’s part of my job to be a involved in the larger writing community. So I read a lot of author blogs and articles about the industry and the writing process and the ones I find particularly interesting/helpful/funny/inspiring/just generally good I’ll share with you. Enjoy!

  • Improv performing tips that relate to writing in How to Write Like a Funny Woman from The Rumpus. “If you can’t kill your darlings, anesthetize/copy & paste them in a separate Word document.” I do this. It is easier than killing them outright.
  • The Port Townsend Writer’s Conference this year has Pam Houston, Cheryl Strayed, and Dorothy Allison on staff this year. What an amazing group of women! I wish I could go.
  • Sarah Pinneo, whose book Julia’s Child was just released, talks about her first book not working out and how that led to something better here.
  • Two gems from Pam Houston: an interview at Fictionaut Five and an essay called Corn Maze, in which she discusses the blurry lines between fiction and non-fiction, and what language and truth can really mean, and why her narrator in her new book Contents May Have Shifted is named Pam. Did you know she taught James Frey?
  • As an introvert, I found this post, The Perks of Being an Introverted Writer, really interesting.
  • And finally, a quiz from Book Riot to see which author you are. I got Flannery O’Connor.

Tusked Dolphins and Copywriting

Okay, these two things aren’t actually related. Or maybe they are in some metaphorical way that I could figure out if I thought about it for a while, but mostly I wanted to share these two links.

Seventy five ancient whale fossils were found in a Chilean desert, which all seem to have died at the same time. Other creatures, including a dolphin with tusks and a sea-sloth were also found. Fascinating! As a kid I wanted to be a whale trainer at a park like Sea World or a marine biologist, and I still love this stuff. Whales are awesome.

PhotobucketAnd, here is some helpful advice from Jane Friedman: learn to copywrite. It’s not just about grammar—though it’s good if you know the difference between your and you’re—but persuasive, attention-grabbing writing is important for authors, and she’s right, no one seems to teach it. I was “lucky” enough to have copywriting jobs, where I learned to manage word count, use SEO (search engine optimization), and how to sell. Not fun necessarily, but helpful for the career I actually wanted: being a writer. My query letters were pretty good, my description of the book was used for part of the catalog copy, and hopefully I’m not boring you all with my social media updates. Meaning, essentially, knowing how to copywrite is very helpful, even if I learned it by writing three hundred articles about eye health and travel guides for places I’d never been. It’s worth practicing, and the end of the article offers resources.

Bonus! Here’s an extra resource for writing tips: an article I wrote last year on why good writing matters, inspired by a coworker who asked how to spell sawl. She said, “You know, like I sawl it yesterday at the store.” Yes, seriously. But since it’s not a real word, I’m not sure I spelled it correctly.