Torn Between Two Lovers: A Tragicomic Tale of Second-Novel Rivalry 💔

Torn Between Two Lovers: A Tragicomic Tale of Second-Novel Rivalry 💔

My first love, a thirteen-year affair, caused a lot of emotion over its long life—excitement, rage, fear, euphoria, satisfaction, frustration. It was both thrilling and exasperating and, truth be told, there were a few breakups, one I thought would be irrevocable. Friends were concerned we wouldn’t make it, calling it my phantom novel. But we went the distance and finally celebrated going public nine months ago. Since then it’s been a party, all champagne and celebration. A victory lap full of hard work, yes, but mostly pure joy.

One of the names I call the object of my affection is The Fourteenth of September. When I’m in a rush, I use its pet name, “A Woman’s Story of Vietnam,” sometimes just a short but sweet “Set in ’69.” We’ve had our moments. Never will a relationship be so volatile, meaningful, or memorable, and it will always be with me.

But I’m ready, as they say, to move on. It’s me, not it. No fault, harm, or foul. It’s just time.

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A Tale Of Two Writer's Conferences

A Tale Of Two Writer's Conferences

I just returned from two back-to-back conferences and am reeling a bit from what I’ve seen as I begin to peddle my novel after quietly writing it for the past 12 years.

Association of Writers and Writing Programs—I Am Not Throwing Away My Shot

I’ve been to the formidable AWP Conference several times in the past, but always hung to the sides, picking up what craft or marketing information I could, but not feeling quite “legitimate” without a finished manuscript. I’d found my first AWP pretty frosty. Twice, someone I’d sat next to at a lecture responded to my “hello” with a quick look at my name tag and, apparently seeing nothing useful, literally turned full-body to the evidently more credentialed person on the other side. I’d been taken aback at such a PR faux pas. How do they know I won’t be the next Donna Tart? So, this is the world we’re in, I thought, as I was repeatedly mowed down again and again until I figured out a system—leave the current session before the Q&A and you’ll have a prayer at being able to get into the next, even though you’d probably still end up sitting on the floor.

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