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USA Noir

USA Noir:Barbara’s story, “Crazy for You,” that was published in 2010 in Orange County Noir is included in USA Noir: Best of Akashic’s Noir Series, released November, 2013. The new anthology includes short stories by some of the greats in the suspense field: T. Jefferson Parker, Michael Connelly, Lee Child, Joyce Carol Oates, and more. Details and purchase information ».

Watch a video trailer for USA Noir:


Latest entries from the Pen on Fire blog:

Nayomi Munaweera and Aline Ohanesian on Writers on Writing

Debut novelists Nayomi Munaweera, author of Island of a Thousand Mirrors, and my former student, Aline Ohanesian, author of Orhan’s Inheritance, join Marrie Stone to discuss writing as an exhile, the power of personal history, the effects of war and genocide on future generations, and how to make the political stories personal. 

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(Broadcast date: April 22, 2015)

Mary Norris and Christie Watson on Writers on Writing

Mary Norris, author of Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen, talks to Nicole Nelson about how being so focused on the details because of her copy-editing job made her appreciate the work of her editor for this book in helping her craft chapters with a beginning, middle and end; what it’s like to be in charge of the “comma shaker” at The New Yorker; and how knowing the grammar behind the use of “me” in some contexts can, between her and us, help writers make the correct choice. Then Christie Watson, author of Where Women are Kingsjoins the show to talk about how she discovered the voice of her main character, Elijah, how the novel changed as she worked through nearly a dozen drafts, and how important it is for writers to silence their inner critic and keep on writing.

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(Broadcast date: May 6, 2015)

About writing

A lil Q&A I did with Michelle Knowlden, whom I met in Fictionaires many moons ago. She asks me about writing and I tell her my deepest, darkest secrets. (Sorry…not really.)

Right here….

Michelle has a blog with interviews with writers. You can subscribe through the link I just gave  you.

If I Had My Life to Live Over by Erma Bombeck

Erma Bombeck was one of our great American humorists who died in 1996.  I’ve been purging the files in my studio and I came across this. I first saw it when my son was teensy weensy and for years it was magnetized to the fridge. Some years ago I filed it (my son is now 20), but it still has the power to make me well up. It’s so easy to get caught up in the junk going on and forget to enjoy the little things.

If I had My Life to Live Over by Erma Bombeck

I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained, or the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the “good” living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have sat on the law with my children and not worried about grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life.

I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband.

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for the day.

I would never have bought anything because it was practical, wouldn’t show soil, or was guaranteed to last a lifetime.

Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I would have cherished every moment and realized the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, “Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.”

There would have been more “I love you’s” and more “I’m sorry’s” but mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute, look at it and really see it, live it, and never give it back.

Stop sweating the small stuff. Don’t’ worry about who doesn’t like you, who has more, or who’s doing what.

Instead, let’s cherish the relationships we have with those who do love us. Let us think about what God has blessed us with.

And what we are doing each day to promote ourselves mentally, physically, emotionally, as well as spiritually. Life is too short to let it pass you by. We only have one shot at this and then it’s gone.

I hope you all have a blessed day.

In memory of Erma Bombeck, who died in 1996.

What would you add to this list?

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