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1. The Women’s National Book Association & The Franklin Park Reading Series Get Booked

franklinHere are some literary events to pencil in your calendar this week.

To get your event posted on our calendar, visit our Facebook Your Literary Event page. Please post your event at least one week prior to its date.

Authors Therese Walsh and Barbara O’Neal will appear for a signing event at BookCourt. See them on Monday, March 10th starting 7 p.m. (Brooklyn, NY)


New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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2. Everyone's Talking About Sisterhood (and The Moon Sisters book giveaway)

The Moon Sisters is about will-o-the-wisps, trainhopping, and unrealized dreams…but mostly it’s about sisterhood. So we’re celebrating the release of this novel by gathering some of our favorite bloggers to share their take on sisterhood. First up is Therese Walsh, author of The Moon Sisters, who is visiting The Muffin to tell us about sisterhood in her family.

Sisters Forever: Aimee, Therese, and Heather

On Sisterhood

by Therese Walsh

I have two beloved sisters, both younger, and our interactions with each other—the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful—are all reflected in the story of The Moon Sisters. They’ve also helped to create some of the most memorable moments of my life.

I was eight when my first sister was born, and shortly thereafter—which trying to figure out the mechanics of a diaper—I stepped away from the changing table and my sister rolled over (a new trick!) and fell onto the floor. She wailed as I panicked. I lied to my mother about what had happened until guilt got the better of me, and then I fessed up and apologized.

Earliest lesson: Sisters can get you into trouble.

Also: Never step away from a changing table.

Once, when that same sister was older, she took our youngest sister’s favorite pair of pants and drove them to an embankment and threw them into a stream. Our youngest sister had been driving her crazy for one reason or another, and retaliation had seemed a good option at the time. But somehow, some way, my youngest sister knew—just knew—that our middle sister had taken the pants. Not only that, she had a feeling where those pants had ended up. She actually found them, filthy, wet, at the bottom of the ravine.

Lesson: Sisters know things. Don’t try to prevent this knowledge.

Life with sisters is made up of a million little moments when you’re all living together under the same roof. Waiting together for the ice cream truck. Trying to cheer one another up with crazy antics like dancing stuffed animals. Food experimentation. Secret-telling. Talk of love and sex and politics and health and family and life and death. Everything. Secrets are rare, and the bond can be extraordinarily strong, even when sisters are miffed with one another.

Honesty—it’s the way of sisters, even when it causes conflict.

Now that we’re all grown, we’re just as close as ever. Maybe closer. We’ll never again wonder if that missing CD is in someone else’s bedroom or what happened to that pair of pants!

Last summer I had a health scare, which thankfully turned out just fine. While one sister, in town, visited with me and soothed with face-to-face contact, my other sister, from away, communicated by phone and sent a constant stream of positive thoughts in my direction. Both strengthened me during one of the most tenuous times of my life.

Sisters can be maddening and nosy, and supportive and loving. My sisters are a vital part of my bedrock, and my life with them has helped to define me in complex and significant ways.

Do you have a sister story to share? I’d love to hear it.

About The Moon Sisters

In The Moon Sisters, her second novel, Therese Walsh wanted to write about one sister’s quest to find will-o’-the-wisp light, which was her mother’s unfulfilled dream. Also called “foolish fires,” these lights are sometimes seen over wetlands and are thought to lead those who follow them to treasure. Despite the promise, they are never captured and sometimes lead to injury or even death for adventurers who follow them. The metaphor of that fire – that some dreams and goals are impossible to reach, and that hope itself may not be innately good – eventually rooted its way into deeper meaning as the Moon sisters tried to come to terms with real-world dreams and hopes, and with each other, in their strange new world.

Olivia and Jazz Moon are polar opposites: one a dreamy synesthete, able to see sounds and smell sights and the other controlling and reality driven. What will happen when they are plunged into 24/7 togetherness and control is not an option? Will they ever be able to see the world through the other’s eyes and confront the things they fear the most? Death. Suicide. The loss of faith and hope. Will they ultimately believe that life is worth living, despite the lack of promise?

The writing of The Moon Sisters was a five year journey and at times author Therese Walsh felt like it was her own “foolish fire.” But remember, some fires are worth the chase!

Hardcover: 336 pages (also available in e-formats)
Publisher: Crown (March 4, 2014)
ISBN-10: 0307461602
ISBN-13: 978-0307461605

Read a review of The Moon Sisters on the Muffin here.

***** BOOK GIVEAWAY *****

Thanks to Therese who is giving away a print copy of The Moon Sisters. Just enter the Rafflecopter form below to be entered in the drawing.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Want more chances to win? Visit all the other bloggers talking about sisterhood today to enter.

Who else is talking about sisterhood?

The blogs listed below have all decided to share their stories, essays, poems, photos, or other means of creative expression on the topic of sisterhood. We really have no idea what bloggers will come up with, but we can't wait to find out! So check out the blogs listed below and see what they're up to!

Lit Ladies

Deal Sharing Aunt

The GaGa Sisterhood

The Unfaithful Widow

Caroline Clemmons

A Ponderance of Things


Laurie Here

Thoughts in Progress

Me and Reading

One Sister’s Journey

Words by Webb

Mother-Daughter Book Club

Vickie S. Miller

One Writer’s Journey

Renee’s Pages

Cassandra M’s Place

A Book Lover’s Retreat

Brooklyn Berry Designs


I Love to Read and Review Books!

Traveling with T.

0 Comments on Everyone's Talking About Sisterhood (and The Moon Sisters book giveaway) as of 3/4/2014 5:28:00 AM
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3. Therese Walsh's Family Relationships Blog Day Guest Post

Writing the story of my family while writing the story of my heart
…without ever even knowing it

By Therese Walsh

The Last Will of Moira Leahy is many things—an emotional tale of twin sisters, a family saga with elements of psychological suspense, mystery, romance and mythical realism—and it’s sometimes been hard to describe it for just that reason. But one thing it definitely is, which I never called into question, is fiction. I created the characters and their dramas, and researched the story into life by learning about the coast of Maine and Rome, Italy and Javanese culture. So when a fellow writer asked one day about beginnings, and where the inspiration for my slate of make-believe folk had came from, I said, “my imagination,” without a single bat of my eyelashes.

“Hmm, are you sure?” she asked. “Think about it. Let me know.”

Her questions had been simmering on my backburner for a while when some parallels began to emerge in my mind.

The main character of LWML, Maeve Leahy, was 16 when she lost her twin.

Her loss became a central consideration while planning her present and coping with her future.

She shut people out, including her family.

She was strong, but she was in pain.

She needed, somehow, to move beyond it, for someone to help her.

The parallel?

My sisters and I lost our father twelve years ago.

My youngest sister was 16 at the time.

Our father’s death devastated all of us, but especially her; and her recovery experience became very important to me.

Maeve and my sister differ in personality, and much about Maeve’s story is unlike my sister’s story, but healing from a deep loss was what I wanted most for them both. I was shocked by the similarities between them and even a little embarrassed that I’d never noticed the linkage before.

How did my family story work its way into the pages of my novel in the first place? I think writing like a “pantser,” when you don’t have your story plotted ahead of time, is a lot like journaling. You will, nine times out of ten, find yourself writing about that which weighs upon your heart—and you’ll try to formulate a solution. In the case of LWML, that solution wasn’t something that could apply to my sister in real life, but that didn’t prevent her from developing a keen interest in what happened to Maeve Leahy.

Interestingly, Maeve’s story has resonated most strongly with that sister. After me, she’s probably read LWML more than anyone and cried the most number of times over its pages. She’s cheered the most times, too. (I don’t believe in unhappily ever afters.)

Today, that sister is stronger now, in control of her present and able to look to the future without flinching. I spoke with her to make sure she didn’t mind that I share this story, and she didn’t.

“Get it out there. Truth is truth. Tell the whole world that I love this book and that they will too!”

She said it with a passion that would’ve made Maeve Leahy proud—and that’s not fiction.

Have you ever read a book you identified with more strongly than you expected?

Have you seen yourself or a family member reflected in the traits of a fictional character—for better or worse?

If you write, do you find that real life sneaks its way into your fiction? (Are you a plotter or a pantser?)


Therese Walsh's debut novel, The Last Will of Moira Leahy, was officially published today (October 13, 2009) by Shaye Areheart Books (Random House). Her essay above is part of a very special event--Family Relationships Blog Day--in celebration of her novel's release. View the post below this one for a list of fantastic blogs participating in this monumental event.

Therese is the co-founder of Writer Unboxed, a blog for writers about the craft and business of genre fiction. Before turning to fiction, she was a researcher and writer for Prevention magazine, and then a freelance writer. She's had hundreds of articles on nutrition and fitness published in consumer magazines and online.

She has a master's degree in psychology.

Aside from writing, Therese's favorite things include music, art, crab legs, Whose Line is it Anyway?, dark chocolate, photography, unique movies and novels, people watching, strong Irish tea, and spending time with her husband, two kids and their bouncy Jack Russell.

Find out more about Therese by visiting her website: www.ThereseWalsh.com.

13 Comments on Therese Walsh's Family Relationships Blog Day Guest Post, last added: 10/13/2009
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4. Tuesday Tales: Family Relationships Mass Blogging Day and Patricia Polacco books

wow logoToday I’m participating in a mass blogging! WOW! Women On Writing has gathered a group of blogging buddies to write about family relationships. Why family relationships? We’re celebrating the release of Therese Walsh’s debut novel today. The Last Will of Moira Leahy, (Random House, October 13, 2009) is about a mysterious journey that helps a woman learn more about herself and her twin, whom she lost when they were teenagers. Visit “The Muffin” to read what Therese has to say about family relationships and view the list of all my blogging buddies. And make sure you visit Therese’s website to find out more about the author.

therese walsh last will book cover

I chose WOW!’s “Family Relationships Mass Blogging Day” to write about one of my favorite picture book authors/illustrators, Patricia Polacco. She has written and illustrated many picture books, including some of my favorites: My Rotten Redheaded Older Brother; Thank You, Mr. Falker; and Pink and Say.

The reason I chose her for today is many of her picture books are based on true accounts of her childhood, and she does not try to mask these events behind some fictional characters. She includes herself and her family members, and the stories are touching, often bringing tears. The book I chose especially for today is Thunder Cake. If you have a child scared of storms, this is the perfect book for you. It will help you and your child share special moments as Patricia and her grandmother did when she was a child.

Short, short summary: Thunder Cake is the story of how Patricia Polacco learned to conquer her fear of storms when she was a young girl. Her grandmother senses a storm is coming, and so she convinces Patricia to go outside and gather the ingredients they need to bake thunder cake. This includes eggs, tomatoes, and milk. While the cake is baking, Grandmother recaps what young Patricia did OUTSIDE as the storm was approaching, and she convinces her granddaughter that only a brave girl could do those things. Patricia agrees. This is one of the perfect family relationship books as it shows the heartwarming love between a grandma and her granddaughter, and it can help you as a parent (or even a teacher) with a child who has a fear of storms.

So, what do I do with this book?

1. Make a thunder cake with your students or you child. (If you are doing this with a classroom, you can also turn any cooking lesson into a math lesson–studying fractions, doubling recipes, and so on.)

2. Ask students or your child to write (or make a list together) all the reasons why rain is a positive thing–why do we need rain? Why is this important? If children can see why rain is necessary and helpful, it might give them more positive feelings toward storms. When your child starts to become afraid during storms, draw pictures of the ways rain helps, create poems, or even make up a play or story with older children. This will distract them from the storm and promote positive feelings.

3. Make noise with your child or students as a storm is approaching. Can you make your own thunder? Often children just don’t like loud noises they can not control, and this is why thunder scares them. Get out some pots, pans, and wooden spoons. Have a storm concert. Chant favorite poems and play music to drown out the outside sounds.

Another super easy thing to do is just talk with your child about Patricia’s bravery and see what they think. Thanks for checking out my post today as part of WOW!’s mass blogging day!

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5. Therese Walsh, author of The Last Will of Moira Leahy, launches her blog tour!

& Book Giveaway Comments Contest!

Therese Walsh planned to be a sleep researcher but, through the twists and turns of life, ended up as a researcher at Prevention Magazine. She began writing bits and pieces for the magazine and soon found her true passion—writing.

Therese’s love of writing led her to co-found Writer Unboxed, a blog for writers about the craft and business of genre fiction, and begin her own novel. Her debut novel, The Last Will of Moira Leahy, was released on October 13, 2009 (Shaye Areheart Books).

When she isn’t writing, Therese feasts on dark chocolate to keep up with the boundless energy of her husband, two children, and Jack Russell dog.

Find out more about Therese by visiting her website: www.ThereseWalsh.com.

The Last Will of Moira Leahy
By Therese Walsh

Maeve was the fun loving twin; Moira was the quiet twin. Eventually, young love began changing Moira when they were 16 years old. But then tragedy struck. After the loss of Moira, Maeve became more like her—quieter, more orderly, even boring.

After a decade of being a shadow of herself, Maeve wins a keris or Javanese dagger that reminds her of her childhood playing pirates with Moira. Not long after she finds her life plunged into chaos: anonymous notes, travel to Rome, and a strange riddle with roots in the past to unravel. Is Maeve’s adventure a gift to jolt her out of her routine existence or a punishment manipulated by a twin from beyond the grave?

Published by Shaye Areheart Books
Hardcover: 304 pages
ISBN# o307461572

Book Giveaway Comments Contest!

If you received our Events Newsletter, remember, we are holding a contest to win a copy of Therese's book, The Last Will of Moira Leahy, to those that comment. So, grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and enjoy the chat, and share your thoughts, and comments, at the end.

We will randomly choose a winner from those who comment. Enjoy!

Interview by Jodi Webb

WOW: Most writers will confess to having one...or two...or three practice novels in "the drawer" that helped them learn how to write. Do you have any unpublished works in your "drawer" that helped you learn how to write?

Therese: The novel in my drawer is “take one” of The Last Will of Moira Leahy (then called “Unbounded”), which is an entirely different book and has the structure of a traditional love story/romance.

WOW: Take one! Tell us how two unpublished manuscripts equals one published novel. You began with a man-woman love story and ended up with a story of twins. Were these two separate manuscripts that you combined or was it a drastic rewrite of one?

Therese: Let me first say that if I hadn’t believed in this story wholeheartedly—not my ability to tell the story but the story itself—I never would’ve done this. But I did believe, and I had to press on and do my best.

Here’s what happened: I started writing in 2002. I’d never written adult fiction before, and I hadn’t studied my craft either, so I pretty much didn’t know what I was doing. The story drifted all over the board. It had the structure of a romance but with content that veered into decidedly unromantic territory—including the emergence of my heroine Maeve’s deceased twin sister and a Javanese dagger (keris) that insisted on being center stage. When I submitted the story to agents in 2003, some were very encouraging—they liked my voice and thought the story was interesting, some even admitted the story had personally touched them and made them cry—but the overwhelming consensus was that it would not sell as a romance. It was agent Deidre Knight who told me I should be writing women’s fiction, as the emotional tenor of the book spoke to that genre.

Drastic rewrite? Oh, yes. I rewrote pretty much every word, and changed the plot and structure of the book. I pitched some characters and created some new ones. I maintained my two prior settings—Betheny, New York and Rome, Italy, but I introduced a critical new setting—Castine, Maine, where the twins grew up. The love story component, though still important to the book as a whole, took on a lesser role.

WOW: I can't imagine having what was, in your eyes, a finished novel and going back almost to square one. Some of us have trouble just rewriting an opening chapter! Did you have pangs when you were asked to rewrite?

Therese: I definitely had pangs. I still remember the night Deidre’s email came in, how sick I felt. Because even though I’d started as a newbie, I had evolved throughout the process of writing that story—I’d embraced critique and worked for months to edit my tome, at one point trimming 30k words from its pages. I’d spent two years on that version. So, yes, pangs.

WOW: What made you come around to Deidre’s way of thinking?

Therese: I thought hard about Deidre’s advice, and considered which scenes were most central to the story and best reflected the heart of the book. Surprise! They didn’t involve the hero, Noel, but rather Maeve’s twin, Moira. That’s when I knew Deidre was right, and the book should’ve been written as women’s fiction. Before I started writing, though--I moped, I doubted. Did I have what it took to make it in publishing? Was I wasting my time tackling this story again? Should I trash the concept and start something new? But the characters wouldn’t let me be; I had to try.

WOW: Any advice for writers about how to decide what is helpful criticism and what is just the whim of some agent or editor?

Therese: I think it’s important to be wide open to criticism. That can be hard, because as writers who hone in on emotional truths, we can be thin-skinned peeps. Criticism can hurt. But it’s what we need, in part, to become better writers. You have to put yourself in a Zen place to accept critique—assume that others have your story’s best interests at heart when you hear what they have to say, then think deeply about what they’ve offered you. If you’ve successfully set aside your pride, your gut will tell you if that person is right or wrong.

If you’re still in doubt, bounce professional advice around with your critique group. What do they think? Pay attention if you’re hearing the same criticism from more than one source.

WOW: What was more difficult--the original writing or the rewrite? How long did it take?

Therese: I first started writing in 2002, and that draft was much easier for me—in part because I was happily ignorant! I started the big rewrite in 2005, then scrapped everything again and started for a final time in 2006—this time with an outline. (Yes, finally, an outline. I was learning and had studied my craft over the years.)

The hardest part of the book was managing the interwoven narratives between Maeve Leahy in the present day and the twins in the past. These “out of time” sequences are their own narrative and not your traditional flashbacks (think English Patient). I remember nearly ripping my hair out as I worked to sequence everything, wanting each present-day and out-of-time sequence to share a vibe, and needing for the stories to dovetail at specific times and in important ways.

WOW: I can’t imagine juggling not only twin characters but also the present and the past—all in one book! Twins and their relationships are key to The Last Will of Moira Leahy. Tell us, are you a twin? If not, how did you come to such an understanding of this unique interaction?

Therese: No, and there aren’t any twins in my family. When I was drafting the first version of the book, Moira just popped up one day, unplanned. I didn’t have more than a common-man’s knowledge of twins until I began research for the big rewrite. At that time, I read a lot of books and online articles. One of the very best books, in my opinion, was the slim and accessible Twin Stories: Their Mysterious and Unique Bond by Susan Kohl. I loved it for its firsthand accounts of twin phenomena. So, so many of the things I’d already included in the story were supported by that book—another sign Last Will wanted to be written, I thought.

WOW: What did you do to advance your craft? Take classes, read writing books, enter contests?

Therese: I didn’t take any classes and entered few contests, but I have a library of craft books. Here are a few of my favorites:

Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass (plus the Writing the Breakout Novel Workbook)
Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne & Dave King
A Dash of Style: The Art and Mastery of Punctuation by Noah Lukeman
Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder

WOW: I’m sure we’ll all be devouring those books—hoping they can help us create a novel as riveting as yours. So now that The Last Will of Moira Leahy has finally been released what's next? Is there another novel in the works? More twins?

Therese: Yes, I’m writing another women’s fiction novel with elements of psychological suspense, mystery, romance and mythical realism. It’s a quirkier book than Last Will, but so far I love it. And so far, no twins. But I am still drafting. :-)

WOW: Quirkier than a journey of discovery involving a lost twin and daggers? I can’t wait!

Want to join Therese on her blog tour? Check out these dates and mark your calendar! You can also snag a copy of WOW's Events Calendar HERE.

Blog Tour Dates: Come and join the fun!

October 19, 2009 Monday
Therese will be chatting with WOW! Women On Writing at The Muffin. Stop by and share your comments! One lucky commenter will win copy of Therese's book!

October 20, 2009 Tuesday
Therese Walsh, author of The Last Will of Moira Leahy, stops by The Divine Miss Mommy to discuss: The Importance of Being True to Yourself.

October 21, 2009 Wednesday
Visit Peeking Between the Pages for a review that peeks between the pages of The Last Will of Moira Leahy.

October 22, 2009 Thursday
At A Book Blogger’s Diary, Therese tells us how you can manage to inject foreign lands into a book even if your passport has never been stamped. Stop by to tell where you’ve always dreamed of traveling and enter to win a copy of The Last Will of Moira Leahy!

October 23, 2009 Friday
How can a traveler have an insider’s experience at their destination? Therese stops by Suzanne Kamata's blog, Gaijin Mama, to explain how conversations with the locals can make your destination come alive.

October 26, 2009 Monday
Twitter have your head spinning? Therese Walsh stops by Whole Latte Life to give us the lowdown on Twitter. And don't forget to enter for a free copy of her novel: The Last Will of Moira Leahy.

October 27, 2009 Tuesday
Stop by Writer Inspired today for a great interview with debut novelist Therese Walsh. Find out more about a novel that evolved from a romance to an eerie story of twins and then enter to win a copy of her book The Last Will of Moira Leahy.

October 28, 2009 Wednesday
Fellow readaholics unite! Bridget Hopper has invited novelist Therese Walsh to visit her blog Readaholic. First read Therese’s post and then enter to win a copy of her book The Last Will of Moira Leahy.

October 29, 2009 Thursday
Stop by A Book a Week today for a review of Therese Walsh’s novel The Last Will of Moira Leahy. Then stop by her sister site Donna’s Book Pub tomorrow for a chance to win a free copy!

October 30, 2009 Friday
Donna Volkenannt interviews Therese Walsh about the challenges of writing her first novel. And gives everyone a chance to win the book that keeps you guessingThe Last Will of Moira Leahy!

November 2, 2009 Monday
Should Therese Walsh’s The Last Will of Moira Leahy be on your To Be Read list? Swapna Krishna tell us on her blog Skrishna’s Books and also gives everyone a chance to enjoy the tale of a twin’s journey of discovery with her book giveaway!

November 3, 2009 Tuesday
Anne Walls of Word Hustler delves into the imagination of Therese Walsh to uncover how she weaved twins, daggers, and pirates into The Last Will of Moira Leahy, a book you can’t put down!

November 4, 2009 Wednesday
Cindy Hudson of Mother Daughter Book Club shows that even adult daughters and moms can enjoy books together with an interview of Therese Walsh. She also gives everyone a chance to win a copy of her novel The Last Will of Moira Leahy!

November 6, 2009 Friday
Stop by Eclectic Book Lover for a great review of The Last Will of Moira Leahy and a fascinating post on mythical realism! And don't forget your chance to win a copy of Therese's book.

November 11, 2009 Wednesday
Don’t miss a post by Therese Walsh, debut novelist of The Last Will of Moira Leahy at the blog Meryl Notes.

November 13, 2009 Friday
It may be Friday the 13th but it’s your lucky day! You get a fascinating peek into a world of Javanese daggers via a post by author Therese Walsh at Day by Day Writer.

We may have many more dates to come, so be sure to check out our Events Calendar HERE.

Get involved!

We hope you are as excited about the tour as we are! Mark your calendar, save these dates, and join us for this truly unique and fascinating author blog tour.

If you have a blog or website and would like to host one of our touring authors, or schedule a tour of your own, please email Angela and Jodi at: [email protected]

** Please feel free to copy any portion of this post.

Oh, be sure to comment on this post to enter in a drawing for a copy of Therese's page turner, The Last Will of Moira Leahy.

19 Comments on Therese Walsh, author of The Last Will of Moira Leahy, launches her blog tour!, last added: 10/22/2009
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6. How research can lead a writer

Revision update: Too many late nights, and I haven’t moved forward. I must get up earlier tomorrow!

Today, Day By Day Writer is thrilled to be participating in the blog of author Therese Walsh, who’s debut novel, The Last Will of Moira Leahy, was just released. Therese has written a fabulous guest post on research and how it can help in our writing.

Before we get to that, however, the book’s publisher, Random House, has provided the first three chapters of the book in an online reader. Check it out here.

And now I pass the floor, er, blog, to Therese … take it away!

Therese WalshWhen I first began writing my debut novel, The Last Will of Moira Leahy, it was not intended to become what it did—the story of twin sisters and their everlasting bond—but was rather a simple best-friends-fall-in-love story that would kick off at an auction house. The story changed because of research that led me to interesting facts. The item of interest at the auction was a Javanese dagger with a wavy blade called a keris. It wasn’t until later, after a friend’s innocent inquiry, that I researched the blade and discovered a storyteller’s goldmine.

Some pros hate the idea of a writer stalling in her tracks for research, because it’s simply too easy to become derailed. Just do the minimum, they suggest, then get back to writing. Truth is, The Last Will of Moira Leahy wouldn’t have become what it did without the keris, and I wouldn’t have known about the keris if not for my research-related diversion. I am both a pantser and a pauser. I write as the story leads me, and I pause to “listen” along the way. Some might listen to their muse, and I do that too, but I also listen to my research. Hard. I don’t pause to research minor details necessarily, but I pause to research anything plot related, and I allow that my research may turn the course of the story. Sometimes it does.

The Last Will of Moira LeahyAn even more potentially impactful kind of research is immersion research, when you visit the place of your story and put yourself in situations resembling those of your characters. I visited Castine, Maine, for example, while writing The Last Will. My perceptions as well as my interactions with the people there influenced the plot of my novel, turned several characters onto different paths, and generally helped me to visualize the novel better than I ever would have without that experience.

I’m a researcher at heart, so I am biased toward lots and lots of research, but I can attest to its power. It can help your stories become more powerful by:

  • helping you identify new ways to inject a situation with conflict
  • providing you with first-hand accounts that can lend authenticity to your work
  • allowing you to hone in on the best settings for your scenes

and of course

  • leading you to story ideas you never imagined, that can turn your story into something so much better than you would’ve created left to your own devices.

I know this to be true. My personal zigs and zags made a world of difference for The Last Will—a story that might otherwise have been as predictable and commonplace as a straight line.

What is your relationship with research? How do you incorporate research into your writing? Do you control it, let it run wild over your pages, or do you practice something in between?

Write on, all!

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7. Family Relationships Mass Blogging Day!

Today, bloggers everywhere are writing about family relationships. Why family relationships? We're celebrating the release of Therese Walsh's debut novel today.

The Last Will of Moira Leahy (Random House, October 13, 2009) is about a mysterious journey that helps a woman learn more about herself and her twin, whom she lost when they were teenagers.

The blogs listed below have all decided to share their stories, essays, poems, photos, or other means of creative expression on the topic of family relationships. We really have no idea what bloggers will come up with, but we can't wait to find out! The only guidelines we provided were to write about family--anything from tracing your family history to the family feud between your mom and aunt Martha to planning activities that bring your children closer together. But one thing is for sure: they are all fantastic blogs worth visiting. So check out the blogs listed below and see what they're up to! We don't know what time they will be posting, so the best thing to do is to bookmark them or this post and visit them at your leisure. We can't wait to see all their creative posts.

Everybody's Talking About...Family Relationships

Participating Blogs (Listed by blog title, alphabetically):

A Girl, Her Career, and Life on the Dairy Farm: http://sandhillssequitur.blogspot.com/

A Ponderance of Things: http://rcponders.wordpress.com/

A Woman’s Life Stages: http://www.awomanslifestages.com

A Century of Thoughts: http://chehrenegar.blogspot.com/

About.com’s Freelance Writing: http://freelancewrite.about.com/

Adventures in the Writing Life: http://adventuresinthewritinglife.blogspot.com/

Anna Louise Lucia’s blog: http://annalouiselucia.com/blog/

Awake is Good: http://www.awakeisgood.blogspot.com/

Behind Brown Eyes: http://right2write.blogspot.com/

Catch a Star Before It Falls: http://celestialgldfsh.livejournal.com/

Catherine Johnson Notes: http://catherinejohnsonnotes.blogspot.com/

Cathy C.’s Hall of Fame: http://www.cathychall.blogspot.com/

Color Your Life Happy—Flora Morris Brown, Ph.D.: http://coloryourlifehappy.com/blog/

Cynderella’s Castle: http://www.cynthiadalba.blogspot.com/

Danielle Buffardi’s blog: http://www.daniellebuffardi.com/

Day By Day Writer: http://daybydaywriter.wordpress.com/

Dianne Sagan, Life as a Ghost(writer): http://diannesagan.wordpress.com/

Elizabeth Kirschner’s blog: http://elizabethkirschner.wordpress.com/

Entering the Age of Elegance: http://www.maturingmodernwomen.com/

Erin Denver’s blog: http://www.erindenver.com/

Fan Mail: http://www.michellemach.com/blog/

Fat and then, a journey back to my true self: http://fatandthen.blogspot.com/

Five Scribes: http://fivescribes.blogspot.com/

Gaijin Mama: http://gaijinmama.wordpress.com/

GardenWall Publications: http://www.gardenwallpublications.com/blog/

Gayle Trent, Cozy Mystery Writer: http://www.gayletrent.com/blog/

Janel’s Jumble: http://janelsjumble.blogspot.com/

Joan Mora’s blog: http://joanmorawrites.blogspot.com/

Julie Bogart’s blog: http://juliebogart.com/blog/

Just Another Perfect Day: http://gundiva.blogspot.com/

Kristin Bair O’Keeffe’s blog: http://www.kristinbairokeeffeblog.com/

Linda Mohr’s Blog: http://lindamohr.wordpress.com/

Little Miss Information: http://s-frostie.tumblr.com/

Magical Musings: http://magicalmusings.com/

MamaBlogga: mom’s search for meaning: http://www.mamablogga.com/

‘Manda Blogs About...: http://mandablogsabout.blogspot.com/

Meryl’s Notes blog: http://www.meryl.net/section/blog/

Misadventures with Andi: http://www.misadventureswithandi.com/

Moonlight, Lace and Mayhem: http://moonlightlacemayhem.blogspot.com/

Mother Daughter Book Club Blog: http://motherdaughterbookclub.wordpress.com/

Multi-Tasking Mama: http://www.multitaskingmama.com/

Muse: http://erikarobuck.wordpress.com/

Natalia Maldonado’s blog: http://www.nmaldonado.com/blog/

North Side Four (plus Eleanor Roosevelt, the Senator and the President): http://www.northsidefour.blogspot.com/

Once Written, Twice Shy: http://www.shywriters.blogspot.com/

One Woman’s Eye: http://onewomanseye.blogspot.com/

Paris Parfait, Tara Bradford writes from the City of Light: http://www.tarabradford.com/

R.J. Writes: http://www.ruthjhartman.blogspot.com/

Read These Books and Use Them!: http://margodill.com/blog/

Reading Frenzy: http://lumorgan.blogspot.com/

Reconsidering Sanity: http://www.reconsanity.blogspot.com/

Romancing the Blog: http://obe-romancingtheblog.blogspot.com

Scales and other lies: http://scalesandotherlies.com/wordpress/

Self Help Daily: http://www.selfhelpdaily.com/

SFC Blog: Families Matter: http://familiesmatter2us.blogspot.com/

So Many Books, So Little Time: http://purplg8r-somanybooks.blogspot.com/

Squirrel’s Treehouse: http://www.scrollsquirrel.blogspot.com/

Stardust Graffiti: http://www.stardustgraffiti.blogspot.com/

Stories of life: one writer-mom’s odyssey: http://www.kristinemeldrumdenholm.blogspot.com/

Taste of Kiwi: http://www.shelleymunro.com/blog/

Teresa Shen Swingler’s blog: http://teresashenswingler.com/

The 5th Line Project, Page 56, Line 5: http://the5thlineproject.wordpress.com

The Beautification Project: http://thebeautificationproject.wordpress.com/

The Freshman Writer: http://thefreshmanwriter.wordpress.com/

the SIMMER blog: http://simmerblog.typepad.com/

The Write at Home Mom: http://www.thewriteathomemom.blogspot.com/

The Writer’s Edge: http://writersedgeinfo.blogspot.com/

Word Wranglers: http://wordwranglers.blogspot.com/

Words and Coffee: http://jonathandanz.wordpress.com

Words from the Heart: http://contemplativeed.blogspot.com/

Writers Inspired: http://writerinspired.wordpress.com/

writers, dogs, and germans*: http://sdennard.wordpress.com/

Writing Cops...It’s What I Do: http://melanieatkins.wordpress.com/

Writing is About Putting Yourself to Words: http://aspnovelist.blogspot.com/


What an amazing turnout! We want to thank all of these fabulous bloggers for participating in this special day. Therese thanks you as well and sends you lots of love. Following this post Therese will be sharing her personal and heartwarming essay about the similarities between her fictional book, The Last Will of Moira Leahy, and her own family. It's a must-read that will probably make you tear up a bit, if you're anything like me.

Now, go on already...visit these wonderful blogs and read their posts about family relationships. Just like a family reunion these bloggers are interconnected today as a community, possibly meeting each other for the first time, chatting, sharing stories, and celebrating. Yes, it's just like a family reunion. ;) I look forward to seeing you across the blogosphere. Happy blogging!

4 Comments on Family Relationships Mass Blogging Day!, last added: 10/14/2009
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8. Families and writing

Done today: preparing

Revision remaining: 169 pages (entire book)

Daily pages needed to be finished by end of November: 3.4

My revision is still getting off to a slow start, but I finished the preparation Holly Lisle suggests in her One-Pass Manuscript Revision, so tomorrow I should begin going through pages. I’ll let you know how it comes along.

Today I’m participating in a mass blogging! WOW Women On Writing has gathered a group of blogging buddies to write about family relationships. Why family relationships? We’re celebrating the release of Therese Walsh’s debut novel today. The Last Will of Moira Leahy (Random House, October 13, 2009) is about a mysterious journey that helps a woman learn more about herself and her twin, whom she lost when they were teenagers. Visit The Muffin to read what Therese has to say about family relationships and view the list of all my blogging buddies. And make sure you visit Therese’s website to find out more about the author.

So, in celebration of this book launch, I’m writing about families and writing.

Having support from family and friends as a writer is priceless. Writing is wonderful, uplifting, inspiring and brings lots of joy. But it also can be solitary, frustrating and lead to lots of self-doubt. Unless we’re writing with a partner — something I’ve never done — we’re often the only ones creating the story, deciding on the words, developing the characters and plot. If we don’t have anyone else to talk to about the book, any problems that arise have to be solved by us as we’re the only ones who know all the ins and outs that are necessary. And if we can’t figure out all these things by ourselves, and make them into a product that’s publishable, we face frustration and can easily doubt our abilities.

Those are the times when we need supportive voices around us, voices that confirm that we’re not wasting our time, encourage us to keep going, help us wade through all the story ideas and figure out the best versions of the plot.

I’m very blessed to have a husband who does just that. When I was struggling to finish my first novel, he encouraged to stick with it. When I typed The End, he insisted we go out to dinner to celebrate. When I’d finished the revision, he spent an afternoon reading it and giving me feedback. (Thankfully, he loved it. :) ) And now, as I go through the agent submission process with my first novel and revise my second novel, my husband continues to support me, and I’m very grateful.

Another great source of support is critique groups, where we find writer just like us. If you aren’t participating in a critique group right now, go and find one. I highly recommend it.

And, check back on Nov. 13 for an interview with Therese Walsh.

Write On!

3 Comments on Families and writing, last added: 10/13/2009
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