Rachael Herron's Blog, page 2

December 12, 2017

Yesterday was just a workday, a normal one. I recorded three podcasts, and I wrote 2200 words, and I finished grading the novel class’s work. Those things took most of the day, and at night I was left feeling dry and tired. A bath helped, as did reading The Hazel Wood (I have an ARC, comes out in January), which is amazing. It really is that great. I’m awfully scared it ends on a cliffhanger. But that would be okay; I’m ready to read three books in this world, in this author’s voice. She has a unique, fresh way with language, and there’s such a magical feeling in this book. It’s taking me back to when I was a little girl and found the book I was waiting for. It happened over and over again, but I never knew when that particular lovely lightning would strike.


I read The Little Princess really early, perhaps too early, at maybe four or five? I read it so early that by the time I got the age it would make more sense to read it, eight or nine, I couldn’t remember the title or the author (nothing’s changed, I suppose). And I LONGED for it. I could see the secret room, I could feel her loss and loneliness, and I could feel her joy when the Captain came back, but I couldn’t figure out a way to get back to the world. I remember asking a librarian if she knew what book it was that I’d read. She couldn’t tell me (really, librarian?), and I only stumbled upon The Little Princess again by accident. The joy of that! The greeting that book gave me! Here I am! You didn’t imagine this whole story! (I couldn’t have, though I tried.) You found the treasure, and now you know the name of the book, and the treasure can never be lost.


I hope that when I’m good and old, ninety–five or more, when my mind is slipping, that I drop back into the reader I was as a child. I hope there’s a book or three like The Secret Garden or Anne of Green Gables that I keep in my hands, that I read to myself over and over for comfort. That would be a nice way to ease out of the world, I think.


Why am I thinking of easing out of the world? I have no premonition, but it did occur to me last night while I lay in bed, that IF I suddenly died, my last words on my blog would be something that would probably go viral, even though the post itself wasn’t that great. (They’re Morning Pages, after all. They don’t have to be great.) People would say, “Did you see that author? She wrote ‘Today I have spark. Today I flare.’ Isn’t that SAD? Nah, I don’t know who she was, either.” That’s a pretty terrible way to go viral, so I thought I’d mention to the universe that I’m not really interested in that. No, thanks very much anyway. I’m having too good a time right here, right now.


Again, it strikes me that writing this out loud is tempting fate, too, but that’s okay (I think). I’m not scared of death—not really. I feel like this world is big and scary and awesome enough that there’s something else out there, too. Dark matter and dark energy—that’s quite god-ish, right? I’m curious. I would just like to reject learning about it a while longer.


I think it’s the time in the world that has me thinking like this. Life is precious and fragile, and I take mine into my hands every day I’m alive, every day I dare to put my body inside my car on the freeway, every time I get on BART, every day I go to San Francisco (will there be a terrorist attack? of course there will. But when?), every time I run across the street. I could trip, I could break my neck, I could just flare out so quickly. We all could.


So I’d rather not. That’s all. I’m having such a good time here. I don’t want that to change. (But it will. Eventually. And when it does, I hope my dementia turns me into the kind of person I was at ten, completely unable to keep from reading and rereading my favorite books, the ones I knew I’d never get tired of.)


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Published on December 12, 2017 08:41 • 9 views

December 8, 2017

Clementine just put her sweet white–orange face right onto the heater vent, proving she is Lala’s dog. When Lala was in high school, she’d get up to go to school and then lie down on the bathroom heater vent and go back to sleep.


My whole relationship with sleep has changed since leaving the day job. I still struggle with it, but exponentially less than I did. I’m getting back to the place I think my body likes to be – full of sleep. When I was a kid, I took three-hour naps and slept twelve hours a night. I kept sleeping at night like that right up until I took the 911 job at age 27. Before that, I’d occasionally stayed up late to have sex, to party, to read (only once have I read all night – Housekeeping, Robinson) or to travel, but never for anything else. Not once did I pull an all–nighter studying. My first overnight shift was one of the handful of times I’d ever stayed up all night. I remember looking at 4 am like it had never happened before. I was actually late to an early-morning training shift because I overslept. I’ve never overslept for anything but that, not once. And I was in training with someone who terrified me. The way my heart fell and then thudded back into adrenalized action as I raced to pull on my uniform was actually painful. She never told on me.


I read a post last night by The Pale Rook, a Scottish artist, and she expressed the same feeling I have about loving being something very small in the world. Every time I meditate, I like to think for a second about my relative size in the universe. I live for a flicker of time, not even that. I’m one soul on a planet of three billion that is one planet in one of a hundred billion solar systems in our galaxy that is one galaxy in a hundred billion galaxies. There’s no way to overemphasize how insignificant I am, and I love the feeling.


Today, I have spark. Today, I flare.


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Published on December 08, 2017 08:23 • 5 views




Liz Fenton talks about writing novels with her best friend and how to be careful about becoming too emotionally attached to your writing.


Liz has written four novels, including THE GOOD WIDOW with Lisa Steinke, her best friend of over 25 years.  Her next book, GIRLS NIGHT OUT, releases this summer. She lives in San Diego with her husband, two children and five rescue dogs.




Listen above, watch below, or subscribe on:


iTunes | Stitcher | Youtube | Facebook



Craft Tip: Be careful about being too emotionally attached to your writing.


Book recommendation: The Marriage Pact, Michelle Richmond


Liz Fenton talks about writing novels with her best friend and how to be careful about becoming too emotionally attached to your writing on the podcast, How Do You Write?



 



Sign up for Rachael’s FREE weekly email in which she encourages you to do the thing you want most in the world. You’ll also get her Stop Stalling and WritePDF with helpful tips you can use now to get some writing done (free).



The post Ep. 070: Liz Fenton on Authoring Books with Her Best Friend appeared first on Rachael Herron.

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Published on December 08, 2017 05:00

December 4, 2017

I’ve finally realized why I love the monthly Alameda Antiques Faire so much. Every weekend (can this be an exaggeration? I don’t think it is) when I was a kid, we went either garage–saling (it is too a word) or flea–marketing. The way my body moves from table to table, the way my eye drifts from one random treasure to the next piece of crap, makes me feel like a kid with electricity in my veins. I don’t even covet much, that’s the interesting thing. I don’t want extra crap in the house. We can’t afford the nice things at the Faire. So it’s not even like money burns a hole in my pocket.


We sat in an AMAZING set of leather chairs from the fifties. I said, “We could put them where the blue chairs are now!” Years ago, those blue chairs came with our couch on Craigslist for a total of three hundred bucks. They’re comfy but dog–smelling and old–looking. They’re fine for us. They are NOT leather club chairs that embrace your body like a hug of a rich man wanting to huff the money out of your wallet. We asked how much. The guy said six–thousand–five–hundred and we burst into laughter. The best part was that while I was already standing, Lala didn’t even leap up. She just sat there, laughing some more, enjoying the chair.


I did find a black cashmere sweater from Costco in size enormous for twenty bucks. It’s the kind of thing I would never buy from the store—that’s some damn raping and pillaging they’re doing of the world with that cheap cashmere. Buying it new but second–hand? I’m all in. It’ll replace the blue huge cashmere I got on eBay – the one I wear every single day of winter, the one with the hole the size of a watermelon (truly) under the left armpit. I always meant to sew it up and never did. Someday the black one will be in the same ragged, torn shape, and I’ll use my serger to Frankenstein them together.I never, ever wear them out of the house. They don’t have to look good. They just feel wonderful, lighter than any sweater I’ve ever knitted, and I don’t have to respect them at all, the way I do a hand knit. I can rip them off my body furiously every time I go into a hot flash, which is about every fifteen minutes. Immediately after the sweat dries, I’m freezing, so I tug it ruthlessly back over my head.


But the best part wasn’t the finding or the buying. It was the wandering. It was the fact that it didn’t matter which row we went down, or which we missed. It didn’t matter that we got there so late we were only there for a couple of hours before they packed it all up. It’s one of the most bonding date–type of things to do – you explore a little by yourself, you call out to your mate who’s up the row, you laugh about the constipated Santa figure and dream about the place you could put that perfect, vintage, walnut couch that makes you wish—just for a moment—for a bigger house, for a different lifestyle in which you have fantastic dinner parties catered by people in white coats and bow ties. You do this together, and then you let that fleeting dream go and just as readily move to the next table which makes you long to collect vintage French handbags.


We got a poke bowl for lunch and sat with our backs to the sun, the estuary so close we could almost dip our fingers in the water. We watched the cranes on the other side of the water in Oakland offload containers, hoisting them high into the air. At the horizon, in Berkeley, the sky was pale white, but it burst into brilliant blue overhead. I leaned against Lala. She licked my shoulder, taking a tiny taste, and for some reason, I didn’t mind.


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Published on December 04, 2017 08:56 • 12 views

December 1, 2017



Jeff Adams and Will Knauss talk about not fearing your editor and various methods to deal with self-doubt and resistance.


Jeff and Will are husbands, authors and podcasters based in Northern California. They write gay romances, sometimes together and other times separately. Jeff also writes young adult LGBT fiction. Together they host “Jeff & Will’s Big Gay Fiction Podcast,” a weekly show devoted to gay romance literature and the pop culture they love.


Listen above, watch below, or subscribe on:


iTunes | Stitcher | Youtube | Facebook



Craft Tip: Don’t be afraid of your editor.


Book Rec from Jeff: Turtles All the Way Down, John Greene


Jeff Adams and Will Knauss talk about not fearing your editor and various methods to deal with self-doubt and resistance.




Sign up for Rachael’s FREE weekly email in which she encourages you to do the thing you want most in the world. You’ll also get her Stop Stalling and WritePDF with helpful tips you can use now to get some writing done (free).



The post Ep. 069: Jeff and Will on Sharing a Podcast and Writing and Life appeared first on Rachael Herron.

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Published on December 01, 2017 12:01 • 3 views

November 30, 2017

Last night, when I took the dogs outside to pee, I smelled that gorgeous fall scent of wood smoke and damp, cool air, and instead of feeling nostalgia or that bittersweet ache, I felt something different. That smell always made me long for something, and I never knew what.


Now I know what I wanted. I wanted all of this. This life. This wife, these dogs, this house, these sisters close to me, these friends, this exact career, bumps at all. I’m not longing anymore. I’m not waiting for the someday I’ve yearned for since I was old enough to hope for my future. It’s an astonishing discovery, actually, and it puts me off balance.


Of course, I still have wants. I want to be the Tim Gunn of memoir someday (knowledgeable, warm, kind, very nattily dressed). More money would be nice. A decent retirement account in the bank sure would be welcome.


But I possess this glorious dream, and wood smoke now just smells beautiful, instead of bittersweet.


This does mean I need to start asking what’s the next big dream, the one that attaches to this one?


In literal dreams, this morning I dreamed I married a sea lion shapeshifter in New Zealand. She was really nice and I loved her, but I found her smell and her barking annoying, and after I married her, I suddenly remembered that I already had a wife I was in love with, but she and her family said they’d come along to our house in the States, and everything would be fine – they wouldn’t mind Lala being there. While neither of us is a jealous person, I wasn’t sure Lala would feel the same way.


So I’d like to state for the record that my next big dream involves no sea lions at all.


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Published on November 30, 2017 08:25 • 2 views

November 18, 2017

ATT linemen are outside on ladders, hopefully fixing our internet connection which has been so spotty I routinely lose connection on Skype calls. Clara is losing her damn mind – finally, something going on in her line of sight above the camellia bushes. Poor old dog, I can tell she’s feeling her age. She’s moving slow, not peeing much, loath to leave the porch when it’s dark and raining. She used to run and leap and bound. She got the party started, always. The doctor says she’s okay, just old. She’s such a sweet girl. I worry I didn’t give her best life which would have included beach walks every day and rolls in sand and endless treats and extra Himalayan yak cheese and fish for dinner every night. I hope she’s happy. I know Clemmy and Dozy are. They love us and want to be with us. Everything else is just bonus. Clara, I think, has deeper existential needs. She’s a border collie – she knows that somewhere there are sheep that she’s not herding. Sometimes when she lies on the office and heaves a great sigh, I imagine she’s wondering what would have happened if she had been adopted by different people, ones with fields full of lambing ewes and rabbits to chase in her off time. Instead, she has this writer person who rarely moves from the desk and a small Morkie barking at her heels. She has angst. I have guilt. We are good pals.


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Published on November 18, 2017 10:06 • 18 views

November 17, 2017



Antonia Murphy talks about her memoir, Dirty Chick, and various gross things that happen on a farm that might kill you. Antonia is also the founder and director of The Bach (rhymes with “catch,”) an ethical escort agency in Whangarei, New Zealand. A San Francisco native, she now lives on a small New Zealand farm with her partner Patrice and their combined brood of six kids.


Listen above, watch below, or subscribe on:


iTunes | Stitcher | Youtube | Facebook



Craft Tip: Ass in chair.


Antonia Murphy talks about her memoir, Dirty Chick, and various gross things that happen on a farm that might kill you.



 



Sign up for Rachael’s FREE weekly email in which she encourages you to do the thing you want most in the world. You’ll also get her Stop Stalling and WritePDF with helpful tips you can use now to get some writing done (free).



The post Ep. 068: Antonia Murphy on Humor and Truth in Memoir appeared first on Rachael Herron.

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Published on November 17, 2017 05:00 • 9 views

November 10, 2017



Lorena Hughes talks about finding your own truth and determining what’s right for your writing by listening to yourself.


Lorena was born and raised in Ecuador until moving to the U.S. at 18. She has a degree in fine arts and mass communication & journalism from The University of New Mexico. Her previous work has won first place at the 2011 Southwest Writers International Contest in the historical fiction category, earned an honorable mention at the 2012 Soul-Making Keats Literary Competition, and placed quarter-finalist in the 2014 Amazon Breakout Novel Award. The Sisters of Alameda Street is her first novel.


Craft Tip: Don’t be afraid to talk to strangers when researching.



Book Recommendation from Lorena: Elena Ferrante’s Neopolitan Novels



Listen above, watch below, or subscribe on:


iTunes | Stitcher | Youtube | Facebook



Lorena Hughes talks about finding your own truth and determining what’s right for your writing by listening to yourself.




Sign up for Rachael’s FREE weekly email in which she encourages you to do the thing you want most in the world. You’ll also get her Stop Stalling and WritePDF with helpful tips you can use now to get some writing done (free).



The post Ep. 067: Lorena Hughes On Trusting Yourself as a Writer appeared first on Rachael Herron.

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Published on November 10, 2017 05:00

November 3, 2017


 Bestselling author Veronica Wolff talks about finding your writing community, about treadmill desks, and about how to remember what you love about the project you’re writing right now.



Veronica Wolff is the bestselling author of over a dozen books, spanning several genres for both adults and kids. Penguin Books published her first thirteen titles, some of which were also translated into German and Portuguese. Her first book, MASTER OF THE HIGHLANDS, a time travel romance inspired by real events and figures in Scottish history, won the National Readers’ Choice Award for Best Paranormal Romance of 2008. ISLE OF NIGHT, the first in her teen “Watchers” series, won the same honor for best Young Adult of 2011. She lives with her husband and two teenage children and currently focuses her efforts on Young Adult and Middle Grade fiction.


Veronica’s Book Recs: 


Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys


Close Range, Annie Proulx


How Do You Write Podcast: Explore the processes of working writers with bestselling author Rachael Herron. Want tips on how to write the book you long to finish? Here you’ll gain insight from other writers on how to get in the chair, tricks to stay in it, and inspiration to get your own words flowing.


Listen above, watch below, or subscribe on:


iTunes | Stitcher | Youtube | Facebook



Bestselling author Veronica Wolff talks about finding your writing community, about treadmill desks, and about how to remember what you love about the project you’re writing right now.


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Sign up for Rachael’s FREE weekly email in which she encourages you to do the thing you want most in the world. You’ll also get her Stop Stalling and WritePDF with helpful tips you can use now to get some writing done (free).




The post Ep. 066: Veronica Wolff on Remembering What You Love appeared first on Rachael Herron.

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Published on November 03, 2017 05:00 • 3 views