Announcing my College Essay Coaching Business

I’m thrilled to announce that I will now be available to coach high school seniors on their college application essays.  As the mom of two sons who were accepted at their top choice schools, I have experience shepherding kids through the challenging process.

An excellent college essay can distinguish your child from the pack, but many students feel panicked by the prospect.  With ten years experience teaching writing and twenty years of freelancing, I have the expertise to guide both reluctant and enthusiastic writers through the process from brainstorming to an excellent final draft.

My method includes a pre-questionnaire, a one-on-one coaching session, and several online coaching workshops.  My style emphasizes the importance of story, structure, and sensory details to assure your son or daughter successfully communicates his or her uniqueness.  The final products will be personal and polished.

So watch this space for more information.  I’m signing up students now!

Summer Writing Workshops

I’m very excited to once again be teaching fiction writing workshops to tweens and teens at WritopiaLab DC at their new Falls Church location. It’s a fabulous program, because I get to work with small groups of students and see their talents develop. It also helps me to reflect on my own writing and articulate what makes good fiction. And I usually get some great ideas of my own while I’m teaching.

So if you know of any young, aspiring writers, encourage them to check out WritopiaLab in DC, NYC, Los Angeles, Connecticut, and Chicago. The program’s been expanding like crazy!  They hire only published writers, so it’s a great gig for any writers looking for a fun part-time job, too.

Crazy, Busy Spring

Juggling the three jobs — writing teacher, novelist, and journalist — has been nuts this year, but I finished one job for now.  Yep, the novel, The Celestial Matchmaker, is done.  (At least until I have to revise it again.) 🙂  So wish me luck, and send good karma.

With that blast of heat, the forsythia and daffodils came and went. It’s very unusual to have my dogwoods (which mean love despite adversity) and red camellias (unpretending excellence) blooming at the same time, but it would make a meaningful tussie-mussie. Everything is such a lovely shade of green now!

Back to my article for the wonderful Arlington Magazine.  This piece explores the question:  are we better parents than our parents were?  I get to interview teens next!


The Next Big Thing – Holly Cupala is up!

Hey all!  Just a quick update.  Holly Cupala, who has been incredibly busy with personal projects lately, updates us all on her latest work-in-progress.

I LOVE Holly’s books so far, Don’t Breathe a Word, and Tell Me a Secret.  I can’t wait to read her new one:  I’ll Never Tell.  Yup, that’s the title.  Read all about it here.

The Next Big Thing

My friend, Madelyn Rosenberg, has a book coming out next month called Canary in the Coal Mine, which I can’t wait to read!  Madelyn tagged me for The Next Big Thing Blog Hop, which is a very cool way to track some new writers and their upcoming books and current projects.  Thanks, Madelyn!!  So here are my answers:

1: What is the working title of your book?  The Celestial Matchmaker.

2: Where did the idea come from for the book?  A former professor of mine came to one of my book signings for Forget-Her-Nots.  He suggested that I write a book about Caroline Herschel, an important woman in astronomical history, and the sister to William Herschel, who discovered Uranus and built telescopes. The book isn’t about her at all, but I started to think about a girl on the roof looking for comets.

3: What genre does your book come under? Contemporary YA fiction.

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? Hmm.  I’d love a younger Jennifer Lawrence to play Caroline.  And I’d love Suraj Sharma to play Ben.

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?  While looking for comets from her rooftop telescope, 17-year-old Caroline Browne, a.k.a. the Celestial Matchmaker of her high school, sees something she wishes she didn’t.

6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency? Represented by Steven Chudney of the Chudney Agency.

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? It always takes me years to write a novel, and I need a firm deadline of about two months to finish it. (I just finished a draft I’m happy with last week!)

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?  I love The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, which my daughter just read, too.  I loved The Fault in Our Stars.  I love any books with strong female leads and deep emotional resonance.

9: Who or what inspired you to write this book? The story takes place in a small, fictional college town.  I’ve always wondered what it would be like to live in such a place, because I live outside D.C.  I’m also fascinated by what holds families together in times of incredible stress.

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? Star-shaped romantic notes, a rooftop tent, and a sexy next door neighbor.

And the next person I’m tagging is the wonderful YA novelist Holly Cupala, who is definitely worth waiting for!  You can find out all about Holly’s latest project here.