Three Links 12/13/19 Loleta Abi

Image by Vincent Ciro from Pixabay

Three Links 12/13/19

Loleta Abi


1. “Your creative mojo is in motion. You got a writing habit, and you’re loath to let it slide.

And holiday times are coming when you might find the odd hour to sneak off, keep your hand in.


It’s too soon to revise the manuscript. You don’t have enough critical distance. So keep it locked away and do these things instead.”

2. “I’m not talking about a room of your own, with all due respect to Virginia Wolf.  (Although that is certainly handy.  Writing your early stories on the floor of the bathroom with your kids outside shaking the locked door gets tiresome pretty fast.)

But today I’m talking about what I tell the grown-up students in my “Crafting a Novel” college class.  I’ve been teaching people how to write fiction for over twenty years.  Some of my students have gone on to glory, and others have not.

Do you have what it takes to become an author?

Believe it or not, I can tell from the first few classes if you will.  This is because it’s not enough to have talent.  It’s not enough to learn the craft.  From my experience, a student who is able to become an author has all the traits below.  Not two out of three.  You need all three.  Here goes:” Luckily, I passed, lol!

3. “It’s really amazing, if you stop to think about it. Readers will willingly suspend disbelief and subject themselves to the gamut of emotion, making themselves vulnerable to intense feelings.

Some readers read for the suspenseful ride. Like my husband and kids, who eagerly climb into seats on real roller coasters—they’ll even wait two hours to experience a two-minute ride just to get scared out of their wits. Some readers are perfectly fine crying, feeling miserable, or aching in commiseration as they go on a difficult journey with a fictional character they love.

Fictional, not real.”

Research & Fun Bits:

1. “Growing up, I was very close to my grandmother. Some of my earliest memories are of the Friday nights we spent at my grandparents’ home for Shabbat dinner, the Jewish sabbath. This was a weekly tradition. We lit the candles and said the prayers over the wine and challah. Our dinners consisted of a four-course meal that always started with bagels and her famous matzo ball soup, followed by egg salad, roasted chicken and potatoes, and ending with tzimmes, a dessert of stewed fruit.

No family event was ever complete without a tableful of food and, we always left with a full stomach.  

On those evenings, my grandmother never sat down. I liked to follow her around the kitchen, listening to her talk as she worked. She spoke in a thick European accent, but I never had trouble understanding her. She was my bubbe, and her voice was as familiar to me as my own.

I don’t know when I realized that she and my grandfather were from another country. I also don’t remember when I realized they had survived the Holocaust. It was something I just always knew.  

It wasn’t until I was much older and in school that I understood the significance of the Holocaust, both historically and on a personal level.  For me, this moment in history wasn’t just a blurb on the pages of a textbook . . . it was something my family had witnessed firsthand. By that time, I had seen for myself the psychological toll being a survivor had taken on my grandmother, particularly after my grandfather passed away.  

I became even closer to my grandmother as I grew older, especially in my late teens and twenties. Since my grandmother didn’t drive, I would often take her to lunch or the grocery store or the mall. We would spend afternoons in her home watching Fiddler on the Roof and Crossing Delancey, or cooking in her small kitchen. 

It was during one of those afternoons that my grandmother first told me about her childhood. I had always been interested in her past, but that afternoon and the ones that followed were when I truly got a glimpse into what life had been like for her as a young girl growing up in a small town in Poland.”

2. “A few years ago while talking to an editor, they told the story of an author who was never satisfied (not revealing the name of course). If this author’s latest book sold 50,000 copies. the author wondered why the publisher didn’t sell 60,000. And if it sold 60,000, why didn’t it sell 75,000? The author was constantly pushing for more and was incapable of celebrating success in any form.

Note the title of this post. I’m writing about measuring success, not defining it. To measure is to “estimate or assess the extent, quality, value, or effect of (something).” To define is to “state or describe exactly the nature, scope, or meaning of.”

[For some people, this may be only a matter of semantics; but it should be seen as the difference between setting a qualitative or a quantitative criterion for success.]

When it comes to book sales, many authors have written openly of their own measurement by using numbers and charts. Some even reveal how much money they’ve made. Following these claims can cause a range of emotions from being enlightened, debilitated, or simply frustrated.”

3. “The one thing all writers are trying to do is write a better first chapter. First chapters are do-or-die territory. We know this as writers because we know this as readers. Most of us make our reading choices after scanning the first few paragraphs of a story. Sometimes we know if we want to go on after as little as a few sentences.

As writers who have put hundreds, even thousands of hours into writing the entirety of a book, we often feel this swift”

Some Things More Serious:



3. “he problem with living in a downstairs flat is that there is no upstairs. This may sound obvious, but when you have lived in a house almost all your life, with an upstairs, you tend to forget. Many times I have grabbed my camera to head for the upstairs windows, only to realise that the couple who live up there might, possibly, object to me barging in unannounced every sunset and dawn.

My home is on a roughly east-west axis. Just sufficiently ‘off’ to mean that in summer, I can watch the sun rise from my pillow without needing to move. In winter I see the dawn through the garden doors that are, inevitably, already open for the dog.

Sunsets are a bit more problematic. The curve of the houses in my street and the rooftops opposite my kitchen window block most of my view. I get only the spreading colours as the light fades… which is where the upstairs would have come in handy. A little more height and I could see so much.”

Teaser Fiction & Poetry:




Book Reviews, Cover Reveals, & Author Interviews:

1. “They were kidnapped.

Nobody knows where they are.

They all receive instructions to follow the path through the forest.

What they discover will come as a true shock.

The truth is hidden under a veil of secrets.”


3. “It is 1997, and in a basement flat in Hackney Isla Green is awakened by a call in the middle of the night: her father, phoning from Sydney.

30 years ago, in the suffocating heat of summer 1967, the Greens’ next-door neighbour Mandy disappeared. At the time, it was thought she had gone to start a new life; but now Mandy’s family is trying to reconnect, and there is no trace of her. Isla’s father Joe was allegedly the last person to see her alive, and now he’s under suspicion of murder. 

Reluctantly, Isla goes back to Australia for the first time in a decade. The return to Sydney will plunge her deep into the past, to a quiet street by the sea where two couples live side by side. Isla’s parents, Louisa and Joe, have recently emigrated from England — a move that has left Louisa miserably homesick while Joe embraces this new life. Next door, Steve and Mandy are equally troubled. Mandy doesn’t want a baby, even though Steve — a cop trying to hold it together under the pressures of the job — is desperate to become a father.  

The more Isla asks about the past, the more she learns: about both young couples and the secrets each marriage bore. Could her father be capable of doing something terrible? How much does her mother know? And is there another secret in this community, one which goes deeper into Australia’s colonial past, which has held them in a conspiracy of silence?”

7 responses to “Three Links 12/13/19 Loleta Abi”

  1. Thank you for sharing Ani’s post xxx

  2. …and thank you for including ‘here and Now’ too, Traci. It is very much appreciated xx

    1. You’re welcome, Sue! Hugs!

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