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Creating Stone Soup With a Pen

Now, you all remember Stone Soup, don’t you? In it, starving strangers convinced villagers to add ingredients to their pot of broth, one containing only water and a single stone. As the villagers agreed and added their contributions, the soup fed them all. So, stay with me here. When writing, the stone is your story idea that you water while you also add ingredients to the genesis of that idea. For example: Tossing carrots into the pot could = creating characters. Potatoes? Plot! Squash is the setting. You get the idea.

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Vulnerability

Even though most of us, thankfully, won’t ever need to confess to crapping the bed, we will all have moments when human dignity seems a distant memory. If we’re writers, we’re going to be tempted to write about those moments – and even put our stories where other people can read what we’ve written. That can be risky, even borderline masochistic. My grandmother, for example, once told me that “ladies’ names and ladies’ faces are never seen in public places.” And yet, here I am, ready to write about . . . well, you know. And, when I imagine my

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Poem: Low Tech Reality show

Appreciating urban art, I see “I love you, Tara” spray painted on every other overpass in town.   A sweet, romantic story, I think Until “They Trick Me, Baby” appeared next to one of them.   A plea for mercy! So I cheered on Graffiti Boy/hoped for forgiveness but, alas, it was not to be.   “Tara” was soon crossed out in sprayed splendor, replaced by a heartfelt “I love you, Dorothy.”   Maybe this time? One can only hope.

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Author Interviews: Susan Rogers Cooper, 02/15/96

Milt Kovak is in no mood for nonsense. The alcoholic wife of his best friend just committed suicide under mysterious circumstance and a beautiful, funny local celebrity has been brutally murdered in her car. Other suicides have been cropping up all over the county, too, in alarming numbers. And, Milt’s normally stable, reliable wife Jean is pregnant and her hormones are lost out in the ozone somewhere.  Yes, Milt is having a really, really bad day. To find out how the crusty sheriff tunnels his way through this awful mess, read Susan Rogers Cooper’s sixth Milt Kovak book, Doctors and

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Author Interviews: Joan Hess, 09/04/96

Joan Hess started writing as a lark. “In the early 1980s, a friend convinced me to try to write romance novels,” she said, “and I discovered I loved writing fiction.” Unfortunately, she also discovered that she was a dismal romance writer. “Too much plot,” she said, “not enough romance.” The experiment wasn’t a complete failure, but the going was rough. She made an early sale to Harlequin, but then she ran into trouble. “Ten manuscripts and three agents later,” Hess said, “I became a tad discouraged. I was planning to go back to graduate school when my agent suggested I

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Dancing With Truth

I recall no feelings of surprise when my afternoon kindergarten teacher, Miss Miraldi, knocked on our front door. After all, I didn’t know it was unusual. While she talked to my mother, I most likely petted my cat, Admiral Purry. Or maybe I enjoyed some Neapolitan wafer cookies with milk, although that’s a snack I typically ate while in kindergarten, not during an unprecedented home visit from my teacher. At the time, I didn’t understand the visit’s point. Later on, though, I overheard my mother telling her friend that Miss Miraldi said I didn’t do well on my pre-screening tests.

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