Double Dose of Good News!!!

Announcement #1:

I will be publishing a new Jewish sci-fi picture book with Kalaniot Books in the not-too-distant future. I’m feeling very blessed and can’t wait till I can share more about this book and the story of how it came to be. I will tell you this much: it took over a year of submissions before closing this deal, and I feel like it’s a message that perseverance and faith will pay off, even if it’s on God’s timeline, not ours. As soon as we have an illustrator announced, I’ll let you know.

Me, very excited after signing the book contract.

Announcement #2:

Today, Tablet is running a fun little personal essay by moi about a misadventure I had shortly before Passover. It’s about losing things, finding them, Rabbi Meir Baal HaNess, and how sometimes it’s good to lose things. You can read it here.

Adina at Her Best to Be Offered through PJ Our Way in November!

Here’s me, looking at the PDF with the digital proof of Adina at Her Best‘s PJ Our Way edition. IY”H, the tweenage subscribers will be able to choose Adina as their free book in just a couple weeks.

My husband claims I was smiling like a Cheshire Cat. I think I look happy, not creepy.

I’ve been in a bit of a mood lately, since I’d gotten out of my writing groove over the summer and I have received a slew of rejections (or just been ghosted) recently. But the email from PJ Our Way folks containing this PDF, and some progress I’ve made on other projects the last couple days, is heartening me a bit. Hopefully, I’ll have more good news soon.

To the best of my knowledge, Adina at Her Best is the first middle grade book selected for PJ Our Way that was originally published by a Haredi press. I hope it’s not the last! [EDIT: I just found out that there have been a few of HaChai’s “Fun-to-Read” titles used for PJ Our Way, so I’m not QUITE the trailblazer I thought I was. ;)] The cover is slightly different, the end of the story has been revised. Significantly, we replaced a lot of the Jewy-ist language so people with little Jewish background will still be able to understand what’s going on, and we improved the story so it’s not a White Savior narrative (I mentioned this on the blog a while back, I think).

Share any of your book-related good news (things you’ve enjoyed reading recently, things you’ve written yourself, etc.) in the comments.

Another Article Up on Jew in the City, This Time About Yom Kippur, Plus a Little Rosh Hashanah Recap

I’m hoping those of you who celebrate Rosh Hashanah enjoyed yourselves. We enjoyed the holiday here, even though it definitely was different than in previous years.

Those of you who know me in person or via social media may know that I’m a sucker for good puns, so the custom of Simanim Ilsa, eating symbolic foods often based on puns involving their names, is always fun for me at dinner on Rosh Hashanah. This year, almost everything I served the entire holiday had to do with the simanim. We ate traditional favorites like apples and honey, dates, and fish, but we also ate things like asparagus (so we’d be spared any harsh decrees), celery salad (for a raise in salary), olives (so we’ll all live though 5781), and chicken with mushroom sauce (so next year we’ll all have much more room–currently, we live in a very small space for a family our size). My kids helped a bunch with the cooking (my youngest thought of the pun for olives), and we got the year off to a sweet start.

“G-D, PLEASE SPARE US FROM ALL HARSH DECREES!”
Photo by Foodie Factor on Pexels.com

I haven’t really been looking for writing gigs the last couple months, because dealing with my family has been absorbing a lot of my time and energy, but every once in a while, an editor will reach out to me, and that’s how I ended up in Jew in the City twice in quick succession. The topic I chose for Yom Kippur is affliction and the half-joking comments I’ve heard widely for months along the lines of “Can’t they just cancel all fasts this year because we’ve been afflicted enough?” The jokes *are* funny, but there’s a deeper way to look at them, and I hope I framed my thoughts clearly in that piece. Click here to read that new article on Jew in the City.

I’m hoping that as things settle down, I can get back to writing some fiction. It probably won’t happen till after Sukkot, and not long after that will be NaNoWriMo. Hmmm…

The Ups and Downs of Writing Life

I was feeling a little cranky earlier today. Okay–more than a little. I’ve hit the point in a particular revision which I’m working on when I have to start writing new material, not just tidying up what was previously written. And I found out this morning that a program which wants to reprint one of my books will be doing so *at least* another year in the future (I was informed I’d made their list a year ago). The program comes with a stipend for authors, and I would love to receive my cash sooner rather than later.

So, yeah, feeling demoralized.

Anyway, last week, I’d noticed that the sales of my first book, A Dozen Daisies for Raizy, had gone up. The book takes place on the day before the holiday of Shavuos, which I figured was boosting sales. I also tried to work a little social media muscle to make sure people knew the book was back in print and how to reach it. I decided at about noon today to check where sales are at THIS week. Continue reading

Novelization of Glixman in a Fix: contract signed, book IY”H due out next year

For a while now, I’ve been sitting on a little morsel of news, because I’m exceedingly paranoid about the evil eye (embarrassing, but true): I’ve signed a contract with Menucha Publishers for the novelization of Glixman in a Fix, my serial from Binah BeTween.

This morning, I received the list of changes the editor would like to see in the novelization. The list is totally reasonable, and mostly consists of changes I suggested in the first place, mostly fixing loose ends I dropped and introducing an idea earlier in the text so that it’s less surprising when it pops up near the end.

For some reason, I feel short of breath and ill to the stomach, like I’m about 5 minutes away from a panic attack. I’m not sure if it’s excitement¬†or fear of failure triggering my parasympathetic nervous system. I’m pretty sure I’m experiencing both.

Assuming I complete the changes and everything else (editing, book design, proofreading, etc.) runs on schedule, the book will – G-d willing! – be published next summer-ish. You’ll get updates on all breaking news as the situation develops. ūüėČ

Exciting news! One book ready for orders, the other nearly ready!

When my husband checked the mail after Rosh Hashanah had ended, he found a couple packages for me in our mailbox from Createspace. In one, we found the proof of the anthology that I’ve been working on,¬†Sliding Doors and other stories, and the other package contained the proof of¬†Mazal’s Luck Runs Out.¬†

I’ve been spending the last couple days proofreading those books. In Sliding Doors, the font size suggested by the template was so small, I was afraid no one would be able to read it. I went back and increase it. I also had do a lot of clean-up on the italics. The stories in the collection were from different magazines, with different policies about how to handle foreign words. With so many Hebrew and Yiddish terms throughout the text, punctuating these terms consistently was a big job, and I didn’t catch them all before uploading files to Createspace.

Mazal had some similar issues, but I also discovered that I didn’t like the cover I’d designed. I spent a lot of time tinkering with it to get it right.

Sliding Doors is still not quite ready for release, but duh-duh-dah:

Here’s the link to Mazal’s Luck Runs Out!

It’s available already in paperback via Createspace and Amazon. If you order it now, you¬†should receive it by¬†Sukkos! And if you buy it…please post a review on Amazon! And tell other prospective readers if you like it!

The target audience is Jewish kids 8-11, the kids who like the stories in Mishpacha Junior, Binah Bunch, and so on. The main character of this novella is Mazal, a Persian girl living in Los Angeles. The average Orthodox girl will identify with her misadventures, but it was especially important to me to represent a strong Persian Jewish character, something rarely seen in kids’ fiction.

I hope to have news about the other book soon.

becca with proof 2

Here’s me, with the proof of Sliding Doors and other stories.¬†It’s not quite ready yet for ordering.