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.

Pesach Magazine CRAZINESS!

It looks like I’m not just in one Jewish magazine this Pesach, not in two…IY”H, I’ll be in FOUR. That’s right:

  • You’ll find a sci-fi tale in the Hamodia Story Supplement.
  • You’ll find another short story in Binah‘s main magazine.
  • I have a short story also in The Jewish Press, out today.
  • And, lastly, an article in The Jewish Home – L.A. about cheap activities in Southern California for the intermediate days of Passover.

I’m a little verklempt. And busy. I’ll tell y’all more about the stories another time, when I’m not cooking and have no kids home on vacation. (A couple of the stories have interesting backstories.) If you read any of my stories, and want to give me feedback, just comment below.

And have a chag kasher v’sameach!

Writing conundrum: Leaving behind that outline without creating problems

So, I’m back to cranking out chapters of my serial this week, and this time, I hope to do it a little faster. The quicker I finish the serial, the easier it will be for me to focus on other projects, I think. Anyway, something is happening as I write that I think is worth mentioning, because I sincerely doubt that I’m the only writer to experience it.

In the beginning, there was an outline…

serial title imageIn order to secure my gig to write my current serial for Binah BeTween (“Glixman in a Fix”), I had to prepare an outline. Once that was approved (along with character profiles, the summary, and so on), I started writing. Generally, I write the serial episodes — I might have mentioned this before — in blocks of three, basing them on the outline. Because I’m working from an outline, with characters who are now well known to me, the writing goes relatively quickly. Then I revise the rough drafts once or twice and send them together in a batch to the editor.

Recalibrating

We’re now more than a third of the way in, and more and more often, I find that I’m diverging from the outline. Continue reading

I Live With My Mommy: new Jewish picture book addresses life with a single mother

Today, I’d like to share with you this interview with Tzvia Ehrlich-Klein, the author of the upcoming picture book I Live With My Mommy. This new, groundbreaking picture book for the first time focuses on growing up in a single-parent, Orthodox Jewish home. I learned about the book through its illustrator, the gifted Dena Ackerman, and upon my request, she hooked me up with Tzvia for a bit of Q & A via email.

picture book about Jewish home and divorce

I Live With Mommy, Tzvia Ehrlich-Klein’s new book about growing up with an Orthodox single mother.

RK: What led you to write about children living with a single mother?

TEK: Over 30 years ago I got divorced. At that time it was — or at least seemed to be — very rare [in the Orthodox community]. Walking my (approximately) 4-year-old daughter home from gan (nursery school) with her friend, I overheard her explaining to her friend: “No, my abba (daddy) didn’t die. They got ‘vorced.”

Continue reading

Writing for Children: not for those who want glory, fame, or big bucks

Last week’s Hamodia/Inyan Magazine had an article by one of my favorite columnists, Rabbi Fishel Schachter entitled “Guided by Tale Winds.” While today Rabbi Schachter is well-known in the Torah world for essays and presentations for adults about the weekly Torah portion, parenting, and other subjects, he first gained popularity as a rebbi and storyteller to students in Jewish day schools.

Rabbi Schachter explains in the article that one of the adults in his audience told him many years ago that he had to choose between teaching grown-ups or kids — and he indicated that the natural choice for a man of Rabbi Schachter’s talent and intelligence was to teach adults.

Turning to his own rebbi for guidance, Rabbi Schachter asked if teaching kids was really beneath him? Were all the silly voices and so on undermining his stature?

Continue reading

When writing shifts from a hobby to a job: my new essay in Tablet

Meow.

Meow.

Last year, I wrote on this blog that I struggled with creating the annual Purim newsletter I co-write with my husband. Well, this year, I wrote an essay about it for Tablet. You can read it here.

And if you don’t live in L.A., but do want to see this year’s edition of the newsletter (and other freebies throughout the year), you can fill out this form.  I’ll put you on the mailing list!