New Edition of Mazal’s Luck Runs Out and more

As usual, my absence on this blog means I’ve been busy someplace else. While I’ve been getting feedback on the novel I finished a couple months back, and digesting it, I’ve been completing revisions for Menucha Publishing on the novel I wrote for NaNoWriMo. (I’ve also been brainstorming new titles — the working title was unpopular, to say the least.) G-d-willing, that book will be out later this year. And I also revised and created a new cover for my book, Mazal’s Luck Runs Out. I decided the old one wasn’t engaging enough, so I put a girl on the cover who could pass for Mazal looking right at the viewer. I think it makes a big difference. What do you think? Mazal's new cover

And, of course, there was Purim…and Pesach.

Basically, it’s been busy.

Anyway, I’ve got some goals for the next few months. Continue reading

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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.

The new Tablet story my editor is afraid I’m going to get hate mail for

My newest piece is up on Tablet. When I submitted the pitch several months ago to the Life and Religion editor, Wayne Hoffman, he cautioned me: do you really want to do this?

The topic of the essay is a controversial one in the Jewish community — women wearing Tefillin — and he was afraid I’d get a lot of trolls. And probably some genuine hate mail, to boot.

My original proposal was a much wider topic — the denigration of traditional feminine roles by many “feminists” in the Jewish community. I shot off the query letter in a fit of pique after yet another feminist looked down her nose at my lifestyle and basically told me I was so persecuted I didn’t know that I was persecuted.

The first draft was a mess: too big, too venting, too…too…everything.

I have to really give credit to the very special Mr. Hoffman, who asked the right questions and nudged me in the right direction until I could be proud of the resulting essay. We cut most of the first draft, and narrowed the topic considerably, then tried to focus on the positive aspects of the story.

Anyway, I hope you check the essay out and share and comment and all that.

My thoughts on Tablet’s article “Do Jewish Children’s Books Have a Problem with Gender?”

Emily Sigalow, in Tablet this week, published an article entitled “Do Jewish Children’s Books Have a Problem with Gender?”

While she does make one point I agree with, that awards committee’s tend to favor Jewish picture books with male lead characters and that the females tend to be engaged in traditional roles, she seems to learn from that that Jewish children’s books as a whole have a problem.

I have to disagree with the overall picture Sigalow paints, though.

You can see my comments on the article if you visit Tablet (scroll to the bottom of the page), but I’d like to make a few more thoughts.

Jewish children’s books do have problems. Actually, many secular books have the same problems. Continue reading