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.


So, it’s been a while since I posted, so I feel like y’all need an update. I was working on my NaNoWriMo project back in November — it was finishing the second half of my 2018 NaNo project — and I was making excellent progress when—

my gallbladder decided to cause me trouble. Like, serious trouble.

Once I realized what was going on (I went to the doctor after the second attack), I spent about a month eating very, very carefully lest I trigger more gallbladder attacks. Then I had surgery, which took about three weeks to recover from.

I’m not really back into a full writing routine yet, but I hope to at some point soon. There are kid reviews up on the PJ Our Way website now, which is fun. Although lots of readers wish the book were longer.

In the meantime, here I am with my new gallbladder, this one outside my abdomen and purchased for me by one of my chevrutas.

I’m on a mission from G-d. (Only half joking, folks.)

Another writing gig landed at my feet, and it connects to the theme of the last article I published: female leadership in the Orthodox community. Meanwhile, half the things I’ve read in the last couple weeks seem to touch on the topic of leadership. I feel like G-d is sending me a little message: WRITE ABOUT THIS.

I wrote about feminism in the Jewish context a while back, in the form of a personal essay. I’ve wanted to write more about the particular spin I have on feminism for a while – a spin that has made me unpopular with some readers and a bit of a heroine with others. Unfortunately, Continue reading

10 ways to use your writing to add more lovingkindness to the world

First, pardon me for the super-Jewy intro. I promise this post will get to writing by the end. Over Shabbos, I was reading this:

The book AHAVAS CHESED – The title means “Lovers of Lovingkindness.”

It’s one of the many books authored by Rabbi Yisroel Meir Kagan, known as the Chofetz Chaim (which is the title of his first and possibly most celebrated work).

Ahavas Chesed is about not only how to do acts of lovingkindness, but also how to LOVE to do them. The book has an interesting structure. Continue reading

Let it out: 5 Steps to Writing when Emotional

Yesterday, which started with the announcement that the bodies of the three kidnapped Israeli teens had been recovered and ended for me with a shiva call, kept me in such a state of horror and confusion, I didn’t get much writing done. After several failed attempts at work, I finally gave up and decided to develop a community action project I’d dreamed up instead.

While everyone else was asleep…

Late at night, I awoke, exhausted but still reeling from the emotional turmoil of my day. So many words seemed to bubble out of me, I couldn’t get back to sleep. Eventually, I got out of bed and wrote the first draft of an essay about the special lady whose shiva I’d attended earlier in the day. When I was done, I felt emptied out, much calmer and more ready to sleep.

But is it good writing?

While writing material at the moment I am wrapped up in heartache, delirious joy, or nervousness can help me work through my feelings, I find that the outcome usually isn’t my best writing, or even my most passionate writing to read. Word choice suffers, and is often redundant. Logic wavers. Sometimes the resulting text is downright incoherent. You might even call it Writing Under the Influence…of Emotions. It can be that circuitous, drawling, and dribbling.

I’ve developed a process that works for me in these moments.

5 Steps to Writing when Emotional

Continue reading

When is an author a Jewish author? Defining Jewish writing, Part 3

Last week was marked by big news in the book world. Famed-American Jewish author (Jewish meaning author’s ethnicity only, in this case–see previous posts on the subject) Philip Roth has declared that he’s retiring from writing. On the other hand, equally aged and famous American-Jewish author Herman Wouk has just put out another novel. Interestingly, these events didn’t just make headlines in Jewish publishing, but publishing as a whole.

The stereotypical Jew is considered “bookish,” pale due to the amount of time he spends indoors. We are called “the People of the Book.” How is it that Jews became inextricably interwoven with books? Continue reading