Melanie Coon: Tips from Author Andrea Alban from the New World of Publishing

Andrea Alban is very funny. Her presentation at the New World of Publishing Conference in Santa Cruz on May 21, 2011 sounded like a lively conversation with a favorite friend. Andrea’s latest book is a scrumptiously-designed young adult novel, Anya’s War. The cover is an irresistible Chinese red with a gold Star of David ringed by delicate gold scroll work. The jacket design combines symbols of Jewish history and Chinese culture. You can’t resist picking up this inviting book, lured by wondering what these two cultures could possibly have in common.

The author ... [Continue Reading]

Sandra Locke-Paddon: What I Learned at the New World of Publishing

The May 21-22 workshop with Janet Goldstein was a treasure chest of information. Janet provided a map for the pathway through the fast changing world of publishing. With Laura Davis as our guide, keeping us traveling smoothly along, we renewed our passion and focus. Through a series of exercises and a sprinkling of guest speakers, Janet’s energetic presentation gave us a wealth of tools and information.

The keynote speaker, Daphne Rose Kingma, author of Ten Things to do When Your Life Falls Apart, brought her elegant style ... [Continue Reading]

Ways I Say No

42 Ways to Say “No” (or Buy Time Until You Can) by Margot Silk Forrest, author of A Short Course in Kindness A lot of us have difficulty saying “No.” This list, offered with compassion and a little humor, will help you get comfortable with turning people down, refusing to answer nosy or offensive questions, asking people to stop doing something you don't like, and telling others you disagree with them. As you develop your “No” muscles, see if you can shift from saying, “I can't” to forthrightly saying, “I won't.” Also try exchanging “I don't want you to” to “Don't!" You will feel vastly more empowered-and have more time for self-kindness and kindness to others when you ... [Continue Reading]

Amy McElroy: About Daphne Rose Kingma

When I picked up Daphne Rose Kingma’s latest book, The Ten Things to Do When Your Life Falls Apart: An Emotional and Spiritual Handbook, I never expected it to speak to me. Kingma’s book, which lists a practical series of steps to take when life presents a major crisis, asserts that deep trauma itself calls us to dramatic change. Even though I wouldn’t describe my problems as catastrophic, Kingma’s emotional, psychological and spiritual explanations for why we need to take time to cry, live more simply, and recognize our own strengths and weaknesses called ... [Continue Reading]

Meredith Born: Ways to Say No


Meredith Born is a dedicated member of the Tuesday night class--her high point of the week. She always longed to write, and journaled daily for 13 years before taking Laura's Memory to Memoir workshop at a local bookstore last spring. Then she won six weeks of writing classes from Laura and has been hooked ever since. She wrote this piece in response to a writing prompt to list ways of saying "no." Through this exercise she learned, once again, that saying "no" frees her to make an authentic choice--the only kind that matter.  


Why I’m Taking the Summer Off

It’s been so many years since I’ve taken a summer vacation that I can’t remember the last time I took one. Why now, you might wonder. Why now, when my kids are almost launched—Eli heading off to college in August and Lizzy rounding the bend into 10th grade—am I finally taking a whole summer off? Why didn’t I do it when my kids were younger, when they really needed me? Why did I keep working? Keep writing? Keep producing? Keep teaching? Because I thought I had to. Because I was a breadwinner. Because I was afraid to stop. I didn’t know how to say no.

But now I must. I must say it loudly and repeatedly. I must keep saying it to myself and to everyone around me, but most especially to myself. Something in my midlife, sandwich generation, ... [Continue Reading]