October 24, 2017
The Last Draft is an invaluable guide to a novelists’ revision process. All the lessons I learned from Sandra for the last ten years are bow-tied and bound into this compelling resource.
August 22, 2017
As men and women whose lives are dedicated to the craft, the responsibility falls on us to be facilitators of a positive language exchange.
July 3, 2017
We write to create. We create to live. We live to write. It’s a circle we must accept or the nature of it will grind us like grist.
February 28, 2017
Change is the essence of life. People do it every day. Even nature is perpetually evolving: winter, spring, summer, fall. So this should feel organic, right?
Not quite. I won’t sugarcoat the truth. This has been one of the most arduous journeys I’ve ever experienced.
August 23, 2016
We live in a culture and time of Listen to Me.
Listen, we preference our statements to family, friends, and strangers. Did you hear me? We ask when someone doesn’t do as we request… But stop a minute. Hush yourself and think about it: if each of us is talking, how can the other ever be the listener?
June 28, 2016
The packers are here. Yes, this very hour. We’re moving. Not down the road, across town, or even as close as a state away. We’re traveling 1,500 miles north to an entirely new place… Place. Such a powerful thing. A story world cannot be composed without first being grounded in a place and time.
Looking back at us standing on the idyllic streets of Santa Fe while couples strolled by with cinnamon churros an wooden flutists played serene melodies, our reality was all too clear: conjugal hyperglycemia.
February 23, 2016
[T]hey are ephemeral. In truth, paperbacks are the titles passed from literal hand to hand; the books that bring readers together in groups to cry into, spill their coffees on, and swat away intruding summer gnats. They are the books of the everyday, right?
February 14, 2016
Read It Forward
These lovers take their chances with the 7 deadly sins… Capital vices, moral wrongdoings, fatal flaws, whatever you wish to call them, these are the crimes of passion that bring lovers to tragic ends—or nearly. And in truth, isn’t that what solidifies their place in the love canon?
October 27, 2015
By the time I’m home again, it’ll be the holiday season. All white wonderlands and wintry delights. So either I flew around the country with a witch’s scowl for missing Charlie Brown jack-o’-lanterns, baking apple pies, and handing out candy corn or I brought the merry trick-or-treat spirit with me. I decided on the latter and concocted a game to play with dear authors who met me on the book tour road. I call it #ScareCareShare. Akin to trick-or-treat, truth-or-dare, or any of the make-a-choice diversions we used to play with school friends on crisp harvest nights.
August 24, 2015
When it comes to professions, being a Writer is unique in that people often feel inspired to say to us whatever pops into their minds. From strangers at cocktail parties to long-standing relations, we’ve all been confronted with pretty odd parlays.
June 23, 2015
I’m one of those “black hole” writers. No music, no phones, no sound… I realized then that something else had become a staple of my creative process: watching old films at night when my brain was too tired to wordsmith anymore. They are my soundtracks—my quasi-playlist of inspiration.
April 28, 2015
Publishing a book is like giving the world sudden X-ray vision. Everyone sees my inner bits and is invited to judge them. That’s the very nature of our business. A book is not merely a collection of words bound together in paper and glue. It’s an author extending herself to the universal reader population…
February 24, 2015
Game shows of every variety equalize the millionaire actor and the street vendor under the banner of “contestants.” A person’s past or even how they arrived on the show is inconsequential. All that matters is the present… Well, I said to myself, why not authors in a literary edition—this is Writer Unboxed!
October 28, 2014
I love that you can take a road map… and suddenly, the world rises up off the page in vivid sensations: rocky, wet, and smelling of basin swamps and mountain air. It unspools —north, south, east, west. Each compass needle pointing to a story.
August 26, 2014
It was the first time I’d ever experienced synesthesia of the body and more significantly, of books…Toothpaste tasted and felt like baking soda on my tongue; mouthwash, like too-sweet honey… But what scared me most was that my imagination seemed to have been impacted too.
May 25, 2014
Yes, yes, of course we all agree, but between the mind and hand on the journey to the page, it’s been my experience that the writing can decide to take the long road or the shortcut: overwritten or underwritten. Is one better than the other, and if so, which?
September 20, 2013
Just when I’d pronounced myself lost to empty, mindless indulgence, I invented a game: matching reality programs with classic literature…“So, what book is this like?” Inevitably, I discover one lesson on how to live and another on how to write.
The summer I turned 18, I fell in love with the ice cream man.
June 27, 2013
It’s an entirely new age. Vastly different from days gone by when loved ones put pen to paper and sent it on a hope and a prayer to soldiers ‘over there.’
November 27, 2012
Your [literary] agent relationship is akin to a marriage.
April 26, 2012
In my novel The Baker’s Daughter, four chapters are from the perspective of a Nazi officer. Writing these was no easy task. For those four chapters, I slipped on the psyche of a soldier dedicated to his country’s code.
April 14, 2012
I live and have lived all my life in active battle readiness. Ready for orders that a family member must leave for some threatening place and may not return. Ready for him to take up the oath, “Duty, Honor, Country,” and all the inner contradictions that come with it.
March 14, 2012
The Divining Wand
All of that changed the day my mom put a blank page on the table and handed me a pencil with the instructions, “Write it down, Sarah. Write down what you’re feeling.” I can still vividly see that clean, white paper and smell the newly sharpened pencil shavings.
February 3, 2012
The on-sale date of an author’s book is akin to a birthday. And like the bearing of a child, I’ve noticed the way in which we commemorate the occasion often falls into one of two camps: the Father’s versus the Mother’s celebration style. Both are noble outpourings of devotion and not at all particular to author gender.
January 27, 2012
Beyond The Margins
One season yielded markedly different flavors from the next. One place from another. To say that the environment was a trivial factor would be unthinkable. Likewise with my stories. I’m merely the bee buzzing from stem to stem collecting as much as I can carry.
January 26, 2012
Great Thoughts: Travel Thursday
Flight has always been a mind-blowing concept… I firmly believed that we walked through an enchanted maze until we reached the nest of a colossal bird with a stomach full of seats, á la a Flintstone’s cartoon.
January 25, 2012
Brava! with author Beth Hoffman
I thought I’d take a moment to highlight a couple of men in my book. Specifically, the fathers. Although they don’t take center state, both of my protagonists, Reba and Elsie, are deeply affected by their fathers, and both of their fathers are profoundly transformed by war.
July 5, 2010
Being a reader is like playing tricks with time. You turn the page of the fictional story while an hour of your own passes. The characters breathe, laugh and cry, and so do you. When you finish their tale, you close the book and set it aside, dreaming of their ever-after, while stepping out into yours.
June 22, 2010
The Heart is Not a Size Blog
Across the border in winter, Juarez families burn trash to keep warm. Smoke rises liked dirty cotton candy spun heavenward in hot plumes. Driving around the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), you smell it before you see it. Ripe and burnt, it assaults. You wriggle your nose, hold your breath, circulate your car fan and press on the gas pedal to get away, pass the unpleasantness.
May 13, 2010
The latest TV hit: a 2010 sci-fi remake of a 1980s sci-fi hit, itself an adaptation of a 1935 novel warning against the growing threat of fascism. We live in a world where history repeats itself; where old ideas cloak themselves in various contemporary skins and pretty packages for each budding generation.
April 22, 2010
Given the current YA vampire and fantasy craze, I wonder if novels staked in the normal can find the ardent following they did with my generation. Will young readers with an acutely developed taste for bloody bites and wizard wands be captivated by the story of industrious teenagers facing the universal travails of growing up?
February 26, 2010
The truth is, I read cookbooks like novels. Cover to cover, page by page, the dedication, the acknowledgments, the indexes: I devour everything.
May 20, 2009
El Paso Magazine
The thriving German community on the Tex-Mex border is a delightful surprise, especially for a girl who lived in Deutschland as a child. Here I spotlight my time with the German locals at Marina’s German Bakery in El Paso.
Sarah’s Your Health Monthly Family Column
March 2009: Family Column — Healthy Roots
February 2009, Family Column — A Pox at Your House
December 2008, Family Column — Mayhem on 34th Street
November 2008, Family Column — To Flu or Not To Flu?
October 2008, Family Column — Will Mommy Be Okay?
September 2008, Family Column — The Gateway Drink
August 2008, Family Column — Back To School Supplies: Steroids?
July 2008, Family Column — Acne Attack
June 2008, Family Column — The Goldilocks Syndrome
May 2008, Family Column — My Precocious Child
July 2008, Passport to Health — Cover Feature