The Ultimate Second Date Tip for Writers

TownieThe evening is concluding. You’ve wined. You’ve dined. You’re interested in a second date. Maybe. But how do you bring up the topic without feeling awkward. How can you find out more about your date beyond the superficial without sounding like a cop conducting an interrogation? Ask your date to read a book with you. Organize a private book club with a membership of two. Pick a book that could generate lots of discussion.  Memoirs and nonfiction can work well, but fiction can also be an option.

When my husband and I were dating, we both agreed to read the memoir, Townie, by Andre Dubus. Townie served as a springboard for my husband and me to talk about all kinds of topics without feeling like we had to be careful of what we said or on our best behavior to try to keep each other impressed. A book club for two will give you an opportunity to get to know your date without the pressure of a date.

An interesting note: I chatted with Dubus this evening at a book event where he did a reading and signing and he told me that when he and his wife were dating they also read a book together.

Will you join me on my writing blog tour?

I have been invited by writer Barbara Beckwith to participate in a writing process blog tour. I have enjoyed getting to know Barbara through her work with the National Writers Union. During the years that I was the president of the Women’s National Book Association Boston chapter, she and I conferred on joint activities. Barbara is an accomplished essayist. You can read more about her on her blog. This tour has included Leslie Brunetta, Ken Wachsberger, and Adina Schecter.

Lisa Braxton’s Writing Blog Tour

What am I working on?

I’m working on a novel. I’m completing final revisions and plan to begin sending the manuscript out to literary agents before the end of July. The manuscript is set in the 1970s in a struggling New England urban community. The two sets of main characters are from different sections of the same town and are profoundly affected by an urban redevelopment project taking place. The novel explores issues of race, class, culture, and social responsibility.

In addition, I had a story published in the Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dating Game and have written three additional stories that I’ve submitted to the editors of the Chicken Soup Series that I hope will be accepted. I have also written an article for Guideposts magazine that I hope will be accepted.

Why do I write?

I enjoy expressing myself creatively through the written word. I write short stories, magazine articles drawing from my journalism background, and essays. When readers tell me that my writing inspired them, gave them hope, made them cry, made them reflect on their own situations, then I feel that I’ve done my job well.

How does my work differ from others in the genre?

My professors at the MFA program at Southern New Hampshire University told me that no two people can tell a story the same way. I hope that I bring something unique to the reading experience.

How does my writing process work?

I write with my feet up in the bed. I write on the couch. I write in the library, during my lunch break at work, at the crack of dawn at the kitchen table, while I’m under the hair dryer at the hair dresser, while on airplanes. Whenever I can fit in a few moments of writing, I write.

So now it’s your turn. What do you think of the writing blog tour? Care to join me? How about some fellow alums of the Southern New Hampshire University MFA program. Let me know.

Chicken Soup for the Soul has an impact halfway around the world

I got a lovely email today from a reader in Saudi Arabia. Take a look at what he had to say.

Hello Lisa,

I hope you are doing well. I got the chance to read your impressive story “Short Distance Romance,” from ‘The Dating Game’ book of the Chicken Soup for the Soul. It came to me several days ago from their daily newsletter to which I subscribed more than 8 years ago. True love is not something we find, it is something that finds us. I was impressed with the patience of the guy, who sat only 3 pews away from you, when he finally introduced himself to you, telling you all you had to do was to say hello. If we did not express our feelings for the fear of losing a beautiful relationship, we will certainly lose the beautiful relationship by not expressing our feelings. God puts the right person in the right place at just the right time for a reason that we might not be able to realize for the time being or even until it is too late. What we call ‘coincidence’ is an extraordinary plan perfectly arranged by Him in an amazing way. But His plans are always having positive consequences in our lives.

Blessings to you and your family,

Hamza Hassan

Saudi Arabia

The inside scoop on “Chicken Soup for the Soul”

Chicken Soup Book on the ShelfWell folks, bookstore shelves are a little more full now that Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dating Game, which includes my essay, “Short Distance Romance” on page 227, has arrived. At the Barnes and Noble nearest me, the Braintree, Massachusetts store, the book is in the self-help/relationship section nestled between 10,000 Ways to Say I Love You and 101 Quizzes for Couples.

In the table of contents you’ll find my essay in the “Never Too Late for Love” section. I wasn’t sure how to feel about that at first; It reminded me of not only my age, but how long it took me to find my guy, but now I’m feeling more comfortable with the reference.

Sandra Briggs and me at Braintree Barnes and Noble

Sandra Briggs and me at Braintree Barnes and Noble

My good friend Sandra Briggs, who’s in town from Atlanta met up with me at B and N Braintree for some girl talk and to celebrate my part in Chicken Soup’s latest publication. We made a toast to future publishing endeavors over skinny peppermint mocha latte’s and hot chocolate. I had shown Sandra the essay long before I submitted it to Chicken Soup, when it was just a Word document.  To refresh her memory she reread it while we were at Barnes and Noble, chuckling at different parts and beaming when she got to the end.

Chicken Soup Lisa keeperThe Chicken Soup people tell me that  the “contributors,” as we writers are called, make public appearances all over the country, doing book signings and talks at bookstores, libraries, and civic group events. I understand that the new volume will get a lot of attention around Valentine’s Day. I’ve told them I’d be happy to hit the literary circuit. If they schedule me for events, I’ll let you know.

Look for my essay in “Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dating Game”

Chicken Soup Cover

Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dating Game is a collection of stories that will encourage you, support you, and make you laugh. It goes on sale at a bookseller near you on December 17th. My essay, “Short Distance Romance,” about how I met my husband, appears in the volume.

It is a thrill to be published by Chicken Soup. For years I have been honored to get my essays and fiction published in literary journals with small press runs. This is the first time my creative writing has been accepted by a mainstream publication. People will actually be able to buy it in brick and mortar and online bookstores. Patrons will be able to pick it off the shelf of their local library.

I will add this to my list of publishing credits, which I hope will help me once I finish my novel and start to look for an agent.

Meanwhile, I’ll be checking the mail for the complimentary copies of Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Dating Game the editors say they’re sending me. And in case you’re stumped for holiday gift ideas, I understand they make great stocking stuffers.