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ODE TO THE PAST (with the occasional nod to the present)

5 tips for better writing

I recently had the privilege of speaking to a group of young people about the writing process. Before my visit, I had given them an assignment: they had to describe a scene based on a random photograph. There were no rules or guidelines, which allowed them maximum creative expression.

They surprised me with their  Read More 
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Sarah and Daniel, part 2

I am constantly asked who my inspiration is for Sarah Weston (not to mention who would play her in a film version of The Tenth Saint). As I mentioned in the previous post about Daniel Madigan, I do have various photos of people on my mood boards, and these help me flesh out the  Read More 
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Sarah and Daniel

My inspiration for Daniel
Believe it or not, the question I get most frequently at my book signings is: "This book would make a great movie ... but who would play Sarah and Daniel?"

Today, I'll start with Daniel. On my inspiration board is a photo of Adolfo Cambiaso (see above). Adolfo is an Argentine polo player, long considered  Read More 
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The holy cities

Dabra Damo, a fine example of Aksumite architecture.
Even devoted globetrotters--the kind who delve into a culture rather than check something off a list--often don't have Ethiopia on their been-there-done-that lists. So when the New York Times published an article this week about Ethiopia's holy cities--Aksum and Lalibela--I had to smile. Could it be the quietly magnificent East African nation is becoming  Read More 
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Daphne in full desert attire...
The desert is unpredictable, capricious and often tempestuous. Just when you think it is a barren, inhospitable place, it unexpectedly gives. But it can just as swiftly take away.

The always-changing nature of the desert--its impermanence--has long been a source of fascination for me. I've spent time in deserts from the Namib to the  Read More 
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The church of Beta Giorgis in Lalibela
When I first arrived in Lalibela, I had the overwhelming feeling that I was in the presence of something extraordinary. The small town is situated about 7,500 feet above sea level in the mountains of northern Ethiopia. It's remote, and not easily reached, for a reason: it is a holy place that is accessible only  Read More 
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All about the kids

I couldn't be more excited about this. On March 12, I will be speaking to a group of teens at the Delray Achievement Center about writing, reading and why literacy matters.

The Delray Achievement Center targets kids from deteriorating neighborhoods, and helps break the cycle of poverty, and all the ills that come with it,  Read More 
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Order of the Cross

I am so excited about this collaboration. Jewelry designer Michelle Farmer is working with me to create a custom pendant based on the cover design of The Tenth Saint. I wanted to do this to commemorate the publication of my debut novel.

I had never  Read More 
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Fan Mail

Today I got my very first piece of fan mail. It was a super-sincere note (yes, hand-written!) by a reader who enjoyed The Tenth Saint, particularly the descriptions of Ethiopian (Coptic) Christianity. He said it sent him to his computer to learn more. That was music to my ears. Anytime we read something that  Read More 
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The Road

March 1, 2012 is the official debut of The Tenth Saint! Holding this book in my hands, feeling the heft of all 464 pages, feeling the texture of the matte-gloss combination cover, and seeing my vision interpreted through design feels, well ... pretty darned good.

Getting here has been no small journey. It began as a philosophical question,  Read More 
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