The Art of Symbolism

I remember studying symbolism in high school after reading a short story called “The White Heron” by Sarah Orne Jewett. The story is filled with symbolism, and to be honest, it bored me, but I absolutely loved the idea that literature could be bubbling over with these mini riddles called symbols. Shortly after studying “The White Heron,” I began inundating my own stories with hit-you-over-the-head symbolism that I thought for sure made my writing more deep. I might include, for example, a main character who was watching a bird escape from her cage. (Look! That means my character wants to...
Continue reading...

Interviews & Features

Girls In Capes Interview with Melody Maysonet, author of A WORK OF ART girlsincapes.com Cynsations New Voice—An Interview with Melody Maysonet on A Work of Art cynthialeitichsmith.blogspot.com TheYoungFolks.com, interview with the author of A WORK OF ART theyoungfolks.com “Decatur Native to Publish First Novel,” an interview with Re: Decatur redecatur.com...
Continue reading...

Winners Announced for A WORK OF ART Teen Art Contest

For the teen art contest at my book-launch party, I asked teens to draw or paint one of two things: (1) A self-portrait. One of the book’s themes is about how we see ourselves. Tera, the main character, paints a number of self-portraits, and in each one, she sees herself in a different way. (2) A secret. In the book, Tera draws a secret as “a black wad in a girl’s stomach. A black wad with tiny teeth” that gnaws at her. Teens were asked to draw what a secret looks like to them. Party guests enjoyed viewing all of...
Continue reading...

Celebrating A WORK OF ART

Book party, or no book party? That was the question three months ago, mostly because it felt a bit egocentric to throw a party for myself. Then my publicist told me to think of it as throwing a party for my book. That made sense to me, especially after all I put Tera through in A Work of Art. The least I could do is throw her a party, right? I’m so glad I did! Right now, just hours after the party ended, I’m still overwhelmed by the amount of support I’ve received from family, friends, and the South Florida...
Continue reading...

A Writer’s Lucky Day (Part 4 of a Countdown to Publication)

Today, I’m feeling pretty lucky. Aside from the fact that I have a wonderful family and that we’re all in reasonably good health, March 18, 2015, is the official release of my first novel: A Work of Art. Not only that, but I got to celebrate by sitting in on a parent book-club meeting at my son’s school where they were discussing (dun-dun-DUN) my book! Yes, I know it sounds narcissistic, but you have to understand that getting to discuss a book that I wrote (and getting to discuss it with people I respect) was something I’d fantasized about long...
Continue reading...

Best First Book Sighting Ever! OR Countdown to Publication, Part 3

When I last left off in Part 2, I was jumping up and down (in my head) because A Work of Art was chosen as the next selection for the parent YA book club at my son’s school. I was riding high, and then, something even better happened… Ten days before release date: A writer friend told me she saw my book in a certain Barnes & Noble, so I rounded up Adam (my husband) and Caleb (my 10-year-old son), and off we went to have a look. Sure enough, my book was there in the teen section—10 days before...
Continue reading...

A Debut Author’s Countdown to Publication, Part 2

When I last left off (click here to read Part 1), I had received my first book review for A Work of Art—a starred review from Kirkus Reviews. I was riding high, and then… Two months before pub date: Other reviews trickled in. I got a really good one from Booklist but a scathing one from another reviewer. Hmmm. Could it be that different people have different opinions? Reviews from book bloggers were mostly positive, but that painful review felt like a stab in the gut. Fear of negative feedback made me less enthusiastic about sending out ARCs (advanced reader...
Continue reading...

I’m Having a Book Launch Party!

Yay! I’m having a book launch party! I wasn’t sure I was going to because throwing a book-launch party feels kind of like throwing a party for myself. But as my publicist told me, “Think of it as throwing a party for your book.” So, yay! I’m throwing a party for my book! And you’re invited! The official release date for A Work of Art is March 18 (a Wednesday), but I’ll be having my book party that weekend, on March 21. Since A Work of Art has an art theme, I’m holding it at the Coral Springs Center for...
Continue reading...

A Debut Author’s Countdown to Publication, Part 1

With less than three weeks before the release date of my debut YA novel (A Work of Art, Merit Press), I thought I’d start blogging about what the journey from contract signing to release date has been like so far. This first installment will be a recap from the time I signed the contract up until three months before publication. Zero to five months after signing the contract: I signed the contract in February 2014 with a release date of “Spring 2015.” I spent most of this time trying to guess what “spring” meant (is June considered spring?) and deflecting...
Continue reading...

Self-Editing: My Writing Affliction

Some people see writing as an outpouring of words. The Muse visits, and words appear on the page. Not for me. My writing is more of an extraction—and a painful one at that. More times than not, I feel like I’m pulling out every word by force. The truth is, I’m a chronic self-editor—maybe because I was a professional editor for fifteen years and old habits die hard. Or maybe because I’m a tiny bit obsessive. So when my writer friends say things like, “I write two-thousand words a day,” or “I wrote my first draft in three months,” I’m...
Continue reading...