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Holly Robinson
Holly Robinson writes about pop culture, parenting, health, science and psychology for national magazines. She is the author of the novels Sleeping Tigers and The Wishing Hill, as well as The Gerbil Farmer's Daughter: A Memoir. Read excerpts of her books as well as some of her recent articles and essays at

Entries by Holly Robinson

What Kind of Fiction Do You Love to Read or Write? Maybe It's Time to Push the Genre Envelope

(2) Comments | Posted April 14, 2014 | 8:19 PM

Whether you're writing a mystery series or fantasy, so-called "literary fiction" or romances, the common view is that writers must brand themselves as one thing or another to market their books. While there's a certain amount of truth to...

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What Keeps a Woman Writing? Other Women Who Write.

(0) Comments | Posted April 7, 2014 | 10:28 AM

Maddie Dawson & I want our characters to be friends, too!
Any woman who works knows there isn't enough time in the day to get everything done. Even before we start our paid jobs, we've put in hours of labor:...
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The 10 Worst Things You Can Say to a Writer During a Book Launch

(5) Comments | Posted April 1, 2014 | 11:04 AM


Remember Romper Room, that classic children's TV show? There was this giant bee that would come on, cautioning kids to mind their manners and be a "Good Do Bee."

This week I feel like that giant...

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How Do You Write a Novel? Six Things That Stay the Same Every Time

(2) Comments | Posted March 25, 2014 | 2:19 PM

My friend Susan Straight and I have been swapping manuscripts-in-progress since graduating from the MFA program at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst over two decades ago. Since then, she has published nine books and earned buckets of prestigious literary awards. I've been dogging her since grad school and...

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Should You Send Your Child to a Prep School?

(1) Comments | Posted March 10, 2014 | 10:41 AM

Right about now, parents across the country are agonizing over whether or not to send their child to a private high school as spring admissions letters roll in. Even if the child is admitted, they're agonizing: private school tuition costs are a hefty burden, and if you spend your education...

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How Launching a Book Is Like Sending Your Kid to College

(1) Comments | Posted March 3, 2014 | 8:47 AM

This month, as I gear up to launch my new novel, BEACH PLUM ISLAND, on April 1, it occurs to me that there are lots of similarities between sending your kid out into the world and offering your book to readers.

The Month Before the Launch Is Exhausting....

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How to Keep Your Writing Warm When You Can't Write

(7) Comments | Posted February 27, 2014 | 11:35 AM

It's a blessing to take a writer's retreat, whether you do it officially at a place like Yaddo or the MacDowell Colony, or whether you arrange your own intensive quickie retreat like I did recently, thanks to my friend Melanie loaning me her cottage in Maine. For working moms like...

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Sexless but Equal: How I Conquered Valentine's Day and the NYT

(0) Comments | Posted February 15, 2014 | 12:41 PM

Last Sunday, the lead article on the hot pink cover of the The New York Times magazine was "Sexless but Equal." It was well-timed for Valentine's Day, and guaranteed to cause all of us who aren't already feeling adequate to feel even more so.

The gist of the...

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Should You Write a Memoir or a Novel? 4 Key Questions

(1) Comments | Posted February 1, 2014 | 6:28 PM

You have a great story to tell about something that happened to you. But should it be fiction or a memoir?

The answer to that question is less straightforward than it seems. Let's say you've always wanted to write about your mom being a witch with her own coven, or...

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How Old Is Too Old for a Main Character?

(7) Comments | Posted January 27, 2014 | 6:13 PM

I wanted to dismiss the essay dissing aging heroines in the Jan. 26 New York Times Book Review, even though it was written by none other than Fay Weldon, one of my favorite novelists.

Titled "Writer of a Certain Age," Weldon says, in a nutshell, that...

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Novel Building From the Bones up: Two Pros Contrast Indie vs. Traditional Writing Process

(15) Comments | Posted January 19, 2014 | 6:23 PM

First of all, let's define "pro:" for the purposes of this article, a pro is someone who earns his/her primary income from writing. My friend Toby Neal and I are pros, with multiple novels and credits of various kinds under our belts. In our chats about writing, we've...

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Why You Should Walk (Hint: Not for the Exercise)

(9) Comments | Posted January 11, 2014 | 4:50 PM

A few years ago, I was having my annual physical when my physician made one of those squinched-up faces that sets off alarm bells. When you see a doctor with that expression, you know you have something big: cancer, a brain tumor, an erratic heart rate, whatever. (To be fair,...

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The Four Most Common Stumbling Blocks for Writers: How to Overcome Them and Keep that New Year's Resolution to Write Your Novel

(7) Comments | Posted January 4, 2014 | 10:25 AM

"I'm going to finally write that book," you vowed on New Year's Eve. Maybe you whispered it to your partner in bed, or brazenly trumpeted out your resolution at a party, champagne in hand.

Either way, now what? How can you start writing that novel or, more importantly, finish it?

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How to Make the Most of Your Writing Retreat

(1) Comments | Posted December 12, 2013 | 9:07 PM

Every year, when my husband asks what I want for my birthday, my answer is always the same: "To run away from home."

This year, he granted my wish.

I love my husband, my house, my work, my kids. I don't even mind Saturday recycling or grocery shopping. (Okay, I...

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It's the Best and Worst of Times for a Shopping-Bag-a-Holic

(3) Comments | Posted December 2, 2013 | 10:27 AM

I am no hoarder. Not yet. But cloth shopping bags are luring me down that dark path.

As a child, I helped my mother ferry groceries home in brown paper bags that were then recycled into wrapping paper for boxes or bird cage liners. I never even saw a...

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Should You Do a Book Tour On Your Own Dime?

(0) Comments | Posted November 4, 2013 | 2:37 PM

We writers quake in our slippers at the thought of actually having to get dressed and emerge from behind our laptop shields. Whether we're indie or traditionally published, we count our lucky stars that digital marketing is the It Girl. We rely on social media to build our platforms and...

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The Writer's Junk Drawer Mind: What's in Yours?

(3) Comments | Posted October 24, 2013 | 11:06 AM

Last month, I had the pleasure of appearing on a panel at the West Hollywood Book Fair with writers T. Greenwood, whose latest novel is the fantastic Bodies of Water; Meg Howrey, author of the poignant novel Blind Sight; and Amy Wallen, author of...

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From We're the Millers to The Bridge, Woe Is Mexico -- Couldn't We Pick on Some Other Country for a Change?

(3) Comments | Posted October 14, 2013 | 7:40 PM

There are plenty of reasons to hate the movie We're the Millers, starting with Jennifer Aniston's striptease in a bra and panties set that looks like a little girl's idea of what's sexy. Aniston is toned but dances like a robot. Plus, what bad guy with a gun...

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"Do Not Snort on NPR" and Other Tips for Successful Author Radio Interviews

(0) Comments | Posted September 9, 2013 | 10:10 PM

While most authors fantasize about being on TV whenever we're not dreaming that someday we'll see royalties equal to even half of those earned by that lucky sod, 50 Shades of Grey author E.L. James, we're far more likely to land on the radio. Don't knock it. Radio is a...

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Is Your Imagination Drying Up? Children to the Rescue!

(1) Comments | Posted August 30, 2013 | 10:50 AM

It's easy to forget that we even have imaginations once we're adults. Who has time to feel creative, when there's a job to go to, groceries to buy, car trouble, or emails to write?

Thank God for children and their surprising flings of fancy.

I wasn't planning to become a...

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