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Melanie Benjamin
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Entries by Melanie Benjamin

What's So Great About a Virgin (Novelist), Anyway?

(0) Comments | Posted November 30, 2011 | 4:30 PM

'Tis the season for "Best of" lists, and the New York Times released its list of the 10 best books of 2011. Five were novels, and of those five, four of them were debut novels.

Which kind of bugs me, to tell the truth. And I'm not just...

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Keeping Up With The Thumbs On Jersey Shore

(1) Comments | Posted August 23, 2011 | 11:09 AM

Freak: One that is markedly unusual or abnormal. (Definition provided by Merriam-Webster Dictionary.)

The question came in the middle of a radio talk show on NPR, the Diane Rehm Show, to be specific.

The caller, barely concealing his anger (and without having read the book beforehand, of course!), accused...

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Ms. Benjamin's Guide to Etiquette for the Polite Reader (and Author)

(0) Comments | Posted July 25, 2011 | 5:17 PM

As I prepare to embark upon that perilous -- and perilously rare -- adventure called the "book tour," Gentle Reader, I think it behooves us both to be reminded of our obligation to one another. Herewith, I propose these simple rules for governing our behavior at these most public, yet...

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To Follow or Not to Follow -- That Is the Question

(0) Comments | Posted June 9, 2011 | 10:32 AM

Today I unfollowed a great big famous author on Twitter.

I hear you sighing out there. "So what?" you ask, and roll your eyes.

Well, yes. In a rational world, "so what?" is the accepted answer when someone tells you they unfollowed someone on Twitter. (Actually,...

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I Google, Therefore I Am

(0) Comments | Posted May 31, 2011 | 3:11 PM

The other day, just on a whim, I decided to indulge in that favorite author pastime known as To Google One's Self. The whim wasn't that I indulged in this -- I do so far more regularly than I should. I Google my name, my book's name, my characters' names...

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America's Royal Wedding: General and Mrs. Tom Thumb

(0) Comments | Posted April 19, 2011 | 3:51 PM

Before there were Kate and William, before there were Diana and Charles, there were -- Lavinia and Charles.

Lavinia Warren Stratton and Charles Stratton -- 32 and 36 inches tall, respectively -- were the most famous couple in America back in 1863. Their wedding captured a nation's imagination...

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Just Say No to Everyone But the Voices in Your Head

(3) Comments | Posted March 29, 2011 | 1:01 PM

Authors helping authors. That has a nice ring to it, doesn't it? Liberté, égalité, fraternité, and all that.

We're all in this together. We need to help each other. Pay it forward, etc., etc.

Except --

Really, we're not in this together.

Writing is a solitary act. It always...

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Where Were You When Borders Declared Bankruptcy?

(11) Comments | Posted February 22, 2011 | 1:50 PM

Where were you when Borders declared bankruptcy?

I happened to be in the middle of a book tour. Which you might say was Ground Zero for an author.

Part of being on tour includes doing what we call "drop-ins." Basically, you drop into a bookstore and sign copies...

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Where Was the Super Bowl Ad for Books?

(6) Comments | Posted February 7, 2011 | 1:50 PM

Like everyone else, I just celebrated the National Holiday that is the Super Bowl. And like everyone else, this morning -- the Day After -- I'm discussing the highs and lows. The music: How on earth did Christina Aguilera mess up the lyrics to the National Anthem? And why does...

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The Writer, Unplugged

(2) Comments | Posted February 4, 2011 | 1:43 PM

I'm feeling a familiar itch, as of late.

It's a nagging, anxious, running-to-keep up feeling; a sense that I'll never get to where I'm going. I can't relax, can't settle down to any real work. I hit "refresh" on my computer hour after hour after hour. Sometimes minute after minute...

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Does This Tattoo Make Me Look Like a Bestseller?

(27) Comments | Posted January 17, 2011 | 12:10 PM

A couple of years ago, in that rosy flush of a little success and a whole lot of dreams (and fueled, I must admit, by a few too many margaritas), I did something stupid.

I had just sold my book to a big time publisher. I had been published before,...

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Going on a Book Tour? Dream Big or Stay Home

(8) Comments | Posted January 8, 2011 | 11:20 AM

Ah, the book tour. That literary rite-of-passage that all authors at one time or another dream of, thoughts of which keep them going through the tough times. Who hasn't imagined standing in front of a group of eager readers, people who -- unlike your friends & family -- actually want...

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A New Year's Resolution to Restore an Author's Sanity

(4) Comments | Posted December 30, 2010 | 4:38 PM

I'm not usually a big believer in New Year's resolutions. I'm all for vowing to live a better life whenever possible, but I rarely succumb to the big, fatalistic year-end pronouncement.

I'm making an exception this year.

2010 has been a very good year for me, professionally. There's every indication...

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We Need to Talk About Your Book

(1) Comments | Posted December 20, 2010 | 11:32 AM

A novelist friend recently had an argument with a reader concerning a certain passage in his book. This reader quoted actual sentences, adamant that they were on the page -- to the great surprise of the author. Who didn't remember having written them and who, when he went back to...

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For the Love of Writing -- Not Publication

(23) Comments | Posted November 16, 2010 | 10:47 AM

The other day, a friend of a friend emailed asking for some publishing advice. I sighed, muttered something under my breath about deadlines that have to be met, but finally replied that I'd be happy to help. (It was one of those days when I was looking for any excuse...

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Be Kind to the Author Whose Book You Can't Stand (or, Authors Have Feelings, Too!)

(9) Comments | Posted October 28, 2010 | 5:31 PM

The other day I was invited to meet with a book club that had chosen my book to read. I love to do this, and I most often phone into these. But fairly regularly a group is in my area, and so I am graciously invited into someone's home.


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Stop the Insanity and Just Write, Already

(36) Comments | Posted September 29, 2010 | 2:22 PM

Writers are mad these days. Spittin' mad. They're mad at the world, they're mad at readers, they're mad at agents, they're mad at publishers. And I don't understand it.

Now, I think it's a mad world, period. Etiquette has gone out the window; we tweet our every -- angry --...

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How Not to Bore an Audience - A Plea to Authors Everywhere

(5) Comments | Posted September 7, 2010 | 1:20 PM

Literary festival season 'tis upon us. There are many opportunities for book lovers and authors to meet up and learn something from each other; book lovers generally learn that authors don't look a thing like their jacket photos, and authors generally learn that many book lovers are also aspiring authors...

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You Don't Have To Read My Book To Be My Friend

(9) Comments | Posted August 30, 2010 | 12:51 PM

I love authors. Let me say that right up front. I'm privileged to know so many wonderful people who love words and stories as much as I do. I love knowing people who are as neurotic as I am; who live in their heads much of the time, so that...

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How to Dress an Author

(22) Comments | Posted August 20, 2010 | 4:57 PM

I have a lurid confession to make.

I am addicted to fashion magazines.

Now, this would not be shocking were it not for the fact that I'm also an author, a female author of a certain age, an author of what some call literary fiction. There's a uniform for...

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