Tulips and Sex — Writing as If Everyone I Know Were Dead

Two deep pink tulips bloom at Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, CA. Photo by BF Newhall

Deep pink tulips at their peak — just opening. Photo by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

I want to write about tulips today. I don’t want to write about sex. The trouble is, for me, writing about tulips means writing about sex: something about their juicy curves brings erotic metaphors to my particular mind.

I thought that once my mother — and father — were no longer alive [Read more...]


You’ve Got the Agent, You’ve Got the Publisher — But Do You Have the Publicist?

College student enters airport with suitcases to go to Carleton College for his freshman year.  Photo by Barbara Falconer Newhall

Son Peter leaves home for college. He’s like the manuscript I just sent off to the publisher — there was no more time to put finishing touches on this grown-up kid. Photo by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

You get an idea for a book. You like it a lot. You think people are going to want to read this book. You’re stoked.

You fret for months and years over how to transform this idea you like so much into [Read more...]


Yippee! I Did It — I Finished My Book

Author Barbara Falconer Newhall sends her manuscript for "Wrestling With God" electronically to Patheos Press from her writing studio. Photo by Jon Newhall

I’m ready to press the “send” button and dispatch my manuscript off to publisher Patheos Press. Photo by Jon Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

It’s 6:02 Wednesday evening I just  hit the send button to send the manuscript for Wrestling With God off to my publisher, Patheos Press. [Read more...]


Making Friends — Trying To — With the Dread Serial Comma

Barbara Falconer Newhall in her writing room with book contract. Photo by Jon Newhall

Book contract. Photo by Jon Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

My book contract says that I’m to deliver my manuscript “in conformity with the provisions in The Chicago Manual of Style.”

That means that right now I’m finally going head-to-head with the serial comma. [Read more...]


Armistead Maupin: The Man Who Wrote the Quintessential San Francisco Novel — On a Newspaper Deadline


Tales of the City author Armistead Maupin reads from "The Days of Ana Madrigal" at Book Passage, SF Ferry Building

Armistead Maupin at Book Passage on Tuesday — as witty and kind and generous with his fans as he was with his San Francisco Chronicle co-workers. Photo by BF Newhall

By Barbara Falconer Newhall

Armistead Maupin’s assignment was to show up at the offices of the San Francisco Chronicle every weekday morning and produce seven hundred words, give or take. But unlike most newspaper journalists, Army did not sit  down to his Selectric typewriter fortified with a reporter’s notebook fat with stats and quotes. [Read more...]

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