Thursday, March 08, 2018


Well, this is embarrassing. I thought I had written my Type M entry and scheduled it to post this morning, but apparently that was somebody else posting at some other venue. Since I only manage to write about one book a year, every book launch is a big circus for me and I have to be very careful not to forget where I am and what I'm supposed to be doing for whom. Therefore I apologize for my tardiness, but better late than never. That's what I'm telling myself, anyway.

My official book launch party on February 24 at the Poisoned Pen bookstore in Scottsdale Arizona went off very nicely, thanks for asking. In fact, the bookstore recorded the whole thing and posted it on their Facebook site. You can check it out by going here and scrolling down to Feb. 24. To tide you over, here is a photo of the evening.

Dennis Palumbo, Priscilla Royal, Donis Casey, Barbara Peters
In more writerly news, a couple of weeks ago my Type M blogmates were discussing a thread on endings, which is a topic near to my heart. I am speaking about the end of a novel, but a few years ago I was thinking about the end of life, and in that vein I read a wonderful book called Being Mortal, Medicine and 
What Matters in the End, by Atul Gawande. If you’re interested in managing your own demise, I would recommend it.

But even when planning my own induction into the choir invisible, I can’t help but think like a writer. Toward the end of Dr. Gawande’s book, he quotes a study done by Daniel Kahneman, who says something to the effect that it doesn’t matter too much how much pleasure or pain we endure, it’s the ending of the experience we remember. As an example he cites the experience of watching an exciting sports match, when your team, “having performed beautifully for nearly the entire game, blows in the end. We feel that the ending ruins the whole experience…The experiencing self had whole hours of pleasure and just a moment of displeasure, but the remembering self sees no pleasure at all.”

What does that tell you, Mr. or Ms. Writer?

We are told that we must have a gripping beginning to our novel in order to engage the prospective reader as soon as possible. Then we have to keep drawing the reader on, keep him interested as we work our way through the long middle of the story. All excellent advice.

But, by God, the ending better deliver. Because as we all know, a great beginning makes a reader want to read your current book, but a great ending makes her want to read your next book.

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