No, thank you

I got my first literary rejection in June 2005 at a table for two. This was no anonymous letter, either. I was seated on a white folding chair, poorly balanced on a grassy hillside of our writer’s retreat, wearing scratchy slacks and stiff sandals bought for the occasion. The tanned lady flipped through my first five pages with the casualness of a seasoned Los Angeles literary agent, which she...
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It’s Good to be Back

When I signed my first book contract in the spring of 2012, my publisher and I envisioned Control Group as the third book in the Cooper McKay series. We set a target date for publication of February 2015. “Plenty of time to get it right,” we thought. Indeed, I had completed the first draft ten years before that projected date. But time has offered me a perspective that has helped to reframe—and...
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So You’re Exposed to Ebola. Now what?

America’s worst microbial nightmare stepped through the looking glass and into our lives this September when a patient arrived at a Texas hospital harboring the first U.S. case of Ebola. In the months preceding this index case, news organizations had tracked the West African death toll of this unforgiving virus. A plane carrying an infected American missionary to Atlanta this summer put the...
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Gone With the Wind: Part Three

GW2 Day Six: Great stories generally have great settings. As I mowed my way through the first four hundred pages of Gone With the Wind, I had convinced myself that the great setting of the story was Tara. After all, Scarlett’s father won the land in a poker match, built the plantation with his own stubbornness, then raised his daughters and buried his sons there. Understandably, Scarlett’s...
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Gone With the Wind: Part Two

GW2 Day Three: Ellen is dead! Bullets in battle cut down the Tarlton twins! Doc Meade’s shoeless son Phil was killed, too. Am I really subjecting myself to this literary assault? After offering up a complex female lead and submerging her in the wiles of war, Margaret Mitchell is holding my head in the pages of her book and not letting me come up for air. Only four hundred pages in and I feel as...
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