The Mail Bag

Mail from readers

How to Choose and Introduce a New Dog to an Old Dog

From the Mail Bag: Renee asks: I have a mini Aussie a little over a year old. I’ve been thinking of getting another dog as a companion for her. I am home most of the time, so I have time for two. I play with Sierra a few times a day throwing Frisbee, etc. but she still badgers me to play at times when I’m busy. I thought having another dog may be good for her. My sister visits every Read more

Ree “The Pioneer Woman” Drummond vs. Heather “Dooce” Armstrong

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From the Mailbag:  Emma writes: I don’t get it. I read lots of blogs from the “famous” Dooce  (who’s a little too, I dunno, b*tchy for my tastes), and now Pioneer Woman (who seems like a lightweight one-trick pony/cow), to obscure blogs on personal subjects that interest me. And I gotta tell ya, I think some of the more unknown ones are much better written and much more interesting. I’m wondering why you think some blogs that aren’t particularly well-written Read more

The Five Ws of Blogging

From the mailbag: Cheryl writes: I just started a blog four months ago and at first had all kinds of things I wanted to write about. Then I started putting too much pressure on myself to come up with something brilliant everyday and I quickly got writer’s block. Then I got obsessed with checking my stats. Then I found myself actually getting really bummed that people weren’t leaving comments. So I just ditched the whole thing. But now I’m thinking Read more

Want to Write a Book that Sells? Start With an Outline

writing From the mailbag: Hannah writes: I’ve been writing a novel and have been stuck for weeks. That’s my pattern: I write a little, get stuck, have a breakthrough, write again, etc. It often feels like torture. I’m wondering if you also have this problem and if you’ve found a way to overcome it. I’ve read that it’s a good idea to start with an outline, but doesn’t that work better for non-fiction? For fiction, it seems like it would clash Read more

Do You Have to Have an Agent to Sell a Book?

From the mailbag: Sue writes: Is it necessary to have an agent to sell a book? I’m having trouble finding one to take me on, so I was wondering if I could just try to sell my novel by myself? What do you think of self-publishing?

Dear Sue, there aren’t many publishing houses that accept unagented submissions anymore. Certainly, none of the major houses do. That said, there are still some small houses that will let a writer submit without … Read more

Dog Lovers and Others

From the mail bag: Kevin writes, I love dogs and live with a partner who doesn’t. She merely tolerates them because she loves me. I’m wondering how you and Andrew work out ways to keep everybody happy.

Dear Kevin: I was born with an affinity for dogs, and was permitted to have dogs from an early age. Andrew was never allowed to have pets growing up. So he’s never had the experience of being changed by a dog’s love. I … Read more

Has It Always Been So Peachy

From the mailbag: Samantha writes: You and Caitlin seem to have quite an amazing relationship. Has it always been so peachy? Don’t you ever lose your cool?

Dear Samantha: Like Kiera, my daughter came into my life to slap me upside the head and wake me up out of any sleep-walking through life I might have been inclined to do. From the very beginning, Cait has had a way of getting and holding my attention. Right from the emergency C-section, … Read more

How to Break into Magazines

From the Mail Bag: Kate writes: I’d like to start writing nonfiction, human interest stories, emphasizing topics such as dogs and life with dogs, health and psychology. I’d like to start with articles (magazine, newspaper or both) and eventually work towards a book. I have done a few small human interest pieces for the newspaper at the University where I currently work and also back when I was in college. Any advice you’d have to share would be appreciated.

Dear … Read more

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