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Frank's Blog

1/3/17: Hello again

Dear Friend of Frank,

Well. It’s been a long time.

Five years, to be exact, since my last blog posting. Many comment-worthy things happened during those five years but I stayed silent.

No more. I’ve got something to brag about.

My latest novel To Do Justice is a winner in the “Scintillating Starts” contest for best opening pages. You can read the winning scene here.

This contest counts because of its great title.

When literary agents or editors read your submission, what they look for is a “scintillating start.” If the opening doesn’t grab them, they won’t read on.

There’s a writers’-advice book on this very topic, The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman (Simon & Schuster: 2000). Lukeman’s title is great, but if were writing this book I’d call it The First Five Paragraphs. Sadly, five paragraphs are about all you’ve got to make the sale.

To Do Justice is “done” but not “finished.” I’ve written those magic words The End, but there’s lots of work left to do before I submit the manuscript to people who might get it published.

My first reader will be novelist Amin Ahmad, our guru in the excellent “Novel Year” workshop at the Writer’s Center in Bethesda MD, during which I wrote great chunks of To Do Justice. A shout-out to Amin for his wisdom and perception, which now will benefit students at my alma mater, Northwestern University in Evanston IL. Check out Amin’s work here.

To Do Justice is the third and final instalment of my “Chicago Trilogy.” Many of you have read and given five-star praise to the award-winning first novel in the trilogy, To Love Mercy (Mid Atlantic Highlands: 2006). If you haven’t, please visit www.frankjoseph.com where you can buy signed copies at 33% off (plus FREE shipping).

(And what about To Walk Humbly, the second book of the trilogy? It was a finalist in the New Rivers Press competition but, sadly, has not yet found a publisher. Guess I’d better submit it to “Scintillating Starts” too.)

So that is some of my news. You’ll read more in the coming weeks: I plan to start blogging again.

It’s time-consuming, the blogging business; I often spent half a day honing my words for your maximum enjoyment or, perhaps, irritation.

But winning the “Scintillating Starts” contest has me jacked. Maybe there’s something to this writing stuff after all.

Frank S. Joseph


P.S. ...

You’re under no obligation to read this – or anything – that I write. If you’re reading this as a member of my e-blast list, just say the word and you shall be removed, no quibbles or hard feelings. (On the other hand, to join my e-blast list, just email the request to frank@frankjoseph.com.)

Despite this, a lot of you stuck with me for the six or so years I was tossing out these e-letters-in-a-bottle. Those were the old days, when “blog” hadn’t yet become a dirty word. Indeed, I viewed that effort more as personal emails to some 850 near, dear friends.

Now I have a lot of newbies on my e-blast list too. To you I repeat: It’s easy to be either removed or added. Just ask.

I hope you’ll stick around though, at least for a while. Sure, you’ll have to put up with some self-promotion, but I’m interested in lots of other things too – the writing process, race, religion, Chicago, tennis and skiing, playing the piano, health policy and energy policy, childhood and adoption, family and friendship, getting old but staying young ... lots of things.

I’ll make it a fun ride too if I can. Give me at least a chance to try, OK?