The Finish Party

January 2005, a group of women writers convened in a generous circle to support one another in finishing manuscripts for publication. Award-winning short story author, ZZ Packer (Drinking Coffee Elsewhere), invited us to her home and cooked a sumptuous Southern lunch as we gathered around her kitchen table discussing our writing projects and what we hoped to achieve by committing to meeting once a month to critique each other’s work. I was newly published (Space Between the Stars: My Journey to an Open Heart), had completed multiple book tours, and was thinking about beginning a work of fiction. The timing was perfect, as the writing group I had been part of for four years had just disbanded.

The most compelling aspects of getting to know the women were the intellectual acumen, the diverse backgrounds and life experiences, the joy, and openness emanating from each one.

It is a tribute to the fortitude and creative abundance of each writer that we have thrived and grown closer with each passing year. Two brilliant babies have been born, two mothers buried, three new novels published; we have celebrated two marriages, weathered one divorce and one separation; traveled together to Palm Desert, Lake Tahoe, Maui and Costa Rica. We have read our various writings as a group at Book Passage in Corte Madera, and whistled, screamed and hooted at each other’s book signings across America, and we have cried in pairs or trios over our private hurts and life changes.

I would not be the writer I am today without these remarkable, erudite, sometimes bossy, always gracious, multi-lingual women. I am grateful to know each one and to samba through life with them.

Please read each of their books — all so different that you will be amazed at how we can sit in a room together and navigate caringly through critiquing chapters, paragraphs, characters and themes. (See my links page for the websites for authors ZZ Packer, Lalita Tademy, Nichelle Tramble, Renée Swindle, Farai Chideya, Jacqueline Luckett & Alyss Dixson-Morris.)

And read the article ZZ wrote about us in O Magazine:

The newest books published —
Farai Chideya: Kiss the Sky, a novel about the life of Sophie “Sky” Lee, a thirty-something black rock musician making a comeback in New York City in 2000. There are a few hitches to her plans: Sky’s guitarist is her mercurial, drug-abusing ex-husband; her manager is also her boyfriend; and Sky herself is frightened of the cost she’ll pay to reach the pinnacle of fame.

Jacqueline Luckett — (pre-order now!): Searching for Tina Turner, a novel about Lena Harrison Spencer, a woman in her mid-fifties, whose time has come to face the hard truths of what it means to have it all and still find herself unfulfilled. When Lena determines that she needs to completely change her life, Tina Turner becomes the icon from whose story she derives strength, even though everyone else tells her she’s crazy for giving up her cashmere cocoon.

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