Stuff in the ‘Merit Press’ Category

15 December, 2015

Where I Write: Carol Masciola

Carol Masciola 2This edition of WHERE I WRITE is from Carol Masciola, author of the Young Adult novel  THE YEARBOOK published by Merit Press

“I write just about anywhere, on notebooks of the lowest possible quality, with cheap pens. I find that pens discovered on the sidewalk or stolen from the bank write the best stories. If conditions are too perfect, it makes me feel like I have to write something perfect, and for me, nothing is as debilitating as striving for perfection. It took me a while to figure this out. When I first set out to write fiction some number of years ago, I set up a picture-perfect writing studio. It had a new computer, the right chair and a wide, pretty rosewood desk with three drawers. I was living in Bogota, Colombia, then, and my writing room had an inspiring Andean view. There were green hills and moody, rain-splashed bricks.

But the room was no good. I didn’t understand what was wrong with it, or with me. I just sat there frozen and tortured and would either slide off my ergonomic chair and fall asleep on the carpet oCarol Masciolar end up down in the living room watching reruns of The Nanny in Spanish. I reacted to these failures by imposing greater self-discipline in the form of a strict schedule; I had to spend X number of hours each morning in that fantastic Andean chamber, creating. I couldn’t see that it was all hopeless folly—that my paralysis would continue as long as the quality of my writing could not hope to live up to the quality of my workspace. In the wake of this experience, after we had packed up and left Colombia, I found myself thinking a lot about my twelve years as a newspaper reporter. I had written hundreds of articles in imperfect conditions, in newsrooms full of the most outrageous loudmouths, on tight deadlines. Once I worked in a satellite office of a big newspaper in California, and when they remodeled our building, they put the floor in slanted by mistake. I had to hold onto my desk while I was writing to keep from rolling away. And yet I finished every single thing I ever started. How had I done all that? I didn’t know.


And then I had two kids. By then we were in a tiny apartment in London. I no longer had time, or a workspace, or a clean shirt on, but miraculously, I was writing again. I would steal ten minutes here or thirty minutes there, at my now-squalid kitchen counter, or sitting in bed, or wherever I happened to be, writing on miscellaneous available surfaces. My infant son ripped the “T” key off my computer keyboard, so I had to press very hard on the space where the “T” had been every time I needed a “T”. I gave myself a blister, but I finished my first screenplay, Baghdad Bureau. I felt very proud of myself and bought a new “T” to celebrate. I went on to write two novellas, a children’s book, five more screenplays and my novel The Yearbook in that haphazard way, just grabbing at those small moments in imperfect rooms and remembering not to make writing too sacred. I know this wouldn’t work for everyone, but that’s what I do.” — Carol Masciola
Follow Carol on Twitter and learn more about her and her book on her website.

13 November, 2015


Carol MasciolaThe Yearbook is Carol Masciola’s first published novel. The idea for the book came to her while leafing through her grandmother’s 1924 Charleston (W.Va) High School annual. Carol grew up in Vermilion, Ohio, an historic town on the banks of Lake Erie, with four sisters and a lot of woods and fields and freedom to wander around and daydream. She graduated from nearby Oberlin College with a degree in liberal arts and moved to Southern California, where she worked as a newspaper reporter for twelve years, learning journalism on the job but feeling restless.

At the Orange County Register, she won the PEN/West Literary Award in Journalism for a weeklong serial about a 77-year-old old man trying to take care of a baby by himself. Shortly after, she left the paper to marry a foreign correspondent from Spain who was covering Central America for Reuters News Service.  Since January of 2000, she has lived in Guatemala, Colombia, Jordan, London, Turkey, Spain and now lives in Geneva, Switzerland with her husband and their two sons. Carol began to write fiction after leaving journalism, first focusing on learning the screenwriting craft. She has completed six feature screenplays in genres from black comedy to Alpine ghost story.

Learn more about Carol and THE YEARBOOK on the web at Follow Carol on Twitter at @CarolMasciola and check out her Facebook page here.

3 November, 2015


Melissa Schorr 2A native New Yorker, Melissa Robin Schorr grew up loving to read, write in her diaries, and dream of someday publishing books of her own.  After graduating from the Bronx High School of Science, she studied journalism at Northwestern University to purse writing full-time for newspapers and magazines.

In the course of her journalism career, she stalked celebrities for People magazine, visited a nudist colonyIdentity Crisis for the Las Vegas Sun, and edited a matchmaking column for the Boston Globe Sunday Magazine. In 1996, she wrote an essay for GQ magazine titled “The Joy of Goys” about her propensity for dating non-Jewish men. That article got her the attention of a literary agent, and ultimately, a book deal with Hyperion to write her first young adult novel, “GOY CRAZY,” a romantic comedy about interfaith dating described as “droll and sharp,” by Kirkus Reviews.

Digging back into her childhood diaries, she contributed an essay on being bullied in middle school for the anthology “DEAR BULLY: 70 Authors Tell their Stories.” She expands upon the topic in her upcoming book IDENTITY CRISIS (Merit Press, January 2016), this time, instead of delving into her own past, tackling the experience of modern-day cyberbullying in the high-tech age.

She currently lives outside Boston with her two daughters, her husband and her terrier, Bailey. Connect with her at her website, or her Facebook fan page, or on Twitter @MelissaSchorr.

13 December, 2014

THE YEARBOOK by Carol Masciola

A young-adult debut novel about a troubled teenage girl who falls asleep in the school library and wakes up in the 1920’s. Just as she begins to shed her past and starts to believe she might have found a real home and true happiness (and love), she is snapped back to her hopeless present day where she’s on the run from police for truancy and theft. In short order, she’s locked away in a psychiatric hospital where the staff assumes she’s suffering from her mother’s illness and an ambitious, manipulative psychologist is eager to write a book about Lola’s “case”. Amid a snowy winter of imprisonment and medication, Lola is about to surrender to the belief that she really is insane when an unexpected encounter fills her with hope. Lola vows to use every juvenile-delinquent skill in her arsenal to escape from the hospital and cross back into the past by any means, at any cost.
The Yearbook will take readers on a fast-moving, suspenseful, coming-of-age journey to the Roaring Twenties that will keep them guessing — is it the boundaries of time Lola Lundy has crossed, or the boundaries of sanity? Sane or otherwise, Lola embodies questions about identity and belonging that pervade youth culture: Who do I really want to be? How do I go about finding the life, the love, the place, that’s meant for me?