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“Come again?” I say. I pull the phone from my ear and eying the number on the screen. It’s my obstetrician, but maybe she thinks she’s called her boyfriend by mistake.

She clears her throat. “The genetic testing suggests 69 triple-X triploidy,” and I swear her voice is husky.

I write this down on the back of an envelope, even though I won’t forget. I speak it under my breath and it rolls off the tongue like dirty talk. A follow-up appointment is made and I end the call.

My husband, Tom, is draped across the couch looking at me…

Hi friends and followers!

A quick note to tell you a bit about my debut women’s fiction/romance novel LOVE, LISTS, AND FANCY SHIPS.

Some of you may know I have a novel coming out with Berkley (an imprint of Penguin Random House) this November, but I realized that some of you following here might not know anything about it!

About Love, Lists, and Fancy Ships

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On impossible days grief winks in the mirror. It stares at me from the moon-silver stretchmarks below my bellybutton and triple dog dares me not to look away.⁣

Because of this, I always carry knives on impossible days. A Swiss Army knife in my pocket. It opens bottles, unscrews corks, files fingernails, tugs splinters. Cuts too. My kid brother got a knife like this for Christmas once and stabbed himself the same day. 𝘔𝘦𝘳𝘳𝘺 𝘧𝘶𝘤𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘊𝘩𝘳𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘮𝘢𝘴, I’d thought.⁣

Five knives come with the takeout I order for dinner. They are plastic and wrapped in more plastic. I press my fingers…

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  1. It’s okay if you’re not very good yet. Everyone starts somewhere and you ABSOLUTELY can improve. It’s hard work, and you have to want it and put in the hours, but you CAN get better. ⁣
  2. Small progress is still progress. Every word you write is one that didn’t exist in your project before. ⁣
  3. It’s okay to take steps backward. Often, they really aren’t steps backward, but actions that will propel you forward: deleting a chapter, a scene, a character, gutting an entire draft, moving on from a project that isn’t working for you anymore.⁣
  4. Your process can look…

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  1. There is no right time to get into writing. Always wanted to write? Then do it. It’s not like you have to sit at a desk for an hour every day. Just write for ten minutes. Five even. Write one sentence. You could have an entire year off to write your book, but if you haven’t been writing consistently, you probably won’t find yourself sitting at a desk for hours when you do have it. ⁣
  2. Stop saving your “good” story ideas for when you’re a better writer. You probably won’t become a better writer by writing things you don’t…

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2000–2009: Write a story about a kid farting. It amuses your 4th grade teacher. You like how your words made someone feel something. Continue writing. Write weird werewolf and Dragonball Z inspired stuff in middle school. In high school, enter your angsty teen poetry phase. Your creative writing teacher Freshman year calls your parents because she is “concerned” about the dark nature of your work. Junior year, you end up with a teacher who critiques your work for the first. Try being less abstract in your poetry. This is the first time someone has truly given you constructive criticism instead…

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Lately, I’ve been engaging in many online discussions about the much maligned genre of Women’s Fiction. Many of these conversations have been sparked by Emily Henry’s delightful novel Beach Read, in which the protagonist, a romance novelist with writer’s block, states:

“If you swapped out all my Jessicas for Johns, do you know what you’d get? Fiction. Just fiction. Ready and willing to be read by anyone, but somehow by being a woman who writes about women, I’ve eliminated half the Earth’s population from my potential readers, and you know what? I don’t feel ashamed of that. I feel pissed.”

Sometimes when I am writing a novel, or chapter, or scene, or sentence, I’ll get a feeling. It’s a niggling sense that SOMETHING is off. To the untrained eye, this character, or scene, or chapter is okay. The writing itself maybe even good. But YOU sense that it isn’t…right.

For a long time, I ignored these little feelings. I couldn’t articulate what was “off.” I’d think: Maybe it’s just me. Or: How can I fix this? (But the way I’d fix it was superficial, it was never getting to the root of the problem.)

This little feeling is what I…

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The painting was a wedding gift from my husband’s uncle. A well-known artist in Miami’s Wynwood Art District, Uncle Lou had painted it himself. Whenever someone in Mike’s family gets engaged there’s always talk about what kind of painting Uncle Lou will give them. Like when Derek, Lou’s son, married a woman Lou hated, there was this big hullabaloo over the painting he’d given them. It was an ominous thing, all shadows, something like Munch’s The Scream, but with Derek’s wife’s face instead.

I guess Lou must’ve liked me, because the painting he gave us was nothing like that. It…

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1. It is too easy. Sometimes it falls into your hands so that you don’t even notice. You accept a ring, set a date, and hire a wedding planner who guides you in the do’s and don’ts of addressing invitations. Your fiancé’s mother finds you an office job that will take care of your work visa. You future in-laws have a spare room you can stay in until the wedding. Your friends sign leases to cruddy apartments in Allston, and you are shuffled out of the housing pool and road trips to Maine as you pack your things. Rather than…

Sarah Grunder Ruiz

Check out my debut novel: Love, Lists, and Fancy Ships, out November 23rd, 2021 with Berkley Romance. Learn More at

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