Author

Melissa Duclos

Melissa Duclos has 59 articles published.

received her MFA in creative writing from Columbia University, and now works as a freelance writer and editor. Her clients include many first time authors, and she delights in helping them give voice to their stories. She has recently completed work on her own first novel, Besotted, literary fiction set in Shanghai, for which she is currently seeking representation. She lives in Portland, OR, with her husband, two children, and Yorkshire Terrier, Saunders.

Author Interview: The Bitch in Your Head needs to be silenced

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“You look fat. How could you be so stupid? You really blew it! No one wants to hear what you have to say. Don’t even try—it’ll never work!” In The Bitch in Your Head: How to Finally Squash Your Inner Critic (Taylor Trade Publishing, 2015), Dr. Jacqueline Hornor Plumez introduces us to “The Bitch”—that nagging voice that questions our capabilities, undermines our confidence, and fosters regret and self-doubt. Over the course of her research, Dr. Plumez, an award-winning psychologist, spoke with hundreds of women, all of whom had stories about the self-critical voice they heard on a regular basis. We recently talked with Dr. Plumez about The Bitch and how we can finally silence her. BookTrib: In the book you…

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Tracy Manaster’s sparkling debut is all about starting anew

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Tracy Manaster’s debut novel You Could Be Home by Now (Tyrus Books, 2014) is a book for the New Year if ever there was one. In the novel, three main characters—a newly divorced retiree, a young couple escaping tragedy, and a teenage girl who has been banished to her grandmother’s for the summer—come together in The Commons, a pristine retirement community in Arizona. All three characters, from whose perspectives the novel is alternatively narrated, have suffered from loss and are struggling to cope. All at different points in their lives, Ben, Seth and Lily provide readers with examples of the myriad (and amusing) ways in which people seek fresh starts in their lives. In interest of full disclosure, Manaster is…

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Anne Lamott discusses grief and forgiveness in Small Victories

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Anne Lamott has become known for her ability to write about such diverse topics as becoming a single mother after recovering from addiction, her son as a teenaged father, the craft of writing, and her faith with openness, grace and self-deprecating humor. In the 35 years since her first book was published, Lamott—a winner of the Guggenheim Fellowship and an inductee to California’s Hall of Fame—has become one of America’s most beloved and celebrated writers. Her newest book, a collection of essays titled Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace (Riverhead, 2014) offers a message of hope and stories of triumph over hardship. BookTrib sat down with Lamott recently to discuss her views on the forgiveness and grief, which underscore…

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Where to find hope for victims of human trafficking

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In America, where we show our support for kidnapped Nigerian school girls or read that the terrorist organization ISIS has earned millions through human trafficking in the Middle East, it’s easy to believe that human trafficking is something that happens far away, to other people’s children. But according to the U.S. Department of Justice, 300,000 children in the United States are at risk for being sold into prostitution . This month, while your own children are excitedly making new friends at school, many others in this country are not nearly so lucky. The statistics are heartbreaking enough to make you want to close your eyes and pretend the problem doesn’t exist. Learning, for example, that a woman or child working…

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Exploring American life and values through our love of dogs

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As Benoit Denizet-Lewis reports in his new book Travels with Casey: My Journey Through Our Dog-Crazy Country (Simon & Schuster), America has the highest rate of dog companionship in the world. These animals—loyal and protective, eager and unconditionally loving—perhaps represent something fundamental about the American spirit. They are, as Denizet-Lewis writes, “relentless optimists,” just like we are. There is something to be learned then about American life and values—especially at a time when the country is polarized and it seems impossible for anyone to agree on anything—by examining our national love of dogs. What do our dogs say about us?” This is what Denizet-Lewis set out to explore when he hopped in an RV with his lab Casey for a…

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Interested in cooking real food but don’t know where to start?

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We live in an era of food movements: vegetarian, vegan, slow, gluten-free, paleo, raw, organic, local. While each movement or diet has its own rules or philosophy, one thing many of them share is the recognition that processed foods and the industrial food  complex have been detrimental to our health. The traditional foods movement, which is at the heart of the new cookbook The Nourished Kitchen by Jennifer McGruther, emphasizes a return to traditional methods of farming, cooking and eating with a focus on whole or minimally processed foods. While eating traditional foods may seem difficult, as farmers’ markets, CSAs, and urban gardening become more popular it is easier than ever to spend your grocery budget on traditional rather than…

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From salesgirl to flamenco dancer in a foot-stomping firecracker of a memoir

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Nellie Bennett, author of Only in Spain: A Foot-Stomping, Firecracker of a Memoir about Food, Flamenco, and Falling in Love (Sourcebooks, July) asked a question that led her to chase her dreams all the way from a dreary job at a department store in Sydney, Australia to the dance floors of all-night flamenco bars in Seville and Madrid. Anyone who reads Bennett’s memoir and is contemplating any kind of life change will be forced to ask the same question: Why don’t you? Before flamenco, Bennett spent her days in a high-end department store coveting designer handbags that cost more than six months of salary. The job was supposed to be temporary, yet Bennett had been there for two years, with…

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What it takes to be a “real boy” in today’s society

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I feel a strange sense of pride when my 3-old-son opts to drink his milk from the pink cup or pins his blanket around his torso and asks me if I like his beautiful dress. If I’m honest about it, I must admit that I am happier when he behaves in these more stereotypically “feminine” ways than when constructs from his blocks a “super smoke boomer gun” and rids our apartment of bad guys. This pride stems from my feeling that there is a better way for my son to be a boy, that playing dolls or dress-up indicates a sensitivity that boys who opt for superheroes and gunplay don’t have. Reading When Boys Become Boys: Development, Relationships, and Masculinity…

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Beyond kale and arugula: Brassicas, the superfood you never heard of

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Did you know there is a group of vegetables out there—brassicas—that can help prevent osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and many cancers? These super foods can also promote the removal of excess estrogen and cholesterol from the body and keep DNA functioning properly. The truth is you probably have heard of brassicas—a family of vegetables that includes kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, collard greens, horseradish, arugula, and radishes—though you might not be cooking them as much as you should be. While these vegetables may have a reputation for being unwieldy and bitter, author Laura B. Russell shows you how to turn these powerful foods into  delicious treats in her knew book, Brassicas: Cooking the World’s Healthiest Vegetables (Ten Speed Press). Russell…

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Susan Jane Gilman serves up ice cream with a side of fiction for National Ice Cream Month

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Here in the US, we are experiencing an ice cream renaissance. July, which is national ice cream month, is the perfect time to rediscover this childhood favorite. Thanks to the artisanal ice cream craze sweeping the country, lovers of the cold and delicious treat can choose from a range of eclectic flavors that go way beyond chocolate and vanilla. While you’ll have to decide for yourself which variety to order at your local ice cream shop, we at BookTrib can at least tell you what to read while you’re enjoying that favorite cone. In her debut novel, The Ice Cream Queen of Orchard Street (Grand Central Publishing, June), Susan Jane Gilman serves up our favorite dessert with a side of…

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Too hot to cook? Avocado Soup with Greek Yogurt, no cooking involved

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Mid-July, when temperatures creep up and your bare skin greets the sun, is a good time to think about healthy eating. Between the backyard barbecue and the heat that keeps you from wanting to cook, it’s a hard time to stick to a healthy diet. Let’s face it: salads can get pretty boring. If you’re looking to eat healthily this summer and try some new, hot-weather friendly recipes, check out The Greek Yogurt Kitchen (Grand Central) by nutrition expert Toby Amidor. We sat down recently with Amidor, who is a contributor to FoodNetwork.com’s Healthy Eats blog and U.S. News and World Report’s Eat + Run blog, to find out what makes Greek yogurt such a power food, and get her…

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How the Internet has changed parenting — and parents

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From online forums, message boards, and chat rooms, to blogs and social media, there is no question that the Internet has changed what it means to be a parent. Parents now have new access to information and online communities and support, though at the same time by participating in these communities they open themselves up to new judgments and self-doubts. Julia Fierro’s new novel, Cutting Teeth (St. Martin’s) incorporates online message boards into the plot of the book and the psyches of the characters. We recently sat down with Julia, and asked her some questions about parenting and the Internet. BOOKTRIB: You launched a Tumblr called Parenting Confessional that was inspired by the book, which has become wildly popular. Have…

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Oh, baby, what a shower gift! Honest books for expectant mothers

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Crib sheets. Burp cloths. Receiving blankets. Diapers. These are useful items, for sure, but not exactly inspiring on the subject of motherhood. If you’re shopping for a baby shower, consider giving a gift that will provide the expectant mother a bit of comfort and insight as she approaches this major life change: a book. The recommendations we’ve included below are perfect for any mother looking for some helpful perspective on her little bundle of joy. Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year by Anne Lamott (Pantheon) Novelist and memoirist Anne Lamott captures her experiences as a single mother and recovering alcoholic during her son’s first year of life in a memoir that is both poignant and hilarious. Not…

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What Ron Suskind learned from his autistic son about using experiences to shape our story

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“The amazing part of this whole journey is what we all learned,” says author Ron Suskind reflecting on his family’s long journey that started in 1993 after his youngest son, Owen, was diagnosed with autism. The quote applies equally well, though, to anyone who reads Suskind’s book about the experience. Suskind is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and the author of five books of creative non-fiction dealing with topics ranging from race and class in America, to the Bush administration, the war on terror, and the American economy. In his latest book, Life Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes, and Autism (Kingswell), he turns his journalist’s eye on his own family, detailing the turbulent years after Owen was diagnosed with autism…

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Retirement means adventure in Home Sweet Anywhere

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Retirement isn’t just the end of a career; it can also be the beginning of a whole new life. Just over 12 percent of the American population is 65 or older, and while many of these people may be focused on playing it safe, some, like Lynne Martin and her husband Tim, are interested in adventure. Not content to simply travel during their retirement, the couple wanted to live in a variety of exotic locations. Martin’s book, Home Sweet Anywhere: How We Sold Our House, Created a New Life, and Saw the World (Sourcebooks, April) explains how they did it. In order to achieve their dream of living abroad, Lynne and Tim had to first sell their home. The decision…

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Autobiography of Us: Best friends, betrayal and beach-read nirvana

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Beach reading can get a bad rap: it’s fluffy, people say, or not very serious. Really, though, the best beach reads are simply fun reads; and when it comes to books fun is never a bad thing, no matter the season. If we seek out these kinds of books more during the summer, it may only be because there is more going on to compete for our attention. For a book to keep us on our towels while we could be frolicking in the surf or playing beach volleyball, it has to be really engrossing―which is why beach reading season is one of BookTrib’s favorite times of year. It’s also a great time to dive into the bookshelves of the…

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