We Are Doing Death All Wrong

We Are Doing Death All Wrong
by Martha Hunt Handler
With the rising death toll rising at historical rates due to the Covid 19 pandemic, it’s the perfect time for us to rethink the way we deal with death. The one thing we know for certain is that we’re all going to die. Yet, how many of us talk about this eventuality? How many tell our loved ones exactly what we’d like to have done with our remains? And, more importantly, how many of us consider the devastating consequences this decision will have on our planet? Yes, I said devastating.

A Cover With a Thousand Words

A Cover With a Thousand Words
by Martha Hunt Handler
I don’t know about you, but I’m a sucker for a great book cover. Though I purchase most of my books based solely on friends’ recommendations, if I stroll into a bookstore and am drawn to a book’s cover, and also connect with the content, it’s coming home with me. So, when it came time to designing my debut novel’s cover, I knew I needed one that would stand out, given that I’m new to this arena. In the many years it took for me to complete my novel, the content, and, subsequently, the title, changed many times. My original title was “The Transitory Nature of Souls.” I thought (and still think) it perfectly describes the book’s underlying theme. Again, I noticed that when I said it out loud, my friends were dubious, suggesting it sounded like a non-fiction book on spirituality, rather than what it is, which is a fictional, spiritual mystery. But I ignored them and sent out the completed manuscript to about twenty agents.

The Silver Lining Book Group

The Silver Lining Book Group
by Martha Hunt Handler
For me, half the fun of reading a book is dissecting it with others afterward. Hearing their insights and takeaways seems to help cement it into my memory bank. When this doesn’t happen, the content tends to fall into my brain’s slush pile, making it impossible to retrieve. This likely has to do with my age and the fact that I predominately read books on a Kindle, where I only see the cover and title when first selected. However, I’ve found it challenging to find a suitable book group. I was spoiled by the first one I was invited to join in my late-20’s. It was comprised entirely of women with Ivy League undergraduate literature degrees – except for me. When we’d meet, I felt as if we’d read two different books, as they’d pick up on symbolism, metaphors, and stories within the story, that I’d missed. By the time we disbanded, I felt like I’d earned a literature degree. For the next thirty years, I searched for a similar group but was unsuccessful.

My Long and Winding Road to Publication

My Long and Winding Road to Publication
by Martha Hunt Handler
It’s been a long and winding road I’ve traveled from the day I first started journaling about the sudden death of my best friend's twelve-year-old son, Brendan, until the day my novel, Winter of the Wolf, finally landed at a publisher. “Long” equating to eighteen years, and “winding” because nothing about it was straight forward. And yet, as I reflect on my journey, I believe the timing was perfect. At the time of Brendan’s death, I was 42 and not a writer. I'd always been a voracious reader and had penned and illustrated my first book when I was just seven, but whenever I'd mention wanting to be a novelist, my father warned that “writing doesn’t pay bills.”