The Works of Jayne Pupek

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Richmond, VA, United States
Jayne Pupek is the author of the novel "Tomato Girl" (Algonquin Books, 2008) and a book of poems titled "Forms of Intercession" (Mayapple Press, 2008). Her writing has appeared in numerous literary journals. In addition to her own writing, Jayne freelances as a ghostwriter, editor and mentor. A Virginia native, Jayne has spent most of her professional life working in the field of mental health.

Contact Jayne

To contact Jayne, email


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Deadly Snake Bites Man on Penis

Eyelash viper snake, Costa Rica by Lynn Stone
Eyelash viper snake, Costa Rica

Sometimes, even a writer can't make up better tales than the ones that happen in real life. Read this amazing story here. PLEASE NOTE: The snake pictured is not the same species as the snake featured in the story.

TIDBIT: I had a pet snake many years ago. A ball python named Monty (Of course). Monty was not only gorgeous, but a perfect gentleman. He never bit me, so all snakes are not as naughty as this one. The lesson here isn't that snakes are bad, but that men need to proceed with caution when they unzip in the great outdoors. (I told this story to my husband and he wasn't as taken with it as I am. Come on now, fellows, where's your sense of humor?")

Poem up at Juked

My poem, "Speculation" can be read in the most recent issue of Juked. This is my first appearance, but I've long enjoyed reading the fine poems and stories there.


Stacey Dennick has created a great Web site for writers called
Writer's Quest that's full of useful research resources (both online
and print) for fiction and non-fiction writers. There's everything
from medical terminology to historical calendars to writing prompts.
This is an awesome resource to save valuable time and point a writer
in the right direction as he or she begins research on just about anything.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


The Writer's Center is a non-profit community of writers supporting each other in the creation and marketing of literary texts. The Writer's Center annually conducts hundreds of workshops in various genres of writing. Workshop participants share with one another their work-in-progress under the guidance of an experienced instructor who is also a published author.

The Writer's Center also hosts literary events, readings and conferences; sells books and literary magazines; and offers a congenial, supportive environment for writing groups to meet. It is a voluntary, membership organization open to all skill levels.

The Writer's Center is housed in a 12,200 square foot facility in the arts and entertainment district of Bethesda, Maryland, with workshops also offered in Leesburg and Arlington, Virginia, and at other locations around the greater Washington, D.C., metropolitan area.

The Writer's Center is a non-profit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) corporation, funded by member dues, workshop fees and other earned income, as well as grants from various private foundations and donations from The National Endowment for the Arts, the Maryland Council for the Arts, and the Montgomery County Arts Council.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Writer's Gifts and Tee Shirts

Need to find a gift for a writer? Check out these cool tee shirts.

A job for a professional...

Poet's Cause by Don Li-Leger
Poet's Cause

The next poet laureate could work at the heart of government on issues from literacy to health. Read more here.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Summer Books 2008: Excerpts

The Reader by Jean-Jacques Henner
The Reader

If you're looking for ideas to add to your summer reading list, NPR has a sampling of excerpts to tempt any booklover.

Lost Parrot Tells Vet His Address

Read the story in The Washington Post.

I guess I better start brushing up on vocabulary with Greyson, my African Grey parrot. She doesn't have a clue what her address is. Right now, she's fixated on the siren sounds she hears on my sons' video games...oh, and she rings like the telephone. Bad bird! (I hate telephones.)

Book Launch Video

With the release of "Tomato Girl" only three months away, this video particularly captures my current state of mind. ("Tomato Girl" is scheduled for release on August 26th. This is also my friend Bebe's birthday and my parents' anniversary--good omens, I hope!)


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Few Things...

RECOMMENDED READS: I am more likely to swoon over poetry than fiction, but sometimes I find a novel that takes hold of me and doesn't let go.

I just finished reading "My Happy Life" by Lydia Millet and was completely absorbed by the unusual and tragic narrator. What an intriguing and moving read! I just loved it, and can't wait to read more of Millet's work, which is published by Soft Skull Press.

Another phenomenal book that I've read in recent months is click by kristopher young, published by Another Sky Press. This is one of the most vivid and enthralling narratives I've ever read...impossible to put down and even more impossible to forget.

A few other things...

I'm delighted that The Dirty Napkin has accepted two poems-- "Dinner Party" and "Lives in Decline" for their upcoming issue. Look for the next issue on or around June 21.

Another bit of good news...Audio rights for "Tomato Girl" have been sold to Recorded Books, so folks who like to listen to books will have that option.

WRITER'S DIGEST has listed their 101 best stites for writers. “We sifted through more than 2,100 nominations and chose the 101 most valuable.”

Friday, May 16, 2008

Tomato Girl Reviewed by Publishers Weekly

Publishers Weekly

The absorbing, unsettling debut from Pupek centers on 11-year-old Ellie Sanders, who has already seen a lot of heartache in her short, rural mid-20th-century Virginia childhood. Her beautiful but troubled mother, Julia, who today would probably be diagnosed as bipolar, has frequent outbursts necessitating restraints and horse tranquilizers, administered by Ellie's father, Rupert. When a pregnant Julia suffers a bad fall, Rupert uses the incident to bring home more trouble, in the form of Tess, the teenage "tomato girl" who supplies his general store with home-grown produce. Intended as a caretaker for Julia and Ellie (and a bedmate for himself), Tess, who has troubles of her own, instead initiates a series of increasingly horrific events that leaves the family irreversibly altered. Issues of racial and religious intolerance are touched on lightly, but the real focus of this accomplished debut is the fatalistic accounting of the events engulfing Ellie. Although Ellie's voice is not always consistent with her youth, she's an effective narrator whose storytelling naïveté nicely underscores her innocence. (Aug.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Nuala O'Faolain, Journalist and Author, Dead at 68

Irish journalist and author Nuala O'Faolain died May 9 in Dublin of lung cancer at the age of 68.

A radio and television broadcaster, O'Faolain was well known as an opinion columnist for The Irish Times even before her first memoir, Are You Somebody?, made her a best-selling author. Read more at NPR where you can also listen to a 2001 interview with O'Faolain with Terry Gross.

There's also an interesting article in The Guardian in which O'Faolain talks about finding out that she was dying. She says, among other things, "I was amazed how quickly my whole life turned black."

Bookstore Sales Post Another Increase in March

-- Publishers Weekly, 5/13/2008 6:08:00 AM

Bookstore sales rose 1.3% in March, to $1.03 billion, according to estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau. Sales have increased every month so far in 2008 and finished the first quarter up 5.1%, to $4.46 billion. The 1.3% March increase was the smallest gain in 2008. The sales increase in the bookstore segment was higher than for the entire retail segment, which rose 3.9% in the quarter. March retail sales inched up 0.5%, to $379 billion.

I find it interesting that book sales have increased when the economy is either in or near a recession. I've read elsewhere that ticket sales to movies remain good, even increase, during hard economic times. The theory is that a trip to the theatre is a relatively inexpensive form of entertainment and provides a couple of hours of escape. Perhaps the same is true for books.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Lessing Calls Nobel Prize "A Bloody Disaster"

Nobel Prize-winning author Doris Lessing has said winning the prestigious award in 2007 had been a "bloody disaster".

The increased media interest in her has meant that writing a full novel was next to impossible, she told Radio 4's Front Row.

Lessing, 88, also said she would probably now be giving up writing novels altogether.

Read the rest of the article on BBC News

A Penny for Your Thoughts

The cost of a mailing those submissions just went a little higher. The price of a stamp rose from 41 to 42 cents. Guess I will have to send husband out to buy some one cent stamps so I can use the rest of the stamps I have. I'm making a note to start buying forever stamps. Meanwhile, how nice that many literary journals accept email submissions.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

I hope everyone enjoys a wonderful Mother's Day! I started celebrations early and am admiring my beautiful white roses (My youngest son, the artist in the family, took the photo above of my flowers in front of a painting we have hanging in the living room). I also received new DVDs and books. There were poetry books in the mix--of course-- but also books about screenwriting. I've dabbled with pieces of a script, trying to learn the format, but have never completed a screenplay. I would like to give it a try...when I find time. My "To DO" list gets longer every day.

My agent has sent me notes over recent days regarding my novel, "Tomato Girl," which is forthcoming from Algonquin Books in August. It is still very early, but some of the initial buzz has been encouraging. I'm crossing my fingers...and toes...and well, I don't think there is much else I can cross. The book is available for pre-order at Amazon for those of you who'd like to get the early bird discount.

Today we're having Cajun catfish, mashed potatoes, and creamed spinach with a beautiful heart-shaped cake hubby picked up for dessert. After this meal, I'm not eating again for a week! Okay, maybe two days. Lol! We celebrated Cinco de Mayo with Mexican food and Coronas on May 5th, then enjoyed a huge meal from Chilli's to celebrate our eldest son's birthday on the 8th, and today...a Mother's Day Feast.

And now, one of my favorite poems about motherhood:

Morning Song

by Sylvia Plath

Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
Took its place among the elements.

Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue.
In a drafty museum, your nakedness
Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls.

I'm no more your mother
Than the cloud that distills a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind's hand.

All night your moth-breath
Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen:
A far sea moves in my ear.

One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral
In my Victorian nightgown.
Your mouth opens clean as a cat's. The window square

Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try
Your handful of notes;
The clear vowels rise like balloons.

From Ariel, published by Harper & Row, 1966

Saturday, May 10, 2008

And the winner is...

I think anyone would have to admire Hillary Clinton for her grit, years of public service, and sheer tenacity, but at some point in the very near future, I hope she makes a gracious exit so that the party can unite and Obama can focus on winning the November election.

As an aside, my eldest son is now voting age. He gets a kick out of teasing me by asking, "Mom, what will you do if I vote for McCain?" And my answer: "I will kick your sorry a** out on the streets and cut off your inheritance. " And he thinks I'm joking! This child does not know what a Yellow Dog Democrat he has for a mother. Lol!

One man's plan to rescue book reviewing

Open Book on Top of Pile of Books
Open Book on Top of Pile of Books

Sandford Thatcher,(Don't you just love that name?) director of the Penn State University Press and current president of the Association of American University Presses, is now arranging book reviews for the Centre Daily Times, State College's newspaper. Read the article in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Robert Hass Discusses His Pulitzer Prize-Winning Poetry on PBS

"Time and Materials" by Robert Hass won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for poetry, becoming the first book of poetry since 1983 to win both the Pulitzer and the National Book Award. Hass talks about the collection on PBS.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

CSR: Issue Seventeen

Photo by Matthew Jellings as appearing on CSR

Issue Seventeen of The Concelebratory Shoehorn Review is now live, and as always, Maurice Oliver has put together an amazing colleciton of art, photography, and poetry. I'm thrilled to have five poems featured along with the works of several stunning poets and artists. My poems are:

"Options While En route"

"For Jared"


"Outer Banks, 1987"

"Night Driving"