Victoria Noe

Award-winning Author, Speaker, Activist

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"Are You Straight?" - Researching My Next Book

"Are You Straight?" - Researching My Next Book
Aug 10, 2016 by Victoria Noe
NYPL Library for the Performing Arts

All of the Friend Grief books required research. I knew I couldn’t rely only on personal interviews because there were some celebrities I wanted to include, as well as people I could not travel to meet. Truth be told, I like doing research. I feel a sense of accomplishment when I find what I’m looking for. I get really jazzed when I uncover a gem.

 

But this next book…well, the research is on a whole different level.

Fag Hags, Divas and Moms: The Legacy of Straight Women in the AIDS Community looks at the contributions of these women through the 35 years of the epidemic. I made a few decisions early on that...

Nonfiction Book Proposals for Indie Authors?

Nonfiction Book Proposals for Indie Authors?
Jun 07, 2016 by Victoria Noe
She's the expert. Not me.

A few years ago I wrote a nonfiction book proposal to submit to agents. That when I assumed I would go the traditional route. That didn't happen.

Now that I've self-published six books (the Friend Grief series), I'm hard at work on the research for a bigger, more complicated book. Fag Hags, Divas and Moms: The Legacy of Straight Women in the AIDS Community examines the contributions they made around the world for the past 35 years.

I’m assuming that this will be self-published as well. I have an ongoing crowdfunding campaign through the New York Foundation for the Arts which grants tax-deductions for all contributions. There’s a lot of expense related to the...

Making the Most of Conferences: #BEA16 Edition

Making the Most of Conferences: #BEA16 Edition
May 17, 2016 by Victoria Noe
Four years ago, when we knew our daughter would be attending The New School University in NYC, I looked forward to combining graduation with Book Expo America. Wouldn’t you know? BEA moved to Chicago (where I live) this year. If you’re reading this, I’m in NYC preparing for graduation later this week. Because of the logistics involved in that and several other things, I spent only one day at BEA last week. So I wanted to share how I managed to get almost everything done that would’ve normally taken all three days.

Luck. Because of the change in venue, a number of people I usually meet up with were not in attendance. The number of attendees, as well as the square-footage...

Working on Two Books at Once

Working on Two Books at Once
Apr 19, 2016 by Victoria Noe
winghill.com

(Or, "Who Thought That Was a Good Idea?")

Someone asked me recently what I was working on, and after I answered, he said “You’re working on two books at once?” I’m not sure if he was impressed or horrified.

I am working on two books. I have been for months. And while they are very different, I’m not sure I’d recommend it to any of my writer friends. It’s exhausting. The only saving grace, I think, is that I have not been doing the same thing with each book.

The first one – Friend Grief and Men: Defying Stereotypes – is in the final stages. I’ve been deep in the editing for the past few weeks, deleting and adding...

A Different Kind of Writer's Block

A Different Kind of Writer's Block
Feb 09, 2016 by Victoria Noe
writing.inside.tru.ca

Most writers lead lives that are shockingly normal. They work at jobs to pay their bills, they carpool, they take care of aging parents, they do their taxes. It’s not surprising that after everyone else is asleep, they sit down at their computer and stare at the screen. They’re exhausted – mentally and physically – too exhausted to think of anything to write that deserves to see the light of day. Classic writer’s block.

I don’t have that kind of problem. My writer’s block is something completely different.

Seven years ago St. Patrick’s Day, I was in a minor fender-bender (an RV rear-ended a jeep that rear-ended me). It happens so often driving in the city that at...

My Writing Teacher

My Writing Teacher
Jan 05, 2016 by Victoria Noe
My writing group - Jo on the left

I took this picture of my writing group a few years ago. I was the youngest in the group, by about two decades, though you couldn’t tell based on the energy during those meetings.

In the fall of 2006, I signed up for a Life Story Writing class at Swedish Covenant Hospital here in Chicago. My father had died the year before, and I wanted help preserving family stories. I didn’t consider myself a writer (still don’t on some days). A few months earlier I’d promised my friend Delle that I’d write a book about people grieving their friends, but I wasn’t convinced it would ever happen.

Almost everyone there was...

Putting 2015 to Bed

Putting 2015 to Bed
Dec 22, 2015 by Victoria Noe
batangamedia.com

In the newspaper world, “putting to bed” means finishing something and moving on to the next level. Today is my final blog post of 2015, so I thought it was appropriate to put the year to bed and look ahead, too.

You probably make a list of resolutions each New Year’s, only to realize the list is largely undone by the time Christmas rolls around again. I know that’s true for me. Sometimes we’re overly optimistic; sometimes we’re delusional. And sometimes life just gets in the way.

This year marked a few serious changes of direction, most of them planned and thought-out. I committed to changes in my marketing: increased public speaking and more deliberate involvement in the...

Why Writers Should Step Away from the Computer

Why Writers Should Step Away from the Computer
Oct 27, 2015 by Victoria Noe
My table at the Illinois Libraries conference

Now and then online I come across conversations where writers bemoan the current state of publishing, which requires them (no matter how they are published) to market themselves. They are expected to host websites, build their platforms, tweet, post, comment, share. For those of us who are used to being self-employed, marketing is a normal part of doing business. But for others – who just want to write! – it’s a challenge and a burden that’s sometimes resented.

I’m not one of them. I could blame it on having a master’s degree in theatre, or just that I like talking. But I hope that if you’re a writer who doesn’t like...

Friends Helping Friends

Friends Helping Friends
Oct 06, 2015 by Victoria Noe
As promised last week, I have another new announcement related to my new book project, Fag Hags, Divas and Moms: The Legacy of Straight Women in the AIDS Community.

Last week I unveiled a new Facebook page dedicated to that book. Yeah, I know: the book itself won’t be out until 2017. I figure it will be about a year before I finish research and begin to write. So why open up a new page now?

Well, as I’ve found here in this blog and other social media platforms, people are interested in the process of writing a book. Sometimes they’re readers who are curious about what goes into writing a book. Sometimes they’re writers who are curious about how other writers...

Fasten Your Seat Belt!

Fasten Your Seat Belt!
Sep 29, 2015 by Victoria Noe
There’s so much news to share with you and a lot of it has been happening quickly. So fasten your seat belt while I bring you up to date on what I’m doing.

First of all, do you see the upper right hand corner of your screen, where is says “subscribe to my newsletter’? You really want to do that. Subscribing to my short and sweet Wednesday newsletter means you get all the good stuff first. Not only that, but subscribers receive a pdf copy of my latest book, Friend Grief in the Workplace: More Than an Empty Cubicle, free. Yes, free, but that’s an offer that will not last much longer.

Back to the news. Here’s what I can share and...

What I Learned at #WDC15

What I Learned at #WDC15
Aug 04, 2015 by Victoria Noe
Writer Unboxed panel

I don’t attend a lot of writing conferences. When I do, I have very specific goals. Maybe there’s a keynote speaker I want to hear. Often the workshop topics are ones that I need to learn more about. Always it’s because I believe there’s something valuable to learn. Rarely have I been disappointed.

I’m just back from the 2015 Writers Digest Conference in NYC. It’s my sixth one: five in NYC, one in LA. The first one I attended, in 2011, changed my life.

It was the first writers’ conference I dared to attend. I knew next to nothing about writing or the business; in fact, I started tweeting for the first time on my...

Inspirational Authors on Facebook

Inspirational Authors on Facebook
Jun 23, 2015 by Victoria Noe
A few weeks ago I was invited to participate in a one-day Facebook event as an "inspirational author." I do not consider myself an inspirational author. I've been called that a couple times and cringed. My friend, Kathy Pooler, is one of the women included in this event. She really IS inspirational. Someone recently called me "indomitable", but inspirational?

I was in a mood, I guess, and decided to accept the opportunity/challenge. The Facebook event is scheduled for July 2 and will feature fifteen women from around the world, converging on Facebook in three-hour shifts from 5 am to 11 pm PDT. I'm in the 2-5pm PDT shift. Who else is joining me? "Inspirational" turns out to be an understatement. They are a wildly diverse, passionate and talented...

“Oh, That’s Depressing” – Writing about Friend Grief

“Oh, That’s Depressing” – Writing about Friend Grief
Aug 05, 2014 by Victoria Noe
I wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve told someone what I write about. “Oh, that’s depressing” is certainly the most frequent negative response. Luckily, I don’t hear it too often.I was in New York last week at the Writers Digest Conference. Going to this particular conference in January, 2011, was what really kick-started my writing career. I met people there (and shortly after) who are still trusted advisors and friends. I started tweeting on my way to the conference so I wasn’t the only one there who wasn’t on Twitter. This blog began a week later.Although I haven’t been posting as regularly the past few months, it’s not because I had nothing to say. There were health...

Share Your Friend Grief Story

Share Your Friend Grief Story
Jun 23, 2014 by Victoria Noe
Believe it or not, the final two books in the Friend Grief series will be published this fall. I’m looking for additional stories for both books. Do you have a story that will fit one of them?Workplace griefThe next book is titled Friend Grief in the Workplace: More Than an Empty Cubicle. The stories in it are about people coping with the death of a co-worker who was also a friend. Don’t let the title throw you off, though: I have a pretty broad definition of workplace. There are already stories of friends who worked together at a coffeehouse, a TV studio, a newspaper, a firehouse. Maybe you’re an actor or dancer, a server or bartender, a medical professional or...

Friend Grief in New York - Part 2

Friend Grief in New York - Part 2
Jun 06, 2014 by Victoria Noe
Book #4 in the New Title ShowcaseThis post is a bit of a departure from normal posts. It’s a look at what Friend Grief – the blog and the books (the brand, if you will) – was doing at Book Expo America.I’ve attended BEA before (so I wore comfortable shoes and allocated time for standing in the Starbucks line), but this year was different. I had a very specific purpose for being there and the first ever Author Hub gave me the opportunity to take a big step forward.The Author Hub was a dedicated area for self-published authors. Over the course of three days, we heard speakers address a variety of business topics (marketing, rights, agents, discoverability). We had room...

Be My Guest on Friend Grief

Be My Guest on Friend Grief
May 08, 2014 by Victoria Noe
James Montgomery FlaggIn addition to interviewing people for my books, from time to time, I invite people to share their experience grieving the death of a friend. Now is one of those times.Oh, you’d like to, but you’re not a professional writer? Don’t let that hold you back! Would you feel more comfortable simply answering a series of questions? We can do that!In general, here are the requirements:The experience you describe must be related to the death of a friend. They don’t have to be a close friend, nor does the loss need to be recent. It just has to be about a friend – not a family member or pet.If you choose to write it yourself, I’d like something...

My Writing Group

My Writing Group
Apr 04, 2013 by Victoria Noe
markdivincenzowriter.com In the fall of 2006, a flyer from Swedish Covenant Hospital arrived in the mail. Among the events listed was a class in life story writing. It was just over a year after my father died, and coupled with my being the family genealogist, I decided it was time to start writing down the stories I’d heard all my life.We were a group of about a dozen or so, mostly women, mostly older. The leader was a retired creative writing teacher from Northwestern University. Each week we read something we’d written, and the group critiqued it. I’d not had any of my writing critiqued since college, so it was a little unsettling. And at the time, the idea of writing...

Writing About Depressing Stuff

Writing About Depressing Stuff
Sep 18, 2012 by Victoria Noe
I’ve written before about how writing about grief can affect you, but I think it’s worth revisiting, in a little broader sense.There are people who cringe when I tell them what most of my writing is about. I understand their feeling that grief is “depressing”. But there are many whose work could be classified that way:            Hospice volunteers            AIDS outreach workers            Oncologists            First respondersI had a friend whose job was to fire people in her company (I hate “lay off” – let’s call it what it is). I thought she had an incredibly depressing job, but she didn’t think so. She was so considerate about how she handled each person that they often wound up sympathizing with her.I’ve also met...

Christopher Hitchens’ Final Gift

Christopher Hitchens’ Final Gift
Aug 30, 2012 by Victoria Noe
Christopher HitchensMy friend, Delle, referred to her cancer as ‘the old squatter.’Christopher Hitchens referred to his as a ‘blind, emotionless alien’. Though his cancer may have been emotionless, Hitchens is anything but in his remarkable final book, Mortality, being released on September 4. Those familiar with his work may be surprised by how vulnerable he is, as he shares his diagnosis of esophageal cancer.Anyone who has had cancer, or known someone who had cancer, will instantly relate to this book. He’s not shy about documenting the horrors endured by the body in pursuit of a cure, brutally honest about the treatment, the side effects and the emotional toll. You can’t help but cringe as he recounts the agony of a...

Friend Grief at the Bloggers Ball – Take 5

Jul 23, 2011 by Victoria Noe
Welcome She Writers to the Friend Grief stop on the latest Bloggers Ball!Some of you have been here before; some of you are visiting for the first time. I encourage you to browse the archives here, as well as this post.Writing is hard.Writing about difficult subjects is harder.I wasn’t sure I was up for it.But those who follow this blog, the She Writers and the posse I’ve gathered have encouraged me and sustained me when I felt I was in over my head.Once a month I write about 9/11, and also about the AIDS epidemic. I share stories about people who are struggling as they grieve their friends, and about those who have made major life changes because of that...