Category Archives: Authorship

Simultaneous Success

I’ve got two big announcements this week. It’s rare that I have even one, let alone two, so I’m calling this a Simultaneous Success. Or a Spring Fling. Or maybe just a Win-Win!


I’m honored to be included in Image City Photography Gallery’s annual Black and White Invitational, June 14 – July 10, 2022, along with six other photographers. Twelve of my photos will be exhibited during the show!

Here’s a preview link, showing a sample of photos from each of the photographers, including one of mine, titled “All Souls Child.” It’s also shown below, and was taken in 2014 at the annual All Souls Procession in Tucson, Arizona. (The All Souls Procession is a community-wide event held in early November, celebrating the lives of hundreds of departed loved ones. It’s a colorful, joyous, respectful, somber, and unique cultural event associated with Día de los Muertos.)

I knew nothing about picture framing for a gallery show before this. Usually, I just buy ready-mades at Michael’s and pop them in. But for a gallery, I knew things needed to be a tad different. For example, there was the matter of attaching picture-hanging wire to the back of the frame. How on earth do people do that? I decided I’d need to splurge on professional framing. But then I discovered how expensive it is. Over $100 per picture, times 12. Nope, I’d need to find another way.

After many Google searches, I finally asked a photography mentor for ideas. He said he just buys kits and assembles them himself. Easy for him to say, but I can barely hold a screwdriver. And then I remembered that my sister Lisa used to frame pictures for a living! I felt like a fool for forgetting that fact (sorry for the alliteration) and I sheepishly asked for her help.

Not only did she offer to teach me the art of picture framing, but she offered to help me frame the pictures!

Once I’d chosen my frame style, glass type, and mat color, I ordered the materials and then pleaded with the universe that the stuff would arrive at my house on time. (It did.) I scheduled a trip to see my sister, then drove the 200 miles to her house with all that glass in the back of my car. Yikes!

None of it broke, but there was one tiny glitch: I’d mistakenly left two pieces of glass at home! But Lisa was such a good teacher that I was able to frame those two items myself once I’d returned home.

Here are some photos of me learning to frame, and then doing it myself:


My second announcement is that my 3-book series, “Wordle Poems: A Poem a Day for Wordle Nerds,” has now gone international, with readers on three continents! To celebrate, I’ve combined all 3 books into 1. You can dip your toe in the water and purchase just 1, or you can get the 3-in-1 version, shown below.

You can even borrow the individual volumes for FREE using Kindle Unlimited. All are available on Amazon or Kindle.

Here’s a sample poem from Book 2. I call it “Cheeky Chair.”

Cheeky Chair (Wordle 246 3/6)

“A three! A three! I’ll take it!”
I shouted from my chair,
“I didn’t think I’d make it,
but see! I did! Right there!”
“Oh no, you must have cheated,”
my chair said, playfully.
“You’ll have to be unseated,”
it laughed, ejecting me.

Now it’s time for me to go celebrate this rare occurrence of simultaneous success!

Sowing Some Song Seeds

Many thanks to d. ellis phelps, who has just published my personal essay, Song Seeds, at The website is a sanctuary of poetry, essays, creative nonfiction, art and photography by women for women on the act of becoming formidable.

Song Seeds is a story about how I came to write a prize-winning song about a cat … and also about my dad, and … well … you’ll just have to read the story.

The song itself (My Name is Romeo) can be previewed and downloaded here.

That’s enough shameless plugs for one post.

But one more thing: I can now proudly display my new formidable woman badge, as seen below!




What The Flair?

I’ve written a middle grade novel and am querying agents. Last month I received a request for a full manuscript.

Don’t worry, I’m not about to gloat and tell you how excited I am to be represented by a big-name publisher or how you can download a copy of my book.

Nope. Nothing of the kind. After reading my manuscript, the agent decided to pass. But she did give me something I’ll never forget: valuable constructive criticism, which in the end might turn out to be even better than an offer of representation.

(Bear with me … I’m trying to see the silver lining.)

What she said was that my character didn’t have that “unique flair” she was looking for.

My initial reaction (after telling myself that I hadn’t expected her to like it anyway) was irritation. I’d heard that publishers are looking for “edgy” characters these days, but I didn’t want to give my eight-year-old protagonist suicidal thoughts, nose rings, or tattoos. This edginess is just a phase, I told myself. Surely it will pass.

But then I got humble and gave myself a minute to see the book through the agent’s eyes. When I did, I had to admit that my character was a bit on the bland side. Not much of a personality, actually, except that she’s shy, lacking in confidence, and has a good imagination. She needed something more. That agent was right. My character needed flair.

But what exactly is flair?

Fairy Duster Flare

No, that’s “flare.”

According to my best friend Merriam (last name Webster), “flair” is a special skill or ability, a style, or even — in the old days — an odor. (The word “flair” comes from Latin, French, and Middle English words for scent or fragrance.)

So, if I’m to give my character a unique flair, how do I do that? Should she have some hidden talent, unique mannerisms, or — how unique would this be — a special smell?

I’ve decided to revise my book (again), keeping an eye on all the ways I can enhance my character’s unique flair. I don’t mind doing this. I think I’m going to love my character more when I’m finished with her. After all, isn’t a character’s uniqueness what we love about them, what makes us root for them, and why we’re sad when the book ends?

Think of some of your favorite characters in novels. The first one to pop into my mind is Holden Caulfield; the second is Aza Holmes. I loved them both, for totally different reasons. (And after reading the article about Holden Caulfield that I just linked to, I love him even more.) But the thing both Holden and Aza have in common is personality. They had unique flair, no doubt about it. That’s what I want for my character, and I’m going to try my best. I’m no J.D. Salinger or John Green, but I can sure as hell try to be a better Lori Bonati.

It’s like when I edit photographs. After some initial gross adjustments like cropping and straightening, I work on more subtle enhancements such as vibrancy, clarity, and color. Here’s an example of a photo I took recently before and after editing. This simple little photo was taken through the windshield of a car while it was moving. (Don’t panic, I wasn’t driving.)

BEFORE editing:

Fog Unedited

No flair at all. But check out that unique angle and dashboard reflection!

AFTER editing:

Fog Edited

The second photo sold online in one day. If only I could say that about my book.

Have you ever received feedback from an agent? If so, did you follow it?