When Tom Fiffer was going through a divorce, he used his commuting time on the train to write ranting blog posts.
They resonated with readers. But he soon turned the focus outward, from his own situation to more general topics like relationships. He wrote over a thousand posts — always uploading them by the time he left Grand Central — and his Tom Aplomb blog helped countless people.
Tom had always been a writer. A Yale graduate, with a master’s in creative writing from the University of Illinois-Chicago, he worked for Random House for 5 years. In 2013 he began a stint as executive editor of the Good Men Project. The site provides “a glimpse of what enlightened masculinity might look like in the 21st century.”
In 2019 Tom and his business partner Julia Bobkoff started a writers’ workshop in their home. Christmas Lake Creative — named for their lane, off Wilton Road — was a hit. Then COVID struck, and sessions moved to Zoom.
During those workshops, Tom and Julia realized that writers wanted more than critiques and tips. They needed motivational coaching, and practical help finding publishers.
Last July, the pair launched Christmas Lake Press. It was a fast (6 to 9 month) path to book publishing. (The usual timeframe, he says, is “2 years to endless.”) They focus on literary fiction, memoirs, and inspirational non-fiction.
Last year, Tom looked back at some of his thousand-plus Tom Aplomb posts. He realized that “love” played an enormous role in many — and not just in the romantic sense. He’d written about the love people can find in areas like nature, solitude and reading.
Those stories, he realized, could be the basis for a book. He had the perfect publisher: his own company.
Tom organized the posts around the theme of letters. Love is, for example, A (art), C (compassion), D (devotion…). Taken together, all convey the “majestic, mystery and splendor of love,” he says.
The book — “The Alphabet of Love” — will be published May 1.
Both “poetic and lexical,” it is “a practical guide, part source of inspiration (that) brings the magic of love into our minds and hearts and reminds us that love is, indeed, a many-splendored thing.”
The audience, he says, is “anyone in a relationship. And anyone who wants a deeper relationship with another person — or with themselves, or a higher power.”
In other words: all of us.
(Click here for more information, and to order “The Alphabet of Love.” )