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1. Dan Brown to Deliver the Penguin Annual Lecture

Dan BrownThe Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown will present this year’s Penguin Annual Lecture. His talk will focus on “codes, science, and religion.”

Brown (pictured, via) will give his speech for both the Penguin Random House and Penguin Random House India teams. The Times of India reports that “this is the first time that the lecture is being organised in two cities.”

Brown will visit New York City on November 10th and Mumbai on November 12th. According to The Hindu: “The seven previous lectures have been delivered by journalist and writer Thomas Friedman in 2007, diplomat and writer Chris Patten in 2008, Nobel Prize—winning economist Amartya Sen in 2009, historian Ramachandra Guha in 2010, Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama in 2011, former President A P J Abdul Kalam in 2012 and megastar Amitabh Bachchan last year.”

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2. John Green Talks About ‘Why We Need Diverse Books’

The Fault in Our Stars author John Green has become an advocate for the “We Need Diverse Books” organization. In the video embedded above, John Green talks about why he feels that diversity children’s and young adult stories are necessary.

Green credits two books written by African-American authors, Zora Neal Hurston’s Their Eyes Were Watching God and Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon, for influencing him to appreciate literature. What do you think?

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3. Your Name in Ian McEwan, Zadie Smith, or Ken Follett’s Book

LiteraryAuctionAuthorsImageJust like Will Ferrell’s character in “Stranger Than Fiction,” you might find “yourself”—or your namesake, your avatar—spinning through a tale told by Ian McEwan, Margaret Atwood, Julian Barnes, Ken Follett, Hanif Kureishi, Will Self, Alan Hollinghurst, Zadie Smith, Tracy Chevalier, Joanna Trollope, or another of the 17 authors participating in a fundraising event for the UK medical charity Freedom From Torture.

In this Literary Immortality Auction, participating authors have donated a character in a forthcoming work that will be named after auction winners.

Tracy Chevalier, author of the international bestseller The Girl with the Pearl Earring, said:

“I am holding open a place in my new novel for Mrs. (ideally a Mrs.) [your surname], a tough-talking landlady of a boarding house in 1850s Gold Rush-era San Francisco. The first thing she says to the hero is ‘No sick on my stairs. You vomit on my floors, you’re out.’ Is your name up to that?”

According the New York Times, Margaret Atwood is “offering the possibility of appearing either in the novel she is currently writing or in her retelling of Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest,’ to be published as a Vintage Books series in 2016.”

Bestselling author Ian McEwan (Atonement) said:

“Forget the promises of the world’s religions. This auction offers the genuine opportunity of an afterlife. More importantly, bidding in the Freedom from Torture auction will help support a crucial and noble cause. The rehabilitation of torture survivors cannot be accomplished without expertise, compassion, time—and your money.”

Freedom from Torture notes on its site: “Seekers of a literary afterlife can place their bids online from 6pm this evening,” so get going.

Click here for your bid for immortality.

The real-time episode of the auction will take place at The Royal Institute of Great Britain in London on November 20th.

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4. Andi Watson: ‘Working hard and having fun hopefully go hand in hand…’

Andi WatsonHave you ever written a scary story? In honor of the Halloween season, we are interviewing horror writers to learn about the craft of scaring readers.

Throughout his career, cartoonist Andi Watson has written and illustrated dozens of comics and graphic novels. Right now, Watson is working on a spooky children’s story called Princess Decomposia and Count Spatula. Check out the highlights from our interview below…

Q: How did you land your first book deal?
A: Because I’m a cartoonist, my first opportunity of being published came through physically mailing my mini-comics to publishers. Six months after sending them out a company called Slave Labor Graphics agreed to publish me. This was a good two decades ago when publishers would look at unsolicited submissions without needing to sign legal disclaimers. Having said that, after experiencing something of the book publishing world, it’s still an awful lot easier to make contact with graphic novel publishers than it is in the traditional prose world. Putting work online and attending cons is a good way to make contacts. As in all areas of work, it helps to know people.

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5. John Green Shoots a Behind-The-Scenes Video On the ‘Paper Towns’ Movie Set

John Green has shared a behind-the-scenes video for the Paper Towns film adaptation on the vlogbrothers YouTube channel. The young adult novelist is serving as one of the executive producers for this project.

In the video embedded above, Green introduces executive producer Isaac Klausner, director Jake Schreier, and actors Halston Sage, Jaz Sinclair, and Justice Smith. Thus far, it has drawn more than 2,000 “likes” on Facebook.

Green has also posted several photos from the movie set on his Tumblr page. Paper Towns will hit theaters on June 19, 2015.

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6. Q & A with R. L. Stine

R. L. Stine, Goosebumps authorWith Halloween nigh, it’s only fitting to serve up a treat . . . a Q & A with the terrifyingly spooktacular R. L. Stine, author of the Goosebumps series! Read to find out which Goosebumps character R. L. Stine is most like, his inspiration for Slappy, and more!

Q: How did you come up with Slappy’s character and the rhyme that brings him to life?

R.L Stine:  I’ve always been fascinated by puppets and dummies. When I was really young, maybe about three, my mother read the original Pinocchio to me, and it scared me to death. I think that’s where the idea of Slappy came from. When I write him, I want him to be so rude, he’s funny.

Q: Why did you decide on Goosebumps as the title of your book series?

R.L Stine: I liked the title Goosebumps because it is funny and scary at the same time, exactly what I try to do in the books. I’ve never been able to think of another title as perfect as that one.

Q: What would you do if you found yourself inside one of your books? Would you try to change the story or would you let it unfold?

R.L Stine: I think I would scream my head off—and run—like most of my characters. I would hate to be trapped in one of my books!

Q: Does anyone still call you “Jovial Bob?”

R.L Stine: No. Now I’m just scary. I haven’t been Jovial in years.

Q: Are any of your stories based on things that gave you nightmares as a kid?

R.L Stine: I was scared of a lot of things when I was a kid. I think that’s why I stayed in my room typing stories all the time. When I write my books now, I don’t remember specific things I was afraid of then. But I remember those feelings of fear and panic and try to bring them to my books.

Q: Do you go on book tours to other countries like Europe or Asia so that fans outside of the U.S. can meet you?

R.L Stine: I’ve been lucky to have done several wonderful book tours in other countries. I’ve done appearances and signings in London, Paris, and cities in Italy. My most memorable book tours were the ones in Australia and, most recently, China. I hope to travel to more countries soon.

Q: If you had to choose any character in any Goosebumps book to get its comeuppance from any Goosebumps monster, which character and which monster would you choose?

R.L Stine: Believe me, I don’t want to be a character in any of my books, and I don’t want to be a monster. I think I would least like to be the monster at Camp Jellyjam who was so smelly he died from his own smell!

Q: Which character from your Goosebumps books would you say is most like you and why?

R.L Stine: I guess I’m like the kid in The Blob that Ate Everything. He likes to sit at an old typewriter and write stories. And then he’s horrified when everything he writes comes true. I’d be horrified, too!

Q: What inspired you to write horror books?

R.L Stine: I’ve always enjoyed horror. When I was a kid, I read wonderful horror comics, like Tales from the Crypt and The Vault of Horror. My brother and I used to go to a horror movie every Saturday afternoon. I think I enjoy writing horror for kids because it’s a chance to give them a chill—and a laugh—at the same time.

Q: Have you ever considered taking a fan’s idea and writing a Goosebumps story about it?

R.L Stine: I’ve never used a reader’s ideas. I enjoy thinking them up too much myself!

Photo Credit: Dan Nelken

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7. Delilah S. Dawson: ‘Let it get gross, let it get weird, and figure out later how far to take it depending on the final genre.’

Delilah S. DawsonHave you ever written a scary story? In honor of the Halloween season, we are interviewing horror writers to learn about the craft of scaring readers.

Recently, we spoke with Delilah S. Dawson, an author and associate editor at the Cool Mom Picks and Cool Mom Tech websites. We discussed her new novel, Servants of the Storm. Check out the highlights from our interview below…

Q: How did you land your first book deal?
A: The old-fashioned way: after a psychotic break.

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8. Antonia Hodgson: ‘Give yourself the space to daydream.’

Antonia HodgsonHave you ever written a scary story? In honor of the Halloween season, we are interviewing horror writers to learn about the craft of scaring readers.

Recently, we spoke with Little, Brown UK editor-in-chief Antonia Hodgson to discuss her debut historical mystery novel, The Devil in The Marshalsea. Check out the highlights from our interview below…

(more…)

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9. Neil Gaiman On the Value of Scary Stories

Newbery Medal winner Neil Gaiman sat with TOON Books publisher Françoise Mouly and Pulitzer Prize winner Art Spiegelman to discuss his new graphic novel, Hansel and Gretel. The video embedded above features the entire conversation.

Gaiman confesses that the “Hansel and Gretel” fairy tale really frightens him, but he does believe that children must be exposed to dark stories. Gaiman thinks that “if you are protected from dark things then you have no protection of, knowledge of, or understanding of dark things when they show up. I think it is really important to show dark things to kids—and in the showing, to also show that dark things can be beaten, that you have power.”

(more…)

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10. George R.R. Martin: ‘You can’t ignore religion in fantasy because it’s too important to history.’

GRRM at 92YLast night, novelist George R.R. Martin appeared at the 92Y in New York City to promote The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and the Game of Thrones. Salon.com co-founder Laura Miller served as the moderator.

Throughout the event, Martin answered questions, gave details about the artwork in the book, and opened up on working with two fan co-writers Elio Garcia and Linda Antonsson. During the discussion, Martin confirmed that the next book he will publish is a collection of three Dunk and Egg novellas entitled The Knight of The Seven Kingdoms with illustrations drawn by Gary Gianni. He also talked about how many of the characters and storylines for A Song of Ice & Fire were influenced by history.

When asked about the religion of Westeros, Martin shared this tip on creating fantasy stories: “You can’t ignore religion in fantasy because it’s too important to history.” Do you agree with Martin’s wisdom? Click here to watch a video recording of the entire conversation between Martin and Miller.

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11. NSFW VIDEO: LeVar Burton Reads ‘Go The F*** to Sleep’

Reading Rainbow host and children’s book author LeVar Burton appeared on the Rooster Teeth podcast for a charity drive. BuzzFeed reports that during his visit, he read from his new picture book and Go The F*ck to Sleep. The video embedded above features his NSFW reading Adam Mansbach’s hit title out loud.

Follow this link to hear Burton recite the story from the newly released The Rhino Who Swallowed A Storm. The actual audiobook for Go The F*ck to Sleep was narrated by Academy Award-nominated actor Samuel L. Jackson. (via kotaku.com)

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12. Anna Todd’s ‘After’ and ‘Harry Styles’ come to print and film

AfterCoverAnna Todd, the first-time author whose online fan fiction series After became a Wattpad sensation, has had a big month.

Publishing one chapter at a time, Todd racked up 1 billion reads online and gained avid fans worldwide. Last week, Paramount Pictures announced it had acquired screen rights, and this week, After was pubbed newly revised and expanded in a paperback from Gallery Books, part of a six-figure, multi-book deal with further print releases set for this November 18, December 30, and February 10, 2015.

Talking with Alexandra Alter, Todd told the New York Times that she began as a Wattpad reader, hooked on serialized fictional stories about British boy band One Direction. In 2013, she started writing her own fiction about a female college freshman who gets involved with a tattooed, lip-ringed, cute, tousled-haired guy named Harry Styles.

“I didn’t think anyone would read it.” … She updated “After” with a new chapter every day to meet readers’ demands and tapped out much of the book on her cellphone. She wrote for five hours a day and spent three hours trading messages with readers on Wattpad, Twitter and Instagram and drew on those comments to help her shape the story.

“The only way I know how to write is socially and getting immediate feedback on my phone,” she said.

Todd also told Alter that she receives threats daily from angry One Direction fans on Twitter and Tumblr, which explains why, as Alter reports, in the print After the romantic lead is no longer Harry Styles but Hardin Scott. We’ll know soon enough if After is as big in print for $16 as it is online at Wattpad, where it remains free.

In other Wattpad news, the site is currently hosting two contests. “Share your Yes moment,” cohosted with HarperCollins, is the call for the Yes Please by Amy Poehler Writing Contest. They want to hear about a moment when your life changed because of saying yes. The Yes Please prize pack includes a tweet shout-out from Amy’s Smart Girls. And, to celebrate Margaret Atwood’s Stone Mattress, fans are asked to write a piece of fanfiction inspired by her Freeze-Dried Groom on Wattpad. Atwood will choose and recognize the winning story.

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13. Cover Unveiled For ‘Trigger Warning’ By Neil Gaiman

Trigger Warning

The cover for Neil Gaiman’s Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances has been unveiled. We’ve embedded the full image above—what do you think?

This anthology contains previously published short stories, a Doctor Who story that was written to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the science-fiction TV series, and a tale that revisits the universe of American Gods called “Black Dog.” William Morrow, an imprint at HarperCollins, will release the book on February 03, 2015. (via USA Today)

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14. Patrick Ness Inks Deal For 2 YA Novels with HarperCollins

Patrick NessWriter Patrick Ness (pictured, via) has signed a two-book deal with HarperCollins Children’s Books.

Editorial director Rosemary Brosnan negotiated the deal with literary agent David McMillan. According to the press release, the first book, entitled The Rest of Us Just Live Here, will be released in Fall 2015.

This novel examines “what it would be like to live in a world that’s a lot like a YA novel, where some kids in school are battling forces of evil, and some kids just want to go to prom and graduate before someone goes and blows up the high school again.” The second book which will also feature a stand-along story; no other details have been announced.

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15. J.K. Rowling to Post New Essay About Dolores Umbridge on Pottermore

J.K. Rowling (2)J.K. Rowling has penned a new essay about the antagonist Dolores Umbridge.

It’s scheduled to be posted on Pottermore this forthcoming Halloween Day. According to the press release, “the new exclusive J.K. Rowling content provides a rich, 1,700-word back story about Umbridge’s life filled with many new details, as well as Rowling’s revealing first-person thoughts and reflections about the character.”

Throughout the past year, Rowling has written pieces on the history of quidditch, reports about the 2014 quidditch world cup, and a profile on the “singing sorceress” Celestina Warbeck (a minor character). Recently, she revealed on twitter that she has been writing a new novel, tweaking a screenplay, and working on some campaigns with with her charity, Lumos.

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16. Indies First Launches The Upstream Initiative

Indies FirstThe organizers behind the Indies First campaign are launching a new initiative called Upstream. The team asks that participating writers sign copies of their books and have them be sold at the independent bookstores of their choice.

Daniel Handler (a.k.a. Lemony Snicket) has posted a message to his colleagues imploring them to take part. He also encourages authors to promote this program. Here’s an excerpt from Handler’s letter:

“Will Upstream rescue us all from strife and worry? Of course not. But the hope is that it will remind both authors and booksellers of their local, less monolithic resources, and to improve general esprit de corps at a disheartening time.”

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17. Walter Isaacson Named Keynote Speaker at the Digital Book World Conference + Expo

isaacsonw-100-sqrThe Innovators author Walter Isaacson will deliver the keynote speech at the Digital Book World Conference + Expo. Isaacson’s presentation will focus on “”Innovators, Collaborators and Change Agents of the Digital Revolution.”

More than 100 speakers will give talks throughout the event. It is set to take place from January 13th to 15th in New York City.

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18. Classroom Connections: THE SECRET HUM OF A DAISY by Tracy Holczer

age range: middle grade (10 and up)
genre: contemporary fiction
study guide
Tracy Holczer’s website

“A lovely and captivating debut . . . Holczer writes with depth, heart, and a poetic lilt . . . nuanced characters engage from beginning to end.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Holczer expertly crafts the characters and dialogue to create a story readers will identify with, and thoroughly enjoy… More than simply a book about grief and the death of a parent, Grace’s story is about the search for identity. An essential purchase for middle-grade collections.” —School Library Journal, starred review

Please tell us about your book.

The Secret Hum of a Daisy is a story about love and loss and what it means to be a family. It takes place after the sudden death of twelve-year-old Grace’s mother. Grace is forced to live with a grandmother she’s never met in a small town she’s never heard of. A town Mama left years before—with Grace in her belly and a bus ticket in her pocket—and never looked back. It doesn’t take long before Grace desperately wants to leave, too.

Until she finds the first crane.

A mysterious treasure hunt, just like the ones her mother used to send her on, takes Grace on a journey to find home. And it might just be closer than she thinks.

What inspired you to write this story?

I read a blog post recently where it talked about artists being “fundamentally inconsolable.”

This knocked my socks off for about two days while I thought about the reasons I sit in my chair to write. While “fundamentally inconsolable” isn’t the way I would talk about my life—I’m rather happy, actually—I do find that in my artist’s heart, this is very true. I feel compelled to write about themes of love and loss and belonging. These are deep rooted and wind in and out of my earliest memories, so when I sat down to write about Grace, it seemed natural to draw upon these themes that have special meaning to me.

Could you share with readers your writing process?

While I’m writing, my brain resembles something of a Jackson Pollack painting. Actually, even when I’m not writing, my brain tends to look like that. Ha! So, mostly, the writing process consists of me trying to figure out the order of things. As an instinctual writer, outlines don’t particularly work for me, but with my second book, I’m finding Blake Snyder’s beat sheet to be very helpful.

My books always start with a character and a situation. Family comes next and how that character interacts with the world. Once I see whatever it is that particular character yearns for, in their most secret heart, then the story begins to unfold. So the first few months of a book has me chasing down dead end roads and backtracking, and chasing down more dead end roads. It’s a little crazy making, but it’s what I’ve got. I am completely lacking a left brain, it seems.

What are some special challenges associated with writing contemporary middle grade?

Plot is so very tough for me to wrap my mind around. Especially in a contemporary story where the character isn’t questing for anything on the outside, like winning a competition or landing the lead in the school play. I mean, how to you write about yearning for a ten and up audience and keep them engaged? So, what I do is read writers who have mastered this. Kate DiCamillo. Linda Urban. Sharon Creech. Then I pray that things rub off.

What topics does your book touch upon that would make it a perfect fit for the classroom?

There is poetry from Robert Frost and from the main character, brief clips from different poems that felt very true to the themes of the story. I liked the idea of using clips since they can be easier to grasp and might encourage young writers to start small, as Grace does. The poetry also lends itself to the bigger idea that great sadness is always healed little by little, clip by clip.

The book touches on Sadako Sasaki and her thousand paper cranes, how we all have to find our own ways to heal. Magical thinking is part of that and children are so very good at it.

It would also tie in well with abstract art.

The post Classroom Connections: THE SECRET HUM OF A DAISY by Tracy Holczer appeared first on Caroline Starr Rose.

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19. Bryan Lee O’Malley: ‘Every new book idea, I’m just going to tackle a problem and fix it.’

Bryan Lee O'MalleyOver the weekend, Bryan Lee O’Malley appeared at New York Comic Con panel for a conversation with Cory Doctorow about his latest book, Seconds.

Following the great success he achieved with the Scott Pilgrim graphic novel series, he wanted to “do something super arty and weird.” For Seconds, O’Malley set out to write “a very external character…characters who just barge through life.” The star protagonist of this story, Katie, was partially inspired “by an obnoxious rock star.”

Regardless of the project, two parts of O’Malley’s creative process remain constant. First, he has to create the perfect mix tape because he will likely listen to it “thousands of times.” Second, he takes this approach: “every new book idea, I’m just going to tackle a problem and fix it.” What’s the initial step you take when you start a new project?

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20. Those Were the Days: Norman Lear’s Memoir Pubs Today

“This is, flat out, one of the best Hollywood memoirs ever written… An absolute treasure,” raves Booklist in a starred review of Norman Lear’s memoir, Even This I Get to Experience.

NormaLearCoverThe creator of such iconic and unprecedented hit shows as “All in the Family,” “Maude,” “Good Times,” “The Jeffersons,” and “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman,” Lear reinvented television comedy in the ‘70s. At one point, he had nine shows on the air, and at their peak, his programs were watched by 120 million people a week.

Now, Lear is telling his story, from his Depression-era days growing up with a dad sent to jail for scheming to sell fake bonds, to becoming the highest-paid comedy writer in the country, working for Danny Thomas, Jerry Lewis, Dean Martin, Martha Raye, and George Gobel. A member of a B-17 bomber crew in WWII, Lear made it onto Richard Nixon’s “Enemies List” and was presented with the National Medal of the Arts by President Clinton.

Dave Itzkoff, writing about Even This I Get to Experience in the New York Times, cites Lear’s influence on Roseanne Barr, Rob Reiner, and Trey Parker. Itzkoff quotes Parker, creator and producer of “South Park” with Matt Stone, as saying that Lear’s work “had an immeasurable impact on that show and its satirical, scared-cow-slaughtering sensibility.”

Now, in his book out today from Penguin Press, we all can read of the events and people that had an immeasurable impact on Norman Lear, and shaped his sensibility.

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21. Written A Business Book? 13 Steps To Push It To Bestseller Status

Written A Business Book? Use These Steps To Nudge It Toward Bestseller Status Guest Post by Douglas Kruger Work hand-in-hand with your publisher and you can ensure that your business book sells out. Here are 13 ways new authors can nudge their books toward bestseller status: 1. Take ownership from Day One Start with the right outlook. This is your baby. The more deeply involved you are

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22. Hooray for Val’s CROOKED RIVER! A Giveaway

‘Tis the season for critique partner debuts!

Last month we celebrated Kate Bassett’s Words and Their Meanings. Now it’s time to cheer on Valerie Geary and her Crooked River. It’s been especially thrilling to watch these two talents find their agents, sell their books, and then release them into the world just a few weeks apart. Val and Kate have been instrumental in my own writing process. Here’s a little glimpse into CROOKED RIVER and the way the three of us work together.

Before I hand things over to Val, though, I want to share that Crooked River made November’s Indie Next list. It’s that good.

Tell us about your book.

Still grieving the sudden death of their mother, Sam and her younger sister Ollie McAlister move from the comforts of Eugene to rural Oregon to live in a meadow in a teepee under the stars with Bear, their beekeeper father. But soon after their arrival, a young woman is found dead floating in Crooked River, and the police arrest their eccentric father for the murder.

Fifteen-year-old Sam knows that Bear is not a killer, even though the evidence points to his guilt. Unwilling to accept that her father could have hurt anyone, Sam embarks on a desperate hunt to save him and keep her damaged family together. Ollie, too, knows that Bear is innocent. The Shimmering have told her so. One followed her home from her mom’s funeral and refuses to leave. Now, another is following Sam. Both spirits warn Ollie: the real killer is out there, closer and more dangerous than either girl can imagine.

Crooked River is my first novel, a coming of age story and a page-turning mystery that I hope will touch readers’ hearts and keep them up past their bedtime.

What is it like to work with two other writers you’ve never met in person?

I was in a local writer’s group for a short time, and while it was nice meeting in person to talk life and writing, it was also incredibly awkward to have to sit there and listen as my group members picked apart my chapters. There was very little time and no space to consider what they were saying, and for me it ended up being this horrible emotional roller coaster that did more harm than good. 

My socially anxious personality tends to fit better with a virtual writer’s group. Whenever I’m ready, I send Caroline and Kate part or all of my manuscript. They take their time reading it and then they send the manuscript back with their notes attached. There’s less pressure this way, and a lot of distance, a feeling of detachment. Revision is all about setting aside what you think a story should be and really seeing it for what it is so that you can figure out what’s working and what’s not and why. During this stage, it’s important to be as objective as we can with our own work, and the best way I’ve found to do this is by not having my critique partners in the room while I consider their feedback. There’s no one around watching, or judging, or expecting things from me. No one for me to try and justify, defend, or explain my choices. It’s just me alone with my manuscript and their notes, finding a way to a better story.

That said, there are definitely times when I just want to go grab a cup of coffee and talk shop with my friends. Or pop by their house with a plate of cookies when they’re having a hard day. We can’t do this because of the distance, and that’s something I miss.

How often do you read for each other? Do you respond differently as a manuscript progresses? If so, how?

As long as I’m not pushing up against a deadline, I’ll read as often as Kate and Caroline need me to. I’ve read their manuscripts at various stages of development. When I read early drafts, I tend to look more for big picture problems like pacing, story arc, and character development. As the drafts progress, if I’m asked to read again, I still keep big picture things in mind, but I also edit for details, oddly worded sentences, grammar errors, and typos. At every stage, too, I try and point out things I love, beautiful phrases, sections that make me hold my breath or shed a tear, characters that steal my heart. Drawing attention to where a story already shines is just as important as pointing out where it might need a little more elbow grease

Beyond critiquing manuscripts, how else do you support one another?

In this business, there are highs and lows, good days, bad days. When I need to vent, when I want to celebrate, when I feel like a sham, when I read an interesting article, when I need encouragement, when I have stupid questions, when I need someone to tell me I’m not going crazy, or a safe place to be myself, or someone to bounce ideas off of, I go to Caroline and Kate first. No one understands the strange life of a writer better than other writers. 

What is something you’ve learned from your critique partners?

Perserverence, courage, resilience. 

Also, that I overwrite more often than underwrite. Thanks to Caroline and Kate’s keen eyes and wicked red pens, I’m more aware now of the places in my manuscripts where the prose gets wordy or redundant. Of course, I don’t catch everything–I still need them to help me trim the fat.

And finally…

One thing I always remind Caroline and Kate (or anyone else who asks me to critique their writing) is this: At the end of the day, it’s your story. So take the feedback that rings true to you and throw out the rest.

I feel like this is good life advice, too.

 

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23. The Grolier Club is Hosting the ‘Evermore: The Persistence of Poe’ Exhibit

449px-Edgar_Allan_Poe_2_retouched_and_transparent_bgThe Grolier Club is hosting an exhibit focused on Edgar Allan Poe called “Evermore: The Persistence of Poe.” Susan Jaffe Tane and Gabriel Mckee served as the curators.

Visitors will see manuscripts, letters, first-edition books, and other items. The closing date has been scheduled for November 22nd.

Here’s more about this display: “Highlights of the exhibit include several recently discovered items never before shown in a public exhibition. Most notable is the only known manuscript copy of The Conqueror Worm, generally regarded as one of Poe’s best and bleakest poems. This copy was thought lost until its rediscovery in 2013.”

New Career Opportunities Daily: The best jobs in media.

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24. Alan Cumming reveals the man behind the “cheery chappy”

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The Good Wife star and Broadway luminary Alan Cumming has written a “suspenseful, deeply moving, and wickedly funny” memoir, Not My Father’s Son. The book is the #1 pick for November on ABA’s Indie Next list.

Cumming recently told People magazine, “People think of me as sort of a cheery chappy,” and from all indications he is, while now revealing his struggle and the darkness he has overcome to emerge as a dazzling and mesmerizing actor, nominated for Emmy and Drama League Awards. “This book is the most personal, intimate thing I’ve ever done.”

Plagued by a father who beat and verbally abused him during his childhood in rural Scotland, he was shocked to his core when this same man let him know in 2010 that they were not related.

Cumming recounted his turmoil to the New York Times:

“Mr. Cumming’s identity had gone through multiple cataclysms. ‘I couldn’t stop talking about it,’ he said. ‘I couldn’t stop telling the story. I couldn’t stop thinking about it.’ Now, when he plays Two Truths and a Lie, his two truths are ‘My grandfather died in Malaysia playing Russian roulette’ and ‘My father recently told me I wasn’t his son.’

‘My truths are so crazy,’ he said, sounding half amused. ‘I struggle to make up an equally nutty false one.’ Eventually, he put his thoughts in writing, and the result is Not My Father’s Son, which weaves the ‘great yarn’ of 2010 with a harrowing reminiscence of his father’s violence.”

Not My Father’s Son (Day Street Books) is available now in bookstores, and you can get a free sneak peek at an excerpt in Buzz Books 2014 Fall/Winter ebook from Publishers Lunch.

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25. Zac’s Destiny entered for an award!

Zac’s Destiny, my Sword & Sorcery fantasy, has been entered into an award for Kindle books! I would be eternally grateful if any of you could offer your votes? Thanks so much if you can.

No need to sign in or give any details. Just click on the number of stars you think my book deserves to vote!

Click here to vote.

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