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Showing posts from May, 2015

True confessions: Do you turn down the corners of pages?

I used to think it was vaguely heretical to turn down corners of pages in books. Still worse was defacing the paper with words of my own. Reading with a pencil in hand? No way! Then my husband bought me a kindle.

E-readers have this nice little feature that lets you turn down corners without damaging pages. They encourage you highlight text, without ever defacing the (non-existent) clean white paper. You can even take notes and don't have to carry a pen.

Reviewing books by kindle became so much easier than reviewing them in print. I could scribble my notes (typing one-fingered on that keyboard of tiny raised lumps--my kindle's kind of old). I could highlight useful information like protagonist's names, where and when the story takes place, favorite phrases, whole paragraphs that illustrate a point. Then I could "view notes and marks" at the end, to compile them into a readable book review. Easy!

All this is especially important to me as I read too fast and forget…

Agent, Publisher, or Contest? Which would you choose?

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Do you love to write? Do you write for publication? Do you dream of publication?

If the answer to any of the above is yes, I guess my next question is which would you rather do,

send a query letter to an agent, send a query letter to a publisher, or enter a contest? My first dream was to find an agent. Surely that had to be best - someone else who would do all the hard work of researching places my writing my fit, advertising it so the publisher knows it will fit, and making me sound good. After all, which writer really wants to blow her own horn? But then I learned that researching agents is just as hard as researching publishers, and feels just as much like applying for a job.
Have you applied for a job recently? Then you probably know that feeling of applications disappearing into black holes with no reply. I began to suspect query letters go into the same black holes. So I gave up on option one and option two.
But what about contests? No query letter. Just writing to the prompt. Ju…

Get Fluffy meets Fifty Shades of Greyhound ! Writers and Other Animals...

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Today I'm delighted to welcome authors Mary Lee Woods and Anita Carter to my blog. They write books with such pet-themed titles as: Desperate Housedogs, Get Fluffy, Kitty Kitty Bang Bang, Yip/Tuck,Fifty Shades of Greyhound, and The Girl with the Dachshund Tattoo ! Irresistable!   And they've brought with their wonderful pets here with them today, to help tell us about...


Writers and Other Animals We write a pet-themed mystery series and we belong to a Facebook group of authors who write books with animals in them. All the stories are different, but what we have in common is our love of animals. We can’t speak to why the others chose to include animals in their stories, but we will share our own story of how we came to write mysteries with names like: Desperate Housedogs and Yip/Tuck. Or our latest, Downton Tabby.
1. Pet Love When we were told our cozy mystery needed to have a “theme” we realized that if we were going to do a series, it should be around something we felt passiona…

Tiffany Girl, stained glass, and romance

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Deeanne Gist'sTiffany Girl releases today, and I've been lucky enough to enjoy reading a pre-release copy, so I thought I'd post a picture, and my review. It's a fun historical romance - all the flavor of Jane Austen, all the excitement of Tiffany stained glass at the Chicago World Fair, pleasantly blending modern writing with a believable historical feel, and sensuously romantic without those intrusive why-are-you-telling-me-this details.




Imagine a Jane Austen novel, transposed to the US, and set around Chicago’s World Fair. The dashing wounded hero seems like he might never fall in love. The independent adventurous heroine will surely never realize he loves her. The wise older women sees everything and keeps it to herself. Meanwhile there’s a convincing backdrop of streetcars, bad behavior, bustle-pinchers, strike-breakers, awkward parents, and a young girl who dearly wants to paint. Plus Tiffany glass.

Fascinating details weave very naturally into the story – unlock…

Self-publishing, editing, body language, and a deathly Initiate.

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Today I'm delighted to welcome author Sharlene Almond to my blog. Her latest novel, Initiated to Kill, came out recently, and she has just finished writing her fourth, which looks at, among other things, the bubonic plague and conspiracy theories. If that intrigues you, find some virtual coffee and cookies (gluten free - I want to share) and enjoy our conversation.

Hi Sharlene. I read that you self-published first, then found a publisher, which is something I did too with some of my books. Can you tell us why you self-published? And what do you like about having a real publisher?
I self-published to enable me to contact reviewers to review my books, while at the same time contacting publishers. Quick-starting the process meant I could get a fair idea of what readers wanted through reviews, and publishers could get a look to see what readers liked etc.
The best thing about having a publisher is that they cover all the editing, book cover work etc, without me having to pay out for thin…

The mystery of a week with no writing

We're going to read from our self-published Writers' Mill Journal soon. Our local library hosts monthly meetings for us, and they're hosting the reading too. So this week has spun by in a haze of emails, schedules, practices, meetings, more meetings, more emails, more schedules and more, more, more. There was I, with plans to read and write (and post reviews). But listening to other people read, and reading aloud what I've written, they're valuable too. This busy week's been filled with practical lessons and learning and fun - plus the odd cup of coffee at a local church that kindly allowed us to fill their lobby with words. I hope the reading will go well - it certainly feels like it should, and we have some great speakers. I'll add a report when it's over on our website: http://portlandwritersmill.org/

Meanwhile, here are the books whose reviews didn't get posted last week, with apologies for the delay and all the books yet unread (and unreviewed)…