Archive for the 'RESEARCH' Category

Happy Halloween! Love, Salem

Since many of you will be joining us for the WU Un-conference in Salem this next week, and because I’ll be co-teaching a seminar called “Place as Character” with Liz Michalski, I thought I’d share the character chart for Salem that I created for my upcoming novel.

Salem, where I’m fortunate enough to live, has been a major character in all three of my novels, but the city’s character chart has changed from book to book. The first chart bears […]

History and Magic

Lion statue, Tarquinia

Recently I attended the Historical Novelists Association annual conference, this year held in London. It was a great weekend with plenty of lively and informative sessions, though slightly more aimed at the aspiring writer than I’d expected. Highlights for me were a workshop on Battle Tactics and a panel entitled Confronting Historical Fact with the Unexplained: from myths & the occult to fairytales & the Gothic, chaired by Kate Forsyth.

Initially I felt a little out of place at […]

The Magic Trick to Landing an Agent at a Conference (Hint: There’s No Magic Involved)

photo from Microsoft Office

You’ve revised your manuscript, sent it out to beta readers, revised again, and now it’s cards on the table time. You’re bringing your book to that fancy conference that’s coming up and shelling out the cash for a session with an agent.  But how do you make the most of your 15 minutes of professional attention?  How do you even choose which agent to meet with? 

There’s no magic password or handshake that will guarantee […]

Concocting Fiction from Fact: Using Research to Tell Better Stories

We’ve all heard the “write what you know” mantra. To be honest, that has never resonated with me. I prefer to write what I want to know about.

This leaves things wide open in terms of storytelling, but it also creates an additional responsibility for the writer, because it requires us to do the R word.

No, not riverdancing. I’m talking about research.

Some writers I know absolutely dread the idea of research. Perhaps for them the word conjures up images of cobweb-draped […]

The Woman Behind Struck By Genius

Water ripple by Jason Padgett

Today we’re excited to welcome author Maureen Seaberg to Writer Unboxed! Maureen’s book Struck by Genius: How a Brain Injury Made Me a Mathematical Marvel, co-written by Jason Padgett, is the Spring’s lead title for Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. It also received a Kirkus Star and is one of Apple’s 20 Best Books for April.

Maureen is an expert synesthesia blogger for Psychology Today—and she herself has several forms of synesthesia. Maureen also recently tested DNA positive for another […]

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Photo courtesy of Lauren Marek

Thanks to Stephanie Perkins and Paula McLain, I can visit Paris anytime I want. Shilpi Somaya Gowda has taken me to Mumbai. My tour guide in Maine is Elizabeth Strout. And I hiked the Pacific Crest Trail with Cheryl Strayed.

Good books take us on a journey, both literally and figuratively. As a writer, I’ve started to think more carefully about the literal part. Because when it’s done well, setting impacts pretty much every facet of […]

10 Rules for Rewriting History

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Imperial Hotel in Tokyo (Wikimedia Commons)

Today’s guest, Jennifer Cody Epstein, is the author of The Gods of Heavenly Punishment and the international bestseller The Painter from Shanghai. She has written for The Wall Street Journal, The Asian Wall Street Journal, Self, Mademoiselle and NBC, and has worked in Hong Kong, Japan and Bangkok, Thailand. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband, two daughters and an exceptionally needy Springer Spaniel.

Jennifer Epstein joins us to offer […]

A Spy in Another Country

By Flickr’s electricnerve

Our guest today is April Smith, author of the bestselling FBI Special Agent Ana Grey mystery-thrillers North of Montana, Judas Horse, and White Shotgun. She also wrote and executive-produced the TV-movie adaptation of her novel, Good Morning, Killer, for TNT’s Mystery Movie Night. But the big news is that April Smith has a forthcoming book that is entirely different from her popular mysteries, as she boldly enters the world of historical fiction with a  A Star for […]

Literary Terms Defined: The Uncommon and Common

GIVEAWAY: I am very excited to again give away a free book to a random commenter. The winner can choose either CREATE YOUR WRITER PLATFORM or the 2013 GUIDE TO LITERARY AGENTS. Commenters must live in the US/Canada; comment within one week to win. Good luck!

UPDATE: Kim won. Thanks for all who participated.

Working for Writer’s Digest Books, I come across a lot of literary terms — both the common and uncommon. Because it’s healthy for writers of all levels to […]

PR and Marketing for Self-Publishing: Do’s and Don’ts

It (finally) appears the stigmas once associated with self and indie-publishing are disappearing, or at least waning – though in some cases there are new ones arising and there will always be naysayers. Let me clarify that while I think there are pros and cons to traditional publishing, self publishing and Indie publishing alike, I have always been a supporter of each and never agreed with those stigmas. As a PR and  marketing professional having helped launch several successful self […]

Stop Feeling Like an Author-Wishbone at a Table of Industry Experts (Part I)

Do you have a uterus?

If you answered yes and were a post-menopausal female in my practice roughly a decade ago, odds are I’d have talked you into taking combination hormone therapy.

Besides the fact you’d probably feel better, having ditched those inconvenient hot flushes without hugely altering your lifestyle, I was after bigger fish. I’d embraced the preventive mindset, and the Nurses’ Health Study said I’d be protecting your heart and nervous system, not to mention your bones.

Expert opinion backed me, too, […]

Characters Welcome

Arrow Studio, Los Angeles

Today’s guest is bestselling Kindle author Kathleen Shoop. Her second historical fiction novel, After the Fog, is set in 1948 Donora, Pennsylvania. The mill town’s “killing smog” was one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history, triggering clean air advocacy and eventually, the Clean Air Act. Kathleen’s debut novel, The Last Letter, sold more than 50,000 copies and garnered multiple awards in 2011, including the Independent Publisher Awards Gold Medal. A Language Arts Coach with a Ph.D. in Reading Education, Kathleen lives in Oakmont, […]