Tag Archive 'books'

Between a Blog and a Hard News Cycle

How Do You Know If You Can Say No to NaNo?

The Internet has mutated reasonable people into wannabe writers…We are blind to the harsh truth-light-radiating facts such as ‘half of self-published authors earn less than $500’, facts written about in newspapers by professional writers.

That’s Tom Mitchell (@tommycm on Twitter) writing an essay at Medium, War on #amwriting. I must thank my colleague in London, Sheila Bounford, for reminding me of it. It could have been lost in the Bavarian Ether: [...]

Interview: Ellen Edwards, Executive Editor at Penguin Random House

I have been with Ellen Edwards at New American Library, a division of Penguin Random House, since I became a traditionally published author. In an age where writers often lament that they do not get edited, I can firmly say that not only do I get edited, but Ellen’s sharp eye, brilliance, and insights have greatly enhanced my work. She is a master at finding the diamond in the rough, and like any great coach, she encourages me to grow and learn [...]

Reading Synesthesia

Last month I caught what can only be titled The Stomach Virus from the Damnable Pit of Hades. Yes, it earned the superfluous moniker. But don’t worry—this isn’t a post about my gastrointestinal woes. I’ll spare you those details. I mention it because it was the first time I’d ever experienced synesthesia of the body and more significantly, of books.

I’d read about this phenomenon in my Writer Unboxed sister Therese Walsh’s novel The Moon Sisters. So I felt I had [...]

What Sort of Books Do You Write?

Flickr Creative Commons: Daniel Go

There are precious few satisfying answers to the question above. I have gone to the trouble to list them for you here.

“Oh, I dabble in literary fiction, you may have heard my address at the Nobel Prize ceremony?”

“Joanne Rowling. Lovely to meet you.”

“Mainly plays.  Probably nothing you know.  Ah, you’ve read King Lear, have you?”

Or even: “Very few, actually. I’ve barely put pen to paper since dashing off Catcher in the Rye back in the 50s.”

What [...]

In Praise of Paper Books

I recently started rereading a book I bought many years ago – one volume of an eight volume collected set of The Spectator, a London daily periodical from the early 18th century.  William Addison and Joseph Steele wrote most of the The Spectator’s 2500-word, witty and wise essays on serious topics of social value.  A typical piece warns against the dangers of using “party lying” (i.e. propaganda) to advance a political cause.  Another is an extended meditation on eternity.  Several [...]

‘Wins’ Without Losses: Agreeable Disagreement

Provocations graphic by Liam Walsh

Five Quite Recent Provocations

Langdon gasped. If he’d deciphered the symbols correctly, Jesus had married Joan of Arc at Stonehenge! If not, it was a recipe for meatloaf.

— Dan Vinci’s Nunferno (@Nunferno) May 24, 2013

Provocation One: Man Booker Irrational?

When the American novelist Lydia Davis was given the £60,000 Man Booker International this week in London, the prize administration rushed to its site to quote one of her short works:

“I was recently denied a writing prize because [...]

A Dog’s-eye view

I had a concept in mind that had been nagging away at me for months, demanding to be crafted into a story. Two concepts, in fact, one about a cat and one about two dogs. Both seemed ideal for inclusion in my short fiction collection, Prickle Moon.

I made numerous attempts to write these stories, trying many different approaches to style and structure. That was unusual for me – I generally have a good intuitive feel for what will work. The [...]

Learning from Old Favourites

So you need to write. And you love to read. How do you find time for both? Some people don’t read for pleasure at all while engrossed in a writing project (such self-discipline!) Some limit what they read, steering clear of their own genre – a writer of historical romance might read true crime; an epic fantasy writer might go for biography. There are a couple of reasons for that: not wanting someone else’s style or ideas to rub off [...]

Time Out

I’m going to write a whole post without using a certain 8 letter word describing something short people and aspiring writers can build and climb up on in order to be more visible. That’s not to downplay the value of other contributors’ recent posts about balancing your writing time with your visibility time, or the flurry of responses from the WU community. You folks obviously love to debate this particular issue and are mightily entertained when the monthly columnists start [...]

‘Social’ Media: What isn’t in a name

The glowing Twingly vision of "social" media flaring in real time around the world.

 

 

O thou, my lovely boy, who in thy power
Dost hold Time’s fickle glass, his sickle, hour…

Sonnet 126

 

 

 

The so-called “social” media, currently our lovely boy of  communication, hold in their darting packets of data, surely, unimaginable power.

They collapse distance across continents and seas we once showed on no maps. Ariel, himself, would weep.
They erase the time — days, weeks, months, even years — we once [...]

The Fruit of our Lives

As I write this, it is the last morning of summer.  My yearling kittens are crouched in the garden, watching a squirrel on the fence make his way through the face of a sunflower, methodically plucking out striped seeds with his tiny hands, cracking their shells, devouring the kernels.  There are piles of hulls, here and there, through the garden, where I have tied the flower heads to the fence or a branch or a gate. Light angles at a [...]

The Writer’s Toolbox: Walking

One of the number one requirements of a commercial fiction career is that you must reliably produce good material, year in and year out. Reliable and good are not always an easy combination. To do it, a writer has to take care of her body, her mind, and her spirit.

Over the years, I’ve found many ways to do that, but the mainstay is walking. I walk every morning, and take long walks on weekends [...]