WRITING

The City and the Island

The City and the Island

Like most book ideas, Mussolini’s Island came to me by chance. I read an article on the BBC website which recounted a visit, in June 2013, of a group of LGBT activists to the tiny island of San Domino in the Adriatic Sea. They were there to commemorate and raise awareness of a moment in […]

February 23, 2017 | By | Reply More
Writing Team Spirit

Writing Team Spirit

Writing a book is a wonderful, yet often lonely business, especially when writing a book about togetherness and the power of camaraderie, like The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir. After spending days laboring in front of a laptop in an empty room, I can quickly become fraught with plot-related anxieties, character qualms, voice worries, and that omnipresent […]

February 23, 2017 | By | Reply More
My Writing Space

My Writing Space

It was cheaper than a divorce. This past summer I came face to face with a huge dilemma: My writing space had been invaded by an alien—the dreaded non-writer husband. As writers, we need our own space. It’s a right of passage. A given. An essential part of this crazy puzzle we call writing. You […]

February 19, 2017 | By | Reply More

HOW TOs and TIPS

Talent Is Nice; Desire Is Everything

Talent Is Nice; Desire Is Everything

The only reason I’m a writer is because when I ask myself, “What else would I do?” I have no answer. I mean, I literally have no answer. Yes, I might have distant, romantic dreams of becoming an architect, but I do not possess the necessary skills – not even close. For me, adding three […]

February 20, 2017 | By | 2 Replies More
If Not Now, Then When? If Not You, Then Who?

If Not Now, Then When? If Not You, Then Who?

Let’s face it. No matter which stage of life we’re at, there never seems a good time to do that one thing that we know we want to do: the right time to have children, change jobs, go back to school, or…write that novel we’ve been wanting to write for the last twenty-three years. Why […]

February 20, 2017 | By | Reply More
From Blogging To Memoir

From Blogging To Memoir

During the last six or seven years I owned and ran my bed and breakfast, I began writing again on a regular basis, sometimes 4-5 hours a day. It all started when I visited my youngest daughter and her husband one Christmas. He was in marketing and was constructing a new blog for his business. […]

February 18, 2017 | By | 2 Replies More

AGENTS

Q&A with Literary Agent Christopher Rhodes of The Stuart Agency

Q&A with Literary Agent Christopher Rhodes of The Stuart Agency

Prior to joining The Stuart Agency, Christopher Rhodes was an agent at The James Fitzgerald Agency. Previous to that, he worked at The Carol Mann Agency and in the sales and marketing departments at Simon and Schuster. Specializing in literary fiction and nonfiction, Christopher is actively seeking queries in the following areas: literary fiction and […]

February 15, 2017 | By | Reply More
Q&A with Literary Agent Katie Kotchman of Don Congdon Associates

Q&A with Literary Agent Katie Kotchman of Don Congdon Associates

  In non-fiction, Katie Kotchman specializes in business (all areas); narrative non-fiction such as popular science and books about social/cultural issues; self-help that focuses on success, motivation, and psychology; and pop culture. Katie is actively seeking new non-fiction clients with built-in platforms from whom she can learn something new. In fiction, she’s interested in representing […]

January 29, 2017 | By | 1 Reply More
Q&A with Literary Agent Sandra O’Donnell, Co-founder of RO Literary

Q&A with Literary Agent Sandra O’Donnell, Co-founder of RO Literary

In their own words – RO Literary is a boutique agency founded by Laura Rothschild and Sandra O’ Donnell. It specializes in adult literary and commercial fiction, and a wide range of non-fiction including memoir, biography, history and narrative. We believe that collaboration turns good books into great published work. We have a passion for […]

January 18, 2017 | By | Reply More

MARKETING AND PUBLISHING

Promotion Is Pay, Pay, Pay as You Go

Promotion Is Pay, Pay, Pay as You Go

When you’re a published author, whether self-published, with a small publisher, or with one of the big boys, you find out pretty quickly that promotion, for the most part, falls on your shoulders—and stealthily slips its sticky fingers into your wallet. Business cards, bookmarks, Facebook ads, magazine ads, Website ads, Kirkus Reviews, BookBub, any number […]

January 15, 2017 | By | 8 Replies More
My Eight Book Deal

My Eight Book Deal

I can honestly say that I spent the first fifteen to twenty years of my writing life constructing stories that burned inside me but using characters I thought publishers and agents would like. Over the years the majority of rejections stated ‘we liked it but we just didn’t love it’. This comment caused me to […]

November 23, 2016 | By | 2 Replies More
A Day in the Life of a Publisher, with SilverWood Books

A Day in the Life of a Publisher, with SilverWood Books

SilverWood Books (silverwoodbooks.co.uk) provides self-funding authors with professional book production services, wholesale and retail book distribution, and a high level of support. Publishing Assistant Rowena Ball takes us through a typical day in the life of a dynamic publishing team… Morning Continuous communication is vital, and the day begins with running through our production schedule […]

November 10, 2016 | By | 2 Replies More

SHORT STORIES

Here’s Why: Short fiction by Anne Leigh Parrish

Here’s Why: Short fiction by Anne Leigh Parrish

Here’s why. You slump, shrink, curl down in your seat, never stand up straight. As if an arrow might pick you off. Not an arrow, a bullet. Not a bullet, a blow. Not a blow, words. Not words, looks. Here’s why. You’re a freak. Four inches in one year? Your father’s colleague says he keeps […]

May 20, 2016 | By | 1 Reply More
Short Fiction: The Gingerbread Man by Judy Pollard Smith

Short Fiction: The Gingerbread Man by Judy Pollard Smith

“Where are you off to? “ Sally had asked me. I felt a bit guilty I must admit. I was supposed to be home boning up for my job interview in the morning. I really wanted the job at Kelly and Hart Publishing and I don’t know where my head was when I agreed to […]

February 26, 2016 | By | 1 Reply More
Short Fiction: A Sliver of Ivory by Vanessa Lafaye

Short Fiction: A Sliver of Ivory by Vanessa Lafaye

He wanted you to have this. It was written with exaggerated clarity on a scrap of paper, as if the author was unsure of the reader’s grasp of English. The torn paper, rather than a proper card, another signal from the sender. It was signed Elaine, with a rounded, buxom capital E. On the padded […]

January 19, 2016 | By | 2 Replies More

INTERVIEWS

Q&A with Literary Agent Katie Kotchman of Don Congdon Associates

Q&A with Literary Agent Katie Kotchman of Don Congdon Associates

  In non-fiction, Katie Kotchman specializes in business (all areas); narrative non-fiction such as popular science and books about social/cultural issues; self-help that focuses on success, motivation, and psychology; and pop culture. Katie is actively seeking new non-fiction clients with built-in platforms from whom she can learn something new. In fiction, she’s interested in representing […]

January 29, 2017 | By | 1 Reply More
Q&A with Brunonia Barry

Q&A with Brunonia Barry

Brunonia Barry is the New York Times and international bestselling author of THE LACE READER (first self-published then picked up by William Morrow 2008) and THE MAP OF TRUE PLACES (William Morrow 2010) and her newest THE FIFTH PETAL (Crown  2017)! Her work has been translated into more than thirty languages. She was the first […]

January 24, 2017 | By | Reply More
Q&A with Literary Agent Sandra O’Donnell, Co-founder of RO Literary

Q&A with Literary Agent Sandra O’Donnell, Co-founder of RO Literary

In their own words – RO Literary is a boutique agency founded by Laura Rothschild and Sandra O’ Donnell. It specializes in adult literary and commercial fiction, and a wide range of non-fiction including memoir, biography, history and narrative. We believe that collaboration turns good books into great published work. We have a passion for […]

January 18, 2017 | By | Reply More

Recent Essays

Why Book Clubs are the New Book Tour

Why Book Clubs are the New Book Tour

When I announced the release date of my debut novel, The House of Bradbury, the first question people asked was, “When’s the big book tour?” After rattling off a couple of venues in the works, I was greeted with wide eyes and enthusiastic nods. I could tell my reality was suddenly being compared to every […]

February 17, 2017 | By | 6 Replies More
 Behind Every Great Man: The Forgotten Women Behind the World’s Famous and Infamous

 Behind Every Great Man: The Forgotten Women Behind the World’s Famous and Infamous

“For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.” Virginia Woolf The idea for Behind Every Great Man was the result of serendipity-and it arrived through the unlikely person of former First Lady Laura Bush. In a White House roast, she likened herself to a character from Desperate Housewives. “I am married to the president of […]

February 17, 2017 | By | Reply More
Overcoming Mom Guilt: Why I Un-Quit

Overcoming Mom Guilt: Why I Un-Quit

When fellow mothers of young children found out that I was a writer, some smugly said that sure, they’d like to write too, but couldn’t possibly take the time from their children. No, those mothers would write when their children were grown. Cue mom guilt. I had several little ones, a demanding church assignment, a […]

February 16, 2017 | By | 2 Replies More
Historical Fiction: Making Research Invisible – And Ignoring The Aspidistra

Historical Fiction: Making Research Invisible – And Ignoring The Aspidistra

Memory is a cruel thing. It lingers in dark trenches, whispering, or withholding, waiting to creep into the no-man’s-land of our dreams. It knows what we long to remember, and what we hope to forget. And it knows Hearsay and Imagination will cover any gaps… So begins my new novel, The Echo of Twilight. Set […]

February 16, 2017 | By | Reply More
The Year I Gave Up Submitting to Literary Magazines

The Year I Gave Up Submitting to Literary Magazines

At the end of every calendar year, I review my writing life to assess what I’ve accomplished and to see where my creative path is leading me. What’s working and what isn’t? What patterns are there, and what are they telling me? As 2015 drew to a close, I reviewed my submissions log and noted […]

February 15, 2017 | By | 9 Replies More
Writing About Female Friendships In Novels

Writing About Female Friendships In Novels

My phone vibrates and dings, the sound so frequent that it’s almost playing a tune. The rhythm is unsteady, yet familiar. A ding here, a ding there. Two dings back to back, and then one a few seconds later. I know exactly what I’ll see when I pick up my phone: messages filled with party […]

February 15, 2017 | By | Reply More