Friday Links

Happy Friday! I am officially on vacation starting close of business today through the 6th, and I am anticipating lots of books and beach time and movies, and other things that do not require hours in front of my computer staring at submissions. I might be a little excited. In addition, next Friday is the July 4th holiday here in the U.S., so there will be no Friday Links next week. Because of this, I may, possibly, have thrown a few fun extras in today. Because I love you guys, and I’m nice like that.

However, this will not be a dead zone next week in my absence. I’m pre-loading a few posts to keep you busy, so be sure to stop by and see what’s up. You may just find that inspiration you’re looking for to jump start a new project or kick that misbehaving character into line. If not, you’ll at least find some tips to store away for when they might come in handy.

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend. Enjoy!

Pablo Neruda Poems ‘of Extraordinary Quality’ Discovered – More than 20 new poems uncovered in the late poet’s papers.

The Literary Films of Summer 2014 – If your film tastes run toward the bookish, here are a few movies to check out.

Better Than Summer Camp: 10 Books to Help You Relive Your Childhood Summers – Great list.

10 Things Writers Don’t Know about the Woods – Tips on getting it right.

Joanna Rakoff: A Pivotal Year – An interview with the author where she explains the background of her new book, My Salinger Year.

31 Essential Science Fiction Terms and Where They Came From – Fun look at the history of the genre.

Shonda Rhimes’s Real Talk for Dartmouth Grads: Dreams Are for Losers – The screenwriter/show runner’s recent commencement speech, in which she gives some stellar advice about getting out there and pursuing the things you want out of life.

Wednesday Reads Revisited

So this was a thing I intended to do periodically but at which I’ve failed pretty miserably. As I’ve mentioned before, I tend to read a lot of things I can’t really talk about — at least not at the time I’d doing the reading — because they’re submissions or works-in-progress and, well, hazards of the job. Mostly I don’t mind, even though I do sometimes want to jump up and down and squeal about some new discovery and hate waiting until it’s possible. But there you have it.

When it comes to reading books with covers, I am generally hopelessly behind. I very rarely manage to read a book around the time it’s released. I’ve been known to pick up an ARC and realize that, not only has the hardcover pub date come and gone, but the paperback release is on shelves as well. Personal reading time tends to come in fits and starts, depending on the flow of everything else, and — occasionally — how burnt out I’m feeling. And in recent months, I’ve been leaning toward the crispy side, bouncing off everything I’ve picked up to read and mostly just sitting in front of the TV and mainlining DVDs of missed cable series in my free time. However, the last month or so has seen a shift, and I’m back to books. All is right with the world.

As a result, I thought I’d share a few things I’ve enjoyed. Note, I am not the agent for either of these projects, nor do I have a vested interest in their sales beyond the fact that I liked them and wish their authors success.


RULES OF CIVILITY by Amor Towles. Set in New York City over the course of 1938, this book follows the experiences of a young woman named Katey Kontent whose brush with aristocracy serves to provide her with a brand new outlook on life and a set of very intriguing opportunities that seem equally likely to lead to her success or her ruin. First most, I loved the writing. The author has a wonderful voice, very much in keeping with the noir novels of the period, and it was a joy to read (and often reread) many of the sentences. Beyond that, the book features some very strong female characters, which is great to see in a period work, and many of their observations and experiences translate to present day without feeling in the least bit out of place for the late ’30s. Best of all, it kept me guessing, never quite certain what direction Katey would take or how things would play out.


A ROGUE BY ANY OTHER NAME by Sarah MacLean. This Regency romance starts MacLean’s Rules of Scoundrels series, of which several are in print, and pushed all my current buttons, as I’m kind of on a bad boy kick when it comes to my romance novels. The story features a “childhood friends meet again as adults” trope, handled deftly, and sets up an intriguing micro-world within the larger scope of London society of the period. MacLean is obviously well versed in the history and details of the time, and offers up a fresh, believable romance wrapped in lush descriptions and strong writing. I’m going to need to work hard to resist plowing through the rest of this series in lieu of the many, many other titles currently on my TBR stacks.

Happy Book Day!

Up to Me_Final

Happy book release day to Christi Barth, whose UP TO ME, the first installment in her new Shore Secrets contemporary romance series, is out today!

Ella Mayhew’s always appreciated the beautiful view of Seneca Lake from the spa window of her family’s hotel.But the view improves dramatically when a hot stranger runs across the grounds—shirtless. He’s the first man to kickstart her hormones in the three years since she lost her parents, and she doesn’t even know his name.

Graydon Locke’s on his umpteenth undercover assignment. The routine’s always the same: assess a business, recommend it for closure, then roll out before anyone discovers his decisions impact hundreds of lives. He’s always believed nothing good comes out of small towns. Why would this one be different? Then he makes two classic rookie mistakes—falling for the sweet, sexy girl who owns the very business he’s on the verge of axing. And letting the town’s residents get involved in both his life, and his relationship with Ella.

Ella’s the best thing to ever happen to Gray, but he’s lied to her from the start. If he pulls the plug on Mayhew Manor, the entire town may crumble. Ella couldn’t save her parents, but it’s up to her to save their hotel. Even if that means turning her back on true love.

Check out this great summer read today on Kindle or Nook or from your favorite e-retailer.

Friday Links

Happy Friday! This week I’ve got an assortment of links ranging from some bad business news to some venues to send your submissions. That’s the beauty of the publishing industry — never a dull moment. I hope you’ve all had a wonderful week and are setting some time aside this weekend to work on your current writing project and maybe to curl up with a good book. I know the latter is certainly on my agenda.

So without further ado, I give you this week’s links. Enjoy!

News About Strange Chemistry and Exhibit A – Angry Robot announced this morning that they’ll be closing down their young adult and crime/mystery imprints.

Women Remember: A Roundtable Interview – Author Mary Robinette Kowal sits down with several well established women in the science fiction genre and discusses what has changed since they first got into the game… and what hasn’t.

9 Literary Magazines for New and Unpublished Writers – These publications welcome material from writers just starting out.

Neil Gaiman Wants to Be Bored – A great interview with the writer for Studio 360. Be sure to scroll down for the longer, uncut version.

‘Every Hour a Glass of Wine’ — the female writers who drank – Author Olivia Laing recently wrote a book following the drinking habits of several well known male authors, and here she turns her attention toward famous women writers with a similar inclination.

Friday Links

Happy Friday, everyone! So what have you got planned for your weekend? I’m very much in reading mode lately, which you might have noticed from the thrust of the blog the last few weeks. Maybe it’s summer, maybe it’s just a run of good books that have reminded me how much I love reading and the places it can take you without you ever leaving the house. Regardless, there is definitely some reading time on my schedule, along with the rest of the typical weekend stuff.

If you haven’t already dropped by yesterday’s post, please do. I’d love to hear the books that set you off on a reading spree. People’s reading choices always fascinate me, plus this way you can share the books that have inspired you with anyone looking for their next great read.

However, today is Friday, which means Friday Links. I’ve got a fun collection this week, including, unsurprisingly, a whole bunch with reading recommendations. Enjoy!

14 Brilliant Pieces of Literature You Can Read in the Time it Takes to Eat Lunch – Great list, including links to where you can read the recommended pieces for free.

9 Classic Novellas by Women You Can Read in a Day – Nice assortment, with something for everyone.

16 Spelling Mistakes You Need to Stop Making — Now – Geared toward business writers, but these words show up everywhere and are commonly misused. (I see this all the time.) Handy reference.

Here Are the 15 Best Books of 2014 (So Far) – A pretty untraditional list from Time reviewer Lev Grossman.

Opportunities for Writers: July and August – The latest in a series of lists with various contests and calls for material.

Two Damn Books: How I Got Here and Where I Want to Go – Author Roxane Gay talks about how she went from nearly giving up on traditional publishing to having two books released by a major publisher (to critical acclaim) virtually simultaneously.

Reading as a Chain Reaction

I’m currently reading a manuscript that has me itching to read some Shakespeare, for various reasons I can’t really go into here. But it’s also made me look at how I read, and how often something I’m reading sparks me to add items to that weaving, wobbly to-read stack by my bed.

For die-hard readers, there’s no doubt that the reading habit itself is sufficient to get you to pick up your next book, but what you choose to read depends on so many factors. Maybe you’re working your way through a series, so the next book is a logical choice. If you’re binge reading in a certain genre, then maybe you’ve made a stack of romances or historicals or mysteries that you intend to plow through. Or the opposite could be true; you need a palate cleanser from the genre you’ve been reading and so you choose something diametrically opposed to give your brain something fresh to consider. And let’s not forget obsession with a new author, where you’ve discovered someone whose style and storytelling has you totally hooked, and you work your way right through everything they’ve written.

But what I’m talking about is reading in reaction to the book you’ve just finished, where something in that work sets you off on a new tangent. Sometimes it can be because the book mentions subjects that you want to learn more about and you go in search of reference works. I remember the first time I read Katherine Neville’s marvelous adventure/romance/romp of a book, The Eight, which takes place in two time frames, the 1790s and the 1970s, and cuts across continents and history in a way that really captured my imagination. In its wake, I found myself diving into books about chess, Charlemagne, Robespierre, Algiers, mathematical puzzles, and more. Part of it was interest in the subjects themselves, and part was fascination with the way Neville had included such an array of topics into a single novel and made it work, like some sort of crazy quilt of a story. I’m certain I’d read books prior to that which inspired me to go read something else, but this was the first time I recall being conscious of the scope of that chain reaction.

Other books actually name check titles or authors that you find yourself adding to your to-read list. Something about a character you love extolling the virtues of their favorite novel makes you want to share the experience. Jo Walton’s Among Others features a heroine who, among other things, loves to read science fiction and fantasy, and woven into the fabric of the story are her encounters with the classics of that genre and her thoughts about different authors kept in diary form. Anyone tracking the titles through the book comes away with a hefty to-read list, and while knowledge of those books isn’t essential to reading Walton’s work, reading them does add another level of understanding of the protagonist.

Reading often feels like a treasure hunt to me; you pick up a book, maybe having read a good review or knowing a friend loved it, and you delve between the covers to see what you discover — gold or jewels or maybe just straw. Books that lead me to other books always seem like they’ve given me an added prize.

How about you? What was the last thing you read that set off a reading chain reaction?

The Power of Publishing Platforms

We’ve been taking about diversity in publishing quite a bit, both on the writing end and the reading end of things. This TED talk focuses on what it means to have a voice, and what it means to be heard, as well as the importance of being a good listener. While Andrew Losowsky is talking about the broad scope of publishing, his ideas carry out to all areas of life. His argument really illustrates the importance of developing a publishing industry that includes and respects all types of experiences and points of view. Definitely worth the time to watch. Not only is it an interesting talk, but it might help any of you currently asking yourself how you can include diverse characters in your work-in-progress without trampling on someone else’s culture or story. Enjoy!

Friday Links

Happy Friday! Who has plans to write this weekend? Or maybe hit the beach with a good book? Whatever you have on the agenda, I’m wishing you a wonderful time.

As for me, I’ve a huge stack of reading looking at me — client manuscripts, submissions, and some books with covers that are taunting me with their presence. No question as to what’s on my schedule for the next few days. But first, I bring you this week’s links. Some reading recs, some writing inspiration, and just some general bookish fun. Enjoy!

Dani Shapiro on Vulnerability, the Creative Impulse, the Writing Life, and How to Live with Presence – A mouthful of a title, but worth checking out.

Nailing Your Novel’s First Chapter – Some great advice, whether you’re just starting a new project or going back to revise.

Bookstores of New York – Charming sketches with fun anecdotes to accompany them.

14 Brilliant Pieces of Literature You Can Read in the Time it Takes to Eat Lunch – What it says on the wrapper. Great assortment.

The Muscle-Flexing, Mind-Blowing Book Girls Will Inherit the Earth – Wonderfully upbeat look at one segment of the reading population.

Happy Book Day!


Big congrats to Nalini Singh, whose latest installment in her Psy/Changeling series, SHIELD OF WINTER, is out today!

Assassin. Soldier. Arrow. That is who Vasic is, who he will always be. His soul drenched in blood, his conscience heavy with the weight of all he’s done, he exists in the shadows, far from the hope his people can almost touch—if only they do not first drown in the murderous insanity of a lethal contagion. To stop the wave of death, Vasic must complete the simplest and most difficult mission of his life.

For if the Psy race is to survive, the empaths must wake….

Having rebuilt her life after medical “treatment” that violated her mind and sought to suffocate her abilities, Ivy should have run from the black-clad Arrow with eyes of winter frost. But Ivy Jane has never done what she should. Now, she’ll fight for her people, and for this Arrow who stands as her living shield, yet believes he is beyond redemption. But as the world turns to screaming crimson, even Ivy’s fierce will may not be enough to save Vasic from the cold darkness.

SHIELD OF WINTER received starred reviews from both Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews, and provides readers with intense action right along with the romance. Happy reading!