Friday Links

Happy fall, northern hemisphere! Of course here in SoCal, as predicted, we’re still waiting for the weather to catch up with the season, but sometimes I think fall is just a state of mind. All those years of heading back to school each September have me brainwashed; new notebooks, new school books, new books to read, and then a nice fall housecleaning before the craziness of the holidays hits. Okay, that last one was less school related and more about my mother, but you get the idea.

As we near the end of September, it’s also a good time to assess your writing year and set or modify your goals for the last quarter of 2015. How are you doing? Accomplish what you’d hoped to? Gone off track along the way? Take a few minutes this weekend or early next week to give your progress a good looking over and maybe peek at the calendar for October through December. Mark your goals so you know what’s on your plate. Maybe there’s a contest you intend to enter or you have a deadline looming. Get your ducks in a row and then write, write, write.

Of course, feel free to take a little break now and then to check out some of these links. I hope they inspire you to some wonderful levels of productivity. Enjoy!

What Every Successful Novel Opening Must Do: Myth vs. Reality – An interesting look at the dos and don’ts of writing the opening paragraphs.

An Interview of Jessa Crispin – The creator and publisher of gets interviewed on her own site about her new book (which I have already read and loved) and her fascinating travels through Europe.

Nom de Vie: Literary Social Media in the Age of Ferrante – What it means to have a pen name and refuse to self-promote in this social-media-obsessed world.

15 Short Story Competitions to Enter Before the End of the Year – Pretty much as written.

4,000-Year-Old Egyptian Manuscript Found – Fascinating little write up on this ancient text believed to pre-date the Book of the Dead.

Rise to the Challenge: Read a Banned Book

Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association

This year, Banned Books Week runs from September 27 through October 3. As it does each year during this week, the American Library Association will be promoting its lists of books that are commonly banned or challenged in order to encourage readers to stand up for freedom of information and their right to read what they choose.

While some some writers may be aware during the creation process that they’re delving into potentially incendiary subjects, most likely have no idea that their work will one day be challenged by a library or teacher or parent or community. And though it might be flattering to be hotly debated, most writers would probably prefer to be read rather than banned. Banned books get increased attention, but also lose readers.

How would you feel if a book you’d poured your heart and soul into writing suddenly was challenged by a local school board or librarian? If it disappeared mysteriously from your corner bookstore’s shelves because someone complained about its content? What books have you read and enjoyed (or perhaps hated) that have graced a banned-books list at some point? You might be surprised at the titles that have garnered criticism.

Check out the top banned books from 2014, and the books that have been most challenged through the decades. See what already graces your bookshelves, and maybe pick up one or two new ones to read next week. Everyone should have a choice of what books they read; it’s not for someone else to remove that freedom.

Friday Links

Happy Friday! This week saw rain in Los Angeles — finally — and some much more normal temperatures for a change of pace, not that they’re expected to last. But at least the past couple of mornings have felt like fall, bringing to mind the early weeks of each new school year, walking up the block with my bag filled with shiny textbooks and pristine notebooks. And of course with thoughts of school come thoughts of reading, so I’m hoping I can get through some work-related tasks today and leave a bit of time to indulge in a book with a cover this weekend. Though by then it will be back in the 90s.

But first, I have Friday Links for you! If you’re feeling in the reading mood, I’ve a bunch of new recs, and of course the usual round up of odds and ends. I hope you find them entertaining and inspiring. Have a wonderful weekend!

We Need Diverse Books Summer Reading Series – A compilation of the books they recommended for various age groups over the course of the summer, basing suggestions on what readers might enjoy if they liked other popular titles.

2015 National Book Awards – This year’s long lists in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and books for young readers.

Margaret Atwood: This Much I Know – A brief interview with the author.

Mortified – Artist, writer, and educator Danny Gregory discusses his feelings upon discovering that, in the wake of a busy schedule that left no time for drawing, he seemed to forgotten how, and also how he got his groove back.

The Masters Review Fall Fiction Contest – For emerging writers. Entry deadline October 31st, 2015.


Friday Links

Happy Friday! I’m melting here in SoCal, wishing for a nice fall breeze. But other than that, it’s been a great week and I’m looking forward to a productive weekend with a bit of time out to read a book with a cover. But first, I have this week’s links, and I hope they will inspire you to a bit of creativity over the next couple of days. Have a wonderful weekend, and enjoy!

Greasing the Daily Grind – On schedules, habit, and productivity.

Literally vs. Figuratively – A quick-and-handy grammar check, with links to some other commonly confused words at the end.

Who Is Your Boo Radley? Finding Characters Who Motivate You to Write – Delving into the characters who intrigue you to make your writing shine.

That’s too Much: The Problem with Prolific Writers – A look at the question of appropriate literary output.

Moral Craft: Issues of Plot and Prejudice – An interesting piece on racism in writing, discussing intentions and author responsibility.


Cover Art: ROCK REDEMPTION by Nalini Singh


ROCK REDEMPTION, Nalini Singh‘s next romance in the Rock Kiss series, won’t be out until October 6, 2015, but as you can see from the above, its shiny new cover is now available for all to see and enjoy.

Kit Devigny could have loved rock guitarist Noah St. John. Their friendship burned with the promise of intense passion and searing tenderness…until the night Noah deliberately shattered her heart. 

Noah knows he destroyed something precious the night he chose to betray Kit, but he’d rather she hate him than learn his darkest secret. All he has left is his music. It’s his saving grace, but it doesn’t silence the voices that keep him up at night. Chasing oblivion through endless one-night-stands, he earns a few hours’ sleep and his bad boy reputation. 

When a media error sees Noah and Kit dubbed the new “it” couple, Kit discovers her chance at the role of a lifetime hinges on riding the media wave. Wanting—needing—to give Kit this, even if he can’t give her everything, Noah agrees to play the adoring boyfriend. Only the illusion is suddenly too real, too painful, too beautiful…and it may be too late for the redemption of Noah St. John.

Preorder now from your favorite e-retailer: Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Kobo


Making More from Less

How many times have you wished for more time to write, more time to brainstorm, better ideas, bigger ideas, a newer laptop, a real office space…? Whatever your goals and aspirations, it’s pretty typical to wish you had more to work with, a leg up from whatever point you’re at in the moment. But what would you do with unlimited resources? If you had an open schedule, with all the time in the world to write or paint or dance or do whatever creative endeavor calls to you. The finances to support yourself. A great work space just as you imagine it. How much would your work improve? Would you actually spend more time working?

This podcast looks at the effects limits can have on creativity, how it can push you to be better, more resourceful and imaginative, because you have no other choice. Give it a listen, and then go make something wonderful.

Friday Links

Happy Friday, and happy long Labor Day weekend to those of you in the U.S. Even though we technically have a few more weeks of summer ahead, this weekend marks the unofficial close of the summer season for many people, so by all means, put this weekend to good use. It’s time for quick getaways, splashing in the ocean or a nearby lake or a lovely pool, backyard cookouts, or reading a great book in a shaded hammock. However you spend this weekend — holiday or not — I wish you a terrific one. And, of course, offer up a few fun links to help kick things off. Enjoy!

I Smell Your Rookie Moves, New Writers – Some excellent advice from the always-funny Chuck Wendig.

A Writing Lesson from Ursula K. LeGuin – As stated.

One Shade of Grey – A virtual peek through the doors of London’s Persephone Books.

10 Instagram Tips for Writers – Share images of your bookish world.

Making Maps for Books: 2 Cartographers Show Us How It’s Done – Wonderful interview with two map makers who frequently provide maps for fantasy novels, etc.

Happy Book Day!

Archangel's Enigma_Cover

Wishing a very happy book release day to Nalini Singh, whose latest exciting adventure in the Guild Hunter series, ARCHANGEL’S ENIGMA, hits shelves today.

New York Times bestselling author Nalini Singh returns to her world of dark passion and immortal power – and to one of the most seductive and impenetrable heroes ever to stalk the Guild Hunter landscape…

Naasir is the most feral of the powerful group of vampires and angels known as the Seven, his loyalty pledged to the Archangel Raphael. When rumors surface of a plot to murder the former Archangel of Persia, now lost in the Sleep of the Ancients, Naasir is dispatched to find him. For only he possesses the tracking skills required – those more common to predatory animals than to man.

Enlisted to accompany Naasir, Andromeda, a young angelic scholar with dangerous secrets is fascinated by his nature – at once playful and brilliant, sensual and brutal. As they race to find the Sleeping archangel before it’s too late, Naasir will force her to question all she knows…and tempt her to walk into the magnificent, feral darkness of his world. But first they must survive an enemy vicious enough to shatter the greatest taboo of the angelic race and plunge the world into a screaming nightmare…

Pick up ARCHANGEL’S ENIGMA from your favorite bookstore or e-tailer, and finally see inside Naasir’s mysterious world.