Friday Links

Another very speedy week, at least for me. So much going on right now that I feel like the days just aren’t long enough. But that’s vastly preferable to the alternative; I hate when things are slow.

So this is more of a fly-by post than anything. I bring you lots of fun, interesting links to entertain you into the weekend. I hope you have a lovely one, filled with books and writing and whatever else makes you smile. Enjoy!

Season of the Dead – Colleen Mondor’s October column for Bookslut features some wonderfully spooky looking fiction for anyone looking for a Halloween read.

Neil Gaiman: Why Our Future Depends on Libraries, Reading, and Daydreaming – This has been making the rounds, but if you haven’t checked it out, it’s definitely worth a read.

The Jealous Curator – An interesting interview with artist and graphic designer Danielle Krysa, talking about creativity.

Rise and Shine: The Daily Routines of History’s Most Creative Minds – Further proof that there is  no one right way to approach your art.

13 of the Year’s Creepiest Books – Some more suggestions for seasonal reading.

Friday Links

October is well underway and, in my neck of the woods, we’ve even been experiencing weather that suggests the kiss of autumn: a slight chill in the air, that nice crispness in the morning that tells you summer has flown. Mind you, it’ll probably get up around 90 degrees again at least once before the holidays hit, but that’s Southern California for you.

Still, October means Halloween, so I’ve a few links to help you with your scary seasonal reading. Nothing like a few haunted houses or ghosties to put you in the mood. Whatever your plans this weekend, I hope you set aside time to do a bit of writing, and indulge yourself in a good book. Enjoy!

The 50 Scariest Books of All Time – Not all strictly horror, so there’s something for everyone.

The October Science Fiction and Fantasy Books You Can’t Afford to Miss! – A good roundup of new releases.

10 Awesome Secret Passage Bookshelves – Because secret passages seem even more appropriate this time of year.

Canadian Author Alice Munro Wins 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature – A career from short stories, first book published at age 37; proof positive that talent and hard work can win out if you persevere.

James Patterson’s Bookseller Pledge – The best-selling author has pledged $1 million to help independent bookstores. More information available at his website.

All Hallow’s Read: Share a Scary Book for Halloween

A couple of years ago, author Neil Gaiman proposed that in addition to giving out candy, dressing up, and attending costume parties, we give each other scary books for Halloween. He dubbed this concept All Hallow’s Read, and has since encouraged folks to join him each year in sharing the stories that keep us up at night.

For someone who loves books and reading, this is the cherry on top of the holiday. It’s a wonderful opportunity to encourage kids to read, or to share a book you love with your friends. Books don’t need to be new from the store; share your pre-read copies, or make a family pilgrimage to the library and choose books for each other. Or maybe try a scary-book swap with your friends, where you trade your Halloween-appropriate titles with each other for a new batch of leave-the-lights-on reads.

Looking for some inspiration? The All Hallow’s Read site has links to lists of book recommendations, and my own Seasonal Reading post has a few titles listed — be sure to check out the comments. You can also check out the Parents’ Guide to Scary Books for Young Readers over at The Millions if you’d like some ideas for kids’ titles. Or just browse the internet; scary book recommendations abound this time of year.

No one is suggesting that books replace candy or the other trappings of the holiday. But Halloween is as much about scary stories as it is funny outfits or caramel apples, and a book will last far longer than a sugar high.

Wishing you all a wonderful week, filled with tall tales and tasty treats!

Friday Links

Happy Friday! I am currently at the Surrey International Writers’ Conference in Canada, officially my last writers’ conference for the year (though not my last conference overall). This is a fabulous conference, and one I’ve been lucky enough to participate in several times. Not only do they have a wonderful schedule of programming for writers of all shapes and sizes and levels of experience, but they have a wonderful team of organizers who I always look forward to seeing again. If you’re attending, be sure to say hello. If not, you should consider attending next year or some time soon.

But you’re all here for links, and so without further ado… ways to procrastinate this weekend. Don’t forget to work a bit of writing into your days!

Johnny Depp to Launch Publishing Imprint After 18 Literary Films – I reserve my opinion on this until I see it in action, but that said, Depp certainly has proven to be interested in a wide range of great stories during his career. Should be interesting.

25 Things Writers Should Know about Conferences and Conventions – Chuck Wendig, so an entertaining read, all else aside. Not sure I agree with him on every point, but there’s a lot of sound advice. Worth a read.

Q&A on Copyright with an Attorney – A good overview. I hear a lot of these questions, so I’m sure there are more people out there not asking but still wondering.

On the Comfort of Bad Books – Looks at the “literary” versus “genre” argument from a slightly different angle. Interesting, regardless of your own position on the topic. Me? If it tells a story, I’ll give it a shot.

A Highbrow Halloween Reading List – Courtesy of Flavorwire. Not sure all of these are that highbrow, but it’s still a fun list, especially given the discussion regarding scary Halloween book recommendations from earlier this week.

Seasonal Reading: Spooky Stories for Halloween


My reading habits frequently bow to the season. While not all of my book choices are based on the time of year, I do find myself gravitating towards certain types of books depending on the weather and the atmosphere that’s inspiring my mood. Some books just scream “summer read,” while others call for cooler nights and a steaming mug of something delicious. I’ve written about seasonal book inspirations before, namely summer reading ideas, and reading for Halloween, and the latter comes to mind again, now that ghouls and ghosties are only a couple of weeks away.

I don’t represent horror novels, and as a rule, don’t read many of them either. But this time of year seems to call for scary stories, things that make you reluctant to turn out the lights at night or to spend time in a quiet house alone. There are the classics, of course, including the works of Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft, Bram Stoker, and Mary Shelley. More contemporary authors who love to frighten us include Stephen King, Clive Barker, Neil Gaiman, Ray Bradbury, Peter Straub, and Richard Matheson.

Right now I’ve a huge amount of work-related reading on my plate, but I can’t help but snatch a little personal time for a scary story or two in the run up to Halloween. This year I’m looking forward to Justin Cronin’s THE TWELVE, a follow up to his successful novel THE PASSAGE. I’ve also got a copy of Stephen King’s FULL DARK, NO STARS in the pile next to my bed.

Do you enjoy reading horror or Halloweenesque stories this time of year? What titles are you enjoying or looking forward to reading?

Happy Halloween!

It feels strange to have Halloween on a Monday, especially since all the parties seemed to have taken place over the weekend. As fast as this year is going, today already feels like November somehow. But it’s officially pumpkin day, so I’m offering a few random treats.

Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess) Shows Off Her Haunted Dollhouse – Wonderful photos of a very spooky little house.

Jack-o-Lanterns Inspired by Literature – Photos of some very creative pumpkins.

Why J.K. Rowling Almost Killed Ron Weasley – Fun peek at how the author considered bumping off this member of the famous trio. (Because even your favorite characters can occasionally make you feel murderous.)

Much more coming up here this week, so be sure to check back. I’m going to be sharing a few tips for those of you tackling Nanowrimo (starting tomorrow!) and there’s a giveaway on the horizon as well. Meanwhile, have a happy, safe Halloween, and try not to eat all that candy at once. (It makes a good reward after a writing sprint!)

Trick or Treat

The main trick I’ve heard of so far seems to be all the snow dumping itself on New York and points farther up the Northeastern part of the U.S. In October, no less. Trick indeed. Hope everyone in that neck of the woods is keeping toasty warm.

Of course, whether you’re snowed in or not, this is a weekend for Halloween fun. Parties, candy, costumes, and spooky tales are all on the agenda. And while I can’t throw you a party from here, and I draw the line at sending candy-grams, I’ll gladly offer up some suggestions for holiday-themed reading.

In general, I’m not a big fan of scary movies or books. I enjoy them, but it takes a lot to scare me these days, which is just as well since I’m in no hurry to lose any sleep. What does generally frighten me are the things I can see happening in real life, no matter how twisted and exaggerated they’ve become for the sake of a plot. But regardless, I admire the ability to build suspense to that level, whether through fantastical creatures, reality, or a mix of the two. Anyone looking to work on their suspense-building skills might find reading a few good horror stories a fun way to hone their skills.

So, book thoughts? I’m a fan of the classics, like DRACULA and THE TURN OF THE SCREW, as well as more modern works, particularly books by Stephen King, such as THE SHINING, ‘SALEM’S LOT, THE STAND. I recently read Justin Cronin’s THE PASSAGE, and that made for a few squirmy moments. Right now I’m reading Lev Grossman’s THE MAGICIANS — more magic, less scares. For Halloween, I’ve got a copy of THE LAST WEREWOLF by Glen Duncan.

As you can see, I’ve a pretty broad definition of what I consider Halloween reading. Below I’ve included some links to some other people’s ideas of what to read this time of year. And how about all of you? What’s on the nightstand in honor of Halloween? Or do you keep your to-read list business as  usual?

Top Ten Scariest Books of All Time

Critics Picks October: An Apocalypse Edition

Ten Tales by Ray Bradbury to Get You in the Halloween Spirit

Halloween Chat!

The Knight Agency is hosting a Halloween-themed chat this evening, featuring author Kristen Painter, whose novel BLOOD RIGHTS, the first in a trilogy, is now in stores. Join us for a fun time, featuring spooky book talk and fun prizes.

Chat begins at 9pm ET/ 6pm PT, tonight, October 27. You can access the chat room here. For more details about the chat, visit The Knight Agency blog.

So grab some candy, don your costume, and meet us online for a little Halloween fun!