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Showing posts from May, 2015

Last day for best book bargain of the summer: #WomenWritingWomen ends at midnight!

This year I collaborated with six other authors around the world on an extraordinary publishing experiment. Outside the Box: Women Writing Women is a box set of seven critically acclaimed novels by seriously established women writers, writing across all genres. The theme that unites the novels: the main characters are strong, idiosyncratic women characters. The box makes a powerful statement about the universality of women's stories and about the independent women who write and read upmarket fiction. We were featured in media around the world, including a great article on publishing's glass ceiling in Guardian's book section , in which we were referred to as "the real superstars...storytellers dedicated to their craft... ground-breaking, boundary-pushing women..." Just wanted to thank everyone for supporting and spreading the word. It's been an amazing experience on many fronts, but I think my favorite part was reading the six stellar novels by my b

I talk about books because books are my life. Pardon the F**K outa me. (Rant Alert)

Something that really got under my skin this week: an author friend of mine was erased from Facebook. Both her personal account and author page were yanked without warning and apparently without an opportunity to appeal. Facebook has yet to offer any explanation, but there's been speculation that it had something to do with her being an author who uses FB and Twitter to network with readers and fellow authors -- just as we've all been trained to do, whether we're mainstream, indie or hybrid. [ Update: FB eventually responded that my friend, author Jessica Bell , had identified herself as "Author Jessica Bell" and "author" is not her real name. Here's her new FB author page .] Facebook played the perfect crack dealer, luring us in with the free sample, and now that we're hooked, they want us to pay. Over the past 18 months or so, they've made dramatic changes to the way posts are seen on your timeline, and if it smacks of self-promotio

That Moment When You Know You're Doing It Right (the greatest bad review I've ever gotten)

Dorothy Parker: "I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to."

First 50 Words: BLUE MERCY by Orna Ross

Buy BLUE MERCY by Orna Ross "A complex tale of betrayal, revenge, suspense, murder mystery — and surprise...John McGahern meets Maeve Binchy." ~ IRISH INDEPENDENT

Free-spirited freelance editor Jerusha Rodgers on adventures in publishing and life

Bestselling author Dr. Wendy Walsh calls her "an author's dream date." I call her The Plot Whisperer. Today's guest blogger,  freelance editor Jerusha Rodgers , offers a snapshot of her life and bookish times... There was cheering and shouting, a general riotous din, when I clicked ‘Save and Publish’ from poolside at Eighty8 Backpackers in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. On the other side of the high whitewashed wall and down a street narrowed with street vendors, huge furls of barbed wire blocked off a park where Cambodians protesting unsafe working conditions and unlivable wages in factories came dangerously close to men and women decked out in full riot gear. The protests and riots had been ebbing and flowing (mostly flowing) for a year, and the cause had already had casualties. It was a tumultuous time in the country and in my life—I was, well, let’s just say I was between visas, between jobs and holed up in the only hostel I could find that took credit cards. One ye

First 50 Words: MY MEMORIES OF A FUTURE LIFE by Roz Morris

Buy MY MEMORIES OF A FUTURE LIFE by Roz Morris "Absolutely gripping...Visual and visceral, original and odd." ~ FOR BOOKS SAKE

First 50 Words: THE CENTAURESS by Kathleen Jones

Buy THE CENTAURESS by Kathleen Jones "A compelling narrative of a writer's passion for her work." ~ HELEN DUNMORE

#BookClubBesties Part Swan, Part Goose is out in paperback!

Swoosie Kurtz's memoir Part Swan, Part Goose  is out in paperback this week, and I'm lobbying book clubs to read it. We Baby Boomers need to talk about how we relate to our aging parents, and Swoosie did that with huge heart, soul and wit in this book, candidly discussing things that have gone wrong and what she and her mom have gotten enormously right. Swoosie has been a Broadway icon since the 1970s--a Tony, Emmy and Obie winner--and a lot of people love her from the family television drama Sisters in the early 1990s. These days Swoosie's slaying audiences weekly as Melissa McCarthy's mom on Mike & Molly , and she talks about all that in this book, but her main gig is caring for her 99 year old mom, author Margo Kurtz, and that's the heart of the story. Margo is a stitch and a poet, still tenacious and vivacious, but living in a world of her own. Getting to know her was one of the great perks of working with Swoosie on this memoir. Swoosie was on a missi

60 Second Review: WHITE LADY by Jessica Bell

Sonia, unfaithful wife of a Melbourne drug lord, yearns for sharp objects and blood. But now that she’s rehabilitating herself as a “normal” mother and math teacher, it’s time to stop dreaming about slicing people’s throats. Easier said than done.  “Edgy, pacy, and chillingly real.” JJ MARSH, author of The Beatrice Stubbs series  "...strikes at the heart of families in turmoil...a painfully honest portrayal of flawed humanity." ~C. S. LAKIN, author of Innocent Little Crimes Jessica Bell is an Australian novelist, poet, singer/ songwriter /guitarist who lives in Athens, Greece. She is Publishing Editor of Vine Leaves Literary Journal and author of the bestselling Writing in a Nutshell series.  Visit Jessica's website

60 Second Review: THE CENTAURESS by Kathleen Jones

 Bereaved biographer Alex Forbes goes to war-ravaged Croatia to research the life of a celebrity artist and finds herself at the centre of a family conflict after she uncovers a mutilated photograph, stolen letters and a story of indeterminate gender, passion and betrayal.  "Utterly gripping. I didn't want it to end." ~ DEBBIE BENNETT  "An engrossing read, hard to put down." ~ LINDA GILLARD Kathleen Jones lives in Italy and is a Royal Literary Fund Fellow. In addition to many books, she's written extensively for the BBC.   Visit Kathleen's website

First 50 Words: CRAZY FOR TRYING by Joni Rodgers

Buy CRAZY FOR TRYING by Joni Rodgers "Refreshing and provocative... Think Jane Eyre with rock and roll." ~ HOUSTON PRESS

I come to mourn Charlie, not to praise him

Watching with great interest as the painful “to Charlie or not to Charlie” conversation emerges in proximity to the controversial decision to give Charlie Hebdo an award for “freedom of expression courage” at the $1,250/plate PEN American Center literary gala last night and the recent attack on a significantly less tony Dallas conference featuring a contest for cartoons of the prophet Muhammad. When the whole #JesuisCharlie thing was sweeping social media, I was uncomfortably certain that most people either didn’t know what “Je suis” means or they didn’t know what “Charlie” was about. I was horrified and heartbroken when I saw the news about the massacre, but I cringed at the cartoons, tweets and op eds canonizing the people who died that day. Of everything I saw in the subsequent outpouring of support, this illustration by  Lucille Clerc  was the most appropriate, because it spoke to the brokenness of our violent world and not the ideology of the people involved in the shooting

60 Second Review: ONE NIGHT AT THE JACARANDA by Carol Cooper

 The trouble with speed dating is that three minutes can last a lifetime. Diagnosed with cancer, Sanjay doesn’t have a lifetime to waste. Laure is a successful lawyer, Harriet is a struggling freelance writer, and Karen is a single mother of four. All are looking for a soul-mate, but first they need to confront who they really are.  "A blinder of a tale” ~ THE SUN  "Contemporary fiction for intelligent grown-ups. The characters are real, the medical details are spot on... An absolute joy" ~ CHRISTINE WEBBER, author and psychotherapist Carol Cooper is a London-based journalist and award-winning non-fiction author. Her debut novel was a finalist in the Indie Excellence Awards 2014. In her spare time she’s a doctor.   Visit Carol's website

First 50 Words: An Unchoreographed Life by Jane Davis

Buy AN UNCHOREOGRAPHED LIFE by Jane Davis "An extraordinary level of emotion... superb storytelling." ~ THE CULT DEN

60 Second Review: AN UNCHOREOGRAPHED LIFE by Jane Davis

 An unflinching, gracefully written novel from the winner of Daily Mail's First Novel Award. Alison gave up the chance to be a prima ballerina when she became pregnant and turned to prostitution to provide for her child, but the tempting hope of a better life may come at a terrible price.  "A brilliant and cleverly-written story about the relationship between a single mother and her daughter." ~ BOOK MUSE  "An extraordinary level of emotion... superb storytelling." THE CULT DEN Jane Davis is an award-winning author who isn't afraid to tackle the trickiest of subjects. She lives in Carshalton, Surrey with her star-gazing, beer-brewing partner, and a growing piles of books, CDs and general chaos.   Visit Jane's website

60 Second Review: BLUE MERCY by Orna Ross

Mercy stands accused of killing her elderly and tyrannical father. Now, at the end of her life, she needs Star, the daughter she fought to protect, to know what really happened that fateful night.  "A complex tale of betrayal, revenge, suspense, murder mystery — and surprise...John McGahern meets Maeve Binchy." ~ IRISH INDEPENDENT  "Skillful …infinitely rewarding...It’s superb." ~ THE BOOKBAG Orna Ross writes novels, poems and the Go Creative! book series. The Bookseller called her "one of the 100 most influential people in publishing" for her work with The Alliance of Independent Authors.  Visit Orna's website

First 50 Words: WHITE LADY by Jessica Bell

Buy WHITE LADY by Jessica Bell “Edgy, pacy, and chillingly real.” ~ JJ MARSH, author of The Beatrice Stubbs series

Leading Irish Indie Author Orna Ross announces Secret Rose: unique crowdfunded tribute for #Yeats2015

So excited to be traveling to Sligo, Ireland this summer to help celebrate the publication of WB Yeats short stories, The Secret Rose , and Orna Ross’s novel, Her Secret Rose , in a special edition replica of Yeats 1897 publication, which is being created with the help of Yeats fans, including yours truly. Secret Rose, a crowdfunded tribute to WB Yeats’s fiction by bestselling Irish author Orna Ross, Director of the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi), will launch in Sligo at the Yeats International Summer School 2015. This specially crafted replica of Yeats’s 1897 first edition — blue-cloth bound, intricate gilt impress, printed on laid paper equivalent — will match the original design by Yeats friend and fellow mystic, illustrator and designer Althea Gyles. It’s set to become a must-have souvenir of Yeats2015, Yeats’s 150th anniversary year. The double book contains Yeats’s short stories from The Secret Rose (1897), and Ross’s long awaited new novel, Her Secret Rose (2

60 Second Review: MY MEMORIES OF A FUTURE LIFE by Roz Morris

After ghostwriting a dozen books with 4 million copies in print, Morris makes her literary fiction debut with the tale of a brilliant pianist whose career is ended by injury. She turns to a mysterious healer and faces the possibility that her life is someone else's past incarnation. "...dances between plausible reality and the shadowy realm of interpretation, underpinned by evident intelligence. A real corker." ~ WORDS WITH JAM "Stylish, classy writing...profound ... page-turning." ~ FOR BOOKS' SAKE Roz Morris teaches creative writing masterclasses for The Guardian in London, hosts a radio show, rides horses and was once hit by a train. Visit Roz's website

First 50 Words: ONE NIGHT AT THE JACARANDA by Carol Cooper

Buy ONE NIGHT AT THE JACARANDA by Carol Cooper “Sassy and classy in equal measures. A must.” ~ DR. PIXIE MCKENNA

This beautiful memoir of life in Nepal puts a human face on everything happening there now