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Blog Posts

The Accidental Poet

Posted by Yona Zeldis McDonough on January 20, 2016 at 4:30pm 7 Comments


I have always been a poetry lover.  From the time I pored over the dog-eared copy of Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses that had belonged to my own mother, I was hooked.


How do you like to go up in a swing,

Up in the air so blue?

Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing

Ever a child can do!


This was the first verse in my favorite, The Swing.  I read it over and over, enraptured by the deft and lyrical play of words that so delighted my nascent ear.

            My early love has been borne out in my life as a reader. I read poetry frequently, both old favorites and new discoveries, and memorize it too: I’ve probably got fifty or sixty poems committed to memory, and I recite them to myself, when I crave a private incantation, or occasionally, if tolerant company permits, out loud at a…


How I Came to Write, SCATTERING ASHES, A Memoir of Letting Go

Posted by Joan Z. Rough on January 29, 2016 at 1:00pm 23 Comments

As a kid, I spent hours hidden between the pages of books.  I loved to read — especially stories about people and how they got through the tough spots in their lives. One of my favorites was about Toby Tyler, a boy who runs away to join the circus. I also loved a biography of Christopher Columbus, long before we found out about some of the awful things that he did. A bit later I read Kathryn Hulme’s A Nun’s Story, which arrived as part of my parent’s subscription to Reader’s Digest Condensed Books. 

What I loved about those books, is that life wasn’t easy for the characters, whether real or…


5 Things Every Author Needs to Understand about Book Cover Design

Posted by Brooke Warner on January 13, 2016 at 11:30pm 26 Comments

We all know that books are, in fact, judged by their covers. Because of this, and because the marketplace is so crazy competitive, your cover can make or break your book. But there’s a bit of a rub where cover design is concerned, which is that many authors fancy themselves book designers. But being the expert on your book does not necessarily make you the expert on your book’s design.

I’ve worked in book publishing—and therefore with cover designers—for more than fifteen years. Some of the best designers I’ve worked with are prickly and opinionated and uncompromising. In a lot of ways you want a designer like this, because it means they care about their work. These designers are like Gucci or Oscar de la Renta on Oscar night. Your book is wearing your designer’s work, and presentation really matters.

As an editor at a traditional house, I always bent over backward to try to help authors get the cover they…


What It Takes To Become A Writer

Posted by Anne Leigh Parrish on September 18, 2015 at 11:30am 12 Comments

Virginia Woolf is famous for having said that to be a woman and a writer, one needed a room of one’s own and five hundred pounds a year. In essence, she was advocating for space and time. Of course she was correct. Of course these are two essential components of a successful writing life. It’s better to work uninterrupted and undistracted, isn’t it?

But our dear Virginia didn’t have any children, and so didn’t really know the fine art of juggling time and competing demands. Her words still ring true, despite that. We all need that quiet, secure place to say what we need to say, and just how we want it said.

Writing takes more than time and money, though. Writing requires courage, and just how much continues to surprise me, after almost thirty years of relating to that crafty demon, who at times becomes a guardian angel – the blank page.

To be honest, to get…


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