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Posted by Jenni Ogden on February 4, 2016 at 5:00pm 0 Comments

“When did you write your first story?” It’s a standard question for novelists. “As soon as I could hold a pencil” is the right answer.

Not me though. I didn’t even think about writing a novel until I was in my mid-fifties, and didn’t get serious until I retired early a few years later from my university position—so I could concentrate on making stuff up. Five years on I’d ‘completed’ three novels, queried countless agents, and found ways to live on an income barely sufficient to buy one Kindle novel a week.

So, I thought, perhaps I was never meant to write novels. Real novelists nursed a passion for writing stories from babyhood. They wrote in-depth journals, scribbled on the backs of envelopes, filled old exercise books with tales of dragons and fairies and vampires. No wonder I had…


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…


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