Monday, April 29, 2013

Cover Reveal: Until My Soul Gets It Right

The exceedingly talented staff over at Streetlight Graphics have been at it again. This time, they have created a beautiful new cover for the second edition of Until My Soul Gets It Right (The Bibliophiles: Book Two), which will be available soon.

Like the new A Whisper to a Scream, the new Until will also have bonus material featuring book club discussion questions and "Read Along with the Bibliophiles."

What do you think?

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Cover Reveal: Whisper 2.0

I'm excited to share some great news with you today.

Streetlight Graphics and I have been working on second editions of both A Whisper to a Scream and Until My Soul Gets It Right. They will include bonus material, such as a Reader's Guide with book club discussion questions for my novels, as well as all of the classics the Bibliophiles read, plus new covers and custom interior designs for both the ebooks and the paperbacks.

Here's a sneak peek at the new cover for A Whisper to a Scream.

What do you think?

Monday, April 8, 2013

Woot! A Blog Award

Thank you so much to Lee Zamloch for giving Bibliophilic Blather a blog award last week, which was a lovely surprise on a Monday morning. Lee came up with eleven questions for the writers she mentioned, so here are my responses.

Why did you begin blogging?

I started blogging after I released my first novel, A Whisper to a Scream, when the conventional wisdom was that all authors should have blogs to build their platforms. I wanted to provide something that others might not, so I started “Editing for Grammarphobes” and “Flash Fiction Fridays,” which featured microfiction from writers of all genres. Unfortunately, it ate away at too much of my writing time, so I had to cut back a bit.  I will have some “Editing for Grammarphobes” segments sporadically throughout the year, though.

How long have you been a writer?

Eons, really. Since my sophomore year in college,1985, when I sold my first article to my local paper.

What is your favorite blog besides your own?

I read several on a weekly basis. My favorites are listed in the right column. Check them out. They are fantastic and very informative.

Where do you do your best thinking?

In the shower.

Where do you do your best writing?

In the shower. Just kidding. Besides, I’m not sure where to buy waterproof paper. I only used it once, in high school when I was a football stat charting defensive plays in the pouring rain. I mainly write in my office, on the kitchen table, anywhere the muse strikes, or in Starbucks.

How do you handle writer's block?

I edit or work on something else. Change of project helps me gain perspective on the one that is not flowing so well.

Can people be taught to write?

I think so. Whether you are a “natural” or have to work at it more, everyone should study the craft.

How much outlining do you do before beginning to write?

Not much. I like the spontaneity of creation. You never know where it’s going to take you.

Do you prefer reading fiction or nonfiction?

Fiction, all the way, although I do enjoy an occasional nonfiction book, usually about English history or literary types. And I read lots of magazines, such as Time, The Smithsonian, Bon Appetit, Cooking Light, More, O, and National Geographic. I refuse to pay for a subscription to People and instead take sneak peeks when I am at the chiropractor’s office or at the hairdresser’s.

Who (or what) are your greatest influences?

The classics—Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf, Charlotte Bronte, William Shakespeare— as well as many modern writers, including Anne Tyler, Maeve Binchy, and Joyce Carol Oates.

If you could interview anyone, who would it be?

This is a rough one. Right now, I am fascinated by Joyce Carol Oates. She’s a writing beast, really. Do you follow her on Twitter? Her insights are incredible, and she’s already put out two novels this year. Crazy.

So, dear readers, how about you? How would you answer some of these questions? 

Do you think writing can be taught? 

Where do you do your best thinking? 

Fiction or nonfiction?

Big Al's Books and Pals Readers' Choice Award Update

Well, sad to say, dear readers, that Until My Soul Gets It Right did not win the readers' choice award in contemporary fiction, but congratulations to all the winners, especially Laurie Boris who did. Her novel, Drawing Breath, is an excellent piece of writing, so I am very happy for her. Thank you so much for all of your support and votes.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Journalism Versus Fiction

“Then again, you wouldn’t be writing fiction if you were in love with journalism, either. Hey, everyone, let’s do some research! There’s a conversation-stopper.”
—Victoria Mixon, The Art & Craft of Fiction: A Practitioner’s Manual

I beg to differ, Ms. Mixon.

All writing, no matter what style, can be beneficial to writing fiction.

When I graduated college, I stopped writing fiction for awhile. I needed to live, to gain experiences so that one day I could create something more than the whiny self-indulgent blatherings of a new adult struggling to find her place in the world. Besides, that was Bret Easton Ellis' territory anyway. Didn’t want to intrude on Less Than Zero.

The stock market had crashed, and in 1987, much like today, jobs were scarce. I spent two years freelancing for anyone who would contract me, writing community feature stories, covering local town council meetings, penning a press release for Clown College (I kid you not), and even editing a restaurant menu. I eked out a living with the help of some stints in public relations, first with an up-and-coming orchestra, now the world-renowned Chicago Sinfonietta, then at my alma mater, Dominican University.

At least once a week, my mother asked me why I didn’t just get a job at a bank. A stable income had to be better than freelancing, right? Determined not to give up on my dream, I soldiered on.

Finally, I landed an editorial assistant position at a publishing company in downtown Chicago, where I learned from Bill Randleman who, as it turned out, not only mentored me in magazines, but in life and the arts as well. Music was a love we both shared, and we were known to burst into song after a particularly stressful day to lighten things up a bit. Bill had studied at the American Conservatory of Music and often spoke of the various operas he had performed, particularly Der Rosenkavalier, rolling the "R" the way only he could.

Ten years of magazine work taught me many things, chief among them how to delve into the heart of a story, how important editing is at all stages of the work, and how to captivate one’s audience month after month, year after year.

Writing is writing, whether it shows up in a novel, newspaper, or magazine. The length might vary, of course, but the spirit remains very much the same. They are all ways to tell a story.

“The most creative ideas are simple.
Often they are so simple you say to yourself, ‘I could have done that.’
Usually, you couldn’t have.”
—Bill Randleman