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Showing posts from November, 2012


The approaching climax of 2012 brings a curious mixture of closures and beginnings. It’s hard to believe the year that just started is reaching its end. It’s even harder to fathom that the fears surrounding the beginning of the new millennium and potential ramifications for the world’s computers (which never happened) occurred thirteen years ago. Now we see 2013 on the horizon. Some believe the world will end prior to its arrival. Others struggle with financial woes that have plagued the economy and seem destined to continue into the coming year. Still others are making plans to forge ahead with new ideas and new hope. As this year closes and we reflect on its gifts and ponder the tenuous peace in Gaza and lack thereof on the terrorist front, we find ourselves looking ahead even as we peer over our shoulders at what we are leaving behind. Personally, I love working with writers, and I want to continue with Blood Red Pencil because of the wealth of information it brings to the wr

Books Make Wonderful Gifts

Over the years Slim Randles, a writer who has quite a way with words, has shared his wit and wisdom with the readers here at The Blood Red Pencil. As a way to thank him (see how I tied this to our Thanksgiving theme?) I thought I would pimp his books. Every one of them would make a terrific gift for readers on your holiday shopping list. I am especially fond of Home Country , as that is also the title of the column that he so generously shares with me to use here and on my own blog. This is a collection of humor and philosophy that speaks to the important things in life like love and friendship and fly fishing. The column is currently featured in several hundred newspapers across the United States, with a readership of over 2 million. Slim has won numerous awards for his work, the latest the 2012 Rounders Award , which is presented each year by the New Mexico Department of Agriculture to “individuals who have lived, promoted or articulated the Western way of life.”  A Cowbo

Be Thankful for Mentors

Here at the Blood-Red Pencil we often mention those who pass on the craft of writing through their wonderful books on writing. Today I’d like to talk about a different class of mentors—authors of wonderful books who also generously give of their time and wisdom to up-and-coming writers. So many such writers have influenced my writing life, through their teaching, their professionalism, and their literary legacy. So many have influenced me in so many ways, but today I’ve chosen one nugget that exemplifies the way a few have created an impact that lingers. Their genres are diverse and I’ve learned as much through their great writing as I have through workshops and personal interaction. Check them out! Juilene Osborne McKnight (historical fiction) “He had only one book in him and he kept rewriting it.” Have you ever heard that oft-repeated phrase? Juilene thinks it’s too cynical—instead, she believes a writer’s soul tends to be drawn to one kind of archetypal story (mine is transfo

Holiday Reading

I’m a nut for Christmas books. Every year, I get my hands on at least a half dozen from authors like Ann Perry who writes a special holiday novella. This year, I quite accidentally ended up with about a dozen Christmas books on my Kindle, from authors I never would have discovered without their free promotions through online newsletters like Pixel of Ink . Here are a few I can’t wait to dig into starting December 1 st when my holiday cheer begins in earnest:   Forever Christmas   Merry’s Christmas: A Love Story One Imperfect Christmas The Secret Christmas Ciphers  A Simple Amish Christmas   Catch That Santa I’ll probably also buy this Nora Roberts holiday book coming out on December 11th. It's a bit pricey for a Kindle book at $6.99, and more than I might ordinarily pay, but this author writes a fine tale. How about you, readers? Do you do any kind of special theme reading for the holidays? Cookbooks? Religiou

Let it Snow! Season's Readings for a Super-Cool Yule

Are you feeling a chill in the air lately? For the first time in a long time, I'm actually looking forward to snow. See, I've been looking at this festive cover for months, and it's finally time to share it with the world. Friends, I want to introduce you to the latest from Red Tash Books, Let It Snow! Season's Readings for a Super-Cool Yule . I'd love to tell you more about how this collection came about, too.   See, it's kind of Dani Greer's fault.   Over the summer I threw in a story with several of the BRP bloggers and a few other regulars of the BBT Cafe.   The result, The Corner Cafe , continues to garner great reviews and was a really fun experiment for me as a writer, as I decided to set my contribution in the world of my first novel, the best-selling dark fantasy, This Brilliant Darkness .   The Corner Cafe was the first of what would become seven anthologies I would contribute to in 2012.   I quickly realized the value of these

Thankfulness - Let me Count the Ways

There are a lot of things I am especially thankful for this year. This great community of friends here at BRP is high on the list, as is my publisher, Five Star Cengage Gale and the staff there. My latest book with them, Stalking Season, came out the middle of this month, while I was out of town with limited Internet access. The acquisitions editor, Tiffany, had a special presentation featuring my book and four others that had received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, and I was not going to be able to promote that day, October 30th, as that was the day my sister was having surgery for breast cancer. Even though I try to keep personal information about my family and myself out of business correspondence, I did let Tiffany know why I would not be online to promote her event. She immediately sent me the nicest message, "Please don’t worry for a second about having to do anything on October 30th.  I’ll do all the promoting for you that day (and on the FS Facebook page afte

Gratitude and Attitude

Photo credit: Thankfulness steps to the fore every year at this time. Busy people stop to reflect on reasons to be grateful. Formerly gobbling turkeys are gobbled up from tables laden with goodies and surrounded with family and friends. Thoughts of sharing come out of hiding to brighten short winter days. Shop-till-you-drop becomes the motto of gift buyers who seek extraordinary bargains in fiscally lean years. Ironically, a day dubbed “Black Friday” separates the time of thankfulness from the celebration of a birth that many believe will one day bring longed-for peace on earth. Stores beckon customers with midnight specials and wee-morning hours to move inventory from overloaded shelves to places under decorated trees. On this dark 24-hour period jammed between gratitude and peace, both qualities run short in the wake of get-there-first and get-yours-before-supplies-run-out attitudes. If someone suffers injury in the frenzied process, so be it. But wait! Let’s s

Thank You, Internet Friends

Thanks, Internet Friends! If I'm at home alone, I don't have to feel lonely. That's because with a few clicks of the keyboard, I can connect with friends I know and those yet to be discovered. Because this is a month for giving thanks, I thought I'd offer a huge thank you to my many friends on the Internet. Whether they be in e-groups, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, or other social media, I can't begin to count how many wonderful people I've met and bonded with. Some are writers who not only share their journeys to and after publication, but also bits and pieces of what's happening in their personal lives. From connecting with my writing friends I've learned so much more about the publishing world than I ever would have figured out on my own. I've also gained friendships with those who appreciate writers and books, and are all too happy to offer encouragement and praise, often when it's badly needed. On the Internet, I can read a hodgepo

Giving Thanks

Everyone should be just about ready for Thanksgiving by now. This month's themes at the Blood-Red Pencil are "Thanks" or "Promote a Favorite Author." I'm staring at them, wondering how to narrow either of them down to a 500-word blog post. Should I be thankful for books by favorite authors? Of course I am—I can't imagine a life without reading. Should I be thankful for the emails I get from readers telling me they love my books and want more? Of course I am, but that's a personal thing. I can't choose a favorite author, just as I can't choose my favorite child. So, I'll leave that part of the month's theme up to you. Any authors you want to introduce readers to? (Or, since this is a blog where the editing police might show up, maybe it should be, "Any authors to whom you want to introduce readers?") With Black Friday right around the corner, let others know what books you think they should be looking for. As f

The Grateful Ghost

I love my job. I know how lucky this makes me, and in this season of thanksgiving I give thanks to my clients who let me into their hearts and minds, innermost dreams and desires, and tell me wonderful stories that entertain me and better still, always teach me something. I am so grateful to be a ghostwriter. I’ve been a ghost for almost fifteen years and in that time I’ve ghostwritten more than forty non-fiction books and memoirs – some of them short, some long, some for women, some for men, some for people in their 80s, some for folks as young as 25. My clients are from all over the US; from widely disparate occupations; from many ethnicities and cultures. I’m a middle-aged white American woman from Seattle, but because when you ghostwrite you move into someone else’s head, my heart and mind have grown and I am no longer just what I appear to be on the outside. I have walked that proverbial mile in my clients’ moccasins, and I have been stretched to fit their shoes. I have hear

The Wayside Writers’ Circle

Jane Yolen , acclaimed author of over 300 works across a wide spectrum of genres  - everything from board books to Nebula Award-winning Science Fiction - spends several months of the year working at Wayside, her home in Scotland.  Here she heads up a group of Scottish-based Young Adult and/or Fantasy writers.  Earlier this month, Jane became the first woman in the history of St. Andrews University to deliver the prestigious Andrew Lang Memorial Lecture.  This being the case, it seems only appropriate to do a feature on Jane and the members of her “Wayside Circle”. Who are the Wayside Writers?  First and foremost, of course, there is Jane Yolen herself, who is perhaps best described as sui generis .  Jane has  written a number of books on Scottish themes.  Several years ago she invited my husband Robert Harris 1 to be her writing partner for The Queen’s Own Fool (click on the title to read an excerpt ) , told from the point of view of Nicola, a young girl who becomes the per