Spotlight: Holly Bush

THE PROFESSOR’S LADY (The Thomason’s of Locust Street #3) by Holly Bush.

Meet the Thompsons of Locust Street, an unconventional family taking Philadelphia high society by storm…

1870 Kirsty Thompson is determined to begin her own business bringing beloved Scottish fabrics and yarns to Philadelphia but first she must meet the men and women who weave the plaids and spin the wool. How will she ever escape her protective older siblings and sail to Scotland? Albert Watson is a medical doctor focusing on research, especially that of Joseph Lister and his sterilization techniques. He speaks at universities in America and in England while visiting his London relatives. As he prepares to sail for just such an engagement, Kirsty Thompson boards his ship to beg him to take her with him. What’s a gentleman to do? Albert cancels his trip across the ocean to escort Miss Thompson back to Philadelphia and finds there is danger afoot for her and her family. Soon he comes to realize there is also danger for his heart, even for a man who rarely pulls his nose from a medical journal.  He finds himself unable to put Miss Kirsty Thompson out of his thoughts, where they belonged, because certainly a beautiful, ambitious, and charming young woman could have no interest in him. Or could she?


Review: Color Blind by Andrew Grey

COLOR BLIND by Andrew Grey

Fiction, M/M, Romance, Contemporary, Novella, 127 pages


Blurb: Setting out on your own is tough, but for Mason Fullerton, who was born blind, it’s even more of a challenge. Mase decides that the key to independence and a life of his own is getting a job. His mother, who has always been there for support, isn’t so sure, but Mase is determined. He manages to secure an interview, and one of the men conducting it has a voice that wraps around him like a blanket. Tyrone Phillips feels he’s a disappointment to his accomplished academic parents. They don’t understand that Ty would rather spend time with his computers and programs than people. Until he meets Mason at an interview and finds a kindred spirit. Too bad his parents aren’t going to see past the fact that Mason’s white. When Mason is hired, Ty is assigned to help him get oriented. The two of them dance around each other, but mutual attraction tugs at both of them. A work friendship builds to more, with Ty and Mase trying to find their way… and if they have courage and allow their hearts to guide them, they could be going the same direction.

Thoughts: I will admit that I didn’t care for this book as much as I did some of Andrew’s other ones, but, that being said, there are two strong topics touched upon in this book that need to be addressed in more books – and he does them very well.

The first is prejudices – racial, educational, social, and disabilities. The second is parental love and how it can become overpowering. In this book, Mason is a white man who was born blind. He struggles with independence constantly. His love interest, Ty, has no problems with Mase’s lack of sight. His parents though… Ty is black and his parents are highly educated university professors who don’t want him dating a white man who is also blind. Plus they want him to continue his education. Mase’s mother is overly protective and doesn’t want Mase out on his own.

The two men have to figure out their own issues with their parents, where to live, and working together. Mr. Grey handles these problems with a deft hand, but the book seemed rushed. It ended on a “happy-for-now” ending that was okay, but I believe a little more development would have benefited the book.

Recommendation: If you are an Andrew Grey fan, pick this one up. It’s a short, quick read with two good main characters who face multiple problems with each other. There’s a HFN ending that let’s you know there more in the future for these two.

Disclaimer: I received a final and/or advanced reader copy of this book with the hope that I will leave my unbiased opinion. I was not required to leave a review, positive or otherwise, and my opinions are just that… My Opinions. I am posting this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising” 

Review: A Faire to Remember by Misty Simon

Fiction, Paranormal Cozy Mystery, Novella


Blurb: There’s something afoot at the faire…Running a Renaissance Faire that employs and houses a bunch of misfit paranormals means Verla Faeth is well-acquainted with mischief and mayhem. So when her ex, Finn Taragon, shows up unannounced with a puppy in tow as a token of peace, she’s prepared for almost anything. Except tripping over a dead body, finding out the dog is a Cerberus, and apparently, she’s moved from wanna-be seer to crosser-of-the-dead.Finding the murderer will be hard enough, but having Finn move in next door to her might just be her undoing. 

Thoughts: this is the perfect time of year to pick up this series of paranormal cozy mysteries. This one is the first in the series. They are all novella length and available individually as ebooks, or collectively (three to a book) as paperbacks.

In this one, we are introduced to Verla who manages a Renaissance Faire that has more going on behind the scenes than in front. The “workers” are almost all paranormals, as is she. Her ex-husband, Finn shows up with an adorable puppy, determined to win her back and she can’t kick him out because he’s related to the owner, her boss. Things go from frustrating to weird as Verla trips over a dead body, discovers what her powers are, and that the cute puppy is definitely more than he seems. The characters are fun and realistic, and the world building is excellent.

Recommendation: This definitely should be on your “buy” list. The entire series should be. You won’t go wrong with this cute paranormal cozy.

Writing Tips, Thoughts, Tricks for the Coming Week

October 15

Birthdays: Virgil (70 BC), P.G. Wodehouse (1881), Friedrich Nietzsche (1844), George Turner (1916), Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. (1917), Mario Puzo (1920), Italo Calvino (1923), Ed McBain (1926) (aka Evan Hunter), Laurie McBain (1949), Walter Jon Williams (1953), Stephen Clarke (1958), Roxane Gay (1974)

Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. was a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner for History and Biography.

Mario Puzo is best known for his books on the Mafia like the “Godfather” series

Quote: “I love writing fiction because I can totally lose myself and I get to make up the rules of the world that I’m writing.” – Roxanne Gay

“I don’t trust society to protect us, I have no intention of placing my fate in the hands of men whose only qualification is that they managed to con a block of people to vote for them.” – Mario Puzo

Tip: Any reputable agent should be willing to provide you with a list of sales and clients. Verify that these books and authors exist. Check references. If they claim to be a member of AAR, check them out on the web site.

Jumpstart: You live alone. While you were gone for a weekend, someone ransacked your home. Who would do that? Why?


October 16

Birthdays: Noah Webster (1758), Oscar Wilde (1854), Claude H. Van Tyne (1869), Eugene O’Neill (1888), Olivia Coolidge (1908), Kathleen Winsor (1919), Gunter Grass (1927), Paul Monette (1945), Suzanne Somers (1946), Elinor Lipman (1950), Lorenzo Carcaterra (1954), Meg Rosoff (1956), Alafair Burke (1969),

Noah Webster is best known for his work on dictionaries.

Claude H. Van Tyne won the 1930 Pulitzer Prize for History for “The War of Independence”

Eugene O’Neill won the Pulitzer for Drama and the Nobel Prize for Literature.

Gunter Grass won the 1999 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Quote: “I strive to make my books appear effortless.  For readers to lose themselves in a book, they should be able to believe that story, characters, and settings exist in a parallel world.” – Alafair Burke

“Not everything you want to know is explained properly on Google.” – Meg Rosoff

Tip: Having a poor agent is worse than having none at all. If you can’t find a reputable agent to submit your work, submit it yourself to those places that take unagented material.

Jumpstart: On Oct. 16, 1955, the first Ann Landers column was published by the Chicago Sun Times. You’ve just become the new Ann Landers. What is your first letter about and what is your advice?


October 17

Birthdays: Nathanael West (1903), Ester Wier (1910), Arthur Miller (1915), Jimmy Breslin (1930), Robert Jordan (1948), Wally Lamb (1950), David Means (1961), Patrick Ness (1971), Ariel Levy (1974),

Ester Wier won the 1964 Newbery Honor for “The Loner”

Robert Jordan is best known for his “The Wheel of Time” series

Quote: “You have to have talent to some extent – I certainly hope I have talent – but you have to have luck as well. Once you get that first shot, that will get you noticed for the rest of your books and that will give the rest of your books a better chance.” – Robert Jordan

Tip: If you have several projects you want to work on but can’t decide which one to do first, take fifteen minutes and write on each project. Just write, as quickly as you can for fifteen minutes, then take a short break and go on to the next project. The project to work on is the one where you forget to stop after fifteen minutes and keep going or the one which, when you read it, it really grabs you.

Jumpstart: This is what I knew about love before he came along. Now, I know better…

“If you want your prayers answered, get up off your knees and do something about them.”

― Wally Lamb, She’s Come Undone


October 18

Birthdays: Henri Bergson (1859), Logan Pearsall Smith (1865), James Truslow Adams (1878), H.L. Davis (1894), Esther Hautzig (1930), James Robert Baker (1946), Terry McMillan (1951), Rick Moody (1961), Charles Stross (1964), Amish Tripathi (1974),

Henri Bergson won the 1927 Nobel Prize in Literature

James Truslow Adams won the 1921 Pulitzer Prize for History for “The Founding of ew England”

H.L. Davis won the 1936 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for “Honey in the Horn”

Quote: “If you’re going to write for a living, you should find something fun to write.” – Charles Stross

“I don’t believe in symbolic gods.I believe that god exists all around us.In the flow of the river,in the rustle of the trees,in the whisper of the winds. He speaks to us all the time.all we need to do is listen.” ― Amish Tripathi, The Immortals of Meluha

Tip: In the story, motivation is the past (why they want something), goal is the future (what they want), and conflict is the present (why they can’t have it).

Jumpstart: He had never come this way before. And now he knew why… (use bullet hole, fender, fence)


October 19

Birthdays: Miguel Angel Asturias (1899), Ed Emberley (1931), John le Carre (1931), Sylvia Browne (1936), Renata Adler (1937), Andrew Vachss (1942), L.E. Modesitt (1943), Philip Pullman (1946), Dan Gutman (1955), Susan Straight (1960), Mark Behr (1963), John Edward (1969),

Miguel Angel Asturias won the 1967 Nobel Prize in Literature

Susan Straight was a finalist for the 2001 National Book Award for “Highwire Moon”

Quote: “I think the first thing you’ve got to do is grab the reader by the ear, and make him sit down and listen. Make him laugh, make him feel. We all want to be entertained at a very high level.” – John le Carre

“Cats are the lap-dancers of the animal world. Soon as you stop shelling out, they move on, find another lap. They’re furry little sociopaths. Pretty and slick — in love with themselves. When’s the last time you saw a seeing-eye cat?” ― Andrew Vachss, Safe House

Tip: Writing retreats are amazing. Even if it’s just you by yourself, it can help you fill your well, rest, read, and, most of all…write.

Jumpstart: We walked through the woods, enjoying the sunshine, then we found…


October 20

Birthdays: Arthur Rimbaud (1854), Samuel Flagg Bemis (1891), Frederic Dannay (1905), Art Buchwald (1925), Michael McClure (1932), Robert Pinsky (1940), Lewis Grizzard (1946), Elfriede Jelinek (1946), Nikki Grimes (1950), David Profumo (1955), Gennifer Choldenko (1957), Lynn Flewelling (1958), Kate Mosse (1961),

Samuel Flagg Bemis won two Pulitzer Prizes – one in History, one in Biography

Frederic Dannay wrote as the fictional Ellery Queen (along with his cousin Manford Lepofsky).

Robert Pinsky was the US Poet Laureate from 1997-2000.

Elfriede Jelinek won the 2004 Nobel Prize in Literature

Gennifer Choldenko won a 2005 Newbery Honor for her book “Al Capone Does my Shirts”

Quote: Five minutes of writing a day is better than no minutes. Too many new writers think that unless they have plenty of time, it’s not worth booting up the computer or sharpening that pencil. But think of it, instead, like practising scales on the piano before tackling that Beethoven Concerto or like warming-up in the gym – the more you prepare for writing, the better shape you’ll be in once you have time to really concentrate.” Kate Mosse

“History is written by the victors, the strongest, the most determined. Truth is found most often in the silence, in the quiet places.” ― Kate Mosse, Labyrinth

Tip: Turn off your inner critic. Don’t compare, analyze, criticize. Just write.

Jumpstart: It was an old song that took me back to that day. The day when my life changed forever.


October 21

Birthdays: Samuel T. Coleridge (1772), Edogawa Rampo (1894), Martin Gardner (1914), Ursula K. LeGuin (1929), Frances FitzGerald (1940), Ai (1947), Mayr Pipher (1947), Ellen Wittlinger (1948), Patti Davis (1952), Carrie Fisher (1956),

Edogawa Rampo is known for helping develop Japanese mystery fiction.

Martin Gardner wrote math games columns for “Scientific American” for years.

Ursula LeGuin is best known for her science fiction and fantasy stories. She was a multiple winner of both the Hugo and Nebula awards.

Ai won the 1999 National Book award for Poetry

Quote: “Read everything you can get your hands on, all sorts of different things—fiction, nonfiction, plays, poetry, newspapers, the toothpaste tube. And then, write.” – Ellen Wittlinger

“What sane person could live in this world and not be crazy?” ― Ursula K. LeGuin

Tip: Be sure to keep various versions of your story, including cut scenes (you might be able to use them somewhere else), but keep the names logical for instance, use the title and what version it is: writingjournal_v3.

Jumpstart: I stared at him as he stood there. “Wear this for protection,” he said as he handed me a vest. What was I going to do?

Review: Astrology for the Cosmic Soul


Nonfiction, Occult, Astrology, 192 pages


Blurb: Explore your zodiac sign with the modern wit and style of The Pulp Girls, a dynamic duo dedicated to creating inclusive pulp art memes centering female empowerment. Astrology can provide a sense of recognition, a way of examining relationships, or even just a distraction from the uncertainty of real life. Filled withfun, pulp art–style illustrations,Astrology for the Cosmic Soul shows you how to find your own birth chart and the different celestial placements in it. After a review of astrology basics, The Pulp Girls break down each of the twelve sun signs of the zodiac with practical uses and just-for-fun facts like: Self-care tips, Lucky charms, Best crystals for the signs, Affirmations for the signs, The signs and their late-night thoughts, Two truths and a lie about the signs, The signs as types of witches. Everything you need to become more in tune and take control of your life lies within yourself, and Astrology for the Cosmic Soul will help you discover it.

Thoughts: This was a fun, informative book about astrology. I’ve read several books on the subject, but this was the first one that was actually enjoyable. Filled with bright, colorful drawings that enhanced the pages and a ton of information. The book will guide you through figuring out your birth chart with sun, moon, and rising symbols. 

The first part is all about astrology 101- the basics. Other chapters include positive and negative aspects for each sign, how to use astrology with tarot, amulets, and grounding, and then some fun stuff like the best Halloween costumes for each sign, mixology, and what kind of vampire or mermaid you’d be best as. 

Recommendation: Definitely recommended for the uninitiated – or if you’re just looking for a fun way to learn about the basics of astrology. I received this as an ebook, but I strongly recommend the physical one. I know I’ve already put it on my “purchase” list. 

Disclaimer: thanks to Netgalley and Rock Point Publishing for providing this ARC.  I received a final and/or advanced reader copy of this book with the hope that I will leave my unbiased opinion. I was not required to leave a review, positive or otherwise, and my opinions are just that… My Opinions. I am posting this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

Review: Write for Life by Julia Cameron

WRITE FOR LIFE: Creative Tools for Every Writer (A 6-Week Artist’s Way Program) by Julia Cameron

Nonfiction, Craft, Writing, 258 pages


Blurb: Julia Cameron has been teaching the world about creativity since her seminal book, The Artist’s Way, first broke open the conversation around art. Now, in Write for Life, she turns to one of the subjects closest to her heart: the art and practice of writing. Over the course of six weeks, Cameron carefully guides readers step by step through the creative process. This latest guide in the Artist’s Way Series: Introduces a new tool and expands on powerful tried and true methods. Gently guides readers through many common creative issues ― from procrastinating and getting started, to dealing with doubt, deadlines, and “crazymakers.”Will help you reach your goals, whether your project is a novel, poetry, screenplay, standup, or songwriting. With the learned experience of a lifetime of writing, Cameron gives readers practical tools to start, pursue, and finish their writing project. Write for Life is an essential read for writers who have completed The Artist’s Wayand are looking to continue their creative journey or new writers who are just putting pen to paper.

Thoughts: Years ago, I went through “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron and it help me me a lot. Then life interfered and I forgot about the lessons I learned. While I could go back to the beginning, I found this book more than enough to get me back into the practices she recommended, along with some new ideas. Plus, this book is not just for writers, but for creative person, whether it be art, music, or writing.

In this six-week program, Ms. Cameron encourages you to “prime the pump” by doing morning pages, taking a walk, setting goals, and taking artists dates. There’s a lot more here too, but these are her basics that she builds on. At the end of each chapter, she has a set of “check-ins” – did you do these things type of lists as well as recaps of what you should have done. 

Recommendation: Highest of recommendations. I’d have given her ten stars if I could. And this is definitely on my “to be purchased” list (though waiting until the end of next January will be a challenge). I guess I could always go back to the beginning while I wait. 

Disclaimer: Thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing this ARC in hopes of a review. All thoughts and opinions are my own and were not influenced by anyone or anything. 

Review: Fatal Hunt by Michelle Godard Richer

FATAL HUNT by Michelle Godard Richer 

Fiction, Thriller, 267 pages


Blurb: After being widowed and surviving the wrath of a serial killer, Jessica believes her misfortunes are over. She’s reunited with her first love, Jon, and together, with her son Bryce, and a baby on the way, they’re living their happily ever after on their ranch in Montana. That is until secrets, lies, and a formidable foe from Jon’s past emerge to shake the foundation of their relationship, forcing them to flee for their lives. A decade earlier, Jon worked undercover for the FBI. He infiltrated Hugh Jones’ Kansas City Mob, and almost destroyed his empire. Unaware of the breech in his own defenses, Hugh, obsessed with revenge, unleashes every weapon in his arsenal, targeting those Jon loves the most.

Thoughts: Jessica and Jon and their 8-year-old son Bryce are on the run for their lives. From their home to hotels to safe houses that aren’t safe, there are thugs and killers everywhere. And the only thing keeping them safe is the ghost of Jessica’s first husband, Adam with his timely alerts. 

The characters and situations are realistic – maybe a little too realistic for me at time – which means they are excellently written. And they are. The terror, the love, the anxiety… all the emotions are drawn out of the characters and come across perfectly.

One tiny nit—and it is tiny—is that there is a definite thread left dangling at the end so you know there is more to come for this family. This part of the story ends well, but their ordeal isn’t over yet.

Recommendation: If you like thrillers with a touch of romance, pick this one up. You won’t be disappointed. 

Disclaimer: I received a final and/or advanced reader copy of this book with the hope that I will leave my unbiased opinion. I was not required to leave a review, positive or otherwise, and my opinions are just that… My Opinions. I am posting this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

Review: Arresting Benjamin by Amber Daulton

ARRESTING BENJAMIN (Arresting Onyx #3) by Amber Daulton

Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Spicy Heat (level 5), ebook

October 11, 2022


Blurb: A one-night stand, a surprise baby, and a mysterious stalker.
Mechanic Benjamin Starwell can’t stop thinking about Belle Hamlin, the ballsy musician he slept with and skipped out on months earlier. He never meant to get her pregnant, but he’ll do whatever it takes to win back her trust and be a part of his child’s life. His desire for Belle drives him to be a better man, but he’s worn thin with a garage to run and his estranged sister dumping her troubles on him. Belle’s juggling impending motherhood, her indie rock career, and a stalker who’s determined to see her fail. Even though she’s desperate to get her priorities straight, she pushes aside her past hurt and welcomes Benji back into her bed. She never expects him to slip into her heart. When the danger escalates, they face the greatest challenge of all—protecting their unborn child.

Thoughts: This is a spicy hot story full of action, romance, and more. Benjamin Starwell had a one-night stand with Belle Hamlin. He ran away because his feelings for her scared him. He doesn’t do commitment. That is, not until he finds out she’s pregnant with his baby. Suddenly, he’s the one who has to prove to her that he’s all in and wants to be part of his child’s life. But they both have Issues—and not just with each other.

Belle not only has to cope with her pregnancy, but with a deranged stalker who wants her to quit her music career. After her apartment is trashed, Ben finally gets her to agree to move in with him. But all is not smooth. Ben’s sister, Meghan, Is a drug addict who comes to Ben for help, but her pusher boyfriend has other plans for them.

Between the stalker and the pusher, Ben and Belle have plenty of problems. Plus the two have issues. One thing they don’t have a problem with is sex. There’s a lot going on here. The only problem I had with the story—and it’s a small one—was that I didn’t understand a lot of the character relationships, mostly becausee I haven’t read the first two books in the series. And there were a few threads left dangling that lets me know there are going to be more.

Recommendation: If you’re looking for a good story with lots of conflict, heat, and a HEA ending that satisfies, this one has it all. I do suggest that you read the first two in the series, though, as it will help you understand the character dynamics much better.

Disclaimer: I received a final and/or advanced reader copy of this book with the hope that I will leave my unbiased opinion. I was not required to leave a review, positive or otherwise, and my opinions are just that… My Opinions. I am posting this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”


Review: Netgalley’s Book Advocate Toolkit


Nonfiction, How-to, Reference


Blurb: Are you ready to start your journey with NetGalley? Or maybe you’re a long-time member looking to take your book advocacy up a notch? No matter where your starting point is, this toolkit is designed to have everything you need to succeed. From guidelines for creating your member Profile to tips for maintaining a strong Feedback Ratio, these pages are packed with advice for utilizing NetGalley to your advantage. Once you have a few books on your Shelf, pop over to this toolkit’s review section to brush up on tips for crafting book reviews—even those tricky critical ones! When you’re ready to share those reviews, this toolkit can help jumpstart your bookish social media platforms and offer suggestions for reviewing and creating content on social. So what are you waiting for? Download the kit and get started.

If you’re on Netgalley, or thinking about it, this is the first book you should download and read. There are guidelines on types of members, how to take your reviews to the next level, FAQs on who approves you as a reader/reviewer, and more. There is also information on the difference between “Read Now” books and the other ones where you have to ask for approval. Keeping your Feedback Ration at 80% and above is crucial to getting approvals. 

You’ll also learn how to give a review that actually works, how to tag publishers, how to use social media outlets, videos, blogs, and Goodreads. No, you don’t have to use all this, but there are guidelines for the things you do use. 

Recommendation: Do yourself and the publishers a favor and read over these guidelines. I’ve been on Netgalley almost since the beginning and I learned some things I never knew. Definitely recommended.

Writing Tips, Tricks, Thoughts for the Week Ahead

October 8

Birthdays: John Cowper Powys (1872), Walter Lord (1917), Frank Herbert (1920), Faith Ringgold (1930), Michael Korda (1933), William Corlett (1938), Harvey Pekar (1939), R.L. Stine (1943), Benjamin Cheever (1948), Steve Coll (1958), Bret Lott (1958), Claire Messud (1966), Jaclyn Moriarty (1968), Lincoln Michel (1982),

Walter Lord is best known for his account of the Titanic’s sinking “A Night to Remember”

Frank Herbert’s “Dune” series is a science fiction classic

R.L. Stine is an author of children’s horror stories like “Goosebumps”

Steven Coll won two Pulitzer Prizes. One of them for the 2004 book “Ghost Wars”

Quote: “Many adults feel that every children’s book has to teach them something…. My theory is a children’s book… can be just for fun.” ― R.L. Stine

 “Everything I write is different, so I can’t really generalise about where I begin. But character is very important to me – it’s why I write, I think; that and language. And if you really know a character, then you figure out how they would behave in a given situation. And the plot comes out of that, really.” – Claire Messud

Tip: There are lots of reasons to quit writing. Come up with reasons to keep going.

Jumpstart: Finish this: The day I disappeared… (using: cemetery, weed, greenhouse)


October 9

Birthdays: Mihaljo Pupin (1858), Edward Bok (1863), Ivo Andric (1892), Bruce Catton (1899), Belva Plain (1915), Jill Ker Conway (1934), Johana Hurwitz (1937), John Sutherland (1938), Jean-Jacques Schuhl (1941), Michael Palmer (1942), K.A. Applegate (1956), Guillermo del Toro (1964), Jacqueline Carey (1964), William Alexander (1976), Sophie van Llewyn

Mihaljo Pupin won the 1924 Pulitzer Prize for his autobiography “Immigrant to Inventor”

Edward Bok won the 1920 Pulitzer for his autobiography “The Americanization of Edward Bok”

Ivo Andric won the 1961 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Bruce Catton won the 1954 Pulitzer for “A Stillness at Appomattox”

William Alexander won the 1912 Nat’l Book Award for Young People’s Literature for “Goblin Secrets”

Quote: “t’s hard to give advice on writing, because the best way to learn is through doing. No two writers work the same way, and everyone has to find their own path. So… write. Write a lot. Build a world and explore it. Create characters and break their hearts.” Jacqueline Carey

“If you get bored with nothing to do, you are not a writer… We are in the business of reproducing reality from nothing. We are the biggest liars in the world, seeking truth.” – Guillermo del Toro

“The point of being over 40 is to fulfil the desires you’ve been harbouring since you were 7.” – Guillermo del Toro

Tip: You’re never too old to write (or too young). This is not like athletics. You can write for as long as you want. For as long as you can. Do not let age hold you back.

Jumpstart: You’ve been infected with a truth virus. It causes you to tell the absolute truth. What do you do until you can find a cure?


October 10

Birthdays: R.K. Narayan (1906), Claude Simon (1913), James Clavell (1924), Sheila Walsh (1928), Harold Pinter (1930), Lily Tuck (1938), James Marshall (1942), Frederick Barthelme (1943), Robert D San Souci (1946), Daniel San Souci (1948), Nora Roberts (1950), Rumiko Takahashi (1957), Jonathan Littel (1967)

Claude Simon received the 1985 Nobel Prize in Literature

Harold Pinter won the 2005 Nobel Prize in Literature

Lily Tuck won the 2004 Nat’l Book Award for Fiction for “The News from Paraguay”

Quote: “All stories have a beginning, a middle, and an ending, and if they’re any good, the ending is a beginning.” – James Clavell

“Life is not only full of sound and fury. It also has butterflies, flowers, art.” – Claude Simon

Tip: Be sure you keep good financial records for the IRS. Yes, you will have to pay taxes on your royalties. But they can be offset by your expenses (sorry, but coffee at Starbucks doesn’t count).

Jumpstart: Pick ten random words from the dictionary (close your eyes, fan the pages, and point – that’s one word). Use these in a scene.


October 11

Birthdays: Francois Mauriac (1885), G.C. Edmondson (1922), Elmore Leonard (1925), Russell Freedman (1929), Saul Friedlander (1932), Daniel Quinn (1935), James M. McPherson (1936), David McFadden (1940), Anne Enright (1962), Richard Paul Evans (1962)

Francois Mauriac won the 1952 Nobel Prize for Literature

Russell Freedman won the 1988 Newbery Medal for “Lincoln: A Photobiography”

Saul Friedlander won the 2008 Pulitzer for Nonfiction for “The Years of Extermination”

James McPherson won the 1989 Pulitzer for Nonfiction for “Battle Cry of Freedom”

Anne Enright won the 2007 Man Book Prize for “The Gathering”

Quote: “The writer has to have patience, the perseverance to just sit there alone and grind It out. And if it’s not worth doing that, then he doesn’t want to write.” – Elmore Leonard

 “It’s the idea that people living close to nature tend to be noble. It’s seeing all those sunsets that does it. You can’t watch a sunset and then go off and set fire to your neighbor’s tepee. Living close to nature is wonderful for your mental health.” ― Daniel Quinn, Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit

Tip: Get a good headshot taken for your author picture. Note: most photographers copyright their work so be sure you can use it for promotional purposes.

Jumpstart: This is the story my father told me. When he did, my mother…


October 12

Birthdays: Aleister Crowley (1875), Eugenio Montale (1896), Lester Dent (1904), Paul Engle (1908), Anne Petry (1908), Robert Fitzgerald (1910), Alice Childress (1912), Logie Bruce Lockhart (1921), Robert Coles (1929), Marina Lewycka (1946), NoViolet Bulawayo (1981), Julie Kagawa (1982),

Eugenio Montale won the 1975 Nobel Prize in Literature

Quote: “First line, or as near thereto as possible, introduce the hero and swat him with a fistful of trouble. Hint at a mystery, a menace or a problem to be solved–something the hero has to cope with.” – Lester Dent

“Life is just a short walk from the cradle to the grave, and it sure behooves us to be kind to one another along the way.” ― Alice Childress

Tip: There is no perfect time to write. There is only now. So get writing. Even if it’s only a page. A paragraph. A sentence. Just start. No ideas? Start with one of the jumpstarts on these pages. There’s a new one every day.

Jumpstart: Grams told me “sweet dreams”, but I knew that would never happen…


October 13

Birthdays: Mary Kingsley (1862), Conrad Richter (1890), Arna Bontemps (1902), Richard Howard (1929), Dalene Matthee (1938), Mollie Katzen (1950), Colin Channer (1963), Emily Gould (1981)

Conrad Richter won the 1952 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for “The Town”

Richard Howard won the 1969 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for “Untitled Subjects”

Quote: “To some extent the shorter the writing assignment is, the harder it is to accomplish, and a blurb is 200 words max.” – Emily Gould

“Give your teachers the respect they deserve, because they are the ones who can help you get where you need to go.” – Richard Howard

Tip: If an agent or publisher is charging you to print your book—run in the other direction. You should not have to pay, unless you’re getting the printing done by yourself.

Jumpstart: One Saturday in the fall, it finally happened… (use: peppermint, library, clock)


October 14

Birthdays: e.e. cummings (1894), Katherine Mansfield (1888), Lois Lenski (1893), Hannah Arendt (1906), Rick Boyer (1943), Katha Pollitt (1949), Kate Grenville (1950)

Quote: “Two pieces of advice: One, write out of an urge to write, not a desire to be ‘a writer’. That is, write about things that are important to you rather than things you think will ‘find a market’. Two, find some kind of paid work that will free you from the need to make a living from your writing, while giving you some time to write.” – Kate Grenville

“We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us something is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.” – e.e. cummings

Tip: If an agent you’ve never heard of comes to you out of the blue and asks for your stuff, be wary. Check them out carefully. Agents get enough requests that they don’t have to come looking. The same goes for book reviewers.  

Jumpstart: Today is National Dessert Day. What kind of dessert would your character eat when alone? On a date? Why?