Interview with Author Mike Sirota

Interview with author and writing coach, Mike Sirota … I read Freedom’s Hand (by Mike) and highly recommend. His new book is Stone Woman (in my TBR queue) … looking forward to it.

Must-Read Books by Christina Knowles


An honor to be included on this list!

Originally posted on Disturbing the Universe:

This week my AP students have been presenting speeches on the books they read this quarter, and hearing students talk about my favorite books inspires in me a longing to re-read my favorites. My students often ask me what my favorite book is, and I easily reply, “Winter Garden by Kristen Hannah,” but after that, it gets tough to narrow it down to a list of essentials. I would love to just list ten, but I find it impossible to limit it that much when I begin to write. Here are my absolute must-haves:

  1. Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah: I love this book because it is the most beautiful novel I have ever read. It’s about regrets, misunderstandings, and relationships—relationships between sisters, mothers and daughters, fathers and daughters, and husbands and wives. It is thought-provoking, poignant, and reads like poetry. Within the contemporary story, lives fairytale, so sweet and…

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Write Well, Not Fast


Wise words from longtime author and writing coach, Mike Sirota.

Originally posted on Mike Sirota's Blog - Swords, Specters, & Stuff:

Okay, this week I’m going to be a curmudgeon—something that I do quite well, actually. There are organizations, conferences, workshops—whatever—that stress sitting down with your laptops on fire and writing novels just as fast as you can. Write 5,000 words over a weekend. Or better still, write 50,000 words in thirty days. As a professional novelist and writing coach of nearly four decades, I disagree with this method of helping writers, or wannabe writers, to explore their creativity. Let me explain.

For starters, the reason I’m bringing this up right now is that November has been books 2designated National Novel Writing Month by a nonprofit organization of the same name—though better known as NaNoWriMo. They urge participants to write a “50,000-word novel” during the thirty days of the month, with a specific deadline of “11:59 p.m. on November 30th.” (Forget the fact that 50,000 words do not constitute a…

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Amazon Must Be Stopped? OK. Any Volunteers?

Originally posted on Polishing Your Prose:

amazoncom_logo_RGBRe: Amazon Must Be Stopped: It’s too big. It’s cannibalizing the economy. It’s time for a radical plan. (Franklin Foer, New Republic, Oct. 9, 2014)

All humans are self-serving and short-sighted to some degree; most humans are self-serving and short-sighted to a large degree. Wal-Mart’s Sam Walton and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos understand this; thus, their business models thrive, and despite all the whining, more and more consumer products are Made in China or other enclaves of cheap labor, while our employment base evolves from manufacturing and production jobs to comparatively lower-paying service jobs.

We, as consumers, reward these business practices when we buy their products.

Pogo’s celebrated quip come’s to mind.

In terms of the book biz, I laughed out loud at the comment about “dilettantism.” Let’s see, dilettantes E. L. James and Amanda Hocking (among others) pen best-selling ebooks that take Amazon by storm, then the “antediluvians,” who…

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His Name Was Ben Amazon Rank: #8 Best Seller Kindle Store


My good friend Paulette Mahurin’s new book stats (all proceeds go to dog rescue!):

Originally posted on The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap:

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Is Literature Disappearing Up It’s Own A-Hole?


Via one of my favorite bloggers, the always fascinating A.M.B., at The Misfortune of Knowing:

Originally posted on The Misfortune Of Knowing:

Horace Engdahl seems to think so.

In comments to Le Croix, Horace Engdahl (of the Swedish Academy responsible for the Nobel Prize) criticized the “professionalization” of writing through financial support from foundations and educational institutions that allow writers to leave their “day jobs” to devote more time to writing. Noting that it’s particularly a problem for the “western side” of the world, he said:

Even though I understand the temptation, I think it cuts writers off from society, and creates an unhealthy link with institutions… Previously, writers would work as taxi drivers, clerks, secretaries and waiters to make a living. Samuel Beckett and many others lived like this. It was hard – but they fed themselves, from a literary perspective.

If we set aside Engdahl’s hypocrisy — he’s a literary academic linked with an institution — there’s a kernel of truth in his words: experience matters. Real-life experiences inform…

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A Review of Two Lovely Berries on Words For Worms!


Sharing a review of Two Lovely Berries, a just-released novel by my favorite blogger, A.M Blair. I’m reading the novel now and enjoying it.

Originally posted on The Misfortune Of Knowing:

Two Lovely Berries_Cover August 2014I can’t express the excitement I felt when I saw the first review of my novel, Two Lovely Berries, on one of my favorite book blogs, Words for Worms. I’ve been following Words for Worms for a long time, and I’ve also participated in her Fellowship of the Worms.

In her review of Two Lovely Berries, Katie wrote:

I don’t know what to say other than this book was excellent. I found the story engrossing from the start. Books that focus on interpersonal relationships sometimes turn a corner into a weird introspective place, but I thought Two Lovely Berries stayed grounded firmly in reality. Everything was realistically portrayed, and even the dramatic bits avoided abject melodrama. Tales of infidelity, workaholics, family violence, and sibling rivalry all blend together with refreshing glimmers of humanity that make the whole thing just work.

I am so glad that Two Lovely…

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