Archive for March, 2010

A nice review for my book

March 31, 2010

Even though it was published 3 years ago I still stumble across the occasional new review for my book Monster Spotter’s Guide to North America (HOW Books, 2007).

Check out this one

Learn more about the book

179 Ways to Save a Novel

March 19, 2010

The advance copies for Peter Selgin’s 179 Ways to Save a Novel showed up today. I’m super excited to see this book, as it was a fun project to work on. A great book to dip into for some quick advice or when read from cover to cover as an inspiring treatise on the writing life.

Read an excerpt here

Read an interview with Peter Selgin

Pre-order your copy

Author Interview: Laurie Alberts

March 16, 2010

Laurie Alberts

It’s back to the grindstone for me after a great weekend where I got to speak with lots of interesting writers at WD’s Editor Intensive event. I read some really great stories with a lot of potential. I also sat in on an editor’s panel where we discussed areas of improvement that many of us see when we read manuscripts.

One of the areas of improvement that came up a lot during the discussion is knowing when to use in depth scenes and when to summarize and condense things down. It’s a great question and one that author Laurie Alberts addresses in her forthcoming book Showing and Telling, a great book that deals with finding balance between scene and summary. I recently had the chance to ask Laurie about her writing career and here’s what she had to say

When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

Although I’d written stories since I was little, I never realized I wanted to be a writer until I spent a semester off from college living in an Alaskan fishing village, working on fishing boats, absorbed by the life there and scribbling in a journal out of loneliness and fascination. I actually thought I wanted to become a commercial fisherman for a brief period. Instead I became a writer and that Alaskan experience led to my first novel, Tempting Fate.

What was the first thing you ever wrote?

“Lucky Wins His Horseshoe” – a story I wrote at age five about a racehorse too young to race. I safety-pinned it together and wrote beneath the title, “Illustrated by the Author.” I must have asked my mother how to spell illustrated and author.

What are your 5 favorite books?

Well, that list shifts, of course, but some of my perpetual favorites are Love Medicine by Louise Erdrich, the short stories of Anton Chekhov, the novel A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry, Alice Munro stories, and the memoir When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago. There’s a sixth that I read not long ago and was just amazed by – Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky. It is about the German occupation of France, written by a woman who was in hiding from the Nazis while she was writing, yet her humanity is so large that she is able to believably enter the minds of both the occupied and the occupiers.

With your book Showing & Telling you cover the importance of both scene and summary. I wonder if as a professor you feel that you have to de-program some of your students who have heard the old “show don’t tell” writing adage for the duration of their writing lives?

That’s true of some students I’ve encountered who were enamored by the minimalism of writers such as Hemingway, Raymond Carver, Bobbie Ann Mason. It’s the rare writer who can pull off the kind of work that carries meaning primarily through surface events and dialogue.

You’ve written everything from memoirs to novels to short fiction (and now a
book of writing instruction). What is your favorite thing to write?

Fiction, because it allows the most freedom. On the other hand, I’ve been writing short personal essays lately, so who knows?

What would you be if you weren’t a writer/writing instructor?

A horse trainer/breeder if I could afford it. I’ve raised two foals from birth– one I now ride and the other still too young- and I love it.

Read a more in depth interview with Laurie Alberts at

Read an excerpt from Showing & Telling

Preorder a copy

Book Trailers

March 12, 2010

Posting a video promo for your book online is a great way to generate some buzz about your book.

Many of the authors I work with are creating video “trailers” for their books and posting links to them on their websites and blogs, as well as forwarding them along with emails and news releases.

And it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. You can also get good results with nothing but a little creativity, a home video camera, and computer editing software such as iMovie.

Check out this video trailer for Sharlene Martin and Anthony Flacco’s Publish Your Nonfiction Book

Busy week

March 9, 2010

Hi everyone. I can’t believe it’s only Tuesday. I’ve got a lot on my plate this week, including a large home improvement project on the home front. Thought I’d post a quick rundown of things I’m working on:

  • This weekend is our first Editor Intensive event of the year, so I’m reading manuscripts for that. I’m looking forward to meeting writers for our critique sessions.
  • I’m working on the copyedit for Barbara Baig’s forthcoming How to Be a Writer (due December 2010)
  • I’m working to finalize the layout for the 2nd edition of Anne Stilman’s Grammatically Correct (due June 2010)– this is great reference that belongs on every writer’s bookshelf (it’s been used by writers, professors and students for more than a decade… now revised and updated)
  • I’m laying out the 5th edition of The Complete Guide to Self-Publishing by Marilyn Ross and Sue Collier (due July 2010). This book is crammed full of book industry knowledge. I’d recommend it for people wanting to self publish, start a small publishing company, or simply wanting to learn the ins and outs of the publishing industry.
  • I’m reading entries for Writer’s Digest’s Pop Fiction Contest– we’re working to choose a grand prize winner for this genre spanning contest
  • I’m also reading manuscripts for a couple of great books: The 90 Day Novel by Sarah Domet (a day by day plan for outlining and writing your first draft in 90 days) and The Productive Writer by Sage Cohen (an inspiring book that helps writers organize and prioritize their writing life, covering everything from staking out your writing time to managing your author platform and your freelance writing schedule).

More about these projects as they progress. In the meantime check out for available titles from WD.


March 5, 2010

Thought I’d post a brief rundown of some upcoming Writer’s Digest related events: