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  2. Comparables: World Gone By meets Who They Was in this 90,000 plot-driven and character-rich debut novel set in modern day New York. Hook: A gun-runner for an urban gang sets out to uncover the mystery of his best friend’s death and triggers a chain of events that jeopardizes everyone in his orbit, including him. Short Pitch: Marlon Brown is a gun-runner for the Bloods, whose best friend has been gunned down outside of the gang's established territory. Though the whisper stream comes alive with speculation about who did the deed and why, conjecture isn't enough for Marlon. He ha
  3. If your book is all concept, it's all boring! First of all, I will admit to having enjoyed this book when said and done. Even though I'm about to use it as an example of what not to do, it was still a heartwarming read about love and loss and how trust can conquer fear if we let it. But... This novel is a classic case of the concept getting way, way ahead of the plot. So first, the concept: How to Stop Time revolves around a man named Tom Hazard who ages slower than normal people. He's not immortal exactly, but his body takes so long to grow old that he might as well be. B
  4. The act of the story statement Shadow Baelfiyer is a thief living on Chicago’s South Side. She is plagued by dreams of a world that has magic and dragons and a family she knows to be dead. Her aunt tells her these are just dreams. However, on a daily thieving hunt Shadow runs into two strangers who make her rethink all she has known. They are from a world called Elspeth where magic roams, people transform into lions; a world where she was born, and was taken away from, where she too has magic. These strangers take Shadow on a journey to find her past, but a great threat is uncovered
  5. The Queen’s Bargain The Queen’s Bargain by Anne Bishop is $1.99! This book was mentioned in a previous Hide Your Wallet and is part of the Black Jewels series. I didn’t keep up with the series as a whole, so I’m unsure how this fits in. I think it focuses on secondary characters now, but correct me I’m wrong? POWER HAS A PRICE. SO DOES LOVE. Return to the dark, sensual, and powerful world of the Black Jewels in this long-awaited new story in the New York Times bestselling fantasy saga Af
  6. I feel like I’m committing a grievous writerly sin by even typing these words, but I must speak my truth: I would like to see more passive protagonists in fiction. While the title of this post is tongue-in-cheek, I do think that passive protagonists are unfairly maligned in part because of the unspoken association between passivity and femininity. I’ll get into why I think so a little later, but let’s discuss what “passive protagonist” means first. The importance of intent Passive protagonists are the antithesis of what we’re told makes a good story. A good story, says common wisdom, is dr
  7. http://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/WP/wp-content/themes/smartbitches/images/posts/hide-your-wallet.jpg Welcome to Book Beat! Book Beat aims to highlight other books that we may hear about through friends, social media, or other sources. We could see a gorgeous ad! Or find a new-to-us author on a list of underrated romances! Think of Book Beat as Teen Beat or Tiger Beat, but for books. And no staples to open to get the fold-out poster. Artie and the Wolf Moon Author: Olivia Stephens Release
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  9. Story Statement Jeremy Peoples must do whatever it takes to find forgiveness and make peace with the past. The Antagonist Plots the Point Stacy Ramone is a former marine, married, with one son, a flawed family man with a heightened sense of loyalty and a rapidly declining mental state. His ultimate plan was to use the money he and his wife were making by selling narcotics and stolen pharmaceuticals to buy a local bar until he is betrayed by Jeremy. Several years later, Stacy remains unseen, a dormant facet of Jeremy’s complicated and violent past, until a series of even
  10. Illustration: Liby Hays. Courtesy of Hays. Liby Hays’s Geniacs!, a graphic novel out this summer from the art book publisher Landfill Editions, takes place at a hackathon—truly inspired material for slapstick comedy, body horror, and philosophical reflection alike. This tech competition’s goal? Invent a new life-form. “People always think my ideas are dumb … but they’re purposefully so! Their failure is coded within them! It’s like when scientists artificially reanimate the cells of a dead pig’s brain. The brain becomes trapped in an infinite loop reliving the terror of its final moments. But
  11. 1. Story statement. Reconcile with past and find self. 2. Antagonist. Tess begins the story at a low point; anxious, consumed by memories of the past. She presents as nervous, little confidence in herself. She places too much emphasis on what people think. Dominated by internal thoughts that belittle and degrade herself. Natural people pleaser who doesn’t speak up for wants and needs, would rather keep the peace. As the story commences, we see Tess having to start making decisions albeit it small; from paying by cash or card, to directions. Midway, we start to recognize her poor decisio
  12. Greetings -- Attached is a first draft of Assignments 1-7 for the upcoming workshop in St. Augustine. All comments most welcome. Looking forward to meeting fellow writers and learning a lot soon. Cheers, Elizabeth EA_Nichols_PreWorkshopAssignment.docx
  13. “Few suspected women of spying, and certainly no one expected a middle-aged knitter to be surreptitiously gather­ing intelligence.” -Elizabeth Bentley, A Most Clever Girl While researching topics for my next novel, I stumbled across Elizabeth Bentley’s name and was gobsmacked that I’d never heard of this American spy who once ran the largest Soviet spy ring in America. Because Bentley was a female NKVD-spy-turned-FBI-informer—a combination America wasn’t quite sure what to do with—she was overshadowed both in life and after her death by Joseph McCarthy and Whittaker Chambers. In fact, Whitt
  14. Gustave Caillebotte, Woman at a Dressing Table, 1873. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons My grandmother collected perfume bottles, a seeming whimsy for a woman of such plainness and ferocity. I have three of them, given to me when she was still alive. They lived in a drawer and then later, in a decorative moment, on the bookshelf, where I have since placed them higher and higher out of reach, as my daughter has attempted to climb up to play with them, a slow-moving game between us, until now they are so high up as to be out of view. I tend not to be sentimental about objects, but I at least
  15. On Wednesday, we announced our sixth trio of eliminations and revealed that this week’s two quarter-finalists from the “different” batch are SHADOWS OF IVORY by T.L. Greylock/Bryce O’Connor and WINDS OF STRIFE by U.G .Gutman. These two battle it out in our final quarterfinal of SPFBO 7 In treading a different path in fantasy fiction, our two quarter-finalists stretched our expectations of fantasy protagonists. One gave us a cruel man who finds and murders witches but considers that a mercy, even as his actions eat away at him. The other gave us a young woman gifted by position and wealth
  16. The question we have been asked more than any other in our career as pro podders is ‘why are women so obsessed with true crime?’. And the numbers do stack up, we at RedHanded have been in the criminal fixation game for nearly five years, and we still boast an audience heavily swayed in the female direction. Eighty-two percent swayed, to be exact. So, the question is worth asking, but the truth is, true crime and the commercial consumption of it is nothing new. As far back as 1888, Victorian media moguls cottoned on sharpish to how much faster they could sell their papers if they recounted the
  17. I’VE JUST WORKED OUT THE TITLE. That’s so damn clever… The title obviously, not me. Damn I hope you gave yourself a proper pat on the back Gray. Anyway We’re off to a good start, aren’t we. You’ll have to excuse me, please, as I’m suffering from serious book hangover. The kind where… you’ve finished the book, so you stare off into space thinking about it, then your hands reach for it in an attempt to return to reading it. But there’s nothing left to read… The Last Days of Hong Kong is the third and final instalment of G. D. Penman’s Witch of Empire series (The Year of the Knife and The Wou
  18. All right fine, two decades later, I’ll admit it. Back in grad school I may have been a little overeager. Probably a lot overeager. While most of my fellow MFA candidates approached the program with an enviable amount of cool, professional detachment, I was about as cool and detached as a sugar-crazed toddler running wild through Disneyland. In my defense, I’d spent my entire life up to that point surrounded by non-writers. In grade school and high school, my aspirations to someday become a novelist made me a favorite of English teachers, but a curiosity to my classmates. In college, my best
  19. “Are you trying to bust my balls?” The speaker is Inspector Salvo Montalbano, head of the fictional municipality of Vigata, Sicily’s, police department, and in the 28 novels and two short story collections written by Andrea Camilleri and published in Italian and English…someone always is. The criminals, from petty to monstrous, who occupy his frustrating days (and sometimes alarming nightmares); the Mafia thugs who spread their tentacles into every Sicilian institution; the corrupt politicians who march hand in hand with them; the witless press that blindly supports whatever government is i
  20. Matthew Arnold suggested the best method of judging the excellence of literature is the amount of time it has survived. There is no greater proof of this touchstone for a novelist than Graham Greene. His books are still selling, often in terms much greater than newly published books that get intense media coverage. His books are read with enthusiasm and taken seriously. It is surprising that many of his contemporaries, many Noble prize winners included, are simply vanishing into the past, while the books of Greene not only endure but thrive. For the modern novelist, these facts demand attenti
  21. It’s no secret that cozy mysteries often feature cats. They’re the trusty side-kicks, the comic reliefs, the silent partners with noses dewy for crime. Rarely are they the protagonists though. That role is saved for the sleuthy humans with their dual legs, lavender lattes, and marvelous penchants for snooping. Yet, as much as I love these mysteries with their human protags and perspectives, as an animal lover, I always find myself wanting to know more about the cats. Perhaps it’s because I’ve realized that when they bathe they’re actually doing laundry, or because during food time they all hav
  22. A- Feral Creatures by Kira Jane Buxton August 24, 2021 · Grand Central Publishing Science Fiction/Fantasy Feral Creatures is the sequel to one of my favorite books, Hollow Kingdom. I liked Feral Creatures a great deal, but it very much has the feel of a middle book in a series (which it is) given that it relies too much on Hollow Kingdom to work as a stand alone and it has a cliffhanger ending. As a stand alone, it probably is good but n
  23. by Linda Petrucelli Now, I am not usually the kind of person who likes to have someone tell me what to do. But in the case of generating words on a page, I often need a nudge to defeat that amorphous feeling of having nothing to say. A terrific writing prompt, I believe, acts like a pressure cooker. It should create some heat. Make you sweat—just enough and not too much. Literary limits (word, subject, or craft restrictions) can supercharge a piece of writing. By holding you back a little, an impactful prompt revs your engine that much more. My innate resistance to not doing what people tell
  24. http://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/WP/wp-content/themes/smartbitches/images/podcast/header_05c.jpg The transcript for Podcast 475. Badass Anthologies and Vintage YA with Dahlia Adler has been posted! This podcast transcript was handcrafted with meticulous skill by Garlic Knitter. Many thanks. ❤ Click here to subscribe to The Podcast → View the full article
  25. A | BN | K | AB YA Author, reviewer, and editor Dahlia Adler joins me to talk about all the Badass Anthologies she’s editing, about her upcoming book, Home Field Advantage, and her latest, Cool for the Summer. And, inspired by a recent Instagram pic of her Bantam Love Stories collection, we also talk about vintage YA romances. Stay tuned for the outro where I have a special announcement of a new podcast project inspired by this conversation! TW/CW: discussion of anti fat bias in Sweet Valley. Music: purple-planet.com Listen to the podcast → Read the trans
  26. Graham Crumb, 2011, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons. People were drinking wine out of plastic cups. The chairs were pushed close together. Bags were tucked under feet. I sat on the bookshop stage with two other writers, ready to read our ghost stories. Before we began, the moderator asked, “Do you believe in ghosts?” After a pause, we spoke of doubt. Creepy incidents were related. I found myself saying that perhaps the dead might be watching us. I’ve never seen a soul move through the air. I am not sure that we are anything more than a skin-bag of electrical impulses. But ghosts are diff
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