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Showing topics in Cara's Cabinet of Themes and Curiosities, Novel Writing Advice Videos - Who Has it Right?, Crime Reads - Suspense, Thrillers, Crime, Gun!, Writer Unboxed - The "Connect Kitty" Approves, The Fantasy Hive - A U.K. Wonderland, Women on Writing - WOW and WOW!, Smart Bitches, Trashy Books and The Paris Review - A Literary Wonderland posted in for the last 365 days.

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  1. Today
  2. The other day my 8th graders and I were brainstorming emotions for possible memoir stories. We were coming up with ideas like "incredibly excited--when my team won the soccer tournament." The idea was to jot down just a few words to jog our memory, so later, we could write some rough drafts and then even later, we could decide which story we wanted to invest some time in as we revised and edited and shared. image by Pixabay I was sharing my memoir ideas because in my class, I write right alongside my students. To get them s
  3. Yesterday
  4. http://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/WP/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Depositphotos_52671211_original-300x200.jpgHey hey! It’s Wednesday! I personally can’t believe it. The days are going by rather quickly, at least for me. This Saturday, I’m getting my third tattoo based on one of my favorite horror movies, The Witch. I am more nervous about having to rent a car in Boston to make it to the shop, which is a couple hours out of the city. Wish me luck! I also feel like we’re beginning the slow, miserable march to the holiday season. Not my fave. … I am obsessed with this artist on TikTok. She use
  5. Caroline and son. Courtesy of the Clifton family. What is our relationship to history? Do we belong to it, or is it ours? Are we in it? Does it run through us, spilling out like water, or blood? I think the answers to those questions, at least in America, depend upon who you are—or rather, on who you’ve been taught to believe that you are. If the history you descend from has been mapped, adapted, mythologized, reenacted, and broadcast as though it is the central defining story of a continent, perhaps you can be forgiven (up to a point) for having succumbed to a collective distortion. But wh
  6. The Lady and Her Monsters The Lady and Her Monsters by Roseanne Montillo is $1.99! This is part biography and part sciene, as Montillo weaves in Mary Shelley’s experience working on Dr. Frankenstein and the science behind it. Carrie mentioned it her Mary Shelley birthday post, but warns of animal cruelty. The Lady and Her Monsters by Roseanne Motillo brings to life the fascinating times, startling science, and real-life horrors behind Mary Shelley’s gothic masterpiece, Frankenstein. Monti
  7. Content warnings: Traditional fairy tale grimness, including violence, death and murder, child abuse, forced marriage, and so on; racism and colourism. Nothing is graphically described. You think you know these stories, don’t you? You are wrong. You don’t know them at all. Twelve tales, twelve dangerous tales of mystery, magic, and rebellious hearts. Each twists like a spindle to reveal truths full of warning and triumph, truths that capture hearts long kept tame and set them free, truths that explore life . . . and death. A prince has a surprising awakening . . .
  8. Revision. We all do it … and do it … and do it. Writers have had a lot to say on the subject. There’s Vladimir Nabokov, who boasted that his pencils outlasted their erasers. Dorothy Parker, who claimed that she couldn’t write five words without changing seven. Robert Cormier, who quipped: “The beautiful part of writing is that you don’t have to get it right the first time, unlike, say, a brain surgeon.” One of the clearest statements about revision comes from the always-brilliant Neil Gaiman: “When you’re ready, pick [your manuscript] up and read it, as if you’ve never read it before. If the
  9. Like all of my mob-drama-obsessed brethren, I anxiously awaited The Sopranos prequel, Many Saints of Newark, which aired on HBO on October 1. Not for the blood or the body count but for what has elevated the mob canon of books, film and television since Mario Puzo published his novel The Godfather in 1969: Family. Sopranos creator David Chase became transfixed with the Corleones while studying for his master’s degree in film at Stanford. “I was just ready for that book,” he would tell Stanford magazine of Mario Puzo’s Biblical novel. Decades later, battle-scarred from toiling on TV shows li
  10. You may be thinking, lately, “what’s with all the horror content on CrimeReads? This is a crime fiction site!” And yet, like obscenity, genre fiction struggles to mold itself to any particular definitions, instead resting on the principal of “I know it when I see it.” I organized a roundtable discussion with some of the many horror fiction writers crossing over into thriller territory (to be posted next week) and many of the respondents described horror not as a genre, but as a feeling. And as well they might, for horror seems particularly difficult to *ahem* nail down. The following list is c
  11. The punk rock scene I came up in never had much in common with an English village. But the nocturnal world of basement clubs and backstage passes has long proved rich territory for crime writers examining themes of community, creativity, and fame. As I’ve turned from my usual cat cozies to psychological suspense, the mix of inspiration, ambition, alcohol, and passion that fuels this gut-level music has proved irresistible. And while there are wonderful mysteries set in the various musical universes, from the famed La Fenice opera house (Donna Leon, Death at La Fenice) to the brothels of Storyv
  12. As a voracious reader since age seven (Nancy Drew), bookstores call me as if magnetized. There’s something magical about rows of crisp colorful bindings and the scent of fresh ink. Used bookshops are especially intriguing, often offering bargains and rarities. On lazy Sunday afternoons years ago, my parents used to load us into the station wagon and drive to a magnificent used bookstore in Hallowell, Maine. The building was old and quaint, with peeling paint and creaky wood floors. Books were piled in the window. Stacked on the floor. Crammed into cases. I still remember my held breath when
  13. It’s time for another edition of Stuff We Like! http://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/WP/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/SWL-Pins.png We love pins, and we love lots of different pins, and I’m sorry in advance for this one. It’s temptation in the extreme! Want to see? Just click that image above or click right here, and come shop with us! And if you’d like to browse some more, we have a complete Stuff We Like archive, including past Gift Guides and other posts of our favorite items. View the full article
  14. Last week
  15. Every week, the editors of The Paris Review lift the paywall on a selection of interviews, stories, poems, and more from the magazine’s archive. You can have these unlocked pieces delivered straight to your inbox every Sunday by signing up for the Redux newsletter. Welty, ca. 1962, Wikimedia Commons This week at The Paris Review, we’re waiting for the bus and descending into the subway. Read on for Eudora Welty’s Art of Fiction interview, Gish Jen’s short story “Amaryllis,” and Frank O’Hara’s poem “Corresponding Foreignly,” paired with a portfolio of photographs by G. M. B. Akash. If you en
  16. Holiday Fakeout Holiday Fakeout is 99c! This anthology just dropped and features over 20 romances with fake dating during the holidays. Talk about catnip! If I did my math correctly with the listed page count, each story is 100 pages or slightly more. Need a date for the holidays? Oh joy…We’ve got you covered with 22 fake holidates to heat up your season! Travel from small towns to cosmopolitan cities, snow covered mountains to gorgeous mansions. You’ll meet sexy billionaires, brainy tech
  17. Today we’re thrilled to host a cover reveal for Clay Harmon’s debut novel, Flames Of Mira. Described as an epic new fantasy series set in a world of ice, fire and magic, this is a tale of redemption with a magic system to rival that of Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn series. Want to know more? We got you covered, here’s the official blurb: People like Ig are born from life-threatening trials that bind periodic elements to the human body, forged in the boiling volcanoes and subterranean passages under Mira’s frozen lands. One of the most powerful known elementals, he is forced to work as an
  18. Start your story at the beginning, write until you reach the end, then stop. Then start your revisions with page one and work straight through from there, too. Although there is no best way to write a novel, a lot of writers take this approach because it’s the most natural. And it may work for you. But stories aren’t always so linear. Instead, they loop back and forth, with later events affecting earlier ones. Your characters might veer in unexpected directions, plot points that seemed minor when the story started may turn out to be critical, and vice versa. The ending can change the me
  19. The Victorian era is, for what seem like obvious reasons, defined by the life span of the British Queen Victoria, which dates from her birth in 1837 and ends with her expiration in 1901. Those early years, when she was an infant and then a toddler and then an adolescent (although it may be difficult to envision her as such) did not actually produce much in the way of what we recognize as “Victorian fiction,” which developed later in her life—and beyond. Indeed, much Edwardian fiction, if we read it without being aware of publication dates, has precisely the tone and attitude of the works prod
  20. If you’re anything like me, the books that tend to stick with you are the ones that simply blow your mind. The ones that take you away from reality and make you think about everything in a completely new way. My personal favorites are the ones where I can’t decide if I would really love the tech or speculative situation to be real, or if I’m super thankful that it’s not. Speculative fiction is a broad category of fiction, which includes any genre that has elements that do not exist in reality—we’re talking sci-fi, fantasy, paranormal, etc. It’s these “what if” scenarios that my mind tends to
  21. A few years ago, when I decided to move from my city apartment into an old small house in the woods, everyone thought I was crazy. And actually, maybe I was, because the forest and I are not always best friends, to be honest. During the day, I love the surroundings – the peace, the specialness . Then again, some nights I cannot sleep: animals scream, the wind rushes through the trees, everything creaks. This is when my brain starts to develop dark visions and strange fears. So what else should I do but write thrillers? And is it a coincidence that so far all of my books are at least partially
  22. At the conclusion of the seven Quirke novels, starting with Christine Falls and concluding with Even the Dead, it seemed as though Benjamin Black, aka John Banville—(and more later about the name game he’s adeptly played) had achieved a perfect narrative arc. Over the series, we learned how Quirke had become the misanthropic misfit he is and how the repressive Catholic Church’s control of Dublin in the 1950s permeated all aspects of an often depressing, yet occasionally vibrant life. Quirke, a pathologist who seldom actually practices his trade, cannot help but involve himself in any number o
  23. This HaBO is from Michelle, who wants to find this American historical romance: I’m looking for some help finding the name of a book that I read in the early 90s. It may have been published in the mid to late 80s as it was part of my Mom’s book stash. The setting is the American Old West when railroads were still fairly new-ish. The male main character may have been either raised by an Indigenous tribe or part/all Indigenous himself. I have no real memory of the female main character. Romance blossoms but is thwarted when the hero discovers he is a father and has a son who was born to a ric
  24. D. Slayton Avery, recently retired from teaching, now works at playing with words. Her fiction and poetry has appeared in online and print journals and anthologies—Boston Literary Magazine, The Hopper, Enchanted Conversations, and Santa Barbara Literary Journal among others. She is a regular contributor at Carrot Ranch Literary Community. D. has two books of poetry, Chicken Shift and For the Girls, and a collection of flash fiction, After Ever, Little Stories for Grown Children. D. Avery’s writings are available for online sampling at ShiftnShake. When not writing, D. Slayton Avery can be foun
  25. In her monthly column The Moon in Full, Nina MacLaughlin illuminates humanity’s long-standing lunar fascination. Each installment is published in advance of the full moon. The Wild Hunt of Odin, by Peter Nicolai Arbo, Nasjonalmuseet Summer is dead. The last flames of its cremation heat the leaves across New England where I live. The rest of the fire-stained leaves will fall, ashy on the forest floors, ashy on the sidewalks. This is how ghosts speak, the sound of ashy leaves blown by wind or shuffled by feet, and October is when they speak the loudest. Ghosts are white in the imagination, pal
  26. Winter’s Orbit RECOMMENDED: Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell is $2.99! Ellen read this one and gave it an A-: If you enjoy sci-fi, arranged marriage/marriage of convenience stories, courtly intrigues, and/or slow-burn romance, I think Winter’s Orbit is a great choice. Ancillary Justice meets Red, White & Royal Blue in Everina Maxwell’s exciting debut. While the Iskat Empire has long dominated the system through treaties and political alliances, several planets, including Thea, have
  27. The following photographs are taken from the archives of Lester Sloan, who was a photojournalist for Newsweek, where he documented the 1967 uprising in Detroit, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the kidnapping of Patty Hearst, and the O. J. Simpson trial, from the late sixties until the mid-nineties. The captions are transcribed conversations between Lester and his daughter, the writer Aisha Sabatini Sloan. They have been edited for concision. They are offered here in the spirit of an eavesdropped conversation. While this is a work of nonfiction, the stories relayed here are recollections, prone to
  28. Welcome intrepid adventurers to Tough Travelling with the Tough Guide to Fantasyland! That’s right, we’ve dusted it down and brought back this feature (created by Nathan of Fantasy Review Barn, revived by our friends over on Fantasy Faction, then dragged kicking and screaming to the Hive). It is a monthly feature in which we rack our brains for popular (and not so popular) examples of fantasy tropes. Tough Travelling is inspired by the informative and hilarious Tough Guide to Fantasyland by Diana Wynne Jones. Fellow bloggers are absolutely welcome to join in – just make your own list, publi
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