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Showing topics in Kara'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. Unbuttoning the CEO Unbuttoning the CEO by Mia Sosa is 99c! This contemporary romance has a bit of a taboo relationship element. However, I’m skeptical about the hero and his redemption arc. Reckless driving is no joke. This is also part of the Forever Yours digital imprint, so it’s a little on the shorter side at less than 300 pages. WHO SAYS YOU CAN’T MIX BUSINESS WITH PLEASURE? As the CEO of a large tech company and a semi-reformed bad boy, Ethan Hill is used to calling the shots. But
  3. The Odyssey Writing Workshop One of the top workshops in the world for writers of fantasy, science fiction, and horror Held at Saint Anselm College, Manchester, NH, June 7-July 16, 2021 Only 15 students. The most intense learning experience you’ll ever have. Application deadline: April 1 Six weeks of directed study with Jeanne Cavelos, former senior editor at Bantam Doubleday Dell, bestselling author, and winner of the World Fantasy Award Guest Lecturers: David Farland * Gregory Ashe * Meagan Spooner Djéli Clark * Melissa Scott * Sheree Renée Thomas Virtual Guests: David Brin *
  4. TW: child abuse, drug abuse, addiction and recovery Fans of Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice might recall meeting Anne de Bourgh for a hot minute and also hearing her referred to incessantly by her domineering mother, Lady Catherine. The Heiress tells Anne’s story from her point of view, beginning in early childhood and extending through the entirety of her life. This book was not what I expected, but I loved it once I adjusted to its tone. While The Heiress contains a romance, it is less about romance and much more about the search of the protagonist for autonomy and purpose in her li
  5. Congratulations to Courtney Harler and Divorce Ranch and all the winners of our 2021 Quarter 1 Creative Non-Fiction Essay Contest! Courtney's Bio: Courtney Harler is a freelance writer, editor, and educator based in Las Vegas, Nevada. She holds an MFA from Sierra Nevada University (2017) and an MA from Eastern Washington University (2013). Courtney has been honored by fellowships from Writing By Writers, Squaw Valley Community of Writers, and Nevada Arts Council. Courtney’s creative work—which includes poems, flash fictions, short stories, literary analyses, craft essays, book and film revi
  6. Yesterday
  7. All In RECOMMENDED: All In by Simona Ahrnstedt is $1.99! Redheadedgirl gave the book an A: I felt like this was full of Shakespearean drama, and scheming families, and hot sex, and gorgeous clothes, but also some important things to say about how the world is functioning. There’s a lot going on, though, and the ending a tad rushed. In the cutthroat world of Sweden’s financial elite, no one knows that better than corporate raider David Hammar. Ruthless. Notorious. Unstoppable. He’s out to
  8. Overall, this is a great, comprehensive video for new writers just starting out. Heck, it's also good for writers who just finished their first manuscript and have no clue what to do next. Something I very much appreciate about this video is the tempering of expectations, and the emphasis on curating writing advice by its source. Too often I see new writers falling down rabbit holes of terrible advice from friends, family, or writing groups who don't quite know what they're talking about. For new writers, one of the best ways to learn is to know WHO and WHERE to learn from. I once joined
  9. * sense of humor required Warning: Hacks for Hacks tips may have harmful side effects on your writing career, and should not be used by minors, adults, writers, poets, scribes, scriveners, journalists, or anybody. Happy Quarantiniversary! Time flies, does it not? Now we’re one year into the pandemic, and many of you reading this have already been vaccinated. It’s time to celebrate not just the prospect of life returning to normal, but also your forthcoming literary success. When all this nonsense started, writers everywhere said, “This sucks, but at least I’ll have more time to write.” A w
  10. Photo by Christopher TovoToday I am excited to have another instructor from Odyssey Writing Workshop: author Meagan Spooner. Meagan Spooner will be a guest lecturer at this summer’s Odyssey Writing Workshop, where she will discuss techniques for building characters and character arcs, participate in workshopping sessions, and meet in private conferences with students. She grew up reading and writing every spare moment of the day, while dreaming about life as an archaeologist, a marine biologist, an astronaut. She graduated from Odyssey in 2009 and currently lives and writes in Asheville,
  11. A- Outlawed by Anna North January 5, 2021 · Bloomsbury Publishing TW/CW for the book and this review: discussions of infertility, death in childbirth. Have you ever thought to yourself, “I wish I could read a Western that has a queer girl gang”? Well, guess what? I have great news. While I don’t typically read Westerns, I was drawn in by the blurb for Outlawed: The day of her wedding, 17 year old Ada’s life looks good; she loves her
  12. Her take on the learning curve to becoming a marketable author was realistic. The special "helium voice" effects were annoying, but her delivery overall was professional. Check the box with her on: - DO YOUR HOMEWORK on plot, characters, etc. - READ BOOKS on how to write a novel (okay, but the right ones). - OUTLINING a better idea than PANTSING. Uncheck the box on: - READ BLOGS AND ONLINE VIDEOS to learn how to write. They will inevitably be filled with quasi-productive, very poor, or contradictory advice unless chosen very selectively. How is a neophyte novel wr
  13. Last week
  14. Meg Latorre's "11 ways to improve your writing" are worth learning about if you're a new writer. While I find that she covers a lot of the same points that have already been addressed in other videos, there were a couple things that stood out that I think new writers should definitely take note of. Critique groups vs. beta readers - Meg takes the time to explain the difference between these and why you would find them useful during the editing phase of your manuscript. More than once she kindly encouraged writers to be open to making changes to their story upon receiving constructive crit
  15. Allan Gurganus. Photo: © Roger Haile. Courtesy of W. W. Norton. In his Art of Fiction interview, Allan Gurganus preaches the power of the sentence. But for me, the real satisfaction to be had from the newly released Uncollected Stories of Allan Gurganus comes from the layers: a shrewd grad student’s thrifting trip becomes the story of a portrait, which is actually the story of a tragic moment in a small town’s history; a local news report becomes a firsthand account of the incident told by a police officer to his tape recorder. (In fact, local news reporters are more than once a way of gettin
  16. http://smartbitchestrashybooks.com/WP/wp-content/themes/smartbitches/images/podcast/header_05c.jpg The transcript for Podcast 447. Hanging Out with Sarah J. Maas 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
  17. Hot and Badgered Hot and Badgered by Shelly Laurenston is $1.99! This is the first book in the Honey Badger Chronicles. Sarah read this one and gave it a B grade: Among my favorite things about Laurenston’s writing is how very affirming and inspiring and a whole lot of fun it is, because angry, fearless women make room for themselves, they get shit done, and they’re the heroines. More honey badgers, please. It’s not every day that a beautiful naked woman falls out of the sky and lands fac
  18. Gabriela Houston is a London-based writer. She was born in Poland and raised in a book-loving household on the nourishing diet of mythologies, classics and graphic novels. She had spent much of her early school years holed up in the library, only feeling truly herself in the company of Jack London’s trappers and Lucy Maud Montgomery’s red-headed orphan, among many others. She came to the UK at 19 to follow her passion for literature and she completed her undergraduate and Masters degrees at Royal Holloway, University of London. After her studies she worked in publishing for a few years. She
  19. In Paul Anthony Smith’s Untitled (Dead Yard), a figure stands with arms outstretched in the midst of a haze of ghostly breeze-blocks. The physical appears to commune with the spiritual; unreality encroaches on the real. It’s a startling effect, one that persists throughout Smith’s second solo show with Jack Shainman Gallery, “Tradewinds” (on view through April 3). Using a needled wooden tool, Smith painstakingly works over his photographic prints, puncturing the surface and chipping away at the ink. Each stipple, each architectural flourish laces the images with the fabric of memory. This is n
  20. One goal of Worldbuilding for Fantasy Fans and Authors was compiling and synthesizing all the varying worldbuilding theories and best practices gleaned from fantasy authors and the worldbuilding communities. And along the way, I realized that, outside of the gaming and RPG community, very few worldbuilders take the audience’s experience into account, which was why I included several surveys in my book. Unlike authors, who have to sometimes wait years for feedback of their worlds in the form of reviews, gamers get instant feedback from the players, which helps shape the world in turn. So with t
  21. Flickr:brianjobson We’re so pleased to announce Liza Nash Taylor as a regular WU contributor! You may remember Liza from her guest post, On Being a Debut Novelist at Sixty. From her bio: Liza was a 2018 Hawthornden International Fellow and received an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts the same year. Her work has appeared in Gargoyle Magazine; Deep South, and others. Her debut novel, ETIQUETTE FOR RUNAWAYS (Blackstone Publishing, 2020) is listed in Parade Magazine’s 30 Best Beach Reads of 2020 and Frolic’s 20 Best Books of Summer 2020. Her second novel, IN ALL GOOD FAITH, will be published
  22. When you think ‘Boston Noir,’ you probably think of The Departed or The Town or, David Ortiz help us, Boondock Saints. The best of Boston noir is a different shade of darkness than the more traditional film noir. (And that’s pretty damn dark.) Add on extra layers of guilt and a strong religious presence, and you’ve got something unique. While filming in Massachusetts has become more prevalent in recent years, for decades there wasn’t much of film production in the state. All the films listed below were made in these darker days, when seeing the streets of Boston on screen was a rarer occurre
  23. We’re a year into the pandemic. Hundreds of thousands of city dwellers have fled their urban apartments for suburban spaces. It is, if you live outside the city limits, a seller’s market. New York City, where I live, is in the middle of an all-time low-rent bonanza. It is a crazy time for real estate, that’s no doubt. If you’re like me, the pandemic has increased your habit of casually browsing Zillow and Realtor.com listings (well, I look at StreetEasy, a site for NY real estate only, but you get the picture), wondering what it would feel like to leave my apartment and swap it for a bigger s
  24. At the risk of sounding like an imposter myself, I have to ask: What is crime fiction? This is not, perhaps, a question that someone who has just published a crime novel ought to be asking. But the more I think about it, the more trouble I have answering it. The genre’s borders are decidedly blurry. Is a crime novel simply a novel whose plot involves a criminal act? Perhaps we ought to throw in a measure of suspense too. But in that case, Ian McEwan’s Atonement (winner of the 2003 National Book Critics Circle Award) should be found on the “mystery and thrillers” shelf along with Gillian Flynn
  25. Quiet Time, my first mystery, was a fictionalized version of the brutal murder of a suburban housewife. Not just any housewife, but Betty Frye, on the eve of my marriage to her son. Back in 1973, he and I were college students at CU in Boulder, practicing karate and living together on the Hill. The morning Betty was murdered, I spoke with her; hours later, I saw her killer. Her death made me a crime writer. Quiet Time was my lab for learning fiction craft. The manuscript underwent twenty-odd drafts, each more heavily fictionalized. I wasn’t imaginative enough to invent brand-new characters, t
  26. On Christmas Eve, 1800, Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul of the Republic of France, boarded his coach bound for the Paris Opera. His coachman, César, was drunk, and sped recklessly past a cart piled with hay partially blocking the street. Seconds later, the cart exploded. A hundred yards behind, a second coach carrying Bonaparte’s wife, Josephine—delayed by her decision to change scarves—felt the force of the blast, which shattered her window and sent a shard of glass slicing across the hand of her daughter, a fellow passenger. Josephine’s sister-in-law was hurled against the side of the coa
  27. by Angela Cheveau As a child I loved stories. The artillery fire of my parents insults towards each other raging above my head across the no man’s land of the carpet, I would retreat to my trench for shelter. Climbing inside the pages of a book for cover I smeared my face with a war paint of words. Stories were my shield. I hid behind them. Hid inside them. Words wrapped magic around my young shoulders and threaded starlight through my hair. I wore daisy chains of words around my neck. Stories lit my pathway through the dark and foreboding forests of childhood. In stories I could be anyone.
  28. A | BN | K | ABSometimes I’m fortunate enough to do an interview with an author I’ve never met, but with whom there’s an instant connection. That happened for Amanda and me last year when we interviewed Sarah J. Maas in Episode 395.. And now, Sarah J. Mass is back, nearly one year later to the date, to talk about her new book, A Court of Silver Flames, and about sexytimes, the magic romance house, rage, mental health, and re-reading books through the pandemic. There are so many little love letters to romance in A Court of Silver Flames, so of course we talk about the most lovely parts of being
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