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Review: Carrie Soto Is Back by Taylor Jenkins Reid

TJR has done it again!  What a fantastic read by one of my favorite authors. Taylor Jenkins Reid has always … Read More

Review – Blank: A Novel by Zibby Owens

I honestly didn’t expect to love this book as much as I did! What a great story with a powerful … Read More

Review: Under The Storm by Christoffer Carlsson

What a great noir mystery set in the Swedish countryside! I found this story to be an engaging and thrilling … Read More

REVIEW: The Lost Apothecary by Sarah Penner

This is absolutely the kind of book that makes writers jealous.  If you’re a writer, you finish this book and … Read More

Review: Murder by Invitation Only by Colleen Cambridge

This series is a such a fun read! The third installment of the Phyllida Bright Mysteries holds up to the … Read More

Review: Penelope In Retrograde by Brooke Abrams

Penelope In Retrograde is a book every writer will hate, because at some point in reading this story they will … Read More

Review: Murder at the Oasis by David S. Pederson

As a fan of noir mysteries, this book is an absolute delight. (The entire series is really!) This book is … Read More

Review: Sherlock Holmes and the Legend of the Great Auk (The Early Casebook of Sherlock Holmes 5) by Linda Stratmann

Thank you to NetGalley for an advanced copy of this title. What a joy to return to the world of … Read More

REVIEW: Coming Clean By Beth Uznis Johnson

Coming Clean was an interesting read, and I’m glad I was able to obtain an advanced copy through NetGalley. The … Read More

Review: Sweet Cream Ladies, Ltd., by Flo Fitzpatrick

This was a light, fun read and perfect for those who love cozy mysteries with strong female leads. I enjoyed … Read More

Review: How Can I Help You by Laura Sims

How Can I Help You is one of the most suspenseful books I’ve read in quite a while! Based on … Read More

Review: Sicker In The Head by Judd Apatow

I thoroughly enjoyed Sick In The Head, so I was excited to give this book a read! Judd Apatow made … Read More

Review: Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus

It is absolutely no wonder this book has won so many accolades.  The storytelling is wonderful and I’m always a … Read More

Review: Run Rose Run by Dolly Parton & James Patterson

What a fantastic read! I grew up on classic country music, so anything written by or about Dolly Parton is … Read More

Review: Murder at Mallowan Hall by Colleen Cambridge

This is a great first novel to one of my new favorite series. The narrator, Phyllida Bright, is a joy … Read More

Review: Blaze Me A Sun by Christoffer Carlsson

I enjoyed this book overall, however, I will warn you – it was a harder book to read (for me). … Read More

Review: Tessa Goes Down by Jason Bovberg

Mr. Bovberg did something crazy.  He wrote a noir/road trip/sex romp story that will pull each and every emotion from … Read More

Review: Finlay Donovan Knocks ‘Em Dead by Elle Cosimano

The second installment of Finay’s story absolutely holds up to the first. These books are so fun for comedic mystery … Read More

Review: The Bullet That Missed: A Thursday Murder Club Mystery by Richard Osman

This series of books has quickly become a favorite of mine! Such clever writing and well thought-out mysteries are a … Read More

Book Review: The Overdue Life of Amy Byler by Kelly Harms

This book is such a gem! I tend to stay away from “chick-lit” or women’s’ fiction in general, but I’m … Read More

Book Review: Hotel Mysteries Series by Jim Eldridge

I recently read all three of these books one after the other. The individuals in the stories were well thought … Read More

Book Review: The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin

This book really messes with your emotions.  Reading about a fictionalized medical school experience from an author who has actually … Read More

Book Review: Dear Mrs. Bird by AJ Pearce

Dear Mrs. Bird was a wonderful respite from my usual mystery reading.  I really enjoyed reading a book with a … Read More

Book Review: Murder Most Actual by Alexis Hall

Wanna play Clue?? With just a glance at the titles of the chapters, I was falling in love with this … Read More

Book Review: The Marlow Murder Club by Robert Thorogood

What a fun adventure this book is! Mr. Thorogood has created a world that pulls you in, and characters that … Read More

Book Review: The Case of the Missing Botticelli by Marilyn Baron

This book was a fun and easy read. The characters could have been deeper, but you do care about them … Read More

Book Review: A Carnival of Snackery by David Sedaris

Mr. Sedaris’ diary entries are a treasure and we are blessed that he allows us into his world this way. … Read More

Word Game Wednesday: One Star Reviews

In this edition of Word Game Wednesday, I’m asking you to identify famous books based on their actual one-star reviews … Read More

New Releases: We Are the Brennans by Tracey Lange

RELEASED TODAY – AUGUST 3, 2021 In the vein of Mary Beth Keane’s Ask Again, Yes and Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney’s The Nest, Tracey Lange’s We … Read More

Book Review – Fiction: While We Were Dating by Jasmine Guillory

Two people realize that it’s no longer an act when they veer off-script in this sizzling romantic comedy by New York … Read More

What to Read When You Have Anxiety

Sometimes, life just sucks. When that happens, grab your favorite blanket, curl up in your favorite chair, and dig into … Read More

Writing Prompts – Something’s Strange

Having something odd happen is always a great way to hook your readers’ interest as well as making writing the … Read More

Best Characters – Most Inspiring Women In Literature

I love nothing more than a strong woman character well represented in literature.  Even as a child, I loved reading … Read More

Self-Publishing Help – Should You Invest In A Print Run?

When you’ve completed your novel you’re going to be presented with the option to do a print run of your … Read More

Adaptations – The Stars at Noon by Denis Johnson

In 1984, an American woman is living in Nicaragua under the Sandinista rule. She claims to be a reporter, but … Read More

Book Club Picks – The Paper Palace: A Novel by Miranda Cowley Heller

REESE’S BOOK CLUB PICK as well as an INSTANT #1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER A story of summer, secrets, love, and lies: … Read More

Politics – Frankly, We Did Win This Election: The Inside Story of How Trump Lost by Michael C. Bender

Michael C. Bender, senior White House reporter for the Wall Street Journal, presents a deeply reported account of the 2020 presidential … Read More

How To Maintain Your Writing Pace And Avoid A ‘Writing Lag’

You’ve begun a great novel.  Inspiration flowers around you.  Your fingers have been flying across the keyboard, words appearing at … Read More

Best Reviewed – The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo

If “The Great Gatsby” is one of your favorite novels, you may appreciate this take on 1920s American high society … Read More

Writing Prompts About Travel and Adventure

As my high school English teacher used to say, “Writers are readers, and readers are writers.” But writers’ block happens … Read More

Book Review – Fiction: Home by Harlan Coben

Did I set out earlier this year to read the entirety of Harlan Coben’s Myron Bolitar series, including the YA … Read More

Author Spotlight: Stacey Abrams

Stacey Abrams is a New York Times bestselling author, serial entrepreneur, nonprofit CEO and political leader. After serving for eleven … Read More

Word Game Wednesday: Beach Vacation Edition!

In our next game, we’re taking famous writers to the beach. As Jane Austen said, it’s a truth universally acknowledged … Read More

Most Talked About: Malibu Rising by Taylor Jenkins Reid

This is one of the most anticipated books of the year, and with very good reason.  If you loved Reid’s … Read More

Coming Soon: The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix

Being released tomorrow (July 13th), the premise of this book sounds so clever and fun.  Don’t hesitate to grab your … Read More

Non-Fiction: Better, Not Bitter: Living on Purpose in the Pursuit of Racial Justice by Yusef Salaam

This inspirational memoir serves as a call to action from prison reform activist Yusef Salaam, of the Exonerated Five, that … Read More

Agent Spotlight: Danielle Egan-Miller from Browne & Miller Literary Associates

Danielle Egan-Miller is president of Browne & Miller Literary Associates in Chicago, Illinois. Danielle has extensive experience in the selling … Read More

Award Winners: The Mirror & The Light by Hilary Mantel

Hilary Mantel has won the 2021 Walter Scott Prize for Historical Fiction for The Mirror and the Light, the final novel … Read More

New Releases: This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron

OUT TODAY!  From the bestselling author of Cinderella Is Dead comes another inspiring and deeply compelling story about a young … Read More

Query Queries: What Should My Query Letter Look Like?

Creativity is encouraged when it comes to querying, but there are some basic guidelines all query letters should follow. First, … Read More

Biography: The Ugly Cry by Danielle Henderson

An uproarious, moving memoir about a grandmother’s ferocious love and redefining what it means to be family. With wit and … Read More

Elements of Writing: Keeping Dialogue Tight

One of my biggest pet peeves while beta reading is too much dialogue.  My simple rule is: no spare parts. … Read More

Pop Culture: The Selfie Generation: Exploring Our Notions of Privacy, Sex, Consent, and Culture by Alicia Eler

This book is a fascinating review of the selfie phenomenon and self images in social media – including our ever … Read More

Literary Lists – Books To Binge This Summer

Once the weather warms up, my thoughts turn to iced coffee and good books. I love the summer reading lists … Read More

Genre Clarification: Historical Mystery

The historical mystery or historical whodunit is a subgenre of two literary genres, historical fiction and mystery fiction. These works are set in a time period considered historical … Read More

Adaptations: Those Who Wish Me Dead by Michael Koryta

This “heart-thumping backwoods adventure” (New York Times Book Review) from bestselling author Michael Koryta will keep you on the edge … Read More

Book Review – Fiction: Infinite Country by Patricia Engel

Named a Most Anticipated Book of 2021 from Esquire, O, The Oprah Magazine, Elle, GMA, New York Post, Ms. Magazine, The Millions, Electric … Read More

What To Read When You Need Lifted Up

I know about you guys, but sometimes life is overwhelming.  I think it’s safe to say that most of us … Read More

Query Queries: When is my book ready to query?

To put it bluntly, there is no definitive answer as to when your book will be ready to query. The … Read More

Most Talked About: The Other Black Girl by Zakiya Dalila Harris

An instant New York Times Bestsller! ​​Urgent, propulsive, and sharp as a knife, The Other Black Girl is an electric debut about … Read More

Coming Soon: Survive The Night by Riley Sager

Scheduled to be released on June 29, 2021! One of New York Times Book Review‘s “summer reads guaranteed to make your … Read More

Best Books Set In Summertime!

The weather is getting hotter, the bathing suits are being used, and it’s time to find that perfect summer read! … Read More

Word Game Wednesday: So You Think You Know Classic Literature?

Every book lover thinks they know everything about books.  But how well do you know the classics? Take the 10 … Read More

Agent Spotlight: Rita Rosenkranz of the Rita Rosenkranz Literary Agency

About Rita A well-established agent, who began her career as an editor at major publishing houses, Rita Rosenkranz represents almost … Read More

Marketing: The Power Of The Blurb

A book blurb is a short promotional piece of about 100–150 words. It appears on the back cover of print … Read More

Book Club Picks: Seven Days In June by Tia Williams

A REESE WITHERSPOON BOOK CLUB PICK!  From the author of The Perfect Find, this is a witty, romantic, and sexy-as-hell new … Read More

Writing Craft – How To Track Your Daily Writing, With Help From Jerry Seinfeld

Tracking your writing habits is an important part of achieving your goal of finishing your novel.   Writing daily and tracking … Read More

Award Winners: At Night All Blood Is Black Wins The International Booker Prize

Winner of the International Booker Prize Selected by students across France to win the Prix Goncourt des Lycéens, David Diop’s … Read More

New Releases: The Wolf and the Woodsman by Ava Reid

RELEASED TODAY! In the vein of Naomi Novik’s New York Times bestseller Spinning Silver and Katherine Arden’s national bestseller The Bear and the Nightingale, this unforgettable … Read More

Best Reviewed: People We Meet On Vacation by Emily Henry

Two best friends. Ten summer trips. One last chance to fall in love.   This #1 New York Times Bestseller … Read More

Writing Prompts – Television Edition!

This month’s writing prompts are pretty simple.   Write about what would happen if your main character(s) competed on any of … Read More

Author Spotlight: Haruki Murakami

Japanese writer Haruki Murakami is a prolific bestselling author whose books have been translated into fifty languages and have sold … Read More

Book News – Current Events: Zero Fail: The Rise and Fall of the Secret Service by Carol Leonnig

The first definitive account of the rise and fall of the Secret Service, from the Kennedy assassination to the alarming … Read More

Book Review Non-Fiction – Midnight in Chernobyl: The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster by Adam Higginbotham

A New York Times Best Book of the Year A Time Best Book of the Year A Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Book of the Year 2020 Andrew … Read More

What To Read When You’re Coping With Anxiety

Anxiety sucks, but you don’t have to deal with it empty-handed and alone. I’ve got some books to help you … Read More

Print is Dying: Print Is Still Winning

Every author has had the dilemma of deciding what format in which to publish their work.  These days it’s easy … Read More

Pop Culture: Queen Meryl: The Iconic Roles, Heroic Deeds, and Legendary Life of Meryl Streep by Erin Carlson

A captivating and inspiring portrait of legendary actress Meryl Streep and her work, Queen Meryl explores the fearless icon’s trailblazing roles in … Read More

Book Review: Loser Baby by Jason Bovberg

I finished Loser Baby quite a few days ago, but I’ve had trouble coming up with my review.  Why?  Because … Read More

Literary Lists: Books That Make You Smarter (You Don’t Need To Be A Genius To Enjoy These!)

Many readers are intimidated by certain books.  However, some books were written to make you smarter and teach you – … Read More

Query Queries: Don’t Be General!

I’ve personally edited several queries now for writers reaching out to agents, and I can tell you for a fact … Read More

Award Winners: The British Book Awards’ Overall Book of the Year – Shuggie Bain by Douglas Stuart

The final panel of judges at The British Book Awards’ crowned the winner of Fiction: Debut Book of the Year, … Read More

Genre Clarification: Cli-Fi

Betcha haven’t heard of this one! There’s a new emerging genre of eco-fiction called Cli-Fi.  Basically, this offshoot genre consists … Read More

Word Game Wednesday: Famous Book/Cook Book Mashup!

This game that you foodie readers are both perfectly skilled for! Americans don’t read as much as they should, but … Read More

Book Club Picks: The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse

REESE’S BOOK CLUB PICK If your book group loves women’s detective fiction, then this is the book you’ve all been … Read More

Agent Spotlight: Kerry D’Agostino with Curtis Brown, LTD

Kerry D’Agostino with Curtis Brown, Ltd., received her bachelor’s degree in English from Bowdoin College, her masters in Art in … Read More

Book Review – Biography: Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland by Patrick Radden Keefe

From award-winning New Yorker staff writer Patrick Radden Keefe, a stunning, intricate narrative about a notorious killing in Northern Ireland and its … Read More

Coming Soon: Impostor Syndrome by Kathy Wang

Coming Soon! Publish Date – May 25, 2021 A sharp and prescient novel about women in the workplace, the power … Read More

Author Spotlight – Erik Larson

Erik Larson is the author of five national bestsellers: Dead Wake, In the Garden of Beasts, Thunderstruck, The Devil in … Read More

New Release: Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

Released just last week!  A lone astronaut must save the earth from disaster in this new science-based thriller from the … Read More

Most Talked About: Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

The unforgettable story of a daredevil female aviator determined to chart her own course in life, at any cost—Great Circle “soars … Read More

Best Reviewed: The Dictionary of Lost Words by Pip Williams

In this “delightful debut” (Newsweek) based on actual events, as a team of male scholars compiles the first Oxford English Dictionary, one of … Read More

Writing Prompts – Outdoors Time

It’s the time of year where writers head out from their winter writing chairs next to a cozy fire and … Read More

Elements of Writing: Don’t Flatten Your Characters

E. M. Forester made a distinction between flat and round characters. Flat characters are types or caricatures defined by a … Read More

Adaptations: Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu

Now a Netflix Original Film directed by none other than Amy Poehler! An unlikely teenager starts a feminist revolution at … Read More

Poetry: Beautifully Broken by S.J. Flynn

If you’re looking for good poetry that also tells a story, look no further than Beautifully Broken. Purchase your copy … Read More

Current Event Read: Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right by Jane Mayer

Who are the immensely wealthy right-wing ideologues shaping the fate of America today? From the bestselling author of The Dark Side, an … Read More

Agent Spotlight – John Talbot of The Talbot Fortune Agency

John Talbot has over twenty-five years of book publishing experience as an editor and literary agent. As an agent, he has … Read More

Current Events: On The Clock by Emily Guendelsberger

This book is the bitingly funny, eye-opening story of finding work in the automated and time-starved world of hourly low-wage … Read More

Biography: Leaving Isn’t The Hardest Thing by Lauren Hough

Searing and extremely personal essays, shot through with the darkest elements America can manifest, while discovering light and humor in … Read More

What To Read When You’re Missing Bridgerton

So you’ve finished Season 1 of Netflix’s Bridgerton and you’re missing the gorgeous Rege-Jean Page…. …and his spoon… These books … Read More

Marketing Tip: Get Reviewed!

Several clients have asked me, “What’s the easiest marketing I can do?” The answer is really easy – ask people … Read More

How To Create A Background For Your Characters

Our realities are shaped by where we’ve been, where we are, and where we want to go.  That being said, … Read More

Most Talked About: The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER #1 USA TODAY BESTSELLER #1 WALL STREET JOURNAL BESTSELLER #1 INDIE BESTSELLER From the number-one bestselling author of The Nightingale and The Great Alone comes … Read More

Word Game Wednesday: Pop Quiz

Good morning class.  Today we’re having a POP QUIZ! Just pick the correct multiple choice answer and check your work … Read More

New Releases: Crying in H Mart: A Memoir by Michelle Zauner

OUT TODAY! From the indie rockstar of Japanese Breakfast fame, and author of the viral 2018 New Yorker essay that shares the … Read More

Book Club Picks: Good Company by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

If you enjoyed The Nest, you’re going to love this warm, incisive new novel about the enduring bonds of marriage … Read More

Author Spotlight: Megan Miranda

Megan Miranda is the New York Times bestselling author of All The Missing Girls, The Perfect Stranger, and The Last … Read More

Pop Culture: Last Night at the Viper Room: River Phoenix and the Hollywood He Left Behind by Gavin Edwards

In Last Night at the Viper Room, author and journalist Gavin Edwards tells the story of the life and tragic death … Read More

Best Characters Who Are Gardeners

I hope everyone is starting to enjoy the warmer weather and venture outside more.  After a pandemic year and a … Read More

Best Reviewed: Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019 by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain

Four Hundred Souls is a #1 New York Times Bestseller and has an average of 4.9 stars on Amazon from … Read More

Query Queries: How Many Queries Should I Send Out At Once?

Okay, so you’ve done your homework on agents and you’ve created your list of agents that might be interested in … Read More

Self-Publishing Help: Follow Jane Friedman

If you don’t know Jane Friedman, and are interested in selling books, I suggest you go to her website now … Read More

Adaptations: Nomadland by Jessica Bruder

Jessica Bruder’s nonfiction book of the same name serves as the inspiration for this year’s Oscar Best Picture frontrunner. Starring … Read More

Non-Fiction Book Review: A Promised Land by Barack Obama

A riveting, deeply personal account of history in the making—from the president who inspired us to believe in the power … Read More

Genre Clarification: Family Saga

Simply put, this genre is about on-going stories of two or more generations of a family. Plots revolve around things … Read More

National Book Critics Circle Award Winners – Island on Fire: The Revolt That Ended Slavery in the British Empire by Tom Zoellner

Last month, Island On Fire by Tom Zoellner won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Non-Fiction.  Mr. Zoellner, already … Read More

Writing Prompts To Get You Thinking – Spooky Edition

Ready to try your hand at writing a creepy story? These writing prompts are the perfect jumping-off point to crank … Read More

Elements of Writing – Dialogue

For some writers, dialogue comes naturally.  For most other writers, dialogue can be a real struggle. For all writers, mastering … Read More

Book Review – Poetry ~ The Hill We Climb: An Inaugural Poem for the Country by Amanda Gorman

Amanda Gorman’s powerful and historic poem “The Hill We Climb,” is now available as a collectible gift edition.   If you … Read More

Coming Soon – The Music Of Bees by Eileen Garvin

Being released on April 27, 2021, The Music Of Bees is the debut novel of Eileen Garvin. A heartwarming story … Read More

Politics – Kill Switch: The Rise of the Modern Senate and the Crippling of American Democracy by Adam Jentleson

Mr. Jentleson could have titled this book: THE CASE FOR REFORMING THE FILIBUSTER Immerse yourself in this insider’s account of … Read More

Best Reviewed: Win by Harlan Coben

I know I’ve expressed my love of Harlan Coben before.  But you’ll just have to deal with it while I … Read More

Best Book Characters Who Wear A Mask

This month has marked one year since we’ve had to seriously take precautions against COVID-19.  One year of social distancing, … Read More

Query Queries: Should I Mention In My Query That My Novel Has Been Professionally Edited?

Here’s an email I recently received from a client: Hey Amanda!  Thanks for your help beta reading my novel last … Read More

Agent Spotlight: Crystal Orazu of Context Literary Agency

Crystal Orazu is a Junior Agent with Context Literary Agency, and she is currently seeking writers! Crystal’s love for novels … Read More

Current Events – How to Avoid a Climate Disaster: The Solutions We Have and the Breakthroughs We Need by Bill Gates

In this urgent, authoritative book, Bill Gates sets out a wide-ranging, practical—and accessible—plan for how the world can get to zero … Read More

Book Club Picks: Good Company by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney

Invite your book club to enjoy a warm, incisive new novel about the enduring bonds of marriage and friendship from … Read More

10 Writing Prompts For Springtime!

Welcome to spring my fellow writers! Below find 10 prompts that will get you writing about this time of year. … Read More

Author Spotlight: John Green

Aside from being a famous New York Times Best Seller, John Green is also a famous YouTube content creator. His … Read More

Adaptations – The House of Gucci: A Sensational Story of Murder, Madness, Glamour, and Greed by Sara G. Forden

The House of Gucci is soon to be a major motion picture from director Ridley Scott, starring Lady Gaga, Jeremy … Read More

Non-Fiction – High Achiever: The Incredible True Story of One Addict’s Double Life by Tiffany Jenkins

High Achiever is a non-fiction up-close portrait of the mind of an addict and a life unraveled by narcotics—a memoir … Read More

What to Read When You Don’t Know What To Read

Sometimes, you just don’t know what book to pick up next. So, here’s just a list of books I think … Read More

Flea Is Nominated For A Grammy – For His Autobiography!

Flea, of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, is nominated for Best Spoken Word Album for narrating his autobiography Acid for … Read More

Word Game Wednesday: SEO Shakespeare

We are going to play a guessing game called SEO Shakespeare. What you need to do is update the titles … Read More

New Releases: Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

Klara and the Sun is a magnificent new novel from the Nobel laureate Kazuo Ishiguro—author of Never Let Me Go and the Booker … Read More

Elements of Writing – CONFLICT!

I have a hard truth for you – Many manuscripts are rejected quickly due to lack of conflict. You may … Read More

Coming Soon: Adulting by Liz Talley

Being released on April 1, 2021, Adulting by USA Today bestselling author Liz Talley’s is an emotional and heart-lifting novel … Read More

Book Club Picks: The Firebrand and the First Lady: Portrait of a Friendship: Pauli Murray, Eleanor Roosevelt, and the Struggle for Social Justice by Patricia Bell-Scott

A finalist for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction, and longlisted for the National Book Award, The Firebrand and … Read More

Writing Prompts About Politics

No matter if you’re a Democrat, Republican, or an Independent you have opinions that can create some interesting characters and … Read More

Book Review – Biography: Jew(ish) A primer, A memoir, A manual, A plea by Matt Greene

This compilation of essays was not just an enjoyable read, but a real eye-opening learning experience for me.  I went … Read More

Author Spotlight: George Saunders

In honor of George Saunders’ newest release, A Swim In A Pond In The Rain, I chose him for this … Read More

Best Books About Revenge

Who doesn’t love a good revenge story? Click on the title of these popular books below about getting revenge to … Read More

Most Talked About: Concrete Rose by Angie Thomas

International phenomenon Angie Thomas revisits Garden Heights seventeen years before the events of The Hate U Give in this searing and poignant … Read More

Query Queries: You Need More Than A Hook!

The opening of your query is your biggest opportunity to hook the literary agent on your story.  Also, don’t forget … Read More

Pop Culture – Bingeworthy British Television: The Best Brit TV You Can’t Stop Watching by Sarah Cords

Calling all Angelophiles!  This is the ultimate guide in British television. This book is sectioned out by genres, has a … Read More

How To Avoid Creating Flat Characters

Your characters will take the reader on your story’s narrative journey, so be sure to devote plenty of time to … Read More

Adaptations: Cherry by Nico Walker

This book garnered a lot of buzz when it was published in 2018, largely owing to the author, Nico Walker, … Read More

Genre Clarification: Epic Fantasy and High Fantasy

Often, you will see the type of fantasy made popular by Tolkien referred to interchangeably as either high fantasy or … Read More

Politics – The Truths We Hold: An American Journey by Kamala Harris

From Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris, one of America’s most inspiring political leaders, a book about the core truths that unite … Read More

Book Review: Erotic Stories For Punjabi Widows by Balli Kaur Jaswal

I ended 2020 by reading this novel.  I thought it would be a quick and light read to relax with … Read More

Book Review: Two In The Head by Eric Beetner

As a mystery genre fanatic, I generally crave a good clear “who-done-it” book where the book starts with someone becoming … Read More

Self-Publishing Help – Benefits and Success Stories

It’s every writers dream to land an agent and become traditionally published.  However, if you haven’t considered self-publishing that story, … Read More

Biography – The Dead Are Arising: The Life of Malcolm X by Les Payne

2020 NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FOR NONFICTION An epic biography of Malcolm X finally emerges, drawing on hundreds of hours of … Read More

How To Identify The Right Way To Outline Your Novel

Many of my clients tend to struggle with outlining their novel.  They have a great idea, but have issues organizing … Read More

Word Game Wednesday: Famous Firsts

Today’s quiz is all about famous first novels! The goal is easy – simply name the first published fiction novel … Read More

Best Reviewed: Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

4.8 STARS OUT OF 5 ON AMAZON! ALMOST 2000 REVIEWS! In a novel-in-verse that brims with grief and love, National … Read More

Current Events: American Crisis – Leadership Lessons From The COVID-19 Pandemic by Andrew Cuomo

Governor Andrew Cuomo tells the riveting story of how he took charge in the fight against COVID-19 as New York … Read More

How to Create the Perfect Home Reading Nook

The holiday season is a perfect time to spend time with those we love and reflect on the year. It’s … Read More

Book Club Picks: The Chicken Sisters by KJ Dell’Antonia

This book is the hysterically funny story of two small town sisters, one who stayed and one who left, each … Read More

Query Queries: Pitching Your Self-Published Book To An Agent

Many writers who’ve self-published a book for one reason or another get to a point where they want the book … Read More

Adaptations: The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

An adaptation of Kristin Hannah’s 2015 best selling novel The Nightingale is currently in production at TriStar Pictures. Inglourious Basterds star Mélanie … Read More

New Release: Layla by Colleen Hoover

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover comes a novel that explores life after tragedy and the enduring spirit … Read More

Author Spotlight: Alexander McCall Smith

Alexander McCall Smith was born in what is now Zimbabwe and taught law at the University of Botswana. However, McCall … Read More

Best Villains From Crime Fiction

Today I thought we would make a list of the best criminals from crime fiction books.  Undoubtedly, there are some … Read More

Marketing Book Recommendation: Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t: Why That Is And What You Can Do About It by Steven Pressfield

Beyond the “how-to” of finishing your novel, this book helps with improving your writing so that anyone will want to … Read More

Literary Lists: Biggest Drunks In Literature

These are some of the drunkest drunks in literature, taken from books that will raise your blood-alcohol level after just … Read More

Award Winners: 2020 National Book Awards Fiction Winner – Interior Chinatown by Charles Yu

From the infinitely inventive author of How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe, comes a deeply personal novel about … Read More

Elements of Writing – You Need A Little Theme

Theme is one of those topics in fiction writing that many writing guides barely mention, if they mention it at … Read More

Book Review: The Best Of Me by David Sedaris

I’ve been a fan of Mr. Sedaris for years.  This compilation of his best essays – both the fiction and … Read More

Print is Dying – The Environmental Impact Of Purchasing eBooks Instead Of Paperbacks

Despite the facts, you might be asking yourself, why should I care about the environmental impact of printed books vs … Read More

Coming Soon: The Last Days of John Lennon by James Patterson

Being released on December 7th, The Last Days of John Lennon by James Patterson is the highly anticipated book about … Read More

Most Talked About: One Life by Megan Rapinoe

Megan Rapinoe, Olympic gold medalist and two-time Women’s World Cup champion, reveals for the first time her life both on … Read More

Agent Spotlight: Megan Manzano with D4EO Literary Agency

Megan fell in love with reading and writing from a young age. She grew up to receive a BA in … Read More

Random Writing Prompts For Every Day

Stretch your writing muscles and pick some of these prompts to try today!    Failure: Write about a time you … Read More

What To Read When When You Need A Laugh

Unfortunately, both everything and nothing is funny right now. But sometimes you just want to laugh from your tummy.  Or … Read More

Pop Culture: Antisocial Media: How Facebook Disconnects Us and Undermines Democracy by Siva Vaidhyanathan

Early on in this book the author points out, “Facebook likely has been—on balance—good for individuals. But Facebook has been—on … Read More

Self-Publishing – eBook Pricing Help

I know that pricing is something that new authors often agonize over, but this doesn’t have to be the case. … Read More

Biography: I’m the One Who Got Away by Andrea Jarrell

This moving memoir has been featured in the New York Times “Modern Love” column, is a Redbook Magazine must-read, as … Read More

Word Game Wednesday: Trivial Pursuit For Book Lovers

You know how when you play Trivial Pursuit, you’re only in it for the Arts & Literature category?  Well, finally, … Read More

Genre Clarification: Cashier Memoir

Everyone knows that memoirs are a sub-genre of autobiography and have been around for centuries.  However, this week, I found … Read More

Adaptations: Anatomy of a Scandal by Sarah Vaughan

Some people’s secrets are darker than others. Due out sometime in 2021, the Netflix series adaptation of Anatomy of a … Read More

‘How To’ Writing Craft Book Recommendation: On Writing by Stephen King

Immensely helpful and illuminating to any aspiring writer, Stephen King’s critically lauded, “one of a kind” (Wall Street Journal) classic … Read More

Non-Fiction: Five Families: The Rise, Decline, and Resurgence of America’s Most Powerful Mafia Empires by Selwyn Raab

This 10th-anniversary edition of the New York Times bestselling history of the Mafia’s infamous Five Families, features a new preface … Read More

Marketing With Your Book Blurb

What is the first thing you do when you look up a book on Amazon? Yep.  That’s right! You read … Read More

Most Talked About: Wandering In Strange Lands, A Daughter of the Great Migration Reclaims Her Roots by Morgan Jerkins

Named one of the most anticipated books of the year by ELLE, Buzzfeed, Esquire, Bitch Media, Good Housekeeping, Electric Literature, Parade and BookRiot. From the acclaimed … Read More

New Release: The Violinist of Auschwitz by Ellie Midwood

RELEASING TOMORROW!  Auschwitz, 1943: In the depths of hell, can hope rise? And can love triumph over hatred?  This devastatingly … Read More

Agent Spotlight: Abigail Frank of Sanford J. Greenburger Associates

Our spotlight this month turns to Abaigail Frank.  Abigail joined the Greenburger team in 2017 after interning at Writers House. … Read More

Fiction Book Review: Ferguson by Carl Johansen

I received this book from NetGalley for a review. The book’s first half was mostly dominated by the main character, … Read More

Print is Dying: 2021 eBook Predictions

If you’re in the middle of preparing your next novel, you might be wondering where the ebook trend will head … Read More

Literary Lists: Best Experimental Literature

This is a list about the greatest experimental literature in my opinion.  Experimental literature usually emphasizes innovations, especially in the … Read More

Politics: A Promised Land by Barack Obama

Coming Soon! Out November 17th!  A new presidential memoir in time for the long Thanksgiving weekend! I’M SO EXCITED FOR … Read More

Author Spotlight: Brit Bennett

Born and raised in Southern California, Brit Bennett graduated from Stanford University and earned her MFA in fiction at the … Read More

Best Characters Created While Authors Were High On Drugs

It’s probably an understatement to say that most artists have taken drugs at least once in their lives. Even though … Read More

Writing Prompts – Sentence Beginnings To Write About

If you need a beginning, or a ‘jump-start’, to your writing, then pick one of the sentence starters below.  In your … Read More

Coming Soon: Moonflower Murders by Anthony Horowitz

Coming November 10th! Featuring his famous literary detective Atticus Pund and Susan Ryeland, hero of the worldwide bestseller Magpie Murders, a … Read More

Current Events: Talking to Strangers by Malcolm Gladwell

Malcolm Gladwell, host of the podcast Revisionist History and author of the #1 New York Times bestseller Outliers, offers a powerful … Read More

Elements of Writing: The Structure Of Your Sentences

When writers speak about sentence structure they refer to the physical nature of a sentence and how the elements of … Read More

Book Club Picks: His Only Wife by Peace Adzo Medie

A debut novel so good, it’s selected as a Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club Pick! His Only Wife is … Read More

Query Queries: How can I create an irresistible hook and synopsis?

“Sell the book, don’t apologize for it, and know how to condense its true meaning to a couple of sentences.”  … Read More

Best Reviewed: The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman

A New York Times Bestseller and longlisted for the Andrew Carnegie Medal, The World That We Knew has 4.5 stars on … Read More

Query Queries: Avoiding Writing Credits That Aren’t Meaningful

While writing your query letter, you will naturally want include each and every one of your writing credits.  However, you should … Read More

Adaptation: Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift

Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift is being adapted into a movie for 2021 starring Olivia Coleman, Colin Firth and Josh … Read More

New Release: Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell

OUT TODAY!  The #1 New York Times bestselling author of Then She Was Gone and The Family Upstairs returns with an intricate thriller … Read More

Elements of Writing: Plot Points

Without a good plot, it’s almost impossible to keep your readers interested. The most basic definition of a plot is: … Read More

Book Review: Real Life by Brandon Taylor

A FINALIST FOR THE 2020 BOOKER PRIZE In my effort to read all books on the shortlist for the Booker … Read More

Writing Prompts You’ll FALL For!

Happy Fall Y’all!  If you’re needing some inspiration for writing in the crisp autumn weather, check out the prompts below. … Read More

Current Events: Suspect Citizens: What 20 Million Traffic Stops Tell Us About Policing and Race

This non-fiction read addresses race and policing with a new and comprehensive database, documenting troubling findings about racial differences and … Read More

Genre Clarification: Slipstream

Slipstream is a kind of fantastic or non-realistic fiction that crosses conventional genre boundaries between science fiction, fantasy, and literary fiction. The … Read More

Author Spotlight: Haruki Murakami

Japanese writer Haruki Murakami is a prolific bestselling author whose books have been translated into fifty languages and have sold … Read More

Book Club Picks: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

“Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides … Read More

Marketing: Author Central from KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing)

If you don’t have an Author Page on Author Central, but you have an ebook for sale on Amazon, you’re … Read More

Most Talked About: Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar

Homeland Elegies by Ayad Akhtar has a remarkable 4.7 stars on Amazon from 75 reviews, and it’s only been out since … Read More

Coming Soon: Hush by Dylan Farrow

Being released on October 6, 2020, from Wednesday Books, Dylan Farrow’s debut YA novel is Hush. Hush is a powerful … Read More

Word Game Wednesday: Nursery Rhyme Nuttiness

One of the great decisions one has to make in telling a story is from whose point of view are … Read More

Biography: Five Presidents by Clint Hill with Lisa McCubbin

Clint Hill was a Special Agent on the White House detail, and in this book he reflects on his seventeen … Read More

Adaptation: Killers of the Flower Moon

David Grann’s non-fiction book Killers of the Flower Moon is being adapted for the big screen and is scheduled for … Read More

What To Read When You Want A Short Book

Sometimes, it’s comforting to have a handful of thinner books on our TBR pile.  As a loose guide, short novels … Read More

Book Club Pick: The Last Story of Mina Lee by Nancy Jooyoun Kim

A profoundly moving and unconventional mother-daughter saga, The Last Story of Mina Lee illustrates the devastating realities of being an immigrant … Read More

Pop Culture Pick: The Totally Sweet 90s – by Gael Fashingbauer Cooper and Brian Bellmont

From Clear Cola to Furby, and Grunge to “Whatever”, the Toys, Tastes, and Trends That Defined a Decade Someone whose … Read More

Non-Fiction: The Useful Idiot – How Donald Trump Killed the Republican Party with Racism and the Rest of Us with Coronavirus by S.V. Dáte

The premise of this book is as straightforward as it is scary: that a whole host of people (Republican leaders, … Read More

Coming Soon: Dear Justyce by Nic Stone

Release date: September 29, 2020 The stunning sequel to the #1 New York Times bestseller Dear Martin. Incarcerated teen Quan writes letters to … Read More

Genre Clarification: Young Adult Fiction

Young adult fiction (often called “YA”) is written for readers ages 12 to 18. They incorporate the typical reading level … Read More

Author Spotlight: Georges Simenon

Georges Simenon was one of the most prolific writers of the twentieth century, capable of writing 60 to 80 pages … Read More

Print is Dying: eBook Revenue Went Up 25% In July

Ebook revenue in the United States are up 25.0% for the month of July 2020 as compared to July 2019 … Read More

How To Evoke Sadness As An Emotion In Your Writing

To successfully write a novel with weight or substance, you have to understand the difference between sentimentality and truth. Sentimentality … Read More

Politics: You’re Fired by Paul Begala

“You’re fired!” Donald Trump became famous bellowing those words in a make-believe boardroom. In November, tens of millions of Americans want … Read More

New Release: A Rogue of One’s Own by Evie Dunmore

A lady must have money and an army of her own if she is to win a revolution—but first, she … Read More

Book Club Picks: The Mother-in-Law by Sally Hepworth

Fractured relationships and deep family secrets grow more compelling with every page in this twisty, captivating new novel from Sally … Read More

Web Marketing Basics

Marketing your ebook on your author site shouldn’t be scary.  You simply need a primer on the basics to get … Read More

Self-Publishing Help: Setting The Price For Your eBook

Let’s talk about money… One of the key benefits of self-publishing an ebook is that the reduced production and distribution … Read More

Winner of the Women’s Prize For Fiction: Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell

Winner of the Women’s Prize For Fiction, Hamnet is a novel inspired by the son of a famous playwright. It is … Read More

Literary Lists: Movies That Only Make Sense If You’ve Read The Book First

A film can bring a beloved book to life, making visible what’s only on the page or in the imagination. But even … Read More

Agent Spotlight: Noah Ballard with Curtis Brown, Ltd.

Noah Ballard is an agent at Curtis Brown, Ltd. He studied creative writing at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and began … Read More

Daily Writing Prompts

We all know that writing on a daily basis is an excellent tool to help writers develop their skills, to … Read More

Literary Characters Who Would Wear A Mask And Not Complain

Which of your favorite literary characters would dutifully mask up? I have some thoughts. Atticus Finch You know he’d wear … Read More

Most Talked About: Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi

Yaa Gyasi’s highly anticipated follow-up to her acclaimed national best seller Homegoing is a powerful, raw, intimate, deeply layered novel about … Read More

Best Reviewed: Caste – The Origins of Our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson

Caste was released about a month ago and already has 945 ratings on Amazon – 85% of those being 5 … Read More

Elements of Writing: The Complex Antagonist

At the heart of any great story is conflict. There has to be someone (or something) standing in our protagonist’s … Read More

Query Queries: Is it better to send a query over ‘snail mail’ or email?

So, which is better – a query sent via email or dropped into the mailbox?  Please keep in mind that … Read More

How To Describe Clothing

Creating vivid descriptions for a story or character is a mark of a great writer. One specific form of descriptive … Read More

Biography: The Catcher Was a Spy: The Mysterious Life of Moe Berg by Nicholas Dawidoff

This delightful biography recounts one of the strangest episodes in the history of espionage, and was turned into a movie … Read More

Print is Dying: Pandemic Reading Patterns

The premise of books and the act of reading them as a dying hobby always comes up in conversation with my literary friends.  … Read More

Adaptations: Normal People by Sally Rooney

A few days ago, I posted an Author Spotlight of Sally Rooney.  Read it here. Well now, her newest novel, … Read More

New Releases: The Death of Vivek Oji by Akwaeke Emezi

Named one of the year’s most anticipated books by The New York Times, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, BuzzFeed, Refinery29, and more, The Death of Vivek … Read More

Self-Publishing Help: Beta Reading versus Professional Editing

I was recently asked to explain the difference between an editor and a beta reader.  NOTE:  I am a beta … Read More

Book Review: A Beginner’s Guide to Free Fall by Andy Abramowitz

I love to read fiction to escape from reality, but this book was so well-written that it was easy to … Read More

Marketing: Promoting Other Authors

If you haven’t tried this marketing tactic, it’s time to give it a try. Before you have anything to self-promote, … Read More

Politics: The Plot to Betray America: How Team Trump Embraced Our Enemies, Compromised Our Security, and How We Can Fix It by Malcolm Nance

Experience a revelatory, groundbreaking assessment of the greatest betrayal in American history in this explosive New York Times bestseller. Purchase your copy … Read More

Literary Lists: Cheap Reads On Kindle

I’ve listed below the top-rated free (or cheap) classic books in popular Kindle categories. Sometimes free books exhibit variable quality … Read More

Author Spotlight: Sally Rooney

Sally Rooney was born in the west of Ireland in 1991. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The … Read More

Best Teachers In Literature

Since Back To School is right around the corner, let’s celebrate literature’s best teachers! We find teachers of all kind … Read More

Query Queries: Do I need a bio section?

The simple answer to the question of whether you need to include a biographical section in your query letter is: … Read More

Award Winners: The Hugo Awards Winner, A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine

The Winner of The Hugo Awards for excellence in the field of science fiction and fantasy was announced earlier this … Read More

Best Reviewed: Deacon King Kong by James McBride

With a 4.6 out of 5 star rating on Amazon, James McBride’s book Deacon King Kong has been one of … Read More

Elements of Writing: Characterization

Characterization is easily defined as the process an author uses to reveal the personality of a character either directly (author … Read More

Book Club Picks: Florence Adler Swims Forever by Rachel Beanland

Barnes & Noble’s August Pick for their Book Club is my pick for September! Already receiving accolades like USA Today’s … Read More

Writing Prompt: Dictionary Definition

For this prompt, you’ll just need a dictionary and whatever tools you write with. Simply pick a word from the … Read More

Most Talked About: My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell

Exploring the psychological dynamics of the relationship between a precocious yet naïve teenage girl and her magnetic and manipulative teacher, … Read More

Genre Clarification: Narrative Nonfiction

There are many ways to tell a story—some writers prefer to stick to the truth, some prefer to make up … Read More

Agent Spotlight: Kristin Nelson of the Nelson Literary Agency, LLC

Kristin Nelson is the President and Founding Literary Agent of Nelson Literary Agency, LLC, and she writes one of the most … Read More

Non-Fiction: In Plain Sight: The Kaufman County Prosecutor Murders by Kathryn Casey

If you’re looking for something to scratch a non-fiction true crime itch – this book is it! This smart, scary, … Read More

Word Game Wednesday: Emoji Book Titles

Time to exercise your mind! Can you figure out the book title from these emojis? Answers below!     READY????? … Read More

Pop Culture: A Very Punchable Face: A Memoir by Colin Jost

In these hilarious essays, the Saturday Night Live head writer and Weekend Update co-anchor learns how to take a beating. Purchase your … Read More

Coming Soon: The Wicked Sister by Karen Dionne

Being released tomorrow – August 4, 2020. From the bestselling and award-winning author of The Marsh King’s Daughter comes a startling novel … Read More

How To Construct Your Book’s Plot

Constructing a plot is simply making a timeline of events. Write down everything that happens in the story, from the … Read More

Politics: What You Should Know About Politics…But Don’t by Jessamyn Conrad

If you’re looking for an invaluable tool to help you learn about the confusing level of political discussion in our … Read More

Book Review: A Drop of Midnight: A Memoir by Jason Diakité

World-renowned hip-hop artist Jason “Timbuktu” Diakité’s vivid and intimate journey through his own and his family’s history—from South Carolina slavery … Read More

Print Readers and Digital Readers Like Different Books (Who Knew?!?)

Ebook lending has been included for the first time in UK libraries’ annual tally of loans, and these figures showing … Read More

New Releases: The Truth Hurts by Rebecca Reid

Out today! In this twisty, compelling thriller, a young woman quickly embarks on what she thinks is the relationship and … Read More

Self-Publishing Help: Design A Book Cover That Converts

When it comes to self-publishing, a high-quality book cover is one of the most important elements that will get your … Read More

British Book Awards – Overall Book Of The Year: Queenie by Candice Carty-Williams

The British Book Awards was held virtually on June 29th.  The Overall Book Of The Year went to Queenie by … Read More

Best Characters Who Turn Evil

There are thousands of villains in fiction, from television, books, comics, and film, each with their own unique motives and methods of … Read More

Literary Lists: Books Set In Italy

Anyone else wanting to take a trip? Being at home these last few months has gotten a lot of us … Read More

Word Game Wednesday: Double-O No!

All right, today we are playing a word game called Double Oh, No! I am going to give you the … Read More

Agent Spotlight: Amaryah Orenstein of GO Literary

Amaryah Orenstein has always loved to read and provide (oftentimes unsolicited) editorial advice and, as a literary agent, she is … Read More

Pop Culture: #VERYFAT #VERYBRAVE by Nicole Byer

Calling all fans of Netflix’ Nailed It! Host-with-the-most Nicole Byer has written the ultimate self-love bikini book! It’s time to … Read More

Biography: Barracoon by Zora Neale Hurston

Barracoon brilliantly illuminates the horror and injustices of slavery as it tells the true story of one of the last-known … Read More

Best Reviewed: The Woman In The Window by A.J. Finn

Twisty and powerful, ingenious and moving, The Woman in the Window is a smart, sophisticated novel of psychological suspense that recalls … Read More

Should You Change Your Book’s Cover To Increase Sales?

If your book isn’t selling well, or hasn’t sold ever, consider refreshing your book design.  If you are not receiving … Read More

How To Give Your Characters Motivations

If you’re having trouble fleshing out your characters, continually ask yourself in each scene, “What does this character want?”  (Yes, … Read More

Most Talked About: How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER  From the National Book Award–winning author of Stamped from the Beginning comes a “groundbreaking” (Time) approach to understanding and … Read More

Book Review: All The Way Down by Eric Beetner

Honestly, this book has been on my “to be read” list forever.  And when I finally started in, I literally … Read More

Genre Clarification: Amateur Detective Sub-Genre

Let’s talk about one of my favorite sub-genres! I love a good mystery novel.  And I REALLY love it when … Read More

Romance Writing Prompts

Calling all romance writers! Do you need some prompts to get you back to Valentine’s day? Below are 5 new … Read More

Elements of Writing: Style

At one time or another, all of us have experienced the instantaneous recognition of a distinctive writing style.  We open … Read More

Adaptations: I’m Thinking Of Ending Things by Iain Reid

Iain Reid’s explosive thriller I’m Thinking Of Ending Things is soon to be a Netflix original film directed by Charlie … Read More

Book Club Picks: The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Dare

A New York Times Bestseller, and shortlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize and recommended by The New York Times, Marie Claire, Vogue, Essence, PopSugar, Daily … Read More

Coming Soon: A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor by Hank Green

Book 2 of 2 in the An Absolutely Remarkable Thing series will be released TOMORROW!  Hank Green is back with another story … Read More

Query Queries: The Best First Step To Query Your Novel

It’s actually very easy…. First of all, finish the book. And that doesn’t just mean typing “THE END.” If your … Read More

Author Spotlight: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Sir Arthur Ignatius Conan Doyle, Knight of Grace of the Order of St. John, and Deputy Lieutenant was born on 22 … Read More

Current Events: White Identity Politics by Ashley Jardina

If you’re a white person following the news lately, hopefully you’re examining how your prejudices and privilege effect the world … Read More

Poetry: the princess saves herself in this one by Amanda Lovelace

Winner of the 2016 Goodreads Choice Award, the princess saves herself in this one is a collection of poetry from Amanda Lovelace … Read More

New Release! Out Today! Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

An isolated mansion. A chillingly charismatic artistocrat. And a brave socialite drawn to expose their treacherous secrets. . . . … Read More

Writing Prompt Challenge

Are you up for a writing challenge? Below are 10 writing prompts. Every day, for the next 10 days, pick … Read More

How To Find Your Prime Writing Time

Some of us write better at five in the morning.  We need those morning pages to get us going. Some … Read More

Adaptations: News of the World by Paulette Jiles

Paulette Jiles’s book News of the World is a National Book Award finalist, and is being adapted into a motion … Read More

Memoir: Born A Crime by Trevor Noah

Born A Crime is the compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of one man’s coming-of-age, set during the twilight of … Read More

Best Reviewed: The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

From The New York Times-bestselling author of The Mothers, a stunning new novel about twin sisters, inseparable as children, who ultimately choose to … Read More

Marketing Help: What Should Be On An Author’s Website?

Are you ready to get your author website up and running? If you’re goal is to be a published author … Read More

Questions To Ask Yourself Before Self-Publishing

Some writers say that we’re in the busiest and noisiest era in publishing history.  It has never been easier to … Read More

Current Events Read: White Fragility by Robin J. DiAngelo

The New York Times best-selling book exploring the counterproductive reactions white people have when their assumptions about race are challenged, and how … Read More

Best Animal Characters In Literature

Possibly the only thing better than a great story is a great story with memorable animal characters.  Who can forget … Read More

Literary Lists: The Best Bands Named After Books or Literary Characters

The best bands that are named after books span the music world with offerings from music genres like indie rock, … Read More

Word Game Wednesday: Whose Line Is It Anyway?

Most of us enjoy a good read, whether it is a novel that moves us to tears, a play that … Read More

Agent Spotlight: Matt Belford of The Tobias Literary Agency

Bio: Matt joined The Tobias Agency in 2020 after previously working at the David Black Agency and the Aaron M. Priest … Read More

Pop Culture: Because Internet by Gretchen McCulloch

Because Internet is for anyone who’s ever puzzled over how to punctuate a text message or wondered where memes come from. … Read More

Non-Fiction: Our Time Is Now: Power, Purpose, and the Fight for a Fair America by Stacey Abrams

This is a narrative that describes the urgency that compels me and millions more to push for a different American … Read More

Coming Soon: The Margot Affair by Sanae Lemoine

The secret daughter of a French politician and a famous actress drops the startling revelation that will shatter her family … Read More

Print is Dying: The Open Library Lawsuit

As you may have heard, Hachette, Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, and John Wiley have filed a lawsuit against the Open Library. … Read More

Elements of Writing: Research For Writing Historical Fiction

Most writing coaches are quick to say, “Write what you know”.  This isn’t necessarily the advice you want to hear … Read More

Most Talked About: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes (A Hunger Games Novel) by Suzanne Collins

If you read The Hunger Games trilogy in one sitting, settle in for the long haul once more—because The Ballad … Read More

Book Review: The Apartment by K. L. Slater

Unfortunately, this psychological thriller doesn’t deliver on the suspense.  From the beginning meeting between the main character, Freya, and her … Read More

Best Reviewed: The Accidental President: Harry S. Truman and the Four Months That Changed the World by A.J. Baime

With 4.8 out of 5 stars and 805 ratings on Amazon, The Accidental President gives readers “history and humanity in … Read More

Query Queries: Should you begin your query with a paragraph from the book?

Some of my clients have sent me their query letter for review before sending it off to agents, and they … Read More

Author Spotlight: Emma Straub

Emma Straub is the New York Times‒bestselling author of the novels The Vacationers, Modern Lovers, Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures, … Read More

Award Winner: Pulitzer Prize for Non-Fiction: The End of the Myth: From the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for a distinguished and appropriately documented book of nonfiction by an American author, The End … Read More

Book Club Picks: The Jetsetters by Amanda Eyre Ward

A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER A Reese’s Book Club x Hello Sunshine Book Pick and a New York Times Book … Read More

Genre Clarification: Satire

Satire is simply the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people’s stupidity or vices, particularly … Read More

Marketing: Ideas For More Exposure

I think the single biggest thing that helped sell self-published books, beyond the quality of the work itself, was reviews.  … Read More

Agent Spotlight: Claire Harris with Foundry Literary + Media

About Claire: Claire enjoys the creative process of working with writers and collaborating closely with them throughout all stages of … Read More

Current Events: How to Survive a Pandemic by Michael Greger M.D. FACLM

This book is a vital and timely text on the viruses that cause pandemics and how to face them.  Newly … Read More

Book Review – Non-Fiction: The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War by Ben Macintyre

Ben Macintyre, the celebrated author of Double Cross and Rogue Heroes, returns with his greatest spy story yet; a thrilling Americans-era tale … Read More

New Release: The Paper Girl of Paris by Jordyn Taylor

Released today!  The Paper Girl of Paris is the debut novel by journalist Jordyn Taylor.  If you’re a fan of … Read More

Print is Dying: What Trends Will Book Publishing See During The Pandemic?

Self-publishing has always been a rapidly evolving industry, and those who keep one eye on the future will be best … Read More

Self-Publishing Help: Why You Need A Media Kit

Indie authors often spend more time publishing their book than they do promoting it.  But if you want to sell … Read More

Book Review: Passing Fancies by Marlowe Benn (Julia Kydd Book #2)

Julia Kydd is back.  *Pause for riotous round of applause* Marlowe Benn has again wove a fun and twisty who-done-it … Read More

Pop Culture Pick: Twee: The Gentle Revolution in Music, Books, Television, Fashion, and Film by Marc Spitz

According to author Marc Spitz, “Twee, the aesthetic, is born during and just after World War Two. Its key figures … Read More

Best True Crime Novels

I was discussing with my coworker just today my fascination with true crime cases. So, I was just wondering – … Read More

New Release: Rodham: A Novel by Curtis Sittenfeld

From the New York Times bestselling author of American Wife and Eligible, a novel that imagines a deeply compelling what-might-have-been: What if Hillary Rodham hadn’t married Bill Clinton? … Read More

Non-Fiction Writing Prompts About Relationships And Love

Don’t you love to write your thoughts?  Sometime when you’re stuck in your fiction writing, finding a non-fiction prompt and … Read More

How To Revise Your Work Like A Professional

Your story can change a great deal during the revision stage.  Editing and revising can be scary and tedious for … Read More

Adaptations: All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

In a small town in Indiana, Violet and Theodore — who are both struggling with past troubles — enter each … Read More

Literary Lists: Best Pulitzer Prize Winning Novels

This list is essentially the greatest books of fiction in the history of literature. According to the most prestigious prize … Read More

Word Game Wednesday: Main Character Melee!

Can you guess these books by their main character? Go for it! Clue #1: Piggy Clue #2: Jean Valjean Clue … Read More

Author Spotlight: Agatha Christie

Born in 1890, Agatha Christie is best known for writing sixty-six detective novels, most containing her famous detectives Hercule Poirot … Read More

Most Talked About: Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

This #1 New York Times bestseller is now a Hulu original series starring Reese Witherspoon and Kerry Washington.   This show has … Read More

Book Club Pick: The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi

The most recent Reese Witherspoon x Hello Sunshine Book Club Pick is The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi. Vivid and … Read More

Best Reviewed: The Boy Who Steals Houses by C.G. Drews

With 4.6 stars on Amazon and 4.4 stars on Goodreads, this one is definitely one to check out if you’re … Read More

Marketing Tip: Write Multiple Books!

Your book may be great, but you can compound that greatness by writing more books, preferably in a series.  Publishing … Read More

Elements of Writing: Setting

Generally, we think of the setting of a story as when and where the story takes place.  But aside from … Read More

Award Winner: The 2020 Edgar Awards Best Novel

The winners of The 2020 Edgar Awards were announced April 30th. International bestseller The Stranger Diaries by Elly Griffiths won Best … Read More

Biography Pick: The Greatest Gambling Story Ever Told: A True Tale of Three Gamblers, The Kentucky Derby, and the Mexican Cartel by Mark Paul

An Amazon #1 Best Seller in Biographies of White Collar Crime, The Greatest Gambling Story Ever Told, by Mark Paul, … Read More

Genre Clarification: Historical Fiction

These books are based in a time period set in the past decades, often against the backdrop of significant (real) historical … Read More

Query Queries: Why don’t agents respond to every query?

I and other aspiring writers have sent queries to agents and never heard a thing in response, not even a … Read More

Poetry Book Spotlight: Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

This is an ideal book for parents to have handy, if you’d like to brighten your day with cranky kids.  … Read More

Best Reviewed: Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan

Beneath a Scarlet Sky is a #1 Amazon Charts bestseller in Historical Italian Fiction, and has an amazing 31,963 ratings … Read More

Writing Prompts For Your Quarantine Extra Writing Time

The coronavirus has transformed life as we know it.  Schools are closed, we’re confined to our homes and the future … Read More

Author Spotlight: F. Scott Fitzgerald

F. Scott Fitzgerald is an author best known for The Great Gatsby, but he was also an essayist, novelist, screenwriter, … Read More

Non-Fiction: The Last Castle by Denise Kiernan

From the author of the New York Times bestseller The Girls of Atomic City comes the fascinating true story behind the magnificent Gilded … Read More

Pop Culture: Bad Girls Throughout History by Ann Shen

Looking for coffee table books that do more than look great on your table? Bad Girls Throughout History: 100 Remarkable Women … Read More

New Release: Conjure Women by Afia Atakora

A mother and daughter with a shared talent for healing—and for the conjuring of curses—are at the heart of this … Read More

Word Game Wednesday: Phrase Anatomy

This is a fun game called Phrase Anatomy, like “Grey’s Anatomy.” In this game, I’m going to give you sentences … Read More

Self Publishing: How much does it cost to self-publish my book?

Writing and publishing a book is one of the most rewarding things you can do in life. As an author, … Read More

Book Review: A Good Neighborhood by Therese Anne Fowler

I understand why the cover of this novel is simple; it doesn’t give away the multitude of emotions, twists, tragedies, … Read More

The National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction: Everything Inside: Stories by Edwidge Danicat

The National Book Critics Circle Awards honor the best literature published in the United States in six categories – autobiography, biography, … Read More

What to Read When You’re Bored

Oh, Carona.  How scary you are, and how bored you make us. So here’s my list of books to read … Read More

Printed Books Are Dying A Slow Death

Are printed books destined to eventually die out? That e-books have surged in popularity in recent years is not news, … Read More

Best Dystopian Novels For Quarantine

I know the last few weeks have felt like an alternate universe.  Things are upside down and we don’t know … Read More

Adaptations: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue

Dates on the release of this adaptation are vague, but there’s a lot of hype for the HBO Max movie … Read More

Literary Lists: Free Online Books!

If you’re tired of being cooped up in quarantine, check out these classic books you can get online for free … Read More

Query Queries: What do literary agents want to learn while on a call with you?

I’ve seen many posts online about what authors should ask agents during phone calls, but what sort of information do … Read More

Elements of Writing: How Published Authors Create Structure

If you’re using the classic five-stage plot structure: exposition, rising action, climax, falling action and resolution, I thought we’d hear … Read More

Biography: Here for It: Or, How to Save Your Soul in America; Essays by R. Eric Thomas

From the creator of Elle’s “Eric Reads the News,” a heartfelt and hilarious memoir-in-essays about growing up seeing the world differently, … Read More

Most Talked About: UNTAMED by Glennon Doyle

This #1 New York Times bestseller has a 4.9 star rating on Amazon. In her most revealing and powerful memoir … Read More

Coming Soon: Meadowlark by Melanie Abrams

This haunting novel about the lasting effects of childhood trauma and the resulting choices we make for our children, will … Read More

How to Use Twitter for Book and Author Promotion

Social media and other marketing gurus have taken to using the phrase “discoverability” as the ability for potential audiences to … Read More

Book Club Picks: Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid

A striking and surprising debut novel from an exhilarating new voice, Such a Fun Age is a page-turning and big-hearted story … Read More

Current Events: American Nero: The History of the Destruction of the Rule of Law, and Why Trump Is the Worst Offender by Richard W. Painter and Peter Golenbock

Donald Trump is eroding the rule of law! We’ve heard it said many times, and we can feel it in … Read More

Genre Clarification: Is Contemporary Fiction The Same As General Fiction?

In the midst of other fiction genres—thrillers, mysteries, romances, and whatnot—it seems contemporary fiction oftentimes gets overlooked or left out. … Read More

Politics: Bernie Sanders’ Guide to Political Revolution by Senator Bernie Sanders

In the Bernie Sanders’ Guide to Political Revolution, Independent congressman, presidential candidate and activist Bernie Sanders continues his fight against … Read More

Best Reviewed: Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

With an Amazon rating of 4.7 stars, Small Great Things has been reviewed by over 10,000 readers. So well loved … Read More

Writing Prompts To Reduce Your Coronavirus Anxiety

If you’re anything like me, you love to write when you’re stressed out. However, it’s hard to concentrate these days … Read More

Author Spotlight: James McBride

James McBride is an author, musician and screenwriter. His landmark memoir, The Color of Water rested on the New York … Read More

Non-Fiction: Above Suspicion by Joe Sharkey

This non-fiction best seller titled Above Suspicion, An Undercover FBI Agent, an Illicit Affair, and a Murder of Passion, is … Read More

Pop Culture: The Office – The Untold Story of the Greatest Sitcom of the 2000s – An Oral History

Newly released – just yesterday! This book contains the oral history of untold stories behind The Office, one of the … Read More

New Release: The Boy From The Woods by Harlan Coben

Released last week from one of my favorite authors, comes The Boy From The Woods by Harlan Coben. In this … Read More

Query Queries: 6 Things Your Query Needs To Do

There are a few things your query letter needs.  Below I’ve listed a few things that you might add when … Read More

Self Publishing Help: My #1 Tip

My clients often ask me, “What’s the #1 tip you would give someone who wants to self-publish?” The answer is … Read More

Book Review: American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

Amid all the hype about American Dirt, Barnes & Noble picked this book as their March book club pick. As … Read More

Jean Stein Book Award Winner Announced

The PEN America Literacy Awards were announced earlier this month. The PEN/Jean Stein Book Award, which goes to the author … Read More

What to Read While Waiting For The World To Feel Normal Again

It seems like a terrible fever dream that we won’t wake from.  The political climate in our country is hostile … Read More

Coronavirus Concerns For London Book & Screen Week

With the news of the Coronavirus outbreak, many publishing events in Europe have been cancelled. London Book & Screen Week, … Read More

Agent Spotlight: Caroline Eisenmann of Frances Goldin Literary Agency

Caroline Eisenmann joined the Frances Goldin Literary Agency in 2017. She previously spent four years at ICM Partners building a … Read More

Best Fictional Teachers In Literature

There are a bunch of books that feature teachers prominently.  In most books, teachers are a nameless bunch who often times … Read More

Adaptations: The Devil All The Time by Donald Ray Pollock

The Devil All The Time takes place in the American Midwest during the years following the Second World War, and … Read More

Literary Lists: Books That Make You Cry

This list is about the most heartbreaking novels ever written; it answers the question, “What are the saddest books of … Read More

Word Game Wednesday: One Star Reviews

In this edition of Word Game Wednesday, I’m asking you to identify famous books based on their actual one-star reviews … Read More

Elements of Writing: Foreshadowing

In order to create suspense for readers, authors often wish to hint where the story is going. When an author … Read More

Searching for Candy: John Candy: A Biography by Tracey J. Morgan

I miss John Candy.  His movies were a staple of my childhood, and I still re-watch them.  I can’t wait … Read More

Most Talked About: American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins

American Dirt has been the subject of controversy and criticism since 2019, when early readers first offered their opinions after … Read More

Coming Soon: The Perfect World of Miwako Sumida by Clarissa Goenawan

Publishing on March 1oth: From the critically acclaimed author of Rainbirds comes a novel of tragedy and dark histories set … Read More

Marketing: Self-Publisher’s Legal Handbook: Updated Guide to Protecting Your Rights and Wallet by Helen Sedwick

Do you ever worry about the legalities of self-publishing your own book? Well, Helen Sedwick has you covered.  She has … Read More

How To Find A Writing Partner

Choosing a writing partner should not be an arbitrary decision.  It’s like finding your husband or wife — you need … Read More

Book Club Picks: Laura & Emma by Kate Greathead

Told in vignettes whose every “restrained and understated sentence has been polished to glittering brightness” (Vox), Laura & Emma is “an incisive … Read More

Current Events: Voices In Our Blood: America’s Best on The Civil Rights Movement by Jon Meacham

Voices In Our Blood is a literary anthology of important and artful interpretations of the civil rights movement and the … Read More

Genre Clarification: Why does genre matter?

In writing, genres cover some basic styles of fiction, with subgenres clarifying specific styles even more. What’s interesting to note … Read More

Adaptations: Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem

Released last November, Motherless Brooklyn is the second directorial project from actor Edward Norton and is an adaptation of Jonathan … Read More

What To Read When You’re Busy

Don’t you hate it when you’re too busy to read? It’s the worst! Below I’ve listed five books that are … Read More

Self-Publishing Help: What’s The Lowdown On ISBNs?

Authors can self-publish a book in many ways, from print publishing to digital publishing. No matter the format you choose, … Read More

5 Writing Prompts For Your Weekend

Are you a “weekend warrior” when it comes to writing?  Do you anxiously await for Saturday or Sunday so you … Read More

Non-Fiction: A Very Stable Genius by Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig

Washington Post national investigative reporter Carol Leonnig and White House bureau chief Philip Rucker, both Pulitzer Prize winners, provide the … Read More

People Are Talking About: Thief River Falls by Brian Freeman

“Harrowing loss, psychological trauma, and a deadly mystery test the human will to survive in this electrifying novel from award-winning … Read More

Genre Clarification: Humor

Humor is one of my favorite non-fiction genres. Books in the humor nonfiction genre are about jokes, people, or events … Read More

How To Craft A Great Opening Sentence

I’m horrible. Sure I’m nice to animals, co-workers, and my kiddo….but I’m horrible to iffy opening sentences.  I’m picky and … Read More

Word Game Wednesday: This. Is. JEOPARDY!

Calling all Jeopardy Junkies! This is the literature edition of the famous game.   How many can you answer (in the … Read More

Book Club Picks: Lady Clementine by Marie Benedict

From Marie Benedict, the New York Times bestselling author, comes an incredible novel that focuses on one of the people who … Read More

Pop Culture Pick: Movie Quotes For All Occasions by James Scheibli

Amazon’s #1 Best Seller in Etiquette Guides & Advice, Great Movie Quotes for All Occasions is every movie lover’s dream. … Read More

Literary Lists: Books You Will Never Finish Reading

Hard books to read run the gamut. Some are just too long, like War and Peace. Others are just perplexing and … Read More

Best Love Stories In Literature

What better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day then listing some of my favorite love stories in all of literature. Click … Read More

Query Queries: Should I tell an agent I haven’t had success querying?

In my reviews of query letters I’ve come across some that are really great, and some that are….not great. One … Read More

Writing Elements: Atmosphere

Many writers are able to create mood and atmosphere with little effort. But to become a better writer, you need a conscious, … Read More

The Future of Feeling: Building Empathy in a Tech-Obsessed World by Kaitlin Ugolik Phillips

Hailed as “an insightful exploration of what social media, AI, robot technology, and the digital world are doing to our … Read More

Best Reviewed: The Way I Heard It by Mike Rowe

Executive producer and host Mike Rowe presents a delightfully entertaining, seriously fascinating collection of his favorite episodes from America’s #1 … Read More

Agent Spotlight: Jevon Bolden of Embolden Media Group

Jevon Bolden is an editor, writer, writing coach, and literary agent.  She moved into her latest role as literary agent … Read More

Marketing: Building Relationships and Engaging Your Audience

Two parts of marketing your self-published book are so important and work together so well, that I’ve put them in … Read More

Book Review: Dear Edward by Ann Napolitano

I recently finished Dear Edward so I could participate in the Barnes & Noble book club.  Alternating between what happens … Read More

Award Winner: Look Both Ways: A Tale Told In Ten Blocks By Jason Reynolds

From National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author Jason Reynolds comes a novel told in ten blocks, showing all … Read More

New Release: When I Was You by Minka Kent

When I Was You is a new novel of psychological suspense by Wall Street Journal bestselling author Minka Kent.  A … Read More

Author Spotlight: Kazuo Ishiguro

Sir Kazuo Ishiguro is a British novelist, screenwriter, and short-story writer. He was born in Nagasaki, Japan, and moved to the United Kingdom in 1960 … Read More

Print Is Dying? Not yet anyway.

According to a report published by Amy Watson in October of 2019, over 80% of adults, age 18 to 29, have read at … Read More

Non-Fiction: The Pale-Faced Lie: A True Story by David Crow

The Pale-Faced Lie is the true story of a violent ex-con who forces his son to commit crimes.  David Crow … Read More

Adaptations: David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

The latest iteration of David Copperfield by Charles Dickens is coming to theaters on May 8th. The film adaptation, titled The … Read More