Sunday, May 10, 2015

The Book of Life on Proust...

Marcel Proust was an early 20th-century French writer responsible for what is officially the longest novel in the world: A la recherche du temps perdu – which has 1,267,069 words in it; double those in War and Peace. It was immediately recognised to be a masterpiece, ranked by many as the greatest novel of the century, or simply of all time. 

The book was published in French in seven volumes over 14 years:
Du côté de chez Swann, 1913
À l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs, 1919
Le Côté de Guermantes, 1920
Sodome et Gomorrhe, 1922
La Prisonnière, 1923
Albertine disparue, 1925
Le Temps retrouvé, 1927

It was immediately recognised to be a masterpiece, ranked by many as the greatest novel of the century, or simply of all time. What makes it so special is that it isn’t just a novel in the straight narrative sense. It is a work that intersperses genius-level descriptions of people and places with a whole philosophy of life.
The clue is in the title:
À  la recherche du temps perdu
In Search of Lost Time

Full story and photos here:

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Health-related poetry contest

Poetry Contest Calls for Pieces Related to Health

From the Michael J. Fox Foundation:

April is National Poetry Month, as well as Parkinson’s Awareness Month. A special contest from the journal Health Affairs gives the lyrically inclined in our community a chance to participate in both themes at once by sharing experiences through poetry.
Health Affairs explains:

We are holding a poetry contest from March 26 to April 22, 2015, looking for well-crafted poems that touch on topics related to health and health policy. Three winning poems will be announced at the end of April. Winners will receive a $500 prize, publication in Health Affairs, and two copies of the issue containing the winning poem.
Poems can address any health topic, not just Parkinson’s, and must be written in English. Visit the Health Affairs blog for further submission guidelines.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Poets & Writers comes to Chicago

P&W Live Logo


Poets & Writers Live is coming to Chicago!

Spend a Saturday with us at Instituto Cervantes as we explore the writer's journey from inspiration to publication.  

We'll kick things off with a "poetry keynote" by acclaimed poet Li-Young Lee, followed by panel discussions on resources for writers in Chicago; how to prepare the perfect pitch to agents, editors, and other publishing professionals; plus craft talks with poet Roger Reeves, novelist Edward Kelsey Moore, and essayist Jenny Boully; and live-lit performances by Megan Stielstra, Parneshia Jones, and Lindsay Hunter.  

A reading and discussion with Chicago literary icons Stuart Dybek and Marc Kelly Smith is sure to be a highlight of the program. 
In the mid-day time slot, participants have the option of attending a panel led by Debra Englander, the author of our popular column The Savvy Self-Publisher, or selecting one of three small group sessions led by Jeff Kleinman, Renée Zuckerbrot, or Don Share. Kleinman and Zuckerbrot are both New York City-based literary agents; Share is the editor of Poetry magazine. Each of the small sessions is limited to 15 participants and offered on a first-come first-served basis for an additional charge of $25.

We'll finish the day with a Literary Mixer: a chance to meet others, compare notes, and enjoy a glass of wine with your fellow writers. Register today to take advantage of the special Early Bird price of just $60.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

New Lit Mag Resource

Enjoy the new launch of Literary Hub, "a single, trusted, daily source for all the news, ideas and richness of contemporary literary life," created by Grove Atlantic and Electric Literature
Sign up for free at

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Another succcessful five-year mark

Congratulations to Lois Roelof, celebrating the five-year mark on her marvelous blog.

Enjoy a stop at and see the variety of witty, poignant, informative and funny material she writes.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Patient Confidential

Patient Confidential

Happy to see a client's book zoom into the top 100 in his category!   Congratulations to Rich Lang, author of Patient Confidential.

·         Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #389,749 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
*   #99 in Books > Business & Money > Insurance > Health

Essential reading for your first and every hospital/doctor interaction.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Writer's Quote of the Month

The time to begin writing an article is when you have finished it to your satisfaction. By that time you begin to clearly and logically perceive what it is you really want to say. 

~Mark Twain

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Rebecca Makkai's advice for "Writer's Butt"

The funny and ever-informative shares the following important advice for those who suffer from what I call writer's butt cramps. The linked essay is by Rebecca Makkai, a speaker we recently enjoyed hearing at OCWW.

Writers and editors, are you suffering from backaches, expanding butts, and the host of other problems associated with this fine vocation? If so be sure to check out Rebecca Makkai's "Calisthenics for Writers." Writes Makkai, "Writer’s Butt is a real and tragic thing. You might be making great progress on that novel, but is your seat getting wider with every word count goal?" One exercise she advises: "Bind together seven copies of literary magazines that rejected you, and impale them on the end of a sharp stick. Now do the same with seven more mags on the other end of the stick. Now it’s time for the free lift! That thing must weigh at least ten pounds."
Read her full, funny essay here:  Calisthenics for Writers

Friday, February 13, 2015

"Modern Love" column editor

The New York Times "Modern Love" column on Feb. 8, 2015 may surprise you. Written by the column's editor, Daniel Jones, it explains at length what does and doesn't work for a "Modern Love" pitch, a highly coveted essay market. Take a look, as Jones analysis of submitted essays causes him to consider the concept of good writing. His response is beneficial for all writers.

There is also a notice of a call for stories from college students, with a $1,000 award to the winning writer, for an essay to run in May 2015.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Some authors still write by hand

Mashable has a neat article about authors who write their books by hand. Joyce Carol Oates is said to write longhand for up to eight hours a day.

In an interview with Salon, she said of her process:
"Why is this so unusual? Every writer has written 'by hand' until relatively recent times. Writing is a consequence of thinking, planning, dreaming -- this is the process that results in 'writing,' rather than the way in which the writing is recorded."
See the full list here on Mashable.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Quote of the month

Thanks to tireless Brian Scott of for sharing this quote:

"If you have a goal, write it down. If you do not write it down, you do not have a goal - you have a wish."

                                                                --Steve Maraboli, author of Unapologetically You

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Snow storm reading recommendation

All eyes are on the news about the east coast storm, putting New Englanders at risk and hunkering down at home. CNN's analysis includes tips on what to stock up on. How great that my book, Release Your Writing, showed up in an ad on the same page today!  My sympathies are for those who have to bear such a storm, and the public service workers who have to restore services. My second thought is folks might be buying a lot of good ebooks!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Author, author, it's tax time

Comment from a Release Your Writing reader today...
What? Pay taxes on my meager earnings as an author? Please say it isn't so.

It is true that author royalties are taxable, as well as the revenue you collect from books you sell on your own at events. On the plus side, of course, all your writing related expenses are deductible, so the tax burden may even out.

Infinity Publishing has a nice summary of all the deductions authors are entitled to take. Writing is considered a business expense, unless you don't produce revenue within five years. Then, you are downgraded to "hobby" status.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Literary Jackpot article

Here is a New Year's treat.... A New York Times article about author Anthony Doerr and the surprising success of his novel All the Light We Cannot See.

Sales of this book continued to soar during 2014, and the author can now relax and enjoy the success. Yet he has three other book ideas he is toying with - each very different from the others.

In the mind of a busy writer, that's just what we do.  As the author states:

"You just try to water these things like plants and see which one gets the most light and flourishes."

What a lovely way to think of our writing. May 2015 bring you surprising success, however you define it!