Tuesday, 31 May 2011

'Long Gone' by Alafair Burke: A New Release Coming Soon!

Release date: 21st July 2011
Published by: Avon Harper Collins
ISBN No: 978 1 84756 112 1 

After months of unemployment, Alice Humphrey lands her dream job, managing a Manhattan art gallery in the trendy Meatpacking District. According to recruiter Drew Campbell, the gallery is a passion of its anonymous owner, who remains uninvolved in its daily operations.But she arrives one morning and walks into a nightmare: the space is empty except for the dead body of Drew. Alice soon finds herself at the centre of the police investigation. When every thread of the investigation leads back to her, Alice knows she has been set up. But who is out to get her?

Alafair Burke is a former District Attorney who now teaches Criminal Law at Hofstra Law School, and lives in New York City. Alafair is the daughter of the acclaimed crime writer James Lee Burke. She is revered by her peers, and has been praised for her writing by Michael Connelly, Karin Slaughter, Lisa Unger, Lee Child and Dennis Lehane. www.alafairburke.com or Twitter @alafairburke.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

International Book Giveaway:- Splash Into Summer Blog Hop!

Welcome to the 'Splash Into Summer Blog Hop'!

This is a seven  day blog hop taking place from, Wednesday 25th May until Tuesday  31st May 2011.Thanks to 'I am a Reader' and 'Page Turners' Blogs for helping host this awesome hop! There are 300+ blogs signed up to host a book related giveaway, so you have a great chance of winning something!

I am based in the UK, so have posted this up earlier than the majority of blogs that are taking part in this hop, which are mainly based in the United States of America/Canada, as they are about six hours behind me time wise, so their link blog hop posts will not go up until 00.01 am on 25th May in their specific time zones.

To enter just join my blog as a GFC follower and leave a comment, (also include your e-mail address with your comment so I can contact you if you are a winner!), you will then be entered into the draw for one of the following great books:

'The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove' by Lauren Kate
'Water for Elephants' by Sara Gruen
'The Conspiracy Club' by Jonathan Kellerman
'The Jewel of St Petersburg' by Kate Furnivall


Only one book can be won by each draw winner. There will be four winners from this draw. Each entrant will be allocated a sequential number. After the closing date for this draw (Tuesday 31st May 2011 at 23.59GMT), the winning numbers entered for this draw will be chosen by random.org. This is an International Giveaway!
As I have already said earlier, there are over three hundred blogs taking part in this giveaway! When you have entered this draw, click on the 'linky' links at the very bottom of this web page, to move onto the other participating blogs to see what prizes they have on offer once their links are up according to their time zones!
Good Luck Everyone 

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Recently Released: 'The Maid' by Kimberly Cutter

ISBN No: 13: 9781408807620
Published:  3rd May 2011 
Published by: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC 

It is the early part of the fifteenth century and the tumultuous Hundred Years War rages on. The French city of Orleans is under siege, English soldiers tear through the countryside wreaking destruction on all who cross their path, and Charles VII, the uncrowned king, has neither the strength nor the will to rally his army. And in the quiet of her parents’ garden in Domremy, a twelve-year-old peasant girl, Jehanne, hears a voice that will change her life – and the course of European history.

The tale of Jehanne d’Arc, the saint and warrior who believed she had been chosen by God to save France, and who led an army of 10,000 soldiers against the English, has captivated our imagination for centuries. But the story of Jehanne – the girl – whose sister was murdered by the English, who sought an escape from her violent father and a forced marriage, who taught herself to ride, and fight, and lead, and who somehow found the courage and tenacity to convince first one, then two, then tens, then thousands to follow her, is at once thrilling, unexpected and heart-breaking.

Sweeping, gripping and rich with intrigue, betrayal, love and valour, The Maid is an unforgettable novel about the power and burden of faith, and the exhilarating and devastating consequences of fame.

Synopsis directly copied from: http://www.themaidbook.com 

Friday, 20 May 2011

Guest Post: Author Graham Parke - A Short Story!

Is It Like Listening To You Talk?

As you probably know, to become an internationally best-selling author, you need to sell three books. This is not an easy task, but once you’ve managed to rack up these three sales, the rest is more or less a done deal.

Now, these sales themselves will not put you on the best-seller lists. They won’t even put you within a million spots of the bottom of the lists, but what they will do, and what they do every time, is spark a slowly growing buying frenzy that will get you there.

These three people will love your book, they will tell another five people, who in turn tell another seven. Within roughly four-and-a-half weeks, you finally make your first million.
That’s how it happens. Every single time.

But, how does an author tackle this monumental task? Where does he find these three readers?

I myself was quite lucky. When my novel appeared on Amazon I already knew over five people! What’s more, some of these people even liked me... somewhat. So I set out to become an internationally best-selling author by convincing at least three of these five people to buy my novel.

I started with my mother. Of all the five people I knew, I probably knew her the longest. I showed her my Amazon page and she nodded approvingly. She did not, however, make any attempts to buy a copy. So I logged on for her, navigated back to my novel’s page, and left the mouse pointer conveniently positioned over the BUY button.

She read the novel description again, searched-inside-this-book, and nodded some more. When I asked her if she’d like to buy a copy, she scrunched up her nose and said;

‘But what if I don’t like it?’
I told her not to worry. ‘It’s a really good book,’ I said. ‘I should know. I’ve re-written it like 50 times. It’s really funny and interesting.’
My mother wasn’t convinced. ‘I’m not really into comedy writing, though,’ she said.
‘It’s not just a comedy,’ I pointed out. ‘It has a real story; it’s a mystery. And it has twists and turns and believable characters.’
My mother hesitated. ‘Maybe I should just play it safe and buy another Stephen King novel…’

I ended up having to offer a personal money-back guarantee, and purchase a copy using my own credit card for the time being, but she finally cracked. I’d made my first sale!

Next, I prodded my wife. Although she did like words in general, she wasn’t sure she was up for reading and entire book full of them. ‘Is this like your usual stuff?’ she wanted to know.
‘What usual stuff?’
She shrugged. ‘I don’t know. Is it like listening to you talk?’
‘What’s wrong with they way I talk?’
‘Nothing. It’s just, well, sometimes you talk a lot of nonsense.’
I waved it away. ‘Don’t worry,’ I said. ‘I am much more interesting and ‘telligible’ on paper.’

Long story short; my second sale is almost in the bag. Now I just need to find one more person to buy my novel, and I’ll be set for life!

Check out the Summer of Gomez!

Get free books and win a Kindle or iPod.

As reviewers have been calling “No Hope for Gomez!” the perfect summer read - light, fast, fun - I decided to give this summer's Gomez readers some exclusive content and the chance to win prizes.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Interview and International Digital Book Giveaway with Author Rebecca Forster

Rebecca Forster started writing on a crazy dare and to her own great surprise, her first book was published. Since then, she has published twenty-three novels, finding her true voice with legal thrillers. ‘Keeping Counsel’ was a USA Today bestseller and the Witness series continues to appear in the top 100 Kindle bestsellers on Amazon. Rebecca also currently has a film script in production teaches at UCLA Writer’s Programme and volunteers her time in classrooms to bring the joy of writing to middle school children. She holds an MBA, had a career in advertising before becoming a full-time writer, is married to a superior court judge and is the mother of two sons.

TSR: A very warm welcome to you Rebecca, and can I thank-you, for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk to us today. For the benefit of our International readers can you tell us a bit about where you live and why you like living there?

I live in Palos Verdes, a beautiful peninsula in Southern California. We are, technically, a suburb of Los Angeles. I love where I live for so many reasons: our wild cliffs where you can hike along the ocean and see whales migrating, horse paths winding through the eucalyptus trees, lots of park land and I especially love that easily get to L.A., or Hollywood, or Malibu when the mood strikes!

TSR: Do you think the books that you read as a child influenced your writing in any way?

I loved Robert Louis Stevenson’s ‘A Child’s Garden of Verses’, but my favourite books were the Nancy Drew series. I think it was Nancy Drew that planted the seeds of love for a good mystery.

TSR: Did you have favourite book that you read when you were in your teens?

I don’t remember a favourite book from my teens. What an interesting question. I seem to jump from childhood to adulthood in terms of favourite books. Ah, wait, Lord of the Flies!

TSR: Did you always want to become a writer?

No and I think this sets me apart from most writers. I never thought about it until I met a client’s wife when I worked corporately. She is a very successful author, Daniel Steel. I made the mistake of saying I could write a book just like her. My friend dared me to do it and the rest is history.

TSR: My mother always warned me not to ask a lady this question, but, here goes, how old were you when you first started writing?

33. I’ve been writing 26 years. People should know the older you are, the more life experience you have, and the richer your writing will be. No one is ever too old to begin!

TSR: You first writing success was through writing romance novels. Can you tell us a bit about this?

I had actually never read a romance novel but it seemed the logical place to start. My background is marketing so I treated writing a book like trying to sell a new product. Romance publishers need a huge amount of inventory, they are willing to consider an un-agented author and they offer extraordinarily precise guidelines. I used this information to craft my first book. Add to that luck since I wrote stories about working women at a time when romance fashions were changing and things came together. However, I found I was not a natural born romance writer. I am in awe of those who can continually put a fresh spin on romantic relationships.

TSR: You are now writing thrillers. What made you decide to change your writing direction after writing successful romantic novels?

I changed my writing direction out of necessity. I found I was a better storyteller when I did not have to write to strict guidelines or lead with a relationship. I also preferred reading thrillers so it seemed natural that I gravitated toward writing them. I always felt I wrote better about relationships when there was an active, outside force driving the story. So, in my case, my characters love interest grows from their common desire to deal with a life-threatening problem. In romance, it’s just the opposite. I think every author has a comfort zone and sometimes we have to try a few things before we land in just the right spot.

TSR: Do you have a set routine when you are working on a novel?

Sometimes I start as early as 6:30 a.m. I work for about five or six hours writing. When I’m home, I answer mail, edit, outline new stories and work on my website. I work seven days a week but it is work I love.

TSR: Where do you do your best writing?

If I stay home I am distracted by housework or just being lazy. I have been going to the same coffee shop - Coffee Cartel - for twelve years to write. It is an eclectic place where the clientele is always inspiring and the owner is incredibly welcoming.

TSR: What was the inspiration for writing your top selling novel ‘Keeping Counsel’?

A number of things came together when I wrote that book. First, I had just passed a milestone birthday. Second, I had been engaged in a conversation with someone about whether or not it was better to be married even if it wasn’t a love match. Third, there had been a case involving a murderer and a question of whether counsel broke their oath to their client. My best friend lived in New Mexico – a wild desert – and I put all three of those things together and came up with the premise. What would you do if your best friend was involved with your client – a man who murdered women? Would you break your oath to keep his counsel in order to protect her?

TSR: Can you tell us a bit about your book ‘Hostile Witness’?

‘Hostile Witness’ is a favourite! My husband had to sentence a 16 year old male to life in adult prison and the case concerned him greatly. I began to wonder what I thought about trying juveniles as adults. How horrible did the crime have to be before I would determine that a person had crossed the line from innocent child to cold blooded killer? These characters – Josie, Hannah, Archer – are as real to me as my own family. The situation they find themselves in brings up a question that did touch someone in my family.

TSR: How did you think of and develop the main characters’ in your books?

I am very visual. My characters are often born because I see someone who is intriguing. The way they move, the cut of their hair or clothes starts the wheels turning. Once I have a sense of ‘how’ my characters live and their backstory, I begin to determine what would create the most dramatic conflict for them. Money? Lust? Power? They don’t have to want those things. In fact, sometimes the best drama is when a character fights against them.

TSR: You seem to have moved away from publishing hard copies of your books to e-books. Has this been an easy change for you?

No, this has been a very difficult. There is nothing like walking into a bookstore and being able to pick up my book. But times have changed. In my area there is only one bookstore left. Independents have shut their doors. I love Europe because there are still so many bookstores. But here, the future is digital. Many authors are finding the contractual agreements with traditional publishers difficult because they must sign away the bulk of their digital rights. I think this is a choice all authors have to make these days. It is not an easy one. I would love to find a traditional publisher to work with again but, until there is a change in contractual obligations, I will probably continue publishing digitally. I have, by the way, been very happy with the results. It’s nice to be master of my literary fate.

TSR: Does your mum read your books and what does she think of them?

My mother does read my books and she is a harsh critic. Her favourite is one of my first romances, ‘Rainbow’s End’. I must admit, I re-read it not too long ago and it did bring a bit of a tear to my eye. She also liked ‘Beyond Malice’ because it was inspired by my youngest sister. She thought that was great. She’ll be so pleased you asked!

TSR: Would you have any sound advice for budding authors?

The best advice I can give is to be realistic. Writing is hard work. If you don’t work hard you’re not doing it right. Most of us will not become rich but all of us will touch those who choose to read our books. Never forget that someone is waiting for your words to move them, inspire or entertain them.

TSR: What is your favourite of the many books that you have written and why?

Tough call! For sheer thriller appeal,’ Hostile Witness’ and ‘Beyond Malice’ but I am most proud of my latest book, ‘Before Her Eyes’, as I stretched craft boundaries on that one and I’m so pleased with the results.

TSR: Are you currently reading a book at the moment, and if so what is it?

I am reading a couple of books. ‘The Specials’ by Scott Westerfeld and George Friedman’s, ‘The Next Decade’. I have just finished – and loved – ‘The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society’.

TSR: Do you have any hobbies or interests that you enjoy in order to give you a break from your normal writing routine?

Tennis (I play in a competitive league), traveling, walking, cooking, quilting, sewing. I think it is important that writers do something physical – and preferably competitive.

TSR: Have you any other books in the making at the moment and when are they due to be published?

I am working on the fourth book in the Witness series. It’s called ‘Expert Witness’. The opening chapters are on my website. I just finished writing a script that was requested by a producer. Who knows where that will go! 'Expert Witness' will be released digitally.

TSR: Rebecca, it has been a pleasure and delight that you agreed to be interviewed for my literary site. I would like to thank-you for taking the time to speak to us today and for the very interesting answers that you have given to my questions. Good luck too with your new book ‘Expert Witness’. I’m really looking forward to you finishing it, so I can read it!

If you would like to find out more about Rebecca and her writing, a direct link to Rebecca’s website is given below. Rebecca has a very interesting website so pop over there and say hello!:

International Digital Book
Giveaway Draw!

Rebecca has very kindly offered to provide five digital e-book copies of any of her current novels for an International Book Giveaway Draw to go with her interview, here at 'The Secret Writer'!

It is very simple to participate in this draw. If you visit this blog and have joined as a 'Google Friend Connect' follower, leave a comment on this post telling us which book of Rebecca's you would like to win (also include your e-mail address in your comment so I can contact you if you are a winner), you will then be entered into a draw for your own choice of one of Rebecca's digital e-books!

To make things easier for you, I have posted the book covers of Rebecca's thrillers in the left side bar of this blog and the book covers of Rebecca's romance novels in the right side bar.

There will be five winners from this draw. Each entrant to the draw will be allocated a sequential number. After the closing date for this draw (Tuesday 31st May 2011 at 23.59GMT), The five winning numbers for this draw will be chosen by random.org. This is an International Giveaway for all my GFC Followers! Thank-you Rebecca, for providing a great choice of prizes for this draw!

Good Luck Everyone!

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Heidi Ruby Miller: Co-Editor of Many Genres One Craft: Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction.

As part of a three month mega 'Virtual Book Tour' for the new writing guide 'Many Genres, One Craft', Heidi and myself, have jointly hosted the 'Secret Writers' series. As well as the 'Secret Writers' author posts that have been featured here on this blog over the past few weeks, further posts in this series can be found on Heidi's blog, by clicking on the following link: 'Secret Writers'.

Heidi is a fantastic lady, who worked tirelessly to help me put the 'Secret Writers' series together. I would like to thank Heidi and also the contributing authors from 'Many Genres One Craft', that produced their very interesting posts, that contributed to this really fascinating 'behind the scenes' series. I would also like to thank Heidi and Michael for choosing 'The Secret Writer' blog as an 'Official Tour Stop' for their amazing new book. I have really enjoyed my time working with the 'Many Genres One Craft Team'!

As this particular 'Book Tour Stop' has now come to an end, I would finally like to introduce you to Heidi Ruby Miller, author and also Co-Editor of Many Genres One Craft.

Heidi Ruby Miller pursued several career paths, just not at the same time, including contract archaeology, foreign currency exchange at Walt Disney World, secondary foreign language teacher, and Educational Marketing Director for a Frank Lloyd Wright House. Now she is adjunct faculty at Seton Hill University, where she graduated from their Writing Popular Fiction graduate program the same month she appeared on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire. Her fiction is in various print and online publications. Among them are: Ambasadora, "The Islands of Hope" inSails and Sorcery: Tales of Nautical Fantasy (Fantasist Enterprises Ed. by W.H. Horner), "The Surrender" in Best of Every Day Fiction 2008 (Ed. by Jordan Lapp, Camille Gooderham Campbell, and Steven Smethurst), "Mr. Johnson's Boy" and "Sounds in the Jungle" in Eye Contact. She is a member of The Authors Guild, Pennwriters, Broad Universe, and the Science Fiction Poetry Association. If you would like to find out a bit more about Heidi and her writing, just click on the following link, which will take you directly to her blog: http://heidirubymiller.blogspot.com

Monday, 16 May 2011

Michael A Arnzen: Co-Editor of Many Genres One Craft:Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction.

Michael A. Arnzen is the co-editor of 'Many Genres One Craft: Lesons in Writing Popular Fiction. Michael is a college teacher by day and a horror writer by night. He has been educating novelists since 1999 as faculty in the Writing Popular Fiction graduate program at Seton Hill University in Greensburg, PA, where he is currently Chair of the Humanities. Arnzen's energetic workshops on genre fiction writing have been popular at Odyssey, Alpha, World Horror Convention, Context, Pennwriters and the Horror Writers Association's annual Stoker Weekend event. His often funny, always disturbing horror stories have won four Bram Stoker Awards, an International Horror Guild award, and several "Year's Best" accolades.

Putting Our Heads Together:

An Introduction to Many Genres, One Craft


Michael A. Arnzen

Once upon a time, writers worked with editors like apprentices under master craftsmen. Writers were understudies to their editors, who would patiently walk them through every step of the revision process, teaching them about the finer points of style and training them in the business side of publishing along the way. Editors were a kind of educator, and writers were their students, working on their final thesis: a published book.

Yes, once upon a time, in a galaxy far, far away, the writer-editor relationship was like getting your Master's degree in fiction writing. Writers, once they got their foot in the publisher's door, worked with mentors who they could call or lunch with for advice as they collaborated on a title, refining a raw book into a bestselling work of great merit. And, just like Pygmalion, these advisors would transform the writer from a hack dreamer into a celebrated master wordsmith along the way.

As you might guess, this "My Fair Manuscript" scenario is a nostalgic fantasy. It simply doesn't work that way in publishing. Today, more than ever, economic need drives the business -- which in most cases is a relatively cold corporate business that can't afford the luxuries of yesterday's independent operations -- and editors have to answer to a publishing house's marketing team more than they do the literati down the street. It is true that writers learn a great deal of their art from their editors, and editors often do have to educate their writers about the way the book business really operates. But the rules of the game have changed drastically since the early days of publishing and the writer-editor relationship has sadly suffered.

Editors don't teach writers so much as they manage them and usher their manuscripts like footballs through the corporate goalposts. Writers are already expected to be "masters" of their art when they first come knocking on their door; there is no time for teaching and that's not what editors are paid for. The competition for an editor's attention, moreover, is tougher than it's ever been, because so many of the manuscripts that come over-the-transom are written by well-educated writers. Publishing is more like Donald Trump's The Apprentice than a true apprenticeship, and if you don't know what you're doing when you enter the board room, you're going to get fired (imagine the trademarked finger point when you open your letter: "You're rejected!").

Writing is a tough business and it's only grown colder as the trade has evolved.

That's why writers turn to each other for a little human warmth. They find communities of like-minded people on the internet, whether on genre fiction discussion boards or in mutual support systems like National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo.org). They join local writing workshops or travel to conventions; they take seminars and read scores of how-to books. They find mentorship in writer's groups or unions or graduate schools, or they head to the library or the bookstore to give themselves a crash course in the art and business of writing.

They turn to books like the one you are holding.

Many Genres, One Craft is like a graduate writing program housed between the covers of a book. We mean this quite literally: every author in this collection of instructional advice is a college teacher, published graduate, or visiting writer of merit attached in some way to Seton Hill University's MFA program in Writing Popular Fiction -- the country's only graduate writing program exclusively dedicated to writing novels intended for the mass market. Our program is custom-tailored to commercial novelists who want to write genre fiction well. We are an educational community like any other graduate writing program, but unique because we are more interested in helping writers produce books that are actually read by a wide audience than we are in debating inside the funhouse of literary theory. Our pragmatism sets us apart, but we are not a hack factory: we are driven to help others succeed as freelancers and entrepreneurs, and our advice about the entertainment industry is hard-nosed and realistic, earned from hard-won experience. Our teaching is not crassly commercial: we know that writing popular fiction takes as much craft and thoughtfulness as any other form of storytelling, and that it carries as much influence on our culture as fine literature. Perhaps its writers carry even more responsibility for what they write because of their potential impact on readers worldwide.

If you're just getting started, you might be surprised to learn that your interest in writing in the genre you love may identify you as a lowbrow hack. A bias exists against those who want to write for profit and fame, because writers -- ostensibly -- are producing literary art in the service of mankind. But all books serve mankind equally, and it is a shame that our society tends to separate books into "literary" and "popular" works of fiction. We know this boundary between "high" and "low" is arbitrary, based on the assumption that it takes one part genius and one part schooling to become "literary" and write the books that will stand the test of time, while -- the logic goes -- any dumb clown can write the dross that the masses consume like so much prefab macaroni and cheese.

Yes, and anyone can write a book, right? If you've tried, you know how hard it really is. And how many obstacles there are along the way from inventing an original idea to seeing it ushered into print. Even Shakespeare and Dickens -- some of the most popular writers of their day -- knew how hard this craft really is.

Everyone enjoys a good read, and most of the literati will concur that yesterday's pop fiction is today's classic literature, but the prevailing attitude that genre fiction is gutter entertainment still circulates -- especially in academia -- because, for many, entertainment is a guilty, almost bodily, pleasure. The notion that popular fiction is easy fiction is a self-congratulatory myth perpetuated by elites. Most graduate schools won't teach it, not only because it is "mere entertainment," but because their faculty are trained in scholarly approaches to highbrow literature that eschew popular genres. And, perhaps rightfully so, they know that teaching good writing in general will benefit any writer, whereas teaching, say, science fiction writing will only make their students better at writing science fiction, and worse, may produce formulaic rubbish. Thus, most grad schools focus only on the craft and spend time amplifying the writer's individual voice -- and often will reject genre writers from their ranks.

We realize it takes good writing to break into the literary marketplace at every level. Whether highbrow or low, literary mainstream or categorically genre, there is ultimately one core skill that all writers must have: the ability to tell a good story through effective writing. But when a writer is spinning a yarn of a particular type, a genre tale, then even more special knowledge is required to win over an audience. On top of voraciously reading within the genre to know its history, genre writers have to meet particular requirements that editors are looking for. This is why you find so many amateur workshops at genre conferences, or even full-fledged genre writing retreats hosted by veteran authors: because genre writers need to learn about their genre's elements to write it successfully. It's too bad the traditional world of academia can't find a home for many of these groups, which are often far more professional and literary than most people realize.

We believe that an open-minded, concentrated study of popular fiction can only build on the more general craft of writing. And we believe that when writers -- no matter what their genre or background -- put their heads together, shamelessly, they write better books.

We have put our heads together to create this book, in the hope that it will help you write a better book, too.

As you'll see, there is a rich diversity to this collection, and this is intentional: we feel that writers of all genres benefit from studying all elements of the craft, even in genres that they might not normally read. Indeed, in our program at Seton Hill University, "inter-genre" learning is one of the unexpected benefits that students often discover. A vampire novelist might learn a great deal from a category romance writer if, for example, their neck-biter happens to be a seductress. Likewise, if a romance writer's alpha male lead character is a firefighter, she might pick up some great tips for depicting a suspenseful firefight scene from a horror writer. And if you are a writer interested in writing "hybrid" or "cross-genre" fiction like paranormal romance, then you've found a handy resource in this anthology, which combines such a rich spectrum of genre advice between its covers.

A book is no substitute for the hands-on experience of a writing workshop or the one-on-one mentoring one would get from a faculty member assisting them with their novel. But Heidi Ruby Miller and I like to think of this book as a "snapshot" of any given residency in our college's Writing Popular Fiction program, and we followed its model in organizing its contents. Half of the program's curriculum is focused on "core" classes in the craft of writing (seminars in the basic elements of fiction like character, plot, setting, and dialogue) in addition to practical elements of the profession (like critiquing, researching, marketing manuscripts, etc.). This establishes a common dialogue and a foundation for learning that all writers share. The other half of the curriculum allows students to pick and choose elective courses in their chosen "genre" -- with course titles ranging from the necessary and important ("Marketing Mysteries ") to the quirky and wildly specific ("Elves in the Hood: Setting in Urban Fantasy "). The diversity of our program, like the diversity in genre fiction, emphasizes a balance between fresh invention and familiar convention.

Here, in Many Genres, One Craft, you'll get a smorgasbord of genre learning that has a similar balance. But devise your own curriculum: you can pick and choose chapters according to your special interests, skipping the parts that seem irrelevant -- or you can read it cover to cover in order, absorbing every speck of wisdom and inspiration that awaits you. With about sixty contributors on board, I think you'll find this a satisfying buffet.

They say writing can't be taught. There's some truth to that. Writers must write to learn. Only by applying ideas do we really learn what we need to know. We learn from our own mistakes, as much as from the wisdom of others. And the learning process is often fuzzy and highly individualized. But in the decade-plus that I have been teaching in the Writing Popular Fiction program at SHU, I have learned that there is no such thing as a wasted effort when it comes to improving. Every act of writing -- even when it seems like busy work -- pushes you one step closer to mastery. We don't always learn how to write from "how-to" books; instead we learn how readers read, how editors think, and how people experience this funny business called fiction.

You could just as easily learn all of this on your own from the proverbial school of hard knocks, but why bother with the hard knocking when you can get all this advice here, in addition to so many other shortcuts and tips? Knowing the experiences of others helps to prepare us to engage them in our own writing. There is a lot of wisdom in this book. Wisdom you won't find elsewhere.

A fringe benefit of attending a graduate program -- perhaps the primary benefit -- is building a network of partners, a community of kindred spirits. We hope that you will find those like-minded colleagues in the pages of this book. We're all in this genre business together. We suspect you'll get just as excited reading this book as we do when we assemble together on campus to study the genres and craft that we love so much. At the end of each graduate residency, our students and faculty alike depart inspired, eager to put into practice all that they've learned. We hope that -- above and beyond all the valuable information and instruction you will pick up in this rich and diverse anthology -- you will be just as energized, just as excited to return to your own writing, renewed, empowered and ready to tackle the challenges that every writer must face, ultimately, alone with the blank page.

But if it gets too lonely, look us up. We're online at http://fiction.setonhill.edu We offer a Master's degree to those who are qualified...but we also have an annual conference and retreat that the alumnae host, which features great guest editors, agents, and writers, and is open to all comers.

However, this is not a sales pitch for our program, nor an advertisement for our school. This is a writer's residency in a bottle. In fact, coffee break is over and class is about to begin. Let's get started, shall we?

Sunday, 15 May 2011

'There's Always Tomorrow'. A new Release from Pam Weaver Coming Soon!

ISBN No: 978 1 84756 267 8 
Release Date: 7th July 2011
Publisher: Avon Harper Collins

Traumatised by his experiences fighting in World War II, Reg isn’t the same husband that Dottie remembers. Once caring and considerate, Reg has returned a violent and crueller man. Then one day Reg gets a mysterious letter informing him that he is the father of a child born out of a dalliance during the war. The orphaned eight-year-old Patsy arrives to join an apparently delighted Reg and sceptical Dottie. However, it isn't long before the smile is wiped off Reg’s face; Patsy is far from what he had expected. Patsy’s arrival opens a whole can of worms and truths start to come out…but will Dottie be able to get to the bottom of things before Reg goes too far?

Pam Weaver lives in Sussex, and is married with grown-up children. She has always worked with children and is a fully-trained nursery nurse. A number of her short stories have been published in women’s magazines, one of which was featured on BBC Radio 4 and World Service. This is her first novel.

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

New Release Coming Soon! 'The Summer Season' by Julia Williams

ISBN No: 978 1 84756 088 9 
Release Date:  23rd June 2011
Published by: Avon Harper Collins

Joel is struggling to come to terms with being a single dad after the sudden death of his
wife, and is also hiding a painful secret. Added to this he has just inherited Lovelace
Cottage. Originally owned by a famous Victorian botanist, the house and garden have
fallen into a state of disrepair over the years. His original plans to renovate Heartsease to
share with his wife, are all now in ashes. Then guerrilla gardener Kezzie bursts into his
life, and demands not only that he restore the gardens to their former glory, but that he
opens them up to the public. Together, they discover the tragedy locked there, and by
doing so uncover the secrets of their own hearts.

Julia Williams grew up in London, one of eight children, including a twin sister. She’s
married to Dave, a dentist, and they have four daughters. This is Julia’s fifth novel, and her
previous novels, Pastures New, Strictly Love, Last Christmas and The Bridesmaid Pact, are
all published by Avon. www.juliawilliamsauthor.com or Twitter @JCCWilliams.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

New Release Coming Soon! 'Mary & Elizabeth' by Emily Purdy

ISBN No: 978 1 84756 237 1
Release Date:9th June 2011
Publisher: Avon Harper Collins
Mary was England's precious jewel, the surviving child of the tumultuous relationship between Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. However, when Henry fell passionately in love with the darkeyed Anne Boleyn, he cast his wife and daughter aside. Henry and Anne’s union sees the birth of Elizabeth. Mary is soon declared a bastard, stripped of all royal privileges, performing the lowliest tasks. But there is something about Elizabeth, and Mary soon grows to love her like a sister. After the passage of three years, and Anne Boleyn’s execution, Henry can no longer bear the sight of his female heir. With the birth of a son, Edward, both Mary and Elizabeth seem destined for oblivion. But as history will show, fate had something far more elaborate in store…

Emily Purdy is quickly establishing herself as a talented historical fiction writer. This is her second book; her first, The Tudor Wife, was published by Avon in 2010 and was a Sunday Times Top 20 bestseller, selling over 55,000 copies.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Secret Writers - Writing Under A Pseudonym! By Author Leslie Davis Guccione


During the halcyon days of romance novels I lived parallel lives, also writing YA and mid-grade fiction. I wrote my first 4 under my maiden name LESLIE DAVIS. I also wrote for existing YA lines (Sunset High and Cheerleaders) "Created by" XXXXXX on the cover with my name in very small print on the title page.

Once I was up and running, I wanted to keep adult and kid-lit separate, so I wrote for kids under my maiden name LESLIE DAVIS and for adults as my married/legal name: LESLIE DAVIS GUCCIONE. I then discovered there was no cross-referencing in bookstore computers so I wound up constantly explaining which name/which title. Hated it.

Within a few years, I landed multiple contracts with Scholastic & my editor Ann Reit agreed it was complicated plus she thought DAVIS too common. GUCCIONE fit on the shelves better (also within close proximity to best selling G authors) but she pointed out that including DAVIS made the name too long thus smaller font on the cover. So for Scholastic I became LESLIE D. GUCCIONE.

Harlequin Silhouette gave my name two lines on the cover so I remained LESLIE DAVIS GUCCIONE. About this time--when many romance writers used pseudonyms--I learned that, if it's not your legal name, the publishing houses could own them. This was somewhat understandable since they invested in the writer as product and were not happy to have the name jump to another house.

Ann Reit came to me with the idea of a 6 book series featuring a deaf teen detective and HEAR NO EVIL was born. Scholastic wanted them asap so we agreed a pseudonym was the way to go in case I could not write them all. I chose LISA CHRISTOPHER (homage to my then engaged stepson and his fiancee) but Ann forgot and thought up KATE CHESTER without consultation. (In other words, I didn't choose my pen name). As it turned out I penned #1-4 and #6. Another author was brought in for #5 as I was also under contract to Silhouette and busy with a romance. My legal name appears on the copyright pages but to this day, again, it's frustrating that even with the internet, there is little smooth cross referencing.

So there's my story.
All best,

Leslie D,
Leslie Davis,
Leslie Davis Guccione


With the simultaneous sales of a YA and adult romantic suspense novel, Leslie Davis Guccione left public relations and fundraising copywriting to concentrate on fiction. Over 25 years she’s published 28 novels for adult, middle grade and teen readers, garnering awards, starred reviews and genre fiction best seller status. Her work has been translated into eight languages. As Kate Chester she created and wrote the six book Hear No Evil series, featuring deaf protagonists, for Scholastic, including Tell Me How the Wind Sounds, which was optioned for television. Leslie is adjunct faculty for Seton Hill University’s MFA program. Her essay, "Where Do I Go from Here? Being Orphaned" appears in Many Genres, One Craft, edited by Michael A. Arnzen and Heidi Ruby Miller. Professional memberships have included The Authors Guild, Romance Writers of America and The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.


Many Genres blog - http://manygenres.blogspot.com/

Many Genres, One Craft - http://www.amazon.com/Many-Genres-One-Craft-

Tell Me How the Wind Sounds - http://www.amazon.com/Tell-How-Wind-Sounds-Point/dp/0590417142/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1302025644&sr=1-1

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Secret Writers - Writing Under A Pseudonym! By Author Ryan M Williams


When I decided to really get serious about my writing I also asked myself some basic questions. Did I want to focus on a single genre? I'd already written and published horror stories and science fiction, so I could easily see myself writing in those two genres. But I also wanted to write fantasy and urban fantasy. And I had a keen interest in doing more mysteries. Maybe even romance. It isn't that I'm a particularly fast writer, I'm not the Flash at the keyboard or anything like that. I just sit down and write most days and the words pile up. I read in a variety of different genres too, so it makes sense that I'd like to try my hand at multiple genres. After all, isn't it true that there are many genres, but just one craft? So I pretty much decided that it didn't make sense for me to narrow my focus to only one genre. It'd be easier in some respects but I knew I'd want to branch out and try different things.

Answering that question immediately raised the next, which was whether or not I'd use pen names? It didn't take long to arrive at yes, of course I'd use pen names. Primarily for the sake of readers. Having worked in libraries for many years I know that many readers do stick to a favorite genre. If a mystery reader picked up my latest book and loved it, and then went to get my other books only to discover that some were science fiction, others were horror or romance, they might not like that very much. By using a pen name I could create my own brands. I also decided that I'd use open pen names. No secrets here. Because there are readers like me, that'll read across multiple genres. So all my books list my name on the copyright page, writing as so-and-so, and my websites all have a page listing my other names and the associated genres. In my mind this gives me the best of both worlds. Readers can stick to one name, or easily find out the others and follow me wherever my imagination takes me.


His rap sheet reads like a small-time crook with a half-dozen aliases. As Ryan M. Williams he writes the scifi Moreau Society series including Dark Matters and The Gingerbread House. Writing as Ryan M. Welch he has authored his mystery fiction, like the Poe-inspired cat cozy novelette The Murders in the Reed Moore Library. Other aliases include Tennessee Hicks (urban & dark fantasy), and R.M. Haag (horror fiction). He has an essay "One Writer, Many Genres" in the new writing guide many Genres, One Craft, edited by Michael A. Arnzen and Heidi Ruby Miller. Ryan's education includes a Master of Arts degree from Seton Hill University and the successful completion of the master class taught by Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch. He lives in Western Washington with his wife and son.

Ryan M. Williams - http://www.ryanmwilliams.com/
Ryan M. Welch – http://www.ryanmwelch.com/
R. M. Haag – http://www.rmhaag.com/
Many Genres blog - http://manygenres.blogspot.com/

Many Genres, One Craft - http://www.amazon.com/Many-Genres-One-Craft-Lessons/dp/0938467085/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1302017939&sr=1-1

The Gingerbread House (Moreau Society) - http://www.amazon.com/Gingerbread-House-Moreau-Society-ebook/dp/B004HFRLGU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1302019777&sr=1-1

Dark Matters (Moreau Society) - http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Matters-Moreau-Society-ebook/dp/B001BXM1OI/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1302024169&sr=8-2

The Murders in the Reed Moore Library - http://www.amazon.com/Murders-Reed-Moore-Library-ebook/dp/B004BDOYIG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&m=AG56TWVU5XWC2&s=digital-text&qid=1302024219&sr=1-1