Arts Agencies & Library Services Face Defunding (Again)

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for Humanities (NEH), and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) are facing defunding under the Trump administration’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2019. The proposal will also eliminate a substantial amount dedicated to America’s libraries through the Library Services and Technology Act. Read the full post »

Forest Avenue Press Open to Unagented Submissions for One Month

Fiction Sign-CindyFazziPicForest Avenue Press will accept unagented, unsolicited submissions from Feb. 14 to March 14, 2018.  The Portland, Oregon-based publisher is seeking literary fiction. Read the full post »

Newly Launched Staunch Book Prize Reflects #MeToo Movement

In the wake of the #MeToo movement against sexual assault and harassment, a new book prize is seeking thrillers in which “no woman is beaten, stalked, sexually exploited, raped, or murdered.” Submit your manuscript to the Staunch Book Prize, the writing contest for our times.  Read the full post »

Best of 2017: “Baby Driver” & “Lady Bird” Offer a Fresh Take on Old Tropes

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Film Review: “Baby Driver,” directed by Edgar Wright, 2017; “Lady Bird,” directed by Greta Gerwig, 2017

In 2017, two films featuring young protagonists broke the mold to give same old same old tropes a fresh take. In “Baby Driver,” the creative use of music made it an extraordinary heist film, while the unlikely focus of “Lady Bird” on mother-daughter relationship set it apart from other coming-of-age movies. The two films are among the best and most original of last year’s crop of films. Read the full post »

Best-Selling Author Shares 4 Things Your Novel’s First Page Must Have

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The first thing a reader of a novel wants to know is the main character, according to best-selling suspense author Hank Phillippi Ryan.  If you’re writing a novel, she said your opening page must have these four important things. Read the full post »

Forget about Snowflake—it’s time for “Up Lit” and Other New Words

We need “up lit” books as an antidote to so much negativity in politics.

Snowflake is last year’s cliché, while Brexit is so 2016.  It’s time for a fresh batch of new words, or at least newly repurposed words. Read the full post »

Neither Predictive nor Prescriptive, “The Bestseller Code” is Anything But

Book Review: “The Bestseller Code: Anatomy of the Blockbuster Novel” by Jodie Archer & Matthew L. Jockers, published by St. Martin’s Press, 2016

We’ve all read about studies that made us scratch our heads—research results that told us things we already knew, such as a healthy diet is key to living longer and people who exercise are in better shape than couch potatoes. “The Bestseller Code” is one of those studies. Read the full post »

Small Presses: 3 Publishers Want Literary, Romance, Speculative Novels

New year, new opportunities! You may submit to these publishers even if you don’t have a literary agent if your manuscript falls under these categories: literary, romance, and speculative. Read the full post »

Top 5 Blog Posts: Prologues, Literary Snobs, & Unagented Submissions

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Time sure flies! Since this blog’s launch on Feb. 15, 2014, I’ve published 255 articles on writing, reading, publishing, books, and movies. The five most popular articles focus on effective prologues, signs of a literary snob, and publishers that accept unagented and unsolicited manuscripts. Read the full post »

In Praise of the Lowly Comma

One tiny comma can sometimes make all the difference when it comes to the meaning of a sentence or a contract for that matter. Strunk and White advocated for the Oxford comma in their classic book, “The Elements of Style,” while the AP Stylebook doesn’t require series comma. If you’re an Oxford-comma proponent like me, a recent federal court ruling will reinforce your position. Read the full post »