October 27, 2014

“War and Peace” Reading Group – You’re Invited!

Leo Tolstoy wrote one of the world’s greatest novels, War and Peace, between 1861-63. The backstory goes like this: He toyed with several versions [with pen and paper – remember, no computers back then!] until 1866. He began a massive revision he did not complete until 1869, when it was finally published. It is at once a story of an aristocratic family, the invasion of Russia by Napoleon, a romance, a tragedy, an attempt by a novelist to set history right. In short, it’s one of the world’s great stories, fiction or nonfiction. You love to read. We love to read. This is a great book, but one you might not tackle on your own. Let’s read it together. Just in case you’re on the fence about reading a novel over 1,200 pages in length, check…

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October 1, 2014

Jack Kerouac: “The road is life”

I have a photograph of Jack Kerouac typing his famous piano-roll manuscript of On the Road hanging on my study wall. I saw the scroll when I visited the museum in Lowell, Massachusetts. It was amazing to see it stretched out. Jack wrote it in a three-day, hyper-caffeinated marathon in his mother’s apartment. She made the coffee and taped the pieces of paper together. Three days. Then he revised it for three years. You could sum up his philosophy in the four words quoted above: “The road is life.” Lowell has honored its once-maligned author by giving him a new headstone at his grave site. You can read about it here. If you’d like to know a bit more about Kerouac, here is a fine essay about him and his writing. The photo of the…

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July 24, 2014

Willamette Writers Conference Just A Week Away!

  One of the leading writing conferences in the country, the Willamette Writers Conference convenes next Friday, August 1, and runs through Sunday, August 3. Launched in 1969, in recent years attendance has topped 1,000 writing and publishing mavens from around the world. If you’re anywhere close to Portland, Oregon, or would like to see what Portlandia is really like, I hope you’ll attend. There are over 60 workshops and special events. I’m particularly flattered to be presenting three workshops in the Master’s Series in Business Writing: Your Professional Writing Career, Writing Your First Book, and Ghostwriting. But more than that, I’m excited to have the chance to meet so many fellow (male and female)  writers and presenters. I thought you might like to meet a few of them yourself. My colleague Jason Brick, who has worked…

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July 14, 2014

Kickstarting Your Next Book Advance with April Huneycutt

Once upon a time, the process for getting published worked like this:   Step One: Write a book Step Two: Beg an agent to represent that book Step Three: The agent begs a publisher to publish the book Step Four: Wait (a long time) Step Five: Publish   These days, self-publishing, e-publishing and independent publishing give lots of alternatives to the traditional path. For more authors every year, the DIY model of publishing is superior to the old ways. You get a higher commission. The lag between finishing your book and seeing it in print is shorter. You get more artistic control. On the other hand, new publishing has one serious disadvantage as compared to the traditional route: no advance. In fact, it usually requires you to put out some of your own money to hire a professional editor, get the…

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July 7, 2014

Innisfree Bookshop is the First to Stock "Madrone"

    Meredith, New Hampshire, July 7th, 2014: Madrone, Jack B. Rochester’s second novel about Nathaniel Hawthorne Flowers, joined Wild Blue Yonder on the shelves at Innisfree Bookshop today. Pictured beside Jack, Fictional Cafe’s Head Barista, is Kyla Goulet, an Innisfree bookseller and aspiring author in her own right. “There is no feeling to compare with seeing a book you wrote on the shelves in a bookstore,” said Jack. “I can’t wait to see mine there, too,” Kyla said, grinning. “You’re a gifted writer,” Jack replied, “and I’m certain that will happen.” All this quipping while Innisfree manager Beverly Newton snapped photos. “We can’t wait to have you do a reading,” she said. Wild Blue Yonder, published in 2012, is the first installment in the story of Nathaniel Hawthorne Flowers, a 1960s college dropout who joins the…

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