Showing posts from May, 2014

What's Life Like When You're a Writer Married to a Writer? To Find Out, Rome Calls Chattanooga, choo-choo!

Couples engaged in the same occupation are rare and don’t always have a happy life together. It may be harder for writers than for other artists to achieve serenity in their life as a couple – perhaps because writers are more given to analyzing their feelings and expressing them into words. That can easily turn into a source of friction as famously happened with Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre, when she wrote The Mandarins, a barely concealed critique of Sartre and his group of existentialists whom she felt had cut her out.

Marsha Roberts, author of the best-selling Confessions of an Instinctively Mutinous Baby Boomer and...

...Bob Rector! 

His recently published book, Unthinkable Consequences, is steadily climbing the ranks of romantic suspense novels, are definitely an exception: I know from reading “Confessions” that they are very close to each other and have always been, including now that they are suddenly finding themselves in the situation of writers married to each other…

Amazing Italy: It Voted for Europe Against All Odds!

Italy is the only country in Southern Europe that voted strongly for Europe in Sunday's elections for the European Parliament - not only was the vote a strong one but it broke all historical records! Imagine, this result can be ascribed to just one person, Matteo Renzi, the Prime Minister. He did a brilliant campaign - I watched him on television, and he's a great communicator, perhaps the country's only politician capable of moving crowds with his words. Certainly not Beppe Grillo, he can't make a speech. He is a vociferous protester - "everybody home! - but he protests too much and has no programme to offer.

By contrast, Renzi did. He was defending his policy of reforms and asking for public support - and he sure got it: over 40% of the votes went to his Partito Democratico. That number, in itself, is breath-taking on two counts: never before had his party ever reached such a level (the highest had been around 33%) and it meant 11 million Italians voted for him. …

A Writer's Life: Can Blogging Help You Sell Your Books?

Conventional wisdom has it that blogging helps to sell books, and the more successful your blog, the more books you will sell.

Not so.

Yet, marketing gurus and hugely successful bloggers like Adrienne Smith maintain that with blogging you can "make a living" (see here).

Perhaps you can if you sell something else than books.

And here is why (in my humble opinion). There are two factors at work: (1) market saturation and (2) TV competition for your free time.

No question, of late, the ebook market has become saturated. If you have an e-reader, I bet it's full of books you haven't read, books you uploaded when they went free. 

Over the past three years, there has been a frenzy of giveaways to "gain new readers", and I confess that I joined the crowd and made my books free several times, with decreasing success each time. Gone are the days of 10,000 downloads (at least for me)! Of course, now 99 cents (the launch price of an ebook) is the "new free" - I pl…

The 6-Word Novel: For Sale, Wedding Ring, Never Worn!

For Sale: Wedding Ring, Never Worn

Ok, I plead guilty: the original 6-word short story, a.k.a. the six word novel, an extreme form of flash fiction,  is Hemingway's and it's not about a failed relationship but a dead baby or perhaps an unborn child, precisely this: 

For Sale: Baby Shoes, Never Worn.
He dreamt it up in the 1920s in response to a bet with friends. He won the bet and he considered it his best story ever.
The 6-word flash fiction has fascinated people so much over time that today there's a website entirely dedicated to it, with hundreds of examples, see here.
And now ReadWave, the cool website that draws together readers and writers with short stories (including non-fiction), has come up with a competition inspired by Hemingway's 6 word story:

Readwave will award $100 to the 6-word story that gets the most "likes" on their site, there are still 12 days to go, but hurry! To submit your story click here.
I submitted a horror story (it was an idea my husba…

Black on Black? Soulages!

Who'd ever guess that painting black on black would get you a million dollars and more? The miracle - because it is another Contemporary Art miracle - is called Soulages, a 94 year-old, 6 foot tall Frenchman who still paints everyday, spreading his favorite color, black, searching for the perfect point of black. His earlier paintings, dating back to the 1950s-60s, can fetch up to $4 million.

He's probably the most famous living artist in France, he's in the greatest museums, the Guggenheim, the Tate, he's exhibited in the Pompidou Centre in Paris and the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. His work has even inspired fashion collections (see article below). And now he's coming to New York, in two galleries, Emmanuel Perrotin and Dominique Levy (in the same building, 909 Madison Avenue and 73rd Street). 

Personally, I am not fond of abstract art but I can see the point (and the pleasure) you can derive from his works. They are solidly structured, and the restrained use of a b…

Too Much "Noise" on the Net: is "milq" the Answer?

We can all agree that we are bombarded with information and that most of it is useless. It's coming at us from all directions: Twitter, Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Goodreads, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, Tumblr, online magazines, blogs, the list is endless. 

We're deafened with "noise" on the Net.

And in all that "noise", do you find what you want to read? Not often, and when you do, you may try to save or bookmark that gem on your computer but most of the time you just lose it.

That's where milq comes in. Or would like to try to come in. 

Instead of a timeline or feed or wall, the way you have it on Facebook, or picture boards like you have on Pinterest, you get "beads", i.e. topics where you can upload your find, whether a video, an article, a song. Their landing page looks like this (my screen shot):

A very minimal design, and easy to navigate. It's also very easy to join, just let the app access your Twitter or Facebook data and you're don…

A New Kind of Fiction for the 21st Century: the Serialized Novel

The digital revolution has shaken up publishing, we all know this. It has levelled the field for self-published authors, giving them a chance to by-pass traditional publishers and become best-sellers on their own. What is not always realized is that the way we consume books has also changed.  We tend to skim over content, we have little patience with wordy descriptions.

This means that the 21st Century novel cannot be wordy.

The long, sensitive descriptions full of striking images that were the hallmark of literary
fiction, are gone forever. Huge volumes, upward of 1000 pages, are a thing of the past.

What replaces them?

Two new formats have emerged and become hugely popular:
Short fiction of all kind from "flash fiction" - less than 500 words, and even as short as 6 words like Hemingway's famous "baby shoes for sale, never used" - to novellas; and even novellas are now reduced, down to some 15-17,000 words from  20-30,000 words of a few years ago. Anne R. Allen wr…