Category: Writing

Length Matters: How Many Words Does It Take?

How long is a sentence? The answer I got in junior high school was “long enough to finish the thought.” Cheeky.

For years, the longest sentence ever written in English was said to be Molly Bloom’s 3,687-word soliloquy in the James Joyce novel Ulysses (1922). However, one of the finalists for the 2019 Booker Prize was Lucy Ellman, whose 1,000-page Ducks, Newburyport consists mostly of a single sentence that runs to 426,000 words. Beat that if you can.

Read More

The Worst-case Scenario

Reading about horrible things help us deal with them IRL.

From ancient myths to fairy tales to epic poems and literature of every era and genre, it’s the worst-case scenario that glues us to the page/stage/screen. We shudder and close our eyes trying to imagine what it’s like to go into battle or to lose someone we love. The story takes us by the hand and lets us live through the tension and fear, then lets us out at the end, still whole, our lives still intact.

Read More

Belly Up to the Bookshelf

I was chatting with my blog-mates earlier about literary feasts—who would we invite and what would we serve, that kind of thing.

The conversation reminded me of real-life literary feasts, like those hosted by Chantal Tseng (@ShinobiPaws). Chantal is a bartender and sherry specialist who earns her living these days by crafting custom cocktails.

Read More

It Was A Dark & Stormy Night: Weather in Fiction

“Weather tonight: dark. Turning partly light by morning.”
Who remembers George Carlin, the Hippy Dippy Weatherman? A whole generation of viewers in the 1970s laughed at his weather forecasts, but the silliness struck a chord. People are obsessed with the weather. Even in books.

Read More

Books and Cookies–A Perfect Match

It’s cookie season! Girl Scout cookies, that is. I bought a box or four from a friend’s daughter. Cookie sales have gone high tech. I ordered online and had the sweet treats shipped to me. That’s a big change from my Scouting days, when we had to go door-to-door with a paper order form and had to hand-deliver the cookies.

Since book and booze pairings are also a thing, I decided, why not book and Girl Scout cookies?

Read More

Hope, Faith & a Corpse

Midwesterner turned Californian Laura Jensen Walker arrived on the cozy mystery scene in the middle of a pandemic with not one but two new series.

When I began writing my first cozy (A Grave Affair, featuring a recently divorced woman in her forties who moved to a small town to start over), there was a minor woman Episcopal priest character. As I continued writing, that woman priest made it quite clear to me that she was a main character deserving of her own story.

Read More

Pure Word Music

I was about thirteen, an impressionable age, when among the stacks in my small hometown library, I stumbled upon the novels of P. G. Wodehouse (pronounced “Woodhouse,” by the way). For the first time in my life I realized that a story could be brilliant, not only for what was said but also for how it was said.

Read More

On The Short Side

“Surely, moving to Columbus is all Gerald and Annette Reed need to start a new life and escape their demons…”
Mercedes King is the author of “An Agreeable Wife For A Suitable Husband,” one of the stories in the newly published Columbus Noir anthology by Akashic Books. Columbus Noir was the 101st installment in the series—and the first for Ohio.

Read More

Taking Your Own Path in Publishing

We all know there are different paths in publishing. Some writers love not only the actual writing but also the full production of a book, from formatting the pages, producing cover art, and developing publicity materials to setting pub dates and generally seeing things through from plotting to launch and beyond. Eileen Curley Hammond is such a person.

Read More

Search By Tags