Russian Winter: The Story Woman’s review

Russian Winter

We’re deep into winter here in northern California, although not a Russian winter by any means. Winter evenings, when afternoon light fades earlier each day into cold, inky sky, I relish the extra time I guiltlessly take to read good books. Russian Winter by Daphne Kalotay was one terrific novel I recently finished. It’s not a short read, but its complexity interwoven with love, loss, betrayal, dark secrets, intrigue, life-altering revelations, and redemption make for a true page turner.Daphne Kalotay crafts a magnificent novel rooted in well-researched historical facts with characters who compel attention. The personality of the ballet, life in Stalinist Russia and in Boston, and the exquisite depth of amber are superimposed on an interesting array of characters adroitly depicted by Kalotay in Russian Winter. Love affairs, lies, and political beliefs essentially trap humans in their tracks every bit as much as a spider finds herself forever suspended in time, emerging egg sack and

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Build Your Platform with Writing Coach Teresa

Teresa - Build Your Platform REVIEW 9-19-11

Coach Teresa wrote the guest blog posted below this one. I've now completed working through her outstanding guide, Build Your Writer's Platform & Fanbase in 22 Days. Here are some thoughts on what I took away from it:Let this book spur you into action. Teresa LeYung Ryan opens the door and guides you directly into the world all writers and authors must negotiate if they want their work to be known. But she doesn’t stop there; rather than tell you what to do, she lets you do it for yourself. In a clear, affirming voice, LeYung Ryan takes you securely by the hand and shows you exactly how to Build Your Writer’s Platform & Fanbase in 22 Days. The focused series of exercises that make up this workbook build on each other and really work. With her finger on the pulse of the community and media interaction, she’ll have you drilling down to the basics while reaching for the stars, the blogosphere, and beyond. You want success?  Coach Teresa’s got it all figured out, let her

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Imperfect Endings, Zoe F Carter’s Memoir

Zoe Carter

She Summoned DeathWhether or not one believes the choices this family made in Zoe Carter’s memoir, Imperfect Endings, are right or wrong, Carter is an undeniably powerful writer, who has an easy way with words on a complex, but timely issue. She has taken the difficult, to say the least, subject of life and death and crafted it into an unforgettable personal story laced with wit, wisdom, humor, compassion, insight, and abundant food for thought. To be honest, when I first picked it up I wondered if I wanted to “go there.” I’m glad I did—I found it incredibly moving.I know it took more than a little courage for Zoe Carter to write this provocative slice of life. Imperfect Endings meant paring familial façade to the bone and sucking out the marrow, which she did unabashedly.How does a daughter say, “Yes, Mom, I’ll watch you die slowly by your own hand.”  I’ll be a party to your staged sit-in with death.Hauntingly beautiful are the two words that washed over my

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Listen as Judith Marshall Discusses “Husbands” on Blogtalkradio

Judith Marshall is a friend and colleague who has an interesting story to tell about her writing journey in fiction, based on the lives of lifelong girlfriends and the husbands who passed through, so I'm linking you to her recent interview on Blogtalkradio. Her award-winning novel, "Husbands May Come and Go but Friends are Forever," was published in late 2009 and has recently been optioned for the big screen. Listen to Judith discuss her page turner with Nanci Arvizu on Page Readers. She will not only inspire you to take your writing to the next level, she’ll share with you which steps to take to get there.

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Make it Personal – Give the Gift of Story

Most of us have given our mothers cards on various holidays, complete with pat phrases, often via Hallmark, extolling the virtues of millions of moms.  This year take a good look at her—go deep down inside of her and yourself to write a “Mother Memoir” as only you can—one that fits her precisely.  Make it a short memoir, a bio-vignette. This story will be better than any other gift you could possibly imagine giving to her.Yes, she’s your mother, maybe your grandmother, or another woman to whom you felt like a daughter or a son. Have you ever actually stopped to think about who she really is as an individual, as a woman unto herself? What aspect of her being, what quality, action, or anecdote could you draw upon to bring the essence of her character to light in a short memoir?At times she is mysterious, other times transparent. But of this you can be sure, she’s not the same woman to anyone other than you.  Her character is multifaceted, her inner make up complex, but for

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San Francisco Writers for Change Conference

This here for all the information on the 2010 SF Writers for Change Conference.Attend this conference and you'll see that I'm not the only one who believes writing can change your life and your words can change the lives of others. Will Your Book Be The One ThatChanges The World...this year?Headliners include: Dan Millman, John Robbins, Jean Shinoda Bolen,  Alan Rinzler, Cami Walker, Rosemary Daniell, and so many more...Just added: ALL-DAY PRECONFERENCE--All About eBooks--with industry leaders Rob MacDonald (Scribd) and Mark Coker (Smashwords) on Friday, Nov. 12th.The StoryWoman says, "Write Mother Memoir to change your life; become a TellTale Soul."

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Publish: Zen and the Art of the Book Deal

           PUBLISHING PANEL   ZEN AND THE ART OF THE BOOK DEAL                Sunday, Sept. 12, 2010 • 2-5 p.m.               San Francisco Main Public Library             Women’s National Book Association – San Francisco Chapter brings you the latest news in the publishing industry from the following insiders: JENNIFER JOSEPH - publisher and editor of Manic D Press PETER BEREN - literary agent and publishing consultant BRIDGET KINSELLA - Breaking Books & navigating the publishing landscape GEORGIA HUGHES - editorial director of New World Library Moderator: Mary Knippel, immediate past president, WNBA-SF Chapter. September is National Literacy Month. Join our panel of experts as they share the newest insights into the publishing industry. Participate in our Great Book Give Away. See you there! Event address: San Francisco Public Library, Latino Hispanic Community Room, Lower Level, 100 Larkin

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The Literary Hinterland Between Fiction and Nonfiction

Harrison Solow 2

Pushcart Prize winner, Harrison Solow’s powers of thought and prowess in writing are laudable to the degree that bringing her essay to you today is an honor and an adventure, both thrilling and expansive. The piece you are about to read was not digested immediately by me – only occasionally does the veil lift for me to glimpse Solow’s sensitivity toward liminality, but it is something that I am determined to catch hold of for myself, even bits of it, one illuminating rendition at a time. Now take your turns, as writers, to coax its significance into your worlds.  Harrison’s latest book, Felicity & Barbara Pym, about writing, reading and what it means to be truly educated ( has just been released in the UK with stellar reviews and is available to those outside the UK from The Book Depository ( ) which offers free international shipping.  Liminality In a letter to a friend, not long ago, I wrote this

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WNBA-SF Women Caught Laughing with Buddha

Judith, Sarbjit, Lynn laughing Planning Retreat

During our semi-annual Planning Retreat yesterday, we got down to business, but, as you can see by the snapshot, laughter trumped the agenda. Judith Marshall, Sarbjit Rai, and I were not the only ones in the group laughing, we just got caught in the act by Teresa with her candid camera. I especially like this photo, because it will be a great reminder, when I’m deep in overload, that we truly do have so much fun interacting, networking, planning, and hosting events. And this is exactly why we choose to belong to WNBA-SF, along with the fact that as a national organization our influence reaches far and wide connecting women and men to the greater literary community across the country, as well as, promoting literacy world wide as a member of the United Nations and UNICEF. Speaking of literacy, September is National Literacy Month, so we begin our fall season of events with Zen and the Art of the Book Deal and the Great Book Giveaway. October promises lunch with a bestselling

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Book Distribution: what authors need to know

A few weeks ago, at the San Francisco Writers Conference, I had the good fortune to met Peter Beren, a publishing consultant for over 30 years and the author of this informative guest post. He graciously gives us the basics of the book business as he sees it – information, which all writers should be aware.  Every author published or not, needs to know the basics of the book business. One of the most basic parts is distribution. When you pitch a publisher on a book idea, they have one eye on the consumer and one eye on their distribution system. It is only when both “eyes” say “yes” that they are seriously considering a book.   Books are ordered in advance of their manufacture. They are sold on the basis of future promises. Many books actually don’t exist at the time they are ordered. Most books are presented as unique, authoritative and complete even though they haven’t been finished at the time they are ordered by booksellers.  20% of book sales occur in

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