Posts Tagged ‘novel’

Book Passage and The Italian Letters

Monday, January 5th, 2015

Welcome to the New Year, which I welcome with optimism and anticipation.
This coming Thursday, January 8, I will be speaking about The Italian Letters at the extraordinary Book Passage in Corte Madera. I’m delighted by positive feedback about this novel, the sequel to the award-winning The Cairo Codex.

This year will also host the release of the third novel in the Justine Trilogy, A Rapture of Ravens: Awakening in Taos. The world release will be in Taos, New Mexico, in June, 2015.

My resolution…to read and write good novels!

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The Nautilus Award–What is it? Why Nautilus?

Sunday, April 27th, 2014

This week our grandson, Jered, was quick to suggest the origin of the Nautilus Award. Of course, I realized.  Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea tells the story of Captain Nemo and his submarine, the Nautilus. Verne is revered for his imagination, innovation, creativity.

My historical novel, The Cairo Codex, won a 2014 Silver Nautilus Award for Fiction. The awards will be announced on May 1. The awards represent “Better Books for a Better World.” Now in its 15th year, this unique book award program seeks, honors, awards, and promotes print books that inspire and connect our lives as individuals, communities and global citizens.
Dedicated to excellence and the highest literary standards, the Nautilus Awards seek and promote well-written and -produced books with messages about caring for, understanding, and improving every aspect of our lives and relationships.

I’m proud to be a member of the Nautilus family!


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New (necessary) Habits for Writing a Novel

Thursday, January 2nd, 2014

In the past week or so, I’ve written about the novel from several perspectives, including styles, fiction vs. non-fiction, behaviors to abandon, the story of two Kents, etc.  The habits I write about here are the roles of others in our writing lives.  Since I enjoy writing alone in my private world, I initially resisted the time necessary to involve myself in the thoughts of other writers.

Ah, but writing is not a singular life. Instead of losing time in the presence of others—those conversations projected my writing into new realms, new ideas, a process of jump frogging ahead. So when you return to your own manuscript, doors yawn open revealing new images.

I learned this long ago from Ernest Hemingway through his claims in A Moveable Feast. He would end his writing in the late morning when his creativity was in full flow and wouldn’t allow himself to think about it again until the next morning. The afternoon and evenings were spent with his son Bumby, Ezra Pound, James Joyce, Gertrude Stein….

Find your Hemingway, Pound, Stein, Joyce in a writing coach, a writing group, a writing conference or class, an insightful editor, or a critical friend.  Staring in the mirror can be inspiring, yet staring into the eyes of others can provoke a new way of imagining the world.



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How to Write a Novel: a Story of Two Kents

Thursday, December 26th, 2013

Let me start by saying…that, of course, there is no formula. However I have the story of two Kents, both from Salida, Colorado, on the day that I talked with them. First, Kent Nelson (The Touching that Lasts) at lunch. Later Kent Haruf—the New York Times best-selling author of Plainsong and Benediction—at a book talk later in the day. They are both fine, poetic writers. I will tell you their approaches—then my own.

41RP4FG4FGL._AA160_ 414FMFpXfGL._SL160_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-dp,TopRight,12,-18_SH30_OU01_AA160_Kent Nelson was driving along the highway south of Flagstaff, headed for Phoenix, when he spied a formally dressed man sitting proudly in a lavish field of grass. Kent pulled over, approached the man, sat down beside him, and coaxed out his story. Thus began a book of short stories, later a novel. No outline, no themes—at least at first—just a man and his story. Once he begins, the stories flow organically, one emerging from another.

Kent Haruf, on the other hand, is a quiet, interior man of precision. He outlines his books, organizes his work and time: a linear author of non-linear stories. Each character, action, shared interaction, and conclusion is part of a plan rather than serendipity.

Are you one of the two “Kents?” Is one approach better than the other? In my next post, I’ll describe how I write a novel.





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So—you want to write a novel…

Monday, December 23rd, 2013

It is said that vast numbers of people have—or believe they have—the GreatAmerican Novel inside them. Perhaps that is so, in that the novel blends our imagination and dreams, our biographies and experiences, our hurts and disappointments. We can decide how life turns out. We can shape our destinies.

A few ideas to consider as you undertake this magnificent, mammoth task:

1)   Do you have a concept or story that will carry you through to the end?

2)   Can you unravel the threads of your story into intriguing characters and sub-plots?

3)   Will you discipline yourself to find the time to write each day?

4)   Do you enjoy spending time alone, inside your own imagination?

5)   Can you write fully, joyfully, and freely without worrying about publication? (more on that soon)

Next: How Do You Write?


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