From Interesting Literature: Five Fascinating Facts about John Steinbeck

Click Five Fascinating Facts about John Steinbeck to read some fascinating facts about John Steinbeck.  Number 5 should be of special interest to my friend Jayde Ashe-Thomas of The Paperbook Collective.  She is a fan of author Thom Steinbeck, John Steinbeck’s son (read one of her posts here) and, of course, John Steinbeck himself (he’s her “homeboy“)   🙂

Five Fascinating Facts about Henry James

I wonder how many of those who may read my blog will be familiar with, much less a reader of, Henry James, a writer who is perhaps the most opposite to Ernest Hemingway, in his style of writing, that is, if not just his time and nature. In short, I have a lovely Modern Library edition of The Ambassadors that I’ve never been able to complete reading because I start dozing after only a couple of pages, and I wonder if any of this blog’s followers have had that experience with James or not, but if you are interested at all in Henry James then you must, indeed, click through and read these fascinating facts about him.

Interesting Literature

By Viola van de Sandt

1. He had no regrets. In a letter to fellow novelist Hugh Walpole, James wrote in 1913: ‘We must know, as much as possible, in our beautiful art . . . what we are talking about – &  the only way to know it is to have lived & loved & cursed & floundered & enjoyed & suffered – I don’t think I regret a single “excess” of my responsive youth – I only regret, in my chilled age, certain occasions & possibilities I didn’t embrace.’

Henry James2. James’s close and long-standing friendship with Constance Fenimore Woolson, a widely-read writer who like James had also settled in Europe, ended abruptly when Woolson jumped from her bedroom window in Venice in 1894. It fell to James to sort through her belongings and finally dispose of her clothing. Unable to sell or burn her dresses, he eventually…

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My GRL Distribution Expanding

More places to pick up My GRL by John Howell! No excuse not to get your own copy 🙂

Fiction Favorites

My GRL front cover My GRL front cover

I am pleased to say My GRL is now available at the following places:

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Smashwords  available in epub, mobi, pdf, rtf, lrf, pdb, txt formats

Barnes and Noble dot com  in the Nook format

Martin Sisters Publishing

Also My GRL has a Facebook page where you can visit as well

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Interview With Jayde-Ashe Thomas, the Genius Behind The Paperbook Collective

Welcome to an interview with Jayde-Ashe Thomas, entrepreneur extraordinaire!  Jayde is the creator of the online literary journal, The Paperbook Collective Zine.  She also blogs at The Paperbook Blog; makes bound paper copies of the zine as well as Paperbook cards, posters, and bookmarks; sells her photography at a pop-up shop; and recently started a book exchange in her city of Bunbury, Australia.

[Excuse me while I take a few minutes to catch my breath.  Just listing all that Jayde does leaves me a bit winded :)]

PaperbookCollective (more…)

Top Ten Things Not to Do When Writing a Book Review on Amazon or Anywhere Else

Here is the 34th installment of Ten Top Lists of What Not to Do by Marie Ann Bailey of 1WriteWay at and John W. Howell of Fiction Favorites at These lists are simu-published on our blogs each Monday. We hope you enjoy.

10.  When writing a book review, do not provide a five-page synopsis of the book before you even start your review.  If you do, at best, readers will just skip the synopsis and your efforts will be wasted.  At worst, readers will confuse the synopsis for your own work, tweet and blog about the review, causing it to go viral and guaranteeing a negative reaction by the author. (more…)

Book Review: Beginning of a Hero

Today I finished Beginning of a Hero by Charles E. Yallowitz, just in time to again encourage readers to take advantage of the book’s current FREE status.

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Here’s the book description from Amazon:

Take a step into the magical world of Windemere where history is forged by brave adventurers.

Luke Callindor was born into Windemere’s most decorated family of adventurers. Since his birth, he has been treated with the greatest amount of respect and awe. Now, with a lifetime of training and the reckless cockiness of youth, Luke has set out to prove that he deserves the admiration that comes from being a Callindor.

Luke gets his chance when he convinces a royal messenger to hire him to protect the heir of Duke Solomon. This future leader is secretly attending Hamilton Military Academy, an esteemed school run by the former mercenary, Selenia Hamilton. It is a dangerous secret mission requiring that Luke pretend to be an average student while keeping an eye out for any sign of danger. Unfortunately, Luke has no idea which student the heir is and a demonic assassin is already several steps ahead of him. Finding himself in over his head and constantly in trouble, the young warrior realizes that the only things he has on his side are some new friends and his unwavering courage.

First, I must offer full disclosure.  I am not a reader of fantasy.  In my lifetime, I might have read one or two books (not counting Beginning of a Hero) that are considered fantasy.  So why did I pick this one up?  Well, I learned about Beginning of a Hero (and more specifically, The Legends of Windemere series) by reading Yallowitz’s blog.  If you’ve never read fantasy fiction, but you’re curious, you’re game to try something new, and yet still hesitant to download his book, then visit his blog at  Charles Yallowitz is a very generous writer:  he posts excerpts from his books so you can get a feel for whether you want to read more.  Well, I started following his blog and decided that I wanted to read more.  And I have not been disappointed.

1st Birthday Sale for Beginning of a Hero! Free for 3 Days!

What better way to begin the weekend than with a free ebook from Charles Yallowitz! Beginning of A Hero is FREE for the next 3 days. And don’t stop there. With one book free, you should go ahead and purchase the rest of The Legends of Windemere series!

Legends of Windemere

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

On February 24th, Legends of Windemere: Beginning of a Hero will be 1 year old.  To celebrate, I’ve done the following:



And don’t forget the rest of the series!!  Click on the cover art to go to the Amazon site!!

Cover Art by Jason Pedersen Cover Art by Jason Pedersen

Cover by Jason Pedersen Cover by Jason Pedersen

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Indie Author Land Interviews Charles Yallowitz

Why you must read Charles E Yallowitz’s Allure of the Gypsies | Indie Author Land.

Please hop over to Indie Author Land and read a great interview with Charles!

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Writer’s Rebel Creed Revisited: February Edition

About a month ago, I pledged to The Writer’s Rebel Creed 2014, developed by Sheri A. Larsen, in collaboration with followers of her blog.  (If you want to “pledge,” all you need to do is sign up on her blog by clicking here.)

Writer's Rebel Creed 2014full

Now, the Creed is not terribly hard to follow, at least at first blush.  But by my estimations, I’m not doing so good.  Of course, with my rebellious nature, I’m all too frequently breaking my own promises to myself.  Maybe I should have developed my own creed:  pledging to not write at all, to have no belief in my abilities, and to be chicken-sh*t in writing something new.

Now, if I can be allowed to consider commenting on other blogs as writing, then I have been writing regularly.  Yea!

Oops, I think I hear some people calling “Foul!”  Okay, so I need to improve in that area.

The thing is, I’m still sitting on a fence about my novel writing.  I wrote my first novel in 2007 and the next four in 2012 and 2013.  All of them were written during NaNoWriMo events and all are first or second drafts.  I’ve started reading the first draft of one novel, and then got derailed about halfway through.  It’s not bad (it’s a first draft, for crying out loud), but the whole concept of novel writing intimidates me.  I have to create a world, one that is believable even if fictional.  It’s a daunting task and I still wonder whether I’m up to it.

Which leads to my wavering belief in my abilities.  Which,  in truth, is just another day in the life of moi.  Every so often, a fellow blogger/writer pumps my head full of self-esteem (with a good measure of hot air) as Helena Hann-Basquiat did in her post here, but eventually I fall back to earth (and on my ass)  and consider my abilities to be figments of my imagination (yes, I know, it’s circular thinking).

But then I write something NEW, something that takes even me off-guard, and all because of a discussion of mashed potatoes on Jill Weatherholt’s blog.

As far as trusting in the beauty of revisions, well, I’ve already mentioned that I’m merely halfway through just reading the first draft of one of my novels.  Enough said there.

For now and the foreseeable future, I’m eschewing bettering my marketing skills since I have nothing to market.  I’m not even really trying to “grow a base” as much as just hang with the awesome community that has grown around me.

Finally, giving back to my community?  Supporting other writers?  I see those two items so closely related that I won’t try to address them separately.  I’ll just say that supporting other writers is perhaps the most fun thing I do on my blog.  It’s actually the one constant thing (aside from my Mondays with John) that gives meaning to my blog.

Now, I’m not feeling sorry for myself.  I’m not trying to milk sympathy or garner more boosts to my ego than I’ve already been given (although if you really want to compliment, go for it!).  I’m just feeling very matter-of-fact, very grounded actually.  I think it’s a good thing that I question my novel writing.  And it’s a good thing that I’m acknowledging that I haven’t spent as much time writing as I initially intended.  The stories are there; they’re just floating around in my head.  When I’m ready, and only then, I’ll pick up that half-read novel or jot down some of those ideas.

In the meantime, I have some writers to support, a community to give back to, and some blogs to comment on.  Who knows?  Maybe I’ll get inspired by a discussion on why avocado is so often an ingredient in sushi rolls.

So, what about you?  How are you doing with your writing/blogging/marketing commitments?  Do you get disappointed when your favorite sushi roll has avocado in it?

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The People’s Republic of Helena – A Kickstarter Manifesto

I’m very pleased to reblog this post from Helena Hann-Basquiat, indeed my favorite dilettante, someone who grows dearer to me with each passing day. Give her Kickstarter program a look and then give her Kickstarter program some support!

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dilettante factory

I met Jim Squires (real name: Jim Squires) a few years ago at a comic book store on Queen Street in Toronto. I was searching for one of the last issues I was missing from Warren Ellis’ Authority — I was going through my “Hey, let’s try bookbinding” phase, and I was trying to get the complete series. I caught Jim looking down my top and gave him a sly smile, which caused him to turn an adorable shade of cherry red. In his defence, I was wearing a shirt with the provocative caption THESE BOOBS ARE MADE FOR WATCHING printed on it (no, seriously — I had it custom made), so I didn’t hold it against him. He only wishes I had. This was back before Mrs. Jim was in the picture of course, and I swear, nothing happened between us (you really don’t want to get on Mrs…

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