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Weekend Reads: “The Story Keeper”

The Story Keeper (Carolina Heirlooms, #2)
The Story Keeper by Lisa WingateMy rating: 5 of 5 starsWhen New York acquisitions editor Jennia Gibbs finds a manuscript on her desk, it shouldn’t be too surprising … except that the postmark on the envelope is 20 years old, and it’s clearly from the Slush Mountain pile that no one is supposed to touch. She’s immediately pulled into the story of Rand and Sarra, which takes place in the Appalachian Mountains where Jen grew up.Stylistically, the work reminds her of reclusive author Evan Hall, so Jen’s boss decides to send her to Appalachia, where Hall lives, to find out whether he wrote the partial manuscript that so intrigues both of them.I was pulled into the tale immediately. Jen has basica...
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Proposed Book Banning Bill in Missouri Could Imprison Librarians – PEN America

“Every reader and writer in the country should be horrified, absolutely horrified, at this bill,” said PEN America’s Tager. “The fact that a librarian could actually be imprisoned under this act for following his or her conscience and refusing to block minors from access to a book, that tells you all you need to know about the suitability of this act within a democratic society.”via Proposed Book Banning Bill in Missouri Could Imprison Librarians – PEN AmericaOriginal link
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20/20 Memphis Fund Raiser

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Hi, everyone. I wanted to take a moment to share information about a fundraiser for a worthy organization and cause. As you know, the greater Memphis area is near and dear to my heart. I spent some time there researching what eventually became It Happened in Memphis and Hard-Boiled Blues.Well, there is an organization there called 20/20 Memphis, whose goal is to help obtain surgical eye care for low income/indigent patients at imminent risk for blindness. I mentioned in a previous post that the greater Memphis area has the highest poverty rate in the nation, so this is a quite a worthy cause.Right now, in conjunction with 901Tix, 20/20 Memphis is holding a fundraiser. If you send $20.20 via ...
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The 2 kinds of diversity advocates in publishing – Raimey Gallant

Keep pushing for more marginalized voices and especially Black and Indigenous voices everywhere in publishing from authoring to cover designing to book selling, from entry-level to management to ownership, and the next time you encounter a white author running for a board position in a literary organization (or applying for any other paid or unpaid role in publishing), push them on their definition of diversity. Find out whether they’re genuinely ready to make space and give up power or if, like so many white ladies in RWA, they’re only pro-diversity in fair weather and to a point.via The 2 kinds of diversity advocates in publishing – Raimey GallantOriginal link
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Let’s Talk About the F Bomb in Books

F Bomb in books
I’d like to talk about the F Bomb in books, and in particular my books, as I can’t speak for anyone else. I hope you join me in a sensible discussion by leaving your comments at the foot of this post. Let me make this clear – this is not a rant about bad reviews. […]The post Let’s Talk About the F Bomb in Books appeared first on Stephen Bentley.Original link
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The 100 Best Websites For Writers In 2020 #AuthorToolboxBlogHop


Specialist websites offer a wealth of useful and free information on every aspect of writing, publishing and book marketing, often based on years of practical experience.The problem for busy writers is finding the time to look for the best, which is where The Write Life 100 Best Websites For Writers In 2020 is so useful.The criteria for inclusion in the list are that the website is recommended by readers of The Write Life, publishes content helpful to writers, and has been updated recently and regularly.The Write Life have organised their 2020 list into 10 categories:FreelancingBloggingTravel writingCreativity and craft – you will find Writers Write hereEditingPublishingWriting toolsWriting ...
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5 Reasons Why You Should Ditch PayPal

5 reasons why you should ditch PayPal
There are at least 5 reasons why you should ditch PayPal as your preferred processor for online payments. PayPal is expensive with high transaction and currency conversion fees PayPal hides their fee in the conversion rate! It has territorial limitations as to choices of sending currency Using PayPal with multiple accounts hooked up to different […]The post 5 Reasons Why You Should Ditch PayPal appeared first on Stephen Bentley.Original link
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Guest post by Cynthia Jefferies, Author of The Honourable Life of Thomas Chayne


Available on Amazon UK and Amazon USThomas Chayne has never managed to impress his overbearing father, and when a small act of rebellion has lasting consequences, Thomas finds himself exiled in disgrace. But with England on the brink of civil war, a larger revolution is in the air and Thomas has an opportunity to prove his worth by rallying a troop of royalists to defend Oxford from the escalating violence.Putting your home town into fiction. The Storming of Cirencester!They say write about what you know…and if it’s historical fiction you’d better make sure you’ve done the research! Good advice, but even when you think you know your subject pretty well there can be pitfalls. I wonder if Ian ...
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Music Monday: “Ubangi Stomp”

Hi, everyone. Not only have I seen Carl Mann live, but this is the actual show (the video is not mine). This is his cover of Warren Smith’s rockabilly hit, “Ubangi Stomp,” performed during the Sun Records Showcase at Viva Las Vegas 2018. The song is definitely not what we would consider appropriate today as it carries some stereotypes about indigenous people. Still, it is a delightful performance.Original link
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Author’s Inspiration: “His Beloved Infidel”

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Hi, everyone. My apologies for being a day late on this post (I try to do these on Saturdays). I had an early morning for the last day of my business trip and it just didn’t happen.The idea for His Beloved Infidel came to me as I was reading a book called Daughter of Persia: A Woman’s Journey from Her Father’s Harem Through the Islamic Revolution, by Sattareh Farman Farmaian. Farmaian was the first social worker in Iran, and she writes not only about the challenges she faced in that regard but also the radicalization of young men by the Ayatollahs. When Khomeini came to power, she narrowly escaped the country — and execution.After reading this book, I reflected on some conversations I had ma...
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Weekend Reads: “Churchill’s Menagerie”

Churchill's Menagerie: Winston Churchill and the Animal Kingdom
Churchill’s Menagerie: Winston Churchill and the Animal Kingdom by Piers BrendonMy rating: 4 of 5 starsWhen I was given the opportunity to read and review “Churchill’s Menagerie,” I imagined a more biographical/chronological take on the animal-loving side of a gifted politician. And while I did get that on some levels, it just wasn’t what I expected.Not that this is bad, mind you.What I got instead was a bestiary, laid out from A to Z, with a look at how Churchill either loved or reviled particular types of animals, and how he employed them as metaphors in his speeches and writing. I knew that he loved cats, dogs, and horses but, for example, I had no idea that he was an avid aquarist.The bo...
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The Regrettable Decline of Class and Good Taste


Most of us have received one of those emails displaying photos of so-called “Walmart People.” As you scroll down, there is a collection of pictures of Walmart shoppers wearing wild assortments of clothing covering bodies that seem fashioned from silly putty or carved from tree stumps.There are horribly overweight women wearing skimpy shorts barely covering explosions of tattoo-blemished buttock flesh. There are men wearing pink leotards and combat boots. There are people who seem to have crawled out of a fissure in the earth–troglodytes perhaps? Or conceivably, humanoid-like creatures from another planet that crash-landed into a Goodwill warehouse?Can any of this be real? Do people look like...
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Historical Fiction Spotlight: Mistress Whiddon: The Memoirs of Nora Basset of Umberleigh, by Joanne McShane


Available on Amazon UK and Amazon USNora Basset has no memory of her father, John, as he died when she was very young. Her first years are spent at Umberleigh in Devon with her family. When she is three years old, she meets her grandmother, Honora Lisle, who has returned from imprisonment in Calais and has been tragically widowed. Nora and her grandmother form a close bond, as the child unwittingly assists the older woman to come to terms with her loss.The following year, Nora’s mother, Frances Plantagenet, remarries. Her new husband is Thomas Monk of Potheridge and the family leaves Umberleigh to begin their new life.Nora spends a mostly happy childhood at Potheridge until she is called awa...
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Meet Caroline

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Last week I based my post around the car I learnt to drive in, way back in1973.This is the link if you want to read the post:  https://wp.me/p5nj7r-1nMThis week I continue with the ‘cars I have owned’ themed series of posts.(Okay, I did not own the Vauxhall Viva in the first post, but that’s just a little technicality we can dismiss for the sake of this blog.)This Cresta is very much like ‘Caroline’So, where was I… oh, yes.I was back from sea.My trip from Portsmouth took me over to Lisbon, on to Keel, then up to Copenhagen and onwards to Oslo before heading back to England, via Scapa Flow and Inverness. After which my sailing schedule was halted for a short period and I found myself based in...
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Book Launch Spotlight: The Lady of the Ravens (Queens of the Tower, Book 1) by Joanna Hickson


New on Amazon UK and Amazon USTwo women, two very different destinies, drawn together in the shadow of the Tower of LondonElizabeth of York, her life already tainted by dishonour and tragedy, now queen to the first Tudor king, Henry the VII.Joan Vaux, servant of the court, straining against marriage and motherhood and privy to the deepest and darkest secrets of her queen. Like the ravens, Joan must use her eyes and her senses, as conspiracy whispers through the dark corridors of the Tower.Through Joan’s eyes, The Lady of the Ravens inhabits the squalid streets of Tudor London, the imposing walls of its most fearsome fortress and the glamorous court of a kingdom in crisis.# # #About the Autho...
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Looking to become a better writer? Then, here’s the 1st thing you should do! #RRBC #RaveReviewsBookClub

Happy New Year, followers!As some of you know, I am a member of the Rave Reviews Book Club, an organization I have been a member of since 2014. It’s a one of a kind community of authors who support one another in a variety of ways. Today, I’d like to invite you to visit the ALL-NEW RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB at our new location RaveReviewsBookClub.wordpress.com.-If you are an author looking for amazing support, #RRBC is the place for you!-If you are looking to grow as a writer, #RRBC is the place for you!-If you are looking for a community where your peers push for your success just as hard as they push for their own, #RRBC is the place for you!When visiting, we ask that you #follow our site so ...
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Bonus Birthday Tracks

Hi, everyone. As you read this, I’m en route for a Day Job(TM) business trip. I took a few minutes to set up a Bonus Track post to celebrate what would have been Elvis Presley’s 85th birthday and David Bowie’s 73rd. Enjoy!Original link
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Frequently Asked Question: Where Did It All Begin?

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Today’s question is from the Insecure Writers Support Group: What started you on your writing journey? Was it a particular book, movie, story, or series? Was it a teacher/coach/spouse/friend/parent? Did you just “know” suddenly you wanted to write?Honestly? I don’t remember *not* writing or telling stories. As I mentioned in a 2018 post, the first “book” I wrote was a re-telling of Marguerite Henry’s King of the Wind. I also wrote for the school newspapers in elementary and junior high school. I literally cannot point to an inciting incident that made me want to write, but those early experiences in journalism eventually led me to a career in the newspaper business.Original link
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Book Launch Interview with Kaya Quinsey Holt, Author of The Marseille Millionaire


Available for pre-order on Amazon UK, Amazon US and Amazon CAI'm pleased to welcome author Kaya Quinsey Holt back to The Writing Desk. Tell us about your latest bookThank you for welcoming me to your blog, Tony. My new book, The Marseille Millionaire, features  Elise Laird in her struggle to achieve more than she ever imagined for herself... all in the heart of the South of France!Elise Laird has just sold the most expensive home in the history of Ashfield, USA, at $4.2 million dollars. The French multimillionaire whose home she sold is thrilled - so much so that he recommends her to a fellow French friend. And when Luc Dubonier steps off of his private jet with the intention of investing in...
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Historical Fiction Spotlight: Anne and Louis: Rulers and Lovers (Anne of Brittany Series Book 3) by Rozsa Gaston


New on Amazon UK and Amazon USDiscover the story of Anne and Louis’ greatest conflict in Anne and Louis: Rulers and Lovers Book Three of the Anne of Brittany Series.France, 1506:  In the dawn of the sixteenth century, Louis XII, King of France, wants his daughter to succeed to France’s throne as queen-consort. Anne, Duchess of Brittany and Queen of France, wants her daughter to succeed to Brittany's ducal throne, where she will one day rule, not just sit next to one who rules.ANNE AND LOUIS: RULERS AND LOVERS Excerpt from chapter 17:The year 1506 began well, although Louis’ health was delicate. The doctors had suggested he remain in Blois with its mild, dry climate and the queen at his side,...
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