Started One Hundred Years of Solitude

Reading author Gabriel Marquez was recommended to me by an agent I had met at a recent writing show.

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Marquez.
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Marquez.

Reading author Gabriel Marquez was recommended to me by an agent I had met at a recent writing show. For future reference, when sending out query letters, I had asked her about what terms to use to best capture the genre of my novel. For example, paranormal versus magical realism? (I’m thinking the latter, if either.) The book One Hundred Years of Solitude came up as a possible answer. I have not heard of the novel, despite it having won the Nobel prize, but certainly look forward to reading it.

(I need to read faster as the pile of to-read books grows every month.)

Finished total oblivion

When the world ends, it is up to 16-year-old Macy to keep her family together. In total oblivion: more or less, the Palmers witness their Minnesota town break down — no phone, no cable, and soon no government.

total oblivion more or less by Alan DeNiro.
total oblivion more or less by Alan DeNiro.

When the world ends, it is up to 16-year-old Macy to keep her family together. In total oblivion: more or less, the Palmers witness their Minnesota town break down — no phone, no cable, and soon no government. Along with a wasp-borne plague, horsemen from another reality sweep across America, forcing Macy, her parents and siblings to relocate to a refugee camp. Escape may be down the Mississippi, but it holds its own peculiar dangers.

While author Alan DeNiro unfolds a dreamscape, one where the very land and rivers reshape themselves, the family drama is grounded in the familiar. Kin can be maddening and endearing from one moment to the next; they say something they don’t mean but is hurtful nonetheless, then redeem themselves with a kindness that is unexpected.

The novel was surreal and original. Macy really does double-duty — holding her family and the story together. She does both amply well.

Have you read it? What do you think?

Began Universal Coverage

There is a minor story you may have heard of — the recent passage of healthcare reform that purports to provide health insurance to all Americans in the coming years.

Universal Coverage by Daniel PutkowskiThere is a minor story you may have heard of — the recent passage of healthcare reform that purports to provide health insurance to all Americans in the coming years. So the novel, Universal Coverage, by Daniel Putkowski seems timely. From the back cover, the book evidently takes the view that the dream of affordable healthcare turns to a  bureaucratic nightmare. The stakes are high for the protagonist who may lose his son if he can’t cut the red tape in time.

Have you read it? What did you think?

Writing Show: From Random Thought to Random House

We know getting your novel published is an arduous journey with the chance of success just shy of nil. But it can happen (perhaps enough to tease).

We know getting your novel published is an arduous journey with the chance of success just shy of nil. But it can happen (perhaps enough to tease). April’s Writing Show, “From Random Thought to Random House,” tells of one who overcame the odds. For Michele Young-Stone, lightning has struck her twice — once as a bolt through her body as a young girl, then as a streak of luck that got her novel to print.

Writing Show Panel

The local author shared her inspiring  story with the audience. Joining her was her agent, Michelle Brower and her editor, Sarah Knight. They chatted with moderator Virginia Pye about Young-Stone’s debut novel, The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors.

Perseverance does pay. Brower initially turned down the manuscript. Instead of dismissing the rejection, Young-Stone made significant revisions to her work and got another agent to represent her. But this arrangement didn’t work out and Young-Stone resubmitted her work to Brower who agreed to represent her. Then Knight entered the picture, telling the audience that by this point the novel was so well polished there was little for her to do other than convince the publishers to make the right decision.

Brower said that at any given time she has 500 email queries. Discouraging indeed. But what can help get you noticed is a great title, as was Young-Stone’s case, a compelling premise and an engaging voice.

The Journey of a Novel to Print

Found an author’s account of her novel’s journey to publication.

Found an author’s account of her novel’s journey to publication. Sarah Hoyt recounts the setbacks and successes she had had while trying to break into print and get her sci-fi novel, Darkship Thieves, onto bookshelves. Lots of agents in the mix.

How are you coming along in your writing journey?