Feb 212012

I am curled up in my favorite chair with THE CHICK-TIONARY, written by the very talented Anna Lefler. I know from reading her fiction how funny and sparkling her writing talent is, and I admit that I am curled up in my office reading her book rather than working on my own. But how can you resist her definition for I WILL SURVIVE song title: “This female-power masterpiece, written by Freddie Perren and Dino Fekaris and performed by Gloria Gaynor, is arguably the ultimate post-breakup recovery song (see also: breakup). Released in 1978 and subsequently the recipient of numerous significant music-industry awards, “I Will Survive” has retained anthem status through the passing decades. It tells the story of a woman who, initially crushed by the desertion of her lover, comes to realize that she was just fine (better, in fact) without him, only to walk in and find him in her place, expecting her to take back his sorry ass. Oh, we don’t think so.”
Read Anna’s blog — lifejustkeepsgettingweirder.blogspot.com.

 Posted by at 3:23 pm
Dec 192011

Rhythm of speech gives your dialog flavor and your characters life and will protect you from the writing police who will quite justifiably have you arrested if you use dialect. People in Louisville speak in different rhythms than people in Brooklyn and people in California. They also say things differently. For example, my French husband has said to me: “Please to tell me what is in your head before you become the tornado.” There are no French words here, there is no dialect, no slang for that matter. But it is entirely French in the rhythm of speech, and in the actual words that he says.

So be aware that it is rhythm you aspire to, and that every book will have a rhythm and music all its own.

 Posted by at 11:36 pm
Dec 192011

Good writing means being humble enough to know that no matter how talented you are, and no matter how fine your literary riffs can be, you owe the reader Once Upon a Time. You are not writing for your mother who will read your story and magnet it on the fridge no matter how good or bad. You are writing for people who got fired from their job, whose spouse just came home in a bad mood, who have bills to pay and mouthy teenagers, and puppies who just ate a shoe. They want to escape from their world and go to a place in their head that you create. This is enormous trust on their part. This is enormous indulgence–they are sitting down and reading your story, and you better darn well make it worth their while.

 Posted by at 11:24 pm
Sep 252011

Writers’ Program student Rochelle Staab debuts a new mystery novel in November 2011 on Berkeley Prime Crime. Featuring tarot cards, a cursed spell book, and a best friend falsely accused, Rochelle’s mystery, Who Do, Voodoo? follows Los Angeles psychologist Liz Cooper in an unlikely partnership with a religious philosophy professor in order to track down a killer.

Rochelle says, “My Writers’ Program instructors are an amazing group of authors who truly care about their students. On my journey from Novel I through Novel IV, instructors Jessica Barksdale Inclan, Lynn Hightower, and Caroline Leavitt taught me the discipline and skills to take a story from concept to publication. I followed the process and ended up selling my first novel!”

 Posted by at 11:40 am
Sep 052011

Bob Baty, who studied novel writing with Lynn Hightower, recently landed a book deal with R.J. Buckley for his Vintage Connor series. His first novel, The Case of the Blonde in the Lotus Elite, follows retired cop Ray Connor as he looks for vintage cars, reconnects with an ex, and gets wrapped up in solving a  mystery. The book is set for publication in June 2011, with a  second book, The Girl in the MGA, to follow.

“For me, it all came down to Lynn Hightower. She made all the difference. I wanted to write crime fiction, and her enthusiasm and support just as I was starting this project, as well as her insightful comments, inspired me to keep going on this long and winding road to publication.”

Congratulations Bob!

 Posted by at 6:35 am