Review: In Leah’s Wake by Terri Giuliano Long

In Leah's WakeIn Leah’s Wake by Terri Giuliano Long
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Terri Giuliano Long’s debut novel bodes well for her future as a writer. In Leah’s Wake is a well-crafted tale told by characters with distinct voices. As the Tyler family members find life falling apart, you can see all the places where a different decision could have changed the trajectory, if only the characters could step outside their own head and see the big picture.

As a Massachusetts native, I recognized her fictional Cortland right away — she grounds her world with so many realistic details that I found myself trying to picture where it was on the map. Those same details make her characters breathe and her words sing on the page. In Leah’s Wake has a fast-paced plot that won’t let you put it down, yet the depth of character and voice to rival any literary novel out there. The combination of the two makes for an unforgettable read. I’ve already recommended this to several friends, and I’m looking forward to having time to re-read it.

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Some thoughts on rewriting before NaNo kicks off

With NaNoWriMo on the horizon – less than 36 hours to go – I’m seeing lots of people talking about writing their NaNo novel. I’m not participating this year because I’m in revision mode on Book 2, but since I took a NaNo approach to drafting it, I figured I’d share a little bit about the post-NaNo fate of what will get written in November. More on NaNo and rewriting

Book 2 Test Drive

I’ve been working on Book 2 in the Exeter series for the past several weeks, and it’s grown from a novella telling about that summer mentioned in Bones of the Past to a bigger, deeper novel about a summer that changed Dan’s life.

To corral the rabid plot bunnies that have been hopping through my brain, I’ve been fiddling with back-jacket copy to keep the subplots from taking over. As part of that, I’m throwing it out there for you to read and let me know what you think. Does it sound like something you’d pick up if you read that on the shelf or Amazon page? Why? Why not? (And if what you read doesn’t sound like the characters you know in Thrown Out, well, there’s a reason this summer was so important in Dan’s life and in Exeter’s past…)

Book 2: Dan Reilly is the most popular guy in school, star running back for the football team. His favorite cousin Liz is the other end of the social ladder and they both go along with that in public. To hide this from new friend Evan, he agrees to explore the forbidden marsh. Now the South Boston mob is after Dan’s family and nobody in town wants anything to do with him — except Liz and a few adults willing to risk fighting back. Dan has to fight the corrupt police chief, the people he thought were his friends and himself to keep his hometown from being torn apart.

I’m looking forward to hearing what you think in comments! And be brutally honest, please!

My Indie Journey – Lessons Learned

It’s been almost six months since I decided to go indie, and not quite two since my first book published. As with anything new, there’s been a learning curve. I’ve been fortunate to learn some things from other indie authors — especially Terri Giuliano Long — but some of my lessons have come from doing it not quite right the first time. Mark Young posted an update on where he is and what he’s learned, so I’m stealing his idea and doing my own learning process post. Keep reading…

Why Can’t Books Be Readable AND Great Fiction?

Today’s Toronto Star article on the readability controversy that plagued the Man Booker awards this year was the perfect connection among several writing bits that have been floating around in my brain lately and coming up in conversations with other writers.

For those who missed it, Man Booker award judging panel chairwoman Dame Stella Rimington announced this year that “readability” would be a factor in the award selection this year, and a segment of the literary fiction world gasped and clutched their pearls at the concept. They went so far as to announce last week they were creating The Literature Prize for “writers who aspire to something finer.”

Finer than what, exactly? Continue reading

First formal book review of Thrown Out

Kimba, the Caffeinated Book Reviewer, posted her review of Thrown Out today.

Excerpt: “These tales were well developed and the writer had strong command of them from beginning to end.  Coughlin delivered stories that quickly immersed me into the tale.”

Yay! Between this and my first ever e-mail from a reader who has no prior connection or contact to me or anybody I know, it’s been a good day. Add in Jesse’s tweet from earlier this week, and it’s been a great week.

I’m going to go smile a lot now. 🙂


Tagging on Amazon

Several of you have asked if there’s anything you can do now that Thrown Out is published. So I figured I’d post this here. Amazon only lets you put a book in two categories, even though it has a few thousand. Their alternative is tags, but it takes 20-25 people tagging a book to put it in a category. Since this is a short story collection, and the topics vary, there are several other possible categories for it beyond the two I picked. If you wouldn’t mind taking five minutes and going to the book’s page and clicking on the tags that are there, I’d really appreciate it. The tags make it more likely that Amazon recommends it to people who might enjoy reading it.


Circle of Writing Inspiration

Yesterday, I tweeted some lines from my Kindle Blog interview, including the one where I mentioned screenwriter Jesse Stern inspires me, with links to the interview. He saw it, and tagged me on Twitter to tell me I’d inspired him to write yesterday and thanked me. That, in turn, inspired me to write before work today and pushed me well over the 25K mark in my draft, a goal I had set for end of day Friday.

ETA: Coworker’s daughter (age 7) was reading the acknowledgements in the book, saw I’d won a writing award at her age. She won a writing award last year, so she turned to her mom and said “Mommy, she won an award too! Does does mean I could write a book someday?” I’m seriously going to frame today and hang it on a wall.

Has somebody inspired you today? Not just for writing, but for anything? Tell them — it will make their day!

Book Review: “The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors” by Michele Young-Stone

The Handbook for Lightning Strike SurvivorsThe Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors by Michele Young-Stone
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was lucky enough to hear Michele read a selection from this before I bought the book, which bumped it to the top of my to-read list. Handbook is an ambitious book, weaving in lots of people and places over several years, with two main plot threads running parallel tracks for much of the story. In the hands of a less-skilled writer, this could have been a train wreck. Fortunately, Michele keeps everything flowing as she weaves her tale, creating an engaging read. I had to stop midway through for about a week because of real life scheduling issues, but as soon as I picked it up to finish, I was pulled back into this complex tale by the end of the first page.

I suspect this is one of those wonderful books that will reveal more on each successive re-read because there are so many layers and complexities to both the story and the characters. I’ve already recommended it to a few people, and I’m going to suggest it to my mom for a possible book club selection. It’s well worth a read.

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