Posted on December 28, 2016
Do writers need business cards? I’ve found them to be a great way to connect with others, especially potential readers. Using business cards is certainly more professional than scribbling my name, book title, and email address on a piece of paper. Even in today’s digital world, having a paper card has come in handy, especially to spark conversations. My card has the cover design of my novel, Kay’s Lucky Coin Variety on one side (a quick way to market the novel!) and my contact/social media info on the other. I can’t take any credit for it – my publisher created the design and provided me with a box full of cards.
Some author business cards I’ve seen included QR codes. Others had colour photos of the authors. A quick search online showed conflicting views on what should or should not be on a card. Some sites recommended including a short bio or book blurbs, while others stated that doing so would make a writer seem unprofessional.
One thing everyone seems to agree on though is that business cards continue to be a valuable marketing tool. I’ve exchanged or given out cards at book signings and readings, author visits to schools, conferences, and at any social event where I’m meeting others for the first time. They’re also great to have when I run into old friends or people who express an interest in getting to know me and my work better. I’m sincere when I tell people I’d love for them to drop me an email and say hello.
Writer Business Cards: 5 Ways To Think Outside The Box
PrimeTime: What Kind of Business Cards Should Writers Have?
Marketing 101 for Freelance Writers #6: What You Need Up Your Sleeve
Create an Author Business Card
Writers – What Should Your Business Card Say?
A 13-Point Checklist for Writing Business Cards
Posted on November 29, 2015
One of the most challenging and rewarding courses I’ve taken is on Ann Radcliffe (1764-1823). Regarded as the principal creator of the female Gothic genre, Radcliffe is credited as establishing a standard and new formula for Gothic fiction which earned it great respect and a larger readership. Patriarchal authority and institutions were challenged and examined in the Female Gothic. Unlike male writers such as Matthew Lewis who wove scenes of sexual assault into their work, Radcliffe’s terrors come from implied or possible physical assaults, and the “explained supernatural”. Her essay, “On the Supernatural in Poetry”, examines how she distinguishes between “terror” and “horror”.
We read four of her six novels in class: A Sicilian Romance (1790), The Romance of the Forest (1791), The Mysteries of Udolpho (1794), and The Italian (1797). The Mysteries of Udolpho, which most recently inspired Guillermo del Toro and his movie Crimson Peak, is 672 pages long and is considered Radcliffe’s masterpiece.
Radcliffe is a great storyteller with an incredible sense of adventure. I found myself captivated by her exotic settings and intriguing characters. Although few modern readers have heard of her, Radcliffe has influenced several writers including Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), Jane Austen (1775-1817), Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849), and more recently, Flannery O’Connor (1925-1964) and Anne Rice (1941).
For more on Radcliffe:
Ann Radcliffe (biography)
Ann Radcliffe (Encyclopedia Britannica)
Ann Radcliffe – An Introduction
The Female Gothic – An Introduction
Davison, Carol M. History of the Gothic: Gothic Literature 1764-1824. Cardiff: University of Wales Press, 2009.
Ellis, Markman. The History of Gothic Fiction. Edinburgh: Edinburg University Press, 2000.
Heiland, Donna. Gothic & Gender: An Introduction. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing, 2004.
Mulvey-Roberts, Marie. The Handbook of the Gothic. New York: New York University Press, 2009.
Wright, Angela. Gothic Fiction: A Reader’s Guide to Essential Criticism. New York: Palgrave Macmillian, 2007.
Posted on August 4, 2015
The guidelines we use to run our writing circle, The 11th Floor Writers, have been added to its website. I can’t believe that we’ve gone eight years. It helps that we follow a set routine: we meet the second Saturday of every month at the same venue, we rotate chairs, and everyone adheres to guideline expectations.
I’m currently working on my second novel, and continue to be grateful for the support and constructive feedback I get from this group.
Some online resources worth checking out:
A Workshop Guide for Creative Writing
A great place to start. The guide asks a series of questions we should be considering as we critique others’ work.
Tips for Revising Creative Nonfiction
The tips also apply for fiction writing.
15 Tips for Successful Writing Groups
A comprehensive guide with lots of useful suggestions and tips.
Posted on March 20, 2015
I was finally able to thank Allyson Latta in person when I met up with her last month. She was a guest speaker at a Markham high school where she spoke to students about her work as a freelance editor. I was fortunate enough to work with Allyson on my first book which will be released early next year.
Allyson has worked with many prominent Canadian writers including two of my favourites, Marina Nemat and Lawrence Hill. Her website, full of guest posts, interviews, and all things that might interest any writer, is definitely worth checking out. Allyson also teaches memoir writing at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies.
Thanks to a quiet March Break, I was able to finish reading a couple of books. One novel I would highly recommend is Michael Crummey’s Sweetland. After visiting Newfoundland a few years ago and falling in love with that province, I couldn’t resist reading this book. Set in a remote island community, our protagonist Moses Sweetland, fakes his own death and stays behind after everyone else relocates.
For more information:
Michael Crummey’s Sweetland is like a song of mourning – a review by The Globe and Mail
Michael Crummey: How I wrote Sweetland – Canada Writes
Posted on January 31, 2013
Whether they are happy, dark, or ironic, I love twist endings. I stumbled onto “A Letter to God”, a short story by Gregorio Lopez Fuentes (translated by Donald A. Yates). It is about a poor farmer named Lencho who sadly loses his crops during a terrible hailstorm. Poor, but a man with strong faith, he writes to God and asks for money to help him get through the winter. The ending made me laugh out loud – it was so nutty. You can click on the story title to read it online.
Some of my other favourite short stories with a twist include “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant and “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin.
It takes talent and good storytelling to create a twist ending that works. It can’t feel forced or heavy-handed to be effective.
Here are some links you might want to check out:
Posted on January 21, 2013
I love books where I feel connected with the main character, or when the character is someone whom I admire and want to root for. I recently saw Les Miserables again. Jean Valjean is an example of a character I both admire and feel tremendous sympathy for – a character almost impossible for me to forget.
There are several books and online resources that offer great advice, tips, and suggestions on how to create complex and compelling characters. One book title I’d like to pass along is Victoria Lynn Schmidt’s 45 Master Characters: Mythic Models for Creating Original Characters. It’s definitely worth checking out. Schmidt looks at several archetypes, both heroic and villainous, to explore character traits and behaviours. Her examples of memorable characters from books, movies, and T.V. are especially helpful in shaping our understanding of classic archetypes.
Also worth checking out:
Posted on August 27, 2012
So far, I’ve spent yesterday and today trying to build this website/blog. Check out the links pages. There’s already over a hundred links to different resources for writers and readers.