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10 Miles

I just finished a ten mile race; it’s the third time I’ve done it. In past years I’ve trained physically and mentally, have registered admirable times and have felt energized afterwards.

This year I didn’t have time to train and didn’t even plan on running it until the last minute. I stepped off an airplane, got four hours sleep and showed up at the start line dehydrated, fatigued and wearing the wrong socks.

It was a hellish race; torture from start to finish. My worst time ever. Now, post-race, my muscles ache and my feet are covered in blisters.

Why am I telling you this? Because most of us approach writing a novel the same way I approached the Tely 10. We tell ourselves that we don’t have time to develop a daily writing routine. We kid ourselves that we can sit down one day, unprepared, and in one great burst of energy and will, produce a novel for the ages.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. Sure, we might actually manage to crank out a book but will it be our best work? Writing, like running, rewards consistent effort over time.

Valerie Francis

The Mystery of Mrs. Christie

Well, you’re not going to believe this. Reece Witherspoon and I picked the same book for our February book clubs. Sort of.  Late last year, I came across THE MYSTERY OF MRS. CHRISTIE by Marie Benedict and was fascinated by the premise. Benedict writes historical fiction, much like Philippa Gregory,

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Valerie Francis

A Girl Named Howard

This month, rather than recommend one book to read, I’m recommending the entire body of work of one author because Anne Rice, who passed away December 11, 2021, single-handedly revolutionized the role of vampires in literature.  Yes, vampires.  And the impact she’s had is more significant than you might realize.

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Valerie Francis

The Christmas Bookshop

If you’ve had it up to your eyes with holiday preparations and are looking for a light-hearted story to escape into, The Christmas Bookshop, by Jenny Colgan, might be just the ticket. The title is a bit misleading, in my opinion. Yes, there’s a bookstore. Yes, the plot unfolds in

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Masquerade