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5 People

We are an amalgam of the five people we spend the most time with. If they habitually complain, we complain. If they habitually exercise, we exercise. Their attitude and lifestyle matches matches ours—for better or worse.

This applies equally to writing. Our attitude toward writing matches that of the five writers we spend the most time with. Make a list of them and then consider their attitude toward writing; do they find it torturous or enjoyable? Do they believe they can earn a living from their work, or not?

Do they study the craft? I’m not asking whether they’ve bought a bunch of books about writing. I mean, have they studied those books and applied what they’ve learned to masterworks? Have they tried to incorporate what they’ve learned into their own writing? Do they attend seminars, in person or online?

Have they published anything? Do they want to?

It doesn’t matter what the answers to these questions are (there’s no right or wrong here), but knowing the answers is vital. It’s the only way you’ll know whether you’re mixing with the people who are right for you.

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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