Book Club



Accepting the Call

Exciting news for those of you who love great stories! Shawn Coyne, editor with 25+ years of experience with the Big 5 publishing companies, and author of The Story Grid: What Good Editors Know, has just trained a team of people in his unique and foolproof method for helping writers tell better stories.

And I’m one of those people.

Trust me, this is big news in the writing world. Huge in fact.

You have an intuitive knowledge of Story. When a Story works, you rave about it to your friends. You re-read the book. You watch the movie over and over again.

When it doesn’t work, you put the book in the donation bin. You turn off the movie before it’s over, or feel like you just wasted two hours.

Developmental editors fix the problems that keep a Story from working. And that means better Stories for us all to enjoy!

There are lots of developmental editors around, but others say things like “I’m just not feeling this chapter”… well, what’s a high-paying author to do with that advice? What does it mean? I’ve been the recipient of such guidance, and as well-meaning as it was, it was useless.

The Story Grid method pinpoints Story problems and gives concrete advice for resolving them.

Authors rejoice!

I’ll be honest, when I found Shawn’s method in 2015, I was happy dancing. My creative life became far less stressful. In February 2017, I attended the first Story Grid Workshop which was all about the Love Story Genre. No exaggeration here – I learned more in 2 ½ days with Shawn than I did in Masters-level University courses in English Literature.

When Shawn and Tim Grahl (co-host of The Story Grid Podcast, and creator of the Launch a Bestseller course) announced that they were going to train a select group of people to work as Certified Story Grid Editors, I jumped at the chance. I applied and was accepted – the only person outside of the United States to make the cut.

In September, I spent a full week with Shawn, Tim and 18 other Story nerds studying the Story Grid method.

I’m now officially a Certified Story Grid Editor and in addition to working with authors, I’m sinking my teeth into a Story Grid Edition of Dracula. (Sorry, couldn’t resist. 😀 ) Stay tuned to see me sweat blood on behalf of horror and gothic romance authors everywhere!

Oh, and Shawn will be editing my work … no pressure!

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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