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One and Done

Are you writing a book, or are you building a career as an author?

There’s a huge difference between the two, and in my experience, most people fall into the first category. They have a song in their heart, or a family history they want to capture in print. These are perfectly valid reasons for putting pen to page which in no way lessen the value of the final product.

But there’s a distinction between the two approaches and it’s found in the writer, not in the writing.

The person who refers to himself as “writing a book” is usually writing one, then he’s done. He may spend years on the thing, agonizing over word choice (not realizing that story needs form), wringing every ounce of meaning from it he can. There will only be one book, so it has to be perfect.

Those of us building careers understand that our current work-in-progress is one of a long list of books that we’ll write. We know that it represents our best work in this moment, but that our next book will be even better because we’re constantly studying our craft and applying what we’ve learned.

We understand that this career requires an apprenticeship.

(I’ll talk more about apprenticeship tomorrow.)

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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