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The Journey

Steven Pressfield explains that during our hero’s journey, we accumulate experiences. We grow and learn, and create a history. In a way, it’s our backstory. It’s our lives. According to the monomyth structure, in the final stage of the journey the hero returns to ordinary life with the elixir, also known as the special gift or the lessons learned. We come home wiser and with a few scars.

As writers, we bring that special gift with us as we begin our artist’s journey. The gift is our artistry; it’s the books we’ll write.

I talk to a lot of writers. I can count on one hand the number of them who have considered themselves artists.

What would happen if we started to look at our work this way? If we didn’t think of it as writing a book, but as creating a work of art, would we craft it more carefully? Would we study the masters the way painters study Picasso?

Would we still focus on how fast we can write a book, or would we focus on how well we can write a book?

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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