Friday, July 29, 2011

July, July! (Round Up)

Friday round up with Laura:

Well, it's been a while. Mea culpa, readers—I've been reading A Dance with Dragons and neglecting important things like the round up, and showering. But other things are going on in the world too, I guess, that are just as important. ...Close to just as important. Bradley Cooper will play Lucifer in Paradise Lost, which should be hot as hell (ba dum chh). Devilishly good? Other puns? That plus this imprint dedicated to zombies are going to keep me busy for a while. Plus I can watch musical Bridget Jones, scored by Lily Allen. Elton John approves! All of these things are sweet like candy from kids' books, which you should not take from babies.

In other news, you can learn from submitting writing, lessons other than "rejection is saddening." And if you learn enough lessons you could get on the Booker longlist with these ladies and gents, or be the next Maurice Sendak. If you're extra lucky you might be a top ten Rainn Wilson pick or make the cash money for your partial manuscript just like Jane Austen.

Well, I'm off to finish A Dance with Dragons. Have an excellent summer weekend, folks... because winter is coming.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

License to Thrill

First! PMN turns two years old this month, mes auteurs, so please leave any and all presents in the comments. Be warned: I already own every Transformers action figure and Kurt Vonnegut novel ever produced.

(I kid. At least with regard to Transformers action figures.)

Now then, ladies and gentlebros, I'd like to revisit a topic of yore: the mfa. As I've mentioned before, there's no such thing as a license to write: while the mfa is useful as a qualification to teach creative writing at the postsecondary level, there is no academic prerequisite for writing commercially successful novels. None whatsoever.

However! If you're writing literary fiction, the mfa might not be a bad idea. First, it provides you with a community of writers who can support and provide invaluable feedback for your work; it allows you access to a network of writers, editors, and educators to which you would never have otherwise been privy; and it makes you comfortable with revising and reading your work aloud on a regular basis. I don't think the degree is necessary in any sense, and I think getting it out of boredom or as a result of the misguided belief that it will make you more attractive to agents or editors are tremendously poor choices. It does have its uses, though.

So! If you're thinking of pursuing an mfa at some point, take the following into consideration (in more or less the following order):

Location, location, location. There's no sense in spending one to three years in an area you dislike—or potentially even hate. As great as the programs in Iowa and Michigan may be, seriously ask yourself whether you'd want to spend that much time there.

Funding. I firmly believe that there is no reason whatsoever to go into debt for an art degree. So, if you're choosing between the slightly more prestigious school with the $100,000 price tag and the less well-known school that'll pay your way, go with the latter.

• Time commitment. Do you want to attend a less intensive studio program? An academic program that requires 40+ hours per week of preparation? A full-time program, a half-time program, a low-residency program? Keep in mind that you'll have to balance your personal and perhaps professional life with your academic existence as you earn your degree.

Reputation. How successful are the alumni of the programs you're considering? As crass as it sounds, do the names of your schools serve as social currency in literary circles? The better known your school, the more likely you are to participate in social circles that will benefit your writing career.

Faculty. This sounds like it would be a top priority, but in reality, faculty move from program to program on a fairly regular basis. The danger of selecting a program based on its faculty is that the poet or writer you most want to work with may be on sabbatical or may have left the institution entirely by the time you begin your studies. If a single individual is your primary criterion for attending a program, you may want to rethink your decision to enroll in said program.

So! Those are my current thoughts on the mfa. Responses, thoughts, corrections, questions, and tangents welcome in the comments!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Notes from the Writing Life

Summer has always been a time for me to get a lot of writing done, so I suppose that's why it's also when I tend to learn the most about the writing process.

So! Here are some things I've (re)discovered about writing over the past few weeks:

1. There's a time and a place for everything, including writing. I like tables that are supposed to be for eating—cafeteria tables, my dining room table, diner booth tables—either early in the morning or early in the evening.

2. Editing can oppose as well as complement writing. I know a lot of people who can edit as they go along, but I can't. It kills my momentum.

3. Writing is mostly practice. Practice, patience, perseverance. You make mistakes. You learn from them. You write some more. It's more about discipline and introspection than talent, though talent certainly helps.

4. Being good at one type of writing doesn't automatically make you good at the others, but it means you can learn to be. I'm a decent poet. I used to be a lousy fiction writer. I think now I'm a mediocre fiction writer. The form you practice more, the one you read more, is the one you'll get better at.

5. Trying to publish keeps you honest. It keeps you writing, it keeps you rereading your work to understand why it wasn't accepted, it keeps you humble, it keeps you hungry. I think writers who don't attempt to publish their work can very easily become complacent and many cease to improve.

6. You can always be better. I'm skeptical that individual pieces of writing can never be improved, but flat out deny that individual writers can never improve.

7. Creative writing can be taught. This doesn't mean all students will be equally capable. Nuclear physics can be taught; are all students of nuclear physics equally capable?

8. Writing is a habit. Writing every day, even if the product is sometimes—even often—terrible, is useful. I think it produces stronger long-term results than waiting for the proverbial Muse to move you.

9. Writing well is a real skill. Although I believe that many, if not most, people could write reasonably well, very few actually do. Further, I believe that most people think they're good writers because they write every day—grocery lists, e-mails, birthday cards, &c. Literacy is not equal to writing ability. Good writers are rare and should be paid well for their work.

10. Writing is work. Writing is difficult, writing takes time, writing is not always fun. If it's what you want to do above all else, you'll find a way to do it. If you don't have the patience for revision or desire to succeed or the stomach for rejection, this line of work isn't for you.

What have you recently learned about writing, mes auteurs? And/or what are the best, worst, most and least helpful pieces of advice you've ever received with regard to writing?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What I Learned on My Summer Vacation

· I should not have broken my vow to never again fly United Airlines. You know they break guitars, right?

· The Iliad is phenomenal, though not nearly as good as The Odyssey. Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policemen's Union, which I've been meaning to read for a long time, is fantastic so far. I'm reading Jennifer Egan's A Visit from the Goon Squad next.

· New York City is smellier and hotter than I remember.

· Rayne Summers has figured out how to save the book industry!

· I don't really "tan." I mostly just turn red and then white again. I may have known this already.

· It is possible to play Plants vs. Zombies for an entire six-hour flight. If you haven't yet played it and are looking for a distraction, you can play a free online demo here. Make sure you finish your writing first!

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Last Chapter

I've returned from parts unknown, mes auteurs, and I trust y'all enjoyed last week's guest posts while I was gone. Many thanks to our five guest posters!

All is not sunshine and lollipops in Ye Olde Publishinge Lande, however. If you haven't yet heard the sad news, Borders is converting from Chapter 11 bankruptcy to Chapter 7, meaning they are liquidating their assets and going entirely out of business.

First, my sincere condolences and heartfelt thanks to all the Borders employees who have helped me so much over the years and to whom I wish the best in their pursuits and endeavors after Borders. BGP's liquidation will entail roughly 11,000 layoffs—not including potential job losses at ancillary corporations, such as publishing, shipping, and food services companies that may have departments dealing exclusively with Borders—and my best wishes are with those who will be seeking work in this economy in the next several months.

Second, this will impact the industry in many significant ways, not all of which will become immediately apparent.

• There is now only one major bricks-and-mortar physical book retailer in the country: Barnes & Noble. B&N no longer needs to contend with any other major player in terms of physical co-op, in-store couponing, &c &c. I expect they'll continue to compete heavily with Amazon, however—especially in the increasingly popular e-book arena—so I don't foresee any immediate or comprehensive shifts in the price of physical books.

• There is now a significant surplus of physical books in the market. I'm not completely clear on the returns policy for distressed retailers, but I believe they're entitled to return most—if not all—of their unsold stock to the appropriate publishers. While I imagine many publishers moved to minimize their exposure back when Borders filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, I think a lot of them are going to get hit with big returns as Borders dissolves.

• Print runs are going to become smaller. When making final decisions in terms of binding books, publishers have taken two major chains into account; now they'll only account for one. While it's true that Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and (to a lesser extent) big-box retailers like Wal*Mart and small, independent book shops will absorb some of that business, a portion of it will be permanently lost.

• I think this will hasten physical/electronic equilibrium in the market. With fewer physical books being printed and more consumers going to Amazon and Barnes & Noble—many purchasing books electronically via the Kindle or Nook, respectively—I think the American market will be fully half e-books by the last quarter of 2013 or the first quarter of 2014. Over time, areas traditionally resistant to electronic media (such as art books, children's books, and international editions) will increasingly move in that direction, as well.

Again: is the physical book dead? Absolutely not. But the loss of Borders will, I think, hasten its transition to a secondary format.

The times, they are a-changin', ladies and gents, and I don't pretend to know what's going to happen over the next several months. I can tell you, however, that I'm not surprised by this turn of events—in fact, Borders managed to hang on much longer than I expected—and I was by no means alone in the industry in that expectation. Though the methods by which customers purchase books will undoubtedly continue to change, people will still need great stories. Books, whatever their form, are here to stay, and it's my sincere hope that Borders' demise will engender more opportunities than it dissolves.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Guest Post: Rotten Rejections

I stumbled upon the following gems while attempting to gather statistics (via the Internet) on what percentage of books get picked up by agents, but are never sold to publishers. I have a novel currently on submission (via my agent Weronika Janczuk), and I was (somewhat morbidly) curious about just how bad my odds of finding a publisher might be.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Guest Post: Writing Without a Net(Work)

by Lorna Graham, author of The Ghost of Greenwich Village (Ballantine/Random House, 6/28/11)

My debut novel is about to come out and, and, like so many writers before me, I’m uneasy. Okay, anxious. In just a few weeks, my work, for better or for worse, will be out there in the world to be enjoyed (hopefully) and judged (certainly).

The ironic thing is, I should be used to it.

I’ve been writing professionally for years and my work has always been for public consumption. You might even be familiar with some of it. Maybe you enjoyed an interview with Stephen King or Ellen Degeneres. Maybe you followed a “film noir” true crime story about cheating husbands and lethal wives through every delicious twist and turn. Or maybe you learned the dirty truth about the health code violations of a restaurant near you, or how a new kind of designer drug stays one step ahead of the law.

I've been a writer for both a morning news program and a primetime news magazine and have written for at least a dozen household name anchors.

But you’d never know it. Because in this kind of writing, the writer is for all intents and purposes, invisible. My name is well below the radar and I betray almost zero of my self, my sensibility, or my psyche in my work.

Why? Mainly because I make very few choices in the stories I help tell. And the ones I do make, which are creative ones that relate to style and rarely substance, are subject to extraordinary constraints.

In news, first of all, we start with the story. Facts. You do not get to mess with these; we play them as they lay. (Contrary to the low opinion some people have today of journalists, there is an extraordinary effort to discover the truth and tell it.)

All we can do is decide the way we’re going to tell it. As a writer, it’s my job to make you want to watch what we’re about to show you. I try to think about what makes each story unique, and how best to highlight that to intrigue you. But between my typing fingers and your ears is a long, bumpy road.

Before you hear anything I’ve written for a correspondent or anchor to say, I must obtain written approval of every syllable from at least five people: our executive producer, a lawyer with our legal department, a representative from standards & practices, the producer of the story, and the show’s anchor.

This chain of command is vitally important. It’s how we ensure what gets on the air is of the highest quality and accuracy. Each of these people is a seasoned professional who wants the best for the show, but they don’t always agree on how to get there. For my words to run the gauntlet from my computer to your television screen unscathed is pretty much unheard of.

I always start with my best shot, something I believe that’s going to grab the viewer while also being scrupulously fair. I spend the rest of the day accommodating the wishes of everyone else, hoping to preserve what I like best about my original version. Very often, because of time constraints – if my intro to a piece is supposed to run twenty seconds, that’s all I can write – the thing I like best, the little flourish that made it fresh and, well, mine, is what goes.

The best thing about writing for television is that it’s collaborative. You work with so many smart, caring, funny people. I adore my colleagues.

The worst thing about writing for television?

Same answer: it’s collaborative.

When I first started writing fiction, I felt like I was throwing off heavy chains. There were no facts to adhere to, no legal department fretting that anything I wrote was libelous. Within my novel, I could create my own world, my own rules, from the inside out.

I felt like writing about a ghost? I did. (Try that in TV news.) I wanted to write an extra chapter to fill out a character’s back story? Fine, we’re not cutting to commercial break. I wanted a rude character to say something off-color? Totally cool, there’s no F.C.C. to worry about.

Another thing about TV news? Credits rarely run; there usually just isn’t time. Executives, producers and editors may see their names on screen but writers, almost never.

Now my name is on the front of a book. It looks odd to me, and loud: like a trumpet’s blare, demanding everyone look in my direction.

This time, there’s no one to hide behind. Though I’ve had a dream team of fabulous people help me with this book, including my agent, editor and fiction workshop, the choices in my novel are all mine. For the first time in my professional life, I stand alone.



Lorna Graham was born in the San Francisco Bay Area and graduated from Barnard College. She has written for Good Morning America and currently writes for Dateline NBC. She also wrote a short film, “A Timeless Call,” honoring America’s military veterans, that was directed by Steven Spielberg. She lives in Greenwich Village. The Ghost of Greenwich Village is her first novel.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Guest Post: The Glamour Life on a Book Tour

by Wayne Arthurson

I’m riding the bus through downtown Los Angeles. It’s packed, it’s hot, I’m wearing a suit and I’ve been standing since I got on 30 minutes ago. I will stand for the entire 90 minute trip.

Why am I riding LA Transit on a book tour for my big American novel release? Because I’m paying for everything, flights, hotels, food, beer, cabs, all of it is on me. I may be one of the few Edmonton/Alberta writers with a major US book deal, but in the US, I’m unknown and untested. My publisher is paying for nothing.

Well, not really. They are paying for my LA hotel. And it’s nice. Located in posh area of Westwood, the Palomar is a funky boutique hotel with free wine in the lobby everyday from 5-7 pm.

Unfortunately, the Palomar is 20 miles from the University of Southern California, the site for the LA Times Festival of Books. To get there I took a cab. $45 dollars before tip. Which explains the bus ride back.

The festival was great. It’s more of a book fair really, with hundreds of booths selling anything related to publishing. There are some great panels featuring great writers, poets and celebrities, all of it free. But I have no time for that. I must get a book signed by Mo Willems for my daughter. It’s hot, sunny and I’m wearing a dark suit. After 75 minutes in line, I get Mo’s signature on Knuffle Bunny, Too. My pits are sticky; my pale Canadian skin is sizzling.

Fortunately, my event is in a shaded tent. It’s an hour-long signing at the Mysterious Galaxy, a San Diego Bookstore. I’m signing with Michael Koryta, 28, with seven published books already. Nice guy, but I want to kill him because of his youth and talent. I sell about 10 books, which is good, and I later meet up with LA writer/filmmaker Stephen Jay Schwartz. We met at a mystery convention in March and bonded because our main characters have addictions. He’s an actual book festival panelist and sneaks me into the green room where there is free food and soda. Nice, but a Canadian book festival would at least have free beer. Since Stephen’s from LA, I ask him about taking the bus back to my hotel.

“No one who’s anyone in LA takes the bus,” he says. “But if you have to, don’t make eye contact and watch your back because you’ll be going through some sketchy neighbourhoods.”

But the LA bus in LA is no different than an Edmonton bus, except that it’s only $1.50. Nothing weird happens.

The weird stuff comes later. After showering, eating and phoning the family, I head to the hotel bar for a beer. I missed the free wine.

News breaks on the TV. Osama bin Laden is dead. No one leaves, we wait for Obama to speak. When he does, the patrons get up from their seats and gather around the TV. The bartender turns off the Muzak. A few take cell phone photos of the TV. It’s like the first moonwalk or some other awe-inspiring historical event. No one speaks, no one cheers. There’s just a hushed silence. The bartender does not turn the music back on. I finish my beer and go back to my room, setting the alarm an hour earlier than planned because I know airport security is going to be tight tomorrow. I’m heading to Vancouver.

Wayne Arthurson’s latest detective novel, Fall From Grace, is available on Amazon and various other online locations—plus, at good old fashioned book stores. His recent book tour in Canada and the U.S. is recounted in an exclusive four-part series for GigCity. Part 1 starts in in Los Angeles. (Read: Part II, Part III, Part IV)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Guest Post: Four Elements of a Great Book Signing

by Corrie Garrett

A couple Saturdays ago I spent the afternoon in downtown Los Angeles at a book signing for John Scalzi. He’s a NYT best-selling author for Old Man’s War and several other fantastic scifi novels, including his latest one, Fuzzy Nation. Basically, he’s an experienced guy who ran an excellent book signing. I’ve been to a few other book signing/reading events—and they are, sadly, not always a blazing success.

So, let’s say you’ve done your promotion and your marketing and you’ve managed to gather a respectable crowd at your local Barnes and Noble. What do you do with them?

1. Audience participation

Get involved. Scalzi was chatting with all the early arrivals when I got there, funny stories about his travel or whatever. When he started the "real" bit, he asked us a lot of questions. Did we hear about this from his blog? Did we want to hear him read from his new novel, or his next, unpublished one? He let the audience vote on it, and he then he had us all swear secrecy for the excerpt from his new book.

Take away: Talk to the audience before you start; this is the best way to assuage nerves if you’re uncomfortable. Ask questions. Maybe do a poll on favorite genre, how they know you, favorite character (particularly if you have an Edward/Jacob setting), or maybe how far they drove to come. The people coming to a book signing want to feel known even if it’s only a small way.

2. Elite status

Make the audience feel privileged. Signing books is only part of it. By coming to your book signing, they’ve formed a tenuous relationship with you, and inside information is a great way to cement the feeling of that relationship. Scalzi read from his novel that will be released in 2012.

You might not have another book contract, but you can still give inside information. If you might (possibly) be doing a sequel, give some clues about it. If you have nothing in the future (hopefully not!), give some insight into how this story came about. If the main character is based on your dog, or started as a ghost and turned into a vampire—talk about that.

3. Question control

A Q&A session is great for audience involvement, but you have to be on top of it. Scalzi told us up front that some questions he couldn’t answer (for legal reasons), and he didn’t hesitate to say, “Nope, that’s all I have to say about that,” on a couple questions that were off topic.

Some questions will be off the wall—only glancingly related to you or your book, or even inappropriate. A short answer is good, but don’t let them hijack the session with questions of no interest to anyone else. The rest of your audience will appreciate it.

4. Humor

Do funny. Okay, so a lot of us don’t have great comedic timing or fantastic impersonations or anything like that. But you don’t have to. Scalzi read the first few sentences from a prologue he spoofed on April Fool’s Day; the writing was hysterically awful and over the top.

Maybe you’re not into spoofs, but most of us authors have some pretty hysterical rough drafts and drawer manuscripts. Dig one out (an old one that doesn’t grieve you anymore), and find a section to give your audience. If you read from your current book, don’t be afraid to spice it up. Dramatic pauses, voices, gasps—whatever fits. They’re ready to be entertained, so be brave. Collect some anecdotes from your travel or tour and have them ready. Self-deprecating humor is always a safe bet, too.

Getting people to your book signing is fantastic, making them tell all their friends about it is even better. Have fun!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Guest Post: To Self-Publish or Not to Self-Publish?

Apologies for not getting a round-up to you last week, mes auteurs. However! You've now got a full week of guest posts to look forward to, starting with this one by Chevonese Fender. Sit back, relax, and enjoy! — E

"Self-publishing used to have a real stigma attached to it. To be self-published meant your work was SO BAD that not one publisher would take you seriously. But that’s just not true anymore. Readers just want a great book to read." — Kaia Van Zandt, from Alan Rinzler’s post, "Advice for Amanda Hocking from authors and agents"

It is true that I, too, fell victim to this stigma. When I spent some time in New York, I would always see street vendors alongside 34th Street hustling to sell books that I would never take one second to peruse, let alone purchase. The approach is a turn off and the quality of the books, i.e. the print and cover quality, are a no-no in my standards.

Two years ago I was on the 2 train to the Bronx and noticed a Caucasian girl reading an urban novel, which I decided must have been self-published based on the distasteful cover and book quality. I was not surprised when I got a glimpse of the content and how less than classy it was. That was my impression of self-publishing. So when my friends and family have the gall to suggest the idea, I literally cringe and regard them with utmost disdain. Me, self-publish? Oh heck no! The goal is to be seen and known as a respected author, not the other way around.

I always agreed with Van Zandt's description of how self-publishing used to be [1]: that to self-publish meant my work was not good enough for a literary agent or publisher to give it the time of day. So, for a while I continued with my upturned nose, bent on having representation. It was not until I realized how the self-publishing industry had transformed and how beneficial it had proven to be for countless struggling and aggravated authors that I began seeing self-publishing for what it was.

Granted, there are those self-published authors who, out of anticipation, eagerly publish their work without serious editing and consulting. These authors partly contribute to the negative connotation that self-publishing carries. But it seems as if the tables have been drastically turning. Now, self-publishing appears to be the second best approach, if not the first, for getting your unpublished work out there.

So with two stories completed—one short story and one full length novel with its sequel on the way—would self-publishing be my best bet? Well, I would no longer have to hopelessly wait, after submitting my query letters for representation, for months to know if I’ve been given a "yes" or "no." I would no longer be limited to sharing my stories with my ten friends and family members and accept their praises as mission accomplished. And most importantly, no longer would I have to WAIT!

So many tools, websites, and literary agent blogs offer advice and tips, weighing the pros and cons of publishing on your own or taking the traditional route. It doesn’t hurt becoming your own agent, marketing and representing your own product, and reaping total benefits from book sales, as opposed to splitting it three ways if you were represented by an agent who found you a publisher. Most importantly, you are in full control of your content! Sounds like hard work and it most certainly is.

Is there respect for self-published authors today? Absolutely! Exhibit A: Amanda Hocking, after being told "no" numerous times, went on an ambitious whim and published on her own, only to find that her audience did exist and that her work is now worth a two million dollar contract with St. Martin’s Press. The publishers simply got on the bandwagon because they saw that there was money to be made; a foundation that was already set had been set through self-publishing. Even traditionally published authors like thriller and suspense writers Stephen King and Barry Eisler have self-published. Eisler [2] consciously opted out of a major contract simply because he wanted full control of his work and his money. Certainly these authors have an upper hand, as they have years of experience with the market—but the fact is, self-publishing is becoming more appealing than it was five or six years ago. Now, many services offer print-on-demand, which cuts out unnecessary printing costs.

We Jamaicans have a saying: "Puss and dog don’t have the same luck," which simply means that one man’s success story may not be the same for another. There are a lot of factors to consider if you desire the same success story as Hocking. The genre, writing style, content, target audience, cover images, and marketing and promotional strategies are all vital things to consider. But who’s to say how successful you will be unless you actually try it? In my book, not trying is failing.

Based on the numerous dialogues that I’ve come across, I’ve deduced one main thing: go off your gut instincts and your pocket. So should you venture beyond the traditional and daringly choose self-publishing? I’m certainly not against taking the bull by the horns, and there are many reputable authors, agents and editors who aren’t either. However, at the end of the day a decision has to be made.

Here’s what I advise: create your checklists of short term and long term goals for your books and your literary career; weigh your options, do your research, understand the benefits and pitfalls of choosing either publishing option; and be patient.

So, you tell me. Where do you stand?

Chevonese Fender is from Jamaica. She modeled for five years, the latter part spent working in New York. She was represented last by Boss Models in New York, and a little over a year and half ago she made a life-changing decision to actually put her God-given skill to use and write. She writes edgy, inspirational romance and has not yet been published, but her first novel is recently completed and she finds herself at the crossroads, so to speak: publishing traditionally or just say, the heck with it—publish the darn thing yourself!



Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Guest Posts: Redux

When I last asked for guest posts back in May, I received so many quality submissions that I couldn't take just five. So! I accepted an additional five guest posts for next week, as I shall be out of town on Ye Olde Holidaye Times.

Where will I be? Well, somewhere significantly less stressful (and smelly) than New York City. I suppose that's not much of a hint, though, since that's pretty much everywhere else on the planet. At least you know I won't be in Beijing or L.A.

Without futher ado!

Monday, July 11th: "To Self-Publish or Not to Self-Publish? That is a Darn Good Question!" by Chevonese Fender

Tuesday, July 12th: "Four Elements of a Great Book Signing" by Corrie Garrett

Wednesday, July 13th: "The Glamour Life on a Book Tour" by Wayne Arthurson

Thursday, July 14th: "Writing Without a Net(Work)" by Lorna Graham

Friday, July 15th: "Rotten Rejections" by D.L. Orton

I'll return on Monday, July 18th with more gems, pearls of wisdom, and other assorted literary treasures for you. Until then, enjoy Friday's round-up and next week's guest posts!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Happy Fourth of July!

Due to the Fourth of July weekend, mes auteurs, there'll be no round-up from Laura today and no new post on Monday, July 4th. Check back on Wednesday, and have fun blowing things up in the meantime!