Time to Write Now By Julaina Kleist-Corwin

About Writing Plus

Book Recommendation: Lifelike by Peter J. Dudley

Peter J. Dudley’s Lifelike will be released for $.99 on Amazon June 16th. We traded proof copies, Lifelike for Captivate Audiences to Create Loyal Fans, one day a couple weeks ago. I started reading Lifelike and it was the classic page turner.

The book is about artistic Jewel who “flees to San Francisco and a fresh start.” She meets some eccentric characters plus a mysterious, alluring, and dangerous art teacher. When Jewel is invited to his home for lessons, she is shocked by his magic and the action she takes to reveal his secrets is life-threatening. Dudley created well-developed characters, even the minor ones are intriguing, and the plot keeps the reader guessing.

To learn more about Peter J. Dudley and the several books he has published, see his author page click here.

His New Eden trilogy which includes Semper, Forsada, and Freda, are at discounted prices (Semper for free and the other two for $.99). Get them now before the prices go back up. Then on June 16th order Lifelike for $.99.  Click here.

Peter J. Dudley



He’s the guy you see writing his books while commuting to work in San Francisco on Bart.






Julaina Kleist-Corwin

Written Across the Genres

Captivate Audiences to Create Loyal Fans

Reading Group Selects William Kent Krueger’s Ordinary Grace

Ordinary Grace book coverI had the good fortune to have a day off this Tuesday. A member of our reading group selected Ordinary Grace by William Ken Krueger for this month. The book qualifies as a real page turner. A day or two ago, I had put it down on page 63 and at 9:00 this morning, I picked it up, sat down near my favorite window to read, and at each new chapter watched the rain for a minute or two. I planned to stop at noon when the weather would clear according to the reports.

However, I read until I finished the book. If you are looking for a mystery, this story will not disappoint you. It took me until page 264 before I had an idea of “who dun it” and at the end, 43 pages later, my guess was correct.

Frank Drum at forty years old tells the events of the fateful summer in 1961, when he was a teenager in a small Minnesota town.  The description on Amazon includes the following: “he finds himself thrust into an adult world full of secrets, lies, adultery, and betrayal, suddenly called upon to demonstrate a maturity and gumption beyond his years.” http://www.amazon.com/Ordinary-Grace-William-Kent-Krueger-ebook/dp/B008J2G5Y6/


Here are a few quotes from the book:

On Page 66, Frank overhears his father talking with his friend, Emil, as they play chess. Emil says, “But greatness? Who can say? That’s something, it seems to me, that depends more on God and circumstance than on our own efforts.”


Page 61, Emil, who teaches Frank’s sister to prepare for Julliard, which everyone thinks will make her happy, says, “”No one can be happy all the time. Better, I think, to wish for her wisdom, a vertue not so fickle.”


Page 69 Frank describes the land around Emil’s house where his sister creates out-standing flower and vegetable gardens. “The world inside that picket fence seemed like a good place, a place in which all the damaged pieces somehow fit.”


P. 175, Frank says, “Loss, once it’s become a certainty, is like a rock you hold in your hand. It has weight and dimension and texture. It’s solid and can be assessed and dealt with.


If you have read Ordinary Grace, what number would you give it with 10 being the most liked?


Julaina Kleist-Corwin

Editor of Written Across the Genres

William Kent Krueger

William Kent Krueger

Do You Want To Be Notorious? Ask Sue Monk Kidd

Notorious imageWhen I receive books in the mail that I’ve ordered, I scrutinize the cover, front and back, and then randomly open the book. Sue Monk Kidd’s Firstlight arrived today.

I landed on page 41. Kidd describes how a woman said to her, “When I turn fifty, I want to become notorious.” Kidd asked her “Notorious for what?” The woman hadn’t figured that out yet. Kidd didn’t understand the appeal of the idea but thought about it and wondered, “What would I want to be notorious for at fifty?”

Of course, I had to read on to find out her answer.

On page 43, she describes how amazed she was on her birthday as she looked at the guests’ faces. They were “beautiful and shining.” She glanced at the white lily in a vase and it was so gorgeous “the sight nearly wiped me out.” The experience gave her an “amazement at life.”  She remembered a quote by Emily Dickinson, “Life is a spell so exquisite that everything conspires to break it.”

Kidd realized she had been “moving through life on automatic pilot, half-seeing, half-here, abducted by the dreaded small stuff.. . . .We will have a true and blissful marriage to life only to the extent we are aware.” She found the answer to the question “What would I want to be notorious for at fifty?”

“Let it be for nothing more than harboring a wild amazement at life. Let it be for choking up at poetry and the sight of human faces. For falling into easy rapture over lilies and all the other run-of-the-mill marvels that make up life. Let me become notorious for going around with my bridal veil tossed back and my mouth saying I do. Renewing my vows with life. Every day. A hundred times a day.”

Firstlight has stories and essays that are drawn from Kidd’s early years of her journey as a writer and as a spiritual seeker.

What would you want to be notorious for at fifty, sixty, seventy, eighty, ninety or a hundred?


Elizabeth Strout Talks About Writing and The Burgess Boys


Hear Elizabeth Strout, Pulitzer Prize winning author, talk about her recent book, The Burgess Boys. I have read all of her books except this one.  Abide with Me and Amy and Isabelle are my two favorites.

She won the Pulitzer Prize for Olive KitteridgeElizabeth Strout 3 book stack

In this video, she talks about how and where she researched for The Burgess Boys, which was based on a true event.

Elizabeth Strout The Burgess Boys cover



She’s a self-taught writer and tells us how she got started in writing.

Strout says that a writer is not alone, she’s there with her characters, but it’s nice to be with readers at the book signing events too. During the Q and A, someone asked her if she thinks about her characters often. She said yes because they are her friends.

I met Strout at a book reading in Pleasanton’s Towne Center Books when Olive Kitteridge first came out. I sat next to her and we talked about the audience for our books. Her advice was, not to worry about the audience, just write a good book about what you want to write. I felt I had known her for a long time. She’s personable and tall. I’m only five two so I was impressed. She and Jane Smiley (another Pulitzer Prize winner) surprised me with their height when I met them in person.


Have you read The Burgess Boys? Which Strout book is your favorite?

Elizabeth Strout’s Amy and Isabelle and Ann Winfred’s Replica

amy and isabelle book cover

Elizabeth Strout is one of my favorite authors. Olive Kitteridge and Abide with Me have memorable characters and settings that feel as if I’ve been there. Her debut novel published in 1998, Amy and Isabelle, is my favorite. The back cover describes the story: “In most ways, Isabelle and Amy are like any mother and her 16-year-old daughter, a fierce mix of love and loathing exchanged in their every glance. That they eat, sleep, and work side by side in the gossip-ridden mill town of Shirley Falls only increases the tension. And just when it appears things can’t get any worse, Amy’s sexuality begins to unfold, causing a vast and icy rift between mother and daughter that will remain unbridgeable unless Isabelle examines her own secretive and shameful past.”  http://www.amazon.com/Amy-Isabelle-novel-Elizabeth-Strout/dp/0375705198/

Alice Munro said of Amy and Isabelle, “A novel of shining integrity and humor, about the bravery and hard choices of what is called ordinary life.”

I met Strout at a reading from her Pulitzer Prize winning novel, Olive Kitteridge at Pleasanton’s Towne Center Books. But, I wanted to talk about Amy and Isabelle. I admired her ability to make the mill where the mother and daughter worked so real that when I think about it, I’m there. The heat, the chatter from the female workers, the quality of light, etc. She asked  me what I like to write, and I told her about Eva in the Haight but I said I didn’t know who my audience was and I thought my novel wasn’t saleable. She told me not to worry about who would read it or like it. We need to write the story we want to write. I believed her in spite of advice from several writing books that stressed knowing one’s audience.

Another mother and daughter story that ends with a surprise twist was recently written by Ann Winfred on her site, Coming of Age Croneicles. It’s called “Replica” and can be read at http://comingofagecroneicles.com/

Ann's Replica