for the love of all things wordy

Title: Fall
Author: Eden Butler
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: July 25, 2017 


A secret smile.

A haunting kiss.

Life – Interrupted.

Keilen Rivers was the best Lily Campbell never had. He was the promise she didn’t let herself keep. After all, nothing in life seems meant to last, and love is no exception.

When Lily’s life takes an unexpected and tragic turn, she leaves behind both her island home and the boy she could have loved to protect the only family she has left.

But sometimes life takes without giving. Sometimes you cannot bend, only break. And when her career spirals out of her control, Lily can only watch as everything she worked for falls to ruin.

But some lies are hard to come back from. And some promises are made to be broken. Sometimes going home again is the only thing that can save you. But first you have to break. First you have to fall.

Eden Butler is an editor and writer of Mystery, Suspense and Contemporary Romance novels and the nine-times great-granddaughter of an honest-to-God English pirate. This could explain her affinity for rule breaking and rum. 
When she’s not writing or wondering about her possibly Jack Sparrowesque ancestor, Eden patiently waits for her Hogwarts letter, edits, reads and spends way too much time watching rugby, Doctor Who and New Orleans Saints football. 

She is currently living under teenage rule alongside her husband in southeast Louisiana. 

Please send help.




LitStack Review: The Last Good Man by Linda Nagata

The Last Good Man Linda Nagata Mythic Island Press Release Date:  June 20, 2017 Oh my, does Linda Nagata know how to write thrilling military science fiction, or what? (The answer is an unequivocal “yes.”) Following her superlative The Red trilogy (The Red: First Light, The Trials, Going Dark), Ms. Nagata returns to military science […]


LitStack Rec: The Portable Veblen & Wait Till Next Year

The Portable Veblen, by Elizabeth McKenzie By way of Anne Lamott, we know the novelist Ethan Canin once remarked, “Nothing holds a story together better than a likable narrator.” Lamott went further (in the slim but influential memoir of writing, Bird by Bird), that a likable narrator is comparable to someone you love spending time […]


LitStack Review: ROAR by Cora Carmack

Roar (Stormheart #1) Cora Carmack Tor Teen ISBN-10: 0765386313 In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them. Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom […]


LitStack Rec: Stoner & Cradle to the Stage

Stoner, by John Williams John Williams’ 1965 novel went out of print after selling only 2,000 copies, but since its re-release by Vintage in 1995, this novel of a Midwestern academic’s insular life has appeared on bestseller lists in Europe and Israel, and has since sold over 100,000 copies. Stoner seems at first an unlikely […]


Celebrating the Mighty Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman Unbound – The Curious History of the World’s Most Famous Heroine Tim Hanley Chicago Review Press Release Date:  April 1, 2014 ISBN 978-1613749098 College level English classes are one my daughter’s least favorite scholastic experience, but I love ’em, because I get to play research assistant for her papers.  She learns organization, thesis […]


LitStack Rec: Central Station & Green Thoughts

Central Station by Lavie Tidhar It’s kind of hard to describe Lavie Tidhar’s Locus- nominated, Clarke-shortlisted book Central Station. It’s definitely science fiction. Absolutely futuristic. Sometimes surreal and sometimes quite practical. But it’s also decidedly unique, a touch bizarre, evidencing a future Earth that is both believable and terrifying in its nonchalance. Central Station, rising […]


LitStack Recs: Passage to Ararat & War for the Oaks

Passage to Ararat, by Michael J. Arlen “It’s a dangerous business,” writes Clark Blaise in this book’s introduction, “going into the underworld of history and ethnicity to discover one’s father, yet it seems one peculiar duty in our time of identity politics.” The observation is an apt one in which to begin Michael J. Arlen’s […]


Release Blitz: Infinite Us by Eden Butler

  Title: Infinite Us Author: Eden Butler Genre: Contemporary Romance Release Date: May 23, 2017    Love is timeless… Nash Nation loves zeroes and ones, over-sized monitors and late office hours. He’s too busy taking over the world to make time for relationships—that is, until his new neighbor Willow O’Bryant barges into his life, and […]


LitStack Interview: Meredith Wild

Meredith Wild is a #1 New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of romance. After publishing her debut novel Hardwired in September 2013, Wild used her ten years of experience as a tech entrepreneur to push the boundaries of her “self-published” status, becoming stocked in brick-and-mortar bookstore chains nationwide and forging relationships with the major retailers. In 2014, Wild founded […]


Coming to the Stacks: May 2017

NON – FICTION First undocumented graduate of the University of Michigan MFA program and Undocupoets co-founder Marcelo Hernandez Castillo’s CHILDREN OF THE LAND, about solidifying a sense of self while undocumented, and deportations that complicated his relationships to his family, Mexico and America, to Sofia Groopman at Harper, at auction, by Julia Kardon at Mary […]


2016 Nebula Award Winners Announced

On Saturday night, the Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America announced the recipients of the Nebula Awards for works published in 2016. The Nebula Awards are voted on and presented by the active members of SFWA for outstanding science fiction and fantasy. Here is a list of nominees and winners: NOVEL WINNER: All the […]


LitStack Recs: The Oysters of Locmariaquer & Relics

The Oysters of Locmariaquer, by Eleanor Clark Late in Eleanor Clark’s extraordinary book, she tells us the oyster needs the same landscape that a plein air painter does: a certain air, light, chemistry. “The explanation,” she writes, “might be quite simple, not esoteric at all—in some common equation of factors and atmospheres.” Only a writer […]


LitStack Review: Borne by Jeff VanderMeer

Borne Jeff VanderMeer Farrar, Straus and Giroux Release Date:  April 25, 2017 ISBN 978-0-3741-1524-1 Jeff VanderMeer is an author who defies easy categorization. His fiction is easier to describe by adjective rather than genre: strange, complex, unsettling, and yet familiar, affecting, literate. Of Annihilation, the first book in his Southern Reach trilogy (soon to be […]


Sale Blitz – Ohana Legacy by Eden Butler

#SeriesBundle #Giveaway ☛ Ohana Legacy: The Complete Thin Love Series by Eden Butler is #LIVE #AvailableNow #OneClick   👉Amazon US: 👉Barnes & Noble: 👉Kobo: 👉Itunes:   Goodreads ➽ Giveaway ➽   📚Blurbs📚 THIN LOVE (Book 1) Love isn’t supposed to be an addiction. It isn’t supposed to leave you […]


2017 Locus Awards Finalists Announced

On Friday, the Locus Science Fiction Foundation has announced the top ten finalists in each category of the 2017 Locus Awards, which are driven by reader input. Winners will be announced on June 25, during the Locus Awards Weekend in Seattle WA. SCIENCE FICTION NOVEL Company Town by Madeline Ashby The Medusa Chronicles by Stephen […]


LitStaff Recs: The Empathy Exams & Three Parts Dead

The Empathy Exams: Essays, by Leslie Jamison The Empathy Exams blends memoir, literary, cultural and moral investigation, and its essays are rich, astute, and candid. This is Jamison’s second book (following a 2011 novel The Gin Closet), winner of the Graywolf Press Nonfiction Prize that went on to the New York Times bestseller list. Jamison […]


LitStack Review: A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab

A Conjuring of Light Shades of Magic, Book 3 V. E. Schwab Tor Books Release Date:  February 21, 2017 ISBN 978-0-7653-8746-2 If you like magic, if you like epic fantasy, if you enjoy tales of magicians both light and dark, of brothers and kings, of thieves and pirates, then you really must be reading Victoria […]


2016 Shirley Jackson Awards Nominees Announced

If you are a reader of horror stories, or those that invoke psychological suspense, then you probably know the name Shirley Jackson. Ms. Jackson wrote such classic novels as The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, as well as the well known short story, “The Lottery.” To honor the legacy of Shirley […]


Gimbling in the Wabe – My Beautiful Addiction

Hi, my name is Sharon.  I’m a library request addict. It used to be I would only request a few books a week from my local library. Books I’d been wanting to read for a while or books that friends had recommended, occasionally a title I’d read about in the Sunday “Books” section of my […]


LitStack Recs: Books About Actors and Film & Ancillary Justice

As the summer film season approaches, here are three books—a memoir, a novel, and a book-length interview—that offer a look behind the camera. Spielberg, Truffaut and Me: An Actor’s Diary, by Bob Balaban Spielberg, Truffaut and Me: An Actor’s Diary was published in 2002, and it’s a fascinating look behind the curtain of how the […]


2017 Arthur C. Clarke Award Shortlist Announced

  The Arthur C. Clarke Award is given for the best science fiction novel first published in the United Kingdom during the previous year. The award was established with a grant given by Sir Arthur C. Clarke, an icon in British science fiction (Childhood’s End, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Rendezvous with Rama), and continues in […]


2016 Bram Stoker Award Winners Announced

Named after the author of the quintessential horror novel, Dracula, the Bram Stoker Awards are overseen by the Horror Writers Association (HWA), a “nonprofit organization of writers and publishing professionals around the world, dedicated to promoting dark literature and the interests of those who write it.”  Founded in 1985, the foundation has been handing out […]


LitStack Rec: How to Grow Old Disgracefully & Life on Mars

How to Grow Old Disgracefully: An Autobiography, by Hermione Gingold If you’re a fan of classic films, say, Vincente Minnelli’s 1958 musical, Gigi, or classic stagings of Sondheim’s A Little Night Music, you already know Hermione Gingold, the earthy actress with the husky voice and wicked sense of irony. Otherwise, Gingold is likely a mystery, […]


LitStack Review: Skullsworn by Brian Staveley

Skullsworn (Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne series) Brian Staveley Tor Books Release Date: April 25, 2017 ISBN 978-0-7653-8987-9 One of the major strengths of Brian Staveley’s Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne epic fantasy series (The Emperor’s Blades, The Providence of Fire, The Last Mortal Bond), is his characters. While often they sit comfortably in a […]


LitStack Review – Yvain: The Knight of the Lion by M. T. Anderson, Illustrated by Andrea Offermann

Yvain: The Knight of the Lion M. T. Anderson Illustrations by Andrea Offermann Candlewick Press Release Date:  March 14, 2017 ISBN 978-0-7636-5939-4 Don’t be swayed by the publisher’s information: Yes, M. T. Anderson’s graphic novelization of Chrétien de Troyes’s 12th century Arthurian legend is aimed at ages 12 and up, grades 7 and up. Yes, […]


Book Launch: The Sky Throne by Christopher Ledbetter

Title: THE SKY THRONE Author: Chris Ledbetter Pub. Date: April 18, 2017 Publisher: Month9Books Find it: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | TBD | iBooks Duality dwells at every turn, and an adolescent Zeus will learn that all too well when Hyperion attacks his family on Crete. When the dust settles, his mother is unconscious and his best friend […]


Litstack Recs: Anna May Wong & The Hatred of Poetry

Anna May Wong: From Laundryman’s Daughter to Hollywood Legend, by Graham Russell Gao Hodges Don’t be misled by the tabloid nature of the title. Hodges’ biography is a meticulously researched and carefully constructed account of one of early cinema’s most notable icons. You could be forgiven for not knowing the work of Anna May Wong, […]


LitStack Review: Brother’s Ruin by Emma Newman

Brother’s Ruin Industrial Magic, Book #1 Emma Newman Release Date:  March 14, 2017 ISBN 978-0-7653-9396-8 It’s probably not politically correct to illustrate something literary by using a television reference, but I couldn’t help but think what a wonderful TV pilot Emma Newman’s first book in her Industrial Magic series, Brother’s Ruin, would make. This […]


2016 Aurealis Awards Announced

The Western Australian Science Fiction Foundation has announced the winners of the 2016 Aurealis Awards. Aurealis is an Australian speculative fiction magazine which was launched in 1990 with the purpose of providing a market for Australian speculative fiction writers, as well as aiming to raise those authors’ public profiles; in 1995, they instituted the awards. […]


LitStack Review: The Malice by Peter Newman

The Malice Peter Newman Harper Voyager Release Date:  March 7, 2017 ISBN 978-0-00-820103-6 The Malice, the second book in Peter Newman’s Vagrant Trilogy, picks up shortly after where the first book, The Vagrant, left off. (While it’s not necessary to read The Vagrant before The Malice, you’ll miss a lot of exposition and some wonderful […]


2016 BSFA Award Winners Announced

The results are in! On Saturday at the 68th Eastercon in Birmingham, West Midlands, England, the British Science Fiction Association revealed the winners of the 2016 BSFA Awards. The BSFA Awards have been presented annually since 1970, honoring works in the sci-fi genre. This year’s winners are: BEST NOVEL WINNER: Europe in Winter by Dave […]


LitStack Rec: Changing My Mind & Hunger Makes the Wolf

Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays, by Zadie Smith This collection of essays came about by accident, Zadie Smith tells us in the foreword, but the voice and curiosity behind it makes this read seamless and satisfying. My hope, as a reader of essays, is to learn something, whether the topic is snow camping or religious […]


2017 Pulitzer Prize Winners Announced

On Monday, the 170th anniversary of the birth of benefactor Joseph Pulitzer, the 2017 winners of the Pulitzer Prizes were announced. Established 100 years ago in 1917, winning a Pulitzer Prize still stands as one of the most coveted honors for those in journalism and the arts. While 14 of the 21 Pulitzer categories covered […]


LitStack Recs: Crash Course & Ninefox Gambit

Crash Course: essays from where writing and life collide, by Robin Black The third book from short story writer and novelist Robin Black collects her recent essays, many of which first appeared on the great, and sadly erstwhile literary blog, Beyond the Margins. Crash Course, subtitled essays from where writing and life collide, is aptly […]


2017 Hugo Award Finalists Announced

The Hugo Award is one of the major awards for sci-fi and speculative fiction novels, shorter stories, magazines, editors, dramatic presentations (movies and TV shows) and other works; having “Hugo Award Winner” splashed across the top of a book or on an author’s bio is a really helpful thing when it comes to attracting the […]


LitStack Review: Within the Sanctuary of Wings by Marie Brennan

Within the Sanctuary of Wings A Memoir by Lady Trent Marie Brennan Tor Books Release Date:  April 25, 2017 ISBN 978-0-7653-7765-4 What a lovely way to end a wonderful fantasy series! Since 2013, with the publication of Lady Trent’s first installment of her memoirs in A Natural History of Dragons, author Marie Brennan has given […]


Featured Author Interview: Tiffany Reisz

Thanks so much to Tiffany Reisz for spending the month hanging out with us. We’ve enjoyed hosting her as our Featured Author. Be sure to check out the previous reviews of her backlist and the review of her brand new release, The Night Mark. To conclude our March Featured Author segment, we chat with Tiffany […]


LitStack Review: Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock’s Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout by Laura Jane Grace

Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock’s Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout Laura Jane Grace Hatchette Books Release Date:  November 15, 2016 ISBN 978-0-3163-8795-8 In 1997, seventeen year old Tom Gabel dropped out of school and decided to become a punk rock musician. In his Gainesville, Florida bedroom he recorded ten original songs using an acoustic guitar, an […]


LitStack Review: Miranda and Caliban by Jacqueline Carey

Miranda and Caliban Jacqueline Carey Tor Books Release Date:  February 14, 2017 IBSN 978-0-7653-9704-1 As a student of Shakespeare, I became familiar with the incredible complexity of many of the Bard’s characters, enlivened by diverse and imaginative interpretations. But some characters are problematic; inchoate, yet peevish if over-analyzed. Ophelia, for example, or Jaques in As […]


LitStack Rec: Barbarian Days & A Taste of Honey

Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life, by William Finnegan William Finnegan’s 2016 memoir begins with an epigraph from Edward St. Aubyn’s novel Mother’s Milk: He had become so caught up in building sentences  that he had almost forgotten  the barbaric days  when thinking was like a splash of colour landing on a page. It’s a fitting […]


Cover Reveal: Infinite Us by Eden Butler

Title: Infinite Us Author: Eden Butler Genre: Contemporary Romance Release Date: May 23, 2017     Love is timeless… Nash Nation loves zeroes and ones, over-sized monitors and late office hours. He’s too busy taking over the world to make time for relationships—that is, until his new neighbor Willow O’Bryant barges into his life, and […]


Featured Author Review: The Night Mark by Tiffany Reisz

  The Night Mark Tiffany Reisz MIRA Publication Date: 3/28/74 She has nothing to live for in the present, but finds there’s something worth dying for in the past… From Tiffany Reisz, the international bestselling storyteller behind The Bourbon Thief and The Original Sinners series, comes an enthralling new novel about a woman swept away […]


LitStack Review: The Vagrant by Peter Newman

The Vagrant Peter Newman Harper Voyager Release Date:  April 2015 ISBN 978-0-007593-0-88 The Vagrant is a very interesting book.  No, no, hear me out.  I don’t mean “interesting” because I’m casting around to find something nice to say, and “interesting” is a pretty safe word to do that.  I mean, “interesting” in that, although it […]


LitStack Review: Avengers of the Moon by Allen Steele

Avengers of the Moon A Captain Future Novel Allen Steele Tor Books Release Date:  April 11, 2017 ISBN 978-0-7653-8218-4 In 1940, a new pulp science-fiction series debuted:  Curt Newton – known as Captain Future – was a young, handsome adventurer as well as a brilliant scientist and intrepid inventor. From 1940 to 1951, Captain Future […]


National Book Critics Circle Awards Winners

The National Book Critics Circle has announced the winners of their  2016 awards, with Louis Erdrich winning the Fiction award for her novel, LaRose. This is the second time Ms. Erdrich has won the award; she won for her celebrated novel, Love Medicine, in 1984. Here is the complete list of winners and finalists: AUTOBIOGRAPHY […]


LitStack Recs: Paris Stories & Norse Mythology

Paris Stories by Mavis Gallant When the great story writer Mavis Gallant died, I thought of a story from her 2002 collection, Paris Stories, Mlle. Dias de Corta. Madmoiselle is the boarder of a financially strapped Parisian widow, a distant yet fascinating immigrant actress who withholds secrets but whose actions have a kind of addictive […]


Featured Author Review: The Bourbon Thief by Tiffany Reisz

The Bourbon Thief Tiffany Reisz ISBN #0778319423 When Cooper McQueen wakes up from a night with a beautiful stranger, it’s to discover he’s been robbed. The only item stolen—a million-dollar bottle of bourbon. The thief, a mysterious woman named Paris, claims the bottle is rightfully hers. After all, the label itself says it’s property of […]


Release Blitz: Ohana Legacy by Eden Butler

  Today we celebrate the launch of Eden Butler‘s Thin Love series bundle, Ohana Legacy. This bundle includes all three full-length Thin Love novels, the My Beloved novella, and My Always, a deleted scene story, all of which encompass the Thin Love series.     Pick up your copy of Ohana Legacy and the Thin […]


Bailey’s Women’s Prize for Fiction Releases Its 2017 Longlist

The Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction is the UK’s most prestigious annual literary award for fiction written by a woman. Founded in 1996, the Prize was set up to celebrate excellence, originality and accessibility in writing by women, publishing in English, throughout the world. This year’s list includes three previous winners, four second novels and […]


LitStack Review: Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty

Six Wakes Mur Lafferty Orbit Books Release Date:  January 31, 2017 ISBN 978-0-316-38968-6 Mur Lafferty’s Six Wakes is a science fiction novel about clones and a space mission gone awry.  But it’s also a murder mystery, with many moving parts. Both aspects of the book feed off the other, and both are equally riveting. Crewman […]


Gimbling in the Wabe – It’s On Us

Poor Emma Watson! She shows some skin in a fashion photo shoot – yes, decidedly evocative skin- and suddenly she’s being slut shamed and screeched at and labeled a false feminist. Thank heaven she’s not backing down. Thank heaven she’s being candid and honest in her reaction. While others may gnash their teeth and rend […]


LitStack Rec: Bridge & The Ballad of Black Tom

Bridge, by Robert Thomas “Welcome to the prayer-strewn pews of my brain,” Alice, the narrator of Bridge tells us, and quickly, we understand that this intellectually gifted young woman sees the world, and herself, in unconventional and often dangerous ways. Robert Thomas’s powerful debut novel, published last year by BOA Edition, takes place in fifty-six […]


Featured Author Review: The Saint by Tiffany Reisz

The Saint: (The Original Sinners: White Years #1) Tiffany Reisz Harlequin MIRA In the beginning, there was him. Gutsy, green-eyed Eleanor never met a rule she didn’t want to break. She’s sick of her mother’s zealotry and the confines of Catholic school, and declares she’ll never go to church again. But her first glimpse of […]


PEN/Faulkner Makes a Statement With Its 2017 Fiction Award Finalists

PEN/Faulkner is a nonprofit literary organization that promotes a lifelong love of reading and a connection to writing through public events, in-school education and public promotion of exceptional literary achievement. They annually administer the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction, one of the highest honors available to American fiction writers; on Tuesday, they announced the finalists for […]


Book: Worship Me
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: May 9, 2017
Cover Design: Chelle Bliss

James Caldo needs to control everything in his life, even his wife, Izzy Gallo. But she’s headstrong and has a need to test her husband’s limits as much as he pushes hers.

When a case at ALFA Private Investigation takes a dark turn, James is forced to get Izzy involved in an undercover sting, and the assignment will test her sexual boundaries as well as the very foundation of their relationship.

Can Izzy hold her tongue long enough to keep them both safe? Or will her unwillingness to fully submit draw the eye of the very man they’re after?


Chelle Bliss is the USA Today bestselling author of the Men of Inked and ALFA P.I. series. She hails from the Midwest but currently lives near the beach even though she hates sand. She’s a full-time writer, time-waster extraordinaire, social media addict, coffee fiend, and ex-high school history teacher. She loves spending time with her two cats, alpha boyfriend, and chatting with readers. To learn more about Chelle, please visit her website.

LitStack Review: Shadow Run by Adrianne Strickland and Michael Miller

Shadow Run Adrianne Strickland and Michael Miller Delacorte Press Release Date:  March 21, 2017 ISBN 978-0-399-55253-3 “Firefly meets Dune in this action-packed sci-fi adventure about a close-knit, found family of a crew navigating a galaxy of political intrigue and resource-driven power games.” Uh, oh. Anytime you invoke sci-fi classics – especially pop culture classics – […]


Gimbling in the Wabe – On Paul Virilio, Integral Accidents, the Internet, the Olympics, Doctor Who, Feral Kittens and Not Going to Sea Without a Life Jacket

Recently, I read Elan Mastai’s novel All Our Wrong Todays, and in it he referenced cultural theorist Paul Virilio, who championed the idea of the “integral accident.”  This belief basically states that every time you introduce a new technology, you also introduce the accident of that technology. Therefore, while the benefit of a new thing […]


LitStack Recs: The Pink Suit & On Memoirs of Place

The Pink Suit, by Nicole Mary Kelby Few garments have come to define a moment in history as the pink Chanel suit that Jackie Kennedy wore on that fateful November day in 1963.  That bright suit and its accompanying pillbox hat immediately conjures up tragedy – and strength. Author Nicole Mary Kelby takes this iconic […]


Featured Author Review: The Siren by Tiffany Reisz

We can think of no one better to help us kick off our Featured Author segment after such a long hiatus than one of our favorites, Tiffany Reisz. Tiffany Reisz is the author of the internationally bestselling and award-winning Original Sinners series for Mira Books (Harlequin/Mills & Boon). Tiffany’s books inhabit a sexy shadowy world […]


LitStack Review: The End of All Things by John Scalzi

The End of All Things John Scalzi Tor Books Release Date:  May 31, 2016 ISBN 978-0-7653-7607-7 Full disclosure:  I adore John Scalzi. I enjoy his writing, which I find adroit and entertaining. As a social media persona, I find him quick witted and refreshingly candid. As a person, I find him lovable and genuine. So […]


And the Oscar Goes To….

Last night, amidst all the glitz, glitter and glamour, the 89th Annual Academy Awards – the “Oscars” – were handed out in a star studded ceremony in (where else?) Hollywood, California. Among the statuettes handed out, two were for writing excellence:  Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Screenplay. Just in case you were in the […]


2016 Bram Stoker Awards Preliminary Ballot Announced

Named after the author of the quintessential horror novel, Dracula, the Bram Stoker Awards are overseen by the Horror Writers Association (HWA), a “nonprofit organization of writers and publishing professionals around the world, dedicated to promoting dark literature and the interests of those who write it.”  Founded in 1985, the foundation has been handing out […]


Gimbling in the Wabe – Say It Ain’t So

With all that’s happening in the world today, with everything that deserves attention and activism, this diatribe of mine may seem trite. But dang it, you don’t get a tetanus shot because you plan to step on rusty nails, you get it because you never know when you might get scratched by one. So I’m […]


2016 Aurealis Awards Finalists Announced

Americans have the Nebula Awards.  The Brits have the BSFA Awards. And the Australians have the Aurealis Awards. Aurealis is an Australian speculative fiction magazine which was launched in 1990 with the purpose of providing a market for Australian speculative fiction writers, as well as aiming to raise those authors’ public profiles, and in 1995 […]

The Places In-Between, by Rory Stewart

In 2002, Rory Stewart made a walk across Afghanistan from Herat to Kabul. A scholar of Afghan history and language, he was wellgrounded the country’s ancient history, and in the grave first years after 9/11, sought to learn “what [Afghanistan] was like now.”  Part memoir, part political and cultural history, Stewart (currently a MP in Britain’s House of Commons—and famously the youngest elected to date), was fluent in the language, and shape shifting enough in his appearance, to pass as Afghani, or as The Guardian phrased it, “travelling in disguise through places famous for killing infidels.”

Stewart’s journey retraced an ancient trek made at the start of the sixteenth century by Barbur, First Emperor of Mughal India. As Stewart writes, Herat was one of the most civilized cities in the Islamic World, and at age twenty-two, Barbur was the prince of a poor kingdom in Uzbekistan. He set out to conquer Kabul, and subsequently “pressed on east to conquer Delhi and found the Mughal Dynasty.” Though in the process of going by foot over passes buried under ten feet of snow, Barbur nearly dies, an eerily resonant detail for Stewart’s contemporary retracing.

Stewart’s walk took place soon after the Taliban takeover of the country—and the American military invasion. Beyond the obvious personal risk is the uncertainty of travel by foot—weather, sufficient food, water, shelter. In the course of the journey, Stewart is put up in huts, palaces and abandoned castles, fed sumptuous meals and some that are questionable. He’s given aid by warlords and village headmen, though his only constant protection is a walking staff with a metal tip. Early on, he comes into possession of giant Mastiff, and names him Barbur. The dog proves to be protection, but mostly a comfort and a complication—given the animal’s changeable attitude about long-distance walks.

Stewart’s account is part rumination and reflection, as here, as the recent war puts him in mind of a more familiar landscape, as he says defined by acts of violence and death: “Places in the Scottish Highlands are also remembered for acts of violence: the spot where Stewart of Ardvorlich shot a MacDonald raider, or where the MacGregors decapitated Ardvorlich’s brother-in-law. Around my house in Scotland the Gaelic place-names record death: ‘Place of Mourning’ or ‘Field of Weeping.’ But here the events recorded were only months old.

In the end, The Places In-Between is a personal story, a chronicle of a worldly exploration whose effect, in the end, is powerfully intimate.

—Lauren Alwan

Pages: 1 2

2017 Writers Guild Awards Winners Announced

Many folks know about the SAG Awards, the Screen Actors Guild Awards. There’s lots of hoopla surrounding it, lots of stars dressed up in designer clothes, a red carpet and fawning correspondents. Some of you might even watch the ceremony. But did you know there are also major industry awards given out by the Writers […]

We’re excited to bring you the cover & blurb for the highly anticipated sequel to BORN SINNER! Take a look at book two in the Se7en Sinners series, END OF EDEN by New York Times bestselling author S.L. Jennings!

We’re also unveiling the brand new cover for BORN SINNER! Read on for all of the details!!

End of Eden SL Jennings

END OF EDEN (Se7en Sinners #2)

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Release Date: 2/26/17


I thought I knew what Hell was like.

I thought I had been living it all these years on Earth—abandoned, forgotten, and left with a dangerous secret that not only made me the Se7en’s #1 target, but also turned me into a deadly weapon, a threat to every human in my path.

I was wrong.

In order to survive Lucifer’s plans for me, and his unquenchable thirst for more power, I have to surrender my humanity. I have to lose a part of myself in order to find my way back to him.

Back to the demon who saved me, only to break me.

Back to Legion.

But even supreme evil has its limits, and the real foes never show their devastatingly beautiful faces.

Forget fire and brimstone. They aren’t shit compared to what’s coming.

Centuries-old bonds will be broken. Unlikely alliances will be forged. And innocent blood will be spilled. Blood that will stain my hands for the rest of my mortal days.

I thought I knew what Hell was like.

I was wrong.

Hell is coming.

Hell is just the beginning.

Click to add END OF EDEN to your TBR list!

BORN SINNER is available to read on KINDLE UNLIMITED!

• US ➸

• UK ➸

• CA ➸

• AU ➸

End Of Eden SL Jennings



Meet S.L. Jennings


S.L. Jennings is a proud military wife to her high school sweetheart, a mom of three rowdy boys, and a New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary and paranormal romance. When she’s not obsessing over book boyfriends, you can find her hanging out with a few epic fictional loves at independent bookstores, or sipping a Bloody Mary at her favorite brunch haunt in Spokane, Washington. She’s a self-proclaimed food snob, makeup junkie and lover of all things shiny, sparkly and kitschy.




Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Website / Newsletter / Amazon


SWFA Announces the 2016 Nebula Awards Nominees

On Monday, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) announced the nominees for the 51st Annual Nebula Awards, the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation and the Andre Norton Award for Outstanding Young Adult Science Fiction or Fantasy Book. The Nebula Awards recognize the best works of science fiction and fantasy published […]


2016 BSFA Awards Shortlists Announced

This weekend, the British Science Fiction Association announced the shortlists for its 2016 BSFA Awards. The BSFAs have been presented annually since 1970, honoring works in the sci-fi genre; winners are chosen by BSFA members and attendees at the annual Eastercon convention. This year’s shortlisted works include: BEST NOVEL Daughter of Eden by Chris Beckett […]


LitStack Rec: Out of Place & Dead Lands

Out of Place: A Memoir, by Edward Said Edward Said, the prolific author, political activist, pianist, and critic rose to academic stardom in 1978 with the publication of the seminal Orientalism, a critique of the cultural bias that founded Western study of the East. Said, who died in 2003 after battling a rare form of […]


Gimbling in the Wabe – For Our Grape Vines, Now Gone

I’ve been grappling with some big ideas lately, hoping to use them in this week’s Gimbling in the Wabe, but so far I’ve been stymied trying to wrestle them into anything even approaching clear and concise. Rather than force the issue, I’m sharing an earlier post which in turn is based on an even earlier experience, […]


LitStack Recs: Manhood for Amateurs & Low Town

Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son, essays by Michael Chabon The trope of fatherly wisdom, borne of experience and dispensed with measured calm, is a wonderful thing, but how realistic it? There are memoirs about fathers such as Alysia Abbott’s Fairyland and Will Boast’s Epilogue, in which fathers […]

Title: Who Needs Air
Author: Cassie Graham
Release Date: April 28, 2017
Add to TBR

They fell in love at thirteen.
He wrote a book about it at twenty.
She watched him walk away at twenty-three.
And he made the New York Times Best Sellers list at twenty-four.

Campbell ‘Cam’ Potter stood idly by as August Wyatt took over the world one word at a time. Chapter by chapter, people fell in love with the story he created – the events she lived. And now the book was being made into a movie, it was only a matter of time before August was back in their small hometown in Georgia.

The problem was, when August left five years ago, Cam made a promise to herself. The ending in his book would be the conclusion to their story. There was no sequel, no second chance, no possibility of ever seeing him again. He obliterated her heart and she was determined to never let it happen again.

That is, until Cam gets a late night text from the heartbreaker himself.
New chapters are written, fresh storylines are explored and Cam and August find a familiarity in one another.

Sometimes THE END doesn’t mean it’s over.

Cassie Graham is a fiery redhead with an intense love for fairytales–angsty, suspenseful fairytales–but fairytales nonetheless. She’s had all kinds of jobs–but the one she loves the most is being a writer. She finds solace in it.

She’s also the mom to a beautiful little girl. Her greatest joy is watching her grow.

Cassie has always loved to write and is so thankful that she’s able to do it full-time. She’s very lucky to have a husband who works non-stop so she can live out her dream. He’s the reason why writing romance is so easy.

Cassie is a born and raised Arizona girl. Though she has moved around a bit, her home always calls to her. It’s where her heart will remain.

If Cassie isn’t writing, she’s more than likely cooking in the kitchen with her daughter or has her nose buried deep in a good book. She loves front porch sitting, drinking coffee, and constantly dating her husband.


LitStack Review: High Stakes – A Wild Cards Novel edited by George R. R. Martin and Melinda M. Snodgrass

High Stakes:  A Wild Cards Novel George R. R. Martin and Melinda M. Snodgrass, editors Tor Books Release Date:  August 30, 2016 ISBN 978-0-7653-3562-3 In 1983, author George R. R. Martin was given a birthday gift:  SuperWorld, a roleplaying game. For two years, he and his Albuquerque gaming circle obsessed over building characters that then […]


LitStack Review: Ninth City Burning by J. Patrick Black

Ninth City Burning J. Patrick Black Ace Release Date:  September 6, 2016 ISBN 978-1-1019-9144-2 This is our future – one that is unrecognizable. That it is our future is inconsequential. It’s not clear why some people are fontani and most others are not. What is clear is that those who are fontani are the defenders […]


LitStack Review: The Stargazer’s Sister by Carrie Brown

The Stargazer’s Sister Carrie Brown Anchor Books Release Date:  January 19, 2016 (trade paperback release:  December 13, 2016) ISBN 978-0-8041-7213-4 The Stargazer’s Sister is a beautifully written historical novel about Caroline Herschel, the German astronomer who lived from 1750 to 1848, sister of acclaimed astronomer William Herschel. She was the first woman to be paid […]


LitStack Review: The Nature of a Pirate by A. M. Dellamonica

The Nature of a Pirate A. M. Dellamonica Tor Books Release Date:  December 6, 2016 ISBN 978-0-7653-3451-0 In book three of the Hidden Sea Tales trilogy, we are reunited with San Francisco marine videographer Sophie Hansa and her continuing quest to unravel the mystery of Stormwrack, the world that might exist alongside ours, but might […]


LitStaff Recs: This Boy’s Life & Kiss & Tell

This Boy’s Life: A Memoir, by Tobias Wolff  First published in 1989, Tobias Wolff’s This Boy’s Life has since become a classic of the contemporary memoir, the kind of book you can finish, like I did, in nearly one sitting. Wolff, the author of numerous works of fiction, including short stories, novels, and a second memoir, […]


LitStack Review: The Princess Diarist by Carrie Fisher

The Princess Diarist Carrie Fisher Blue Rider Press Release Date:  November 22, 2016 ISBN 978-0-3991-7359-2 In her 1984 semi-biographical novel Postcards from the Edge, readers were introduced to actor Carrie Fisher’s wry wit, her self-deprecating insight, and her lack of calculated artifice. Over 30 years later, The Princess Diarist bridges Postcards, giving us a younger […]


Enjoying The Silmarillion

I have exactly four books that I’ve owned for longer than The Silmarillion, which I’ve owned in paperback since roughly 1989. The older books I own are The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, The Return of the King all by J.R.R. Tolkien, and The Story of Ferdinand by Robert Lawson. It took me […]


LitStack Review: The Little Red Chairs by Edna O’Brien

The Little Red Chairs Edna O’Brien Little, Brown and Company Release Date:  March 29, 2016 ISBN 978-0-316-37823-9 On April 6, 1992, a siege began in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which lasted over three and half years. Government forces were outgunned by heavily armed Bosnian Serbs who held the heights around the city. […]


Litstaff Rec: These Charming People & LaRose

These Charming People, stories by Michael Arlen In the period just after World War One, some British writers were fascinated by the fast set. These were the Bright Young Things of the nineteen twenties—the decadent young people whose disillusionment with the Great War caused old ideas about society and customs to fall away, and paving […]


2017 PEN America Literary Awards Finalists Announced

PEN America Center, founded in 1922 and based in New York City, works to advance literature, to defend free expression, and to foster international literary fellowship. It has an extensive program of annual awards and fellowships that serve to recognize recent outstanding endeavors in various literary fields and to encourage different forms of literary production. […]


LitStack Review: Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee

Ninefox Gambit Yoon Ha Lee Solaris Release Date:  June 14, 2016 ISBN 978-1-78108-449-6 This is what you get when you let a mathematician write science fiction. Ninefox Gambit is military science fiction unlike anything else I’ve ever read. This is a good thing. Most of the military science fiction I’ve read seems a heckuva lot […]


Gimbling in the Wabe – Planting Flowers

  This translated political cartoon by Spanish artist JM Nieto simply resonates with me. It originally appeared on January 1 for the Spanish newspaper (where Mr. Nieto posts daily) with the caption, “Empecemos el año con optimismo” (translation: “Let’s start the year with optimism”). Me? I have no doubt that 2017 is going to […]


Litstaff Recs: How Fiction Works & Love Is Love

How Fiction Works,  by James Wood. When it comes to books on the craft of writing, I tend to gravitate to titles that teach through close readings of literature. Maybe it has to do with the grad program I attended, or that when I’m caught up in a book, I’m both figuring out my response […]


LitStack Review: Bloodline by Claudia Gray

Bloodline Claudia Gray Release Date: May 3, 2016 Del Rey ISBN-10: 0345511360 Claudia Gray can tell a Star Wars story. I got this book from the library shortly before Carrie Fisher fell ill. I had been meaning to read it since its publication and had been looking forward to it since finishing Claudia Gray’s previous […]


Marlon James Opens Up on His Epic Fantasy Trilogy

In an Entertainment Weekly interview published this week, Man Booker prize winner Marlon James opened up about the epic fantasy series he is currently working on, to be known as the Dark Star Trilogy. And get this – it’s going to be based in African mythology. An African Lord of the Rings?  Yes, please! This […]


LitStack Review: The Burning Light by Bradley P. Beaulieu and Rob Ziegler

The Burning Light Bradley P. Beaulieu and Rob Ziegler Release Date:  November 1, 2016 ISBN 978-0-7653-9086-8 New York City. The future. Manhattan is flooded, some buildings still tenable, but many abandoned, rusted and moldy, full of squatters and junkies. Transport moves via watercraft. Worldwide, humanity relies on mind-linking networks to communicate. And then there […]


Gimbling in the Wabe – Twelfth Night

Christmas for me always ends on January 5. We leave our holiday lights on through the night of the 5th, and then they get turned off for another year. We take down our tree and pack away our decorations on the 6th; in itself its own tradition, a finality to the season, a conscious moving […]


LitStack Review: Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler

Vinegar Girl  (Hogarth Shakespeare)    The Taming of the Shrew Retold Anne Tyler Hogarth Release Date:  June 21, 2016 ISBN 978-0-8041-4126-0 In October of 2015, Hogarth, an imprint of the publishing giant Penguin Random House, launched a literary series where Shakespeare’s works would be “retold by acclaimed and bestselling novelists of today.” Five out of […]


LitChat Interview: Jenny Bent, The Bent Agency

In a career spanning 15 years, Jenny Bent has made a practice of making bestsellers – either by spotting new talent or developing careers for multi-published authors. Her list is varied and includes commercial fiction and nonfiction, literary fiction and memoir. All the books she represent speak to the heart in some way: they are […]


Gimbling in the Wabe – My Favorite Books of 2016

The “Best Books of 2016”? Pul-eeze. Unless one has a universally agreed-upon metric that can be applied to every single book published in any given year, there can be no anointing “the best”. Most popular, sure. Best seller, most prestigious, highest lauded, yup. But “Best”? As if. Ah, but “Favorite”! Anyone can share their favorite […]


Remembering Carrie Fisher

An Actress, Yes, But Also an Amazing Writer I first came across Carrie Fisher, as so many of us did, as the feisty Princess Leia Organa in 1977’s cinematic classic Star Wars. That movie holds a special place in my heart, not only for what it is, but because it completely blew me away when […]


Richard Adams, 1920 – 2016

Richard Adams, the author of the iconic children’s book, Watership Down, has died at age 96. He had been ill for some time, but died peacefully at 10:00 pm on Christmas Eve. His daughter, Juliet Johnson, was with her father when he died, and took comfort that they had had a long, loving talk the […]


LitStack Review: Babylon’s Ashes by James S. A. Corey

Babylon’s Ashes James S. A. Corey Orbit Books Release Date:  December 6, 2016 ISBN 978-0-3163-3474-7 NOTE:  Babylon’s Ashes is the sixth book of James S. A. Corey’s superlative The Expanse series (out of a planned nine volumes). Before reading any further, realize that it’s virtually impossible to review book #6 without including spoilers for earlier […]


Season’s Greetings!

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ We here at LitStack hope that you have had, or are still having, a wonderful holiday season with your families and loved ones. We sure have, and will be returning with all new content tomorrow, December 27. See you then! Season’s greetings to you all!


LitStack Recs: Without & Holiday Reads

Without Donald Hall This book is the only one that when picked up, is read from first page to last—no matter what I was doing before, or what time of day or night. In twenty poems, the poet Donald Hall traces the illness and death of his wife, the American poet and translator Jane Kenyon. […]


Gimbling in the Wabe – The Gift of Reading

I tend to be one of those people who obsesses over gift giving.  I don’t get a chance to do it all that  often – I’m actually pretty frugal in that regard, sometimes by choice, now by necessity.  And I don’t really like getting gifts myself; I’ve rarely liked being the center of attention which […]


Complete List of 2017 Pen America Longlists

Last week, we highlighted the Pen America Open Book Award longlist, which honors exceptional book-length works of literature by an author of color, and promised a complete rundown of the longlists from all the categories once they had all been released.  They have been, and here you go! PEN/John Kenneth Galbraith Award for Nonfiction – […]


LitStack Recs: Nora Webster & Santa 17

Nora Webster by Colm Tóibín At the heart of Colm Tóibín‘s new novel is the story of a woman, a story, he says, he’d been circling around for years. It’s there, in his novels and stories (eight novels and a collection) as a metaphor, an idea at the perimeter. That novel, Nora Webster, just released, centers […]


A Closer Look at the 2017 Pen America Open Book Award Longlist Nominees

  According to its website, “PEN American Center is the largest of the 145 centers of PEN International, the world’s leading human rights and international literary organization. PEN International was founded in 1921 to dispel national, ethnic, and racial tensions and to promote understanding among all countries. PEN American Center, founded a year later, works […]


LitStack Review: Hag-Seed by Margaret Atwood

Hag-Seed (Hogarth Shakespeare) Margaret Atwood Hogarth Release Date:  October 11, 2016 ISBN 978-0-8041-4129-1 In October of 2015, Hogarth, an imprint of the publishing giant Penguin Random House, launched a literary series where Shakespeare’s works would be “retold by acclaimed and bestselling novelists of today.” Five out of a planned eight novels in the series have […]


LitStack Review: Manitou Canyon by William Kent Krueger

Manitou Canyon William Kent Krueger Atria Books Release Date:  September 6, 2016 ISBN 978-1-4767-4926-6 Cork O’Connor, former sheriff and now private investigator in the North Woods of Minnesota sure has longevity; well, for a literary character. Manitou Canyon is the 15th book in the Cork O’Connor series by William Kent Krueger, and if it’s any […]


LitStack Review: After Atlas by Emma Newman

After Atlas Emma Newman Roc Release Date:  November 8, 2016 ISBN 978-0-425282-40-3 Last year, Emma Newman’s novel, Planetfall, chronicled the aftermath of an interstellar expedition whose participants thought they had found the resting place of God. Led by the unshakable faith of the genius scientist known as the Pathfinder, a thousand people left behind their […]


Happy Thanksgiving!

We here at LitStack hope that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! We’re going to be taking an extended holiday to be with our families and friends (and to work off all of that incredible food!) but we’ll be back on Monday to bring you more reviews, literary news, and release information. Enjoy all […]


2016 National Book Award Winners Announced

The mission of the National Book Foundation is to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of great writing in America.  To that end, in 1950 they established the National Book Awards, bringing together the American literary community to honor the year’s best work in fiction, […]


I’ve Seen You Naked and Didn’t Laugh Blog Tour Schedule

Title: I’ve Seen You Naked and Didn’t Laugh: A Geeky Love Story Author: Eden Butler Genre: Romantic Comedy Release Date: November 15, 2016 Tour Hosted by: LitStack Synopsis Raine Quinn was a huge disappointment to her haters. She wasn’t supposed to make it out of Waco, TX. She wasn’t supposed to land even one acting […]


Now Open – Goodreads Choice Awards 2016

If you have joined Goodreads (and if you haven’t – why not?) then it’s time again to select the best books of the year during the 2016 Goodreads Choice Awards. This is the eighth year for the event where readers embracing all genres select the best-of-the-best books across 20 categories. The first round of voting […]


LitStack Review: Ghost Talkers by Mary Robinette Kowal

Ghost Talkers Mary Robinette Kowal Tor Books Release Date:  August 16, 2016 ISBN 978-0-7653-7825-5 Mary Robinette Kowal is the absolute queen of historical speculative fiction. First, in her Glamourist Histories series, she invokes Regency England but with a twist – her England includes an elegant magic, known as “glamour”, which allows a practitioner to reach […]


2016 World Fantasy Award Winners Announced

This weekend, at the World Fantasy Convention held in Columbus, Ohio, the winners of the 2016 World Fantasy Awards were announced. The World Fantasy Awards have been handed out since 1975; nominees and winners are decided by both a panel of industry judges and attendees of the World Fantasy Convention. Also this weekend, literary editor […]



Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son, essays by Michael Chabon

You know a book on fatherhood is going to be interesting when the title includes the word amateurs. The trope of fatherly wisdom, borne of experience and dispensed with measured calm, is a wonderful thing, but how realistic it?

There are some great recent memoirs about fathers. Alysia Abbott’s Fairyland and Will Boast’s Epilogue come to mind, narratives in which fathers run the spectrum, from brave to flawed and back again.

Rarer is the memoir that reflects on what being a father is actually like, and for that matter, how men come to be fathers after being sons and boyfriends and husbands. Chabon’s collection is not a memoir per se, but a series of essays grouped thematically around personal and cultural ideas and behaviors connected to fatherhood, as well as nostalgia for sixties childhood and seventies youth, and the flaws and failures that influence how one fathers his children. There are essays too, on boyhood, and boyfriend-hood, which indirectly, and sometimes directly speak to that same self, to the complex mix of parenting and maleness.

“Anything worth doing is worth doing badly.” The book’s epigraph by G.K. Chesterton forefronts the deprecating stance, but Chabon has more to tell us. At the supermarket, he is complemented by a stranger simply for taking care of his kid, a double standard he quickly points out (to the reader, anyway), “The handy thing about being a father is that the historical standard is so pitifully low.” The differing criteria for what makes a good father and a good mother is skewed, to say the least, and pointing it out early in the book lends authority, credibility and likeability. Here’s Chabon on his own father:

My father, born in the gray-and-silver Movietone year of 1938, was part of the generation of Americans who, in their twenties and thirties, approached the concepts of intimacy, of authenticity and open emotion, with a certain tentative abruptness, like people used to automatic transmission learning how to drive a stick shift.

One of my favorite essays, “The Wilderness of Childhood,” is  unabashedly nostalgic, but also serves an a kind of think-piece, an important one, on the detriment of too closely watching our children, not allowing them the historical freedom children have had to explore, to wander, and the cost to their with imaginations and experience of self: “The sandlots and creek beds, the alleys and woodlands have been abandoned in favor of a system of reservations—Chuck E. Cheese, the Jungle, the Discovery Zone; jolly internment centers mapped and planned by adults with no blank spots aside from doors marked STAFF ONLY. When children roller-skate or ride their bikes, they go forth armored as for battle, and their parents typically stand nearby.”

There is rumination on the failure of his first marriage (“The Heartbreak Kid”), a sad but inevitable arc that ends in “operatic arguments, all night ransackings of the contents of our souls,” as well as on cooking, (“The Art of Cake”), that nicely braids the book’s larger ideas of contemporary fatherhood and its “dissolving boundaries, shifting economies, loosened definitions of male and female, of parent and child.” Circumcision, Jose Canseco (held up for reflection alongside Roberto Clemente), comic book heroines and Legos, are some of the objects of the author’s contemplation.

Chabon is not a perfect father, but that, the essays help us understand, is a false expectation—one that needs to evolve and change, and that’s an opinion you can trust.

—Lauren Alwan

Pages: 1 2

LitStack Review: Angel Catbird by Margaret Atwood

Angel Catbird Margaret Atwood, Author Johnnie Christmas, Illustrator Tamra Bonvillain, Colorist Dark Horse Books Release Date:  September 6, 2016 ISBN 978-1-50670-063-2 Wait… what? Margaret Atwood, THAT Margaret Atwood, the author of The Handmaid’s Tale has, at age 76 years of age, written a comic book? Really? Yes, really. Well, okay, not a comic book, a […]


Gimbling in the Wabe – Making Sausage

In last week’s 2nd Annual NerdCon: Stories convention, held at the Minneapolis Convention Center, I attended a panel discussion entitled “Sotto Voce:  Finding Your Voice”.  Many of the panelists talked about staying true to yourself, searching for your true voice, and the difficulty that sometimes arises when you find yourself defaulting to a voice that […]


LitStack Rec: The Good Soldier and Planetfall

The Good Soldier, by Ford Madox Ford If this novel had been published under the title the author selected, The Saddest Story, contemporary readers would likely have had a difficult time locating a copy. But fortunately, Ford Madox Ford agreed to his publisher’s suggestion of The Good Soldier, and with that organizing idea the novel […]


My Report from NerdCon: Stories, Part One

It was my distinct pleasure to be able to attend the 2nd Annual NerdCon: Stories convention last weekend at the Minneapolis Convention Center.  The brainchild of Vlogbrother Hank Green and author Patrick Rothfuss, the two day conference featured over 60 special guests including authors, actors, artists, narrators, podcasters, puppeteers, librarians, comedians, directors, screenwriters, game designers, […]


Bob Dylan Wins the Nobel Prize for Literature

For the first time in its 115 year history, the Nobel Prize for Literature was awarded to a songwriter/musician:  Minnesota native Bob Dylan.  He is the first American to win the award since author Toni Morrison won it in 1993. In awarding the Prize, the Swedish Academy cited his “having created new poetic expressions within […]


LitStack Rec: Spielberg, Truffaut and Me & Feed

Spielberg, Truffaut and Me: An Actor’s Diary, by Bob Balaban In the summer of 1976, during the first weeks of the filming of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Francois Truffaut, who played the extraterrestrial specialist Claude Lacombe, was at work on a book about actors—tentatively titled Hurry Up and Wait. The legendary auteur-director and […]

The Firefox Book, by Elliot Wigginton (editor)

A perfect book for #throwbackthursday, this compendium of customs and rural living practices was published in 1972, and was in its time hugely influential. The local tradition and lore documented in The Foxfire Book comes firsthand from longtime residents of Southern Appalachia. At the height of this book’s notoriety, copies could be found nearly everywhere, and for certain readers, the word foxfire (a term for Georgia’s phosphorescent lichen) might still conjure the volume’s distinctive Courier type, its sepia-toned layout, and the tooth of the cover’s heavy stock.

Subtitled Hog Dressing, Log Cabin Building, Mountain Crafts and Foods, Planting by the Signs, Snake Lore, Hunting Tales, Faith Healing, Moonshining, and Other Affairs of Plain Living, the book was the brainchild of Elliot Wigginton, an English teacher who first envisioned a community oral history project as means to render the curriculum more relevant for his high school students. The students set about recording taped interviews and taking black and white photographs, gathering what has become an unmatched collection of methods and means of rural homesteading.

Traditional Appalachian Beekeeping, from Foxfire, Volume 2.

The material was originally collected in 1966, in a magazine series simply titled Foxfire, and four years later, when demand exceeded supply, the content was collected in anthology form. Soon after its release, The Foxfire Book reached national prominence to become a best-seller and soon reached circles far beyond its locus. Here, for example, is just a portion of the topics to be found in Volume One’s Table of Contents:

Building a Log Cabin
Chimney Building
White Oak Splits
Making a Hamper out of White Oak Splits
Making a Basket out of White Oak Splits
An Old Chair Maker Shows How
Rope, Straw, and Feathers are to Sleep on
A Quilt is Something Human
Cooking on a Fireplace, Dutch Oven, and Wood Stove
Mountain Recipes

Preserving Vegetables

Preserving Fruit
Churning Your Own Butter

Slaughtering Hogs
Curing and Smoking Hog
Weather Signs

If you’re interested in traditional Americana, this series set the standard, and did so way back when a book this size cost (check the price on the cover) $3.95. The volume pictured above was the first—eleven more volumes (the most recent of which was published in 2004) comprise the series.

Foxfire continues today as the Foxfire Fund, a not-for-profit educational and literary organization that trains educators and oversees national programs on experiential education. Read more about the Foxfire Fund here.

—Lauren Alwan

Pages: 1 2



Welcome to Legacy Falls!


Families from Legacy Falls share a tradition of loss.

Lovers have said farewell at the Pleasant Street train station for seventy years.

Mothers have welcomed home their sons in the ticker tape return from war and loss.

After every war, every battle, Legacy Falls opens its arms and its hearts to the wounded warriors returning home.

These are their stories.

Platform Four – A Legacy Falls Romanceplatform-4-final
Eden Butler
Release Date – 10/5/16
Genre – Historical Romance

Every day for twenty years, a Mills family woman has manned the goods trolley at the Pleasant Street train station. Every day since the Second World War began, Ada Mills has watched the passengers come and go, secretly wishing for an adventure, a way out of Legacy Falls.

She never expected to find forever.

Garreth McGinnis only wanted a pack of smokes and a fresh baked scone from the pretty girl selling wares on his stop over train ride through a place called Legacy Falls. A smoke and a bite led him to the girl who he couldn’t keep from his thoughts as he lay awake at night fighting a war that shouldn’t have been his. One letter becomes two. Two becomes ten and Garreth spent the whole of the war completely under Ada Mills’s spell.

Falling in love through lines of ink was one thing. Meeting the future that waits on platform four once the war ends, is something altogether different.

Once the bombs have quieted and the soldiers return home, will the dreams of forever be all that Ada and Garreth’s letters promised or will reality leave the couple wishing they’d never sworn to meet on platform four?




iTunes, B&N, Kobo, etc.:

If you would like to find out more about the Legacy Falls Project, please join our Facebook page.

The Legacy Fall Project Includes:

Platform Four by Eden Butler

Behind My Charade by Skye Turner

Her Southern Temptation by Trish Leger

Dear Dixie by JL Baldwin

Iron Heart by Madison Street

Beyond the Ghosts by Jody Pardo

An Unexpected Hero by Diana Marie DuBois

Home by Morgan Jane

About the Authoreden author pic

Eden Butler is an editor and writer of Fantasy, Mystery and Contemporary Romance novels and the nine-times great-granddaughter of an honest-to-God English pirate. This could explain her affinity for rule breaking and rum.

When she’s not writing or wondering about her possibly Jack Sparrowesque ancestor, Eden patiently waits for her Hogwarts letter, edits, reads and spends way too much time watching rugby, Doctor Who and New Orleans Saints football.

She is currently living under teenage rule alongside her husband in southeast Louisiana.
Please send help.


Subscribe to Eden’s newsletter for giveaways, sneak peeks and various goodies that might just give you a chuckle.


Gimbling in the Wabe – It’s a Bird, It’s a Plane, It’s Gene Luen Yang!

Okay, I have to admit, I find last week’s announcement of the 2016 MacArthur Fellows (and their subsequent awarding of the generous – to the tune of $625,000-no-strings-attached generous – Genius Grants) to be incredibly exciting. One expects microbiologists, computer scientists, human rights lawyers, chemists, and the like to be named MacArthur Fellows, sure.  And […]


Litstack Recs: Green Thoughts & Children of Time

Green Thoughts: A Writer in the Garden, by Eleanor Perényi If you’re a writer who gardens, Eleanor Perényi writes in her foreword, “sooner or later going to write a book about the subject—I take that as inevitable.” There are some heavy-hitting precedents to Pereyni’s classic of the writer-in-the-garden genre. Charles Dudley Warner’s My Summer in […]


LitChat Interview: Amy Tannenbaum

Amy Tannenbaum began her book publishing career with a brief stint at Harlequin where she edited romances that were far more entertaining than the books she read while earning her English degree at Wesleyan University. She then joined Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, where she edited a diverse list of bestselling non-fiction […]


Six Diverse Writers Are Named 2016 MacArthur Fellows

Poet Claudine Rankine, writer Maggie Nelson, artist and writer Lauren Redniss, “long form” journalist Sarah Stillman, graphic novelist and comic book writer Gene Luen Yang, and playwright Branden Jacobs-Jenkins were named as 2016 MacArthur Fellows (along with 17 other “extraordinary individuals” in such diverse disciplines as linguistics, microbiology, computer science, financial services, sculpture, bioengineering, and […]


Winners of the 2016 British Fantasy Awards

The British Fantasy Society (an offshoot of the British Science Fiction Association) is an organization “dedicated to promoting the best in the fantasy, science fiction and horror genres.”   On Sunday, September 25, the winners of the 2016 British Fantasy Awards were announced at 2016 FantasyCon By the Sea in Scarborough, North Yorkshire. And here are […]


LitStack Recs: Dept. of Speculation & The North Water

Dept. of Speculation, by Jenny Offill With the release of Jenny Offill’s acclaimed second novel, there have been comparisons to Renata Adler’s Speedboat, a correlation that makes me sincerely regret missing that seminar in grad school. It would have been the perfect grounding with which to enter Offill’s wonderful, novel-in-fragments. Though describing the book in […]


Kirkus Prize Shortlists Announced

Founded in 1933, Kirkus has been “an authoritative voice in book discovery” for over 80 years.  The associated  Kirkus Reviews magazine gives industry professionals a sneak peek at the most notable books prior to their publication, and releases book reviews to consumers on a weekly basis.  The Kirkus Star icon affixed to selected reviews signifies […]


2016 Emmy Awards – The Writers

Lest we forget, stories come in many forms.  While we often think of them mainly in terms of novels, short stories, poetry and the like, some of our most enduring stories also come to us through the playwrights and screen writers who provide the framework for the stage plays, television shows and movies that capture […]


National Book Awards 2016 Longlists Announced

The mission of the National Book Foundation is to celebrate the best of American literature, to expand its audience, and to enhance the cultural value of great writing in America.  To that end, in 1950 they established the National Book Awards, bringing together the American literary community to honor the year’s best work in fiction, […]


LitStack Recs: The Marriage Plot & The Terror

The Marriage Plot, by Jeffery Eugenides “Heartbreak is funny to everyone but the heartbroken.” That ironic reflection comes early on the Jeffrey Eugenides’ lively 2011 novel. The observation is made by Madeleine Hanna, one of three central characters, all students at Brown University. We meet them on the morning of graduation in 1982, liberal arts […]


2016 Man Booker Prize Shortlist Announced

Today, the Man Booker Prize announced the six books that have been narrowed down to form the shortlist for their prestigious award.  The prize, which launched in 1969, aims to promote the finest in fiction by rewarding the best novel of the year written in English and published in the United Kingdom. The 2016 shortlist […]


Gimbling in the Wabe – Glorious Failures

My daughter was looking over the syllabus from a college English class that she had just started, and she was distraught over the thought of having to make an in-class critique of another student’s writing.  “I’m just not good at that sort of thing!” she despaired. I tried to allay her concerns by pointing out […]


Gimbling in the Wabe – A Story Unto Themselves

Over the last few years I’ve been writing the “Literary Birthday” blurbs that appear Monday through Friday on the LitStack sidebar; just a tiny life synopsis about a writer whose birthday occurs on that particular day of the year.  It’s been fun researching not only famous authors, poets, playwrights and journalists, but also writers that […]


LitStack Review: Admiral by Sean Danker

Admiral Sean Danker Roc Books Release Date:  May 3, 2016 ISBN 978-0-451-47579-4 You’ve probably heard it/seen it/read it before, especially if you are a science fiction aficionado: the main character(s) wakes up on a ship at sail with no recollection how s/he got there and no idea where the ship is headed or what it’s […]


LitStack Review – Icon by Genevieve Valentine

Icon Genevieve Valentine Saga Press Release Date:  June 28, 2016 ISBN 978-1-4814-2515-5 ~ * ~ Welcome to diplomacy.  Adapt or die. There is something about Genevieve Valentine’s writing that I find… incredibly fetching.  While many authors compose stellar narratives and strikingly compelling prose, she is one of the few who creates worlds where the audience […]


Cover Reveal – Night Shift 2

Ten authors are bringing you more of your favorite stories and sneak peeks at future books in Night Shift 2. All proceeds of Night Shift 2 will be donated to the Keith Milano Fund. ❖Pucks, Sticks, and Diapers by Toni Aleo – First came love, then came the NHL, then came Baylor and Jayden with […]


“Children of Time” Wins 2016 Arthur C. Clarke Award

British author Adrian Tchaikovsky has won the Arthur C Clarke Award for his science fiction novel Children of Time. The juried award was set up in 1987 with a generous grant from Sir Arthur C. Clarke, a giant in the science fiction genre; a few of his works include 2001: A Space Odyssey, Childhood’s End, Rendezvous […]


Cover Reveal – Platform Four: A Legacy Falls Romance

  We’re delighted to end (albeit late) the Legacy Falls cover reveal tour–where we’ve featured eight great stories as part of the Legacy Falls charitable anthology project. Each author will donate a portion of their sales to the wounded or returning veteran charities of their choice.   Legacy Falls project summary: Families from Legacy Falls […]


2016 Chesley Awards Winners Announced

Last week, the Association of Science Fiction & Fantasy Artists (ASFA) announced the winners for the 2016 Chesley Awards during MidAmericon II, the 74th World Science Fiction Convention, held in Kansas City, Missouri.  Established in 1985, the Chesley Awards recognize individual artistic works and achievements during a given year. The nominees for, and winners of, […]


2016 Hugo Award Winners Announced

The 2016 World Science Fiction convention was held in Kansas City, Missouri this weekend during MidAmeriCon II, and was highlighted by the announcement of the winners of the 2016 Hugo Awards.  The Hugo Awards are one of the most prestigious awards for fantasy, speculative and science fiction works, and winning a Hugo is quite the […]


Gimbling in the Wabe – Why Do People Read Bad Books?

Recently I’ve been reading What Makes This Book So Great, by Hugo and Nebula Award winning author Jo Walton.  In it, she takes various essays regarding the science fiction/fantasy genre originally blogged on, and incorporates them under a single cover.  It’s a fascinating read from a well versed and extremely well read woman who […]


There But for the Grace of God

Thirty-five inches of rain in four days.  That’s how much rain has fallen in Louisiana in this last “episode.”  The ground is saturated, and the rivers are cresting many feet higher than has ever been recorded.  The Amite River in Denham Springs hit 4.7 feet above its previous record set in 1983 on Sunday morning.  […]


Cover Reveal – Beyond the Ghosts: A Legacy Falls Romance

  We’re delighted to kick off the Legacy Falls cover reveal tour–a week where we’ll feature eight great stories as part of the Legacy Falls charitable anthology project. Each author will donate a portion of their sales to the wounded or returning veteran charities of their choice.   Legacy Falls project summary: Families from Legacy […]


LitStack Recs: Barbarian Days & Pride’s Spell

Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life, by William Finnegan William Finnegan took his time writing this memoir. An international journalist and staff writer for the New Yorker, wrote the book over fifteen years, Finnegan wrote the book between assignments here and abroad, reporting on the effect of poverty on American teenagers, the drug war in Mexico, […]


Cover Reveal – Home: A Legacy Falls Romance

  We’re delighted to kick off the Legacy Falls cover reveal tour–a week where we’ll feature eight great stories as part of the Legacy Falls charitable anthology project. Each author will donate a portion of their sales to the wounded or returning veteran charities of their choice.   Legacy Falls project summary: Families from Legacy […]


Cover Reveal – Iron Heart: A Legacy Falls Romance

  We’re delighted to kick off the Legacy Falls cover reveal tour–a week where we’ll feature eight great stories as part of the Legacy Falls charitable anthology project. Each author will donate a portion of their sales to the wounded or returning veteran charities of their choice.   Legacy Falls project summary: Families from Legacy […]


Cover Reveal – Her Southern Temptation: A Legacy Falls Romance

  We’re delighted to kick off the Legacy Falls cover reveal tour–a week where we’ll feature eight great stories as part of the Legacy Falls charitable anthology project. Each author will donate a portion of their sales to the wounded or returning veteran charities of their choice.   Legacy Falls project summary: Families from Legacy […]

Closeup shot of woman feet standing on tiptoe while embracing her man at railway platform for a farewell before train departure. A travelling luggage is on the foreground. Beautiful warm sunset light and flare are coming from the background.


We’re delighted to kick off the Legacy Falls cover reveal tour–a week where we’ll feature eight great stories as part of the Legacy Falls charitable anthology project. Each author will donate a portion of their sales to the wounded or returning veteran charities of their choice.


Legacy Falls project summary:

Families from Legacy Falls share a tradition of loss.

Lovers have said farewell at the Pleasant Street train station for seventy years.

Mothers have welcomed home their sons in the ticker tape return from war and loss.

After every war, every battle, Legacy Falls opens its arms and its hearts to the wounded warriors returning home.

These are their stories.


TITLE: An Unexpected Hero: A Legacy Falls Romance
AUTHOR: Diana Marie DuBois13932119_1756667977880872_784484394_o
GENRE: Magical Realism/Romance


Sergeant Jackson Hamilton Ledet didn’t want to be a burden. Not to Bex, the woman he left behind to serve his country. Not to anyone. But returning home with an injury he fears he’ll never recover from Jackson faces the bitter knowledge that life as he knew it is over.

One Dear Jane letter to Bex and the deal is done, knowing he could never let her care for the half man he is now.

But Jackson’s return to his sleepy hometown of Legacy Falls offers more than the peaceful life he wants. It starts with a veterinary clinic, a dog and the woman he thought he could walk away from. Jackson knows life can be cruel but sometimes the unexpected surprises are enough to heal us all.

PRE-ORDER An Unexpected Hero HERE



Diana Marie DuBois resides in the historical and richly cultured-filled state of Louisiana and just outside of the infamous city of New Orleans. She shares her home with two beautiful Great Danes and four spunky rescued mutts. As a young girl, Diana was an avid reader and could be found in her public library. Now you find her working in her local library, where she reads everything and anything. She has many stories ideas running through her head, with plenty interesting characters.


Gimbling in the Wabe – Persistence

On summer nights – well, on many nights, really – I end the day out on my front porch, in the dark, relaxing on a wrought iron glider while my dog sniffs around in the yard one more time before we both retire for the night.  I like letting the quiet of the city sink […]


LitStack Rec: Manhood for Amateurs & Redshirts

Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son, essays by Michael Chabon The trope of fatherly wisdom, borne of experience and dispensed with measured calm, is a wonderful thing, but how realistic it? There are some great recent memoirs about fathers. Alysia Abbott’s Fairyland and Will Boast’s Epilogue come to […]


Man Booker Longlist Announced for 2016

The longlist for the Man Booker Prize was announced this week.  The prize, which launched in 1969, aims to promote the finest in fiction by rewarding the best novel of the year written in English and published in the United Kingdom. Said Amanda Foreman, chair of the judges of the award: “From the historical to […]


Russell Galen

Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency

Russell Galen is a graduate of Brandeis University. He started within days as an apprentice to “the most colorful and successful agent of his era,” Scott Meredith, and he made his first sale within a month. When Scott died in 1993, he joined with the two other top agents there, Ted Chichak and Jack Scovil, to found Scovil Galen Ghosh Literary Agency.

He is seeking: In fiction, his passion lies within novels that stretch the bounds of reality. A novel needs to take him some place you can’t get to in a car, whether it be the past, the future, a fantasy world, an alternate historical track, a world in which our world touches another that is hidden or rarely seen, or one which has been changed by some new technology, event, or idea.

In nonfiction, he seeks strong, serious books on almost any subject—as long as they teach him something. He’s interested in science, history, journalism, biography, business, memoir, nature, politics, sports, contemporary culture, literary nonfiction, etc.

Some of Russell’s clients include Terry Goodkind, James Rollins, Cassandra Clare, Diana Gabaldon and Cory Doctorow.


LS: Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us. I’ve read that early on you admired the relationship shared by F. Scott Fitzgerald and his agent Harold Ober. What satisfies you most about the relationships you have with your clients?

There’s something very appealing about being a terrorist: a small group of conspirators, trusting one another with their lives, united by common purpose, going up against a larger, more powerful, better-organized entity. That’s how it feels to work with a client: like conspirators preparing an attack.

This isn’t to say that the publisher is the enemy. The enemy is not the publisher but the publisher’s indifference. Victory is not destroying the publisher: victory is converting the publisher. Maybe a better metaphor would be a team of Mormon missionaries. Nah, that doesn’t feel right. I’ll stick with terrorists.

At various points in my career I’ve thought of myself as my clients’ editor, psychiatrist, financial advisor, life coach, lawyer, parent, brother, and friend. But nothing comes close to the collaborative satisfaction of plotting a strategy with an author (along with my staff and foreign/movie subagents), executing that plan, and seeing it succeed. Editorial strategy is followed by submission strategy and then by publication strategy.

LS: Did your desire for a career in publishing come from an early love of books? If so, what were your favorite books as a child?

Yes, from the earliest age I devoured books, but I don’t know that “love” is the word that comes to mind. It was an insatiable need. I’m not sure how healthy it was or what I may have sacrificed during my lifetime to feed that addiction. A simple love of books would have been nice but I was never given that choice. I love dogs, but I have been without a dog for about three years now and am not sure I’ll ever get another one. That’s love but it’s voluntary. I cannot go one day without a long reading session. When I’m on a plane I don’t panic about crashing but about my e-reader battery running out.

As for my favorite books, I went straight from “See Spot Run to adult fiction. I never read the children’s classics. I became interested in middle grade and young adult fiction only in recent years when I realized that some of the best storytelling was taking place in that field, but in my own childhood I was too eager to be a grownup. In 7th grade my teachers called me “the 40 year old man” because I was so serious.

When I was twelve I thought I would become a scientist, and in fact my son is now a grad student in biology so I think it’s legitimately in my genes. But then I read Isaac Asimov’s “Foundation Trilogy” and realized I was more interested in stories about science than I was in the science itself. So I gave myself over to reading and thought of myself as an English major (or whatever the 7th Grade equivalent is) rather than a science major.

I went on to read omnivorously, a hundred books a year, all types of fiction and nonfiction. The one thing I never read was something that didn’t have a story, so if it was nonfiction, it would be history, biography, a true-life adventure, and other forms of narrative nonfiction. Now that I am a middle-aged man, my taste hasn’t changed.

LS: What has been one of your proudest moments as an agent?

When an agent dies the obituary lists the famous writers he’s worked with. This is supposed to be the sum of his life’s meaning. I reject that. The fact that I worked with a certain household name does not mean my own life was meaningful as a result. Perhaps there’s a book that sold for a $500 advance to a tiny press by an unknown writer whose work would never have seen the light of day if not for me, and perhaps that’s more representative of the significance of my time on earth.

Look, I’ve been around a long time and made a lot of amazing deals. I’ve gotten mid seven figure paydays for clients, high seven figures, and low eight. I’ve invented new kinds of contract terms and new clauses that have shifted considerable amounts of money and power from the publisher’s side of the ledger to the writer’s. I am still doing that, inventing new kinds of electronic publication contracts that I strongly suspect will be the normal deals of the future.

I’ve steered clients from obscurity to fame, taking them from a four-figure first deal through a multi-decade career of unbroken success, leading to long runs on the New York Times bestseller list and publication in 40 languages.

I’ve helped develop new marketing strategies, shaking publishers out of their lethargy, getting them to think about innovative ways to reach new readers for my clients.

I’ve done all of that. But what I’m proudest of are the acts of fertilization or catalysis.

My first NY Times bestseller was THE MISTS OF AVALON by Marion Zimmer Bradley. Marion’s career was in the doldrums and I was her new agent. Over lunch we discussed a long list of projects, none of which excited me. Finally she said, “The one I really want to do is about the women of King Arthur’s court, but everyone tells me that that’s a bad idea.” I said, “Really? That’s the only idea I like out of your whole list.” She replied that in that case she would write it, and the rest is history. 20 million copies sold in 40 languages.

The greatest work of one of the great 20th century American novelists, VALIS by Philip K. Dick, is dedicated to me, and all because after I had newly taken him on, I gave him an idea for how to finish the book, which he’d been trying to finish for seven years.

Decades later I was in the home of Ted Kerasote, a narrative nonfiction author who’d done some highly regarded small press books about nature and wildlife. We just could not come up with a project for him that seemed like it could break him out to a major house. Finally he said, “The book I really want to write is the story of my dog.” The whole house was filled with pictures of this big, handsome, charismatic dog. So I said, “Okay, tell me about the dog,” and about half an hour later I said, “That’s your book.” It became MERLE’S DOOR, widely considered one of the finest animal stories of all time. It spent two months on the NYT bestseller list and has sold millions of copies.

I have lots of stories like this and many of them are about books that never became bestsellers or classics. Nevertheless they are meaningful books that would not have been published if I hadn’t somehow provided the catalyst.

LS: What about Sci Fi and Fantasy appeals to you not only as an agent but also as a reader?

I have a different answer for each.

I will always be a science fiction fan above all else because SF is the literature of ideas. For example, my client Cory Doctorow is the hip young Asimov. His novels are great reads, filled with action, adventure, and fast pacing. He is a great entertainer. But these books literally have a nonfiction book’s worth of thought-provoking information in them. You don’t realize it when you’re reading it because you are so engrossed in the suspense, but when it’s done, your mind whirls with what you’ve just learned, and with new ideas challenging your worldview.

What I love about fantasy is that it is built around the concept that human beings are always capable of heroic actions. It’s hard to imagine a fantasy that did not have human heroism and nobility as its primary fuel, even in the most complex and morally ambiguous works. Fantasy is about men and women rising to the occasion, even if they start out on the floor.

My client Terry Goodkind writes about the character Richard Rahl, who goes from being a simple woodsman to the lord of an empire. Terry and I discovered that when his fans needed to make a tough decision about something, they asked themselves, “What would Richard do?” Richard is someone who is always true to himself. His actions are a direct expression of his own nature, no matter what the consequences.

In my favorite novel in the series, FAITH OF THE FALLEN, Richard decides to carve a statue even though it puts him in clear danger. The simple act of making that statue — at great personal risk — ends up inspiring the citizens of an enslaved city to rise up and reclaim control of their own lives.

That is a great inspiration for people and I personally have been guided by it in my own decisions in life. This is what I get out of fantasy, this genre that people deride as childish but which for me fulfills the capacity for human aspiration that some other people find in religion.

I’m not going to distinguish between what appeals to me as an agent and what appeals to me as a reader. I’ve never represented a book just for the money. I take on the books that I want to read and then figure out how to maximize the author’s success from it.

I boasted of this once to another agent who said derisively, “So if Grisham calls, you won’t take the call.” This was a British agent so you can imagine the elegant acid with which he said it. But actually, that’s right. Grisham would never call me because it would be so obvious that I have no passion for his type of work, but if he did, I would steer him to someone else. If I could poach any author it would have been the late Michael Crichton. (I do have the new Crichton, my client James Rollins, so I’m good.)

LS: As someone whose career is focused on great fiction, are you ever able to read a book for pleasure without editing it?

No, that is a terrible thing about my career. I read a lot for pleasure but I don’t experience the joy of reading that I had in college. I am sure I will never have that again. If I simply want to be transported by a work of art it has to be in a field in which I have no specialized knowledge: specifically, classical music and painting. I sneak away to museums and concerts all the time just to avoid my internal editor, because I do not know how to make an Edward Hopper painting or a Shostakovich concerto any better.

LS: The distribution of self-publishing seems to have changed the dynamic of publishing somewhat. What do you think the future of publishing holds and how will these changes impact agents?

Electronic self-publishing is a great new field which has achieved two fine things.

First, it makes it possible for certain books to reach a small audience yet still remain viable. I don’t buy these books because I’m too busy reading manuscripts, but I’m ecstatic over the equivalent in music, where I can download all kinds of obscure classical music.

Second, it’s created a new kind of development lab for major publishers, supplementing the old development labs, which were primarily periodicals.

But I don’t see a threat to the existing power structure of big New York-based publishers lording it over the world.

Writers will still demand advances, sometimes very big ones. And they will still need well-funded, well-organized marketing campaigns. I don’t think individuals, or literary agencies with their new little publishing arms, or small presses, can succeed consistently because they will usually come up short in marketing and publicity.

Therefore I believe that writers will always need big houses (and therefore always need agents).

The big New York houses will have to change as the printed book disappears. They will morph into studios that find, finance, develop, publicize, market, and distribute a wide variety of digital reading products.

The lure of self-publishing is the high royalty, the independence, and the hope that you can have a success without a well-funded marketing campaign. This just isn’t a viable vision of the future of publishing. When the big houses start offering seven-figure advances for ebook originals, with a $250,000 ad/marketing budget, a 10-city promo tour, and a 50% royalty, self-publishing will go back to what it always was: merely an interesting way to begin a career.

The big houses will do this, although right now they don’t know it. They won’t have a choice. Once they get used to it they will find that it’s a better business model than what they have now, and they’ll be happy.

I am predicting this not because I prefer screens to paper (although I do, very much) but as a matter of economics.

The cost of books can only go up and the cost of ebooks can very easily go down. When a new hardcover is $250 (in the inflated dollars of some future era) and the ebook version is $10, and given all of the other advantages of the ebook, does anyone really think that a printed book will appeal to more than a niche market? In a world where there are three billion smartphones and tablets which everyone considers as necessary and unremarkable as underwear?

LS: What makes the manuscripts you take on stand out? What are the elements of your “perfect” manuscript?

I can’t imagine that I will ever encounter a perfect manuscript. But I can tell you what I look for, and which leaves me satisfied even in a deeply flawed manuscript. What interests me is characters who are on a personal journey which leaves them changed. For this reason I avoid certain types of series which rely on the main character being the same person in every volume. My favorite of all types of fiction are stories in which the characters’ journeys are so profound that they need to be spread over many volumes which are best read in order.

The “Outlander” series by my client Diana Gabaldon is a particular favorite of mine. It is a single unbroken story which currently covers eight volumes and about 2.5 million words, with more to come. The story covers decades, and during that time its protagonist has gone from a beautiful young woman to a hearty grandmother who still has a sexual appetite that would exhaust most college students. She has changed and grown and deepened over the course of those years while also managing to stay true to her core self, despite war, disease, death, and revolution.

Very few characters are complicated enough, and experience enough growth, to remain interesting for 2. 5 million words, and few writers can envision or create such characters. But when they do that’s my perfect literary experience.

LS: What questions should writers ask potential agents prior to signing?

Someone should do a checklist for this purpose, which would have dozens of questions. I could come up with such a checklist for you now but the questions would be pretty obvious:

Who are your other clients and titles?

How do you handle foreign rights?

What are some of your best deals?

What is your record-keeping like?

Have you ever been convicted of embezzlement….?

But there’s a problem. Any agent who has been through this process will have all of his answers down pat. He knows what you want to hear. Don’t you think Bernie Madoff had great answers for any new client who did his due-diligence before investing? If you ask an agent a lot of questions, what you are testing is the agent’s ability to provide persuasive answers. Nothing else.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t do it, but it goes only so far.

I had a guy ask me something recently which I didn’t feel I answered satisfactorily, but it led to a good discussion. He wanted to know what would happen if he failed: if his books didn’t sell to publishers or didn’t do well after being published.

I’ve been through this. I’ve dropped people because I thought we were at a dead end. In other cases I have nursed a relationship for years until it woke from its coma.

I wish I could say that it depends on my regard for the quality of the writer’s work, but that’s not it. I’ve dropped some geniuses, knowing their future biographers would castigate me for doing so.

And it’s not that I stick with writers out of friendship or personal affection. Some of my longest relationships have been with assholes. I have fished drunken clients out of bars, thinking to myself, “I wish I could rid myself of this contemptible lout” but then kept working with the writer for years.

I can’t explain the bonds that form between authors and agents and I can’t provide tools for predicting whether a new relationship will last.

But I do think that when authors are selecting an agent, the most important quality is personal compatibility, because you’re going to be working together for a long time.

A well-known writer came to me a few years ago who had had six previous agents. I called the most recent one, a friend of mine, and he said, “Stay away from that guy. He just can’t get along with agents.” I went ahead anyway because I was a huge fan of the author’s work and was thrilled to have him on my list, and we’ve never had any problem together. So it was just a question of finding the right match.

I do think it’s worth a trip to NYC to interview agents in person (or summon them to your home if you are already successful). Two hours over dinner (or in my case four) will tell you more than all the specific checklist questions you might ask.

LS: Is there a specific trend that you’re tired of seeing?

I don’t think this way. I’m interested in characters. If an author has produced unique characters, I’ll be hooked, even if the external world of that character is a cliché.

That said, one of my pet peeves is the phrase “character driven” as supposed praise for a novel. I don’t think creating one-of-a-kind, interesting characters is that hard. It’s hard, but the world doesn’t have a shortage of people with this talent. There is a slight surplus.

I also don’t think it’s hugely hard to create a suspenseful plot. Again, we have a small surplus of such people.

But for some reason God decided to give out one type of talent to some writers, and the other type to other writers, and rarely give both types to the same person. How many shortstops can field and hit? One in a million have that combination, and it’s the same in writers.

I’m looking for characters with layers and complexities whose lives are then kicked into high-speed motion by important, dangerous events. Get me that combination, and will always be able to get you a great deal.

I don’t care about anything else.

I know someone is expecting me to say “There are too many vampire novels” but that’s bullshit. The reason no one else wanted Marion Zimmer Bradley to write THE MISTS OF AVALON was because “there are too many Arthurian novels.”

One thing I’ve learned about trends is that it’s impossible to spot when they’re over. You can be sick of a trend, predict its imminent demise, then it continues to produce popular and important books for years. You can declare that a trend is here to stay forever and then a week later it crashes and you can’t make a sale.

So I just don’t concern myself with these things.

LS: How different is the industry now as opposed to when you began your career? Are you surprised by these changes?

I know I’m supposed to give the stock answer that things are just so amazing and different.

But if you’re asking me to talk about something amazing, what is amazing is the timeless nature of the business, and how little it has changed not just in my 30 years, but since Homer. If I lived another 100 years I think I would still be a good agent because my basic skills would still be 99% of what takes to succeed in this business.

Here is what we do. I communicate with another person (an editor) and tell them that I’ve just read something that I think they would really enjoy. They in turn try to replicate that process, first within their publishing house, then using mass media to reach readers. Doing that well is very hard but if we pull it off, the rest is a lot easier.

There are new communication media but it still comes down to an agent, an editor, a marketer, and a publicist, talking about a book in a way that will get other people interested.

Of course it’s exciting to figure out marketing plans using media that didn’t exist two years ago. If I could go back to my 1982 self and tell him how we sell books today he would think that I was living in a science fiction story. And I am. But it doesn’t feel different to me as I go about my day of talking to people on the phone, meeting with them, or writing them letters, about the talent of my clients and the potential of their work.

But I will tell you about one thing that interests me a lot and which is unthinkable without new technology.

My lifelong interest, as I mentioned, has been long-running series featuring characters who age, change, and grow. It’s a great literary form and it’s a great business because it’s addictive. But as with all drug pushers, our challenge is getting people hooked. Readers are wary of starting a series because they committing to reading millions of words.

The most exciting thing about the new media is the many opportunities they offer to market and promote the first novel in a series. This used to be impossible in a field that was focused on each season’s new hardcovers. What house would have a marketing budget for a novel published 20 years ago?

Today we have all sorts of ways to put the spotlight on an author’s backlist, using our ability to reach millions of fans cheaply via the Internet.

That is one of the few new marketing strategies that simply has no equivalent in the pre-ebook past. It’s a revolution because it makes it possible to market an author’s life work at once, tying frontlist and backlist together. I am always pushing publishers to do this more often.

For instance, we have a client, the #1 New York Times bestselling Young Adult author Cassandra Clare, whose works all take place in the world she created, the world of the Shadowhunters. Every time she has a new hardcover, everyone busts a gut to promote and market it, as one would expect from such a successful author.

But if you haven’t ever read any of Clare, the best thing for you to do is to read her first novel, CITY OF BONES, published in 2007. Today we can promote that novel, whether that means tweeting about it, producing a great website for it, or putting the ebook on sale for two weeks for a low price. It’s an addictive read and anyone who gives it a chance today is going to be hooked on the series. That’s going to boost hardcover sales when the next new book comes out. So we can promote the new hardcover not just by the usual means but by pushing her first novel long before the new hardcover comes out.

LS: How important is a knowledge of the business of writing in relation to writing a strong manuscript?

In terms of writing a strong individual manuscript it’s neutral, but it’s a benefit in terms of creating a successful multi-book career.

Big media companies are stolid and unimaginative. They don’t innovate. They can throw vast amounts of money, skill, and manpower at a book but their marketing tends to be five years behind the times; if something works, their instinct is to keep trying it. Writers and agents need to instigate and inspire publishers to try new ideas, to think big, and to take chances.

Writers have numerous advantages when it comes to promoting their own work. They don’t represent or publish anyone else: they are thinking about their own work 12 hours a day. The other 12 hours they are envying their peers and thinking about what can be learned from whatever success their rivals are enjoying. In today’s social media universe they are in touch regularly with their fans. Most important, they are creative people. They don’t just think outside the box; they think outside the planet.

Combine the creative engine of a novelist and a shrewd business sense, and you’ve got your own private Steve Jobs. And that’s what a writer can be if he or she is thinking about the business side of things.

I haven’t really answered your question. You asked about a knowledge of the business helping the actual writing process. I suppose you mean that a canny writer might study the business and learn how to write more commercially, either by writing in a trendy area or by shaping a manuscript to have more suspense or romance or whatever seems to be working in the market. Unfortunately, my experience has been that such efforts often have the opposite effect. It’s like thinking too hard about falling asleep, being a great parent, or having an orgasm. The more you think about it the harder it is to achieve. I’m wary of writers with theories about what the market wants or what type of book will sell better.

LS: What type of manuscript would you love to see make its way into your Inbox?

My professional career has been built around fiction that contains some element beyond the mundane and real. I’m rarely interested in handling conventional realistic fiction.

But I don’t think in terms of genre. Science fiction and fantasy are two genres that I enjoy very much, but I am interested in any type of novel that — as I say in the profile I created for our website — takes you someplace you can’t get to in a car.

Distinctions between mainstream and genre fiction have no meaning. The distinction that is meaningful is between works of unique individuality and works that merely exploit conventional ideas. I have handled the latter and they have their place, but no one needs them. What I need is work that could only have been written by the individual writer who wrote it. The work that bears the fingerprint of the author.

Who cares if something is labeled fantasy, science fiction, suspense, thriller, literary, commercial? My taste has nothing to do with any of that. I simply like works of the imagination.

About half my list is nonfiction, and I’m extremely receptive to new nonfiction projects. Science, nature, and the environment are areas of particular interest to me, but I’ll do a book on almost any subject if it uses a strong narrative structure to explore something of true significance.

A pet peeve of mine is when a nonfiction writer asks me what I think of a particular “idea.” Nonfiction books aren’t about ideas. They’re about ideas that are capable of being explored in the form of a story. If there’s no story, it might be an article but it’s not a book. If there’s a story but no idea, then it’s mere entertainment, which I do not handle.

dirtywork_smTitle: Dirty Work
Authors: Chelle Bliss and Brenda Rothert
Release: July 26
Genre: Romance


From authors Chelle Bliss and Brenda Rothert comes a smoldering standalone enemies to lovers romance that will, ahem…check all your boxes.

I hate him. Jude Titan is everything that’s wrong with the male sex: cocky, domineering and loaded with swagger. Oh, and did I mention he’s a Republican? Yeah, the guy’s so conservative he leans to the right when walking. And lucky me, I’m running against him for Senate. But I’ve got plenty of fight in me. A golden boy war hero opponent with a smile that leaves melted panties in its wake? Bring. It. On.
Damn, she’s sexy. Reagan Preston intrigues me from the moment I lay eyes on her. And speaking of laying…I want between those thighs. But I want to make her burn for me first. Every debate and stolen moment is foreplay for us. She claims she hates me, but her body tells a different story. I plan to win this election, but I also want to win the sharp, fiery Democrat who captures my attention like no woman ever has. Politics is filthy, just like all the things I want to do to Reagan Preston.
“Mr. Schultz. Thank you for allowing us here for what’s looking to be the start of a very interesting election season.” Her eyes dart to mine, and I hold her gaze, unfazed by her comment.
“I’m looking forward to a tough fight,” I say to her and hold out my hand, disregarding Carl’s presence. “I’m Jude Titan.”
“It’s wonderful to finally meet the man behind the name.” Her face flushes and she averts her eyes. “What would you say to your opponent, Representative Preston?”
“Well.” I pause for a moment and choose my words very carefully. “I’d tell her that, even though I’m not part of a long-standing political family like she is, I know how to win a battle, and I plan to defeat her this November.”
Carl steps forward and clears his throat. “He’s looking forward to showing Representative Preston that he’s a worthy adversary.”
When my eyes cut to his, he looks everywhere but at me.
“He may not be steeped in government, but he’s served his country with valor and honor and will do everything in his power to earn the respect of voters all over Illinois.”
I lean forward and whisper in his ear, “What are you doing?”
“Saving your ass,” he replies through gritted teeth.
“Do you have time for a one-on-one interview?” Ms. Campbell asks, tipping back on her heels nervously.
“He’s booked today, but if you call me—” Carl pulls a business card from his jacket and hands it to her “—I’ll make sure to schedule an interview as soon as possible.”
“Mr. Titan,” another reporter interrupts, sticking his recorder in my face.
Carl cuts him off, pushing the man’s arm down. “No more questions today. Please see the media spokeswoman, Ms. Jenkins, for any information or to schedule an interview in the future. It’s going to be a long season, ladies and gentleman. Mr. Titan has just announced his candidacy and needs to spend time tonight with his supporters who came to cheer him on.”
I want to argue with him, but he’s right. Tonight isn’t about the press. It’s about the people. People like me who rarely have a voice.
For far too long, I’ve been subjected to the deals many politicians made. The military is notoriously shortchanged and overworked because of special interest groups and in the name of the almighty dollar.
Americans are led to believe wars are fought for just reasons. Why else would they support them? Politicians tell lies to make the public accept the fact that thousands of lives will be lost in the name of saving the world from tyranny or terrorism.
But deep down, at the core of their decision to go to war, there’s another reason—an ulterior motive that seems to be missed by the masses.
Wars cost billions of dollars. The money is funneled from the US government to the weapons companies around the country.
War is big business.
Fortunes are made on the backs of US servicemen and women. They’ve given their lives for each dollar bill that lines the pockets of Washington’s elite.
It stops with me.
I’ll break the cycle and make people my first priority. Reagan Preston’s about to find out Marines always fight to win, no matter the cost.
Buy Links



Brenda Rothert is an Illinois native who was a print journalist for nine years. She made the jump from fact to fiction in 2013 and never looked back. From new adult to steamy contemporary romance, Brenda creates fresh characters in every story she tells. She’s a lover of Diet Coke, chocolate, lazy weekends and happily ever afters.


CHELLE BLISS – AUTHOR BIO: Chelle Bliss, USA Today Bestselling author, currently lives in a small town near the Gulf of Mexico. She’s a full-time writer, time-waster extraordinaire, social media addict, and coffee fiend. She’s written over thirteen books and has three series available. She loves spending her free time with her boyfriend, 2 cats, and her hamster.
Before becoming a writer, Chelle taught high school history for over ten years. She holds a master’s degree in Instructional Technology and a bachelor’s in history. Although history is her first love, writing has become her dream job and she can’t imagine doing anything else.


Blog Tour & Giveaway: Thick & Thin by Eden Butler

TITLE: Thick & Thin AUTHOR: Eden Butler GENRE: Contemporary Romance RELEASE DATE: July 25, 2016 TOUR SCHEDULE SYNOPSIS: My love was thick. Her faith was thin. Somewhere in the middle is where life found us. I claimed her when I was a boy. I held her until I was a man. She was my first […]


LitStaff Rec: Blood Will Out & Zombie Baseball Beatdown

Blood Will Out, by Walter Kirn In Preston Sturges’  romantic comedy, “The Palm Beach Story,” Claudette Colbert plays Gerry, reluctant divorcee of husband Tom (Joel McCrea) who’s bankrupted when his dream of building an airport fails. On a train to Palm Beach, Gerry meets eccentric millionaire John D. Hackensacker III, America’s richest man. He’s Sturges’ […]




Fictional Rendezvous Book Blog

Bookalicious Babes Blog

J.M. Walker

Books and Bindings

Kitty Kats Crazy About Books

Kawehi’s Book Blog


Romance Schmomance

Hooker Heels Book Blog

Ms. Me28

The Book Obsessed Momma

Rough Draft Book Blog

Sammy’s Book Obsession

Movies, Shows & Books

Book Bangers Blog

Books to Breathe


Smokin’ Hot Books

The Romance Rebel



Foxy Blogs

Verna Loves Books

Red Hot + Blue Reads

Tied up in Romance

Love Romance Books

Badass Bloggettes


The Opening Hook

An Asian Chick & Her Cat Walk into a Book Blog

Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews

Red Cheeks Reads

Urban Smoothie Read


The Book Bellas

Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

Erotic Romance Book Blog with Sandy

Literati Literature Lovers

True Story Book Blog


Nerdy Dirty & Flirty

One Book Boyfriend At A Time

Up All Night Book Blog


Fictional Family Ties

It’s been said that families are like fudge—mostly sweet with a few nuts. If we’re lucky, the balance between the two is just right, but even then, we have moments when we wonder what it would be like to have a different set of relatives. Reading gives us that opportunity. For the span of a […]


Gimbling in the Wabe – I Have a Son

I have a son.  He’s 26, works the late shift in the medical pharmacy at the University hospital.  Sometimes at night, instead of taking public transit home, he runs from work to his apartment near downtown – a couple of miles.  His apartment is not in the best part of town, but he likes living […]


LitStack Review: The Summer Dragon by Todd Lockwood

The Summer Dragon – First Book of the Evertide Todd Lockwood DAW Books Release Date:  May 3, 2016 ISBN 978-0-7564-0833-6 I first noticed Todd Lockwood as the artist who created such amazing illustrations for Marie Brennan’s “A Natural History of Dragons” series.  The cover artwork alone instantly established the sense of antiquity and nobility present […]


Litstack Recs: Blue Nights & Lustlocked

Blue Nights, by Joan Didion Joan Didion’s books have had a titanic effect on me, but when Blue Nights came out in 2011, I couldn’t bring myself to read it. The memoir is a counterpart to Didion’s 2005 memoir, The Year of Magical Thinking, which tracks the aftermath of her husband John Gregory Dunne’s unexpected death in 2003. […]


LitStack Review: Boy Erased by Garrard Conley

Boy Erased Garrard Conley Riverhead Books Release Date:  May 10, 2016 ISBN 978-1-59463-301-0 It was sheer coincidence that had me reading Garrard Conley’s book about his experience with a conversion therapy program aimed at curing him of the “sin” of homosexuality, but the timing did give my reading of it extra gravitas.  Not that Boy […]


2015 World Fantasy Awards Nominees Announced

  Finalists for The World Fantasy Awards (for works published in 2015) were announced this weekend, with the winners to be announced the last weekend in October during the World Fantasy Convention in Columbus Ohio.  The Awards, for the best fantasy fiction published during the last calendar year, have been handed out since 1975. The […]


2015 Shirley Jackson Award Winners Announced

The 2015 Shirley Jackson Awards were presented on Sunday, July 10th at Readercon 27, Conference on Imaginative Literature, in Quincy, Massachusetts. Readercon Guests of Honor,  Catherynne M. Valente and Tim Powers hosted the ceremony. The winners for the 2015 Shirley Jackson Awards are: NOVEL WINNER: Experimental Film by Gemma Files Eileen by Ottessa Moshfegh The Glittering […]


LitChat: Holly Root, Waxman Leavell Literary Agency

“My favorite part of being an agent is the thrill of discovery. Being the first to experience a new world or a brand-new author simply never gets old. Couple that with the joy of sharing that wonderful book with editors and eventually readers and you’ve got the reason I truly love my job.” Holly Root […]

The Patrick Melrose Novels, by Edward St. Aubyn

Edward St. Aubyn’s four novels, Never Mind, Bad News, Some Hope, and Mother’s Milk, collected in a single volume in 2012, are so brilliant it’s unimaginable that any reader (or writer) for whom words are the coin of the realm would elect not to read them. It’s not just the startling story line of its titular character, which follows Patrick from childbirth through drug addiction, marriage, and the death of his monstrous father and oblivious mother, but St. Aubyn’s prose itself. His language—elaborate, crystalline sentences—unwind with perfect order and disquieting depth. Think Proust, under the searing light of an inquisitor’s lamp.

Take for instance this description of New York, as the “flag-strewn mineral crevasses of mid-town Manhattan.” Or, if your tastes run to a more natural setting, the scene outside narrator’s ancestral home in the south of France on a moonlit night, where Patrick and a friend gaze up to the sky to find “a sky bleached of stars by the violence of the moon.” The word “squeak” is not one you’d think to find in a high tone work of literary brilliance, but there it is, in the setting of a hospital room: “a nurse squeaked in with a trolley of food.”

St. Aubyn knows what to do with words, and that is to subvert them, place them where they’re least expected, and most unsettling. I’m looking at his lines as though under a magnifying lens, but that is one of the pleasures of the extraordinary series. The story of Patrick Melrose, as you’ll see, is the proverbial icing on the cake.

Read James Woods’ on Edward St. Aubyn here.

-Lauren Alwan





Pages: 1 2

LitStack Recs: The Lesson of the Master & Ordinary Grace

The Lesson of the Master, by Henry James Colm Tóibín, in his introduction to the 2007 edition of Henry James’ classic novella, cites a note James made in 1888—an idea that came to him after reading the memoir of a colleague: “…it occurred to me that a very interesting situation would be that of an […]


LitStack Review: The Dinosaur Knights by Victor Milán

The Dinosaur Knights Victor Milán Tor Books Release Date:  July 5, 2016 ISBN 978-0-7653-3297-4 If the battle of Pelennor Fields number among some of your favorite scenes in JRR Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, or if you are gripped by George RR Martin’s warfare in his “A Song of Ice and Fire” epic fantasy […]


Winners of the 2016 Locus Awards

This past weekend, the Locus Science Fiction Foundation announced the recipients of its 2016 Locus Awards during the Locus Awards Weekend held in Seattle, Washington.  Named after the monthly science fiction and fantasy magazine, the Locus Awards are now in their 45th year; winners are determined by an online survey of readers. This year’s Locus […]


Gimbling in the Wabe – Clarity

Today, I plugged new headphones into my iPod and entered nirvana. That may seem somewhat dramatic, but trust me, it’s not.  I had been limping along in headphone purgatory for months.  One side worked, the other didn’t.  I could hear the music, and most of the melody and generally all of the lyrics, so they […]


LitStack Recs: Pictorial English Dictionary & Lake Country

The Oxford-Duden Pictorial English Dictionary (Second Edition, Oxford University Press) This week’s recommendation is obviously not a book for reading, but it is a book every writer should have. The Oxford-Duden Pictorial English Dictionary is an essential reference that is indispensable for writers, a guide to the exact names of things when “thingy,” won’t do. […]


LitChat Interview: Peg Alford Pursell, WTAW Press

  LitStack recently sat down with writer, editor—and now indie publisher—Peg Alford Pursell, a literary community builder with a grand passion for literature. Since 2010, she has curated and produced the monthly reading series Why There Are Words, one of the SF Bay Area’s leading live venues for authors, and recently launched WTAW Press, a […]


LitStack Review: Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler

Sweetbitter Stephanie Danler Alfred A. Knopf Release Date:  May 24, 2016 ISBN 978-11-0187-594-0 Sweetbitter, the debut novel from newcomer Stephanie Danler, is a lot like New York City:  completely wrapped up in itself, which means it is sometimes incredibly pretentious, and at other times absolutely perfect.  It is, however, uniquely honest with itself and the […]


Title: Hideaway
Series: Devil’s Night Series
Genre: Erotic Suspense
Author: Penelope Douglas
Release Date: TBD – 2017



COMING in 2017, HIDEAWAY is the second installment in the Devil’s Night Series! If you’ve read CORRUPT, this is Kai’s story.


You don’t even see me, do you, Kai Mori? No one does.

I’m the kid in the back, the one everyone dismisses, the no-life street punk with dirty finger nails and ripped jeans.

But I’m quiet, and I do my job. I can hang tough and no one does me any favors. I’ve always been on my own.

But then I see you…

Your perfect black suits. Your clean hands. The way you charge into the room, not afraid of the man I work for, and all of a sudden, I feel different.

Like maybe I want to know what you’re like with a woman.

As quickly as the urge comes, though, it disappears. You see, my boss has an agenda. He’s decided to put me in your path, but what he doesn’t realize is, I have plans of my own. A score to settle.

And you won’t know who I really am until it’s too late.

So sit tight. I’m coming to you.


You’re wrong. I’ve seen you before.

You’re the girl who looks like a fourteen year old boy and pretends everyone around her is public enemy #1. Yeah, I remember you.

Thunder Bay. Devil’s Night. Four years ago.

But the thing was…when your hat fell off that night, you looked nothing like a boy. And when I put my hands on you, you didn’t feel like one, either.

Now, after all this time, you’re in Meridian City, and while I don’t know who you are or want you want, I can’t wait to find out.

So come on. Door’s unlocked.

Just be warned, though…Devil’s Night is coming again, and I’m not alone this time.

My friends like to play, too.

Note from the Author: HIDEAWAY still has no definite release date. Erotic suspense takes longer for me to write, and while I hate to keep anyone waiting, I know you’d rather have a good book than a quick one. Bear with me. Getting this book to you is a priority. xoxo.

Buy Corrupt, Book 1

Amazon / Amazon UK / Amazon CA / Amazon AU / Kobo / Barnes and Noble / IBooks



About The Author:

Penelope Douglas is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. She dresses for autumn year round, loves anything lemon flavored, and shops at Target almost daily.

Her books include the Fall Away Series (Bully, Until You, Rival, Falling Away, and Aflame), as well as, Corrupt and Misconduct. Please look for Punk 57, coming September 2016 and Next to Never (A Fall Away Novella), coming January 2017.

She lives in Las Vegas with her husband and their daughter.

Follow Her Here:


a Rafflecopter giveaway


Title: Punk 57
Genre: New Adult
Author: Penelope Douglas
Release Date: September 20, 2016



“We were perfect together. Until we met.”


I can’t help but smile at the words in her letter. She misses me.

In fifth grade, my teacher set us up with pen pals from a different school. Thinking I was a girl, with a name like Misha, the other teacher paired me up with her student, Ryen. My teacher, believing Ryen was a boy like me, agreed.

It didn’t take long for us to figure out the mistake. And in no time at all, we were arguing about everything. The best take-out pizza. Android vs. iPhone. Whether or not Eminem is the greatest rapper ever…

And that was the start. For the next seven years, it was us.

Her letters are always on black paper with silver writing. Sometimes there’s one a week or three in a day, but I need them. She’s the only one who keeps me on track, talks me down, and accepts everything I am.

We only had three rules. No social media, no phone numbers, no pictures. We had a good thing going. Why ruin it?

Until I run across a photo of a girl online. Name’s Ryen, loves Gallo’s pizza, and worships her iPhone. What are the chances?

F*ck it. I need to meet her.

I just don’t expect to hate what I find.


He hasn’t written in three months. Something’s wrong. Did he die? Get arrested? Knowing Misha, neither would be a stretch.

Without him around, I’m going crazy. I need to know someone is listening. It’s my own fault. I should’ve gotten his number or picture or something.

He could be gone forever.

Or right under my nose, and I wouldn’t even know it.


About The Author:

Penelope Douglas is a New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. She dresses for autumn year round, loves anything lemon flavored, and shops at Target almost daily.

Her books include the Fall Away Series (Bully, Until You, Rival, Falling Away, and Aflame), as well as, Corrupt and Misconduct. Please look for Punk 57, coming September 2016 and Next to Never (A Fall Away Novella), coming January 2017.

She lives in Las Vegas with her husband and their daughter.

Follow Her Here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Finalists for the 2016 John W. Campbell Memorial Award Announced

The John W. Campbell Memorial Award was created to honor the late editor of Astounding Science Fiction magazine, now named Analog. Campbell, who edited the magazine from 1937 until his death in 1971, is called by many writers and scholars the father of modern science fiction. Writers and critics Harry Harrison and Brian W. Aldiss established the award […]


LiStack Rec: Cutting Teeth & Wonderbook

Cutting Teeth, by Julia Fierro When my daughter was little, there was a universally acknowledged sentiment among the parents I knew. We referred to  summer as the busy season, when the steady routine of the school year fell away and the schedule went overtime. Still, when your kids are small, there’s a lovely innocence to […]


Coming to the Stacks: New Deals for June 2016

Fiction – Debut Adrian Archangelo’s THE BALLAD OF ELVA AND CHESTER: Or, Mostly Their Fault, pitched as having shades of Tom Robbins meets Douglas Adams, about space aliens who appear to be human and have been here on Earth since the year 1100 with the goal of helping humanity develop more empathy and compassion and […]

“If man is to survive, he will have learned to take a delight in the essential differences between men and between cultures. He will learn that differences in ideas and attitudes are a delight, part of life’s exciting variety, not something to fear.”
― Gene Roddenberry




2016 British Fantasy Awards Shortlists Announced

The British Fantasy Society (an offshoot of the British Science Fiction Association) is an organization “dedicated to promoting the best in the fantasy, science fiction and horror genres.”   On Monday, the Society  announced its nominees for the 2016 British Fantasy Awards. The nominees include: BEST ANTHOLOGY African Monsters, edited by Margrét Helgadóttir and Jo Thomas […]


LitStack Recs: Out of Place & The Grind

Out of Place: A Memoir, by Edward Said Edward Said, the prolific author, political activist, pianist and music critic rose to academic stardom in 1978 with the publication of the seminal Orientalism, a critique of the inaccuracies that founded Western study of the East. Said, who died in 2003 after battling a rare form of […]


LitStack Review: Ophelia by Lisa Klein

Ophelia Lisa Klein Bloomsbury USA Childrens Release Date:  December 26, 2007 ISBN 978-1-58234-801-8 Earlier this month, word broke on the entertainment wires that Daisy Ridley and Naomi Watts were in negotiations to star in a movie project based on Lisa Klein’s YA novel Ophelia, a story written from the viewpoint of one of most tragic […]


LitChat Interview: Patricia Nelson, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency

Patricia Nelson joined Marsal Lyon Literary Agency in 2014. She represents adult, young adult, and middle grade fiction, and is actively building her list. In general, Patricia looks for stories that hook her with a unique plot, fantastic writing and complex characters that jump off the page. On the adult side, she is seeking women’s fiction both upmarket and […]


Gimbling in the Wabe – My Thoughts on June Bugs

I hate June bugs. Yes, I realize “hate” is a powerful, laden word.  I realize that it should not be used indiscriminately or flippantly, for it is the main word we have for ultimate abhorrence.  Yes, I realize that I should consider using the word “loathe” or “despise” or  “detest” instead – something not quite […]


LitStack Review: Who Killed Sherlock Holmes? by Paul Cornell

Who Killed Sherlock Holmes? Paul Cornell Pan Books Release Date:  May 19, 2016 ISBN 978-1-4472-7326-4 London detectives James Quill, Tony Costain and Kevin Sefton, and analyst Lisa Ross form a unique team; they have been “gifted” with the Sight – the ability to see the hidden, supernatural side of London.  Its often not a pretty […]


Gimbling in the Wabe – Words, Words, Words

Polonius: What do you read, my lord? Hamlet: Words, words, words. ~William Shakespeare Although it can certainly be argued to the contrary, it seems that humans are the only creatures who use spoken language as opposed to creatures that “merely” communicate.  And although human language has existed for ages, written language has been around for only 4,000 years […]


LitStack Recs: Paris Stories & Javelin Rain

Paris Stories, by Mavis Gallant In this month of celebrating the short story (#ShortStoryMonth), there must be mention of one of my favorite collections, Mavis Gallant’s Paris Stories. Published in 2002, the book contains one of my favorite stories, Mlle. Dias de Corta. It concerns Mademoiselle, the boarder of a financially strapped Parisian widow, a […]


LitStack Review: The Spider’s War by Daniel Abraham

The Spider’s War Daniel Abraham Orbit Books Release Date:  March 8, 2016 ISBN 978-0-316-20405-7 In 2011, Orbit published The Dragon’s Path, the first volume of Daniel Abraham’s fantasy series “The Dagger and the Coin.”  Five years and four books later, The Spider’s War brings this superlative series to a close – and what an epic […]


Gimbling in the Wabe – Peanuts and Crackerjacks

This is my favorite time of year.  Baseball season.  Early spring, and it’s still cool out.  We’ve yet to hit the heat and humidity of summer.  So far from October, and the post-season, there is still hope in the air, regardless of the team’s record so far.  This year, for my team, it’s a scant […]


LitStack Review: The Brotherhood of the Wheel by R. S. Belcher

The Brotherhood of the Wheel R. S. Belcher Tor Books Release Date:  March 1, 2016 ISBN 978-0-7653-8028-9 I grew up in the 1970s, mostly in small towns in the Midwest.  The truckers that would go rumbling down the highways that invariably transected our tiny burgs were legendary in their mystique.  As kids, my sisters and […]


2015 Nebula Award Winners Announced

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) announced the winners of the 2015 Nebula Awards in a50th anniversary ceremony held in Chicago over the weekend, hosted by comedian John Hodgman.  Also announced were the awards for the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation and the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science […]


2015 Bram Stoker Award Winners Announced

At this year’s StokerCon convention, in the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas, the Horror Writers Association – the premier organization of writers and publishers of horror and dark fantasy – announced the winners of the 2015 Bram Stoker Awards (named in honor of the author of the seminal horror novel, Dracula). The winners and […]


Gimbling in the Wabe – Inspiration in Transitions

Today at the dog park, one of the topics discussed by us “8:30 regulars” included high school graduations.  It is, after all, that time of year, for mortarboards and diplomas and college visits and looking forward.  Some of the folks at the park have kids who are graduating in a few weeks, or next year; […]

The Love of A Good Woman, stories by Alice Munro

The short story has few practitioners as skilled as Alice Munro, now 84, who as far as I’m concerned, is a writer who’s all but required reading in #ShortStoryMonth. Munro famously began writing stories as a young mother, finding the story took “less time.” Lucky for readers that the genre turned out to be one that suited her. Since her first collection appeared in 1968, she has produced fourteen in all—and garnered numerous awards and prizes, including Canada’s Governor’s General Award, PEN/Malamud Award, the Rea Award for the Short Story, O. Henry Award and many more.

Munro is known for stories set in her home landscape of western Ontario, Canada, and focus on the intricacies of relationships in ways that are never sentimental. Her stories are told in a voice that intimates the deepest thoughts and feelings of a character, but are never cloying or sentimental. Munro is the furthest thing from it: her narrators are sharp-witted, sardonic, even biting in their observations.  So where to begin when first entering Munro country?

My recommendation is to begin mid-career. It’s there you’ll find her classically novelistic stories—where the density of novel is packed into thirty or so pages. The stories of this period may not be as stylistically daring as those in recent collections like Runaway, but there is something classically satisfying about the stories written 1982 and 1998, and the collections are, in this reader’s view, vintage Munro. “The Moons of Jupiter,” “The Progress of Love,” “Friend of My Youth,” and “The Love of A Good Woman” are some of Munro’s classic stories. As impossible as it is to choose, I’d direct first-time Munro readers to the collected titled The Love of A Good Woman. There you will find such classic stories as “The Children Stay,” a chilling tale of adultery and its effects viewed from the perspective of years later. Or “Before the Change,” an epistolary account of the adult daughter of a widowed country doctor, who, moving back home learns the secret the housekeeper had been blackmailing him with for decades. The title story of the collection is a domestic murder mystery, with an ailing husband, a devoted nurse, curious boys, and clues set down in a collage of time and memory.

Munro revels in what she calls “knotty” situations, where she can hold a mirror up to the complexity of life and apply her astonishing eye to the details, gathering time and events in her own unique fashion. Munro has famously referred to her narrative structure as that of a house, in which the reader is free to wander through its rooms in any order she pleases. It’s a way she herself prefers to read stories, she’s said. Though in the end, read them in any order you prefer, just be sure to take your time and savor them.

—Lauren Alwan

Pages: 1 2

LitChat Interview: Kimberly Brower, Rebecca Friedman Literary Agency

Kimberly Brower represents a wide range of authors, particularly those who write contemporary romance, women’s fiction, thrillers and young adult. Her clients are New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Amazon best selling authors, who are both traditionally and self published. Although she loves all things romance, she is also searching for books […]


LitStack Recs: Thunderstruck & Other Stories & Seven Brief Lessons on Physics

Thunderstruck & Other Stories, by Elizabeth McCracken With April declared National Poetry Month, May is now officially Short Story Month, dedicated to reading, sharing, applauding and promoting the short story. On Twitter, Knopf has launched the hashtag #shortreads with links to stories, events, appreciations and advice. Given my deep appreciation of short stories, it seemed […]


LitStack Review: Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

Sorcerer to the Crown Zen Cho Ace Books Release Date:  September 1, 2015 ISBN 978-0-425-28337-0 Magic and mayhem in proper English society during what feels to be the Regency era?  A Royal Society of Unnatural Philosophers, a Sorcerer Royal who is (gasp!) a black man, and a small but growing movement to allow women to […]


2016 Locus Award Nominees Announced

Quickly becoming one of the premier science fiction/fantasy literary awards out there, the Locus Awards are determined by polling the readers of Locus magazine (subtitled The Magazine of The Science Fiction & Fantasy Field), both in print and online.  Locus was founded in 1968 and the awards themselves were first handed out in 1971. This […]


2015 Shirley Jackson Award Nominees Announced

If you are a reader of horror stories, or those that invoke psychological suspense, then you probably know the name Shirley Jackson.  Ms. Jackson wrote such classic novels as The Haunting of Hill House and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, as well as the well known short story, “The Lottery.” To honor the legacy of Shirley […]


LitStack Review: Arkwright by Allen Steele

Arkwright Allen Steele Tor Books Release Date:  March 1, 2016 ISBN 978-0-7653-8215-3 Allen Steele is a prolific science fiction author who has won three Hugo Awards, serves on the Board of Advisors for both the Space Frontier Foundation and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and is well known for his Coyote Series […]

CR Banner - Thick & Thin

Title: Thick & Thin (Thin Love, #3)
Author: Eden Butler
Genre: NA | Contemporary Romance
Release Date: July 25, 2016

Thick and Thin Cover 800x1200



My love was thick.
Her faith was thin.
Somewhere in the middle is where life found us.

I claimed her when I was a boy.
I held her until I was a man.
She was my first thought every morning, my last smile at night, and a million memories in between.
Then one night, with her warmth still lingering on the sheets, Aly King walked away from me, from us, from our life.

They say time heals all wounds, but not for me.
Not when my heart is empty.
Not when there is nothing but a sea of meaningless faces wherever I go.
It always comes back to her.
Aly needs reminding of how drunk our love made us, before she forgets completely.
Before we lose our chance.
Before we are irrevocably broken.


Books in the Thin Love Series

About Eden Butler

Eden Butler is an editor and writer of Mystery, Suspense and Contemporary Romance novels and the nine-timEden Butler Pices great-granddaughter of an honest-to-God English pirate. This could explain her affinity for rule breaking and rum.

When she’s not writing or wondering about her possibly Jack Sparrowesque ancestor, Eden patiently waits for her Hogwarts letter, edits, reads and spends way too much time watching rugby, Doctor Who and New Orleans Saints football.

She is currently living under teenage rule alongside her husband in southeast Louisiana.

Please send help.


Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Tumblr | Blog | Goodreads

Enter the Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Arthur C. Clarke 2016 Finalists Announced

Now here are some awards finalists that we can feel good about! The Arthur C. Clarke Award is given for the best science fiction novel first published in the UK during the previous year. The award was established with a grant given by Sir Arthur C. Clarke and the first prize was awarded in 1987 […]


LitStack Rec: Memoirs of Place & The Bassoon King

On Memoirs of Place: A Quick List I always appreciate a good memoir that centers on place. And luckily, there are writers who view setting as a key element of experience. For this reader, when place, any place, has a role in the account—a crumbling childhood home in Far Rockaway, N.Y., a remote mountain road […]


2016 Hugo Finalists Announced

The finalists for the 2016 Hugo Awards have been announced.  They include: BEST NOVEL Ancillary Mercy by Ann Leckie The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass by Jim Butcher The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin Seveneves by Neal Stephenson Uprooted by Naomi Novik   BEST NOVELLA Binti by Nnedi Okorafor The Builders by Daniel Polansky Penric’s […]


Gimbling in the Wabe – Our Shakespeare

Saturday is the 452nd anniversary of what we believe was the birth date of William Shakespeare, and the 400th anniversary of what we know was the date of his death.  The assumption is that he was born on April 23, 1564, not because there is a definitive record of his birth, but because we do […]


LitStack Rec: my name on his tongue & Hild

my name on his tongue, by Laila Halaby In the climate of inflamed rhetoric about immigrants that has predominated in this election year, a small, quiet book like Laila Halaby’s my name on his tongue can speak volumes. In her first book of poetry, published in 2012, Halaby mines issues of identity, geography and the […]


2016 Pulitzer Prizes Announced

The Pulitzer Prizes are awarded annually for achievement in newspaper and online journalism, literature and musical composition in the United States.  They were established in 1917 by provisions in the will of Hungarian born Joseph Pulitzer, the esteemed publisher of the New York World and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.  They are administered by Columbia University. This […]

Crash Course: essays from where writing and life collide, by Robin Black

The third book from short story writer and novelist Robin Black collects her recent essays, many of which first appeared on the great, and sadly erstwhile literary blog, Beyond the Margins. Crash Course, subtitled essays from where writing and life collide, is aptly divided into two sections. Part One, LIFE (& Writing), is followed by WRITING (& Life), and both perspectives offer insights writers will find instructive and heartening. Crash Course, while lending wisdom on a range of writing and business-of-writing topics, also reads like a memoir, showing us the writer as she reckons with her past and the self that has emerged. I especially appreciated the forthright stance Black takes with her struggles, aspirations, doubt, and sense of accomplishment, all delivered in the deft prose for which her fiction is highly praised.

There is, for example, the late start to her work as a writer—re-married with two small children, battling the dread and desire to write, while at the same time being derailed by agoraphobia. There is too, the sorrow and shame of the years of delayed work, a regret that Black sometimes finds hard to shake. Years later, despite the leap of enrolling in a graduate creative writing program and the subsequent success of two books (a story collection If I loved you I would tell you this, and a novel, Life Drawing), the worry can still persist:

“On any given day, I don’t know if I will be able to write, I don’t know if I will like what I produce…I don’t know whether, if published, it will find readers for whom it ‘succeeds’…I don’t know if I will be publicly insulted or lauded for the work I have done, or ignored.”

That unpredictability, and uncertainty, she points out, is also a state writers seek, even though (or perhaps because) it’s uncomfortable. As Black wisely observes, the rewards that come with its risks are “something for which to be grateful.”

The essay “AD(H)D I” looks at the futility of trapping oneself, and others, in a cage of perfection. As an adult with Attention Deficit Disorder, there is a period in which Black’s life is in a general state of upheaval with lack of focus and follow-through. She encounters the proverbial opposite upon meeting the man who would be her second husband, an organized, seemingly unflappable person who, as Black tells it, brings a sense of order to the chaos—though not without its complications. This orderly, attentive man unwittingly throws her own qualities into a less-attractive high relief:

“…he found my left sneaker, cleaned our clogged gutters, replaced our souring milk, and remembered to pay our bills. The bastard!”

What this essay achieves, as do so many in this collection, is the quick pivot from life to writing. In “AD(H)D I”, the turn takes place as the couple comes to an understanding based on mutual empathy—an event that for Black brings a revelation—that her husband isn’t the one who needs to change. This epiphany, as she next points out, though groundbreaking in real life, isn’t as effective in fiction, adding, “the bar for plausibility is higher in fiction than in fact.” This essay runs early in the collection, but in the facile shift from life to writing we understand how Black means to show us the way each is informed by the other.

 Crash Course is also a lesson in the short essay. Most pieces run two to five pages yet each feels complete, and effortless. Black looks at a range of issues, among them: on writing query letters (including the author’s own. Tip: think voice); on inaction in fiction; revision and letting go of first ideas; on the excellence of adverbs (shout out to Truly, Madly, Deeply); true-life anecdote versus the narrative needs of story; and some qualities of distinctive fiction (hint: momentum, authority, and “a confident intelligence”).

One of the most fascinating threads in this collection is Black’s relationship with her father, a brilliant, complicated, and troubled man whose role in her personal history is clearly powerful. In matters of achievement, we learn, the elder Black’s view was “If it isn’t to be a work of genius, it isn’t worth writing,” a standard that rendered Black, in her words, “a study in blockage.” She writes, “Even as I battle the toxic standards of success that my father breathed into my dreams, I find myself grateful for his example of how fiercely one can try to fight a demon down.”

That personal history made me wildly curious about this larger-than-life formative relationship and its role in forging the writer from her nascent self. I can guess an author as inventive, smart, and anchored by deep feeling as Black has plenty of projects in the queue, any of which I’d eagerly read, and it would be thrilling if that memoir were among them.

Read more about Robin Black here.

—Lauren Alwan

Pages: 1 2

National Library Week: How a Library Saved My Life

April 10 – 16 is National Library Week, and this year’s theme is “Libraries Transform“, reminding all Americans that today’s libraries are not just about what they have for people, but what they do for and with people. Have you been to your local library lately?  They really have become amazing places.  If you’ve been to one […]


Gimbling in the Wabe – Sometimes It Snows in April

Since my plans for an original Gimbling in the Wabe went a bit off the rails this week, I’m taking advantage of this morning’s snow to dust off a former offering.  Even though today’s snow was nothing even remotely like what came down in 2013 (when this essay was first published), it nevertheless was honest to goodness snow, and this […]


LitStack Recs: Changing My Mind &

Changing My Mind: Occasional Essays Zadie Smith This collection of essays came about by accident, Zadie Smith tells us in the foreword, but the voice and curiosity behind it makes this read seamless and satisfying. My hope, as a reader of essays, whether the topic is snow camping or religious fanatics or Monarch butterflies, is […]


2016 Aurora Awards Shortlist Announced

The Canadian Science Fiction and Fantasy Association has announced their shortlists for the 2016 Aurora Awards, honoring the best works and activities by Canadian science fiction/fantasy authors and enthusiasts, both professional and fan-based, in 2015.  The winners will be announced in August at Canvention, to be held in Calgary, Alberta. The nominees for the Aurora […]


Blog Tour: Catching Serenity by Eden Butler

  TITLE: Catching Serenity (Seeking Serenity Book 4) AUTHOR: Eden Butler GENRE: Contemporary Romance BLOG TOUR: April 1 – 9   SYNOPSIS It began with a look. Just one, thrown my way. A mad, dizzying rush of desire cracking across the patio, bouncing around my friends, ignoring everything but the heat bubbling between his eyes […]


Gimbling in the Wabe – Tangible Authors

I am an extremely lucky person.  At times when I am feeling particularly magnanimous, I would even say that I am blessed. I live in an existence where I am surrounded by books.  I own books, I can download books electronically, I have a library nearby where I can not only check out books but […]


2015 BSFA Award Winners Announced

The British Science Fiction Association announced the winners of the 2015 BSFA Awards on March 26 at the British National Science Fiction Convention (known as Eastercon), held in Manchester.  For the first time ever, the award for Best Novel and for the Best Short Story went to the same person:  Aliette de Bodard.  Of winning both […]


LitStack Review: The Past by Tessa Hadley

The Past Tessa Hadley Harper Release Date:  January 5, 2016 ISBN 978-0-06-227041-2 As I read Tessa Hadley’s newest novel, The Past, I had the same feeling as when I eat brussel sprouts.  To be honest, I don’t particularly care for brussel sprouts; they are somewhat of an acquired taste for my rather pedestrian palate.  But […]


Announcing the Winners of the 2015 Aurealis Awards

The winners of the 2015 Aurealis Awards – Australia’s speculative fiction awards, named after the esteemed literary magazine – were announced this weekend at CONTACT2016, the 55th annual Australian National Science Fiction Convention, held in Brisbane, Queensland.  Also announced was the recipient of The Convenors’ Award for Excellence, which recognizes a particular achievement in speculative […]


2015 National Book Critics Circle Awards Announced

The National Book Critics Circle has announced the winners of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Awards, as well as honoring the recipients of three direct (non-shortlisted) awards. Take a look! FICTION WINNER: The Sellout by Paul Beatty Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff The Story of My Teeth by Valeria Luiselli The Tsar of […]



They are the lost boys.

Sons of mafia mistresses expected to keep their fathers’ sins in the shadows. The lucky ones are forgotten.KM_TheEnforcer

Unfortunately for Valentino “Tino” Moretti, his brother Nova was too smart to be forgotten, and too valuable to risk when he resists a life of crime. So they punished Tino instead. Forced into the cruel world of the Sicilian Mafia at twelve, Tino was broken before he was old enough to know the man he was supposed to be. Now he’s what the mafia made him.

The enforcer.

A trained killer forbidden to love, but he did anyway. He’s loved Brianna all along.

Raw and beautiful, their romance was all consuming and far too dangerous. They were ripped apart a long time ago. It’s not until the borgata puts out a hit on her that Brianna falls back into Tino’s arms, churning up their dark past and unraveling all the Moretti brothers’ closely guarded secrets.

This isn’t the end of the story. It’s only the beginning, and it is brutal.

There’s a reason enforcers are considered too deadly to love.




Hello! It is Kele Moon, hopping through the internet to spread the word about my latest book, The Enforcer. Finally, Tino’s book is out. Here is a little snippet from the story. Thank you to all the blogs hosting the tour! Be sure to enter the rafflecopper and comment on tour posts for a chance to win a chance for one of four $10 Amazon gift certificate or one of two books of Viper.  The giveaway starts March 20, 2016 and ends April 2, 2016.



Brianna stepped back when she saw Tino staring at her.

Her cheeks flamed with embarrassment.

She glanced away from Tino still spread out on the couch, thighs apart, cock straining against his jeans, with his washboard abs, broad chest, and thick biceps all on display. His full lips were illuminated in the moonlight from the glass windows showing off the six-million-dollar Midtown view Moretti money afforded Carina.

He was a fantasy come to life, and she would have to be dead not to look, but that didn’t mean she wasn’t mortified to be caught. “Y-you were talking in your sleep,” she lied. “I was checking to see if you were okay.”

“I wasn’t sleeping.”

His voice had a rough edge to it that gave Brianna goose bumps. Still she avoided looking at him as she argued, “You made a sound. You were dreaming.”

Tino quirked an eyebrow at her. “I knew you were watching.”

“Oh.” She closed her eyes when she realized that low groan and the arch of his hips were for her benefit. “You wanted to embarrass me. You succeeded. So congratulations.” She didn’t know if she was angrier with Tino or herself. “I’m going back to bed.”

She turned to leave, but he called out, “I’ll let you watch. If that’s your thing…I’ll do it.”

Brianna turned back to him with wide eyes, because she really couldn’t believe he meant what it sounded like he meant.

Who would do that?

Tino stared at her, unblinking, bedroom eyes hooded and dark in the moonlight. “Is it your thing?”

“Is what my thing?” Her voice was raspy with fear and desire. Her heartbeat was thundering, and the ache between her thighs was overwhelming. “Watch what, exactly?”

“Watch me jerk off thinking about you,” he said without even flinching. Then he cupped himself through his jeans like he had before when she thought he was sleeping, and arched his hips up. “Want it?”

She felt hypnotized by him and the raw sexuality that was choking the air out of the living room. She nodded silently, her gaze on his hand and the way he grabbed himself.

“Yeah,” she said, not sure if she shocked him more or herself when she admitted, “I want it.”

He raised his eyebrows skeptically, making it obvious she surprised him, but he pulled at the button to his jeans anyway. “You sure?”

Brianna looked to the opened fly, the zipper sliding down from the strain of his cock pressing against it. She nodded again. “I’m sure.”

Maybe she just wanted to know she could meet him halfway.

There was such a hard, deadly air to Tino now. Life made him feral, and no matter how beautiful he was, touching him now was dangerous, but she still wanted it…desperately.

He forced the zipper the rest of the way down, still watching her intently, making Brianna very aware of the spaghetti-strap nightgown she wore. The way his gaze ran over her body had her realizing the city lights behind her caused the thin blue material to be see-through. He stopped and stared at the V of her nightgown, unapologetically eyeing her tits.


Brianna’s nipples had tightened, and Tino noticed because he missed nothing. She folded her arms over her chest and shifted where she stood.

“Yes. A little,” she admitted and looked toward the closed door to Carina’s room. “Aren’t you?”

“Nope.” Tino pushed his jeans down to prove his point, exposing a pair of tight blue designer briefs that made him look like an underwear model.

Brianna knew he was big, but seeing the way his cock filled out those briefs, curving to the left and nearly pushing past the waistband, had her gripping at her grandmother’s cross around her neck simply because she needed to do something with her hands.

He actually went so far as to kick off his jeans and push the blanket to the floor, leaving himself vulnerable to Carina or Paco walking out. More so, putting himself on display for Brianna, and she couldn’t help but ask, “Aren’t you embarrassed?”

He cupped himself again. “Do I look like I have something to be embarrassed about?”

“No.” Brianna shook her head.





A freckle-faced redhead born and raised in Hawaii, Kele Moon has always been a bit of a sore thumb and has come to enjoy the novelty of it. She thrives on pushing the envelope and finding ways to make the impossible work in her story telling. With a mad passion for romance, she adores the art of falling in love. The only rules she believes in is that, in love, there are no rules and true love knows no bounds.

So obsessed is she with the beauty of romance and the novelty of creating it, she’s lost in her own wonder world most of the time. Thankfully she married her own dark, handsome, brooding hero who has infinite patience for her airy ways and attempts to keep her grounded. When she leaves her keys in the refrigerator or her cell phone in the oven, he’s usually there to save her from herself. The two of them now reside in Florida with their three beautiful children, who make their lives both fun and challenging in equal parts—they wouldn’t have it any other way.


FB –





Gimbling in the Wabe – A Thousand Words

* This Gimbling was first published in 2013.* Anyone who has eaten a ripe, juicy peach knows how messy they can be.  No amount of slurping will keep the juice from running down your chin, if you eat it straight from the pit with no napkin to contain it.  Eating a ripe, juicy peach – […]


LitStack Rec: My Misspent Youth & Three Parts Dead

My Misspent Youth, essays by Meghan Daum My introduction to Daum and her essays was Life Would Be Perfect If I Lived In That House, her account of wanting, finding, losing and finding the ideal home. In a way, it’s a memoir of coming into one’s own, though in the context of money matters—real estate, […]


LitStack Rec: The Empty Family & The Last Witness

The Empty Family, by Colm Tóibín  Colm Tóibín’s story collection, The Empty Family (released January 4, 2011) is one I always keep close by, dipping into the pages to take in the voices of its starkly vivid narrators. The prose is emotionally precise in the tradition of William Trevor and Edna O’Brien, as Tóibín’s stories […]


2016 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction Longlist Announced

On Tuesday – International Women’s Day – the longlist for the Baileys Woman’s Prize for Fiction was announced.  The British prize, now in its 10th year, celebrates excellence, originality and accessibility in women’s writing from throughout the world. Works on the longlist include: A God in Ruins by Kate Atkinson Rush Oh! by Shirley Barrett […]


Happy Birthday, Tee!

    We here at LitStack couldn’t let the day pass without wishing a very happy birthday to our illustrious leader, Editor-in-Chief Tee Tate!  Not only is Tee a wonderful boss who has put so much love and effort into this website, but she’s a talented novelist, a good friend, and an all around incredible […]


2015 Kitschie Award Winners Announced

The winners of the 2015 Kitschie Awards – the most tentacular of all literary prizes (!) – which rewards the year’s “most progressive, intelligent and entertaining works that contain elements of the speculative or fantastic,” were announced last night in a ceremony in London, England.  (The awards are sponsored by Fallen London, the award-winning browser […]


LitStack Review: The Providence of Fire by Brian Staveley

The Providence of Fire Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, Book II Brian Staveley Tor Books Release Date:  December 8, 2015 ISBN 978-0-7653-3641-5 Brian Staveley seems like such a nice young man.  Former teacher, editor at a small press specializing in poetry, he lives in Vermont and “divides his time between running trails, splitting wood, writing, […]


Gimbling in the Wabe – Too Many Books

An oldie, but a goodie.  Enjoy! Too Many Books I have books upon the windowsills and books piled up on chairs. Books stacked high in corners and books upon the stairs. I have books packed tight on bookshelves and on top of them more books. Books piled high on nightstands and almost everywhere you looks. […]


LitStack Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Six of Crows Leigh Bardugo Henry Holt and Company Release Date:  September 29, 2015 ISBN 978-1-62779-212-7 For many years, I have had a favorite rapscallion literary character of ill repute:  Jack Dawkins, better known as the Artful Dodger in Charles Dickens’ classic, Oliver Twist.  But now, the Dodger has some mighty strong competition:  Kaz Brekker, […]


Finalists for the Bram Stoker Awards Announced

This week the Horror Writers Association (HWA), the premier organization of writers and publishers of horror and dark fantasy, announced the nominees for the 2015 Bram Stoker Awards.  The awards, named after the author of the horror masterpiece, Dracula, are given annually to works that exhibit superior writing in the horror genre. The nominees include: […]


2015 Kitschie Awards Shortlist Announced

The Kitschie Awards, now it their sixth year, rewards the year’s “most progressive, intelligent and entertaining works that contain elements of the speculative or fantastic.”  They are sponsored by Fallen London, the award-winning browser game of a dark and mysterious London, designed by Failbetter Games. This year’s shortlist for “the most tentacular of all literary […]


Tiptree Award Looking for Reader Input

The James Tiptree, Jr. Literary Award is an annual award an annual literary prize for science fiction or fantasy that expands or explores our understanding of gender.  According to the Award’s website, “he aim of the award is not to look for work that falls into some narrow definition of political correctness, but rather to […]


2015 Nebula Awards Nominees Announced

The Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (SFWA) have announced the nominees for the 2015 Nebula Awards, as well as the nominees for the Ray Bradbury Award for Outstanding Dramatic Presentation and the Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy. According to the SFWA’s eligibility rules, all works first published in […]


Today we are sharing the cover for BENNETT (On the Line, #2) by Brenda Rothert. This book is currently up for pre-order and will be released on March 15th! KILLIAN, the first book in the On the Line series, also has brand new cover.

You can purchase the book by clicking the links below.



Bennett (On the Line, #2)

Releasing: March 15


Amazon | iBooks

Add Bennett to Goodreads

Book Blurb:

Bennett Morse devotes his time to chasing two things: an NHL career and women. He’s the easygoing member of his three-man line on the Fenway Flyers, content to play the game he loves and soak up the female attention it brings – as long as it’s from a different woman each time. He learned the hard way that choosing only one leads to heartache.

Newly single attorney Charlotte Holloway finds just what she needs in Bennett – a sweet, sexy man to ease the burn of her recent breakup. One night is all she wants from the left winger who seems to have all the right moves. Soon circumstance draws her back to Bennett, and the sparks between them become a fiery blaze. But with the stakes high, will they risk it all and put their hearts on the line?


Killian, the first book in the Out of Line series, had a make-over!


Killian (On the Line, #1)


Amazon | iBooks | B&N | Kobo | GooglePlay

Add Killian to Goodreads

Book Blurb:

Killian Bosch knows he’s his own worst enemy – he just doesn’t give a damn. The star forward of a minor league hockey team, he’s unstoppable on the ice. His reckless behavior, devil-may-care attitude and complete disregard for consequences have made him a major source of headaches for the Fenway Flyers’ brass.

But the new Flyers owner is more steel than brass. Sidney Stahl is a disciplined woman who parlayed earnings from a college job into a real estate empire. She’s determined to transform the Flyers from marketing nightmare to hockey powerhouse. Once she gets Killian in line, she knows the rest of the team will follow his lead.

The seduction of his sexy new team owner is a challenge too forbidden for Killian to resist. Sidney plays into his attraction as a means of controlling him, but soon finds that she’s the one surrendering. It’s all on the line as Killian and Sidney are forced to choose – business or pleasure?




Brenda Rothert is an Illinois native who was a print journalist for nine years. She made the jump from fact to fiction in 2013 and never looked back. From new adult to steamy contemporary romance, Brenda creates fresh characters in every story she tells. She’s a lover of Diet Coke, chocolate, lazy weekends and happily ever afters.


Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | | Wattpad | Amazon

InkSlinger Blogger Final

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and fans of American novelist, Harper Lee who passed away at the age of 89. HARPER LEE

On July 11, 1960, Lee’s novel To Kill A Mockingbird was published and garnered critical and commercial success. Last year, a prequel to Mockingbird, Go Set a Watchman was published after being discovered in 2011 and was regarded as one of the year’s best selling books.

During her career and fiercely private life, Lee received an honorary doctorate of letters from The University Of The South in Sewanee, Tenn, a Pulitzer Prize, the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the National Medal of Arts, presented to her by President Barack Obama, in 2010.


2015 Aurealis Awards Finalists Announced

Americans have the Nebula Awards.  The Brits have the BSFA Awards.  And the Australians have the Aurealis Awards. Aurealis is an Australian speculative fiction magazine, launched in 1990 to provide a market for Australian speculative fiction writers, and with a further aim to raise authors’ public profiles; they instituted the Aurealis Awards in 1995.  New […]


Compton Crook Award Finalists Announced

The Baltimore Science Fiction Society, Inc. (BSFS) created the Compton Crook Award in 1982 to honor the best first novel of the year written by an individual author in the Science Fiction/Fantasy/Horror genre.   This year, the nominees for the 2016 Compton Crook Award are: 5 to 1 by Holly Bodger Owl and the Japanese Circus […]


Vote For Your Favorite Locus Award Nominees

Along with the Hugos and the Nebulas, the Locus Awards are some of the biggest awards handed out for works in the science fiction and fantasy genres.  But did you know that you can vote for your favorite nominees without belonging to any organization or attending any convention?  Well, you can! Locus Online has posted the […]


LitStack Rec: The Films in My Life & Planetfall

The Films in My Life, by Francois Truffaut This past week, Francois Truffaut would have turned 84. The revered French filmmaker, who died in 1984 is the subject of numerous books,  dearth of books that cover the director’s life and work, but few directors step into the role of critic. Truffaut, one of the founders […]


2015 BSFA Shortlist Announced

This weekend, The British Science Fiction Association announced their shortlist for the 2015 BSFA Awards – the premiere British science fiction literary awards.  The nominees include:   Best Novel: Europe at Midnight by Dave Hutchinson Mother of Eden by Chris Beckett The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard Luna: New Moon by Ian […]


The People’s Choice Awards for Books Are Announced

The results are in, and the winners have been announced for the first annual People’s Choice Awards for Books (sponsored by the People’s Choice Awards and!  And the voters’ favorite books are: Favorite Fiction – The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah Favorite Nonfiction – Why Not Me? Mindy Kaling Favorite Crime & Mystery – Pretty […]


Gimbling in the Wabe – The View from Here

Recently, there was a bit of hullabaloo and a great deal of chortling when rapper B.o.B. “dueled” over Twitter with astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson about the Earth being flat.  I had heard about it only tangentially until Tyson did a bit on Comedy Central’s The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore, as the first responder in […]


“A Darker Shade of Magic” Rights Acquired

After “sitting on the news for over six months”, author Victoria Schwab excitedly announced on Facebook on Tuesday that the rights to her critically acclaimed fantasy novel A Darker Shade of Magic have been picked up by G-BASE, an entertainment development company partially owned by actor Gerard Butler.  “And I am writing the pilot!!!!!” she […]


LitStack Rec: Bridge & A Tale for the Time Being

Bridge, by Robert Thomas “Welcome to the prayer-strewn pews of my brain,” Alice, the narrator of Bridge tells us, and quickly, we understand that this intellectually gifted young woman sees the world, and herself, in unconventional, and often dangerous ways. Robert Thomas’s powerful debut novel, published by BOA Editions in October, takes place in fifty-six […]


“The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps” Wins the Crawford Award

Kai Ashante Wilson has won the 2016 William L. Crawford Fantasy Award for his debut novel The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps. The Crawford Award is presented annually by the International Association for the Fantastic in the Arts (IAFA), a scholarly organization devoted to the study of the fantastic as it appears in literature, film, and […]