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    Congrats to WriteByNighters, Part 2!

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in WBN News & Events     Comments No comments

    While you’re heading back this weekend from your Thanksgiving travels, why not read up on some more recent success stories from your fellow WriteByNighters.

    As you’ll recall, a few weeks ago we posted about some upcoming books from our talented clients, and asked if there were any others we should know about.

    There are! And here are a few of them:


    Caroline Bock‘s debut story collection, Carry Her Home, was selected by the Washington Writers’ Publishing House for its 2018 Fiction Award, which includes a cash prize and publication. The book was released in mid-October, with  a book launch event at D.C.’s venerable bookstore Politics & Prose. (Which would be a great place to buy the book.) read more

    Congrats to WriteByNighters!

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in WBN News & Events     Comments No comments

    Continuing our series on publication and our new publication assistance services, we have a few fun announcements to make, and some congratulations to dish out to a few hard-working WriterByNighters.


    First, congratulations to Bridget Farr! Bridget’s middle grade novel, Pavi Sharma’s Guide to Going Home, has been sold to Little, Brown & Company. Pavi is a foster child who starts her own business helping other foster kids navigate the system; but when a fellow foster kid is placed with a family with whom Pavi had a terrible experience, Pavi must help her avoid the same fate. Pavi Sharma’s Gide to Going Home is set for publication in the fall of 2019.

    Bridget worked with WriteByNight’s Resa Alboher in book coaching, and is currently working on a new novel in coaching with Jessamine Chan.

    read more

    New Publication Assistance Services!

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in WBN News & Events     Comments No comments

    We have some exciting news: We’re expanding our publication assistance services!

    In addition to our existing services designed to help you on the path to traditional publication, we’re adding three new options for those of you interested in self-publication or hybrid publication, or for writers deciding which route to publication is the best fit:

    1) If you’re considering self-publishing your book and want some guidance on how to deal with this overwhelming option—the costs, the technology, the marketing, and beyond—our new Self-Publishing Coaching will teach you the ins and outs in as little as one session.

    2) We’ve partnered with hybrid publisher Atmosphere Press in order to help you bypass the slush pile and fast-track your query straight to the executive editor — longtime WriteByNight coach and consultant Nick Courtright!

    3) If you’re not sure whether traditional, hybrid, or self-publication is the right path for you, our new Publication Consultation will help guide you. We’ll read your manuscript carefully and then meet with you one on one to discuss its prospects for publication and to plan a course of action for turning those prospects into reality. read more

    I’ve Never Read Philip Roth

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in WBN News & Events     Comments 19 comments

    The big lit news this week was the death of Philip Roth. His Great American Novel has been on my list forever, due to the baseball and despite its reputation as not great. I also have friends who swear by his long story or novella “Goodbye, Columbus.” I’ve never read a single word of Roth’s. Not defiantly or anything–it just has never happened.

    I’ve also never read any fiction from a writer often mentioned in the same breath, John Updike.

    While we’re at it, I’ve never read Moby-Dick or any James Joyce novel or To the Lighthouse. I’ve never read The Sound and the Fury, Frankenstein, or Middlemarch.

    1984, Brave New World, War & Peace, The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. read more

    What Are You Reading & What Should I Read?

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in WBN News & Events     Comments 16 comments

    We are finally beginning to consider the idea of beginning to begin the process of beginning to get initially settled into our new apartment. We still have plenty of arranging to do, but if everything works out properly, next to one of our sunny windows we’ll have… a fresh new reading nook!

    Now I’m going to need some recommendations on what to read in it. read more

    My New Podcast — Yak Babies

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in WBN News & Events     Comments 4 comments

    Hey, so, I’m on a new books podcast about books and writing. It’s called Yak Babies.

    Why? I don’t really remember. I think we just liked the way it sounds. Plus yak = talk, and we’re basically just a group of adult babies.

    And it gave us the chance to create the handsome nerdy yak mascot you see on the left.

    If you want to get right to it, our first two episodes are available now. Here are a few spots to find us:

    Podbean: https://yakbabies.podbean.com/

    iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-yak-babies-book-podcast/id1374314094

    Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/user-392414819

    Or plug this RSS link into your favorite podcasting app: https://yakbabies.podbean.com/feed/

    read more

    Together We Make Stronger Art

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in WBN News & Events     Comments 14 comments

    TL;DR version: Basically I just riff about how WriteByNight is turning eight years old and how I draw inspiration from you telling us how we inspire you. You know what, just read the post. It’s not even TL this week, I swear!


    One of the things we’re most grateful for is that we chose WriteByNight over some of the other options we threw around: Composite Monster, for one. Shibboleth! Exquisite Corpse; Flyleaf; Wanderjahr. My goodness.

    This weekend, WriteByNight turns eight years old.

    I looked up eighth anniversaries and discovered that the traditional gifts are bronze and pottery. According to this one website, “Bronze is created by combining two different metals, copper and tin, to make something strong and beautiful.” And then “Pottery symbolizes how your relationship grows and changes into something even more amazing with each year, the way that a lump of clay is shaped by an artist.”

    I’ll spare you any lengthy analogies. The gist: Together we make stronger, more beautiful art. read more

    The Texas Observer Short Story Contest

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in WBN News & Events     Comments No comments

    I don’t have much to tell you about this week. I’ve been plugging away at my own project, and also helping put together the Texas Observer short story contest, our seventh year running. The winning writer gets $1,000 and publication in the Observer‘s October issue, as well as online. Finalists will also be eligible for online publication.

    This year’s guest judge is Deb Olin Unferth, author of four books and presently a creative writing professor at UT-Austin. Her recent story collection, Wait Till You See Me Dance, has gotten rave reviews from all corners.

    Deb tells us, “In short fiction I look for a voice that feels original, clear and urgent, and for a situation under pressure.”

    So keep that in mind, if you choose to enter. read more

    Q&A With Joe Giordano

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in WBN News & Events     Comments 14 comments

    Today we’re pleased to run a Q&A with Austin author Joe Giordano, whose latest novel, Appointment with ISIL, an Anthony Provati Thriller, was released June 15 by Harvard Square Editions.

    We talked with Joe about the long road to publication, the publication process, and how it feels to release a new book out into the world.

    After the interview, check out Joe’s bio as well as some links to his work.

    Any questions for Joe? Leave ’em in the comments section below and we’ll see if we can’t bring him back here to provide some answers.



    WriteByNight: Can you give us some background on your career as a writer? How you got started, how long you’ve been at it, a bit about your publishing history?

    Joe Giordano: One of the positions I held before I became a writer was to run a business in Greece, Turkey, the Middle East, and North Africa out of Athens. I developed a deep sense of history and the desire to write an historical fiction about the Ancient Greek-Persian Wars. Thirteen years ago, I tackled the task. My prose was terrible; I needed to learn how to write. read more

    The WBN Story Club Returns! (Maybe)

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in WBN News & Events     Comments 44 comments

    TL;DR version: If you’re interested in being a member of the WBN story club, read on! If you’re not, well, there ain’t much point in you reading on. Here’s what I’m looking for input on: What kinds of stories should we read? Is one story and discussion per month a casual enough pace? What would you be looking to get out of such a club? Let us know in the comments below. If you don’t have any input but are interested in joining the club, just leave a comment saying “In.”


    A couple of weeks ago, when I asked to hear about your favorite books and favorite movies about writers and such, I also extended the idea of reviving the years-dormant WBN Book Club, resurrecting it as a short story club instead.

    A few of you expressed interest, with a desire to learn more before committing.

    So what follows is what I envision for this story club. I’d also very much like to get your input and ideas, because this will be a group thing. (Kinky.)

    If enough of you are interested in this idea, we’ll give ‘er a whirl.

    If you don’t have any ideas on any of this, but you want to be involved, simply comment “In.” read more

    My Favorite Books of 2016

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in WBN News & Events     Comments 26 comments

    tl;dr summary: A few of my favorite books of the year. I also want to hear about your favorite books from 2016 (even if you wrote them!). Leave titles and descriptions in the comments below, because we’re always looking for new good books to read. Doing so enters you into a drawing to win one of three copies of Martin Barkley’s The Lovesong of Smith Oliver Smith.



    Throughout 2016 I did my best to leave behind words such as “good” and “bad” when talking about art. Rather, like my pal Drew in this Electric Lit essay, I’m trying to express (and feel) non-judgmental opinions. “I enjoyed that book” is more helpful than “That’s a good book.” “I didn’t enjoy that book” is stronger than “That’s a bad book,” even if it doesn’t seem so.

    As Drew writes, “Better we should surrender to our own idiosyncratic preferences, embracing that rather than ‘good’ or ‘bad,’ works of art might be more fittingly characterized as ‘for me’ or ‘not for me.’ Or  —  because, who knows, I might still change my mind about Infinite Jest  — ‘for me right now’ or ‘not for me right now.'”

    All this is to say that what follows is a list, in no particular order, of the books I most enjoyed reading in 2016. (None were published in 2016; this is by coincidence, not intent.) read more

    Happy Holidays Brain Dump

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in WBN News & Events     Comments 11 comments

    Last week we had a fun conversation about getting work done during your holiday travels. Now, for many of us, those travels are here. Report in, let us know how you’re doing! Don’t let yourself be stuck in what Zadie Smith in On Beauty calls “seasonal prisons”:

    “This, after all, was the month in which families began tightening and closing and sealing; from Thanksgiving to the New Year, everybody’s world contracted, day by day, into the microcosmic single festive household, each with its own rituals and obsessions, rules and dreams. You didn’t feel you could call people. They didn’t feel they could phone you. How does one cry for help from these seasonal prisons?”

    But even in family prison, a big communal meal over the holidays can make one’s problems go away, at least momentarily. As Oscar Wilde said, “After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one’s own relations.”

    Although note that he said “after” rather than “during.” Curious! read more

    Staff Spotlight: Sarah McColl

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in WBN News & Events     Comments 5 comments

    mccollHere at WriteByNight we’ve talked and written extensively about the writing process, but never have we quite boiled it down as poetically as our newest writing coach/consultant, Sarah McColl, who tells us, “I like working individually with a writer through every part of the process: inspiration, frustration, excitement, tedium, resistance, light-bulb moments when things start to click, curiosity, discovery, satisfaction, and joy.”

    (Which stage are you currently in? Which is your favorite stage? Let us know in the comments below!)

    Sarah’s work has appeared in publications such as the South Dakota Review, Bon Appetit and Edible Brooklyn. Like many writers, editing and revision are the most challenging aspects of the writing process. The hardest part, Sarah says, is “Knowing when a sentence or section isn’t working and then re-envisioning solutions.” read more

    Staff Spotlight: Carin Clevidence

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in WBN News & Events     Comments No comments

    Carin Clevidence, consultant and coachIt’s always refreshing to hear an accomplished writer tell the truth about how difficult this writing thing is. “I find all of writing hard!” says WriteByNight’s newest writing coach and consultant, Carin Clevidence. That honesty is one of the attributes that drew us to Carin. She doesn’t pretend to have rolled right out of bed and written a book.

    Though she has written a book, of course. In coverage of The House on Salt Hay Road, published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux, Carin is described as having “a gift for creating images that express the unspeakable” (New York Times) and being “a breathtaking new American voice” (Jhumpa Lahiri). read more

    Staff Spotlight: Sam Severn

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in WBN News & Events     Comments No comments

    SSevern_NYCToday we’d like to introduce you to the colorful and talented Sam Severn, our latest addition to the WriteByNight ghostwriting staff.

    Sam comes to us from Snohomish, Washington, where, he tells us, he has “continued my holy quest to remain positively the lamest heavy metal guitar player still alive.”

    He may be lame with a guitar, but he’s anything but when it comes to consulting with writers. Among the best-selling books Sam has been involved in are Tears for My City and Serafina and the Twisted Staff. read more

    Staff Spotlight: New Writing Coaches & Consultants

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in WBN News & Events     Comments No comments

    In our continuing mission to provide writing coaches and consultants who best suit your writing needs, we’ve added three new accomplished writers to our staff, and today we want to introduce ’em to you.


    Bridget Apfeld, consultant and coachBridget Apfeld has taught writing courses and run fiction workshops at UNC-Wilmington, where she received her MFA. Her work has appeared in journals such as Dislocate, So to Speak, Prick of the Spindle, and Verse Wisconsin. She lives in Wilmington, North Carolina.

    Bridget got her start as a writer by … not writing. “I spent most of my childhood narrating stories in my head or drawing single-page illustrations,” she tells us, “each with their own elaborate, unwritten drama.”

    She began writing seriously in college: “Once I took my first workshop,” she says, “I was hooked, and never wanted to do anything else.” read more

    Reading Recommendations: WriteByNight Staff

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in WBN News & Events     Comments No comments

    StacksReaders don’t need to write, but writers sure do need to read.

    Our wonderful writing coaches and consultants set a fine example: they’re all voracious readers, and they love to share their favorite books, as well as books they’ve learned from as writers.

    When we bring on new staff here at WriteByNight, we always ask ’em what book they’re currently reading and what they think of it. Here are answers from a handful of them. (Click on a coach’s name to read a full Q & A with him or her.) read more

    Q&A With Yi Shun Lai

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in WBN News & Events     Comments 8 comments

    A few days before Yi Shun Lai’s debut novel, Not a Self-Help Book: The Misadventures of Marty Wu, was released by Shade Mountain Press, she and I chatted a bit about the book, her writing process, and a topic I’ve beaten into the ground by now, our shared fascination with Cheez-It crackers.

    You regular readers are plenty familiar with Yi Shun by now through her posts and through her regular interaction with y’all in the comments sections. (Also, I touched on her novel earlier this year.)

    Enjoy our Q&A below, and then go check out her wonderful book.

    Have a question of your own for Yi Shun Lai? Fire away in the comments section. (Just don’t expect immediate answers — the weeks after publishing a book are exhausting.) (Or so I’m told!) read more

    Reading Resolution: April Showers (of Men)

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in WBN News & Events     Comments 8 comments

    33rdAfter a rather lackluster March — three books, all dudes — I picked it up a little in April.

    Except for the “all dudes” portion: Five books in April, all by men. Three of them are technically for work, so that’s part of it. And also I’m partway into two books written by women, and given a few more days, they’d have made this list.

    But they didn’t. So I’m at 19 books on the year, 12 by men. Clearly I am lagging.

    The other half of the bet is going better: 11 of the 19 fit the minority and/or translated writer bill. Still, I’m not exactly killing it.

    (Here are January, February and March, if you’re new to this and curious.)

    What are you currently reading? And how is your reading resolution going? Let us know below.

    And now for the books. read more

    Reading Resolution: March Report

    Posted Posted by David Duhr in WBN News & Events     Comments 6 comments

    TombstoneMarch was a real bummer of a month for me, reading-wise: three books, all dudes, which doesn’t help much in keeping me ahead of pace on the reading resolution I told y’all about.

    Public shaming is imminent.

    Not only that, two of the three books were disappointing, to the point that I almost didn’t finish them.

    If not for this resolution thingie, and how it forced me to forge ahead, I probably would have read in full only one book this month.

    Let’s start with the one I did enjoy: read more

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