Category Archives: Guest Posts

Guest Post: Doctors Who Write: Who Owns The Stories?

77384817A GUEST POST

By Kathy Crowley

When faced with the opportunity to read a book by someone who isn’t by profession a writer, I always go for the doctor.” —Stephen J Dubner

(And can I just say here,  Mr. Dubner, doctor-writers everywhere – and their publishers — thank you.)

I write fiction, most of the time, because that’s what I like to write, but also because writing about my work raises all kinds of complications.  Every once in a while, though, I am so moved by my experience with a patient, that his or her story becomes my story, too. Several years back I wrote a piece about a patient of mine. Mr. Z. was an elderly man who bragged about his Nazi past but otherwise kept lots of secrets. He had a family he had driven away from him, a house he wouldn’t leave, a dog he couldn’t care for, and a loaded gun on his kitchen table. (Perhaps because this is real life, Dr. Chekhov, and not one of your carefully crafted stories, the gun was never fired.)

I had been Mr. Z’s primary care doctor for years and had tried unsuccessfully to help as dementia overtook his life.  One day he came into clinic saying he planned to destroy everything in his home of value, then kill his wife and

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This Is The Golden Age for Readers

 Guest Post by Kathy Crowley & Beyond The Margins


The other day while I was talking with one of my children’s teachers, she lamented the modern day explosion of distractions. TV, video games, ipods and iPhones, social networking. There are many forces drawing children away what the rest of us think they should be doing. Such as...? Well, let’s just cut to the chase and say: “They could be reading.”

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Book Love from Kris in Brattleboro: What I Loved About Sisterland

When I’m lucky, I get an email from my friend Kris Alden, the smartest, fastest, and most intensely loving reader of books I know. This week I got lucky:

There are few authors who can write about sibling rivalry; ESP; racism; society’s condemnation of stay at home parents; senior citizen sex; natural disasters, adoption and same sex relationships in one book and turn those dissonant topics into a riveting and provocative story.

Curtis Sittenfeld, the author of Sisterland is on of those authors.

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Round of the Best of 2012 Books Roundup

Guest Post by Dell Smith

It’s mid-December already? Back the truck up! You know what that means. End of year book lists. The year’s best, worst, and in between books. We here at Beyond the Margins don’t go in for such pandering. I mean, who are we to judge a great book from a not so great book? Still, we’re not above linking to those who do. So let’s get to it:

Over at Pub Rants, Agent Kristin answers What Are The Big YA Debut Break Outs in 2012?

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Love, Comfort, & Books


Guest Post by Kris Alden

My friend Kris is the most avid reader that I know. (Yes, perhaps even equal to Joe Queenan.) Lately she’s on an even great tear, as she’s been going through chemo—and I’ve been taking on the only helpful role I can, while living hours apart: sending and recommending books. (We’ve been exchanging books for more years than I can count.)

Last week she sent me a lengthy recommendation, and at the same time answered a question I’d been curious about: would “The End of Your Life Book Club” be a good read for someone in Kris’s situation? The joyous answer to my unasked question is below:

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Guest Post: Literary vs. Plot-Driven at War?

By Chris Abouzied

A friend of mine recently said she hoped readers would view her latest novel as literary, not “plotty.”  By that, I think she meant she hoped no one would discount the artistry in her work just because it served up a sexy story.

Hearing plot being pitted against artistry always rubs me the wrong way, but I had to admit she had a point.  No one was going to say, “The son sleeps with his dead father’s mistress?!  A literary star is born!”  Plot, for whatever reason, seems to be on a par with skeletons in the physiology of literature—

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Also posted in My Opinionated Self, Writing | 7 Comments

11 Things NOT To Do When Your Book Launches

By M.J. Rose

Sometimes what you mustn’t do is just as just as important as what you must do.

I’ve had a dozen novels published and have made far more than a dozen mistakes. Which is why Randy Susan Meyers and I wrote a guidebook to help authors avoid making our mistakes. This list contains just a few my “must nots” inspired by the much longer list of “must dos” from What To Do Before Your Book Launch that just launched this week.

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You Are What You Read

A Guest Post

By Jamye Shelleby

Not too long ago, I went through a writing identity crisis. After years of calling myself a fiction writer—through my MFA, through revisions of my novel—I found that I no longer thought about writing fiction. I’d stopped narrating my everyday life as I’d once done; I’d stopped making up backstories for the cashiers at the grocery store. I knew I was still a writer, but I hadn’t finished a piece in years, and worse, I didn’t have any new ideas. If I wasn’t a fiction writer, who was I?

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Scent Inspired the Book; Her Book Inspired a Perfume


The Story Behind The Book of Lost Fragrances

by M.J. Rose

Several years ago, I went to a brocante – a flea market  – in Cannes, France. It was a perfect morning to peruse antiques; warm with a little breeze to mingle the scent of fresh flowers with seaside town’s fresh salty air.

One table that caught my attention offered an intriguing mix of items laid out as if they were resting on an elegant woman’s vanity.

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Book Trailers, Book Promotion & Marriage


Book promotion makes writing look like the easy part. Let’s talk about book trailers. I debated whether or not to make a trailer for Forgetting English when the book came out in 2009. Even as a writer and reader, I must confess that I’ve always found the concept of a book trailer a little strange; while movie trailers for films are an obvious marketing strategy, I think it’s a challenge for most writers (particularly fiction writers) to do justice to their books in a media that isn’t an obvious match with the product, i.e., words and story and the imaginative collaboration they create with the reader. How to translate this into video was a mystery to me. Actually, it still is.

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