Archive for January, 2014


Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

After nearly 6 years and 7,000 posts, AuthorScoop is closing up shop.

Jamie and I would like to express our deepest gratitude to our readers, the authors who have granted us interviews and everyone who has shown their support over the years.

We hope that you will still peruse our archives from time to time. The Morning LitLinks have captured just about every major writer/publisher headline since 2008, the Evening Book Reviews are a running chronicle of releases big and small, and our vast selection of writers’ quotes provoke, amuse and inspire.

On a personal note, I want to thank Jamie for her tireless efforts throughout our partnership and wish her continued success with her novels.

A note from Jamie:

AuthorScoop has been such a tremendous lesson in all the vibrant, ridiculous, and brilliant facets that today’s publishing industry offers. It also gave me reverence for times gone by. In particular, but among many, I learned to love Bukowski.

Thank you, everyone who read, commented, and contributed over these years. Thank you, William, for this fantastic opportunity. AuthorScoop is a treasure.

And so are you.


Friday Morning LitLinks

Friday, January 17th, 2014


sylvia day


Author, Sylvia Day, scores a reported eight figure advance to move to St. Martin’s Press and write romances for them. (The New York Times)

Feel the shift? Now it seems that ebooks won’t be making paper books obsolete after all. (Mashable)

Books as life rafts, in (The Guardian)

William Styron’s daughter offers a peek at his dark side. (Salon)

Mark O’Connell takes issue with the ‘Hatchet Job of the Year’ prize. (Slate)

Michael Kelley opines on the ALA’s Code of Conduct. (Publishers Weekly)

Roddy Doyle is all set to help footballer, Roy Keane, write his memoirs. (The Bookseller)

Consider these famous banned books. (Publishers Weekly)

Poet, Laura Kasischke. deconstructs the first sentence of her poem, THE FIRST RESURRECTION, in (Granta)

Ruthie Huston, who inspired THE YEAR OF THE PERFECT CHRISTMAS TREE, has died. She was 99 years old. Rest in peace. (The Reading Life)

“On this day in 1775, Richard Brinsley Sheridan’s The Rivalspremiered. This was Sheridan’s first play; below is the first entrance and first malapropism of his most famous character, at this point walking in on and then all over niece Lydia’s choice in books and beaus…” (Today In Literature)

Thursday Morning LitLinks

Thursday, January 16th, 2014



The Edgar Awards post their nominees. (

Peter Damien takes a toolbox to his reading habits in the new year. (BookRiot)

Is it a good idea to change the ending in film adaptations? (Salon)

The everlasting journey of VC Andrews’ FLOWERS IN THE ATTIC. (BuzzFeed)

What books sold best in 2013? (USA Today)

Facebook to the rescue of a wobbling bookstore. (GalleyCat)

Take Lewis Carroll’s advice and write better– emails. (The Huffington Post)

Writing as behavioral therapy? Interesting article in (Salon)

Hector Tobar remembers Susan Sontag on her birthday in (The Los Angeles Times)

Katie Heaney’s dating memoir about not dating is drawing quite a bit of notice. (Salon)

“On this day in 1874, Robert Service — the Kipling of Canada” — was born in Preston, England. When he was twenty-one, Service quit his bank job in Glasgow and hit out for Canada, serious enough about fulfilling his dream of becoming a cowboy that he brought his Buffalo Bill outfit along with him. Ten years later he was back working in a bank, at a branch in White Horse — where, by this time, the only rush was the one to get out of town…” (Today In Literature)

Wednesday Quote of the Night

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

“Words are coin. Words alienate. Language is no medium for desire. Desire is rapture, not exchange.”

- J.M. Coetzee




Wednesday Evening Book Reviews

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Mark Oppenheimer on Yascha Mounk’s Stranger in My Own Country: “…deftly describes Germans’ current, sometimes angry exhaustion with feeling guilty, on the right and on the left, among not only neo-Nazis but also among intellectuals like the novelist Martin Walser.” (NYTimes)

Sara Marcus on Masha Gessen’s Words Will Break Cement: “Gessen is not just asking how these women came to form Pussy Riot, or how they came to be punished so severely for making protest art. She’s also asking what makes great political art, and proposing that art and truth-telling have the power to defeat oppressive regimes (as the title, a quote from Nadya paraphrasing Solzhenitsyn, suggests).” (LATimes)

Dan DeLuca on Robert Gordon’s Respect Yourself: Stax Records and the Soul: “tells of the precipitous rise and dramatic fall of Stax, which went into bankruptcy in 1975 after a spectacular run that ended with the label’s last hit, Shirley Brown’s “Woman to Woman” in 1974.” (

Boyd Tonkin on editor Pete Ayrton’s No Man’s Land: Writings from a World at War: “Even avid readers of First World War prose will find eye-opening discoveries here.” (The Independent)

Wednesday Morning LitLinks

Wednesday, January 15th, 2014

Sinead Morrissey


Sinéad Morrissey takes the 2013 TS Eliot Prize for Poetry. (The Telegraph)

What to look for in books here at the top of 2014. (Quill & Quire)

The Scotsman profiles journalist, Tony Parker. (The Scotsman)

Questlove takes on the controversial nature of Amiri Baraka. (The New York Times)

Here’s a list of the 2013 National Jewish Book Award winners. (Jewish Book Council)

Here are the contenders for the award that honors the most scalding literary critique of 2013. (The Telegraph)

Translating Kafka is a bear. (The New Yorker)

If you don’t care for Hilary Clinton, there’s a reading list for that. (The Daily Beast)

Oyster, the e-reading subscription service, is getting traction funding. (GalleyCat)

James Frey might not be the most reliable cuss, but he know how to make money. (The Guardian)

Have a think on some of the best literary bromances with (The Huffington Post)

“On this day in 1891 the Russian poet Osip Mandelstam was born. While by no means the only writer driven to death by Stalin’s Reign of Terror, Mandelstam has become, for many, the symbol of all those so destroyed. This is partly due to his poetry — most rank him among the best Russian poets, some among the best of all 20th century poets — and partly due to his wife. Nadezhda Mandelstam salvaged many of Mandelstam’s banned poems by either memorizing them or collecting them in manuscript form…” (Today In Literature)


Tuesday Morning LitLinks

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014



Former Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, sets out to defend his book. (TIME)

Michael Morpugo pits his celebrity against developers. (The Telegraph)

Ted Gup recalls the antique book that sparked an obsession. (The New York Times)

Ian Fleming knew a thing or two about spying and the BBC will make a miniseries out of it. (USA Today)

The National Book Critics Circle announces its awards contenders. (The Millions)

One UK writer and her New York Times editing husband give a cancer patient a bunch of crap about her Twitter account. (Gawker)

A judge tells Apple to get on with it. (Publishers Weekly)

Are mid-list and new authors marginalized? (The Guardian)

Nathan Filer has a chat with (The Times)

“On this day in 1905 Emily (‘Mickey’) Hahn was born. With fifty-two books, a sixty-eight-year career at The New Yorker and a personal life of storybook proportions, it is hard to understand why Hahn is not better known. Perhaps it is also unnecessary: Hahn’s years in the Far East are currently the focus of a British movie and a Canadian television documentary, and her 1970Times and Places was reissued in 2001 (under the title No Hurry to Get Home). These New Yorker pieces certainly show that her strength, apart from her strength of character…” (Today In Literature)


Monday Quote of the Night

Monday, January 13th, 2014

“Poetry is life distilled.”

- Gwendolyn Brooks





Monday Evening Book Reviews

Monday, January 13th, 2014

Yvonne Zipp on Martha Grimes’ The Way of All Fish: “…Grimes, who was named Mystery Writers of America Grand Master in 2012, has packed in plenty to amuse readers, from her ever-spiraling plot to the motley characters to allusions to classic mysteries by Dorothy L. Sayers, Edgar Allan Poe and Wilkie Collins.” (Washington Post)

Salley Vickers on Joshua Greene’s Moral Tribes: “Greene’s radical contention (pretty much a plea) is that the world will only be saved if we learn to transcend our intuitive responses in favour of what he wants to call “deep pragmatism”, which is in fact a refined form of utilitarianism, the philosophy of the greatest good for the greatest number.” (The Guardian)

Kirkus on Leon Leyson, Marilyn J. Harran and Elisabeth B. Leyson’s The Boy on the Wooden Box: “Along with harrowing but not lurid accounts of extreme privation and casual brutality, the author recalls encounters with the quietly kind and heroic Schindler on the way to the war’s end, years spent at a displaced-persons facility in Germany and, at last, emigration to the United States.” (Kirkus Reviews)

Rebecca Kelley on Pamela Erens’ The Virgins: “The Virgins isn’t a story about first love and the inevitable heartbreak that follows. It’s not really about sexual awakening, either, despite all the urgency, the panting and groping that goes on. It is a careful examination of unfulfilled desire.” (The Rumpus)

5 Minutes Alone… With David Comfort

Monday, January 13th, 2014

David Comfort knows a thing or two about the publishing industry and he’s taken his experience and, in writerly fashion, corralled the wisdom of his trials between two covers. AN INSIDER’S GUIDE TO PUBLISHING  should prove a valuable tool and compass for the hopeful scribe.

We’d like to thank him for taking the time to be part of our “5 Minutes Alone” interview series.

AuthorScoop: What was your very first publication credit?

David: •Book: FOR DOGS ONLY: How to Live with Human Beings (Pocket / Simon & Schuster, 1989) •Short Story: “Achilles: Letters to his Mother” (Pig Iron Press, 1991)

AuthorScoop: Tell us about your latest release.

David: AN INSIDER’S GUIDE TO PUBLISHING is a long-overdue self-helper for the million midlist, backlist, and no-list writers still waiting for deliverance by a survival manual based not on Publishers Clearing House You-too-can-be-a millionaire-novelist! fiction, but on the INSDR-COVsobering realities of an overpopulated, hyper-competitive, bestseller-driven profession which is marginalizing literary writers and editors. The exposé leads writers-in-the-storm down the yellow brick road, pulls back the curtain on the Publishing Land of Oz, and helps each reclaim his or her head, heart, and courage.

AuthorScoop: Aside from your own hard work, who (or what) else do you feel has contributed to your success?

David: As a self-taught writer, I have no teachers to thank, per se. But, like every writer, I have learned by reading and studying the masters. They were my teachers, and to them I am indebted — not only for the inspiration of their work, but for the example of their determination, persistence, and drive.

In the first ten years of my career, I completed five novels. My father-in-law, a TV writer (Gunsmoke and Route 66), sent my first novel to an editor friend at Harper & Row. It was rejected after six months, and never resubmitted elsewhere. The other novels were represented by Reece Halsey (formerly William Morris fiction head), co-agenting with Alex Jackinson in New York. In spite of editorial praise, all were rejected as being insufficiently “commercial.”

Changing tack, giving commercial nonfiction a try, I wrote a humor title, For Dogs Only: How to Live with Human Beings (1989). My NY agent declined to represent the title, so I sent it out personally – over the transom. Simon & Schuster bought it. Subsequently, I secured new representation by Nancy Yost, of Lowenstein & Associates, who agented my next two books with Simon & Schuster.

Frank Scatoni of Venture Literary placed my next (serious) trade title, The Rock and Roll Book of the Dead, with Kensington. Don Fehr of Trident Media placed my current title with Writers Digest Books.

All three agents contributed to my success, as did my editors. I am also indebted to the editors who rejected my earlier work, but praised it, made valuable suggestions, and encouraged me to persevere.

AuthorScoop: At what time of day or night do you do your best writing?

David ComfortDavid: For actually putting pen to paper: Morning. But, like most writers, I’ve got a virtual writer auditioning inside my head going pretty much 24/7.

AuthorScoop: Finally, what advice would you give to new or unpublished writers?

David: •Be humble. No matter how good you think you are, or how long you’ve been at it – be the student, never the expert. Keep learning. The greatest obstacle to my own professional progress was arrogance. I refused to take a single creative writing course, consider an MFA program, or even to join a writers’ group. I wanted my work to be as individual, pure, and underivative as possible. I tried to reinvent the literary wheel. This cost me a great deal of time. Worse, it isolated me in a profession where education and networking are vitally important.

•Never stop perfecting your craft. Along the way, find your style, your voice, your sweet spot, your home field. Abandon preconceptions. Be flexible. Perhaps you wanted to write the great American novel, but find that your niche is in nonfiction. Maybe you wanted to compose poetry, but find that your strength is in the short story. Maybe you wanted to do mysteries, but find that your imagination and creativity is truly set free by Fantasy or SciFi.

•The key to success of most successful people, not just in the arts, is focus. When you find your literary sport, stay focused on it. Wrestle it down till it sings. Don’t jump to something else due to temporary obstacles, setbacks, or frustrations. Avoid being a jack of all genres, but master of none. Unless you’re Shakespeare, Michelangelo or God.

• A cliché that bears repeating: A serious writing career is a marathon, not a sprint. Be the tortoise, not the fox. Be wise, deliberate, inexorable; not clever, impulsive, prone to hyperventilation.

•Don’t write for money and fame. If for no other reason than a practical one: Only .01% of writers get it, and a good number of these become miserable and/or creatively beached as a result. Write for the joy of creation, self-knowledge and exploration. Like a baseball batter, if you keep your eye on the fences and scoreboard, not the ball, chances are you’ll never hit a home run.

•To become a “successful” writer, you must market as much as you write. A bitter pill for many artists, but one that must be swallowed even by introverts. First, learn everything about the players in your market – the book publishers & editors, the magazines, the top talents. Then, put on your Willy Loman hat, and start going door-to-door in the neighborhood of your audience.

•Rejection is the one inevitability and constant in a writing career. Every author, no matter how accomplished or later acclaimed, has had to learn how to survive it and move on. Don’t take rejection personally, say many writing gurus. Grow a thick skin, advise others. Nonsense! Writers are sensitive, that’s why they’re writers. Show me an author who doesn’t take rejection personally, or who boasts a thick skin, and I’ll show you a self-deceptionist. Acknowledge the hurt, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and return to the fight. As Henry Miller said after the rejection of his first novel, Clipped Wings: “It was a crushing defeat but put iron in my backbone and sulfur in my blood!” He didn’t break through till 12 years later. Be Henry Miller.


AN INSIDER’S GUIDE TO PUBLISHING is out now and you can find David Comfort all over the web, but start here at and

Monday Morning LitLinks

Monday, January 13th, 2014

michael connelly


Michael Connelly explains how he does it. (The Daily Beast)

When it’s so depressing, it’s uplifting: the conundrum of sad literature. (The Guardian)

Selling stuff in Seattle if you’re not Amazon is a tricky business. (Publishers Weekly)

What can great literature do for you? (The Daily Beast)

Old literary characters never die, they just keep getting rebooted. (The New York Times)

Is America’s culture of boozy writers as wet as we think it is? (NPR)

Author, Alan Burns, has died. He was 83 years old. Rest in peace. (The Guardian)

Scholar, C.T. Hsia, has died. He was 92 years old. Rest in peace. (The New York Times)

Literature and cultural advocate, Nkenge Abi, has died. He was 61 years old. (Detroit Free Press)

“On this day in 1941 James Joyce died in Zurich at the age of fifty-eight, from peritonitis brought on by a perforated ulcer. Even without the dislocation of WWII, Joyce’s last years were beset with difficulties — the schizophrenia of his daughter, his son’s floundering career and broken marriage, his own poor health, ongoing battles over Ulysses and new worries aboutFinnegans Wake….” (Today In Literature)

Sunday Morning LitLinks

Sunday, January 12th, 2014




What do you do when a murderer writes a great book? (The New York Times)

Deborah Blum, author of THE POISONER’S HANDBOOK, answers some questions for (The Christian Science Monitor)

Meet a swath of the new class – debut authors of 2014 are profiled at (The Guardian)

Scribd battles pirated content woes. (Publishers Weekly)

Writers on TV: have a peek at 10 author cameos, courtesy of (BookRiot)

Lou Aronica talks mentoring at (Publishers Weekly)

A cache of Mary Shelley’s letters makes its way to daylight. (The Christian Science Monitor)

Author advocate, David Kuzminski, has died. He was 66 years old. Rest in peace. (

“On this day in 1876 Jack London was born, and on this day in 1893, London’s seventeenth birthday, he signed on for an eight-month stint as deck-hand aboard the “Sophie Sutherland,” a San Francisco sealer heading for the China Seas. The sealing voyage gave London his first published story, and eventually his second best-seller – The Sea Wolf, 1904 — but it is the seventeen years, taken all in all, which stamped him. Even if half of what has been written about London’s boyhoood is fiction …” (Today in Literature)


Saturday Morning LitLinks

Saturday, January 11th, 2014




Kevin Baker secretly sat in on a Manhattan book club’s discussion of his book, DREAMLAND. It was awkward. (The New York Times)

Literary success is a math problem. Who knew? They’ve made a machine that can tally up a book and predict its success. (The Telegraph)

Shia LaBeouf is mad as hell and he’s not gonna… well, he not going to be a public figure anymore. (The New York Daily News)

… and he spends $25,000 to write in the sky to warn artists off their craft. (TMZ)

How it feels to be a famous writer, but not in your home country. (The New York Times)

Some well known writers offer advice to those who come after. (Aerogramme Writer’s Studio)

Take a peek at some opening lines of books out this week, courtesy of (The San Francisco Chronicle)

Here are some mystery and suspense titles that you may just want to add to your to-be-read list this year. (The Huffington Post)

The French are not a fan of Amazon’s free book delivery. (GalleyCat)

“On this day in 1903, novelist and reformer Alan Paton was born in the KwaZulu-Natal region of South Africa. Paton was the Principal of Diepkloof Reformatory in Johannesburg for twelve years; his first and most famous novel, Cry, the Beloved Country, was written in 1946 while he was away from home, touring reform schools and prisons in Europe and North America. Though an anguished cri de Coeur for racial tolerance, and now a modern classic, the book’s publication is pure Cinderella story….” (Today In Literature)


Friday Quote of the Night

Friday, January 10th, 2014

“Writing ought either to be the manufacture of stories for which there is a market demand—a business as safe and commendable as making soap or breakfast foods—or it should be an art, which is always a search for something for which there is no market demand, something new and untried, where the values are intrinsic and have nothing to do with standardized values.”

? Willa Cather



Friday Evening Book Reviews

Friday, January 10th, 2014

Martin Chilton on Nathan Filer’s The Shock Of The Fall: “It’s an unsettling read but a perceptive and moving one. One image stayed with me. Matthew refers to his life as “watching my helium balloon slowly die”.” (The Telegraph)

Patty Rhule on Sue Monk Kidd’s The Invention of Wings: “Kidd, the gifted author of the 2002 best seller The Secret Life of Bees, has produced a beautifully written book about the awe-inspiring resilience of America’s enslaved people. It’s a provocative reminder of why slavery’s wounds still scar the country 250 years later.” (USAToday)

Boyd Tonkin on Helen Dunmore’s The Lie: ” Distinguished by the sensual, compact intensity of Dunmore’s prose, The Lie lays bare on its local canvas the invisible wounds of a global  catastrophe.” (The Independent)

Gray Hunter on Michael Hittman on Corbett Mack: The Life of A Northern Paiute: “Family is important, no matter who you are, of course.  They lend identity to a person.  Mack centers his story, as any of us would, on the family and friends he had.  He casually speaks of all these family ties and you must pay attention to follow all the links. Hittman’s endnotes are again helpful in this regard.  While Mack is this ‘ordinary’ man, some of his relations were well known figures in Native American history:  Wodziwob and Wovoka, both Ghost Dance prophets.” (Blogcritics)

Friday Morning LitLinks

Friday, January 10th, 2014



This is your brain on fiction. (The Independent)

This story is simply so weird, it’s difficult to headline. It involves Cormac McCarthy’s ex-wife and a really weird place to put a gun. (The Smoking Gun)

Gary Shteyngart makes some Canadians angry. (The Guardian)

Editor, Jeff Shotts, talks about doling out rejection. (Gray Wolf Press)

Sue Monk Kidd likes to be alone. (The New York Times)

Look for GONE GIRL to end differently on film than it did on paper. (The Bookseller)

Could Jane Austen ever have envisioned such a thing? (The New York Times)

Writers a re weird. Here are 20 examples. (MentalFloss)

Want to crowdfund your book? Read up. (Publishers Weekly)

Poet, Amira Baraka, although reported to be recovering, has died. He was 79 years old. Rest in peace. (NPR)

“On this day in 1997 Elspeth Huxley died. Huxley began a lifetime of journalism at the age of fourteen — polo correspondent for an East African newspaper — and wrote some thirty books in many genres, but her fame today comes from one best-seller, The Flame Trees of Thika. This autobiographical novel and its sequel, The Mottled Lizard, recount Huxley’s youth in Kenya, on ‘a bit of El Dorado my father had been fortunate enough to buy in the bar of the Norfolk hotel from a man wearing an Old Etonian tie.’…” (Today In Literature)

Thursday Morning LitLinks

Thursday, January 9th, 2014

sherlock holmes


Sherlock Holmes and all his particulars are now public property. (The New York Times)

Melville House issues a statement on Shia Labeouf’s plagiarism of Daniel Clowes’ work. (Publishers Weekly)

GF Newman takes a spin on the self-publishing ride. Here’s why. (The Guardian)

Read Zelda Fitzgerald’s prize-winning story, THE ICEBERG, in (The New Yorker)

Teju Cole cobbles together a short story made of other people’s tweets. (Slate)

Did you hear the one about the time Don DeLillo wrote as a girl? (Flavorwire)

Preview a trio of new sci-fi reads, courtesy of (The Chicago Tribune)

If you thought no one knew you were reading Mein Kampf(The Guardian)

“Showrooming” is killing bookstores. (Good E Reader)

Here’s a look at some fictional women who bucked their status quo. (The Huffington Post)

Wednesday Quote of the Night

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

“Books aren’t made in the way that babies are: they are made like pyramids, There’s some long-pondered plan, and then great blocks of stone are placed one on top of the other, and it’s back-breaking, sweaty, time consuming work. And all to no purpose! It just stands like that in the desert! But it towers over it prodigiously. Jackals piss at the base of it, and bourgeois clamber to the top of it, etc. Continue this comparison.”

– Gustave Flaubert


Wednesday Evening Book Reviews

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

Karen Valby on Rosemary Mahoney For The Benefit Of Those Who See: “This is such a vivid portrait of people and places that one forgives Mahoney for occasionally losing sight of her own narrative.” (

Erica Wagner on David Gilbert’s & Sons: “… a sophisticated, compassionate novel, very much more than a clever take on the vicissitudes of the writing life.” (Financial Times)

Frank Wilson on James Aitcheson’s Sworn Sword: “Sworn Sword is nothing if not action-packed, and Aitcheson is not chary about depicting how gruesome the action could be on a medieval battlefield.” (

Ashleigh Lambert on Andrea Brady’s Mutability: Scripts for Infancy: “If Brady writes lucidly about the materiality of babyhood, she is even better when addressing “the chitchat, the blather” of infancy: if it’s good enough stuff to build a language on, why not use it as material for poems? After all, babies and poets “can say so many things by improvising on the roots.”” (The Rumpus)

Wednesday Morning LitLinks

Wednesday, January 8th, 2014

Bob Dylan


Is Bob Dylan a poet first or a musician? Dana Stevens and Francine Prose talk it out at (The New York Times)

Adam Dalva tucks his tongue into his cheek and explains how he is the model for Donna Tartt’s THE GOLDFINCH. (The Millions)

HOLLOW CITY picks up where MISS PEREGRINE left off.  Author, Ransom Riggs, talks to (The Christian Science Monitor)

Here’s a preview of what’s to land on the shelves in 2014. (The Huffington Post)

Laura Morris recalls Tom Rosenthal, an industry giant. (BookBrunch)

Have a book discussion and a drink or two. It’s the new thing. (Publishers Weekly)

Author, Nathan Filer, takes The Costa for his debut, THE SHOCK OF THE FALL. (The Telegraph)

BookRiot weighs in with their picks of the funniest books of 2013. (BookRiot)

Amy Chua, know for being the quintessential Tiger Mother, is back with a new book. (The Guardian)

“On this day in 1824, the Victorian mystery novelist Wilkie Collins was born. Though many of Collins’s twenty-five novels are now little-read, his “gaslight thrillers” were once very popular, and two – The Woman in White (1860) and The Moonstone (1868) — have not only stayed in print but grown in reputation. Critics and historians view Collins as a master of suspense and the first in English crime fiction to bring psychological depth and literary flair to tales so sensational and lurid that they would otherwise belong to the crime tabloids….” (Today In Literature)