When you’ve run out of Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody books

If you're like me, you've read every novel in Elizabeth Peters' beyond-delightful Amelia Peabody mystery series about eight times over.

The wit! The adventure! The exotic locations, archaeological mysteries, and prolific corpses!

Egyptologist Barbara Mertz (who wrote under the name Elizabeth Peters) was kind enough to give us nineteen (and a bit) Amelia adventures before heading off to kibbutz with Osiris and company herself.

So what's a voracious reader to do, once she's reached the end of the list?

Great summer reading series to get hooked on

It's summer! Time to pour a cocktail, kick off your shoes, and let the lawn turn into environmentally-responsible jungle. And what better way to while away those hours in the hammock than by diving into a purely entertaining read?

Diving into a whole pile of them, of course!

The following are my utterly arbitrary picks for series you should absolutely get hooked on this summer. Each one is smart without turning stodgy, and never lets literary pretensions get in the way of quick pacing, page-turning tension, and brilliant wit.

So skip that 18th reading of A Song of Ice and Fire and try one. I guarantee you'll devour the rest faster than a melting cone of rum raisin.

How to read The Smoke Hunter for free

This post is inspired by a real story I heard from another published author today (whose name I shall not mention).

A reader once sent her an email with a bill from a computer repair company. She was looking for the author to pay the cost for damage to her machine received after she downloaded a pirated copy of the author's book from a dodgy website... and of course, picked up a virus as a bonus.

Now: first off, I'm going to admit to all of you that I am far from an absolutist on pirating. I know it's wrong. I don't like doing it. But did I once use Popcorn Time to watch Game of Thrones?


The allure of the abandoned

Confession: I have a minor obsession with abandoned places. The more crumbling, overgrown, and full of dangerous bits of rusted metal or roofs in imminent risk of collapse, the happier I am.

Here on the New Hampshire Seacoast, I've managed to squirm my way into some places I am patently not allowed to go (and will therefore not list here in a public forum).

Maybe it's the same reason I'm nuts for archaeology. Crawling around the ruins of modern society's abandoned places really isn't all that different from exploring what's left behind when other cultures and societies fade away or move on. Inhabited, maintained spaces have their mysteries, of course - my lit fic cohorts love to explore those, in all their twisty emotional glory - but they don't sing out at you like those in deserted places.

Are romance novels good for you?

Romance novels get a lot of crap. Very Serious Readers are inclined to label them ‘trash’, as though the 74.8 million women (and men) who read them each year either have poor taste or simply aren’t bright enough to appreciate Real Literature.

Well, that’s a load of bollocks.

But perhaps even more insidious is the argument that reading romantic fiction is somehow actually physically bad for you. As in bad for your health.

How I managed to get a novel published

I’ve had quite a few people asking me for the scoop on this lately, so thought I’d put my publication story up here for all and sundry. But first off, a caveat: every journey to publication is different.

Steve Berry, for example, wrote eight complete manuscripts, took six years to get an agent, and another seven to make his first sale, after a total of 85 rejections.

James Redfield skipped the whole traditional route, self-published The Celestine Prophecy, and sold a gabillion copies.

And we all know what happened to E.L. James.

So please, Aspiring Writers, keep in mind as you read this that when it comes to writing and publishing a novel, every case is unique. That said, here’s the step-by-step guide to how this particular author managed to find a publisher for one particular book.

I Need a #%$@& Title

Maybe this isn't the sort of thing one is supposed to admit on a writer's blog, but... I need a title.

I mean that I desperately need a title.

The manuscript is done - revised and copy edited with a cherry on top. Cover art is in progress. Publication date has been set.

And I still don't know what to call the damned thing.