Monthly Archives: February 2013

William Luvaas on Revision, at Glimmer Train

“Thomas Mann once said, ‘A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people.’ While others can just hack out texts, even books, we writers agonize over the wording of an email. We usually spend more time revising and editing than composing. Even while reading proofs, we find words to replace and passages to cut—if only the manuscript wasn’t set to go to the printer. For the true wordsmith, doubt (and the fastidiousness it inspires) is not an obsessive-compulsive disorder but a virtue. We fret over a problem we are having turning a corner in a story, may write off the whole project as a disaster. This is no failing but the motor that drives us to do our best work. Doubt inspires discipline and discipline demands virtuosity. We learn, in time, never to give up on a narrative but to give it a chance to spring phoenix-like from the ashes of despair and find new life. I have often stumbled across a story years after abandoning it and have soon seen how to resurrect it, wondering why I gave up on the piece in the first place. Like good wines, some stories need aging. Who knows what the mechanism is for such revision in absentia? Perhaps the work must baste in the subconscious mind to find its full flavor. For it is in the unconscious rather than the conscious mind that we do our best writing—and rewriting.”

Read the whole essay here: Glimmer Train

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Tara Ison on TNBBC’s The Next Best Book Blog

Tara talks about her novel, A Child Out of Alcatraz, Foreverland Press, and the process of seeing it brought back into print again, as an ebook.

“I love this novel. I loved revisiting this first love of mine. Not because it is ‘perfect’ — it certainly isn’t! — but because it reminded me of the fearless, open-hearted, un-baggaged young writer I once was and hope to still be, it allowed me to return to a time and place of passion and trust and honesty and pain, all the things we often learn — as we age, as we ‘grow’ — to guard ourselves against as both writers and people. All the necessary stuff of writing, of reading, of life.”

Read the whole essay here:

Indie Spotlight: Tara Ison



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Now Available: A SPACE APART

Kindle   All Digital Formats


a novel by meredith sue willis

A Space Apart 2-1-131500 px

“A Space Apart is so deftly and subtly written, I hardly noticed how involved I’d become until I’d read the last page and turned it, wanting more. The Scarlin family is going to be with me for a very long time.” –Anne Tyler

“Willis fleshes out with warmth and tenderness the complexities of family love, which not only defines commitment but deepens the need. An important new talent.” –The Kirkus Reviews

“The narrative carries warmth and strength. The people are as real as your next door neighbors.” —Houston Chronicle

“Willis views the Scarlin family ties and loyalties, limits and tensions, with realism, sensitivity and precision. A noteworthy first novel.” –Publisher’s Weekly

“This is the story of a broken family trying to mend itself through three generations. It is a painful but essential process, and like all such repair jobs, it is only partly successful. Before it is over we come to know John and Vera and Mary Kay, as well as Vera’s daughters, Lee and Tonie–to understand the wars they must declare and the peaces that they are able to proclaim within the state of being Scarlins. –The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Willis shapes her story with exquisite care, detailing the lives of a West Virginia preacher’s family: John Scarlin, minister and son of ‘the Preacher,’ a wild old born-again Baptist; John’s sturdy sister Mary Katherine; his capricious wife Vera, a strong character who commands attention in one fine scene after another; and his daughter Lee and Tonie who grow up to reject and embrace the meaning of Galatia, their hometown… Finally what is revealed by a family, inextricably bound together while struggling with each other’s need to find ‘a place apart.’ Narratively skilled and disciplined, this is an impressive debut. –Library Journal

Meredith Sue Willis grew up in West Virginia where her parents were both teachers. She has degrees from Barnard College and Columbia University, and her fiction has been published by Scribners’, HarperCollins, West Virginia University Press, Mercury House, Ohio University Press, and others. Her book of literary short stories, In the Mountains of America, was praised in the New York Times Book Review as “a[n]…important lesson on the nature and function of literature itself.” Her novels for children are Billie of Fish House Lane, The Secret Super Powers of Marco and Marco’s Monster.

watch for a space apart

coming to an ebookstore near you

february 2013

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The “eerie ecstasies” of William Luvaas


“The voices in these 10, tightly linked stories are reminiscent of Flannery O’Connor’s eccentrics, while the apocalyptic style echoes Cormac McCarthy (if he had a sense of humor). Ultimately, Luvaas infuses these tales with a brilliant absurdity all his own. These ‘eerie ecstasies’ are the musings of a jubilantly dark ironist whose prophetic visions are entirely possible — maybe even inevitable.”

Read Duff Brenna’s full review of the collection at The Los Angeles Review of Books.

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