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From Phyllida's Desk

Beautiful Metaphors, Ugly Memoirs

Colm Toibin, in a review of a biography of E.M. Forster, derided the idea of the "honest novel" (as the biographer, Wendy Moffat, described Forster's Maurice): "novels should not be honest. They are a pack of lies that are also a set of metaphors … they are not forms of self-expression, or true confession."  Read More 
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What's It All About, Amalie?

I just spent a long weekend copy editing the second book in my ECLIPSIS series of Lady Amalie's memoirs, Choices. If anything could cure a person of wanting to be a writer, this would seem to be it.

But it occurred to me that the worst is yet to come: the synopsis.  Read More 
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Before Phyllida, or Not Dropping the Cake

Like many authors these days, I've decided to self-publish my backlist as e-books. Recognition, a $.99 novella, the first installment in what I'm calling the ECLIPSIS series of Lady Amalie's memoirs, is now available for the Kindle and Nook, and will be up in other formats soon.

My backlist is a little different  Read More 
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Anisogamy and the Problem of "Sex"

During her keynote speech at the IASPR (International Association for the Study of Popular Romance) conference last week, Laura Kipnis (Against Love) raised the issue of physical differences between the sexes. There are some, she said.  Read More 
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Rating Good Reads

I joined Goodreads recently, as preparation for publishing a series of e-books. The idea was to establish a presence in a popular online community of readers, make some friends and build anticipation for the upcoming releases.

But I was dismayed by the duty to write reviews. The members of Goodreads list the books they've read on "shelves" for others to see, post online reviews, and of course, rank the books using the familiar five-star system.
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What I Would Have Said if I Won the Lammy

This proves what I've always suspected: It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife—and a husband.
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Like

What does it mean to "like" something? I'm asking this open-ended question because this week that begins today is a very exciting one for me: my second novel is a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award in the Bisexual Fiction category. Although I don't expect to win, I do expect to enjoy these last few days of being "liked," of having my book considered worthy of an award with "literary" as part of the name, and I'm looking forward to attending the ceremony as, in some small way, a participant.  Read More 
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Recognition

One of the biggest thrills for a writer--for anybody who does creative work--is to be recognized. It's especially true if the work you do is seen as "light" or not serious, like comedy and, especially, genre fiction.

Two things have happened to me recently that have made me feel recognized.  Read More 
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Gandhi Was Human

I read something recently that made me angry. It was an article in the New York Times about Joseph Lelyveld’s biography of Gandhi, Great Soul.

I’m a novelist, a writer who tells made-up stories. This blog is not political, and I don’t want to get bogged down in discussions where I have to be “fair and balanced,” something that is not the novelist’s job (thank goodness!)

But this thing makes me crazy and I have to write it out of my system.  Read More 
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Country Dancing and Dirty Martinis with the Troops

I spent this last weekend at West Point. No, I didn’t have my head shaved or suffer through “beast barracks.” I was visiting, as part of a fabulous excursion organized by the fabulous ladies who coordinate the programs for the Jane Austen Society of North America.

But why? What do Austen and the United States Military Academy have to do with each other?  Read More 
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