All posts tagged: fiction

Musings & Meanderings: Childhood homes, how designed spaces affect our behavior, retreats vs workshops vs residencies, where to submit your work, recent interviews, more

By Leslie Lindsay A curated newsletter on the literary life, featuring ‘4 questions,’ reading & listening recommendations, where to submit, more Leslie Lindsay|Always with a Book ~MUSINGS & MEANDERINGS~ Hello, Friends! I have recently been on TWO writing retreats. They were both pretty fabulous. Being able to travel for these events is a true privilege and I am so very grateful to my supportive partner, who says, “Go! Have fun, learn some stuff.” In doing this, I have returned re-energized, my writing soul fed, some good ol’ fashioned nature-immersion, gained clarity (or validation) on my writing projects, but also–sometimes I feel overwhelmed. Maybe I’m in over-my-head (like others are way better writers than me, or more experienced). I don’t always get as much writing done as hoped. There’s a difference between what these writing excursions consist of. The words may sound the same, but I assure you, the definitions vary. Retreats: Typically a (long) weekend of writers (often with an instructor/mentor) who convene at the same location to talk craft, have write-ins, maybe some readings …

Musings & Meanderings: Narrative + Image, a glimpse into Amy Turner’s writing space, where to submit, singing the praises of Story Studio Chicago, where to submit, new published author interviews

By Leslie Lindsay A curated newsletter on the literary life, featuring ‘4 questions,’ reading & listening recommendations, where to submit, more Leslie Lindsay|Always with a Book ~MUSINGS & MEANDERINGS~ Hello, Friends! I just had a wonderful experience at Story Studio Chicago–shameless plug! Really, it was amazing. Being around other writers is so energizing, supportive, and nurturing, I know it goes without saying that being around one’s ‘peeps’ is so important; it’s about community, seeing the potential, finding one’s voice. It’s about uplifting that voice and amplifying strengths. Just being in the space with others who think and jive on the same jam is delightful. It’s about inclusivity, ‘being seen.’ I’m bubbling over with ideas, but they aren’t just gleaned from the workshop, they’ve been rolling about in my noggin for some time, but now, now I feel confident and invigorated enough by them to roll up my sleeves. [Hint: my current obsessions]. Speaking of obsessions, Amy Turner gives us peek into her writing space (her son’s old bedroom), where she was able to hang photographs, …

Musings & Meanderings: Writing about nostalgia, exploring film, motherhood, ambition, and more with T. Greenwood plus…a fall check-in, establishing goals & boundaries, where to submit, what I’m reading, listening to, working on

By Leslie Lindsay A curated newsletter on the literary life, featuring ‘4 questions,’ reading & listening recommendations, where to submit, more Leslie Lindsay|Always with a Book ~MUSINGS & MEANDERINGS~ Hello, Friends! How is your fall shaping up? Has it been a whirlwind? Utterly relaxed? Oh, I know…you’ve been twirling through the streets as fall leaves rain down, a book tucked under your arm, and a PSL in your hand, right? Completely and totally unencumbered, a little nostalgic and pensive, and productive, too, right? Maybe not. I don’t what it is, but fall should be a slowing down, but sometimes isn’t. Not everyone gets the summer off or Summer Fridays or holidays of leisure. I enter fall eager for all the coziness, but I’m often exhausted. Just being honest about that makes me feel better. And that’s why I write these words. Writing works that way for me. It’s a fabulous little tool to process. And also, I write because I want YOU to write, too. If I feel a little run-down and worn-out, maybe you …

Musings & Meanderings: taking Rilke’s advice to ‘ruthlessly compress,’ what to do when Mercury is in retrograde; plus how visual art isn’t all that different from written art, motherhood, acceptance, and what books I recently read and loved

By Leslie Lindsay A curated newsletter on the literary life, featuring ‘4 questions,’ reading & listening recommendations, where to submit, more Leslie Lindsay|Always with a Book ~MUSINGS & MEANDERINGS~ Hello, Friends! Here’s the thing: Mercury is in stupid retrograde again. I know how it sounds: hoodoo voodoo and and magical weirdness. But there’s something to it! As a writer, who is no doubt a ‘communicator’ in every sense (I am the family connector/communicator/organizer), I try to get everyone on ‘the same page,’ I like coordinating and organizing things…to say this can be a trying time is an understatement. What does it mean when… ‘Mercury is in retrograde?’ It started September 9 and will go through October 2. Mercury is the planet of communication. When it’s in retrograde (appearing to go backward), appliances tend to run haywire, scheduled things run late, miscommunications run rampant. You might have ‘good’ problems, but mistakes will happen. Things might be more exaggerated than ever, but there might also be goodwill. Learn more about Mercury retrograde in this Bustle article. For …

Musings & Meanderings: Kayla Maiuri has one ritual she must do when actively working on a project; plus: mothers, home decor, vintage stuff, where to submit, disco music, book recs, more

By Leslie Lindsay A curated newsletter on the literary life, featuring ‘4 questions,’ reading & listening recommendations, where to submit, more Leslie Lindsay|Always with a Book ~MUSINGS & MEANDERINGS~ Hello, Friends! My mother was a super-talented self-taught interior decorator. She also struggled with severe mental illness. I’ve never been formally trained in home design or decor, but those skills sort of emerged unbidden. Maybe they are part of my DNA. One may argue that mental illness is entwined in one’s DNA, too. Sure, I can get a little anxious or run-down, or maybe a little depressed from time to time, but who doesn’t? Especially in this day and age with constant posting, re-posting, sharing, scrolling, etc. It’s a constant barrage of…keeping up and comparisons. Kayla Maiuri’s debut novel tackles many of these exact concerns, braiding the past with the present, a mother resistant to change, family secrets, architecture, and more. It’s an emotionally and psychologically astute character study that reads almost as if it could be memoir. Interestingly, all of this stuff: mothers, home, decor, …

MUSINGS & MEANDERINGS: Lisa Williamson Rosenberg on writing a novel in a minivan during soccer practice, feeling like you’re not doing enough/too much, distractibility, making art when not inspired, more

By Leslie Lindsay A curated newsletter on the literary life, featuring ‘4 questions,’ reading & listening recommendations, where to submit, more Leslie Lindsay|Always with a Book ~MUSINGS & MEANDERINGS~ Hello, Friends! I’m not working well today. I don’t know…the gears feel rusty. My brain feels cramped and distracted. I’m worried about my kids, who aren’t really kids, but young adults. They are amazing and talented and busy and so that makes it even more challenging. I worry, in the best parent-kind-of-way. Am I doing enough? Am I doing too much? Are they happy? It’s hard to be parent. It’s harder still to be a teenager. The emotions are big. The problems have ramifications. Everything feels new and important. Because it is. Kids this age often are experiencing things for the first time (first car, first date, college applications, sports, perceived failures), so the feelings are bigger. I’ve got an interview by psychologist-mom, Lisa Williamson Rosenberg today who says she wrote her novel, EMBERS IN THE WIND, in a minivan at soccer practice (I can totally …

Musings & Meanderings: If she wasn’t writing, Bobi Conn says she’d be playing pool; plus finding the time & bandwidth to immerse oneself into creativity, book recs, more in A WOMAN IN TIME

By Leslie Lindsay A curated newsletter on the literary life, featuring ‘4 questions,’ reading & listening recommendations, where to submit, more Leslie Lindsay|Always with a Book ~MUSINGS & MEANDERINGS~ Hello, Friends! To be honest, I am struggling to find my post-travel, post-summer, new-school-year writing routine. There’s always that wobbly, indiscriminate time where everything feels in limbo. Can you relate? Has your old routine stopped working? Maybe and that’s okay. It’s supposed to! Wait! What? Yep. Because time is linear and keeping marching on, so do you. We’re always in the process of evolving and that means our routines should, too. Here are a few things I’ve learned about (writing) routines: One: Routines are helpful to our creativity. By establishing one is saying, “I respect my creativity and will carve out time to satisfy my desire to create.” Our creative self craves predictability, time, and space; it triggers a creative flow. Every Tuesday, for example, is my day to do hands-on art, flatlays, images of book covers. I may get a trickle of books through the …

Musings & Meanderings: Tips to tackle your TBR during a busy season, prepping for the school year, how to make your writing more interesting, plus Megan Goldin chimes in on her new thriller, STAY AWAKE, books I’m recommending, and more

By Leslie Lindsay Leslie Lindsay|Always with a Book ~MUSINGS & MEANDERINGS~ Hello, Friends! Summer going too fast for you? I just spent an evening with some very good friends. While eating peanut butter cup ice cream and chatting about the busyness of the season (BBQs, weddings, travel, bike riding, etc.), the concept of ‘banking up the summer’ came up. Sometimes we yearn for things to slow down, but when they do…we want the vibrancy of summer to return. Most of you know I read like mad. But I also like to experience the world. We travel a good deal. That means I have to work harder to find time for my towering TBR. Here are some of my tried-and-true tricks for reading on the go: I carry a book with me everywhere. Whatever format you choose, make sure to stuff a book or two (or ten!) in your bag before leaving the house. You never know when you can carve out a little chunk of reading time, and you can’t read a book if you …

Musings & Meanderings: Is writing art? Plus Katie Hafner on THE BOYS about isolation, connections, and more…mindfulness and space and much more

By Leslie Lindsay A curated newsletter on the literary life, featuring ‘4 questions,’ reading & listening recommendations, where to submit, more Leslie Lindsay|Always with a Book ~MUSINGS & MEANDERINGS~ Hello, Friends! When I was a kid, someone–a teacher or maybe a parent–told me writing was an art. I didn’t believe it. To me, Art was something you could see or hold in your hand. It was often beautiful and colorful and most of all, something you created. Writing, in my eyes, was a more cerebral pursuit; it wasn’t Art. Turns out, they were right. Writing IS Art. Let’s break down those elements: How words are merged, which ones are used…there’s a melodious quality there. That makes writing beautiful. You can also ‘see’ writing. My grandparents used to say about the stories I wrote, “You can paint a picture with words.” I had forgotten about their comments. But yes–what is reading but hallucinating images an author has created? And yes–you can absolutely hold writing in your hand. Books are very portable that way. Books are Art. …

Musings & Meanderings: Caitlin Billings on the ‘construction of gender,’ her new mental health memoir, plus deconstructing flash, where to submit this June, being curious & varied

By Leslie Lindsay A curated newsletter on the literary life, featuring ‘4 questions,’ reading & listening recommendations, where to submit, more Leslie Lindsay|Always with a Book ~MUSINGS & MEANDERINGS~ Hello, Friends! Curiosity. That’s what a writer needs. She also needs varied life experiences. A break in routine. I tell you this because…well, it’s true for me, but but because it ought to be true for every writer. Here’s why: stagnancy doesn’t produce dynamic anything. So…are you… Exploring? Observing? Questioning? Doodling? Day-dreaming? Remember when you were a kid, maybe 4 years old or so, and well-meaning adults asked, “So, what do you want to be when you grow up?” I mean, we start early with this. Guess what?! I still don’t know!!! Lately, we’ve been taking our daughter on college visits. They all want to know what ‘school,’ or ‘major’ she’s going to select. She loves (and is good at) lots of things. So, how to narrow it down? Does she need to know? No. That’s the beauty of being inquisitive and multi-interested. Our ideas and …