Guest Post: No Mystery At All: NYT Bestselling Mystery Author Juliet Blackwell Writes Great Women’s Fiction

9780451473691 (4)Do we choose what we write? Or does what we write, choose us? It’s kind of like how many licks it takes to get to the middle of a Tootsie Pop. The world may never know. But we do know, that as writers, we think about genre and the kind of story we want to tell. What if that changes? Do you dare genre hop in this publishing climate, make new writer friends, join new groups, learn the new rules?

Today we have with us Juliet Blackwell, esteemed mystery author who has now taken a leap into women’s fiction. Find out why she wrote this book, and maybe more importantly, how.

And yes, we’re (totally door-cover-sisters, I know). 

Please welcome Juliet Blackwell to WFW!

Amy xo

My Mysterious Path to Women’s Fiction (Or how—and why—a New York Times bestselling mystery author decided to turn her hand to women’s fiction)

by Juliet Blackwell

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The Fabulous Fall Fiction List 2015

Graphic Fabulous Fall Fiction 2015

It’s September! Which means it’s Fall! And in addition to meaning PUMPKIN SPICE EVERYTHING, it means a new publishing season.

And while you likely know that THE GOOD NEIGHBOR launches on October 13, what you might not know is that means I needed to find other books to read while I’m writing blog posts, essays, visiting libraries, bookstores, and hosting launch parties (you’re coming to a launch party, right?) from now through November.

I scoured the internet and asked my friends. I came up with these seven novels in addition to THE GOOD NEIGHBOR (what kind of author would I be if I left my own book off the list?) as my go-to for Fall. These books are diverse but all fall under the women’s fiction umbrella. They’re all written by authors I trust to deliver me the right story at the right time.

Here’s why I chose these books as FABULOUS FALL FICTION 2015.


Middle of Somewhere coverAvailable now!

Sonja is an adventurer and so is her main character and this makes for a thrilling read, in addition to an emotional one. I like to read stories about things I’ll never do (and don’t want to do, do. not. judge.). This book is already available and getting buku well-deserved buzz.



1381265_1059954344032864_9022066249842070660_n (3)Available now!

I love novellas. They’re like the best bite of the best chocolate (and they last longer). I’m fascinated by shorter-form fiction and sometimes that’s enough to get me to read a novella (think it’s hard to write a novel? Try a novella. Not for the faint of heart.) In the case of Kate Moretti, a NYT best-selling author, I just want to read more of her work while I wait for her next novel.

CHANCE HARBOR by Holly Robinson

chance harbor finalAvailable October 6!

I read everything Holly writes and that’s not true of all my author friends (don’t tell anyone). I have already read Chance Harbor and it’s a truthful and emotional family journey. A mother, her two daughters, and the biological/legal daughter the sisters share. Holly’s vivid prose really transported me, as always. And there’s a satisfying ending that’s realistic and not cloyingly sweet. A plus in my book.



THE WORD GAME by Steena Holmes

51FCxZyGkBL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Available November 3!

New York Times and USA Today best-seller Steena Holmes is about to knock it out of the park again with her new novel full of secrets and suspense as two sisters face their painful past to protect a little girl they both love. Novels that bring up questions of character always tug at me the hardest.




BookCover_D2Available in November!

It’s time for another novella! This time multi-published author Wendy Paine Miller comes back to readers with a novella about a seventeen-year-old girl who has six months to live and fakes a bucket list to help her mother cope, and then ends up helping herself. Wendy puts a new spin on the traditional bucket list tale here. I can’t wait!


white collar girl_brown_Page_1 2Available November 3!

Best-selling author Renee Rosen’s newest novel is primed to out due her last, and that’s no small feat. Renee has a way of combining strong historical fiction with the tenacity and heart of excellent women’s fiction. Anything she writes is a must for me!


Available November 24th!

Best-selling author Kristina McMorris tells a page-turning tale that moves from Ireland to New York to San Francisco Bay. As her finely crafted characters discover the true nature of loyalty, sacrifice, and betrayal, they are forced to confront the lies we tell—and believe—in order to survive. What I love about Kristina’s writing is the seamless nature of her storytelling. They’re the kind of books I read and think, “I wanna do that.” Always a good sign.

And, last but not least, THE GOOD NEIGHBOR by Amy Sue Nathan

the good neighbor final coverAvailable October 13! 

Here are three reasons I’d love YOU to consider adding THE GOOD NEIGHBOR to your FABULOUS FALL FICTION reading list!

1) Because you like me (you do like me, right? Well then…)

2) Because you can read advance praise not written by relatives or paid for (or even begged for), here.

3) Because you can read the first chapter here and be ready for Chapter 2 on October 13.

 What else are you looking forward to reading this Fall?

Let us know in the comments!

Amy xo

Author Interview: Sonja Yoerg Shares Tips For Kicking Out Your Writer Doubt

Middle of Somewhere cover (1)How thrilled I am to bring Sonja Yoerg back to Women’s Fiction Writers! Over the past year I’ve gotten to know Sonja as we’re both members of Tall Poppy Writers (check out Tall Poppy Writer here). Sonja is wicked smart, a devoted friend, and real adventurer! Oh — and how could I forget? She writes a kick ass novel! 

You’ll not only learn about Sonja’s real and writerly journeys below, but get some great tips on kicking writer doubt out of your day!

Please welcome Sonja Yoerg back to WFW!

Amy xo

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Guest Post: Author Diana Bletter Talks About Making Up Words, Writing What You Know, And Living Your Life

remarkableKindness pbOne of the best parts of being an author is reading other authors’ books before they’re published — and sometimes being asked for an endorsement (a compliment, indeed). Such was the case with Diana Bletter’s A Remarkable Kindness. This story — and Diana’s story — are indeed, remarkable.

Here’s my quote: 

“A REMARKABLE KINDNESS, is a story about the bonds of friendship and family; how they are made, broken, and come full circle. Diana Bletter writes with such lush and insightful prose that a foreign landscape and culture becomes warm and familiar. A REMARKABLE KINDNESS explores the power of friendship, love, and ancient traditions, and Bletter’s characters makes you wonder just how far you would go (literally and figuratively) for the people you love.”

Please welcome Diana to WFW! 

Amy xo

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A WFW Book Review: Sweet Forgiveness by Lori Nelson Spielman

If you’ve read Sweet Forgiveness by Lori Nelson Spielman, it won’t come as a surprise to you that I loved the book. Now, let’s not get all caught up in the fact that Lori and I are friends, because if I didn’t love it I would not, under any circumstance, say that I did. I also wouldn’t have blurbed the book or be writing about it here. I would say nothing at all because that’s how I roll.

Here’s my blurb:

“Filled with warmth and humor, Lori Nelson Spielman’s SWEET FORGIVENESS is a novel about family that will make you rethink everything you know about forgiveness and love. Lori Nelson Spielman is an insightful storyteller who captures your heart and keeps you turning the pages.”

I’m not partial to book reviews that summarize — so I’ll tell you why I loved Sweet Forgiveness and let you read the story yourself.

Sweet Forgiveness introduces us to its main character, Hannah Farr, who’s a talk show host dating the city’s mayor, we think she’s got a pretty good life, until Lori skillfully reveals how perfect isn’t always perfect underneath. And, while I grew sympathetic for Hannah and wanted all things to go right for her, I learned she has secrets, and not very nice ones. So while she sets off on a journey to figure out her past and find forgiveness, as a reader I struggled with the fact that I was rooting for someone who might not be all that likable all the time.

Which means Lori did a great job with Hannah Farr!

Just recently I’ve read a few Facebook posts and threads about unlikable characters, and commented that readers are sometimes surprised that the unlikable factor is INTENTIONAL. That authors want to make their readers bristle sometimes, that we want readers to question the choices and decisions of the characters. That writers don’t just throw down a story, that many of us want to make readers think. Even if just a little bit.

That’s the core of Sweet Forgiveness — yes, there is a great hook with “Forgiveness Stones” that become all the rage. But beyond that is the question of what’s forgivable? Who’s forgivable? And is it more important that someone else forgives you or that you forgive yourself?

And, woven into the seriousness of this tale is a lot of lighthearted and romantic themes as well. I love a story that allows me to breathe. Sometimes at least. Part of Sweet Forgiveness that I enjoyed the most was that I wasn’t always worried about Hannah (I get quite involved with characters and stories), that sometimes I was given the chance to just enjoy her.

On another note, this book is personal for me because years ago, on a girlfriend getaway in Michigan, Lori and I sat in our B&B and late at night, Lori said, “I have this idea for a story about these Forgiveness Stones…”

And now it’s a book. And my friend is a bestselling author. Cool, right? Even cooler because I loved the end result. And get to share it with all of you.

Amy xo

Lori Nelson Spielman is the author of The Life List. A former speech pathologist and guidance counselor, she currently works as a home-bound teacher for inner-city students. Lori enjoys running, traveling, and reading, though writing is her passion. She and her husband live in East Lansing, Michigan.

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All About That Book Cover


You might remember the cover story behind The Glass Wives. No? The cover started out with two pink cups. Then we did this. The final cover has one pink cup and one blue/lavender/periwinkle (I was way ahead of the blue/black/gold/white dress curve). It’s one of the favorite stories I tell book clubs and at reader events. It’s that peek behind the publishing curtain that readers (and writers) covet.

So now, I’ll clue you in to the secret behind the cover for The Good Neighbor.

It started out as a red door.

It looked orange to me on my computer monitor, but everyone told me it was red. And I was thrilled! I have always wanted a red front door. It was like the art department at St. Martin’s Press read my book and my mind. While the red door isn’t literal (no red door in The Good Neighbor), it signaled warmth and welcome. And THAT was literal.


Soon someone notice that another book was being published with a very similar red door. And then another. And because the pub date was originally December, we then were concerned The Good Neighbor would scream HOLIDAY STORY, which it’s not.

Back to the coloring board.

I’ll be honest, I am more a blue gal, than a red gal, but I loved that red door. But I took a deep breath and rearranged my thoughts and climbed on board the teal door train.

And now I can’t imagine it any other way. I’m so grateful to the St. Martin’s team who scoped out those similar covers. They want the cover to stand out, not fade in with other covers on the bookshelves and online. I’m very lucky.

But I’ll be honest, I didn’t always feel that way.

When the change came for the cover of The Glass Wives, at first, I was startled and upset. I assured my editor that Evie Glass would NOT have two different cups (since then, I’m not so sure). I persisted. Evie’s cups would match. I was urged to not be so literal, but to think about what the cups represented—and then I understood. The meaning of the cover went beyond the color of the cups to indicate the two different, yet similar, women inside the story.

It was perfect.

The same thing goes for The Good Neighbor. I based the setting on the street I grew up on in Northeast Philadelphia. Our front door were covered by metal screen doors (with screens in the warm weather, glass in the cold). The front doors were somewhat plain. Some had windows, some did not. I remember white doors and wood doors. I might remember a black door. I definitely don’t remember a teal door on my street.

This publishing thing is a learning process, and when I saw the cover I pushed aside my instant reaction that the door was wrong.

No matter the color, the door was right. It matched the tone of the book, the welcoming nature of the characters, and the neighborly sense of story that makes you want to knock a few times, and then step inside.

At least I hope so.

Amy xo

If you haven’t read The Glass Wives, it’s available in every possible way you’d want to read it. Hardcover, paperback, ebook, large print, audio book on cd or download. Check it out here or here.

Author Linda Pennell Writes History Fiction, Embraces Social Media, And Laughs At Those Who Belittle Women’s Fiction

Confederado-Soulmate 105_105x158As an author of contemporary fiction, I always jump at the chance to ask questions of historical fiction authors. To me, the research process seems laborious and daunting—but to them, it drives the story and fuels their creativity. Today, author Linda Pennell shares with us a little of her inspiration, method, and how she combines her love of the past with the social media frenzy of today. I also love her attitude toward the scuttlebutt surrounding the women’s fiction label. 

Please welcome Linda Pennell to Women’s Fiction Writers.

Amy xo


Author Linda Pennell Writes History Fiction, Embraces Social Media, And Laughs At Those Who Belittle Women’s Fiction

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