When Lynne asked me what I’ve learned about self-publishing my brain froze. That’s what happens when too many thoughts fire at once… I hear static. I’ve made so many mistakes. Truly. But maybe my stumbles can help you avoid injury and win the race. Since we’re all anxious to get back to binging The Home Edit on Netflix so we can be inspired to organize the homes we now spend so much time in, I figured I’d approach this blog like Clea and Joanna… in an orderly, outlined list.
1. Writing the book is the easy part.
Anyone who has written a book will roll their eyes because writing any book is freaking hard. It’s work. It’s complicated and requires sustained effort. I was clueless when I started. About everything. Writing. Editing. Marketing. Book Reviews. I never even heard the term genre fiction prior to 2013 because I was too busy building another career that required twelve-hour days. But, once I get an idea in my head like, “I’m going to publish this book…” I run with it.
a. Find the writing software that makes writing easy.
i. Scrivener- I used Word for my first three books and hated the editing process because I like to write scenes and move them around before I polish the edit. Scrivener makes it easy to restructure and reorder a novel. Bonus: the export features give you .mobi and .epub files ready to upload to vendors.
b. Find support software that makes writing fun.
i. Pinterest– I’m super visual so I collect my research of location photos, character inspiration, and even gadgets on a private board for each novel and use it just as I would a bulletin board. Saves paper and I can move things around easily when writing. Bonus: Edit those boards down to just a few images prior to release and make it public. It’s great content to share with fans or to sway new readers.
ii. Plottr– This plotting app is only $25 and it’s like home organization for your plot. It tracks character names and their attributes like eye color/hair color as well as locations. That’s super helpful for writing a series so you don’t forget that one guy who was in chapter ten three books ago. It integrates with Scrivener too! I love it for jotting down early ideas for future books and working them out before I start scene one. Try it using my link https://getplottr.com/ref/108/
2. Don’t run too fast.
I started writing when a running injury that wouldn’t heal led to eight weeks of bedrest. Yes, that is the loose premise of my first novel, August Fog. Real original, right? They say write what you know. Well… I didn’t know anything except that in 2013 everyone was thirsty for Fifty Shades erotic romances, and what I read while stuck on my couch in a cast didn’t seem that hard to emulate. An idiotic concept, I know, but at the time writing was just a fun way to pass the time. I did not go into it knowing how much I would truly love it. I wrote a vomit draft that had the loose workings of a good story and a tight grip on some man-parts and boom… I had a book. Too bad the only “editor” I paid was very unqualified to do the job and because I was so trusting and ill-informed, I uploaded it to the world about three drafts too early. Lesson learned.
Slow down and learn the craft. Rewrite repeatedly until it’s a tight story then pay a professional editor to go through the manuscript at least twice. This is crucial. This part is a walkathon people… not the hundred-yard dash.
a. Hire a professional editor
i. Lynne Pearson – you’re already on her blog, now you just need to hire her. I do and never regret it.
ii. Reedsy– if she is booked and you’re still in a jog instead of a stroll… there are very qualified editors here that will bid on your project
3. Packaging is everything.
This is usually when people say the cover is the most important step after writing, and… it is, but these days the cover isn’t enough. People look for a brand. Yuck. I know. I hate buzzwords too so let’s call it your style. You will have a lot of graphics needed for each book and you want them to be somewhat consistent. Not the same. Just similar. I could honestly write ten blogs on this subject, I think I have several on my own blog, because I love graphics and design. You may not but as a self-published author, you have to wear many hats. Marketing director is the one you’ll wear most, so start thinking of your career in a bigger picture, not just one book. And be prepared to spend money at every step from here out.
To figure out your author style ask yourself some questions: Who is your reader? Define them specifically. Where do they find books? Then, will you write in one or two genres? If so, know thy genre. I didn’t and published in the wrong category with the wrong type of cover, then wondered why readers were disappointed. Know who is going to understand your books and love them, and then gear everything to them.
Even if you’re hiring a graphic designer, do the research yourself. Know book cover trends and learn which books are selling well. The idea isn’t to copy those covers, it’s to create a book that can stand next to them without looking amateurish, then grab the reader to win their affection.
i. Amazon– Look at upcoming releases in your specific category. Note font style, photos, colors, etc.
ii. NetGalley- A great resource even if you’re not a book reviewer, browse releases that are coming out around the anticipated date in your genre. There are often books there as early as a year ahead.
iii. Authors you love – Go to websites of several successful authors to see their design and interface. Gear your website to your target reader too. Make it user friendly and professional.
b. Hire a graphic designer
i. Reedsy– again this site has pros with portfolios that you can look through then have multiple artists bid for your work.
ii. Pre-Made– tons of websites sell pre-made covers that work for romance or fantasy. I don’t have specific recs because I design all of my own graphics, but be careful to select a cover that mixes with your research, not one you just think is cool.
iii. 99 Covers – a site to bid your cover design out that has some nice examples in a range of genres that I would try if I were to source this out
4. Build a presence before you publish.
This seems like a weird concept but gathering a network of people early who know you or like your opinions gives you a window for selling your next book. I won’t go into this too much. There are hundreds of blogs about social media, but my advice is pick one or two outlets like Facebook or Instagram and dedicate time there networking with people who are similar to your ideal reader. This is key. So what to post?
a. Don’t post memes about cats or show pics of your dinner every night unless it relates to your reader or your book. Occasional pics are awesome and relatable but don’t make your feed the meme channel. That’s just you hiding your “style” (insert the word brand there).
b. Talk about books you like to draw in readers. Readers talk about reading…
c. Start a newsletter. Trust me. It can go out monthly or every other month if you don’t have time but start building an email list now. Mention it in blogs or social posts and have accessible links everywhere (website, social zones, emails) for people to sign up.
d. Make them smile. It’s the best way to connect and you can do it without memes.
e. Talk about your writing process so they see you as an author.
f. Connect with issues or causes that relate to your books or audience. If you write women’s fiction, post things that your audience might find valuable. Articles you found or discuss problems you may all share. Show them your voice and the things you care about.
g. Never post unless you have a purpose. If it’s last night’s lasagna that you needed because you wrote 8,000 words that day and you’re starving… tell the world! Just limit mounting your soapbox to things that are worth readers’ time.
5. Advertise and promote.
This subject is too extensive to cover in an outline but I’ll give you my resources. You really do have to spend money to make money, especially when you’re starting out. There are ways to get your book promoted for free like a well-known blog featuring your book or a best-selling author endorsing it, but if you don’t have such luxuries, you will be promoting your books yourself. This is when your running shoes get the workout because you need to advertise early to make your own buzz, then spread that book in many different directions.
a. Outlets I use:
1. BookBub– without a doubt, having a following on this website is crucial but so is their advertising service. My ads here give the best return, meaning with the right ad, people who don’t know me click on the ad and buy my books.
2. Amazon – whether you distribute wide or commit to KU, these ads work well once you learn how to run them. Start small, $3-5/day, until you get the wording and target audience who click on your ad. Definitely watch some videos or take a class because this is a bit complicated in the beginning. Once you learn what works, your books will sell.
3. Book+Main bites – for romance this site is awesome because readers can read a sample scene that you choose by categories like heat level and trope.
4. Newsletters – That mailing list you’ve been building is like gold. People who sign up already like you or know you either as an author or as an aspiring author, so being able to update them on a new book directly will be easy sales. Don’t spam people or bug them daily and don’t only pester them about the book. Same rule applies here as with social media, give them content that’s worth their time. Bonus: swap book mentions with other authors to reach more inboxes.
5. StoryOrigin – vital networking resource for authors, especially you data-driven geeks out there. Use this site to swap newsletter book mentions, get audiobook reviews, and join group giveaways, all with data tracking so you’re not trusting people who don’t follow through. Authors helping authors and it’s still FREE for the moment but that will change very soon.
6. Write the next book.
Easy peazy. You already did it once. Now stretch. Cool down. And lace those sneakers up again. Your career is the marathon. Each book is simply a mile marker. Just keep going and you’ll get there. Now, I need to go make that lasagna I’ll be posting pictures of tonight because I’ve earned it writing 3x the words Lynne asked me to and the next episode of The Home Edit is going to make me rearrange my kitchen. I hope you get some valuable information out of all of this and visit me on Instagram. I’m there all the time and love connecting with writers!
Books make me happy. I know, that isn’t exactly a surprise. In order to have books, there must be writers. Hence, my love for writers.
Writers take chances. They toil away creating worlds in which I get lost and then found. They make life better one book, one sentence, one word at a time. They reveal themselves to the world in print. Sometimes those revelations are a little muddy, because it is really hard to get things out of the head and on to the paper. That is where I come in.
I love to help writers. They have given so much to me, I figure editing is my opportunity to give back. Sometimes it’s an easy clean up, sometimes it’s a deep dive into what is motivating a character to do what they are doing. Either way, colour me there.
There is nothing I like better than working with a writer, seeking the perfect word or phrase to convey their thoughts and feelings. It doesn’t matter if it is a self-help book or an angsty novel, each writer deserves to have their book look its best.
And I am happy to help make that happen.
You've done the work. Your book is finished. Your beta readers love it. Your editor loves it. You know a publisher is going to love it.
But wait, there is more work to be done. As well as part of the manuscript, the publisher wants a query letter and a synopsis.
If you are like most writers, you would rather have a root canal and a rectal exam than write a synopsis.
But don't despair, help is out there.
Start first with the publisher you want to submit to. Do they have a specific format? If so, adhere to those guidelines. Deviating from expectations may make you stand out, but it also may lead to rejection.
Be prepared to have a one-page synopsis, up to a five-page synopsis. If you have those in your back pocket already, submitting to a publisher will be much easier.
Query letters are much shorter. They are an introduction to your book, but also to you. Don't be modest. If you have a horn to toot, do so.
Here are some resources to help you along the way.
When you are done, I'd be happy to look them over.
If you are writing a story that has a romantic element to it, at some point in time you will have to decide how heated the physical relationship will be. Will your characters be having sex on the page, kissing with fervor, or exchanging looks of great longing? All of these levels of intimacy have their place in books. A few factors will help you decide your level of heat.
Who is your audience?
Without getting into an argument about censorship, I don’t believe that sex on the page should be in a book intended for young readers. If you are writing for readers other than adults, give the level of heat some serious thought, check with publishing houses for what they consider acceptable for YA fiction and younger.
I cut my teeth on Harlequin romance novels. This was the early 70s and a fierce embrace was about as heated as it got. These days, Harlequin has multiple lines of imprints from chaste handholding Amish romances to stories so hot you need to wear asbestos oven mitts to hold the book. Some readers are all about the sex, while others just want that warm fuzzy feeling of a happily ever after. Figure out the expectations of your readers, and turn up the heat accordingly.
What is your comfort level?
One writer could not write a sex scene while her mother was alive. Another writer is constantly searching for the best sources of bondage equipment so that she can describe it accurately in her scenes. The point is, if describing intercourse makes you uncomfortable, don’t do it. A love story can have a satisfying ending without the characters making love. Romance is about the heart, not the libido.
Does it move the story along?
Every scene in your story needs to have a purpose. Writing a story about a resort where people come to have mindless sex with strangers? Then frequent sex scenes make sense. There has to be a reason for characters to have sex. And there has to be a reason for the characters to have sex in a particular scene. If it’s their wedding night? Sure. If they’re running from a bear? Doubtful. Throwing in a sex scene serves no purpose if it doesn’t move the story along.
You can write chaste. You can write bawdy. It doesn’t matter. As long as the scene fits the story and as long as it’s worth the words.
Goodreads lists 452 books inspired by Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.” These include “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” by Seth Grahame-Smith, “Death Comes to Pemberley” by P.D. James, and a personal favourite, “Pride” by Ibi Zoboi. That’s a heck of a lot of inspiration, which leads me to ponder the universal appeal of Austen’s novel.
Part of it is the reflection of English society at the time. A well-bred young woman had so few options available to her, marrying the odious Mr. Collins seemed like a good idea to Lizzie’s best friend Charlotte, knowing full well how ridiculous he was.
Sharp-tongued, too smart for her own good Lizzie Bennet is unwilling to adhere to the limitations of civilized society. And as much as she is able to, she will live life on her own terms. She has no interest in the rich, brooding, condescending Mr. Darcy. She is not blind to the foolishness of her family but they are her family, she will defend them, and he has no right to mock them.
When she kicks Darcy to the curb, everyone who has ever been spurned by someone who later realizes how fabulous you are, rises up to cheer. Take that you pompous bastard!
I love the fact that Lizzie doesn’t compromise, while recognizing that her world is better with Darcy in it. I love that Darcy apologizes, because every good alpha male should know when to apologize.
I don’t care for Caroline Bingley. She is scheming and vindictive, constantly trash talking the Bennetts and displaying their flaws. Perhaps it’s because I don’t like mean girls – I believe that women should be lifting each other up instead of tearing each other down. But every book needs a villain, and she does the job admirably.
I think Caroline deserves a redemption story. Perhaps that will be my next book…
Best selling author Sabrina York shared her self-editing process. These are steps that she learned along her journey with the help of editors who showed her the way. Yes, it's a lot of work, but your book will be stronger because of your efforts.
· Errors in capitalization
· Some grammar and punctuation
· Spell Check does not catch everything
· Dangling & misplaced modifiers
· Misused words/misused homophones
· Unnecessary/redundant words
· Show vs tell
· Disembodied body parts
· Passive voice
· Generic vs vivid verbs
· Adverb/adjective abuse
· Varied sentence structure
· Overused actions
· POV/head hopping
· Historical accuracy
· Cultural References/Product names
· Eliminating the frame
· Repetitive words
· Awkward phrasing
· Using italics
· Similar sentence structure
· Remove unnecessary tags
· Beware information dumps
· Vary character speech patterns
· Kill weak dialog
· Unnecessary sight direction
· Use other senses to develop character or move the story
· Remove detailed clichés
The image of an author at work is often that of an individual, laboring away in solitude, or camped out in a busy coffee shop, headphones clamped on to diminish the noise. But crafting a book all by yourself is not necessary.
Many writers rely on the support of like-minded individuals. Persons, who, like themselves, scribble down stories any chance they can get. Writing communities can be both physical or virtual. They can be as informal as an online group that commits to write together at the same time, or as structured as a chapter of an organization.
There are many benefits to being part of a writing community.
· Suggestions for writing resources.
· Accountability partners to hold you to your goals.
· Someone to help you figure out how to get your hero off the cliff.
· Moral support for the times when the words just won’t come.
My own personal community is the Greater Seattle Romance Writers Association. This awesome group brings in speakers each month who share their expertise. I have made friends, improved my craft, and learned valuable information that I have used in my stories.
I encourage you to find a community. Your people are out there waiting for you.
Don’t know where to start? Go to the Google and type in “How to find a writing community.”
I’ve chewed off all my fingernails. Yep, I’m a nervous wreck. You see, my masterpiece, my great Canadian/American novel is with my editor. Why is that you may ask. Aren’t you an editor? Yes, I am. However, I can’t edit my own work.
My editor has not lived with the book for the past year. They have not sweated over it. They don’t think every word is perfect.
When they look at it, they will do so with fresh eyes. My editor will be looking at the story as a whole, and will let me know if the story hangs together and what parts need to be revised or possibly thrown out. They will see one main character is fully developed while the other is a bare outline. They will see unresolved conflicts and the multitude of plot holes. They will see head-hopping, passive voice, continuity issues, and – you get the picture.
I’m really hoping they won’t find all of those problems, but I’m girding my loins, just in case. I expect it’s going to be like getting waxed. Painful, but the results are worth it.
So my character got his happily ever after and it was time to expose him to the world. It was with great trepidation that I sent the manuscript to my beta reader. I chose my beta reader carefully; someone who reads in the genre I am writing, someone who is not a writer herself, someone who would be honest, constructive, and not brutal.
I’ve been a beta reader and I gotta tell you, sometimes it’s a slog. So I was unprepared for her to text me the next day to say she was finished reading. While the story was still fresh in her mind, I sent her a bunch of reflection questions.
Not wanting to reinvent the wheel, I went to the Google to find questions specifically for beta readers. The ones I chose I found on writingcooperative.com. They were great. Some were pretty basic “Did the story hold your interest from beginning to end?” Some were quite inciteful “Were there parts that frustrated or annoyed you?” I shipped off the questions, she completed them within an hour and then we discussed them over the phone.
She pointed out things that were a stretch, things that weren’t believable, places in the story that needed more development. One surprising thing, the character that never made it past high school had a vocabulary that was broader and more refined than the college-educated character. Definitely food for thought.
Now I have to read over her responses and work on the next draft.
What a great experience, especially when she said that she looks forward to reading the next version and asked if I had plans for one of the minor characters. Which I do because I have already started the outline for the second book.
Most writers have figured out when to use LAY vs. LIE. Lay is a transitive verb and requires an object. I lay the baby on the bed. Lie is an intransitive verb. It does not need anything attached to it. Regardless if I am telling a tall tale or sleeping on the job, I lie.
The sticky part is when we must conjugate the verbs.
You can go to the Google to find many references, but here is one that works well for me.
In his book, Dreyer’s English, Benjamin Dreyer created this tidy little chart. Yes, it is confusing. I myself have yet to memorize it. I reiterate Mr. Dreyer’s suggestion, if you can’t commit it to memory, dog-ear the page in the book (193).
I’m reading three novels at the moment. And I gotta tell you, my head is spinning. One is on audio, one is an ebook, and one is a hardcover. While the books are wildly different, they have two things in common.
A strong main character who you care for and want to succeed. Each of them is highly flawed, and at times I want to smack them upside the head. However, that means that their potential for growth is huge.
Each character has obstacles aplenty to overcome. The obstacles are hard for me to deal with, because when I like a character, I don’t want them to get hurt. But if there aren’t any obstacles, the characters don’t get a chance to grow. So, I’m biting my nails as I peer around corners with the following three kick-ass women.
Life Lik3 by Jay Kristoff is a dystopic YA novel. Eve is mostly human with a cyber-optic plate in her head who scavenges to keep herself and her grandfather (or so she thinks) alive. All goes to hell when in the midst of a bot battle she is able to destroy a machine using her mind. Now everyone is after her.
I am not a fan of the undead. However, Jesse Petersen has changed my mind with her book Married with Zombies. Sarah and her husband are in counselling. They show up to their appointment to discover their therapist snacking on another couple. They haven’t been a team for a while, but must work together to outrun the zombie apocalypse.
I’m late to the party in reading Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens. I was afraid to read the book because it would make me cry. Well, that hasn’t happened yet, but this book has all the feels. A young girl is left alone to raise herself in the North Carolina marsh. Kya is resilient in the face of adversity as she figures out why she is always being left behind. I started this as an audiobook. I love it so much I bought a copy for a friend; however, I may wind up keeping it. I have a feeling I will be reading this book again and again.
I’m not sure if they will each get a happily-ever-after, but I sure hope so. Because kick-ass women deserve it.
I encountered a client at a coffee shop recently. Before the caffeine had a chance to catch up with my day, she had an editing question for me.
When do you capitalize mom?
She'd been told that it doesn't matter, tht she could upper case or lower case the M, and as long as she did it consistently, she was fine. But that is so not the case. (See what I did there?)
When you are addressing a person, using mom in place of their given name, mom is capitalized, because it is being used as a proper noun.
"Hey Mom, you look fabulous!"
When you are referring to your mom, it is not capitalized, because mom is being used as a common noun.
"My mom looks fabulous!"
Why is capitalization important?
Your writing reflects you. It reflects how much you care about what you are writing, and how much you care about who is reading it.
Towards that end, employ a professional to help you navigate the treacherous waters of English grammar conventions. Your document will be presentable, and your mom will be happy.
When should you capitalize mom? When it can be substituted for a name.
"Hey Lynne, you look fabulous!"
When don't you capitalize mom? When there is a possesive or an article in front of it.
"My mom looks fabulous."
You've got this! You can thank me later.
It is a curious thing to be able to type your name into the Amazon search box and find a book with your name on the cover. When the book dropped (that's publishing lingo) I must have looked it up a dozen times. The next day my publisher texted to tell me that the book was #1 in Methodist Christianity. That didn't last terribly long, but still.
Filling the Void started with a conversation. Rev. Kristin Joyner is a United Methodist pastor. In the spring of 2018, she and I were talking about the many stories of good things accomplished by congregations that never get heard. We realized that if those stories were going to be heard, we were the ones who were going to have to tell them.
We reached out to clergy members throughout Washington State and asked them to tell their stories. Specifically, where they see God at work in the Pacific Northwest.
The stories came in. Stories of hope, and stories of transformation.
Each chapter was written by a clergy person who had witnessed individuals and congregations working with God in transformation, and embodying the love God has for all.
I submitted the book to a huge publishing house. Crickets...
I submitted the book to a small publishing house who responded within twenty-four hours. In less than two weeks, I received an offer. Woo hoo!!
Kevin Slimp, the patient publisher of Market Square Books, explained that massive amounts of money would not be made on this book. Not a problem, Kristin and I decided that proceeds would benefit the United Methodist Committee on Relief.
It was a seriously cool experience. However, working with clergy was a lot like herding cats - it took a lot of patience and perseverance. Not sure that I'm ready to do it again.
September 29, 2019
Cleaning out my office, I came across a notebook that was filled with story starts. Two to three pages of meet-cute scenes with snarky dialogue, and then ... nothing. Flip the page and another story start. Another meet-cute with different names and a different setting, and then ... nothing.
You get the picture. I prefer to write by the seat of my pants. I can't be bothered to outline a story, I just have an idea and go.
Which is strange, because I am a list maker. Grocery lists, chore lists, to-do lists. So it would make perfect sense that I would be a plotter; a writer who outlines from start to finish knowing what the ending is going to be before they put pen to paper.
It wasn't until I collaborated with Celeste Joy on a novel that I saw the value in outlining. It was like having a road map for where you want to go. We did the same thing for our second novel.
When it came to writing my own novel, #HotAndHandy, I fell back into old habits. Which was why it was taking me forever to get the story down.
Then I chatted with this wonderful author/editor who recommended a book to me. OMG was it helpful. It allowed me to plot and pants at the same time.
Now, my book isn't finished yet, but I'm following a map, and it is making life a heck of a lot easier.
Reading for me is a pleasure, a passion, and a joy. Here are some books that resonated with me and I remember fondly.
August 19, 2019
I’m pretty superficial when it comes to recreational reading – I like books that make me smile and have a Happily Ever After ending. But I am often challenged to step away from the light and fluffy and read something that’s good for me. It’s kind of like having to eat your vegetables before you can have dessert. Sigh.
I belong to a book group comprised of women who read both broad and deep. As a result, I have been exposed to some seriously thoughtful stuff – both fiction and non-fiction. One recent book that provided lots to chew on was “Good and Mad” by Rebecca Traister. The author looks at the history of women’s anger, the double standard perpetuated against women, and the transformative power of collective fury. We had quite the discussion that evening, and I don’t think that I will be able to look at women in the news the same way again.
We also read “The Birth House” by Ami McKay. I love historical novels set in rural Canada and this one does not disappoint. Dora Rare is the first daughter in five generations of Rares. In a superstitious community, she is different and is blamed for unusual and unhappy events. She reluctantly becomes a midwife in a small town in Nova Scotia just before the first world war. Life is not always kind to women. They have little control over their bodies and their futures. But Dora manages and does it quite well, pissing off a lot of men in the process.
My running partner is one of the many people in my life with whom I talk about books. She introduced me to “The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek” by Kim Michele Richardson. It took me a few pages to get into, but OMG has this book got me by the heart. Set in Kentucky coal mining country in 1936, it follows Cussy Mary, who is a traveling librarian and, wait for it, has blue skin. Look it up, it’s a real thing. People refer to her as Bluet and not in a kind manner. The preacher thinks she is an abomination that needs to be cast out. The doctor thinks she is a medical anomaly that needs to be researched. But the readers who live in the hills and valleys think she is a blessing, because she delivers the world to them through books. I enjoyed this so much, I had to read the ending twice.
August 7, 2019
Written by Kate Quinn, The Alice Network is a story about two women whose lives were shaped by two different wars. I dragged my feet because I wasn't really interested in another book about war. But it was recommended to my by my sister, and she has never steered me wrong.
Speaking of which, she led me to Australian author Jane Harper. The Dry is a murder mystery set against the backdrop of a drought in a small farming community. The ending left me breathless. And the second book was equally as compelling.
I in turn introduced her to Joe Ide. His first book is titled IQ, which is also the name of the main character. IQ investigates crimes in his community of East Long Beach. Very engaging and satisfying. You can't help but feel for the guy.
Recently I discovered Rebecca Zanetti. Hidden is the first book in her Deep Ops series. This is a romantic suspense novel featuring beefy men with decidedly unromantic names. I mean who names their heroes Malcolm and Clarence? But the stories also feature a German shepherd dog with a drinking problem. What more do you want?
I adored Amor Towles lovely book A Gentleman in Moscow. Set in 1922, Count Rostov is sentenced to house arrest in a grand hotel. Over a span of thirty years the count's life changes considerably. The book is both captivating and heart-breaking.