Now Write! Contributors’ Recent Work

The holiday season has arrived and it’s a wonderful time to enjoy the work of fellow and sister writers.  Great writers make great readers… and vice versa! There’s something here for everyone including literary fiction, creative nonfiction and mysteries.   See also the recently updated: Writing Books by Now Write! Contributors for gift ideas for writers and a chance to win a FREE GIVEAWAY.
Voyage of Strangers voyageof-strangersaudio book by Elizabeth Zelvin (Now Write! Mysteries contributor)
Lake Union Publishing (Sept. 2014)
The year is 1493, and young Jewish sailor Diego Mendoza has returned from Columbus’s triumphant first voyage with tales of lush landscapes, rivers running with gold, and welcoming locals. But back home in Spain, Diego finds the Inquisition at its terrifying peak, and he must protect his spirited sister, Rachel, from betrayal and death. Disguising herself as a boy, Rachel sneaks onto Columbus’s second expedition, bound for the new lands they call the Indies. As the Spaniards build their first settlements and search for gold, Diego and Rachel fall in love with the place, people, and customs. Still forced to hide their religious faith and Rachel’s true identity, the brother and sister witness the Spaniards’ devastation of the island in their haste to harvest riches. 
Pat Boone Fan Club PatBooneFanClubby Sue William Silverman (Now Write! Nonfiction contributor)
Univ of Nebraska Press (March, 2014)
A one-woman cultural mash-up explores identity among the mishmash of American idols and ideals that confuse most of us—or should. Pat Boone is our first stop. Now a Tea Party darling, Boone once shone as a squeaky-clean pop music icon of normality, an antidote for Silverman’s own confusing and dangerous home, where being a Jew in a Christian school wasn’t easy, and being the daughter of the Anti-Boone was unspeakable. And yet somehow Silverman found her way, a “gefilte fish swimming upstream,” and found her voice, which in this searching, bracing, hilarious, and moving book tries to make sense of that most troubling American condition: belonging, but to what?
escapeofmalcolmpoeThe Escape of Malcolm Poe by Allison Burnett (Now Write! Screenwriting contributor)
Writers Tribe Books (Sept. 2014)
For the past ten years, Malcolm Poe has dreamt of escape. His plan is simple: The day his youngest child starts college, Malcolm will leave his devoted wife to resume the creative life he abandoned for marriage. As the hour of his departure nears, Malcolm buys a blank notebook to chronicle the riot of his memories, passions, regrets, and aspirations – an ascent into the deluded imagination of a middle-aged man who believes it is never too late to start over.
Mothers and Lovers mothers&loversby Maria Flook (Now Write! Fiction contributor)
Roundabout Press (Dec. 2014)
College professor April O’Rourke is in over her head when she moves next door to a family in trouble, including a teenage son, who has returned home from reform school.  She is mesmerized by her young neighbor but his unorthodox bond with his mother has earth-shaking consequences for everyone. This sweeping novel overturns sacred traditions and maps the scissoring boundary lines of family ties and carnal attraction.

The Armor of God, Vol. 1 armorofgodthe first book in a trilogy by Diego Valenzuela (Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror contributor)

(Oct. 2014)
A once-beautiful planet razed by a malignant alien virus shields itself from the wreckage of the world: one remaining human settlement is a domed city, where the last humans live comfortable lives, awaiting their inevitable extinction.
Eighteen-year old Ezra Blanchard must take part in military service, but when the army discovers Ezra’s blood possesses extremely rare qualities, he is trained in Zenith, a top secret facility where Ezra discovers humanity’s last glimmer of hope.
Quiet Dell quietdellby Jane Anne Phillips (Now Write! Fiction contributor)
Scribner; Reprint edition (July, 2014)
In Chicago in 1931, Asta Eicher, a lonely mother of three, is desperate for money after the sudden death of her husband. She begins to receive seductive letters
from a chivalrous, elegant man named Harry Powers, who promises to cherish and protect her, ultimately to marry her and to care for her and her children. Weeks later, Asta and her three children are dead.
Emily Thornhill, one of the few women journalists in the Chicago press, wants to understand what happened to this beautiful family. Determined Emily travels to West Virginia to cover the murder trial and to investigate the story herself, accompanied by a charming and unconventional photographer equally drawn to the case. These heroic characters, driven by secrets of their own, will stop at nothing to ensure Powers is convicted.
River CityRiverCity (a Jason Colefield Mystery) by Doc Macomber (Now Write! Mysteries contributor)
Floating Word Press (April, 2014)
As a frozen fog lifts, River Patrol Deputy, Jason Colefield, motors ashore on idyllic Sauvie Island to recover a body. Colefield has a history with the island and any return triggers unpleasant boyhood memories. This visit he comes face-to-face with his childhood nemesis who leads him to the bullet-riddled body of a young boy he claims he stumbled upon while hunting. Colefield suspects the man is lying but it will take more than just gut instinct to prove it. As the story unfolds, with more twists and turns than the majestic Columbia River, island life is disrupted, family secrets exposed and it becomes clear the past isn’t done with him.
PayoffPayoff (a Simon Fisk novel) by Douglas Corleone (Now Write! Mysteries contributor)
Minotaur Books/ St. Martin’s Press (Aug. 2014)
When movie studio mogul Edgar Trenton’s teenage daughter, Olivia, is kidnapped during a violent home invasion in Calabasas, California, former U.S. Marshal Simon Fisk is called upon to ensure a smooth ransom exchange. But once it becomes clear that the kidnappers never intended to return Olivia to her parents, Simon must follow a lethal trail that will lead him from the powdery white sand beaches of the Cayman Islands through the wild jungles of Costa Rica, and into some of the darkest and deadliest cities of South America.
GoodasGoneGood As Gone (a Simon Fisk novel) by Douglas Corleone (Now Write! Mysteries contributor)
Minotaur Books/St. Martin’s Press (Aug. 2013)
Former U.S. Marshal Simon Fisk now works as a private contractor, tracking down and recovering children who were kidnapped by their own estranged parents. He only has one rule: He won’t touch stranger abduction cases. He’s still haunted by the disappearance of his own daughter years ago when she was just a child, still unsolved, and stranger kidnappings hit too close to home.

Contributors’ New Work

Some new work from Now Write! contributors.

Here are some very intriguing recent publications by Now Write! Mysteries and Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror contributors.  

If you are a Now Write! contributor and would like to share your new work and/or write a guest blog post, send details and  jpegs of  your book to laurie at

ReckoningReckoning (The Many Deaths of Dynamistress)
by Vincent M. Wales (Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror contributor)
DGC Press (Oct 2013)

There is much disagreement about when super-powered metahumans began to appear. Most scientists believe the first births were in the ’40s, perhaps the ’30s, although there is a small (but vocal) minority claiming they have always been among us.

In Reckoning – the first volume of a trilogy about the metahuman known as Dynamistress – award-winning author Vincent M. Wales (Wish You Were Here, One Nation Under God) gives us the memoir of the world’s first self-made metahuman. But it is less a story of becoming a superhero than it is the story of a flawed woman becoming whole.

thelostThe Lost by Jack Ketchum (Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror contributor)
47 North (March 2014)

It was the summer of 1965. Ray, Tim, and Jennifer were just three teenage friends hanging out in the campgrounds, drinking a little. But Tim and Jennifer didn’t know what their friend Ray had in mind. And if they’d known, they wouldn’t have thought he was serious. Then they saw what he did to the two girls at the neighboring campsite—and knew he was dead serious.

offseasonOff Season by Jack Ketchum (Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror contributor)
47North (Reprint Edition, Oct 2013)

September. A beautiful New York editor retreats to a lonely cabin on a hill in the quiet Maine beach town of Dead River—off season—awaiting her sister and friends. Nearby, a savage human family with a taste for flesh lurks in the darkening woods, watching, waiting for the moon to rise and night to fall…

And before too many hours pass, five civilized, sophisticated people and one tired old country sheriff will learn just how primitive we all are beneath the surface…and that there are no limits at all to the will to survive.

ONdellOndelle of Grioth (Faerie Tales from the White Forest Book Three) 
by Danika Dinsmore (Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror contributor)
Hydra House (April 2014)

Thanks to Ondelle s parting gift, Brigitta is now a rare deodyte, a faerie bound by two elements. But she has little energy to explore, let alone enjoy, her new air element, as she is also now haunted by the memories of her dead High Priestess.

postcardsofthehangingPostcards of the Hanging
by Steve Liskow (Now Write! Mysteries contributor)
self-published (Feb 2014)

It’s 1965 and the Beatles have turned pop music upside down. In the South, the Civil Rights movement is gathering momentum behind Martin Luther King. In Vietnam, the war is heating up. And in Ojibway, Michigan, cheerleader Susie Porter accuses her algebra teacher of rape.

Attorney Joseph Daniels, unaware that his son Robbie has loved Susie since grade school, agrees to defend the teacher. His decision thrusts Robbie into a world he never dreamed existed.

Part To Kill a Mockingbird, part American Graffiti, Postcards of the Hanging is the story of a young man discovering that life is never simple and that truth is often painful.

bloodonthetracksBlood on the Tracks
by Steve Liskow (Now Write! Mysteries contributor)
self-published (Sept 2013)

In 1991, Jeremy Garth and Thunder Lizzard were poised to become Detroit’s Next Big Thing. They went into the studio to cut the album that would make it all happen. Then Garth turned up dead in his car and took the unfinished album and the band with him.

Now Re-Run Records hires Chris “Woody” Guthrie to find those lost session tapes for a memorial CD, and Guthrie finds that all is not peace and harmony in the Motor City.

A Tattoo by Gerard Bianco (Now Write! Mysteries contributor – check out his sample exercise)
flash fiction story published by Burningword Literary Journal  (April, 2014)

“She got a freaking tattoo! The nose piercing last year wasn’t enough. She had to get a Celtic arm band tattoo. She’s not even Irish. ” Keep reading…

Now Write! Contributors’ New Work – In Time For Holiday Shopping!

Now Write! contributors are prolific working writers.  Just in time for holiday shopping, here are some of their newest works – all published this year, or even this month.  There’s something for everyone, so check out this wonderful array of new books.  

And if you’re looking for a gift for an aspiring or professional writer,  of course a Now Write! anthology is perfect.  You might also want to explore Writing Books by Now Write! Contributors.

Happiness as a Second Language: A Guidebook to Achieving Lasting, Permanent Happiness
by Valerie Alexander (Now Write! Screenwriting contributor)
Goalkeeper Media, Inc.  (April, 2013 – Kindle Edition]

Happiness as a Second Language teaches happiness the same way you would learn any language that wasn’t spoken in your home. Being happy is completely within your reach, but you have to do the work to get there.

Simple and straightforward with easy-to-follow instructions  and familiar sample situations, this “ultimate textbook” is touching, often heartbreaking and sometimes hysterical.  Start now, and you will be fluent in Happiness before you know it.

*** Read Valerie’s guest post: Writer Happiness. ***

Limited Sight Distance: Essays for Airwaves
by  Robert Root (Now Write! Nonfiction contributor)

Amazon (February, 2013)

Collects the best of the “Thinking Out Loud” series of essays Robert Root recorded for Michigan Public Radio in the 1980s. In them he muses on the old house in which he lives, the neighborhood around it, memories of growing up in Western New York, the seasons he observes, the sensations of traveling, encounters with the cosmos, and interludes in the natural world—the things that make him want to think out loud.

The Village Sang to the Sea: A Memoir of Magic
by  Bruce McAllister (Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror contributor)
Aeon Press (February, 2013)

VillageSangDuring the Cold War a 14-year-old American boy, Brad Lattimer, moves with his family to a fishing village in Northern Italy.  It’s no ordinary village, but Brad is welcomed like a long-lost cousin.  This is the village where Mary Shelley may have dreamed her dream that became Frankenstein. It is certainly the village where Brad, too, will start to dream strange dreams and write his own first stories; where he will fall sick because the village’s magic has its hold on him, wanting him to become something other than a boy–something that can never leave it–something it can have as its own for eternity.

Nursing a Grudge 
by Diana Orgain (Now Write! Mysteries contributor)
Amazon (November, 2013 – Kindle Edition)

nursingagrudgeBook Four in the Maternal Instincts Mystery Series 
: Bringing up baby—bringing down a killer.

Kate Connolly would like nothing more than to cuddle with her new baby, except to solve her next case and become a bonafide P.I. She gets her chance when San Francisco’s hottest critic writes a particularly scathing review about the trendy new restaurant, Philosophie. The critic’s boyfriend falls to his death under mysterious circumstances from Painted Rock Cliff, and Kate fears that the restaurant critic may be targeted next. Battling sleep deprivation, diaper blowouts and breastfeeding mishaps, Kate muddles through her own investigation, Mommy style.

Downtrodden Abbey: The Interminable Saga of an Insufferable Family
by Gillian Fetlocks (aka Billy Frolick,  Now Write! Screenwriting contributor)
Thomas Dunne Books, (December, 2013 – Hardcover)

downtroddenabbeyWelcome to Downtrodden Abbey, where a battle for the deed to the property is waged between legitimate aristocrats and pretenders to the throne.  The overwrought melodrama takes the reader upstairs and downstairs, into parlors and drawing rooms, boudoirs and bathrooms, and across every class—from the classiest to the classless—in the social pecking order of Edwardian England. A wicked sense of humor skewers your favorite Downton Abbey characters in this winning parody.

The Incredible Sestina Anthology
by Daniel Nestor (Editor) (Now Write! Nonfiction contributor)
Write Bloody Publishing (October, 2013)

The-Incredible-SestinaThe book collects more than 100 examples of this poetic form, from Sherman Alexis to Louis Zukofsky and everywhere in between: sestina classics; modern masterpieces; double sestinas, comic sestinas,  minimalist takes; Jonah Winter’s world-famous “Bob” sestina; selections from McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, and much much more.

Slice of Moon
by Kim Dower  (Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror contributor
Red Hen Press (October, 2013)

sliceofmoonIn her second poetry collection, Kim Dower retains her whimsical style while reaching deeper inside what it means to be human — writing of love, longing, motherhood, vulnerability, death — with the same humor and accessibility of her earlier work, but with greater lyrical intensity, irony, poignancy. The collection is a rainbow rope of entwined emotional fibers, each one a different expression: funny, sad, angry, loving, strong, fearful, sexy. She  weaves these colors beautifully to create a book that resonates with honesty and the complexities of life.

If you would like to recommend your own or someone else’s book as a great holiday gift – please give the details in a comment below.  Thank you!


Now Write! Contributors: New Work

Now Write! contributors sure keep busy. As usual, there’s something here for everyone, including spooky scary short stories in time for Halloween from Elizabeth Eve King, a contributor to Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror (Feb, 2014).


What A Mother KnowsWhatamotherknows
by Leslie Lehr (Now Write! Nonfiction contributor)
Sourcebooks Landmark (May 2013)

How far will a mother go to protect her child?

An unsettling, emotional and suspenseful novel of the unshakable bonds of motherhood, in which Michelle Mason not only loses her memory after a deadly car crash, but can’t find her 16-year-old daughter, the one person who may know what happened that day. But the deeper Michelle digs, the more she questions the innocence of everyone, even herself. A dramatic portrayal of the fragile skin of memory, What a Mother Knows is about finding the truth that can set love free.

(Read Leslie’s guest blog post Wrecking Ball Revision – about writing the novel)

QuietDellQuiet Dell: A Novel (hardcover)
by Jayne Anne Phillips (Now Write! Fiction contributor)
Scribner (October, 2013)

Based on a real-life multiple murder by a con man who preyed on widows — a story that has haunted the author for more than four decades.

In Chicago in 1931, Asta Eicher, mother of three, is lonely and despairing, pressed for money after the sudden death of her husband. She begins to receive seductive letters from a chivalrous, elegant man named Harry Powers, who promises to cherish and protect her, ultimately to marry her and to care for her and her children. Weeks later, all four Eichers are dead.

One of the few women journalists in the Chicago press becomes deeply invested in understanding what happened to this beautiful family.

goodasgoneGood as Gone
by Douglas Corleone (Now Write! Mysteries contributor)
Minotaur Books (Aug. 2013)

A former U.S. Marshal, haunted by his own daughter’s disappearance, investigates a child abduction which becomes a terrifying international chase.

Former U.S. Marshal Simon Fisk works as a private contractor, tracking down and recovering children who were kidnapped by their own estranged parents. He only has one rule: he won’t touch stranger abduction cases. He’s still haunted by the disappearance of his own daughter when she was just a child, still unsolved, and stranger kidnappings hit too close to home.

Until, six-year-old Lindsay Sorkin disappears from her parents’ hotel room in Paris, and the French police deliver Simon an ultimatum: he can spend years in a French jail, or he can take the case and recover the missing girl.

badgirlsBad Girls (paperback, kindle and audio book)
by M. William Phelps (Now Write! Mysteries contributor)
Kensington Publishing Corp. (Sept. 2013)

A  tale of sexploitation, lust, and betrayal.  49-year-old Bob Dow shot execution-style in his own bed, his invalid mother locked in the next room—and a cache of homemade porn starring the town’s underage girls. The two accused killers—teen lovers Bobbi Jo Smith and Jennifer Jones—were on the run, intent on going out in a cross-country blaze of glory. Were both girls equally guilty of murder? Or was one merely a pawn in the other’s dainty, blood-stained hands?

LethalTreasureLethal Treasure: a Josie Prescott Antiques Mystery
by Jane Cleland (Now Write! Mysteries contributor)
Minotaur Books (June, 2013)

Josie Prescott pursues her newest source of inventory — the contents of abandoned storage units sold at auction. A crowd gathers at the storage facility, including local Henri Dubois, who bids against a man new to the local auction scene. The larger unit won by Henri has some exciting discoveries but when Josie receives a frantic call from Henri’s wife, the next morning, she learns that Henri never made it home after the auction. Police find Henri, dead in the storage unit. Was he killed over one of the objects? Is his wife hiding secrets that led to his death? And who was the stranger who bid against Henri? When the police turn to Josie’s antiques expertise, she discovers more than provenance—she uncovers a murderer.



AnotherHappyEndingAnother Happy Ending
by Elizabeth Eve King (Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror contributor)
Perpetual Motion Machine Publishing (October, 2013)

A collection of short fiction and a novella – Funny and dark, E.E. King offers a unique perspective on life, love and the meaning of the universe. These tales will have you up all night.

blackberriesBlackberries, Blackberries
by Crystal Wilkinson (Now Write! Fiction contributor – her exercise is available as a sample here.)
AmazonEncore (November, 2011)

An enchanting, haunting collection of stories by a self-described black country girl and poet from rural Kentucky. The stories explore the joys and pain of the women of “Affrilachia”.

NurseI Wasn’t Strong Like This When I Started Out: True Stories of Becoming a Nurse
Edited by Lee Gutkind (Now Write! Nonfiction contributor)
In Fact Books; 1 edition (April 9, 2013)

This collection of true narratives reflects the dynamism and diversity of nurses, who provide the first vital line of patient care. Here, nurses remember their first “sticks,” first births, and first deaths, and reflect on what gets them through long, demanding shifts, and keeps them in the profession. What connects these stories is the passion and strength of the writers, who struggle against burnout and bureaucracy to serve their patients with skill, empathy, and strength.


RiverMeet Me at the River  (hardcover and kindle)
by Nina da Gramont (Now Write! Fiction contributor)
Atheneum Books for Young Readers (October, 2013)

We can’t choose who we love…but can we choose to let go?

Stepsiblings Tressa and Luke have been close since they were little…and when they become teenagers, they slip from being best friends to something more. Their relationship makes everyone around them uncomfortable, but they can’t—won’t—deny their connection. Nothing can keep them apart.

Not even death. Luke is killed in a horrible, tragic accident, and Tressa is suddenly alone. Unable to outrun the grief and guilt and longing, she is haunted by thoughts of suicide. And then she is haunted by Luke himself.

SasquatchStreetball Crew: Sasquatch in the Paint  (hardcover)
by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Raymond Obstfeld (Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror contributor)
Disney-Hyperion (September, 2013)

Thanks to the six inches he grew recently, eighth-grader Theo has lost his invisibility. The basketball coach conscripts him, but Theo’s so uneasy in his new body that he’s uncoordinated and self-conscious on the court. He doesn’t want to quit, though, even when he’s nicknamed Sasquatch during his first game. The more he studies and practices the game, the more he loves it, but “to want to do something you weren’t good at was begging to be let down.” Meanwhile, he’s having trouble balancing other responsibilities, including the academic team that has been a huge part of his life.

Guest Post by Leslie Lehr: Wrecking Ball Revision

LEHR_Bookcover_May2013My new novel, What A Mother Knows, started out as a literary masterpiece – or so I thought. I wrote it for my thesis project when I earned my MFA. The story is about a woman who wakes up from a deadly car accident only to find she is accused of murder and her daughter, the only one who knows what happened, is gone. It was fun playing with the prose, so I devised two story lines that alternated between past and present until they met up at the end. The result was dark and angsty – I loved it. But my friends had trouble remembering the details from one storyline to the next.

images-2I put it aside to write a quick commercial novel, Wife Goes On, which I sold from the outline along with a screenplay on the same concept. But I couldn’t let go of this story, so I decided to rewrite it with a strong narrative drive to make it more exciting and more accessible to readers – a marriage of commercial and literary fiction. Ultimately, it was a detective story: this woman was desperate to find her daughter and to clear her name. She also had everything to risk, which made it a thriller. Time for the wrecking ball.

I started by smashing the story apart to make a scene list. Then I put the scenes in order. The main story had to be a present time page-turner, so I combined past scenes that had the same character having a revelation and used flashbacks only to help the character take action. By reordering, combining, and eliminating scenes, the story got stronger. Each character’s motivation was clearer, so the plot got thicker, and the revelations came faster. Boom, boom, boom! Then my agent asked me to develop the medical and legal themes, so I revised it again.

When she sold it, my new editor asked me to take out 100 pages. Of course, you can’t just lop off 100 pages of a tightly woven tale, so I went back to the wrecking ball and broke it down, scene by scene. Next, I make a list of revelations, to make sure everything was accounted for. Then I built it up again into a strong story.
It’s the same story, but better. And it’s a page-turner. Read What A Mother Knows and let me know if you find any holes. I dare you!

LEHRauthorphotoLeslie Lehr is a Now Write! Fiction contributor, and the prize-winning author of the novels What A Mother Knows66 Laps and Wife Goes On, plus three nonfiction books, including Welcome to Club Mom. Her essays have appeared in the New York Times, Huffington Post, and anthologies such as Mommy Wars. She was the screenwriter of the romantic thriller, HEARTLESS and wrote Club Divorce for Lifetime TV. Leslie has a BA from the USC School of Cinematic Arts, an MFA from Antioch, teaches in the world renowned Writers’ Program at UCLA Extension and works as a private manuscript consultant. For more information, go to  You can follow Leslie on Twitter and Facebook.