What follows is a list of websites, books, places, and other things I find inspiring, beautiful, or useful. To keep this page fresh, I’ll be rotating and updating items on an occasional basis. Enjoy!
National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo. Write a novel in a month? Write a novel in a month! (You know you want to.)
The Kissed Mouth. The title of this blog refers to Bocca Baciata, an oil painting by Rossetti. About the “stunners” who populated PreRaphaelite art—Fanny Cornforth, Alexa Wilding, and others—by Kirsty Walker, author of Stunner: the Fall and Rise of Fanny Cornforth. Frequently hilarious but always thought-provoking, The Kissed Mouth casts an incisive and often political eye upon the PRB and their circle. Walker’s post on how fat is a PreRaphaelite issue is worthy of a standing ovation.
Encyclopedia Mythica. For all of your mythology and folklore queries.
SurLaLune Fairy Tales. If you love fairy tales as I do.
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte. Probably my favorite book, I consider Jane Eyre the feminist ur-text. I first encountered it when I was eleven. I don’t know how many times I’ve reread it since then.
Possession by A. S. Byatt. A romantic romp through academia set simultaneously in modern and Victorian England. If you love the PreRaphaelites as I do, it’s great fun to spot all the references. I recently reread it as inspiration for the Next Novel.
Fingersmith by Sarah Waters. I love all of Waters’ novels, but this one is my favorite. A literary potboiler. Don’t start reading it before sleep.
The Anatomy of Story by John Truby. My favorite book on the craft of story. Though it’s pitched toward screenwriters, there’s lots for novelists to use.
The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass. I’ve taken two novel-writing workshops with Maass, both which were tremendously helpful. Maass’s fiction writing techniques really do work. I find his concept of microtension to create narrative urgency especially valuable.
Leighton House Museum. A stunningly beautiful home that is a paean to the Aesthetic art movement. Peacocks, silk rooms, and more. Located in the heart of Kensington, London. Right, photograph of Leighton House’s Arab Room.
Kelmscott Manor. William Morris’s arts and crafts-decorated summer home in the Cotswolds.
Highgate Cemetery. Part nature preserve, part burial grounds. Many luminaries are buried here including Elizabeth Siddal, Dante Gabriel Rossetti’s wife and muse. I set a pivotal scene in A GATHERING OF SHADOWS at Highgate.
Brooklyn Botanic Gardens. Peace, quiet, and a Japanese garden in the heart of New York City.
Ditmas Park Corner. All about the Brooklyn neighborhood where I live.
writing and publishing
Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. I’m thrilled to have been awarded a residency fellowship to work on my second novel here. VCCA is a working retreat for exceptional national and international artists, writers, and composers sequestered in the rolling foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains.
Salt Cay Writers Retreat. I was fortunate to attend the SCWR last year, where I workshopped my fiction with author Robert Goolrick (A RELIABLE WIFE) and other publishing luminaries. A life-changing experience in an intensely beautiful environment.
Sackett Street Writers Workshop. Based in Brooklyn, the SSWW believe that learning how to read with “a writer’s perspective” is an essential part of a writer’s development. Their workshop structure is based on the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. Small class sizes, excellent instructors, and one-on-one conferences.
Poets & Writers Writers Residencies database. As described. Intensely helpful and inclusive.
The Purple Crayon. The site of author-editor Harold Underdown. If you want to create and publish children’s books, this is a must-visit site.