Monthly Archives: January 2015

The House Where Margaret Mitchell Wrote “Gone With the Wind”

Sometimes, people make the most amazing discoveries walking down the street. On a recent work-related visit to Atlanta, I was walking down Peachtree Street with a couple of colleagues when I spotted a thee-story Tudor Revival building with a plaque in front of it. It turns out this was the house where Margaret Mitchell wrote the classic, Gone With the Wind.

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The house was built in 1899 by Cornelius Sheehan as a single family home. It was converted into an apartment building in 1919. Margaret Mitchell and her husband, John Marsh moved into Apartment No. 1 in 1925, according to the Margaret Mitchell House website. The apartment was restored to its original features, including the leaded glass window Mitchell looked out when she wrote the classic novel.

The building was used for apartments until 1978, when it was abandoned. A group of preservationists banded together to save and restore the house. To keep it from being destroyed, Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young designated the house as a city landmark in 1989.

However, in 1994 the building was severely damaged by fire and Daimler-Benz, the German auto maker, supported its purchase and restoration. There was another fire in 1996, just days before the completion of the restoration. The house opened to the public in 1997 and has become one of Atlanta’s treasured landmarks.

Unfortunately, time did not permit me to tour the building. I learned later from perusing the website that the Pulitzer Prize she earned and the success of the book and movie gave Mitchell the financial resources to support a number of philanthropic causes in Atlanta. Mitchell also founded an annual literary contest in the Atlanta federal penitentiary and (at a time when segregation was rampant) she worked on projects with the city’s African American community, including scholarship contributions to Morehouse College.

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My Favorite Fiction-Writing Blogs

Bloggers must spend time not only writing posts, but they must also read other fiction-writing blogs, Long before I created this blog in 2011, I followed other writing blogs sites. My introduction to fiction writing blog sites came when Writer’s Digest published its best 101 blog sites. I faithfully clicked on each and every site. I found most sites useful, but some have become “go to” sites for me.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Writer Unboxed. Started as a collaboration between budding novelists Therese Walsh and Kathleen Bolton, Writer Unboxed features a diverse number of writers who cover craft of fiction, inspiration, publishing, social media, and a host of other topics. It is by far my favorite blog site, in part because it is a warm and welcoming community of writers. Writer Unboxed held its first “Un-Conference” in November of 2014 and its Facebook group boasts 5,000 writers.

Rachelle Gardner. Literary agent Rachelle Gardner consistently offers solid, common-sense advice on publishing, working with agents, writing, and editing topics. Her site features a handy archive that allows readers to find posts by subject matter.

The Creative Penn. A leading expeert in self-publishing and marketing, Joanna Penn offers tremendous entrepreneurial advice to writers of all experience levels. She also makes available resources such as podcasts and her Author 2.0 Blueprint. She writes thrillers under the name JF Penn.

Nail Your Novel. Roz Morris is an author, editor, presenter, and writing coach. Author of a dozen novels as a ghost writer, Morris published two novels under her own name, My Memories of a Future Life, and Lifeform Three. She also wrote the excellent craft of fiction book, Nail Your Novel. Her blog features helpful tips on a variety of craft of fiction topics.

Helping Authors Become Writers. KM Weiland writes historical and speculative fiction. She is also the author of bestselling craft books, Outlining Your Novel and Structuring Your Novel. I personally recommend her craft of fiction books. Her blog offers useful advice on a variety of writing topics.

Porter Anderson. One of the foremost professional critics covering the publishing world, Porter Anderson blogs at several sites. His insights on books and publishing are worth reading on a regular basis. His work with The FutureBook in London focuses on developing an international community around publishing in the digital age. He blogs at Thought Catalog and on http://www.thebookseller.com as well as on Writer Unboxed.

JaneFriedman. The former publisher of Writer’s Digest, professor and author, Jane Friedman is as knowledgeable a source as you will find on writing and publishing. Check out her blog and also her archive of posts on marketing, publishing, e-books, digital media, writing advice and much more.

Nathan Bransford. Former literary agent and author Nathan Bransford offers excellent, clear-eyed advice on writing, publishing, agents, marketing, and more. Check out his Publishing Essential links on his blog page, as well as Popular Posts.

The Book Designer. Joel Friedlander’s blog focuses on “practical advice to help build better books.” Friedlander’s experience in book design, advertising, and graphic design position him well to offer sound guidance to writers. This is a “must read” site for authors. Check out his Start Here links on his blog.

This is by no means a comprehensive list. There are other excellent blogs that I have not mentioned here, but if you follow these sites, you won’t be disappointed.

What are your favorite blog sites?

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Books Read in 2014

2014 was a light year for me. I usually strive to read at least 25 books a year. During the past year, I read only 15. That was due in large part to the time I spent finishing my work-in-progress, A Prayer for Maura. I am happy to report I am nearly done with the edits on Maura, and I will announce the book launch soon. If anyone wants an Advance Review Copy (ARC) please email me at cblake55@comcast.net.

Back to books. Here are the books I read in 2014:

The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt.

We Are Water, Wally Lamb

On the Wild Coast, PJ Lee

Dune Messiah, Frank Herbert

This is how you lose her, Junot Diaz

The Moon Sisters, Therese Walsh

Lifeform Three, Roz Morris

The Cuckoo’s Calling, Robert Galbraith (JK Rowling)

The Casual Vacancy, JK Rowling

Bad Monkey, Carl Hiaasen

11/22/63, Stephen King

Lifeboat Series (books four and five), Jamie Beckett

The Devil’s Star, Jo Nesbit

The Emotion Thesaurus, Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi

Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg

So here’s a New Year’s resolution: I promise to read more books in 2015.

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