Hi! I’m Ann Anderson, and this is my blog.

Ann Anderson



Do you like Young Adult fiction? The one I wrote is called Four Chambers. It’s a sweet, non-scary YA ghost story, and you can check it out at this Amazon link:

Four Chambers – Kindle edition


Stay tuned for the sequel, Room Five. 

I write nonfiction, too. Handy links under My Books.






I post reviews, recommendations and articles of interest to readers and writers. I hope to hear from you. What are you reading?

Solstice Spotlight: KateMarie Collins

KateMarie Collins

Featured Title: Wielder of Tiren

Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Wielder-Tiren-Raven-Chronicles-Book-ebook/dp/B01CIS1DKM

Will Arwenna’s need for vengeance turn her into something she doesn’t recognize?
Genre: High/Dark Fantasy, Book 3 of The Raven Chronicles
Seven Questions for a Solstice Author
Why do you write?
I write fantasy. Everything from high/epic to dark to more urban.
What do you read for guilty pleasure?
More fantasy. LOL. Seriously, that’s the one genre I always end up with.
What one book do you wish you’d written?
“Ariel: A book of the Change” by Stephen Boyette (sp). He blends humor into a situation beautifully, as well as takes a very implausible concept and makes it believable.
What’s your biggest writing challenge?
Making myself do it. I tend to find something else that is higher on the ‘to do’ list for the day. I have to make it a priority or it gets shoved off to the bottom of the list.
Which character of yours is your favorite?
Arwenna from The Raven Chronicles for the women. She’s got a lot of me in her. For the guys, either Joss (same series) or Talin from ‘Mark of the Successor’.
Who’s your favorite fictional anti-hero?
Darth Vader. I’m a huge Star Wars fan, and that one character for me has embodied absolute evil and the chance for redemption we all hope for.
If you could have another talent, what would it be?
I’d love to be able to read music. I can’t. I have no connection between notes on a page and what comes out of a piano. I adore almost all forms of music, but I don’t play. I have to sing along with something or I have no clue what the notes are.

I Want to Go to There: Time and Place in Stories

I spend a fair amount of time browsing books. As a library volunteer, I have a weekly opportunity to see what other people are reading, to skim the bestsellers and trawl the stacks. There are certain books that come into vogue and hit that all-important Best Seller status, but I can’t read a book if it takes me where I don’t want to go.

Everyone keeps telling me to read last year’s Big Novel, All the Light We Cannot See. It’s probably as well-written as they say, but I don’t feel like spending time in WWII France.



I’ll go to China anytime with Amy Tan, and there are a few other authors I follow, but generally, the setting is as much a character as the people, and I have to be in the mood.


Amy Tan

So one of the first things I check before I check out a book is the setting. If the book is set in a place I want to hang out in, then I go on to the time frame. I like New York, but I may not want to be there, say, in the 1920s. The prose itself is the most important thing, naturally. If an engaging voice narrates an interesting time and place, I’m in.

Solstice Spotlight: David Mannes


Featured Title: The Reptilian Encounter

Amazon link: The Reptilian Encounter

Genre: SciFi Adventure

When a restricted site is breeched and a 4,000 year old flying saucer goes missing, it’s up to Wynter, Michelle Martin and their extraction team to retrieve it.


Seven Questions for a Solstice Author


Why do you write?
I have an overactive imagination and a compulsion or addiction to write. I’ve been writing since I was 10.   I had a couple of teachers in elementary school and later who were very encouraging. I took creative writing classes in Jr. and Sr. High.  I’ve written articles, scripts, etc. But I enjoy writing fiction in a multiple of genres.
What do you read for guilty pleasure?
Comic books (preferably stuff from the 40’s-early 70’s)  and pulp reprints of  The Shadow and Doc Savage.
What one book do you wish you’d written?
Don’t think I have one. I’m quite content with what I write.
What’s your biggest writing challenge?
Proofreading. No matter how much I do, I always seem to miss something. Thankfully my editors and my wife and a couple of friends usually catch what I miss.
Which character of yours is your favorite?
That’s tough because I have two, Damien Wynter and Constable Alfred Kingsley, both of whom are in continuing series.  I enjoy writing about both.  Depends on my mood and which path my creative juices take me.
Who’s your favorite fictional anti-hero?
Tough question. Not sure.
If you could have another talent, what would it be?
Well actually I do have other talents, like being a musician and singer, I also draw and do cartooning.  but I’m no good at fixing stuff. So maybe that.

Beautiful Books That Make Me Ugly Cry

We read to have a vicarious experience, which is a fancy way of saying that we want stories to make us feel something. Stories can ambush you, punch you right in the feels and suddenly there you are, spurting tears at Panera or laughing like a loon on the subway. Isn’t that the best?

Lots of books have done that for me, but two that come to mind at the moment are Rule of the Bone by Russell Banks and Lucky Us by Amy Bloom. Both stories take their protagonist all over the place somewhat improbably, but the inner, emotional life is authentic, which  makes the stories work.

Bloom gave a lecture at my MFA residency. She understands human nature partly because she’s a psychotherapist but mostly, I suspect, because she’s a cool lady.


Lucky Us

Banks’s protagonist in Rule of the Bone has been compared to Holden Caulfield, but he’s much more likeable. The title is listed as YA on Goodreads, but it’s no more just for teens than Huckleberry Finn.

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Rule of the Bone

What’s your go-to for a good cry?

Book Marketing Budgets

John Wanamaker was a retail and marketing pioneer whose Philadelphia establishment was an early model of the modern department store. A firm believer in the power of advertising, Wanamaker famously remarked, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.”

Thus it ever was. Anyone with a product or service needs to make their presence known, but finding the best route is as wobbly a proposition as nailing Jell-O to the wall. In Wanamaker’s day, you put an ad in the Sunday paper. If you were P.T. Barnum, you hired a brass band.


Wanamaker’s Department Store, early 1900s

Here we are in the age of Internet marketing, self-publishing, and a world in which everyone must be their own brass band.

If you have a book on offer, you’re probably out there flacking it on social media, and I say good for you because it’s a heinous but necessary enterprise. You’ve probably also been approached by legions of promoters who promise to boost your Amazon rankings for a fee.

To pay or not to pay, that is the question. Naturally, free publicity is best, but sometimes it pays to pay. If you buy some promotion, I do have one piece of advice.

You’re not going to be able to measure the exact effect of your ads. Amazon rankings are not a reliable metric. (That’s another blog altogether.) So here’s the advice: When budgeting for promotion, picture how much cash you’d be willing shove down the garbage disposal, because that’s what paying for ads is going to feel like.

Then click your heels together three times and think of England, it’s as good a method as any. Hell, I don’t know what kind of marketing works. Nobody does. Just ask John Wanamaker.



When people ask, “Where do you get your ideas?” I answer, “From wherever they used to be.”

It’s a snarky response to a dumb question because when is there not an idea? Life is an idea, pick a moment, an object, a person; focus on any random thought or on how you feel right this second. You can’t help but have ideas. Ideas, ideas, all freaking day long. I pay a fortune not to have ideas, but that’s the price of weed, which is a whole other discussion.

The problem isn’t a lack of ideas, it’s too many. Which one to pick from a never-ending stream? What choice to make when any choice is possible? A writer can have her character dance on the head of a pin if she wishes or do anything else the mind can conjure.


Shall it be Colonel Mustard in the library with the candlestick? Or the math teacher with a tire jack in the parking lot?

“Having an idea” is not the problem. The tricky part is making organic, dramatic choices from a surfeit of them.

Writing Tip: Plotting backwards


It occurred to me whilst working on a whodunit that I should plot backwards. I ran across this Booker’s Blog from 2012.

Booker's Blog

[Editor’s note: the essay below is taken from an e-mail newsletter sent out by the writer Bruce Hale. you can find his web site at: http://www.brucehalewritingtips.com/. You can also sign up for his e-newsletter at that site. Each electronic newsletter comes with other information, including a writing joke.]



When I wrote my first mystery, I hadn’t a clue. I tried writing it straight through, plotting as I went, and ended up falling flat on my face. Why? I hadn’t yet learned that backwards is best.

You see, contrary to the way most fiction is mapped out, mysteries are backwards creatures. They’re easiest to write when plotted backwards from the ending, rather than forward from the beginning. Mysteries, by their nature, are a complex tangle, and if you’re not careful, you’ll get stuck in it.

As I learned the…

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Literary Larceny, or Stealing from the Best

I write therefore I read.

You can’t do the former well without the latter. Reading is to writers as food is to eaters, your talent will starve to death without it. Writing without reading is self-cannibalism, or worse, regurgative cud chewing.

There are two kinds of people in the world: Those who talk about writing and those who write. Coincidentally, writers who write tend to be readers.

Reading not only expands the writer’s frame of reference, it provides a useful guide for one’s own work. That’s a polite way of saying that writers constantly steal from each other—not necessarily consciously, but as the mental pack rats we are, picking up useful bits here and there. ( I am not referring to plagiarism; that’s a stolen horse of an entirely different color.)


Agatha Christie – 1890-1976

I’m starting a whodunit, and who better to learn from than the Mistress of all whodunits, Miss Agatha Christie. I’m studying her techniques assiduously, and I plan to make thorough use of them. I’m a structuralist; when I know the shape of the story, I know the story. Christie’s stories are like well-built houses. They have great bones that you can flesh out and decorate any way you like, and her blueprints are right there on the page.

If you’re going to commit literary larceny, steal from the best.