Author Archives: Shala Howell

About Shala Howell

Writer of things ranging from optical network switching white papers to genetic testing patient education materials to historical fiction set in an 1880s asylum. When I’m not scratching my head over pesky characters who refuse to do things how I want them done or dreaming of my next book (which will of course be much easier to write than the current one), my writerly self can be found blogging about life with a very curious Ten-Year-Old at, or musing about books and the writing life at

Summer Reading List: Great Books by Native Writers

This morning I came across an excellent rant by Debbie Reese (@debreese) bemoaning the fact that Sherman Alexie is the only Native writer anyone has ever heard about, when in fact there are lots of great Native writers out there. Here are a few that I can’t wait to read this summer. Continue reading

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My Year in Books

I’ve been using Goodreads to track my reading for years now. I look forward to the year end statistics report every December. It’s fun to see how the numbers stack up. I also like to quickly scan the book covers to … Continue reading

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Review: Lady Catherine’s Necklace by Joan Aiken

Lady Catherine’s Necklace By Joan Aiken Thorndike Press, 2000 This variation of Jane Austen’s classic novel, Pride and Prejudice, is set a few years after the events of Austen’s original. Lady Catherine and her daughter, Anne, are residing quietly at Rosings Park … Continue reading

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Unforgettable First Lines–The Louise Penny edition

From Still Life, the first of Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Armand Gamache mysteries: “Miss Jane Neal met her maker in the early morning mist of Thanksgiving Sunday. It was pretty much a surprise all around.” For the record, Penny has a pretty … Continue reading

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What I learned about writing from reading The White City by Alec Michod

The White City By Alec Michod St. Martin’s Griffin, 2004 I’ll start off by saying that I didn’t actually like this book. I finished it not because I needed to know how it ended, or because I cared about the … Continue reading

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Happy Fourth of July!

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What I learned about writing from reading all 19 Thomas Lynley mysteries in order

Every once in a while, I like to pick an established author who has written a respectable set of books and read their books in the order in which they were written. I first did this back in the mid-aughts … Continue reading

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This week’s Twitter crop of #writing angst

It took me a long time to come to terms with Twitter’s weird blend of watercooler/cocktail party/retail culture. But now I find it to be a fairly useful source of #writing tips and news. Here’s what I found most helpful … Continue reading

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Writing advice from somewhere in the middle of a great book: Barry Hughart Edition

The Chronicles of Master Li and Number Ten Ox By Barry Hughart Subterranean Press, 2011 From the beginning of Part 2: The Story of the Stone Jen Wu is a day Master Li sets aside for my literary endeavors, and … Continue reading

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Aristotle in my lunchbox

I’ve been slipping notes into my daughter’s lunchbox from almost her first day of preschool. I keep it as simple as possible — using a note from the Lunchbox Love series of notes or today’s cartoon from my 2016 Peanuts a … Continue reading

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