Lani Diane Rich wrote her first book during National Novel Writing Month a decade ago and became the first unpublished author to sell a NaNoWriMo manuscript. Time Off For Good Behavior won the RITA Award for “Best First Book,” and since then Lani has published seven more well-received solo books and one collaboration. Obviously, her beginner’s luck was no accident.

Lani tops today’s Buffet with A Little Ray of Sunshine, her 2008 novel that focuses on a mother-daughter relationship. It’s a moving, well told story.

laniWhen she’s not writing, she’s frequently speaking to a microphone, sometimes in her pyjamas. She hosts the podcasts “Popcorn Dialogues” with Jenny Crusie and “StoryWonk Sunday” with Alastair Stephens, her husband. She also hosted the “Will Write for Wine” podcast with C.J. Barry from 2007 to 2010.

As a writing coach and teacher, Lani has worked with hundreds of aspiring authors. She concludes all her workshops with a simple exercise in the power of positive thinking. She forces her students to speak the words, out loud, “I’m a great writer!”

“I feel like it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy,” Lani told me yesterday. “If you tell yourself you’re no good, you’ll write like you’re no good. Instead, say that you’re a great writer. Say it, believe it, then write like you believe it, and you’ll be amazed what you can accomplish.”

For more advice on the craft and magic of storytelling, check out Lani’s programs at StoryWonk.

With her novels, Lani has recently transitioned from standard romance to paranormal romantic comedies using the pseudonym Lucy March. According to Booklist, Lucy’s debut three weeks ago for St. Martin’s Press was “positively magical.”

Lani currently lives in Cincinnati with her husband and two daughters, but will return this summer to her old stomping grounds in New York state, where she’ll be on the adjunct faculty at Syracuse University’s Newhouse School for Public Communications. “I love teaching, I love story, and I love talking about story, and teaching is a way I can get paid to talk about story,” Lani said. “So I’m pretty sure I’ll keep doing that as long as people will let me.”

As usual, each book listed here has gone FREE within the past 24 hours (except for the “Kindle Daily Deals” on page 3). Warning: Kindle book promotions can end without notice, so before downloading click the link “See Kindle price at Amazon” to verify that the book is still free. (Prices and availability may differ outside USA.)

A Little Ray Of Sunshine

Literature & Fiction
Author: Lani Diane Rich
A Little Ray Of Sunshine

Emmy James is not the kind of girl who believes in angels, or fate. So when a lost soul named Jess gets stranded at the convenience store where EJ works the night shift, and claims to be an angel delivered by Fate to fix EJ’s life, EJ calls her a cab and sends her on her way.

Ah, if only it were that easy to shake an angel off your leg…

Jess’s determination to fix EJ’s life culminates in a kidnapping and a cross-country trek at the end of which lies Fletcher, Oregon, and the scorched earth of EJ’s past. There’s Lilly, her narcissistic child-star mother; Danny, the stand-in father who raised her when her mother couldn’t; and Luke, the love of her life, the man who knew her best and loved her anyway. Now it’s up to EJ to heal the damage she left in her wake when she disappeared out of their lives six years ago, and even with an angel on her shoulder, that’s gonna be a tall order…

Dirty Weekend (crime thriller fiction)

Literature & Fiction
Author: Helen Zahavi
Dirty Weekend (crime thriller fiction)

“This is the story of Bella, who woke up one morning and realized she’d had enough…”

So begins Dirty Weekend, the story of a young woman who overcomes her fear and transforms herself from victim to avenger. Trapped in a basement flat, terrorized by a predatory neighbour, over the course of a single and very dirty weekend she goes out in the night and kills seven men and one myth.

The men make the mistake of attacking her. The myth is that only women bleed…