Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Consider Your 100 Day Prayer

Your100 Day Prayer: The Transforming Power of Actively Waiting on God by John I. Snyder

Author John Snyder’s book is designed to help the Christian reader commit to a structured journey of prayer. The season is to last 100 days and the goal is to move beyond self-reliance and into a deeper, trusting relationship with God. Day by day, page by page Dr Snyder provides a scripture based program that isn’t “… overly involved or impossible to sustain – only a few minutes of prayer every day. It’s striving more for consistency than length of time in prayer.” There is room for journaling.

“For everyone who asks; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be open” (Matt. 7:7-8). Apparently, this sustained, stubborn, never-give-up spirit of prayer is not so much to persuade God to give us what we want but, rather, to transform us in the process.” The theme of the book is to show the Christian how to make prayer a daily part of life, how to regularly share thoughts and desires, yet always ending with “Your will be done.”

Dr. John Snyder is a pastor, author, and conference speaker. He has taught New Testament Studies at New College Berkeley, California, and has pastured and planted churches in California, New York, and Switzerland. He received his Master of Theology and Master of Divinity degrees from Princeton Theological Seminary, and his Doctor of Theology from the University of Basel, Switzerland. He is the founder of, an online faith community discussing God, church, religion, and everything in between. Currently, John is organizing church planting in Europe with his wife, Shirin, and two daughters, Sarah and Stephanie.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

There is Wisdom in Reading This Book!

“Finally, and most important, the Bible contains a most wonderful promise from God: ‘If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be give to him.” (James 1:5 NKJV) Author quote, page 11.

Mark DeMoss spends his life seeking God’s wisdom, he prays for wisdom in handling his relationships, to manage and advise his business clients, to make him a better husband and father. Before meetings he silently asks for God’s help. The author is a “student of the greatest wisdom textbook of all time, the Old Testament book of Proverbs….” This is a revised edition, the first was written in 2007, and Mr. DeMoss has updated the statistics, numerous illustrations, and some details. Looking back he acknowledges the same principles that prepare us for “skill in living” both personally and professionally have not changed.

Gaining wisdom is remarkably simple and the prescription is easy to digest … “read a Proverb everyday, listen more than you speak, write more letters, tell the truth always.” Chapter headings make simple work of dipping into the helpful book again and again. Need advice on “finding and keeping your focus in life” then read chapter two. Worried about money? Read: “money isn’t everything, good people are.” Thinking about what you have to be grateful? There’s a chapter on “appreciating how you got where you are.” Looking for a good book? Read Proverbs … “wisdom for every aspect in your life, in one short book.” And before it’s too late: “Take steps now to avoid regrets later in life.

Finally, the “wisest decision anyone can make … answering the “and then what” question based on the passage from Mark chapter eight: What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul.” The ultimate answer is the decision each of us will make … “is whether or not to hand over your life to God, through his Son, Jesus Christ. Or accept the alternative….

Mark DeMoss is president of the DeMoss Group, a public relations firm he founded in 1991 specifically to serve Christian organizations and causes. Mark wrote this book to thank his father and to prepare his own children for life in the same way his father prepared him.

Thank you Mark for giving us this well-written, thought-provoking book that is a pleasure to read.

This book was provided by the publisher for review purposes, the comments and thoughts are my own.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Book of Man by W J. Bennett - A Book Review

Boys need heroes if they are to become good men … they need to know about men who have lived good and noble lives; working, staying sober, keeping their word, not taking advantage of women, and supporting their children. New York Times Best-Selling author William J. Bennett has written a big book of inspiration detailing the lives of men (both ancient and modern) who are worth knowing. And why they matter.

This is an important book, one that I highly recommend to parents, grandparents, family members, and teachers and to those of us in the community who care about what we are teaching our young men. Selections are taken from literature and history; men at work and at play; men whom the author admires … imperfect men who nonetheless have lived admirable lives.

Keep this book handy, read it often, and share the words within whenever possible. The Book of Man goes on my list of the top ten books I have read recently. Thank you Mr. Bennett.

Note: A copy of this book was provided to me for review, the thoughts contained here are my own.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Halloween & The Making of Psycho

Psycho, both the book (by Robert Bloch) and the movie (directed by Alfred Hitchcock), once consumed are hard to forget.

Writers who want to write lasting dark, and macre stories are encouraged to read Stephen Rebello's Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho. Pay attention to chapter two, The Novel, Robert Bloch's account of how he came to fashion his Freudian inspired novel based on the real life crime(s) of Ed Gein. Psycho was published by Simon & Shuster in the summer of 1959.

"The movie released in June 1960, altered the landscape of horror films forever. But just as compelling as the movie itself is the story behind it.
Author Stephen Rebello brings to life the creation of one of Hollywood's most iconic films, from the story of Wisconsin murderer Ed Gein, the real-life inspiration for the character of Norman Bates, to Hitchcock's groundbreaking achievements in cinematography, sound, editing, and promotion. Packed with captivating insights from the film's stars, writers, and crewmembers, Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psycho is a riveting and definitive history of a signature Hitchcock cinematic masterpiece.

Stephen Rebello is a screenwriter, journalist, and the author of such books as Reel Art: Great Posters from the Golden Age of the Silver Screen,which was honored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in1999. Based in Los Angeles, he has contributed feature stories to such magazines as Cosmopolitan, GQ, More, and The Advocate, and currently serves as a Playboy contributing editor. Alfred Hitchcock and the Making of Psychohas been bought by Paramount Pictures and The Montecito Picture Companyfor production as a dramatic feature film. The producers are Alan Barnette and Tom Thayer.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Brenda Warner's "One Call Away" - A Book Review

The author is just twenty-two when she receives a telephone call from her then husband Neil – their son Zack ’s breathing doesn’t sound quite right and he is concerned. Rushing home she finds her four-month-old son in distress, the healthy, happy baby that she had kissed good-bye just hours before is in trouble. Serious trouble. This isn’t the first time in her young life however, that an unexpected telephone call contained bad news … nor would it be the last.

One Call Away is the inspiring life story by Brenda Warner. At times it seems impossible that one woman could face a seemingly endless supply of gut-wrenching tragedies. And there have been many, many losses. But this isn’t a story of despair and retreat nor one of self-pity. Instead, readers are given an opportunity to walk beside this courageous Christian mother as she finds the strength to face first one challenge and then another.

There are perhaps three types of people who suffer significant losses. The first group never seems quite able to move past the loss, instead choosing to define their lives by the loss. Then there are those who seem to recover, only to embrace their old ways as if nothing has happened. Those in the third groups however, are the survivors. Not only to they bounce back, but manage to come back as better people.

Brenda Warner is a survivor. Her story will resonate with those who have suffered disappointment, despair, and lost. Her secret? She knows that God is simply one call away. Her story is riveting, honest and easy to read, her words will make you look at your own life in a different way.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Surprised by Oxford, A Memoir by Carolyn Weber

The author’s “Acknowledgement” page begins with the following thoughts: “It takes a village to write a book. And, it would seem, a city to publish it.”

Can this statement be any less true of the journey one travels to complete faith in God and the Trinity? Especially, if one comes from a place that has “… no polite need of a Savior.”

Dr Carolyn Weber has written the story of her spiritual journey that begins at the oldest surviving university in the English-speaking world, Oxford University. It is her first year of graduate school and she uses the University’s three term calendar which coincides with the Christian liturgical calendar to frame her account.

As a young woman, Ms. Weber believed in reason, intellect, and education. God, if she thought about Him at all did not lurk “… among families like mine – loving enough to get by without Him, but broken enough not to deserve his attention.” It is during this year that her unbelief is challenged and her reason and intellect tested. Using an abundance of literary quotes, and poetry Dr Weber tells the story of her conversion.

In the end, she is able to acknowledge God’s real presence in her life because of the love and support of the community, including TDH* and her own unique village of faithful friends and colleagues.

*TDH is the very handsome, tall and dark American student.

A copy of this memoir was supplied by Thomas Nelson in exchange for a published review. This review is based solely on my own opinion.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A New Turn in the South

"My mantra is this: local first, sustainable second, organic third ..." Hugh Acheson

Hugh Acheson, (credited with putting Athens Georgia on the gastronomic map) offers his fresh take on 120 new and traditional Southern favorites. Named Best Chef by Food & Wine, his recipes are accompanied by beautiful large, page size photographs and his views of buying and selecting the best foods for the table.

His version of the classic Frogmore Stew, described as "brothy... much like a bouillabaise or cioppino" is wonderfully delicious. It was easily prepared and contains Old Bay seasoning - one of the few shortcuts he allows in his restaurants (describing it as tried and true). A definate plus for this Baltimore-bred cook. The mark of a great cookbook ... is the only reason to stop reading is to take it and thyself to the kitchen. Next up for Sunday dinner is Shrimp with Andouille and Grits and a helping of Lemon Chess Pie with Blackberry Compote. Whether you are a seasoned cook or a beginner there is much to like in this book which debuts tomorrow.

Bertis Downs, manager of R.E.M. describes Chef Acheson and his food " ... as intense but laid back ... simple ... never stuffy ... or fussy...." Mario Batali is among his many fans.

Hugh Acheson is the chef/partner of the Athens Georgia restaurant Five and Ten and The National, as well as Gosford Wine and the Atlanta restaurant Empire State South. He is a five-time James Beard nominee for Best Chef Southeast and was named Best Chef by Food & Wine.

A New Turn in the South, Southern Flavors Reinvented For Your Kitchen publishes tomorrow, October 18, 2011 and is available in hardcover. The photographs are stunning. Clarkson Potter is the publisher of my other recent favorite Screen Doors and Sweet Tea.

A copy of Hugh Acheson's book: A New Turn in the South, was provided by Clarkson Potter for review purposes. This gushing review is my own.

Friday, September 2, 2011

A Review of What Can(t) Wait by Ashley Hope Perez

WHAT CAN(T) WAIT by Ashley Hope Perez brings to us Marisa Moreno, a seventeen-year old from Houston, Texas, eager to break free from her immigrant Mexican family’s traditions in order make something more of her life. Marisa excels at math and her calculus teacher encourages Marisa to continue excelling so Marisa can apply to the engineering school at University of Texas, Austin. But her father is far from impressed with Marisa’s talent and intelligence. Instead, he expects her to stay at home after graduating high school to help take care of the family – her parents, her older brother, older sister, and her five-year-old niece. To him, college and math are for men; women don’t pursue those things. So while walking a tightrope with her father, Marisa also finds herself being a surrogate mother to her older sister whose life is one drama after the next, while also shielding her niece from as much of the drama. Adding to that the complications of young love with her longtime crush Allan, she finds herself conflicted on what should be most important – her family, her boyfriend, or herself and the dreams she has for her future.

Ms. Perez nails the authentic voice of a young Latina and the real-world issues they face. Marisa’s life is in stark contrast to the majority of young American girls whose families expect them to attend college. But the beauty of this book is the inspiration it can inspire to any teenager of any ethnic background. The bare-bones of it: dreams can come true; believe in yourself and follow your heart to find your happiness. I adore Marisa and her fortitude and I believe others will too. WHAT CAN(T) WAIT is a wonderful read, giving strength to those who may feel they have no choices in life. I highly recommend reading it.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Rip The Page ... A Fun Book for Young Writers

...Win a copy of Rip The Page ... if you know a young writer, here is your chance to win a copy of this great resource for writers of all ages. Do you have a writing tip to share? Leave a comment below to enter the contest.

Rip The Page!
Adventures in Creative Writing
By Karen Benke

“Here are the ideas, experiments, and inspiration to get your writing to flow off the page! … with zany prompts … and letters of encouragement written directly to you from famous authors ….”

Dear Teen Author,

This is a book is for you. It is full of creative ideas designed to excite and encourage you to write. There are question to ask yourself and lists full of words to drop onto the page. There are notes from other writers, like Naomi Shihab Nye who will tell you that there is nothing too small to notice. And C.B. Follett who will suggest that you “let your poem lead you.” Award winning author Karen Cushman writes to find out what happens to her characters. And so can you.

Do you have a memory that won’t go away? Questions without answers? A desire to show and not tell? This book will help you uncover the stories of your life and help you capture them in a fresh, new way, and drop them onto the page.

Author Karen Benke says: “It’s a book for you to write in, explore, share, and rip— that’s right, you get to tear pages right out of this book!”

One more thing … there are names and addresses of publishers who just might be interested in your first, or next story.


Note: If you ever imagined that you might have a story to tell Rip The Page is the book is for you.

Helping Kids Write - A Guide to Nurturing Writing at Every Stage...

The Right Start
A Guide to Nurturing Writing at Every Stage, from Scribbling to Forming Letters and Writing Stories
By Jennifer Hallissy

Contest: Win a copy of this book by leaving a writing tip in the comment line below.

“Learning to write is a milestone of childhood, one that ranks right up there with baby’s first smile, first steps, and first words.” Author quote

Kids have great stories to tell and with a little encouragement and the right tools these storytellers can become great writers. Whether your child is a scribbler (learning to hold the crayon), a speller (hard at work learning to master letter formation), a storyteller (they can talk on the page!), or a scholar (writers who are also readers) Jennifer Hallisy has written the book on how to create young writers.
Each of the four categories is designed to help you identify the child’s development stage and how best to provide them with a solid foundation of writing basics. From teaching them how to hold a pencil and form the letters of the alphabet, to creating writing spaces and meaningful writing rituals at home, this book gives you all the information and inspiration you need to raise a confident writer.*
A great tool for anyone who works with children (parents and grandparents, homeschooling moms, teachers, and other OT’s) and can easily fit into a daily or weekly schedule.

“In order to help guide your children in the “write” direction, it helps to know exactly where you’re going.” Ms. Hallisy has written the book that will help you and your child every step of the way.

Note: There are 52 playful activities to guide you and each comes with specific instructions for your child. Templates to jump-start writing activities are included.

Jennifer Hallissy is a mom, a pediatric occupational therapist and a blogger (her blog The Right Start is here: and contains great photos). Her
Includes 52 playful activities

*quoted from the back cover

Friday, July 29, 2011

Charlie Reese's Final Column ... His last column is here...

“Why we have taxes and deficits”

Charley Reese’s Final Column…Retired reporter for the Orlando Sentinel…

Charley Reese is retiring. His last column is this one. I know many will miss this southern gentleman.. He had a great run and we are all better off for it.

Farewell, Mr. Reese, and thank you.

Charley Reese has been a journalist for 49 years.

Be sure to read the Tax List at the end.

This is about as clear and easy to understand as it can be – read it!! The article below is completely neutral, not anti republican or democrat. Charlie Reese, a retired reporter for the Orlando Sentinel, has hit the nail directly on the head, defining clearly who it is that in the final analysis must assume responsibility for the judgments made that impact each one of us every day. It’s a short but good read. Worth the time. Worth remembering!

545 vs. 300,000,000


545 PEOPLE–By Charlie Reese

Politicians are the only people in the world who create problems and then campaign against them..

Have you ever wondered, if both the Democrats and the Republicans are against deficits, WHY do we have deficits?

Have you ever wondered, if all the politicians are against inflation and high taxes, WHY do we have inflation and high taxes?

You and I don’t propose a federal budget. The President does.

You and I don’t have the Constitutional authority to vote on appropriations. The House of Representatives does.

You and I don’t write the tax code, Congress does.

You and I don’t set fiscal policy, Congress does.

You and I don’t control monetary policy, the Federal Reserve Bank does.

100 senators, 435 in the House, 1 President, and 9 Supreme Court justices equates to 545 human beings out of the 300 million are directly, legally, morally, and individually responsible for the domestic problems that plague this country.

I excluded the members of the Federal Reserve Board because that problem was created by the Congress. In 1913, Congress delegated its Constitutional duty to provide a sound currency to a federally chartered, but PRIVATE, central bank.

I excluded all the special interests and lobbyists for a sound reason. They have no legal authority. They have no ability to coerce a senator, a congressman, or a President to do one cotton-picking thing. I don’t care if they offer a politician $1 million dollars in cash. The politician has the power to accept or reject it. No matter what the lobbyist promises, it is the legislator’s responsibility to determine how he votes.

Those 543 human beings spend much of their energy convincing you that what they did is not their fault. They cooperate in this common con regardless of party.

What separates a politician from a normal human being is an excessive amount of gall. No normal human being would have the gall of a Speaker, who stood up and criticized the President for creating deficits….. The President can only propose a budget. He cannot force the Congress to accept it.

The Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land, gives sole responsibility to the House of Representatives for originating and approving appropriations and taxes. Who is the speaker of the House? John Boehner. He is the leader of the majority party. He and fellow House members, not the President, can approve any budget they want. If the President vetoes it, they can pass it over his veto if they agree to.

It seems inconceivable to me that a nation of 300 million cannot replace 545 people who stand convicted — by present facts — of incompetence and irresponsibility. I can’t think of a single domestic problem that is not traceable directly to those 545 people. When you fully grasp the plain truth that 545 people exercise the power of the federal government, then it must follow that what exists is what they want to exist.

If the tax code is unfair, it’s because they want it unfair.

If the budget is in the red, it’s because they want it in the red ..

If the Army & Marines are in Iraq and Afghanistan it’s because they want them in Iraq and Afghanistan …

If they do not receive social security but are on an elite retirement plan not available to the people, it’s because they want it that way.

There are no insoluble government problems.

Do not let these 545 people shift the blame to bureaucrats, whom they hire and whose jobs they can abolish; to lobbyists, whose gifts and advice they can reject; to regulators, to whom they give the power to regulate and from whom they can take this power. Above all, do not let them con you into the belief that there exists disembodied mystical forces like “the economy,” “inflation,” or “politics” that prevent them from doing what they take an oath to do.

Those 545 people, and they alone, are responsible.

They, and they alone, have the power..

They, and they alone, should be held accountable by the people who are their bosses.

Provided the voters have the gumption to manage their own employees…

We should vote all of them out of office and clean up their mess!

Charlie Reese is a former columnist of the Orlando Sentinel Newspaper.

What you do with this article now that you have read it……… Is up to you.

This might be funny if it weren’t so true.
Be sure to read all the way to the end:
Tax his land,
Tax his bed,
Tax the table,
At which he’s fed.
Tax his tractor,
Tax his mule,
Teach him taxes
Are the rule.
Tax his work,
Tax his pay,
He works for peanuts anyway!
Tax his cow,
Tax his goat,
Tax his pants,
Tax his coat.
Tax his ties,
Tax his shirt,
Tax his work,
Tax his dirt.
Tax his tobacco,
Tax his drink,
Tax him if he
Tries to think.
Tax his cigars,
Tax his beers,
If he cries
Tax his tears.
Tax his car,
Tax his gas,
Find other ways
To tax his ass.
Tax all he has
Then let him know
That you won’t be done
Till he has no dough.
When he screams and hollers;
Then tax him some more,
Tax him till
He’s good and sore.
Then tax his coffin,
Tax his grave,
Tax the sod in
Which he’s laid…
Put these words
Upon his tomb,
Taxes drove me
to my doom…’
When he’s gone,
Do not relax,
Its time to apply
The inheritance tax..

Accounts Receivable Tax
Building Permit Tax
CDL license Tax
Cigarette Tax
Corporate Income Tax
Dog License Tax
Excise Taxes
Federal Income Tax
Federal Unemployment Tax (FUTA)
Fishing License Tax
Food License Tax
Fuel Permit Tax
Gasoline Tax (currently 44.75 cents per gallon)
Gross Receipts Tax
Hunting License Tax
Inheritance Tax
Inventory Tax
IRS Interest Charges IRS Penalties (tax on top of tax)
Liquor Tax
Luxury Taxes
Marriage License Tax
Medicare Tax
Personal Property Tax
Property Tax
Real Estate Tax
Service Charge Tax
Social Security Tax
Road Usage Tax
Recreational Vehicle Tax
Sales Tax
School Tax
State Income Tax
State Unemployment Tax (SUTA)
Telephone Federal Excise Tax
Telephone Federal Universal Service Fee Tax
Telephone Federal, State and Local Surcharge Taxes
Telephone Minimum Usage Surcharge Tax
Telephone Recurring and Nonrecurring Charges Tax
Telephone State and Local Tax
Telephone Usage Charge Tax
Utility Taxes
Vehicle License Registration Tax
Vehicle Sales Tax
Watercraft Registration Tax
Well Permit Tax
Workers Compensation Tax

STILL THINK THIS IS FUNNY? Not one of these taxes existed 100 years ago, & our nation was the most prosperous in the world. We had absolutely no national debt, had the largest middle class in the world, and Mom stayed home to raise the kids.

What in the hell happened?

Can you spell ‘politicians?’

Share and Enjoy:

Categories : Taxes Comments
Bob says:
March 17, 2011 at 10:48 am
VN:R_U [1.9.10_1130]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)49 years of great writing but why did you save your very best for last?

You hit the nail 100% dead on the head.

Please reconsider retirement until we start the reversal with some potential leaders like Allen West and Mark Rubio as candidates for President and Vice-President respectively.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

How to Flourish in Your Writing (Plus Three Writing Prompts) by Natalie Goldberg (Wild Mind, Writing Down t...

Monday, July 25, 2011

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Best-selling Author Debbie Macomber Lives At 1105 Yakima Street

“The books in Macomber’s contemporary Cedar Cove series are irresistibly delicious and addictive.” Publishers Weekly Review (44 Cranberry Point)

1105 Yakima Street

by Debbie Macomber

_This is the story of Cabot Cove resident Bruce Peyton, his daughter Jolene and her step- mom Rachel. Jolene and Rachel shared a wonderful friendship before Rachel and Bruce fell in love and quickly married.
_Suddenly, everyone’s life is in turmoil … Rachel is pregnant and out of the house, Jolene is jealous and upset, and Bruce doesn’t know what to do first … or next. When’s Rachel confides in Nate her former suitor the complications escalate.

“Readers new to Macomber’s considerable narrative charms will have no problem picking up the story, while loyal fans are in for a treat.” BOOKLIST Review (6 Rainier Drive)

_Debbie Macomber is a #1 New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author with over 100 million copies of her books in print. She has become a leading voice in women’s fiction world-wide.
_Her Cedar Cove series (1105 Yakima Street is book #11) written over the past eleven years is regularly reviewed by Publishers Weekly, Romantic Times, and the New York Journal of Books.

“Macomber deftly combines sweet romance and a breath of suspense without losing the homespun charm that’s been delighting readers for years.” Romantic Times Review (92 Pacific Boulevard)

There is also a Debbie Macomber spin-off Cedar Cove Cookbook.

Mini-Writers Workshop (Follow the Rules of the Genre and The Series Novel) - Readers know what they like! and romance readers are particularly loyal to their genre and favorite authors. They purchase these genre-specific novels (and the authors who write them) because they deliver.
_While all satisfying stories have great characters, a compelling opening line, an interesting plotline and proper ending, genre novels come with their own specific guidelines (no, not formulas). But beware: break the contract, lose the sale.
_Writing the series novel comes with certain guidelines … and the necessity of creating a series bible. General advice is that the series character should be interesting and compelling and not change or die (unless the series is to end!). While each book will have a specific story question(s) to answer and must be able to stand alone, tying up loose ends isn’t important. These dangling ends are what help sell the next novel in the series.
_In the Cedar Cove series the community is the continuing character and provides the author with endless story possibilities.
_If you have an idea for a great romance (and book one in a possible series) it is important to really know the rules, and the authors’ who regularly deliver.
_Do your research … before you write your first or next draft. For those interested in love this can be a welcoming market.
_Romance readers are always on the look-out for the next creative genre-true novel.

A copy of this novel was provided by Harlequin Publishing House for the purpose of review. My comments are my own.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Spiritual Memoir, of Sorts by Ian Morgan Cron

Jesus, My Father, The CIA, and Me is one of those books to linger over. Quotable moments where I found myself nodding in agreement and then momentarily lost in thought. You know, remembering the good ole days when we were young and life seemed full of possibilities and sunny summer skies ... those moments in life before freedom and hope is trampled by reality. Growing up free is difficult when one's father is an alcoholic. The whole world slowly becomes amber-colored and dark much like the familiar long neck bottle or the measured shot of liquid in the clear drinking glass. His story is a poignant journey of drama, tears, faith and reflection, laughter and finally truth and grace. There was much work to be done on the way.

Perhaps you'll find yourself praying that his father will be there for him, tell him that he loves him before it is too late. It is a theme that travels throughout the memoir. There are dark and difficult parts to his story, and humor to see it through. His anger helped me remember my own. His storytelling will do that. The anecdotes are seamlessly incorporated, the writing crystal clear, the metaphors spot on.The ending brings the reader full circle. Mr. Cron is a writers' writer ... an author to emulate. This is a book to be savored.

Mini-Writers Workshop - Author Ian Morgan Cron uses all of the best fiction techniques to write his memoir: capturing his life's turning points to build the characters and produce tension, conflict, pacing, and crisp description. He understand how to use imagery to paint his pictures, he is a master at creating metaphors. "Some writers use metaphors and similes," said Leonard Bishop*, "as naturally as a kitten licks his paw." A metaphor is a figure of speech in which a word or phrase that ordinarily describes one thing is used to describe another (i.e. the assignment was a breeze, heart of gold).

*Leonard Bishop was a noted author, best-selling novelist, writing teacher, and newspaper columnist. Listed in the Who's Who of American Authors, Mr Bishop was also recognized as one of the seven top writing teachers in the United States. He wrote the classic Dare to Be a Great Writer.

Kate Wicker, The Author of Weightless: Making Peace With Your Body

From Blog to Book Deal

In recent months, I’ve seen a handful of articles and erudite authors out there who claim bloggers aren’t real writers. I disagree. I actually started a blog after I’d been a real journalist - as in someone who made a living writing and editing.

When I became a mom, I knew I’d need to cut back on freelancing because I wanted to focus on motherhood and all those drooly grins and happy babbling. Not to mention, my first baby was a devoted nursling, and typing while trying to feed her proved to be distracting, difficult, and a multitasking act that really removed me from “living in the moment.” Yet, I couldn’t imagine a life without writing. I’d been keeping journals since I could first form my letters. So I decided to jump on the blogging bandwagon.

Sometimes I wrote as if I was writing in a personal journal and simply shared anecdotes from the trenches of new motherhood. Other times I wrote letters to the baby I was watching grow and change. Soon I started writing about other topics near and dear to my heart: faith, body image, and sleep (or lack thereof). Slowly, I built a modest audience.

Along the way, I began to realize that blogging was not a replacement for “real” writing. Nor did having an online presence turn you into a pseudo writer. Blogging was complementary to paid writing opportunities and a way of showcasing my writing style and publication credits. I continued to blog and occasionally contribute to various publications. I also continued to dream about writing and publishing a book. I’d always wanted to craft a Great American Novel, but I’d also started to consider writing about another topic that always seemed to generate a response whenever I marbled it into my writing.

I’d suffered from an eating disorder and had struggled with body image angst for a good part of my life. I’d sought healing in therapy, a multidisciplinary treatment program, and in books written by other women who had also dealt with body image problems, eating disorders, and/or food addictions. Yet, it wasn’t until I tapped into my faith that real healing began to take root. I wondered why more people (and more books) didn’t talk about God when they discussed how they made peace with their bodies. I started collecting quotes from saints and Scripture that had helped me overcome my own struggles. Then I decided to mention in my blog bio that I wanted to write a book about making peace with your body and/or or your appearance all through the lens of the Catholic Church. I never would have guessed my blog or this small wish would lead to a book deal.

But that’s exactly what happened to me, and it could happen to you, too. My first book, Weightless: Making Peace with Your Body, was recently released. The book came to fruition because an editor approached me about it after discovering my blog and reading my bio. (It also was pushed along with the support of an amazing friend, my husband, family members who were willing to entertain three little girls to give me time to write, and with God’s abundant grace!)

After the initial contact with an editor and several phone conversations and email exchanges, I ended up putting together a more formal book proposal. It was accepted, and then I started writing. And now here I am - a published author (someone pinch me, please!).

Maybe you blog because you want to sharpen your writing craft. Maybe you freelance write and don’t blog yet. Or perhaps you started a blog with the hopes of being discovered. I can’t promise that everyone who blogs will land a book deal or even grow a sizable audience. I don’t always understand the rhyme or reason to what makes a blog get noticed. I’ve read obscure blogs that are chock full of beautiful, witty, and excellent writing. On the other hand, I’ve also seen uber popular blogs that don’t appeal to me all that much or may not even be written well.

However, I do believe that bloggers can be real writers (even if they have no other publication credits to their name other than the posts they churn out) and that a blog, while it can’t guarantee a book deal, can’t hurt your chances of getting one if you embrace some simple, common sense wisdom.

Five tips that might help you go from blogger to author:

1. Find your voice. After I’d been blogging for about a year, I was ready for more than just Mom to be reading my musings. I started studying popular blogs and decided to try to write about topics I thought other people might want to read about. Likewise, I sometimes forced myself to use a voice that wasn’t really my own. Did my audience grow? Nope. It may have even decreased. Besides, I wasn’t having fun anymore. Blogging felt like work, so I started to write from my own heart again. I encourage all bloggers to do the same. Don’t write to please others. Don’t try to adopt a voice that isn’t yours or doesn’t feel right. Now let’s say you do try to write in a way that doesn’t come as naturally to you and a publisher or agent likes what she sees and asks you about writing a book. Now imagine writing an entire manuscript in someone else’s voice. Writing pages and pages isn’t easy no matter what. But writing while pretending to be someone you’re not? Pure agony. Be yourself. An authentic voice is what draws most people to blogs any way. Aside from using your own style and voice, write about what interests you. My mom recently sent me a quote (I’m not sure of the original source) that speaks to this: “Better to write what you like and have no public than to write for the public and hate what you write.” Wise words indeed.
2. Put your best work forward. I’m the first one to admit that blogging as an at-home mom means that I’m going to sometimes have typos in my posts or even things that might not make complete sense to anyone other than another bleary-eyed, sleep-deprived mama. However, I still do try to challenge myself and write well. Don’t post just to post. Don’t consistently put sloppy work out there for the public. Write as if you were writing for a published market. You never know who’s watching and who might stumble across your blog.
3. Make your writing goals known. If your dream is to write a book or secure a column, be sure to mention it on your blog. Whatever your writing goals, speak up about them. If you really are blogging because you’re hoping to get a big break, go ahead and mention it. If you have an idea for a book, say so. Just don’t give too many details. Unfortunately, it’s easy for people to steal your ideas, so you do want to be careful about sharing the nuts and bolts or major plot lines and themes of your book ideas.
4. Keep your audience in mind. Okay, this tip might seem to contradict tip number 1, but here’s what I mean by this. Definitely do write what interests you rather than what you think others want to read; however, if you find certain topics seem to really appeal to your readers, then consider building yourself a niche around what piques the interest of your audience. Let’s say, for example, you’re an outdoors aficionado and whenever you recount the time you spend connecting with nature, readers seem to comment or compliment your writing. Well, maybe you should consider molding yourself into a naturalist blogger. This doesn’t mean you can’t occasionally stray from your primary topic (I sometimes include some pretty random posts on my blog), but if you’re finding that an audience built around a niche topic is emerging, go with it. Making a strong connection with a well-defined audience is important and can even attract a publisher or editor’s eye more than the sheer number of comments or traffic your blog generates. Publishers are looking for bloggers who have built-in potential buyers. You can create these by first identifying who makes up your primary audience and then, second, by writing what seems to appeal to them.
5. Remember blogging will only get you so far. Remember blogging is a complement to building a writing career. Even if you have a brilliant blog, the best way to snag a book deal - especially a nonfiction one (fiction generally requires having an agent these days) - is to write a top-notch book proposal.Then you use the fact that you write a blog as a selling point for your book within your proposal. You show that you already have an online presence and a marketing platform for your book in the form of your blog.

Whatever happens down the road, have fun blogging. Enjoy the process of writing and building an audience. Be patient and know that it takes time to connect with readers. And just keep writing. Most of us wordsmiths don’t string words together to get rich or famous. We write because we want to, and that’s reason enough to keep plugging away, day after day, word after word.


Kate Wicker is a wife, mom, and author of Weightless: Making Peace with Your Body. She is a senior writer and health columnist for Faith & Family magazine. Learn more about Kate at her blog:

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New Book Site @ USA Today

USA Today has launched, which will allow consumers to discover, discuss, share, preview and purchase books online. The site will include USA Today's current 150-title bestseller list as well as the more than 10,000 titles that have appeared on the list. Users will be able to browse books, news and reviews, comment on them and share recommendations. Users will be able to preview titles on the bestseller list.


Monday, July 11, 2011

Kate Wicker's Weightless

Kate's book, Weightless ... is coming out in August.

"There is a wave of body dissatisfaction sweeping across society. While bookstore shelves are well-stocked with tomes on how to overcome body image problems, very few take a faith-based, much less Catholic, approach to self-healing. Weightless: Making Peace With Your Body speaks not only to those who may have faced an eating disorder, but also to anyone who wants to live an abundant life, unencumbered by our culture's obsession with thinness, physical beauty, youth, or food." (Servant Books)

_Kate is one of the first real Internet connections I made. We met during an online writing conference and I quickly recognized that this young wife, and mother (to three girls and a baby due in August) is a terrific person and one that I hoped to get to know better. Over the years we've exchanged letters and thoughts, and I've sought her advice a time or two (thanks Kate) and I've watched this talented writer make a name for herself.

_Kate is a senior writer for Faith & Family. Her articles can be found in Atlantic Parent, Canticle, Catholic Exchange, Catholic Mom, Woman's Day, Writer's Weekly and a whole lot of other places. She blogs here And now her first book is about to be released.

_ I'll post a full review as soon as I snag my copy. Until then check out Elizabeth Foss' review on I hope you will join me in reading this book.

Her blog Mom... is here

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Soldier's Wife - B&N Review

I'm Morgie over at Barnes & Nobel reviews ... check out my review for Margaret Leroy's latest novel, A Soldier's Wife.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Soldier's Wife by Margaret Leroy ... A Novel Review for July 2011

How well do you really know someone?

_"As the war draws closer and closer to Guernsey and her home, Vivienne de la Mare knows that there will be sacrifices to be made. Not just for herself, but for her two young daughters and for her mother-in-law, for whom she cares while her husband is away fighting.

_"What she does not know nor expect is that she will fall in love with one of the enigmatic German soldiers who take up residence in the house next door to her home. As their relationship intensifies, so do the pressures on Vivienne. Food and resources grow scant, dementia takes hold of her mother-in-law, and the restrictions place upon the residents of the island grow with each passing week. Though Vivienne knows the perils of her love affair with Gunther, she believes that she can keep their relationship - and her family - safe. But when her young daughter befriends a prisoner from a work camp she must decide if she is willing to risk her personal happiness for the life of a stranger.

_"A novel full of grand passion and intensity, The Soldier's Wife makes readers take pause and wonder: 'What would you do for your family?' ...'What should you do for a stranger?' ... and 'What would you do for love?'" (cover copy)

Writers Workshop (Details of Setting) - There is a lot to notice and like with Margaret Leroy's newest novel. The story opens with Vivienne reading a bedtime story to her daughters. Blanche is sprawled out on the sofa pretending to read an old copy of Vogue while Millie is pressed up against her mother's side. Vivienne (POV character/First person) looks around the room. "It 's so peaceful in my home tonight. The amber light of the setting sun falls on all the things in the room, all so friendly and familiar: my piano and heaps of sheet music, the Staffordshire dogs and silver eggcups, the many books on their shelves .... I look around and wonder if we will be here this time tomorrow ... I turn back to the story. I read how there was a solider coming home.... The ceiling creaks above us as Evelyn gets ready for bed...."

_Notice there is no separation between the activity of the characters and their surroundings. Later Vivienne walks with Evelyn to Angie's house and the description and characterization are flawless. The pace may seem gentle and slow, but make no mistake Ms. Leroy has us firmly in hand moving us ever forward into the story.

_Details of setting can be troublesome for many beginning writers. Some choose to completely ignore them, while others burden the reader with too many details. Reading books like The Soldier's Wife shows us how to employ the details effortlessly.

Notice - I am grateful to Hyperion New York for the review copy of this novel. My thoughts, are however, my own.

this is a novel about choices

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Reviewer Wanted ...

... for What Can't Wait —the gripping debut teen novel from Ashley Hope PĂ©rez.

Here's an opportunity to a free digital copy of What Can't Wait, write a review for "Dialogue" and interview Ashley. Interested? leave a comment or send me an email.

This is the story of one girl's survival in a world in which family needs trump individual success, and self-reliance is the only key that can unlock the door to the future.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Monday, June 20, 2011

Screen Doors And Sweet Tea
y Martha Hall Foose

"Books offered alternative adventures to me as I grew up amid the kudzu. Mrs. Wilburn would read aloud to our fourth-grade class each morning from Willie Morris's books. We hung on every words, sending up a sorrowful "awww" when she would leave us hanging until the next day. For the first time I realized that a book could be about where you were from. Until then they had been about fairy-tale kindoms or tales of old or distant places cover by National Geographic. Later the lovely Bea Donnelly, Dean of Girls at high school, introduced me to Faulkner's story "The Bear," and my love of books about the South became firmly rooted."
--Author quote.

Publishers Weekly - The warm, languid air of the South filters through this engaging book, in which Foose shares the traditional recipes that she ate while growing up on the Mississippi Delta and has returned to after training as a pastry chef in France and traveling the world. Gently humorous stories about family and friends form a seamless part of her instructions for community recipes like Strawberry Missionary Society Salad, as well as pleasant surprises like Tabbouleh, Curried Sweet Potato Soup, and Chinese Grocery Roast Pork that take Southern food beyond stereotypes. Fried chicken and grits do appear, but for such classics Foose emphasizes relatively simple, wholesome preparations that are rich without loading on more butter and oil than necessary. Although recipes for Gumbo Z’Herbs, Chile Lime Skirt Steak, and creamy succotash are mouthwatering enough just to read about, many cooks will be tempted to flip straight to the last chapters, where her enticing breads and pastries provide the book with a winning flourish. The cook may be Southern, but the appeal of the dishes she presents should reach well beyond people who grew up in the land of four-hour lunches and sweet tea savored on a porch swing.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Up Next, A Memoir ... Of Sorts

Up Next Up:

Described as an entertaining, touching memoir of life with an alcoholic father who secretly works with the CIA, a dark pilgrimage through the valley of depression and addiction, and finding a faith to redeem and a strength to forgive.

Spring For Susannah - A Novel Review & Writers Workshop

"Marta says she is thinking of the book of Ruth," Ivar began, pausing for his wife's words. "Like Ruth, Susannah has traveled far to marry a man she did not know. Like Ruth, may you find great joy in your new family." (page 69)

Jesse Mason welcomes his mail-order bride Susannah to his home in the Dakota Territory. Married by proxy by his brother, The Reverend back in Michigan the couple meet for the first time when Susannah arrives by train. Jesse, a Christian man is immediately pleased by his bride. Her prayer request is answered when he smiles. Jesse has a full set of good teeth. While Susannah does carry on an inner dialogue with God, she also acknowledges that she feels He has let her down in the past and is to blame for her current predicament. She also arrives with a suitcase full of several secrets and huge inferior complex. While both have inner demons to content with Susannah is particularly fragile. But she is prepared to keep her part of the deal, be a good wife, and obey her husband. Jesse is patiently hoping for more....

First time author Catherine Richmond has crafted a enjoyable story for the Christian reader, I suspect however, this novel will also appeal to readers beyond this market, readers who enjoy historical "prairie" romances. The Christian themes that run through the story has been seamlessly integrated and are appropriate. A nice read by a promising new author.

Writers Workshop - The author has chosen to open the story of Jesse and his mail-order wife minutes before they meet for the first time. She is considered a spinster, and he is a farmer. As the story unfolds the author has a double burden, first to show the push and pull of the couple as they get to know one another, and second to reveal the backstory of these two very different people. Revealing this much backstory without slowing the pace of the novel can be tricky.

Catherine Richmond has done a good job of dropping past events of Susannah's life into the story to show (explain) who she is and why. Ms. Richmond has used backstory to her advantage. While both are mature, Jesse is portrayed as a more open character. He readily admits to a past that includes serving in a brutal war and using (abusing) alcohol . Because he is immediately pleased by his new wife, and because we, the reader know Jesse has conquered his past we trust that he will be able to help her. There are many reasons for Susannah's hesitancy and bit by bit they are revealed to Jesse and the reader.

Creating an in-depth biography for the lead characters is a good idea (especially for beginning writers). The trick is not to ramble on about this happened and that happened. Be careful to use this information to reveal character motivation. A light touch is the goal.

"The trick," according to Larry Brooks, "is to show just enough backstory that the reader can intuit where the character is coming from, rather than spelling it out." Story Engineering (pg. 89).

A copy of this book was provided by Thomas Nelson for review. My expressed opinions are my own.

Reading Spring for Susannah

Next up, Catherine's Richmond's first novel, a historical romance from Thomas Nelson.

Friday, June 3, 2011

The Little Women Letters -A Novel Review & Writers Workshop

London born author, Gabrielle Donnelly has written an entertaining novel that might appeal to fans of Louisa May Alcott's Little Women. Described as: "Vibrant, fresh, and intelligent, The Little Women Letters explores the imagined lives of Jo March's descendants -- three sister who are both thoroughly modern and thoroughly March."
(cover quote)

_American-born Fee Atwater, a therapist in private practice and her husband David, owner of a small publishing company, live in London and have three grown daughters. The eldest is Emma, poised and beautiful she is considered the model daughter. She is engaged to Matthew, her boyfriend of three years and the wedding is being planned.
_Dramatic, sweet Sophie is the youngest. Tall and slim, flighty and energetic, sort of blond, and sort of loud she is an actress. Sophie is also immensely popular, and every one's favorite. For her life seems effortless.
_Twenty-four year old Lulu is the middle daughter. She's outspoken, often just plain rude to her sisters ... she's yet to discover the line between teasing and unkindness. Lulu is envious, unsettled, messy, academically gifted, she has a degree in biochemistry from St Andrews and a career she refuses to pursue. Clearly unhappy, and unsure of herself she seems to spend her days drifting from one temporary job to the next with no romantic prospects in sight. She is, at least in her own eyes, the failure of the Atwater family.
_The novel opens on a typical Sunday, the girls have gathered at the family home for brunch with Mom (Dad is out of town on business) and the scene is warm, inviting, and full of engaging and well-written dialogue that draws the reader into the family dynamics.
_Later that afternoon, Lulu is asked by her mother to go to the attic and retrieve a collection of family recipes for an upcoming exhibition at the Massachusetts Historical Society. This trip to the attic gives us the main point-of-view character (Lulu) and the story begins here.
_What Lulu finds among the piles of old books and discarded toys is not the privately published recipe book but a collection of letters written by her famous great-great-grandmother Josephine "Jo" March when she was a young woman. The first letter, dated June 1869 to sister Meg, describes the pain in her life since losing Beth. Lulu's attention is immediately captured.
_As the weeks unfold, life gets messy and confusing and Lulu finds comfort as she continues to visit the attic. Reading her great-grandmother Jo's letters helps Lulu change how she views herself, her family, especially her sisters, and the world she lives in.
_A fun read.
Writers Workshop - There is a lot going on in this novel, an abundance of characters, multiple pov's (although Lulu seems to be the lead), a lot of intense family drama, great dialogue, and of course the letters great-great-grandmother Jo Marsh wrote. Gabrielle Donnelly is clearly an experienced author (she has written several books and writes show business articles in L.A.). She credits "Lydia Newhouse, my wonderfully imaginative first editor, who had the idea in the first place and was kind enough to commission me to carry it out...." Ideas come from many sources and are expanded by asking "what if?" (what if a beloved fictional character left a collection of letters). Stories are often developed around interesting characters. Characters are best revealed through dialogue. Miss Donnelly's dialogue is well-written, sounds genuine. Reading the exchanges between the sisters is a rich example of how-to-do-it.

An advance copy of this novel was provided by the publisher Simon & Shuster, A Touchtone Book for review. These comments are my own.

The Little Women Letters


The Little Women Letters
by Gabrielle Donnelly.

Review soon. Fun, interesting.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

John Eisler, author update

According to Publishers Lunch, John Eisler's next John Rain Novel will be published by Amazon's new mystery / thriller imprint Thomas Mercer. Originally, during an interview Mr Eisler indicated that he was going to self-published his new novel THE DETACHMENT.

The article states: "Amazon is paying Eisler an advance, one "that was comparable to what St Martin's was offering in the deal.... Eisler (who is trained as an attorney) said 'I've never seen a better publishing agreement than what Amazon presented me. It's readable, it's understandable, and it's transparent.'"

This is an update to the May 4th posting: Does Indie Publishing Make Sense?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

A Publishing Decision

Interesting article by Heather McCorkle, a YA author

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

How To Write A Book Proposal

How To Write A Book Proposal
By Michael Larsen AAR

A review of the table of contents is enough to cause the interested reader’s heart to race. And if you are a nonfiction writer with a book to market or an idea to propose – you’ll be interested.

But does the book live up to the chapter headings? Why yes it does … and more.

The author reveals “Why now is the best time ever to write a book.” (There are 20 good ones listed in chapter one!)

“Getting off the pin: the first three steps to take with your idea.”

“Getting paid to write your book: the parts of an irresistible proposal.” While novels have to be written before marketing, nonfiction is generally offered to the publishing house with a sparkling proposal. Did you know a proposal has three parts … overview, outline, sample chapter?

Selling the sizzle, naming rites, sizing up the comps, getting published or self-published, and finally “from author to authorpreneur” everything the nonfiction writer needs is contained here.

I’ve taught this class many times over the years. This book (the revised 4th edition) is fresh, up to date, and very valuable. I highly recommend it.

Note: This book was provided by the publisher for review. My review is based solely on my opinion.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

The downside of the e-revolution in publishing (link)

...interesting take, read it here:

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Truth In Fiction

"This book is fiction, but there is always a chance that such a work of fiction may throw some light on what has been written as fact."

--Ernest Hemingway, A Moveable Feast

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Self-publishing VS Traditional

If I were writing a book, I would seriously consider self-publishing.

Self-published books outnumber traditionally published books by about 500,000 in 2009.
It lost the stigma of "Vanity" press a long time ago.

There are three BIG differences in the two options.

  1. Time

  2. Money

  3. Control


  • Self-published books go out in about six months. The writer pays all the costs but the writer also gets to KEEP all the profits. The writer has complete control over everything that goes in the book and on the cover.

  • Traditional publishers get books out in about a year, sometimes longer. The writer spends nothing but the writer receives only a small portion of the profit. The writer rarely has any control over the edits or the cover.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Does Indie Publishing Make Sense?

Do you know Snooki? She's one of the stars on Jersey Shore and by her own admission not much of a reader (she admits to reading two books). Apparently Simon & Schuster (you know THE Simon & Schuster) saw something in this young, lightly lived, reality TV star when they offered her a publishing contract. Okay she has racked up more experiences than most other young women her age ... but she is only twenty-two. And okay they assigned a co-writer to the project but what is the message here for the hardworking, dedicated writer looking for a read? Is it always about money? Profit? Well, yes I guess it is. Publishing is big business.

It is also a rapidly changing market. Big time.

Laura Miller, a senior writer (and co-founder) at wrote:

When Anyone Can Be A Published Author last June 22, 2010.

Here is the lead:

When their former dictator, Augusto Pinochet, died four years ago, thousands of Chileans poured into the streets to celebrate -- but that's small potatoes compared to the crowds lining up to dance on the grave of traditional book publishing. The industry, we're forever being told, is antiquated and hidebound; it doesn't know how to spot great books or how to deliver them to readers. Fortunately, a tsunami of sparkling new technology is just about to hit those old fogies, washing them from the face of the earth so that the people who know what they're doing can finally take over. (great article!)

Well, turns out she was correct. Did you know that Barry Eisler reportedly walked away from a $500,000.00 advance from St Martin's Press? "I know it'll seem crazy to a lot of people," said Barry, "but based on what's happening in the industry, and based on the kind of experience writers are having in self-publishing, I think I can do better in the long term on my own."

Mr Eisler has been making lots and lots of money for a decade now writing bestselling novels (think - Inside Out, Fault Line, Requiem For An Assassin). The idea to self-pub came from his eleven-year-old daughter one evening during dinner. After doing the math he decided to follow her advice.

A former member of the CIA's covert operations team, Barry Eisler is happy with his decision.

Amanda Hocking knows a thing or two about self-publishing. Amanda writes young-adult paranormal novels and sells them by the hundreds, thousands online at and By the end of December 2010 she had sold 164,000 novels (priced between 99 cents to $2.99 per digital download). January (2011) she sold an additional 450,000 copies of her nine titles.

In a USA Today interview Ms. Hocking had this to say: "I can't really say that I would have been more successful if I'd gone with a traditional publisher. But I know this is working really well for me."

For every $2.99 e-Book she sells, she keeps 70%, and for every 99 cent novel she sells, she keeps 30%.

H.P. Mallory, another self-published paranormal e-novelist, has sold 70,000+ copies of her e-Book in just six months. Her books are so successful Random House took notice and offered her a three-book contract. "Selling e-Books on Kindle and Nook basically changed my life," Mallory say. "I never would have gotten where I am today without them."

And Amanda Hocking? Last month she received a $2 million dollar, 4-book deal with ... St Martin's Press.

Will Indies' and e-Books kill book publishing? No one knows for sure. But ask yourself this: Why do I write? If the answer is to make money you at least owe yourself time to consider the options ... all the options.



Monday, May 2, 2011

Core Clarification On A Few Competencies

Story Engineering author Larry Brooks responds to reviewers on his website .

Friday, April 29, 2011

Story Engineering Is A Must!

Author Larry Brook asks the question "does the world need another book about writing?" After reading this one my answer is definitely ... yes!

-Story Engineering "shows the storyteller what to write, where to put it, and why it works there without any of it being remotely formulaic." And any writer (beginner or seasoned) should know and practice the adage - show, do not tell.

-Using 6 core competencies (think concept, character, theme, structure, scene execution, writing voice) Mr Brooks takes the would-be novelist by the hand and guides them through the entire process ... "Step by excruciating step." Using well-known novels, popular TV shows and movies as examples the writer is taught what works and what doesn't. Working as a community writing instructor for fifteen years I know what writers need to write their first or next novel and this book delivers.

-"Nobody on the planet teaches story structure better than Larry Brooks. Nobody," says Randy Ingermanson, and he should know he wrote the book Writing Fiction For Dummies and is the creator of the snowflake method.

-The chapter on wrapping your head around theme is a must read (I judge all writing how-to books on whether they have an index - a necessity in my opinion and how the author handles the subject of theme.)

- Story Engineering will help the future novelist reach their goal and help save time doing it.

-This one goes on the keeper shelf.

Crazy About Georgia Bottoms

Author Mark Childress* stopped by Books & Books in Coral Gables Florida last evening to talk about his latest novel, Georgia Bottoms (2011 Little Brown). Georgia (think Southern Belle, not the town) makes ends meet by entertaining the pillars of her small town Alabama community ... and she does it with style and graceful cunning. Each man (the bank president, doctor, preacher, publisher) gets one night a week in bed with the gorgeous and good-hearted Miss Bottoms. But when Saturday's date, Preacher Eugene stands before the congregation on that first Sundaqy ready to confess the affair Georgia does what any "Scarlett" would do ... she stands up and faints. The author is a master at writing dialogue and pacing. The story is just plain fun to read.

-Mark sat amongst the attendees and told stories ... about great Southern fiction writers like Harper Lee (who responds to each request for an appearance with a bold "Hell no!" often written with a green felt-tip pen) and Margaret Mitchell who was so determined to save herself she left her elderly, doddering husband standing in the middle of the Atlanta street and dashed for the curb. A fatal error. Mark wrote the script for Crazy In Alabama (based on his 1993 best-selling novel), and the dialogue for John Travolta in The General's Daughter.

-During the book signings a father asked that the novel be autographed for his daughter adding he thought Georgia would be a good role model. Role model? If you love Southern fiction, GB is definitely a role model or as Anne Lamott said "... she's an inspired creation who grows before our eyes.

-Georgia Bottoms received a starred review from both Publishers Weekly and Kirkus. The novel is as compelling and devious as it's main character and I highly recommend it.

*(Crazy In Alabama, One Mississippi)

Friday, April 22, 2011

William F. Buckley, A Book Review

William F. Buckley
Christian Encounters Series
by Jeremy Lott

The late William F. Buckley: popular TV host (Firing Line), editor (National Review), author (50+ books and novels), nationally syndicated columnist (On The Right), Roman Catholic and well-known conservative with a distinctive voice is the subject of Thomas Nelson's Christian Encounters Series. One of ten children born into a wealthy family, WFB was well-educated, wrote his first book, God and Man at Yale, soon after graduating, worked for the CIA, ran unsuccessfully for mayor of New York, was perhaps best known for his political and religious views (he was a life-long Roman Catholic).

Author Jeremy Lott does an excellent (and even-handed) job of introducing the reader to the man known for speaking his mind ... forcefully, often and eloquently. At the end Mr Lott provides a useful bibliography for those readers who want to know more about this fascinating, faithful man of the 20th century.

Disclosure: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their book review bloggers program Book Sneeze. While I greatly appreciate and value this relationship with the publisher, this review is based solely on my reading and review of the book. This disclosure is in accordance with Federal Trade Commission guidelines concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising.