May 27 Writing Tips, Tricks, Thoughts

Birthdays: Juliet Ward Howe (1819), Arnold Bennett (1867), Louis-Ferdinand Céline (1894), Dashiell Hammett (1894), Rachel Carson (1907), John Cheever (1912), Herman Wouk (1915), Tony Hillerman (1925), Marijane Meaker (1927), John Barth (1930), Harlan Ellison (1934), Edmund Morris (1940), Anthony Pagden (1945), Lisbeth Zwerger (1954), Sharon Bolton (1960), Heston Blumenthal (1966)

Dashiell Hammett is best known for his Sam Spade character as well as Nick and Nora Charles (and their dog Asta)

Rachel Carson’s book “Silent Spring” helped advance the environmental movement.

Herman Wouk won the 1952 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for “The Caine Mutiny”.

Harlan Ellison has won multiple Hugos, Nebulas, and Edgars for his speculative fiction.

Edmund Morris won the 1980 Pulitzer for Biography of Theodore Roosevelt

Quote: “A writer is like a bag lady going through life with a sack and a pointed stick collecting stuff.” – Tony Hillerman

Tip: If the big picture of writing an entire book overwhelms you, break it down into smaller bites. Once scene, one chapter, even just one paragraph. Break it down to what you can handle.

Jumpstart: You’re to be substitute host on a late night talk show. Who would your guests be? What would you do for your special segment? What music or musicians would you have on?

May 26 Writing Tips, Tricks, Thoughts

Birthdays: Leonard Bacon (1887), Antonia Forest (1915), Edward Whittemore (1933), Sheila Greenwald (1934), Carol O’Connell (1947), Alan Hollinghurst (1954), Simon Armitage (1963), Caitlin Kiernan (1964)

Leonard Bacon wont the 1940 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for “Sunderland Capture”.

Quote: “You’re learning to write a book every time you sit down to do it. I know that sounds a little strange, but in every book you’re presented with new possibilities, new environment, different people, new story lines. You’re learning how to do it all over again.” – Carol O’Connell

Tip: Don’t use the names of real people for a character unless there’s a strong reason to do so. You could open yourself up to a lawsuit.

Jumpstart: You’ve found a magic mirror. It will tell you one truth about the future. What do you ask it?

May 25 Writing Tips, Tricks, Thoughts

Birthdays: Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803), Edward Bulwer-Lytton (1803), Boris Artzybasheff (1899), Theodore Roethke (1908), Robert Ludlum (1927), John Gregory Dunne (1932), W.P. Kinsella (1935), David Levering Lewis (1936), Raymond Carver (1938), Joyce Carol Thomas (1938), Jamaica Kincaid (1949), Al Sarrantonio (1952), Eve Ensler (1953), Vera Nazarian (1966), Poppy Z. Brite (1967), Octavia Spencer (1972), Madeleine Thien (1974),

Edward Bulwer-Lytton became famous for his opening line “It was a dark and stormy night.”

Boris Artzybasheff won the Newbery Medal for his work on Dhan Gopal-Mukerji’s “Gay-Neck”.

Theodor Roethke won the 1954 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for his book “The Waking”

W.P. Kinsella was best known for his book “Shoeless Joe” which became the movie “Field of Dreams”

David Lewis was a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for History

Quote: “Because one has written other books does not mean the next becomes any easier.” – John Gregory Dunne

Tip: Mad at someone? Use that emotion—or any strong emotion—in your story. Give the emotions to your characters. Your story is where you can legally kill someone off—but remember to change the names!

Jumpstart: Write a short “how to” piece on something you know. Do you know how to pick out good wine? Build a birdhouse? Bake bread? Give the reader details on how to do this.

New Reviews Are Up

All nonfiction this week!

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Journal by Josie Valderrama – a 5 Sparkler for this How-to Book.

28-Day Liver Health Weight Loss Solution by Jinan Banna – 5 Sparklers for this healthy eating book with menus and recipes.

The Zen Mindfulness Workbook by Ingrid Yang – 4 Sparklers for this book on Zen Buddhism and mindfulness.

May 24 Writing Tips, Tricks, Thoughts

Birthdays: Maurice Francis Egan (1852), Elizabeth Foreman Lewis (1892), Kathleen Hale (1898), Mikhail Shokolov (1905), William Trevor (1928), Joseph Brodsky (1940), Bob Dylan (1941), Michel Chabon (1963), Mo Willems (1968)

Elizabeth Lewis won the 1933 Newbery Award for “Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze”

Mikhail Shokolov won the 1965 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Joseph Brodsky won the 1987 Nobel Prize in Literature

Quote: “You need three things to become a successful novelist: talent, luck and discipline. Discipline is the one element of those three things that you can control, and so that is the one that you have to focus on controlling, and you just have to hope and trust in the other two.” – Michel Chabon

Tip: In plurals, spelling can be vastly different for similar words, especially in the English language. For instance: one goose, two geese. But we do not say one moose/two meese. One mouse/two mice but one house/two houses. If you’re not sure, look it up.

Jumpstart: If you could have any celebrity act the part of your main character. Who would you choose? Why? Would anything have to change for this person to play your character? What and why?

Spotlight: Clive Radford

Incident at Lahore Basin by Clive Radford buyer links and buyer review

Incident at Lahore Basin is available both as a paperback and an ebook.

For UK paperback buyers, the Amazon URL is:
For UK ebook buyers, the Amazon URL is:

For US paperback buyers, the Amazon URL is:

For US ebook buyers, the Amazon URL is:

Incident at Lahore Basin is also available from other Amazon worldwide websites, Barnes & Noble, Fishpond, iBooks, Google, Apple and other good book retailers, worldwide.

5.0 out of 5 stars   ‘Incident at Lahore Basin’ is a must read for thriller afficionados.

Wow! What a terrific thriller, rapt with cliff-hangers and suspense. Hooked me from the outset. Couldn’t put the book down. ‘Incident at Lahore Basin’ works on a variety of levels; daring action, political intrigue and double-dealing, all underscored by a fast-moving plot having main protagonist Dale Latham engulfed in a whirlpool of intrigue and spy tradecraft.

‘Incident at Lahore Basin’ offers a new approach to the thriller genre, in that it encapsulates an unusual bewitching theme set in a bizarre environment, with none of the usual expected outcomes and even less predictability. It oozes pathos, a clear-cut exposé and most of all, realism on how the world of business and politics often collide, producing decimating outcomes for those inadvertently caught up in the high-powered politicians’ game.

Readers should prepare themselves for the thunderbolt ending; something totally unforeseen, it hit me like a sledgehammer.

Highly recommended. Five stars.

Clive Radford began writing at school, then university but mainly through subsequent life experience.

His poetry has been published in numerous poetry magazines such as The Journal, The Cannon’s Mouth, Poetry Monthly, Poetry Now, Storming Heaven, Poetry Nottingham, Scripsi and Modern Review, plus in many compilations by United Press. 

A series of his short stories and poems have been published by Ether Books. The Arts Council has sponsored publication of his novels ‘One Night in Tunisia’ and ‘The Sounds of Silence’. His contemporary satire ‘Doghouse Blues’ was number one in Harper Collins Authonomy chart and has been awarded gold medal status. It has been published by Black Rose. His spy thriller ‘Zavrazin’ has been published by Triplicity Publishing. It’s companion sequel ‘Nexus Bullet’ is published by Ex-L-Ence Publishing. His three-book series ‘Disclosures of a Femme Fatale Addict’ has been published by Wild Dreams Publishing and Miraclaire Publishing. His science fiction novel ‘Maggie’s Farm’, suspense-thriller ‘Incident at Lahore Basin’, contemporary thriller ‘Alpha Centauri’ and his satires ‘Doghouse Blues 2’, ‘Doghouse Blues 3’ and ‘Doghouse Blues Revised and Remastered’ are published by Rogue Phoenix Press. Melange Books has published his mystery thriller, ‘Monsoon in the Making’ and ‘The Spiral Staircase and other Novellas’, a mix of psychological, modern satire and rite of passage sagas.

‘One Night in Tunisia’, ‘Zavrazin’ and ‘Nexus Bullet’ have all been converted into three-act screenplays. The ‘Zavrazin’ screenplay is under contract with Story Merchant/Atchity Productions for film production.

Rogue Phoenix Press will be publishing his action-adventure/rite of passage ‘Desolation Argonauts’ August 2022.

Currently, he is crafting a number of works including ‘Three Cheshire Boys’ a comedic thriller, ‘Colby Richmond: The University Years’, the coming of age sequel to ‘Disclosures of a Femme Fatale Addict’, ‘Mozart meets McCartney’, a mystery, and ‘Wokeland’, a dystopian social science fiction.

His work has a distinctive voice setting it apart and appealing to those fascinated by intrigue, and who question status quo accepted views.

May 22 Writing Tips, Tricks, Thoughts

Birthdays: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859), Herge (Georges Prosper Remi) (1907), Vance Packard (1914), Peter Matthiessen (1927), Arnold Lobel (1933), Gary Willis (1934), Max Brooks (1972), Tansy Rayner Roberts (1978)

Arthur Conan Doyle is best known for his Sherlock Holmes mysteries

Gary Willis won the 1993 Pulitzer for General Nonfiction for “Lincoln at Gettysburg”

Quote: “Just do it. Writing, like anything, takes practice and discipline, and I’ve found that discipline comes from a lifetime of repetition. I started writing when I was 12 and it’s made the action as normal as any other activity.” – Max Brooks

Tip: While Americans mostly spell “theater” with an “er” ending, there are some places in the US that use the British spelling: theatre. If you’re using the name of an actual place, be sure to check how they spell it.

Jumpstart: I will never forget his (or her) smile as I… (remember, smiles can be happy, sinister, tentative, etc.)

May 21 Writing Tips, Tricks, Thoughts

Birthdays: Alexander Pope (1688), Harold Robbins (1916), Robert Creeley (1926), Janet Dailey (1944), Elizabeth Buchan (1948), Maria Semple (1964)

Quote: “I keep an elaborate calendar for my characters detailing on which dates everything happens. I’m constantly revising this as I go along. It gives me the freedom to intricately plot my story, knowing it will at least hold up on a timeline.” – Maria Semple

Tip: Use commas between independent clauses (an independent clause can be a sentence all by itself): The committee will meet next Wednesday, and the head will report to the boss on Friday. No commas with dependent clauses: The committee will meet Wednesday and report to the boss on Friday. (“Report to the boss” is not a complete sentence, thus it’s dependent).

Jumpstart: The ice caps have melted. Welcome to “Water World”. So, what is your life like on a water planet? What does your house look like? Your transportation? Are there underwater cities? How do people get food and get around?

May 20 Writing Tips, Tricks, Thoughts

Birthdays: Honoré de Balzac (1799), Hector Malot (1830), Sigrid Undset (1882), Allan Nevins (1890), Margery Allingham (1904), Justin Cartwright (1943), Mary Pope Osborne (1949), Michele Roberts (1949), Walter Isaacson (1952), Douglas Preston (1956), Christopner Sorrentino (1963), Jon Meacham (1969)

Sigrid Undset won the 1928 Nobel Prize in Literature

Allan Nevins won the 1933 Pulitzer for his biography of Grover Cleveland

Mary Pope Osborne is most well known for her “Magic Tree House” series

Jon Meacham won the 2009 Pulitzer in Biography for “American Lion: Andrew Johnson in the White House”

Quote: “You can’t believe anything that’s written in an historical novel, and yet the author’s job is always to create a believable world that readers can enter. It’s especially so, I think, for writers of historical fiction.” – Justin Cartwright

Tip: When looking over a contract, if you are doing it yourself, be sure you are aware of the rights you are assigning to the publisher and the length of time they have the right to your work. These can include electronic, audio, translations, reprint, other editions, and more. Learn what they are so you can make informed decisions concerning your work.

Jumpstart: What is your character’s dream car? Describe it in detail. How will s/he get one?

Writing Tips, Tricks, Thoughts

Birthdays: Bernadotte Schmitt (1886), Ernest Samuels (1903), T. Harry Williams (1909), Lorraine Hansberry (1930), Paul Erdman (1932), Tom Feelings (1933), Ruskin Bond (1934), Nora Ephron (1941), Jonathan Dee (1962), Jodi Picoult (1966), Jassy Mackenzie (1970),

Bernadotte Schmitt won the Pulitzer for History for “The Coming of the War, 1914”

Ernest Samuels won the Pulitzer for Biography for his work on Bernard Berenson

T. Harry Williams won a Pulitzer for Biography for his bio on Huey Long

Quote: “Here’s a foolproof recipe. Four cups of reading. Two cups of writing. One cup of rewriting, two tablespoons of feedback from knowledgeable people. A dash of humility, a pinch of optimism, and a sackload of perseverance. Finally, write from your heart, or don’t write at all. Passion fuels the process.” – Jassy Mackenzie

Tip: Make sure your manuscript has the same font throughout. Sometimes, in doing different versions, fonts get mixed up. TNR12 (Times New Roman) is the standard, but whatever font you use, make sure you use it throughout.

Jumpstart: Darkness fell, and with it, my nerve… (finish this using: hanging tree, carburetor, teddy)