May 31 Writing Tips, Tricks, Thoughts

Birthdays: Walt Whitman (1819), Saint-John Perse (1887), Elizabeth Coatsworth (1893), Norman Vincent Peale (1898), Harry Mazer (1925), Al Young (1939), Phillip Hoose (1947), Svetlana Alexievich (1948), Lynne Truss (1955), Jane Green (1968), John Connolly (1968),

Saint-John Perse with the 1960 Pulitzer Prize for Literature.

Elizabeth Coatsworth won the 1931 Newbery Medal for “The Cat Who Went to Heaven”

Phillip Hoose won a Newbery Honor for his children’s biography of Claudette Colvin

Svetlana Alexievich won the 2015 Nobel Prize for Literature

Quote: “Books are our windows on the world. They permit us to safely experience other lives and ways of thinking and feeling. Books give us a glimmer of the complexity and wonder of life. All this, the censor would deny us.” ― Harry Mazer, Places I Never Meant to Be: Original Stories by Censored Writers

Quote: “Writing requires, more than anything else, tremendous discipline. At the end of the day, whilst there are times when it is wonderfully creative and fun, a lot of the time it is just a job. And that means showing up whether you feel like it or not. It also means you write, whether you are inspired or not, and the only way to unlock your creativity, is to start writing.” – Jane Green

Tip: Publishing is about marketing. Be prepared to do the work. You need to promote, to sell your work. Writing the book is just the first step on a long staircase.

Jumpstart: Get a can of modeling clay and have some fun. Think about how it feels. What it looks like. What you can do with it. Write about the texture, the smell, the feelings it evokes.

May 30 Writing Tips, Tricks, Thoughts

Birthdays: Cornelia Otis Skinner (1899), Countee Cullen (1903), Millicent Selsam (1912), Margaret Coit (1919), Hal Clement (1922), Ray Cooney (1932), Colm Toibin (1955),

Margaret Coit won the 1950 Pulitzer Prize for Biography for “Mr. Baruch”

Quote: “In order for a writer to succeed, I suggest three things – read and write – and wait.” – Countee Cullen

Tip: What’s the worst thing that could happen to your character? Do it. Then make it worse. Keep upping the ante in your story.

Jumpstart: You’ve found a very special camera. As the ancients feared, when you snap a picture, you really do capture the soul of the person. You have the power to delete, thus ending that person’s life, or upload-give them back their life. Who do you capture and what do you do?

May 29 Writing Tips, Tricks, Thoughts

Birthdays: G.K. Chesterton (1874), Max Brand (1892), T.H. White (1906), John F. Kennedy (1917), Bernard Clavel (1923), Paul R. Ehrlich (1932), Andre Brink (1935), Brock Cole (1938), Linden MacIntyre (1943), Andrew Clements (1949), Steven Levitt (1967)

John Kennedy won the Pulitzer Prize for “Profiles in Courage”.

Quote: “A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author.” – G.K. Chesterton

Tip: When you’re stuck, write about something in your past—school lunches, a party, your first car, etc. It doesn’t matter what, just pick something and write.

Jumpstart: On this date in history, Sir Edmund Hillary reached the top of Mt. Everest. What is your Everest? How will you conquer the summit?

May 28 Writing Tips, Tricks, Thoughts

Birthdays: Ian Fleming (1908), Patrick White (1912), Walker Percy (1916), May Swenson (1919), Maeve Binchy (1940), Zahi Hawass (1947), Richard White (1947), Geoffrey Landis (1955), Laura Amy Schitz (1955), Meg Wolitzer (1959), Muriel Barbery (1969),

Ian Fleming is best known for his James Bond novels, but also “Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang.”

Patrick White won the 1973 Nobel Prize in Literature

Laura Schitz won the 2008 Newbery Medal for “Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!”

Quote: “Always write as if you are talking to someone. It works. Don’t put on any fancy phrases or accents or things you wouldn’t say in real life.” – Maeve Binchy

“I don’t have ugly ducklings turning into swans in my stories. I have ugly ducklings turning into confident ducks.”
― Maeve Binchy

Tip: Trust the process. You can do this—as long as you persevere. Set a schedule—whatever works for you—and stick to it.

Jumpstart: The clock is striking midnight. You are the keeper of all fairy tale trinkets. So… do you give the prince the glass slipper, or do you confiscate it for your collection?

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.