On Writing – December 31

This is the end of the year. So what have you done? Did you reach your goals? What are your new ones going forward?

Birthdays: Holbrook Jackson (1874), Frank Marshall Davis (1905), Bob Shaw (1931), Edward Bunker (1933), Clarence Major (1936), Gerald McDermott (1941), Connie Willis (1945), Susan Swartz (1949), Nicholas Sparks (1965), Junot Diaz (1968), Joe Abercrombie (1974),

Donnie Willis won eleven Hugo and Nebula Awards for her science fiction.

Junot Diaz won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for his novel “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.”

Quotes: “I learned everything I know about plot from Dame Agatha (Christie).” – Connie Willis

“Fear of corrupting the mind of the younger generation is the loftiest form of cowardice.” – Holbrook Jackson

“Publishing is a business. Writing may be art, but publishing, when all is said and done, comes down to dollars.” – Nicholas Sparks

Tip: It’s the end of the year and time to look at your goals that you wrote back in January and maybe revised in July. Did you achieve them? Why or why not? What could you have done differently? Did you set the bar too high? Not high enough? Did obligations get in the way? Think about what you want to do to set goals for next year.

Jumpstart: While traveling on a back road, you see a house with a tree-lined driveway. The scene looks very familiar to you, but you’ve never been here before. As you slow down, the mailbox at the end of the driveway has your name on it….

On Writing

December 30

Birthdays: Rudyard Kipling (1865), L. P. Hartley (1895), Paul Bowles (1910), Jane Langton (1922), Mercer Mayer (1943), Patti Smith (1946), James Kahn (1947), Lewis Shiner (1950), Melissa Fay Greene (1952), Douglas Coupland (1961), Sean Hannity (1961), Chandler Burr (1963)

Rudyard Kipling won the 1907 Nobel Prize in Literature.

Jane Langton’s book “The Fledgling” was a Newbery Honor book.

Quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” – Rudyard Kipling

Tip: End of the year business accounting: have you kept track of all your writing-related spending as well as your income? You’ll need these records for tax time. And note: some states/localities require you to pay quarterly taxes.

Jumpstart: While cleaning out your parent’s attic, you find a shoebox full of postcards from a person signed M.G. and addressed to your mother. They come every year on the same date and go back to the day of your birth…

A Plea – and then thoughts on writing

I am putting out a plea to anyone who would like to have a spotlight or review done by me. PLEASE read the pages “You’d Like a Review Done” or “You’d Like a Promo Spot” before you contact me. For some reason, I’ve been getting a lot of requests for things I don’t read (Horror, heavy thrillers, basically anything with graphic gore) or will not post (book covers that are not PG13). Also, if I’m doing a spotlight for you and you send me your photo – please put your name on the file and not “image###” or other generic file name. I do these things (reviews/spotlights) at no charge to you and it’s a lot of work so following the guidelines makes me more likely to help you out again in the future and keeps me from having to send you a letter telling you why I won’t take on your project. Thank you.

Today’s Writing Tips, Tricks, Thoughts:

Birthdays: Richard Atwater (1892), Vera Brittain (1893), Robert Ruark (1915), William Gaddis (1922), Molly Garrett Bang (1943), Jim Shepard (1956), Paul Rudnick (1957), Sean Chercover (1966), Jenny Lawson (1973)

William Gaddis’ first novel, “The Recognitions” was nearly a thousand pages long and was named one of TIME magazine’s 100 best novels from 1923-2005.

Quotes: “So many of us feel like we’re misfits until we finally find our tribe – the other people who are are strange in the same way – and suddenly everything clicks.” – Jenny Lawson

“As a writer, I need an enormous amount of time alone. Writing is 90 percent procrastination: reading magazines, eating cereal out of the box, watching infomercials. It’s a matter of doing everything you can to avoid writing, until it is about four in the morning and you reach the point where you have to write.” – Paul Rudnick

“There’s no secret formula. The main thing is, you write. Sounds obvious, yet it amazes me how many people say they want to be writers but don’t write. Odd, that. Anyway, you write, and then you write some more. You revise, and then you revise some more. You show your work to others and you learn from their reactions.” – Sean Chercover

Tip: Stop worrying about being a “good” writer and just write. You can come back and edit later.

Jumpstart: You’ve struck up a casual friendship with a coworker. She often comes in bruised and you don’t buy her story about falling. You follow her one evening and find out the bruises aren’t from an abuser as you suspected, but from…

Writing Tips, Tricks, Thoughts

Birthdays: Carol Ryrie Brink (1895), Mortimer Adler (1902), Emily Neville (1919), Stan Lee (1922), Simon Raven (1927), Manuel Puig (1932), Alasdair Gray (1934), Cynthia DeFelice (1951), Charlie Pierce (1953), Gilles Leroy (1958), Andy McNab (1959)

Carol Ryrie Brink won the Newbery Medal for her book “Caddie Woodlawn”

Emily Neville won the 1964 Newbery Medal for “It’s Like This, Cat”

Stan Lee was a comic book author and president of Marvel Comics.

Manuel Puig is best known for books like “Kiss of the Spider Woman”

Quote: “Work as if you live in the early days of a better nation.” – Alasdair Gray

Tip: There is no secret to publication. It takes dedication, hard work, and perseverance. If you can’t put in the time, you won’t be successful.

Jumpstart: “We need three keys to open the door. I have one, you have the second. I wonder who has the third?”

“I do.”

You turn and see…

Writing Tips, Tricks, Thoughts

Birthdays: John Roberts (1822), Mirza Ghalib (1869), Mina Loy (1882), Louis Bromfield (1896), Ingri Parin d’Aulaire (1904), Mary Howard (1907), Charles Olson (1910), Elizabeth Smart (1913), Wilfrid Sheed (1930), Aidan Chambers (1934), Greg Mortensen (1957), Gerina Dunwich (1959), Wendy Coakley-Thompson (1966), Chris Abani (1966), Sarah Vowell (1969), Erin Stead (1982)

Louis Bromfield won the 1927 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for “Early Autumn”

Erin Stead won the 2011 Caldecott Medal for her illustrations in “A Sick Day for Amos McGee”

Quote: “Few pleasures, for the true reader, rival the pleasure of browsing unhurriedly among books: old books, new books, library books, other people’s books, one’s own books – it does not matter whose or where. Simply to be among books, glancing at one here, reading a page from one over there, enjoying them all as objects to be touched, looked at, even smelt, is a deep satisfaction.” – Aidan Chambers

“Dig deep into its communitarian ethos and it reads more like an America that might have been, an America fervently devoted to the quaint goals of working together and getting along. Of course, this America does exist. It’s called Canada.” – Sarah Vowell

Tip: Consider setting up a separate bank account for your writing. Then when it’s tax time, you won’t have to muddle through personal stuff to find your business stuff.

Jumpstart: You go to a pound to get a pet dog for your son. When you get home, you discover the dog has a very unusual talent…

Review: The Haunting of Laurel Cove


Fiction, Romantic Suspense, Contemporary (200 pages)


Blurb: When Jane Stuart returns to the Smoky Mountains and the house she inherited from her grandmother with the hope to heal from a brutal mugging, she finds herself obsessed with a local legend involving a witch and a mysterious cabin. Upon reconnecting with an old boyfriend now turned handsome environmentalist, she finds herself rekindling her attraction to Brendan McGarren and is drawn into his battle to keep Laurel Cove from becoming a rich man’s playground. As she begins to uncover family secrets pertaining to the witch and the cabin, Jane questions her own sanity. Then the threats begin. Can she trust Brendan? Will the search for the truth cost Jane her life?

Thoughts: I thought this was a good book. I had a little trouble getting into it in the beginning. It just wasn’t drawing me in, but I kept reading, and am glad I did because I was captured by the story of Cissy the witch and Jane’s fascination with her. The characters are realistic—especially Jane’s PTSD reactions. And the setting beautifully done (though I did have a couple issues with some minor things). Still, we could see the curtains blowing, the mists covering the mountains, the smell of lilacs and laurel. The author put you right there in the mountains.

The conflict was also very real between the environmentalist and the developers. And the mystery of Cissy was fascinating. I didn’t understand why Jane did some things the way she did, but that might just be me. Overall, I enjoyed the story, though I did know who the villain was halfway through.

Recommendation: a decent paranormal romance mystery. And relatively short. 

Disclaimer: I received a final and/or advanced reader copy of this book with the hope that I will leave my unbiased opinion. I was not required to leave a review, positive or otherwise, and my opinions are just that… My Opinions. I am posting this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

Writing Tips, Tricks, Thoughts

Birthdays: William Collins (1721), Lady Morgan Sydney (1781?), Charles Finger (1869), Quentin Crisp (1908), Angelica Garnett (1918), William Denby (1922), Rod Serling (1924), Carlos Castaneda (1925), Anne Roiphe (1935), Sheila Heti (1976)

Charles Finger won the 1925 Newbery Medal for “Tales from Silver Lands”

Rod Serling won several Emmy Awards for his “Twilight Zone” scripts and was the co-author of “The Planet of the Apes”

Quote: “Coming up with ideas is the easiest thing on earth. Putting them down is the hardest.” – Rod Serling

Tip: Stop worrying about being a “good” writer and just write.

Jumpstart: All he had to do was make it through one more day. One more period. One more class. And then…

Writing Tips, Tricks, Thoughts

Birthdays: George Crabbe (1754), Matthew Arnold (1822), John Gruelle (1880), Feodor Stepanovich Rojankovsky (1891), Noel Streatfield (1895), Fritz Leiber (1910), Franco Lucentini (1920), Mary Higgins Clark (1927), Nicholas Meyer (1945), Gillian Cross (1945), Eric Van Lustbader (1946), Juan Felipe Herrera (1948), Lynn Munsinger (1951), Christopher Buckley (1952), Belinda Bauer (1962), Adam Haslett (1970), Stephanie Meyer (1973), Evan Osnos (1976)

Johnny Gruelle was the creator of the Raggedy Ann stories.

Feodor Stepanovich Rojankovsky won the 1956 Caldecott Medal for his illustrations of “Frog Went A-Courtin’.”

Mary Higgins Clark is best known for her mysteries.

Nicholas Meyer is best known for his novel “The Seven-Percent Solution)

Eric Van Lustbader is best known for his “Jason Bourne” series.

Quotes: “If there ever comes a time when the women of the world come together purely and simply for the benefit of mankind, it will be a force such as the world has never known.” – Matthew Arnold

“Writing is storytelling. No matter how you slice it, you’re saying ‘Once upon a time.’ That’s what writing is all about.” – Mary Higgins Clark

Tip: Stay current on publishing trends. Look at publishers’ catalogs, but remember, most of their “new” books were purchased two or three years ago.

Jumpstart: All she wanted to do was find her real parents. Find out why they’d abandoned her. Find out who she was. But nobody knew anything more than the bracelet on her wrist that said “baby doe”.

Spotlight: Andrew Grey


Title: The Resident’s Dilemma
Author: Andrew Grey
Series: A Most Love Dogs Companion Novel
Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: Dec 6 2022
Edition/Formats Available In: eBook & Print
Dr. Rory Milner is just beginning to understand what it takes to
survive an ER residency. In his second year, he’s changed
programs to gain additional experience. But not only does he
need to manage the ins and outs of the ER, Rory also needs to
navigate around his brother, a charge nurse, who feels Rory
should toe his line, especially when it comes to Garth, one of the
ER nurses.
As a nurse in the ER, Garth West has pretty much seen it all. But a new resident captures his attention,
not only because he’s good-looking, but because Rory seems to care and really listens to the people who
come into the ER. He also respects Garth and the rest of the nursing staff.
As Rory and Garth work together, they realize that a series of incidents involving botched cosmetic
procedures may be related. Working together to uncover the source, they grow closer as attraction and trust grow into something deeper. Rory and Garth will need to stand together when what they find could end their careers and split them apart.
Continue reading “Spotlight: Andrew Grey”

Review: The Princess Bride Official Cookbook

I don’t often spotlight nonfiction books, but I am this one. Have you ever seen the movie “The Princess Bride”? Then this is for you.


Nonfiction, Cookbook, Movies, Pop Culture, 


Blurb: Few films have captured the hearts and imaginations like The Princess Bride. Based on the book by William Goldman, the 1987 film, directed by Rob Reiner and starring Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Mandy Patinkin, Billy Crystal, Andre the Giant, Carol Kane, Chris Sarandon, Wallace Shawn, Christopher Guest, Fred Savage, and Peter Falk is as universally beloved as it is quotable. Now, for the first time, The Princess Bride Cookbook: The Official Cookbook features more than 50 recipes for dishes seen in, and inspired by, the film, including:

  • Buttercup Buttermilk Scones
  • Hash You Wish
  • Farm Boy Breakfast
  • Six-Fingered Sandwiches
  • Chips of Insanity
  • MLT
  • The Grandson’s Soup and Sandwich
  • Vizzini’s Sicilian Meatballs
  • Fezzik’s Stew
  • The Spaniard’s Paella
  • Bread Pirate Roberts
  • Twu Wove’s Kiss Cookies
  • Iocane Powder Punch
  • Inigo Montoya’s Taste of Revenge

Thoughts: I absolutely adore this book. Okay, I adore the movie too so this fits right in. Although there are some really good recipes in here, it’s not so much a cookbook as it is a cultural reference. There are pictures and quotes from the movie as well as the recipes. There is also a brief history of the movie. As for the recipes, you are given ingredients, clear directions, colorful pictures of some of the dishes and if they fit vegetarian, gluten-free, or other diet-specific parameters. The only thing missing from them are the nutrient values (necessary for some people). But again, this is about the movie. But I know I will definitely be adding this to my “must buy” list.

Recommendations: If you’ve ever seen the movie and enjoyed it (who hasn’t?), you cannot miss this! 

Disclaimer:  I received a final and/or advanced reader copy of this book with the hope that I will leave my unbiased opinion. I was not required to leave a review, positive or otherwise, and my opinions are just that… My Opinions. I am posting this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”