Writer’s block . . . What are you afraid of?

Sometimes people ask me about writer’s block and how I deal with it. Writer’s block is the bogeyman living inside the closet of every writer’s mind. It’s scary to think about, and many writers allow it to cripple their motivation, ideas, and words. Early in my writing career, during the writing of my first novel, writer’s block moved in uninvited, and I didn’t write a word for almost a year. When I finally broke through, I promised myself I would never allow writer’s block to strangle me  again and would find a way that consistently worked to defeat it. My answer to how I deal with writer’s block often surprises people: I deal with it by refusing to allow it to hide out, lurking in the shadows. I don’t acknowledge it, so it does not, cannot affect my writing. I write in spite of writer’s block. This attitude comes from my belief about my writing. I am a writer, and… Read more

Best Year of our Lives, a Book Review

The Best Year of our Lives by Phil Andrews I just finished reading “The Best Year of Our Lives: Growing up in the 1970s” by Phil Andrews. It is a semi-autobiographical book that I’m never sure I’m going to like. This one, however, was one of the best! As a writer and editor, I am very impressed with this debut novel. I wasn’t sure I was going to like the book when I first started it because it is very British and there were things in the story that I didn’t understand. However, the exceptional quality of the writing and the excellent characterizations kept my interest. The story is set in 1976, two years after I got married. I remember the time well, although from an American instead of British viewpoint. I actually found those differences interesting and entertaining. The music was different – except for the megastars like Bowie and the Stones – but I remember cassette players, widely flared jeans… Read more

Life: What is the most important lesson in life?

Life Lessons What is the most important lesson in life? Jay Gill, a businesswoman, answered this Quora.com question and I thought I would share it with all of you. It gave me a lot to think about and stayed with me a long time. This 92-year-old, petite, well-poised and proud lady, who is fully dressed each morning by eight o’clock, with her hair fashionably coiffed and makeup perfectly applied, even though she is legally blind, moved to a nursing home yesterday. Her husband of 70 years recently passed away, making the move necessary. After many hours of waiting patiently in the lobby of the nursing home, she smiled sweetly when told her room was ready. As she maneuvered her walker to the elevator, I provided a visual description of her tiny room, including the eyelet sheets hanging on her window. “I love it,” she stated with the enthusiasm of an eight-year-old with a new puppy. “Mrs. Jones, you haven’t seen the… Read more

Books to read while in prison & how to choose them

Books Someone on Quora.com asked what books he should read during his time in prison. Quora.com is a website where people submit questions on any subject you can think of and other people write responses. I’ve asked a few questions and answered a lot. This is a question I found today and my answer. • • • Books offer a wonderful opportunity to learn and be entertained, especially when you are looking at spending time in prison. This is difficult to answer with specific book titles because there are so many unknowns. Do you like to read? What kinds of things are you interested in? Are you reading for entertainment or do you want to learn something? Here are my thoughts about choosing books to read: If you already are a reader, try some books outside of what you normally read. If you are not a reader, start with smaller books based on things you enjoy. Try to have two… Read more

Stillhouse Lake is a must-read novel!

“Stillhouse Lake,” by Rachel Caine is a must-read. I read a lot of suspense novels, specifically “grip-lit” in which a woman is threatened and has to save herself. There’s no man coming to her defense when it get’s down to the final, ugly conclusion. I understand the genre and am in the midst of writing one. Stillhouse Lake is one of the best (possibly THE best) psychological suspense novels I’ve ever read. The female protagonist, Gwen, is strong, determined and up for the challenge. Her one vulnerability is keeping her children safe and she comes close to losing it all. Rachel Caine can write! She kept me in suspense and entertained the whole time. I stayed up way past my bedtime to finish the book. I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys a suspenseful story with realistic characters. Read more