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Category Archives: Books and Reviews

Edgar Allan Poe, a father to many of today’s writers

Edgar Allan Poe would have turned 200 years old in January had he been blessed with exceeding longevity. The event has proved a boon for anything Poe. Publishing houses have lit the candles in hopes of a Poe revival. Well, they didn’t need to strike a match for me to come to the table. I…

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Add a dash of Spunk & Bite to your writing

One of DWP’s favorite authors, Arthur Plotnik, sent me a note saying his fantastic book Spunk & Bite: A Writer’s Guide to Bold, Contemporary Style is now available in trade paperback. This “Son of Spunky” edition has “the same content plus an appended study guide, at a better price. And much shinier.” I urge all…

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Where have all the book reviewers gone?

Apparently newspaper editors across the country are taking the hatchet to book review sections. Crime writer Michael Connelly highlights the trend in a recent article in the LA Times and questions the impact of such decisions on newspapers, the publishing industry, and the reading public. Unless their books conformed to specific criteria or expectations, new…

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Reading like a writer

If you enjoy reading “how-to” books on writing, here’s one guaranteed to make you think more deliberately about your prose. READING LIKE A WRITER: A Guide for People who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them by Francine Prose is an in-depth look at how a writer reads the work of another…

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Michael Crichton and NYT Book Review Editor on Sunday CSPAN2 Book TV

Quick. Grab your remote, click to the CSPAN2 channel and set your timer for these upcoming BOOK TV events. (The schedule will fill up over the next few days.) This Sunday, December 8th at 7:30PM, Michael Crichton’s speech to the National Press Club will be aired on C-SPAN. Crichton always delivers a provocative and interesting…

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Writing prompts and exercising your writing muscles

Spent the weekend exercising my writing muscles. I worked up a piece for blogHouston on the Houston museum that is featuring the dog in art exhibition. Museum exhibitions offer some good opportunities for Artist Dates (in the vein of Julia Cameron), spontaneous writing exercises, and old-fashioned inspiration. Why not check your local calendar and see…

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O.J.’s If I Did It: An invitation, but to what?

You would think that as a society we would be weary of the OJ syndrome, but alas it seems we are not–or at least the media has not had its fill. The book isn’t even out yet and the media hours are racking up with its nonstop commentary. Worse, the bulk of it is a…

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Murder by the Book, a darkly engaging new series for crime writers and mystery lovers

Court TV opens normally closed windows and allows viewers to peer into the inner landscape of five top crime writers. James Ellroy, Faye Kellerman, Jonathan Kellerman, Michael Connelly and Lisa Scottoline are top in their field, and these crime writers take their story-telling skills to a new level with their deeply-felt reactions to specific crimes…

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Still on the NaNoWriMo train and update on Video Magic review

This entry is part 9 of 20 in the series Nanowrimo

This entry is part 9 of 20 in the series NanowrimoWell, I’ve hit the NaNoWriMo 5K mark. I also received a note from Heather saying she posted the review on VIDEO MAGIC on Blogcritics.org. Her BC review–her first one, too–has been selected for online syndication with Advance.net, so now VIDEO MAGIC will now receive a…

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Another favorable review for VIDEO MAGIC by Vikk Simmons

VIDEO MAGIC has received another favorable review. (Scroll down to find the review.) Heather Ames over at Blog Trek recently posted her review on Amazon. Heather did a great job of capturing the essence of the story, and I’m delighted that she saw how the book is so clearly more than romance. Simmons shows the…

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Joy: The Love of Reading Leads to the Joy of Writing

I love reading — probably even more than writing — and there is nothing like beginning the day in the company of an author who tickles my brain cells. First thing each morning I grab a book, usually on some aspect of writing, and read for about 15 minutes. By doing this at the start…

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Book Review: Rosy Cole’s Memoir Explosion

Some children’s books speak as easily to adults as to kids. Shiela Greenwald’s latest chapter book, Rosy Cole’s Memoir Explosion, in the Rosy Cole series tells a story that speaks to all writers, especially those intent on telling it the way it really happened. Read on and see what you think of the idea and…

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Book Review: Evidence of Blood by Thomas H. Cook

In case you’re wondering, I don’t limit my reviews to books for teens, tweens, and children, although I do learn a lot by studying them. One of major reading loves lies in the realm of mystery and crime fiction, and one of my favorite and most-admired writers is Thomas H. Cook. Many writers turn to…

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Book Review: Donutheart by Sue Stauffacher

Donutheart’s Sue Stauffacher is the kind of writer who reminds you why you developed a love of reading. In sixth-grader Franklin Delano Donuthead, she has created a character who has you smiling and laughing out loud before the end of the first paragraph. Three pages in I was still laughing. Told in the infectious voice…

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Book Review: Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdoch

I’ve been playing catch-up with the many ARCs (advanced reading copies) I have around here and have been posting the resulting reviews over at Blogcritics. Dairy Queen is one I found interesting for a number of reasons. First, I never would have believed Catherine Gilbert Murdock’s debut teen novel, Dairy Queen, about a fifteen-year-old Wisconsin…

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