Archive: » 2013 » June

The Dog Days are Coming

Summer is always met with mixed emotions by writers who have young children. The anticipation of time with the family is mitigated by the upcoming loss of writing time. How to stay productive without sacrificing family time while your house is overrun with tiny dictators? Try some of these (note most of these work all year long for writers who have children and day jobs): Write for an hour before your kids wake up. If your kids are teenagers, you can even get up three hours before they do, and you’ll still be sleeping in. Keep the kids on their usual bedtime schedule. If your kids are too young...

Read more...

Under the Dome, by Stephen King – a Review

On what appears to be a normal day, the town of Chester’s Mill, Maine, is suddenly and inexplicably enclosed in a giant dome. In the days that follow, the town suffers from dwindling resources, increasing air pollution, and a descent into tyranny and mob mentality. King masterfully handles an enormous cast. Each and every character evokes strong emotion. The internal conflicts and contradictions make for interesting, three-dimensional characters, and engage the reader from the beginning. The sacrificing of minor characters the reader doesn’t know, such as the airplane and car crashes in the opening...

Read more...

The High-Wire Act – by Gina Buonaguro

Balancing parenting with writing - not to mention a regular job - is no mean feat. It is often immensely difficult. For instance, my first novel, The Sidewalk Artist, was purchased by St. Martin’s Press soon after I gave birth to my daughter, and I felt like a zombie as I walked the hallways of my house bouncing her in a sling, discussing revisions with my coauthor. I felt less pressure when my son was born five years later, since we were still in the writing stages of our historical mystery, The Wolves of St. Peter's, but still, it was all I could do to keep on top of my email. Of course,...

Read more...

True Blood Vs. REAL Fairies

Stuck between Game of Thrones and True Blood? Delve into the origin of fairies and find out why they might not be such a weak match for vampires and witches after all. “I'm a fairy? How fucking lame!” ―Sookie Stackhouse  Doesn’t sound real bad-ass, does it? Especially when you’re coping with vampires. Well, those fairies seem pretty and disappointingly delicate until you see one die. Ugly doesn’t begin to describe it. And while a vampire can polish off a fairy in one go, they are fairly durable otherwise. How close does Sookie’s realm of Faery resemble the original Celtic...

Read more...

Target Your Market

I accidentally read a work of Christian Fiction (The Samsara Effect, by Paul Black, which I reviewed here). I wouldn’t have done it on purpose, because I’m not a fan of the genre. But, my mistake was understandable – the book was not classified as Christian Fiction, nor was there any indication from the description that there were religious themes. As a result, not only was I disappointed in an ending I couldn’t buy into, I was left feeling like I’d been deceived into spending good money and investing precious time into something that doesn’t interest me. I am not singling out Christian...

Read more...

Book Review – The Samsara Effect

Brilliant scientist William Kanter is searching for an improved method of imaging the brain, and he succeeds beyond his wildest imagination. What he ends up creating is a machine that translates memories into visual images - not just from this lifetime, but from previous incarnations as well. The story is intriguing, the characters are well drawn, and the pace is intense. Paul Black knows how to spin a good yarn. However, the idea that the machine was actually displaying past-life memories was accepted far too easily by the main characters, most of whom were not previously believers in reincarnation....

Read more...

How to Succeed at Anything

An acquaintance of mine, we’ll call him John, is a successful businessman. From him, I learned what it takes to be a success. Best of all, these lessons can be adapted to anyone, in any field. Make Good Use of Opportunity John’s family wasn’t wealthy, but John received survivor benefits after his father made the ultimate sacrifice in World War II. Instead of frittering away the money, he used it as a long-term investment in his future. He earned a degree in business because he enjoyed it, and because he knew it would give him the skills he needed to be successful. Define Your Idea...

Read more...

Book Review – 11/22/63

High school teacher Jake Epping is shown a time portal, and is drawn into a plot to stop the assassination of JFK. In this book, King shows himself to be the master of suspense. There are several intertwining storylines, all skillfully woven together. There are several mysteries, apart from the major one about whether or not Oswald acted alone - the yellow card man, the jimla, the obdurate nature of the past, etc. - and each one kept me wanting to turn the page. I was a little bothered by the deliberate foreshadowing. The narrator was constantly saying things like, “If only I had known...

Read more...