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Showing posts from January, 2016

Writing For Others Is Hard

This past November, I started writing a novel as a part of National Novel Writing Month. I had my idea and plot about a year before that. And I’ve wanted to write a novel for the past four years or so. The funny thing is, I’ve never really considered myself a “writer”. But writing always came easy for me. I could crank out an "A" paper for school in a few hours. I could journal for hours. I could write sappy love letters and express my feelings, no problem. But the label “writer” never seemed to fit. I even won an award for English excellence. I write almost daily for this website, and English is part of my job. So why is it hard to declare myself a writer? On the other hand, I have always considered myself a reader. Ever since I was a baby, I loved books. I can judge a book no problem. I can praise and critique books for days. I can admire amazing writing and shame bad writing. But actually being able to put stories on paper is challenging. 
When I started my novel, it was …

My Journey With Scoliosis: Part Two [and related exercise reviews]

This is a continuation of my story with scoliosis. Read part one here
The past six months, I have been on a new journey with my scoliosis. I am not naive enough to believe that I will ever have a perfectly straight spine. But I am on a journey to ease my pain, make my curve stay the same or get better, and to love my back. 

In my last post, I mentioned that sitting with my heating pad is a daily ritual. Not anymore. I talked to multiple professionals and they all agreed that ice is better than heat for long-term conditions. The heat could do more damage and cause inflammation. So I sadly put my heating pad back in the drawer and bought some flexible ice pads. I hate being cold. Putting a freezing bag on your back is not as cozy and comfortable as curling up with a heating pad. But, you know what? I used the ice every day for a week. And then I didn’t really need it. So I went a week, then two weeks without it. Now I just use it when I am in a ton of pain. I think I was growing depe…

Married Sex | Jesse Kornbluth

“Don’t…pick…up…the rope. Because there is always someone at the other end. And once you have the rope in your hand, you’re in a tug-of-war. And you’ll lose. Even if you win, you’ll lose.”
Genre: Romance.  Number of Pages: 246. Perspective: First.  Location: New York.
A book called Married Sex can only be about one thing, right? Married people having sex. Yes, kind of. Except this couple had an agreement that if they were ever considering cheating, they would have to bring that third person home so that they could be a part of it together. Strange? Yes. For a complete summary, you can go here.
I have to start off by saying that it was refreshing to read a book about marriage that was written by a male author and that also used a male perspective [and not a husband and wife alternating perspectives book]. This made me trust the opinions and thoughts of the main character more. Typically any love story written by a female but told from a male perspective feels inauthentic. This felt honest a…

Q And A With Author Dean Robertson

Every once in a while, you meet someone that just makes you smile. Dean Robertson, author of Looking for Lydia; Looking for God, invited me into her home and she was so supportive and very open with me. I couldn’t ask for more than that.

Hi, Dean! Most writers strive towards a career of just writing, but how do you think that is different because you are already retired? What are your ambitions for your writing career?  I guess all those years of reading and teaching literature and recognizing and admiring good writing were my preparation for writing when I didn’t even realize it.  My first writing experience, as I wrote in my guest blog for you, was unusual and not anything I could call the beginning of  “career of just writing.”  I wasn’t even planning to write that book.  Right now I am writing every day—mostly reviews of other people’s books and my own blog posts and I am editing manuscripts.   I seem not to be able to not write—even if it’s answering these questions for you.  My “…

Q & A With Author Stephen Leather

Hi Stephen, thanks for joining me today! What inspired you to write the Jack Nightingale series?
I always loved the Black Magic books of Dennis Wheatley when I was a kid and I’m a huge fan of the Constantine character in the Hellblazer comics (graphic novels as they prefer to be called these days). And I just love supernatural films, especially haunted houses and things that go bump in the night. With the Nightingale series I wanted to explore the supernatural world but with a hero who is very much grounded in reality. The first three books – Nightfall, Midnight, and Nightmare – really explain his backstory, how he became the man he is. The next two – Nightshade and Lastnight – explain why he had to leave the UK and the subsequent books will be set mainly in the United States, hence San Francisco Night and New York Night.
So it's clear what genre you're in. Do you have a specific writing style?
I try not to have a style. Like most journalists-turned-writers I try to tell my sto…

Q & A With Author Heather Weidner

Hi, Heather! Thanks for joining me in this discussion today! What are your ambitions for your writing career? What would your career look like in an ideal world? I would love to write full-time. Right now, I still have a day job that I love, but I’d like to be in a position that writing will be my retirement job. That's a great goal. Since I am a newbie to Virginia Beach, where is your favorite place to go in the area? Virginia Beach was a great place to grow up.  I have lots of favorites…My favorite seafood restaurant is Rudee’s on the Inlet. I also love Chick’s Beach. Mt. Trashmore is a fun park. And I love the Virginia Aquarium and Science Center.   I do love Chick's Beach too! A lot more private than the other beaches. I love that your dogs have their own page on your website. What impact do your dogs have in your life? We have two crazy Jack Russells who kindly let us live in their house. They are bundles of energy that keep us on our toes. Everything is a game to a JRT. Tha…

The Memory Thief | Emily Colin

“I fall asleep again thinking about what it feels like to have everything you want, only to lose it…and to know what you want, but not have it.”
Genre: Romance/Paranormal.  Number of Pages: 432. Perspective: Third Alternating (Three Different Perspectives).  Location: United States.
The Memory Thief is a story about a man who dies in a tragic mountain climbing expedition. He left behind his best friend, wife, and son…at least in the physical sense. His spirit lingers to try to get a message back to his family.For a complete summary, you can go here.
The first few chapters of this book had me hooked! It was an interesting premise and started off in the middle of the action. But then it turned stale. The middle felt redundant and slow. It was still an interesting idea, but so much of the excitement and intrigue quickly faded away. 
I liked the supernatural element of this story, but again, the idea fell flat. The majority of the book was spent on the wife’s new relationship after his death. …

Writing my First Book at Age Sixty-Nine

This is a guest post by Dean Robertson. 
I wish I could say, as I know many authors can, that I started writing as a child, that I wrote little stories which I read to my parents and my best friend. I wish I could say I have shelves of journals I kept in high school or college. I wish I could tell you I kept a writer’s journal during my three decades of teaching, meticulously recording conversations overheard in restaurants or descriptions of a woman’s dress or a man’s hat. 
I did none of those things. In the late 1970’s—before I started teaching full time—and in the early ’80’s—in the first years in the classroom, I wrote and published four essays. After that I must have realized that I had only so much passion in me and that mine was ignited in front of a chalkboard engaged in lively discussion with teenagers about literature. The only writing I did was to complete a good many essay assignment along with the students. 
Over the years, I have occasionally had what I now recognize were…