More articles in category: Arts And Entertainment

Thaland of the Walk; Part Two

When the guilds moved, they did not act with subtly. Twice, small squad of thugs ambushed him. Once between the Watch Station and his home, the second on the route between the Station and the docks. He’d survived each attack, killing or wounding each of the thugs. When the surviving attackers talked, Thaland acted. Those who’d commanded the thugs were pursued, captur…

Finding Famous

This is the prologue from my book on Kindle

Finding Famous


A glimpse of movement in her peripheral vision froze Famous in her tracks. Something was moving toward her, she didn’t dare move. The sound was coming closer. Famous was backing up to a tree slowly, so as, to not make a sound. She was holding her breath for fear of the noise…

Villains and Their Villainous Villainy

Writing villains and antagonists is not easy for me. I think that’s partly because I don’t think I’m much of a villain at heart. Now writing is a challenge, but in one of my stories, I decided to write from a villain’s perspective, and that made everything twice as difficult (more on that later). But also I believe creating villains is difficult because they need to be belie…

Do You Believe in Magic?

QUESTION: What is THE best Fandom? ANSWER: Harry Potter, obvi. “Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic” – Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows   Harry Potter is a fandom known by all and loved by many, but why? What is it about this particular fandom that has made J.K.Rowling ...


New Year, New You! Haha, just kidding, you’re perfect, NEVER CHANGE!   And, in the spirit of being the same old you, it’s time to jump into a good book! 2018 has so many amazing new releases to offer you….how will you ever choose?! Don’t worry, we’ve got your back!   Check out our “Top … Continue ...

Denise and her Original Role in the Book

Since I sent “The World That Forgot How to Dance” into the world, I’ve gotten some good feedback on Denise – one of the secondary characters in the story. People liked her passion. They commented on ho…

Sealed Fate


By Janet Leigh Green

My car moved through the high-speed curve like a train, only to greet a large group of rubberneckers standing on the edge of the highway. I swerved right as I slammed on my brakes jerking to a stop praying I would avoid the commotion on the roadway. “Oh, my God. What the hell happened?” I said, getting out of my c…


Someone says, “The flight was not smooth.” The direct statement is “The flight was turbulent.”

If someone else says, “That was no small problem.” The direct statement is “That was a big problem.”

The above examples that are not direct statements are litotes, which are ironic understatements in which an affirmative is expressed by the negative of its contrary…

Thaland of the Walk; Part One

The dark, noisome, refuse-flecked waters of Stormhaven Bay slapped listlessly against the stone jetties and the wooden hulls of the ships anchored nearby. Sails and banners hung heavily in the still, humid, night air. Tendrils of mist, born of the lowering clouds, snaked through the air and across the water’s surface, appearing and vanish…

One Too Many Subscriptions??

Happy New Year! As we continue to welcome in 2018, I can’t help but evaluate and examine how we currently take in various forms of entertainment. This past year I couldn’t help but notice a growing list of subscriptions I had. Following Netlix’s dominance over how we consume Movies & TV shows, media giants couldn’t help but cash in on that same subscription based…

The Times of Your Life

Have you ever thought about writing a book?

When I look at the picture above, my imagination takes on a life of its own. I watch the woman walking down the street and wonder about the flowers – the burst of color cascading over her arm. Were they a gift to her or are they an offering she brings to a friend. ? Are the flowers a final gift offered at …

My Mentor: Dashiell Hammett

I am in the middle of writing a mystery novel, based circa 1935 with supernatural elements. It’s been over 20 years since I attempted a mystery story so I thought I’d try it again for the annual 2017 National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). I powered through over 50K words and then realized I was dragging out the storyline for the sake of word count. I was losing the…

Books That Will Make You Break Your New Years Resolutions

Happy New Year! It’s. Time. For. Resolutions. And you know what that means….time to find ways to break them! It’s inevitable. So, here are our ‘Top 7’ books that will make you break those resolutions STAT. 1.The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald Nothing will make you lose dry-January altogether more than this party-hardy ...

When Lightning Strikes

J.K. Rowling certainly has a lot going on right now, from a pub being named after her in Scotland (temporarily) to a controversy swarming the latest “Fantastic Beasts” movie (could we not have recast Johnny Depp?) However, as is her style, she has a new buzz taking over: there’s a biopic in the wor...

Ready Player One- Book Review

In 2011, Ernest Cline’s debut novel hit the shelves full-force. After a massive bidding war with publishers, it found a home at Random House and quickly rose to be a bestseller. This Science Fiction dystopia resonates with readers immensely, because it has something for everyone, from environmental repercussions and opulent consumerism, to pop-culture, nostalgia a...

Fun Things to do While Waiting for Beta Readers

Can I just say, first off, that I love beta readers? (Particularly my beta readers. Because they are glorious people.) I truly don’t know what I would do without them.

So, right now I’m in that stage where I’m waiting for feedback, which used to be really frustrating, but I’m actually kind of loving it this time around. Here’s what I’ve been up to:


The Use of Hyperbole And Epistrophe

The mouse’s tail is a graphic example of hyperbole, an exaggeration which may be used for emphasis and humor. It’s a literary device that can make a boring story more interesting. The following sentences using hyperbole are from

“It was so cold I saw polar bears wearing jackets.”

“I ate so much at Thanksgiving, I must weigh more than a wh…

Down There

My passion is writing and my genre of choice usually revolves around the paranormal or horror. The following story is entitled, Down There and was written for our local writer’s guild to share at our Halloween meeting back in October. I thought I’d share it here with everyone: I hope you enjoy, Down There…

* * *

“I’m not going down there.” He cl...

Lang’s Metropolis



It was 1926 when Fritz Lang got the call to direct ‘METROPOLIS’ his early masterpiece and most famous film – written in conjunction with his wife Thea von Tharbou. He got the idea by looking at New York’s skyline at night from the deck of a ship. It was an early visionary story coming along at the same time as H.G. Wel…

Malice Domestic

When people in publishing or film think of conventions, nicknamed “Cons”, they usually think of crazy science-fiction fans — forty year old guys dressed in Star Trek uniforms, or teen girls dressed in elaborate costumes from Japanese comics. This kind of scene has recently featured in an episode (or two) of the popular TV show, “The Big Bang Theory.”

There is anot...

Chimera: The World’s Most Perfect Pet

The first fossilized dog remains were discovered alongside the bones of their human companions over 14,700 years ago, marking the start of humankind keeping and developing pets. Bred for temperament, loyalty, and functionality from the wild wolf, dogs would become the first animal created by man rather than nature.

Soon, we would start to harvest and grow our own…

Blizzard Birth, Part Two

This is Part Two of how Tishamon the Long Walker, came to be Freeborn’s Mentor 

Tishamon placed a hand on the girl’s swollen belly and felt the babe inside move. The babe was still alive and seemed to be healthy, at least to his limited ability to judge.

Suddenly, her abdomen tightened in contraction, bringing a feeble moan from the unconscious girl. Tisha...

Blizzard Birth, Part Two

This is Part Two of how Tishamon the Long Walker, came to be Freeborn’s Mentor 

Tishamon placed a hand on the girl’s swollen belly and felt the babe inside move. The babe was still alive and seemed to be healthy, at least to his limited ability to judge.

Suddenly, her abdomen tightened in contraction, bringing a feeble moan from the unconscious girl. Tisha...

January – Holiday Season Continues

When we speak of the Holiday Season, we usually refer to the time around December/January with the approach of Christmas and New Year and the days off from school and work that accompanies this time.

However, just because New Year’s celebrations are over, this doesn’t mean you have to stop celebrating. With this new start to the year, why not look out f…

This Week in Literature: December 24th-December 30th

Do you celebrate the passing of time with the turning of pages? Then we’ve got you! We’ve curated this week’s hottest scoops for you concerning book news, author insights, and everything you need to know. Thank you for joining us in 2017 for all your literary musings: we have big plans for 2018, a...

End of the Year

  This year was a roller coaster ride. I thought last year was the death drop. We were just ticking up the hill. I feel sorry for all the dead celebrities of 2016, but this year was the focus for the living. Political upheavals, racial divisiveness, and sexual harassment allegations. Hashtag Me Too.

 Well, it’ll be my birthday Monday, so I’ll be c…

A Gift For Father

It was June, the middle of the Texas hot season, and the drought that plagued the state wrapped around the farmers like a shroud of death. My father was one such farmer and unfortunately, he would not live to see the next year, or a better day.

It’s been over forty years, but I remember the last half of that year like it was just yesterday. The sun gouged the uncl…

Blizzard Birth, Part One

This is Part One of why Tishamon the Long Walker, came to be Freeborn’s Mentor.

Tishamon, the Long Walker (a Copper Elf wanderer of the wildlands) added another log to the fire in the fireplace of the tiny shack before he sat down to resume cleaning and polishing his chain mail jerkin. When worn over leather or padding it provided excellent protection against most wea…

The Resolution of a Book-dragon

New year, new you, blah, blah, blah, I like the person I am. I’m a bibliophile, a bookworm, a devourer of books. No, scratch that. I’m a bookwyrm–a veritable, voracious book-dragon. I’ve always loved books. When other kids were playing baseball and blowing up frogs, I was reading, exploring the wonderful world of my imagination, stretching my synapses. I could get lost fo…

Handel’s Messiah

Handel’s Messiah

Image from Pixabay

This music, usually heard around Christmas, has a unique history. In 1741, while living in London, Handel received an invitation from the Lord Lieutenant of Dublin to write a new oratorio. The work would be performed at the New Music Hall on April 13, 1742. The Messiah’s English-language libretto…

Handel’s Messiah

Handel’s Messiah

Image from Pixabay

This music, usually heard around Christmas, has a unique history. In 1741, while living in London, Handel received an invitation from the Lord Lieutenant of Dublin to write a new oratorio. The work would be performed at the New Music Hall on April 13, 1742. The Messiah’s English-language libretto…

Reading Rhetorical Devices In Written Work

Rhetorical devices are used to increase the language’s effect on the audience. Writers write them and readers read them often without knowing what they’re called.

Most people are familiar with alliteration, but what about anadiplosis or anaphora to name two more from a long alphabetical list of devices. Margie Lawson, international presenter, offers an in- depth onl…

Over Spending Again!

We all know that December can be a very expensive month. This is the month that in addition to time off from work for the holidays, many of us choose to take vacations. Vacationing at this time of the year is often a huge expense as it is such a popular time to travel and prices are often exorbitant.

To add to our woes, stores most often take advantage of t…

What Does it Mean to Write from the Heart?

Years ago, when I set out to form my business, I was deeply connected to exploring my life’s purpose, and I had a calling to create programs for aspiring authors to get their voices heard. But not just aspiring authors, anyone with a message to share and a calling to share that message with the world. That was my mission, and I knew in my heart it was, and still …

Sam’s Dilemma

The horrific night still haunted me. Indecision made its daily appearance as I stared into the gloomy shadows of the dark forest from my favorite chair by the window. I fantasized about escaping through the dark woods, but the only answer to my worries seemed to be murder, not fleeing. The slightest noise shot my anxiety through the roof making …

Book of the Year Part 2

A good book can be like a freshly baked cinnamon roll. Add a hot cup of coffee and you have the start to a good winter day. A bad book however, can be like the satisfaction after eating a bologna sandwich. You’re no longer hungry, but it wasn’t very good either. 

I started off with a list of the 34 books that I could remember reading in this past year. Some good…

Christmas Character Meme

Merry Christmas, everyone! I put together a quick holiday character meme for anyone in need of some winter-themed chuckling. Just pick five characters (could be either your own, or from fandoms you like), write them down, and substitute their names into the following questions. Feel free to share your answers in the comments or post them on your own blog if you w…

Creating a “Good” Villain

Fellow writers, I ask you has anyone else had the villain of their story take over the storyline? It has been said that in order to have a good protagonist, there needs to be an equally good antagonist. But sometimes the villain is just more interesting than the hero. Is this a bad thing?

It is easier to have this good versus evil approach in fiction than non-fi…

Three Factors of Creating a Memorable Character


 I’ve read many books where I’ve forgotten a character. I remember the titular characters, but the supporting cast became two dimensional and shallow.

 I’m not saying the support characters should be as intriguing as the primary characters, but they shouldn’t be window dressing in your story. Unless you’re doing a ‘masses’ narra…

12 Techniques For Getting Past Writer’s Block

Some writers struggle with writer’s block. Others don’t. As one who often does, I will share with you techniques that I have learned to use which help me move past it and on toward the finish line of my books. I do not promise these techniques will solve every problem you have, but they are definitely a good place to begin.

What Writer’s Block Tells You


Life is a Storm – So GoRead

Life is a storm, my young friend. You will bask in the sunlight one moment, be shattered on the rocks the next. What makes you a man is what you do when that storm comes.                                                   ~ Edmond Dantes/The Count of Monte Cristo

What a profound statement!

Life indeed is a s...

That’s not practical!

This is something I have been hearing throughout my life when it comes to my writing. I’m sure this is true for most writers. When I declare I am a writer, I get a few people who get excited and flood me with questions. But nine times out of ten, I get people that give me a funny look, ask if that’s practical.

So, I got curious. What is the actual definition of the …


Personification gives creative writers an amazing array of flexibility. It allows us to bring depth to our descriptions by assigning human characteristics to inanimate (well, dead) objects. It works for animals too. Adding this creative writing tool to your writer’s toolbox can add a richness of depth to your prose that might otherwise read stale and flat.

So what d…

Exerpt from my novel- December Twenty Third

Allison crept into the family room that welcomed her as the cozy lights in the new dark glowed. Her mother slept with her empty tea mug depicting Santa Claus on the stand beside her. Allison looked in shock and wonder at her mother, appearing so young in this subtle light with her blossoming belly. She was beautiful, she had to admit.

She hadn’t seen her mother …

I’m in love! And there’s a book about it.

I love books, writers, wannabe-writers, young moms and dads, nerdy kids, teachers, librarians, first graders clutching Junie B. Jones, retired couples, vacationers, loyal locals, book clubbers, new grandparents, the tween boys who come for their latest manga installment, railroad aficionados, folks doing jail ministry, college students, expectant parents, bird watchers, hike…

My thoughts on Glyndebourne

My thoughts on the news that Sebastian F. Schwarz stepping down as Glyndebourne general director.

There is a lot happening in the world of entertainment right now, so it’s understandable if the news of Sebastian Schwarz leaving his post at Glyndebourne doesn’t exactly stand out. But for someone who is paying attention to the direction of opera and artistic managem...

The Holiday Spirit is Here

 December has arrived! This is for many people, the most anticipated and favourite time of the year.

It does mean of course that winter is officially here and snow is likely falling. Bulky winter coats, mitts, scarves and boots are making their way out of closets and it’s bundle up time.  It is also an excuse to stay home, light a fire, cuddle up and…

Building On The Synopsis

Over the last 7 weeks, I’ve been discussing why you should write a book, how to get started, and have led you through the process of creating your single page synopsis. Now that you have done all of that work, you’re nearly ready to begin writing the book. However, there are still a few things I recommend you do before starting to actually write. These will help to eli…

How to Write with Color

 When I write, I don’t just tell about an environment or a character’s feelings. I want to put you in that world. I want you to relate to the character I’ve created. Fiction is escapism. Good or bad, it isn’t factual accounts.

 I’m not saying a non-fiction writer doesn’t need any color. I think historical recordings, how to books, and text-based books need f…

Getting Started

Ironically, for many people beginning their creative journey, getting started isn’t the hardest part of getting started. No. The hardest part is moving forward once you have something. The hardest part is actually posting what you’ve made. So many people have books and stories sitting on their hard drives, gathering virtual dust. And why? It’s not because they cannot fin…

Rethinking Page-Turners

I’m not a very fast reader. I tell you this not only because my alter-ego gets annoyed when I confess such things (See my Fictional Author’s Bio for more examples…) but also because it will give you some context when I say that I remember the first book I read in one day.

It w…

On Writer’s Block

Ever suffer from writer’s block or just don’t know how to begin your story or novel? I’ve been there before and it’s a troubling feeling to have my fingers standing poised over the keyboard, eyes fixed on the blank Word document in front of me and yet, nothing comes. My mind is an empty well. Yes, I’ve been there too. But I have started doing a few things to help me get ov…

A Season of Chills

A Season of Chills


Ron Schaefer (with a little help from H.P. Lovecraft)

“There is snow on the ground,

And the valleys are cold,

And a midnight profound

Blackly squats o’er the wold;

But a light on the hilltops half-seen hints of feasting...

A Tasty Memoir

I realize that it’s no longer en vogue to be a Francophile. These days, France is more likely to be the punchline for a joke about military history or about culture snobs than it is to be the focus of an article singing her praises. I, however, will always have a big mushy spot in my heart for the French language, as well as for the food, film, art, poetry, travel d…

Book of the Year Part 1

Going through the list of books that I’ve read this year is a daunting task in itself. To narrow that down to pick a favorite, that will take more than one Saturday morning to decide. Here’s the list in no particular order. No, my book is not in the list. I would surly pick it, but I’ll settle for a shameless plug in…

Top 5 Books of 2017

Do you have a book lover in your life itching for a thoughtful tome this holiday season? Are you overwhelmed by choices and not sure where to turn? We got you. There are literally thousands of books that came out this year, but we’ve narrowed it down to our “Top 5” (plus some runner ups!...

When your date clock actually ticks…

Our first date – for my husband and me – was 12 hours long. Literally. He picked me up at 11:00 am in front of my West Hollywood apartment 16 years ago, we bummed around at the touristy Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade, then bummed around some more and appreciated or made of fun of the things we saw at the beautiful Getty Museum in Brentwood, made a homemade meal a l…

Teen Advice Quiz Week Seven

Advice to Your 15 Year Old Self: Week 7

If I knew then what I know now… but would I have listened? Teen Advice is a plentiful as leaves on a tree, but I’m offering some advice… with a bit of a twist.

I polled a huge variety of people, asking them this one question:

If you could go back in time, what advice would yo…

Five Tales of a Lost Teddy

Remember how I said each of my five main characters for A Book Without Dragons is written in their own unique writing style? (No? Never fear, I’ll get you up to …

Conquering The Single Page Synopsis

For the last six weeks, I’ve been discussing why you should write a book and the necessary steps to get started. This week, I’m going to show you how to conquer the single page synopsis – one of the things most authors dread more than just about anything else they have to write.

If the thought of condensing your story idea into one double-spaced, 12-point font, …

The Components of Making a Rock-solid Plot


 How many times were you fooled by a flashy cover, or a very interesting title only to be disappointed by the story inside? I’ve read many indie authors (we need solidarity), but falling into the complete disarray of the story with pacing, grammar, and plot hole problems makes it tough to support my indie family. The indie author isn’t in a race to…

Wish You Were Here

Seg 783

What does Lady Diana ask Tommy to do in this flashback segment of Wish You Were Here (the search continues?)

As I stood in Lady Diana’s house a guy, sitting with the others in a group, suddenly, “I said, “I was also cremated.”

I didn’t have a chance to answer. Another guy said, “We were all cremated. She helps us learn to co…

Resolutions for a Writer in 2018

The new year is quickly descending upon us, and its time to start reviewing and revamping our old resolutions. Instead of creating a list of the same old cliche goals, why not make yourself a list specific to you as a writer? This is my list of resolutions for myself, but I suggest you consider adding a few of them to your list as well.

1.) Write every da…

The Widow of the South

The Widow of the South was a real woman, a fact I did not realize when we chose the book of the same title to read for our book club selection. Carrie McGavock did, in fact, exist, and as she and the cemetery of Confederate soldiers she tended on the land of her family’s former plantation, her reputation grew. People all over the still-healing nation came to know her d…

Christian Dior Vintage Couture at the ROM

In celebration of the House of Dior’s 70th anniversary, the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) is pleased to present Christian Dior, an original ROM exhibition focusing on the early years of Christian Dior haute couture, 1947 to 1957. This stunning retrospective, on display fr…

Struggling to Find My Tribe

Where are my people?

I always expected my “tribe,” or my platform if you’d rather speak in more traditional publishing parlance, would include my family and friends. In some ways, this has been true, but not in the ways I hoped.

Expectation vs. Reality

I always imagined that if I ever finished writing my novel and published it, that my family and …

A Full Moon on Christmas Eve

It was Christmas Eve at last! The last 364 days of hard effort had finally paid off. The elves quickly loaded the last of the gifts into Santa’s sack. Though no bigger than garbage bag, the old red sack could hold thousands of gifts, which were shrunken down to the size of marbles as they were stuffed into it. Santa could toss all the presents for the night over his…

Minding The Mentor

This is the sixth article in the series on how to get started writing your next book. Two weeks ago, we discussed developing your main character. Last week, we discussed how to tap into the villain that transforms your main character into the hero the world needs them to become. This week, we’re going to discuss the mentor.

The Role of The Mentor

The mento…

The Power of Kindness and Appreciation In-Turn

Acts of kindness can be carried out in true altruism… just from the goodness of our hearts to help others. Other times we perform acts of kindness in the hopes of receiving a smile, a ‘thank you’ or even an act of kindness in return.

I often go out of my way to hold a door open for the person behind me but I do expect a ‘thank you’. When I allow someone to pass in...

A Dip Into Madness



Ron Schaefer

So let’s say you are something of a loner. Let’s also say you are something of a prude who is somewhat suspicious of the relations between men and women. Let’s also say you have a high intelligence, are well read, and have a fevered imagination. What do you do for fun? As a matter of fact – what do you …

Segment of Wish You Were Here.

Seg 779


What drastic measures does Gabriel Tommy’s spiritual guide do with Tommy in this flashback segment of Wish You Were Here (the search continues?)

“Are we home?” I asked Gabriel when we touched down on a street.

“You are almost home. We undershot it because you were not paying attention to concentrating on my face, as we flew from the…

Raymond Livingston: From Gang Member to Missionary

Eighteen-year old Raymond Livingston is the primary protagonist of the my drama novel, South Central Prodigals. Throughout the novel, he is known as Elder Livingston. When we learn of Elder Livingston’s life background in the earlier part of the novel, he becomes who many would view as an unlikely missionary.

Raymond was born and raised his whole life in...

How to Create a Great Antagonist

  My background is collecting comics in high school. In comics, the villain should be just as popularly liked as the hero. Not agreed wit, but liked. It doesn’t matter the amount of opposition. Numbers won’t make your antagonist factor interesting. It could be Batman against The Joker or X-men against The Hellfire Club (classic comic lore), the antagon…

Writing Fiction is a Metaphor for Fact


 I know things. I used to sell. Knowing your products, the psychology of selling, goal projections, and confidence are integral factors of sales.

 That was my old life along with my military intelligence. I enjoyed knowing things no one else was privy to. All of that knowledge, but I never wanted to write non-fict…

“Justice League,” A Movie Review

To give you some backstory on my comic book fandom, let me tell you this. I was one of two DC Comics’ fans in high school, surrounded by and often ridiculed by Marvel fans. I never read a Marvel comic while growing up and only started reading Thor: The Celestial Saga a month before the film opened. I couldn’t even get through the Beta Ray Bill saga. Reading a DC comi…

Teen Advice Quiz Week Five

Teen Advice

If I knew then what I know now… but would I have listened? Teen Advice is a plentiful as leaves on a tree, but here is a bit of a twist.

I asked many people this question:

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give your 15-year-old self, knowing what you know now?

I’ve been compiling and publishing what you ...

The Villain and the Victory

Over the last 4 weeks, I’ve been discussing how to get started writing a book, no matter which kind of book you’re trying to write. The pattern is the same, it’s the content that changes. Last week, we took a closer look at our main character and got to know them a little better. This week, we’re going to get inside the head of the villain and discover their role in h…

Dream Life

Dream Life


Ron Schaefer

No one took the stuff of dreams, ala Freud and Jung, more seriously among the artists of the time than the French Surrealists. “French” is something of a misnomer here. Surrealism had its nursery in Paris post World War I, and its chief practitioners and advocates were, in fact, French. But as with German Ex...

Segment to Wish You Were Here

Seg 774

Where did John Bonham take Tommy to and is this possible in Heaven in this flashback segment of Wish You Were Here (the search continues?)

“So this is the place?” I asked with his hands on his hips. “It looks like a storefront.” “Yeah,” John Bonham said as we stood in line to get in.

“This reminds me when I ended up like being sandwiched i…

Embracing Your Passion: Inspiration for Artists

How many of you have felt limited to pursuing one passion? The message often heard is,“Just focus on one thing as the rest becomes a distraction.” 

“Doing everything will turn you into that embarrassing Jack of all trades, master of none.”

This “advice” may come from a teacher, a parent, or a partner. Many of us have tried conforming to this ideal, giving…

Letters About Literature

Here at, we are all about Children’s Literacy. Our corporate culture and mission statement reflect our efforts to work towards eradication of illiteracy. Our Corporate Responsibility aims to get us involved in our community, helping to make an impact on the lives of young people, and to change the way we write, read, an...

NaNoWriMo 2017

NaNoWriMo – A Writer’s Odyssey

For those of you who don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, it’s National Novel Writing Month, and you can check out the official website here. The goal is to write a 50,000-word first draft of a novel…

Getting To Know Your Main Character

This is the fourth article in my series on how to get started writing whatever book you’ve been dreaming of writing. In the first article, I discussed the reasons why you should write a book. In the second article, I discu…


Although we don’t realize it, many of us use various horse terms every day, without knowing what the expressions actually mean. Here’s a list of a few with the light of some “horse-sense” shed onto them. 

“Horsing Around”:  Maybe this expression is dated now, but this expression, along with “horse play” and “horse wrestling” are used in every…

It Started with a Story

It Started with a Story…

I have always loved writing, but never seemed to have the time, with a job, school and raising two kids it seemed impossible. I also didn’t know myself. It is true, the statement, that says the sum of yourself is cultivated by the company you keep, and I must say, I have met some amazing people these last few years, and re…

Sex in YA Novels: How Far is too Far?

What is the top grossing genre in fiction? The answer might surprise you. Romance/erotica rakes in a whopping $1.44 billion in sales each year and is the most read genre of books among women. Adult women. But what about teen girls? They like romance, too, and while girls will read what they want to read, as a writer of teen fiction, where do I draw the line between …

This Week in Literature for November 5th-11th

Do you celebrate the passing of time with the turning of pages? Then we’ve got you! We’ve curated this week’s hottest scoops for you, concerning book news, author insights and everything you need to know. This is “This Week in Literature” for November 5th – 11th Electric Lit Bodega-Writing Series: The website Electric Lit is counteracting a movement ...

Segment of my story Wish You Were Here.

Seg 767

What is making Sharon so upset in this flashback segment of Wish You Were Here (the search continues?)  

“Where is she?” I groaned, throwing down the phone in my kitchen. “Why won’t she answer the phone, Daniel? Oh wait, Daniel is in heaven to visit a relative.” I went to make her breakfast, some cheerios, and milk. Every time I called my mom, I got h…

How to Alleviate Writer’s Block

 It’s time to create a new groundbreaking novel. You have everything prepared. Your pen and pad are primed if you write ‘old school’, but if you go contemporary, your typewriter or computer are ready. You have your snacks or coffee for the long haul. You sit down ready to write or type. Just as you’re ready to write your masterpiece… nothing. The blank page or scr…

Creating A Rough Outline: From 5 Steps to 5 Acts

Last week, I promised that I would teach you how to take the first 5 steps to getting started writing and build a 5 act outline that will act as a blueprint for your book. This is where you start to get a more concrete feeling for where your book is headed, how you are going to get your main character (the reader, in the case of non-fiction) from where they are at the …

Love to Read? Enter to Win

Bookworms Unite!

The Creative Kitchen, located in Bay Minette, Alabama, is holding a Book Swag Raffle for the holidays! So, if you love to read or know someone who does, you can purchase a ticket fo…

October 31st


I know I’m a week late, but rather late than never…

Everyone knows October 31st as Halloween. For little kids, it’s known as a time to dress up and get free candy from neighbours. It’s the one time of year where the saying “never take candy from a stranger” doesn’t apply.

For adult women, it’s a time to dress up in sexy outfits and not be judged. Fo…

Capturing Emotions in Prose

She leans across the table. The chattering of other diners is near deafening, but there is no mistaking the fierceness of her gaze toward the young man sitting across from her. Her lips, as if in slow motion, carefully construct her words and even though I can’t hear her icy voice, I have no trouble reading her lips. Her eyes narrow to thin lines and crystalline tears …

The Shape of a Story

If you were to describe how a story works, you might say that stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end, and for the most part you’d be right. The majority of stories (novels, plays, movies, TV shows, etc.) are told linearly. That is to say events in the story are arranged in a straight line. One event follows another, until the climax and resolution are finally r…

Making the Most of Your Deer

Clear, cold–more than a little frosty, a good morning to hunt, and it just got better. A nice eight point cautiously makes his way along the edge of the woods. All the fatigue from the long hours of waiting washes away in a rush of adrenalin. I raise my rifle for the killing shot. I squeeze the trigger and the buck crumples. Silence fills the air. The hunt is over, but the …

A Visceral Review of the “Chimera Minion”

If you’ve kept a close eye on my author page, you’ll know aside from the whole weird “Malumunus” thing that strange mysteries are amok in this dark land of my making. So let’s just say for information’s sake you ha…

How To Start A Book Club

Do you insist on re-arranging your personal library by the Dewey Decimal System? Is your local library threatening to cut you off? Before the gentlemen in the clean, white coats come to take you away, perhaps you should consider joining a book club. A book club, you say? “I won’t have to serve those damn tasteless cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off, or weak tea like…

A teaser from my book “Heart of a Warrior

   After High School I tried college just because my uncle hated “Smart Ass College Boys” and I just knew that if he hated them they must have something going for them. I joined the civilian flight-training program not so much out of a desire to fly but more out of a desire to go fast. Where the cockpit of a small plane was cramped for most, it fit my frame just perf…

Creating a Horror Book

 When you’re trying to create a scary tale, don’t go for the standard generation’s tropes. Now we have splatter porn. This may be viable in this decade’s movies, but you want your work to outlive you, ergo Edgar Allan Poe. The Tell-Tale Heart was published in 1843 without gore, and the short story is timeless.

These are the components you …

Celebrate NANOWRIMO (and Get to Writing!)

NanoWriMo’s Mission Statement:  National Novel Writing Month believes in the transformational power of creativity. We provide the structure, community, and encouragement to help people find their voices, achieve creative goals, and build new worlds—on and off the page.   November is designated “National Novel Writing Month,” and has been transformed into a time when wri...

The problem with “bringing yourself” on vacation


When you are so stressed with work, bills, family life, personal issues, and any other hardships that might be bothering you, you might dream about how great a vacation would be, where you can leave your troubles behind.

Your vacation place of preference could be somewhere warm to relax with white sands and blue oceans or snow covered peaks where you can…

German Expressionism, Freud, & The Great War




Ron Schaefer

A funny thing happened on the way to the 20th Century. Everybody got pissed off. And it happened in several ways. First, the world was ruled by half a dozen empires. People on all continents had to dance to their tune. They had to. The emp…

About the Totally Ninja Raccoons and Kevin Too!

We all know that cats want to take over the world. What? You didn’t know that? If you have a furry feline in your life, you know they are planning on world domination…right after their nap. 

Yes, cats are planning world domination. There’s even an international organization known as the Cat Board that is planning right now as you are reading this. Lucky for humans...

Picking A Baby Shower Book

You took your nephew fishing for native brookies. You taught him not draw to an inside straight. You educated him in the fine art of talking to women. You’re a great uncle. So when you found out your sister-in-law was expecting a new bundle of joy, of course you rummaged around to make sure you still had that child-size fishing pole. Yep, right there behind the deer antl…

5 Steps To Get Started Writing

One of the biggest challenges I find that new would-be authors face is knowing where to get started when trying to write a book. This article is designed to answer the question of how to get started in about an hour by answering just five questions. The trick is to remember that you are not really writing a book. Instead, you are leading your readers through a doorway o…


You might’ve seen the video already on my author page (and if you haven’t, CHECK IT OUT NOW!)…. Of course, you can view it right here, as you can see. I pride myself in making things really easy for my fans….

Scary stuff, eh? Naaaaah. It’s child…

Top 10 Literary Ensemble Halloween Costumes

Are you struggling with a last minute Halloween costume? What are you going to do to celebrate? Would you rather stay home and read a book, but are going to make an obligatory public appearance? We feel you, which is why we are bringing you the best of both worlds! Celebrate your love of literatu...

3 Ways to Make Your Writing POP!

Congratulations! You’ve written an amazing book. The story is exciting, the characters are memorable. It’s the best work you’ve ever produced. But for some reason, readers just aren’t getting into it. It falls flat. Sales are low. Reviews are disappointing.

The problem might not be with the story but with your writing. Like any talent or craft, writing well takes a…

The Hidden Life of Trees – by Peter Wohlleben, book review

The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben Review by Tiffany Harelik German forester Peter Wohlleben takes the “science” out of science and describes the interconnected life of forest activity with charm. He uses endearing terms like the “Wood Wide Web” to explain how electrical signals go across a fungal network to send neighboring trees information about their environme...

Lev Grossman’s The Magicians, a Gateway Fantasy for the Curious Reader

Let’s talk about the Fantasy genre. Elements of Fantasy have been alive and well since the oral tradition, but has blossomed into a multi-layered medium of storytelling, taking huge leaps and bounds since the publication of J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings saga.  While there are so many stories to choose from, one ma...


Author between assignments


as dictated from catspeak to Ron Schaefer

I have a human buddy. He seems to want to look after me and feed me and stuff. I used to be on the street for awhile – which is kind of a confusing place. Dogs barking. Big human machines zipping by all...

5 Reasons You Should Write a Book

You are an avid reader. If it has print on the page, you read it. You don’t care about genre. You care about the quality of the writing. You will read anything if it is well written enough. You’ve even been known to read cereal boxes from time to time. And, like 80-90% of your fellow Americans, you secretly believe you have a book in you. But you haven’t written it. Not…

This Week in Literature: October 15th-21st

Do you celebrate the passing of time with the turning of pages? Then we’ve got you! We’ve curated this week’s hottest scoops for you concerning book news, author insights and everything you need to know.   This is “This Week in Literature” for October 15-21 Together We Rise:This book to celebrate the Women’s March anniv...

Creating a Book Series



Creating a Book Series


 When you are growing a library, unless you are well known, you need to create a series of books. Creating a series of a certain franchise needs planning. You just can’t make another book just because your fans want it. I think Stephen King wrote a story about that. He called it Misery. Read it before you try ...

Since We Fell- by Dennis LeHane, Book Review

Since We Fell by Dennis LeHane Review by Tiffany Harelik After up and coming journalist Rachel Childs visits a devastated Haiti, she is fired for having a breakdown on the air. She then spends 18 reclusive months in her apartment dealing with panic attacks, her damaged relationship with her mother and the father she never knew (but found),...

Literary Libations

“Beer’s intellectual. What a shame so many idiots drink it.” — Ray Bradbury   If the likes of Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald have taught us anything, it’s that literature and libations pair well together, if we are so inclined.   One does not have to drink to enjoy literature, of course, but for … ...

The Best Bookstores Have a Cat

The best bookstores have a cat. You won’t see a cat in a big box store. The internet was invented for sharing cat photos, but you won’t hear any purrs when you download an eBook. Cats and books just go together and the cat staff at From My Shelf Books & Gifts understands this.

Hobo, a large, friendly buff colored cat whose specialty was customer service, was th…

Creatives in Toronto: October Events

Here is my round-up of events, opportunities, workshops and performances that may be of interest to the Creatives in Toronto community. Interested in finding out more? You can become a member by joining our Facebook group here:

To submit your event...

The Elmira Express, The Ernie Davis Story

I love Northern Pennsylvania in the autumn. The days are still warm; the nights cool, giving birth to vibrant fall colors. The hills seem almost alive, and the threat of colder weather is a promise on the wind. Fall in Pennsylvania ushers in a revered tradition. When the leaves fall in America, it’s time for football. Across the land, in big cities and small towns, in …

Why I wrote Sin of Mages

I wrote this book in a desperate time in my life. Sin of Mages helped ease the pain. Click here to read it. 

Nothing says, “its time to get to work,” like when you lose everything and in fear of becoming homeless. 

Yeah, that fear was very real. You know…

Thoughts on “The Saga of the Skolian Empire”

Greetings, all! 

This article is a retread of one I made awhile back. I’ve been powering through this series yet again, and so I was grateful for a new venue to post this article. Chiefly, these were my initial thoughts on a series of books that I’d been whittling through little by little, and that I discovered by a sheer fluke. Submitted for your approval, Catherin…

Creating Believable Characters

Beth is completely engrossed in her work. Her fingers dance across the keyboard, bringing up new charts and graphs that she compares with printouts strewn about the desk around her. She’s on a timeline. A short timeline. And it’s up to her to find whatever it is she needs to find before…well, you can fill in the rest with your own imagination. Realize that, as a writer, t…

Friday the 13th Recommended Reads

So- it’s Friday the 13th, during the spookiest month of the year, with the chills of fall setting in:  what are you to do? How about curling up under a nice soft blanket, in the comfort of your home, with the darkness setting in outside, with a good spooky book to keep you up ...

Creative Slumps

Writer’s block can get the better of us (much more than we’d like it to). More often than not, we can find ourselves with half scribbled ideas, ripped up sheets of paper, notes jotted down in our phones, and other attempts at getting an idea to takeoff. Lyrics to a song is no exception and even though we have moments of intense creativity, we also get stuck in times when i…

“The Awakened Aura:” A Book Review

“The Awakened Aura” is a book by Kala Ambrose that I picked up soon after purchasing and beginning to read another one of her books “The Awakened Psychic.” I felt drawn to “The Awakened Psychic” at Barnes & Noble, a book I felt would trigger me into remembrance regarding the use of my abilities, and it helped to do just that. At this point, I was feeling drawn to lear…

The Three Cores of Writing Fiction Stories


 When you begin to write a fiction story, you need the proper elements to make your tale good. That’s creativity, subtext, and facts.

Creativity: This is the core to any tale you write. You must use your imagination to make a reader want to turn the page to find out what happens next. You must make sure your story doesn’t have…


Why did we pick the Kybalion of all things to start a season of theater? Well for one thing, we were premiering at the Milwaukee Paranormal Conference. We needed something paranormal-ish as an excuse to be there. The second thing was that most people associate “paranormal” with all things creepy and spooky and things that go bump in the night. I was once interviewed by a cl...

Coyote America – Book Review

As seen on “What’s on My Nightstand?” Coyote America: A Natural & Supernatural History by Dan Flores Review by Tiffany Harelik  New York Times Bestseller Pen America Literary Award Finalist   The coyote is known as the trickster, and the “wolf in our backyard.” Part science, part folklore, part personal observation, author Dan Flores explores the cultural significance of the coyot...

Expectations of the upcoming TV series or Movie


Everyone loves the summer time, less work, nice weather no more heavy coats to be lugged around, people are in better moods, vacation time, sun kissed skin and pedicure season.  What’s not to like about the summer? If you are that person who looks forward to relaxing at the end of a busy work day with a beverage, a snack and your favourite TV shows, then you also...

What’s THE END?

On November 1, 2013, I started writing the spiritually themed private investigator novel titled Average Joe. The premise to the novel had been floating around in my head for many years now, but it wasn’t until October of that same year, when I started outlining and preparing to begin the National Writers Month Challenge (NaNoWriMo for short – although it’s actually…

A Deeper Look at Alexandra Glade, Vampire Hunter

Perhaps you’ve seen a glimpse of this fiery auburn-maned vampire hunter with the raptor gaze in the excerpt of THE CAIN LETTERS, or maybe you’ve rea…

Work Life Balance

This article carries a fairly different rhythm than what I usually share with you. When thinking of the subject matter, I began to think about my life situation and how many people in similar shoes are able to keep a balance in life. The balance between the beloved entertainment industry, and a good old-fashioned love life.

During my first couple of courses in col…

I Met S.C. Gwynne (And It Was Awesome)!

Recently I got to speak with NY Times Best Selling author S.C. Gwynne at the West Texas Book Festival where he was presenting about his most popular book, Empire of the Summer Moon.   Gwynne took the stage at noon while festival attendees finished up a taco salad lunch. He shared with us how the Wes...

Vengeance! Chapter 20 The battle of Kings Mountain

A teaser from my latest book “Vengeance” Chapter 20 The Battle of King’s Mountain

Despite Shelby’s minor victories the War in the South was not going well for the Patriot cause. That same month British General Cornwallis had met General Gates’ Patriot army at Camden and inflicted an overwhelming and humiliating defeat that sent Gates running North to avoid capture. Co…

A tale of patience, courage, and wisdom…

Erik Daniel Shein & L.M. Reker have a message that cannot be ignored. Animals are important to our world and their preservation has a global impact on all of us. As active members of the Arkwatch Foundation, some of the proceeds from sales will go to the Arkwatch Foundation whose mission is to prevent the depletion of rare animal and plant species. The Arkwatch Fou…

Getting Lost in the Music

Twenty-three years ago, I had an opportunity to see “Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Phantom of the Opera” in London, England with my sister and family. I was sixteen at that time and it was my first experience of live theatre. I was enthralled by it all. What a production?!! So grandiose: the theatre, the costumes, the colours, the dance, the music, the voices, and the story! I was…

Ludlow Lost – Coming Soon!

I am so very excited for my dear friend Alexa Nazzaro, owner of Two Pigeons Press. She is the publisher for a fantastic novel to be released by Author Kate Robinson Dunne. It is always very exciting when the women in our community are achieving great things. Huge congratulations to both Alexa and Kate. 

I was in the fortuitous position to receive an ARC copy. Wond...

Preventing Whiplash in your Writing

Establishing Point of View

Since I began writing for publication, I try my best to leave ratings and reviews for all the different authors I read. However, I came across one gem of a book (I’ll call it Book XYZ) that I just couldn’t bring myself to type even a single word review. Why? Book XYZ overflowed with errors in editin...

FW17 Guo Pei & Caroline Scheufele

On July 2, 2017, at the prestigious hotel Salomon de Rothschild in Paris, Guo Pei presented her fourth Couture Collection, this time in collaboration with Caroline Scheufele, Co-President and

Artistic Director o…

FW17 Guo Pei & Caroline Scheufele

On July 2, 2017, at the prestigious hotel Salomon de Rothschild in Paris, Guo Pei presented her fourth Couture Collection, this time in collaboration with Caroline Scheufele, Co-President and

Artistic Director o…

A Moment of Happiness

Why is it that happiness does not last forever? When you are on an emotional high the world is perfect, your life is perfect. You do not believe this feeling will ever end; perhaps happiness can last forever…until it doesn’t.

How about the phrase “happily ever after”, which is how every fairy tale ends? It instills in us at a young age that there is such a thing…

Heed the Call

“The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear…”

H.P. Lovecraft

A quiet, little hamlet that might be set down anywhere in New England, and call itself at home, but located in the rolling hills of north-central Pennsylvania. The man who rented me this house was accommodating enough, but there was something–reptilian about him, for lack of a better word….

Why I am breaking up with you NFL

I have been in love with you for 45 years now. I have stuck with you through good times and bad. I have put up with immense ridicule from friends when things weren’t going well, yet still believed in you and supported you. I have shirts, shorts, socks, hats, jackets, pajamas, and loads of other memorabilia with your name and logo pasted all over most of what I ow…


Just a taste for you from the book….


She whispered, “Come on out, threll…come on….”

Alexandra took a few careful steps closer to the center of the roof. She narrowed her eyes to better see through the darkness. She heard the faint sounds of traffic, sensed the flicke...

Wild Space Saga – An Overview

I’m backed up with a ton of book reviews, which I believe will be my bread and butter from here on out, but since I’m new to this venue, I want to start off with something that is a bit about myself as a writer, and to bring a good friend into this. I’m talking about going into the meat of a project that I’m working hard on and would like to expand interest in. So why …

Paperbacks, Mockingbirds and the Rise of Accessibility

The year was 1939: average wages in the U.S. were $1,730.00 annually, gas averaged 10 cents a gallon, movie tickets cost 20 cents, and the average hardback book was around $2.75- an astronomical cost by comparison.  John Steinbeck’s, The Grapes of Wrath was the bestselling novel of the year (selling 439,000 copies), though book purchas...

Reaching Out

From a marketing standpoint, too many artists have no idea where to start. The main reason for this is once you look to launch your material, you are rushed with countless tasks to hit the ground running. Do you have a fan base? Is there an easy to navigate distribution method set in place in order to allow easy access your current/new fan base? Do not overwhelm your…

TLC Ted Talks: Industry Leader Edition

September is in full-swing with gorgeous weather here in Toronto. Clear blue skies and 29 degree days makes it feel more like late June rather than fall.

As September usually does, there are a whole slew of events popping up, and I am happy to announce that I have been invited speak at the upcoming…

Yetis and Monsters, and Books…Oh My!

There’s something about the great unknown that intrigues humanity, and inspires our sense of adventure. This is what drives Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Mystery, and so the rest of literature as a whole.  Our examination of things that might have been, and what could be lurking out there, has given us goosebumps and a question to ponder ...

Giving reality to your fiction characters

When I switched from writing nonfiction to fiction, I was faced with the fact that there wasn’t an absolute to help me. What I mean is that when writing nonfiction, you are, for the most part, dealing with fact. You can prove your suppositions. If you are writing about money or economics, everything must add up and all your facts and figures can be checked. If …

September It’s a Mid-Year New Year!

Welcome to September! For most people September feels like it’s a brand-new start. Summer is over and beach days are done till next year. In a way it’s like New Year again but in the middle of the year…BONUS!

So what of “New Year” resolutions? This is a time when we all rethink how we can improve and start again. 

Going back to school? Whether it be element…

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Review

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Original Screenplay by J.K. Rowling 

This book is the original screenplay as the name says and the author dedicated the book to her late father-in law who was a veterinarian.

226 pages.

It was a great addition to J. K. Rowling’s Wizarding World. I absolutely loved it! I wasn’t sure what to expect, since I love…

Harry Potter and The Cursed Child Review

Harry Potter and The Cursed Child Review by J.K. Rowling 

This is the official script book for the play of the same name written by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany and Jack Thorne. It is also the eighth story published in the Harry Potter book series. 

I remember the day it was released, July 31, 2016 because I bought it that same day and just had to read it t...

#19YearsLater: A Requiem for The Wizarding World

The epilogue of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows offered an end, as it opened new beginnings. It took place on September 1st, 2017 (the distant future to all of us consuming book #7 in July of 2007), which was 19 years after the vanquishing of Lord Voldemort. All our favorite characters grew up,...

Working With An Editor

I’m sitting here waiting because my editor is sending me the next round of edits tomorrow. I am anxious to get the book finished and out. Working with an editor is not a speedy process. The company I work with has my novel edited by three separate editors for content. This means they go over every word and see if it is used too often, or is the wrong tense, or simply…

The New York Times (Best)Seller List

Over the last two weeks an author’s debut book rose to glory, atop the New York Times Bestseller list, only to crumble. Lani Sarem’s book, Handbook for Mortals, was announced last month. When it suddenly shot to #1 on the New York Times Bestseller list, surpassing Angie Thomas’s “The Hate U Give,” which sat at ...

Verona: Arena, Stronghold, Star-Crossed lovers

The city of Verona, with its romantic qualities and artistic history, was not always the stunning tourist destination that can be seen today.

The city has a long, robust history and was an important centre both strategically and politically. The original settlement, now known as Verona, was founded by ancient tribes, and the current historic centre was founded dur…

A Plethora of Ice and Fire

Texas A&M University is well known for being a hub for agriculture.  Being in College Station, TX, that certainly makes sense for the demographic of students flocking to the campus- over 60,000 annual enrollees, in fact. Another demographic that flocks to Texas A&M every year is, unusually, Sci-Fi and Fantasy nerds. Since 1969 a s...

Highlights from Opera America New Opera Showcase

In early 2017, Opera America presented the New Opera Showcase at the historic Town Hall in New York City.This special one night only concert features excerpts from five new operas currently in development by some of today’s most exciting opera composers — including Michelle DiBucci, Randall Eng, Julian Grant, Wang Jie and Rene Orth — joined onstage by SONOS Chamber Orchest…

Adaptation of – Book to Movie, Movie to Television

Sometimes your favorite book becomes adapted into a movie, or a movie you love has now been adapted as a television show. What kind of expectations do you have when this happens?

Should you go see a movie after you have read the book which was an outstanding piece of literature? Should you watch the TV series remade from the movie you have seen which really moved …

Unwelcome Gifts

Who doesn’t love receiving a gift? We all throw parties and get-togethers not with the intention of receiving gifts but secretly or not so secretly we are excited at the prospect of unwrapping a gift, looking forward to finding something we really like inside. These gifts arrive abundantly over the many celebratory occasions like the religious holidays, birthdays and other …

Giving Back to the Community

Dear Mike,

On behalf of myself, the board of trustees and the staff of the Daniel Boone Regional Library, I would like to thank you for the kind donation of The Next. We greatly appreciate you making this book available to the community.

Each day, an average of 2,228 people visits our library facilities, and countless others use our various online or…

Mic Check 1, 2!

There’s something special about being a musician. It all ties in with being a creator and amazing yourself with the potential of what you create. You don’t need me to tell you that not every musician is going to sell records (or I guess it would be streams now). But you as a musician deserve to have a tangible product that is a result of hard work and talent. This arti…

Combating Censorship in Literature

“Censorship is the child of fear and the father of ignorance.” –Laurie Halse Anderson   Banning books has long been a way for organizations to exert power over people; thinking that ideologies and passions can be swayed by hindering access to materials, history has repeated itself time and time again. The thought is that withou...

Combating Censorship in Literature

“Censorship is the child of fear and the father of ignorance.” –Laurie Halse Anderson   Banning books has long been a way for organizations to exert power over people; thinking that ideologies and passions can be swayed by hindering access to materials, history has repeated itself time and time again. The thought is that withou...

Attica NY: Opera in a Maximum-Security Prison

Opera has a special way of connecting to people across cultures and social situations. One recent movement has been for opera companies to venture out, not just into the community, but into the most marginalized and difficult area of the community, opera has been often popping up in prisons. Much like the recent performance at a won=men’s prison in the US on Mother’s Day, t...

Audio vs Ebook vs Paperback

Out of those three, what is your favorite way to enjoy a book? For me it just depends. It depends on the time of year, it depends on how busy I am, it depends on how much I’m traveling… I really like all three, but sometimes it just depends on what else is going on.

When there’s a foot of snow on the ground and it’s four degrees outside. Nothing beats a hot cup o...

The Fun Behind “Starting off Small”

Do you remember all the crazy experiments and hobbies you had growing up? How many of those hobbies turned into real passion and something you could see yourself doing for the rest of your life? In a world where we expect instant results we have almost lost sight of the phrase “starting off small”. I started recording music at 13 years old. How? It involved a barely funct…


T-BED (fiction)

A companion story to the Secret to Life series.

By Alex R. Price

Razzleman Lockhart didn’t care about much. He wandered through life going from job to job. His current employer took a liking to Raz. Raz didn’t complain about the work as long as he was left alone to do it. The night janitorial job at the office complex aloud him be al…

Sheet Music 101

Sheet Music

I’ve been working on a song or it’s been working me over I’m not sure which. That gave me the idea of writing about how to look at a sheet of music like the one above In the interest of full disclosure, I admit I am still learning about how to read music, but I understand some aspects of it that I can share. Please feel free to scroll up and down as you …

Making Your Copy Editor Happy

Yes, I am a writer, with my name on three published books, but I am also a world-class copy editor, paid by a book publisher to edit manuscripts. I got the job by convincing him that my 30 years’ experience in newspaper journalism – mostly as an editor – would fit his needs quite nicely.

           After I edited one short manuscript as sort of a test, he hired me …

The Handmaid’s Tale Review

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Genre: Classic Fiction 

First published in 1985 which is why I’ve also considered it a classic, Margaret Atwood’s writing is really brilliant. She provides little snippets of the past interspersed with the present to give you the big picture. She really makes you feel for the characters, especially the main characte...

The Woman in Cabin 10 Review

The Woman in Cabin 10 by Ruth Ware 

Genre: Mystery 

I read ‘In A Dark, Dark Wood’ by Ruth Ware about a year ago, and I really didn’t enjoy it. For a thriller or mystery thriller, I found it was long and slow and not very “thrilling” or scary at all. I was truly bored. At the time I thought it was Ruth Ware’s style of writing that did not jive with me and …

The Opera Singer That Died

(Photo of art by Jennifer Brisk)

When mezzo-soprano Jennifer Brisk finally began to embark on a professional career as an opera singer, she went through many profound life changes.

As anyone who has devoted their life’s work to the study of classical music knows, fo…

#SireMedia…Humble Beginnings

There’s nothing like being 17. You are on the edge of what could be the biggest choice in your life, all while living it up daily. At 17 I held a fun cashier supervisor job, attending all my high school classes, and recorded music almost on the daily. In between classes I would hand out mixtapes to just about anyone. After class I would hop on the bus (school bag and al…

Forgotten Dreams (fiction)

Forgotten Dreams (A companion story for the Secret to Life series)

By Alex R. Price


September 2015

Jason woke suddenly out of a dead sleep. The bedroom was dark and quiet except for the steady breathing of his bride, Wendy. It was just short of three years since they had said their vows. He remembered how beautiful she was in her white ...

Don’t Judge a Book By It’s Cover

How many of you have read or seen the musical Wicked? It is a great story based on the book Wicked by Gregory Maguire and it tells the story about how the Wicked Witch of the West became wicked. (Or Does It?) This book and musical point out to us the fact that sometimes we judge others without knowing all the facts. It seems that we in our society today, jump on what…

Writing Craft 101: Showing vs. telling

When I was a sophomore or junior in high school, I took an online creative writing class, for which I wrote a string of subpar, melodramatic short stories that will never see the light of day. Let’s call it my “creative awkward phase.” I knew I wasn’t as good of a writer as I wanted to be—though I thought myself a great deal better than I was—and I took the class in hope…

From the Horses Mouth: A Story through their Eyes

(“Apex Predator” Part 3 still pending…here’s a fun story about horses from THEIR point of view!)

My Dad always likes to joke: “If your eleven-year-old daughter asks you for a birthday party with horses, say no!” 

I grew up as the typical horse-crazy American girl in Peoria, Illinois. I was only blessed with a glimpse of what I considered living unicorns when…

Double, Double Toil and Trouble

It’s true, there is no shortage of Harry Potter memorabilia, events, or happenings in the world.  We are muggle’s consumed by magic and fascinated by themed events and happenings. So, naturally, we’re always looking for the next best thing. Well, this summer Potterheads can rejoice! There are two new outlets to get their fix, and to help you plan your summer vacations…

Audio Killed The Radio Store

Ok, I realize that it’s supposed to be Video Killed the Radio Store. Sometimes you should go with the first thing that comes to mind, then other times you shouldn’t.

A lot of the books in my library are audiobooks. I wouldn’t consider myself an expert on them, but I can certainly tell what is good. In my quest to create an audiobook for my first published piece I h…

Are we enough?

Why are we so hard on ourselves? Do we live up to our expectations of what we want to be? Are you the best version of you? Are there areas in your life that just don’t make you happy? Are there things we can change? Is any of this in our control, or are we just right where we are supposed to be? 

Everything is in our control to some extent. Not happy in…

The Legacy of Literature: Future Library

  In 100 years, where will we be?  Will the world be an unrecognizable wasteland? Will cars be flying overhead? Will robots be running all facets of industry? Will we walk into bookstores and purchase classic novels, bound in hard covers? Who knows? One thing of which we are certain – it’s time to preserve what...

The Legacy of Literature: Future Library

  In 100 years, where will we be?  Will the world be an unrecognizable wasteland? Will cars be flying overhead? Will robots be running all facets of industry? Will we walk into bookstores and purchase classic novels, bound in hard covers? Who knows? One thing of which we are certain – it’s time to preserve what...


(I am still finishing part 3 of “Apex Predator,” so in the meantime, here is a short story I have been editing for a while that just got published in Sante Fe Writers Project journal!)

It was a dog—or at least, it was once. The decaying carcass of a massive wolfhound lay right in front of them, covered in pine branches. The bulbous eyes and long teeth…

Slaughterhouse Five

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut Review 

First published in 1969, it is the incredible journey through the mind of a WWII veteran, Billy Pilgrim, describing his thought process in a light hearted humorous way what we would now call post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

This book was not what I expected it to be, though I’m not sure I can even remember…

Life Throws You A Curve

If it weren’t for a tragedy my younger brother wouldn’t have been born. Try to grasp the implications. I know I have. My parents wanted two children. I was the oldest and my sister Steffi was two years younger than me. As siblings so close in age often do we quarreled a lot but we always made up. I have many fond memories of her and often …

The Games People Play (fiction) By Alex R. Price

The Games People Play (A short story in the Secret to Life series)

By Alex R. Price

–Fall 2011

William Cordova glanced through the bar just off Fort Carson military base in Colorado. A lot of Soldiers frequented the bar during their off hours.  Smoke filled the room as a young lady swung around a pole in the center table surrounded by plush purpl...

Shopping Online

I don’t know about all of you, but I believe that there is nothing greater to lift one’s spirits than the shopping experience. I love the challenge and excitement of seeing what’s new in the stores and looking for the perfect item. This could be an item of clothing, accessories, furniture, decorative items, or just something trivial yet fun from the Dollar Store. …

Black Gold-Part 3

Lamar picked up his pace whistling, the tune of ‘Whistle While You Work,’ filled the air as he walked away from the pumper’s house; his chest puffed out with satisfaction at his self-assigned task so far. These people need to die, he thought, I am doing a service to humanity. He bounced on the balls of his feet, feeling lighter than air, the pumper forgotten. Hell,…

The Misunderstood Meaning of Diversion in Fashion

On the opera stage we constantly hear stories of staging race and diversity gone bad. I would generally argue that the opera stage is one of the last places to fully grasp the concept of inclusion, but it appears we have another contender for misplaced cultural celebration: the pages of American Vogue.

I understand that Japan is a stunning backdrop for a fashio…

The Controversial States of Matter

Matter is anything that has mass and takes up space. Hopefully, you are doing more than just taking up space (except you astronomy majors). Everything is made up of matter. Except, of course, non-matter, which is anything that does not take up space or have mass. Like light, energy, love, kindness, thoughts.

So, what’s th…

Are Lyrics Literature?

“Shelter From the Storm” (Bob Dylan-Blood on the Tracks, 1975) Well, I’m livin’ in a foreign country but I’m bound to cross the line Beauty walks a razor’s edge, someday I’ll make it mine If I could only turn back the clock to when God and her were born Come in, she said, I’ll give … Con...

Customer Service: Ideas To Improve Your Business

Customer service ain’t what it used to be. You call a company and have to go through several menus to get to the department you desire. Once connected you are put on hold; listening to elevator music, ads for the company, or, as a friend of mine told me, the same song over and over again so it stuck in his head long after his call had finally been answered. Waits can be twen…

Marbles (fiction) by Alex R. Price

(Companion short story to the Secret to Life series)

Summer 2003, Los Angeles, CA

Jennifer clung to her mother’s hand as they walked through the doors of the church. Just before her fifth birthday on June 17th, Jennifer and her mother Judith moved to Los Angeles. Both were excited to be starting school after summer was done.  

Judith, Jennifer’s mothe…




Middleton, Patrick

CreateSpace (270 pp.)

$11.50 paperback, $3.99 e-book

ISBN: 978-1494224202; October 15, 2014


A debut novel about a decade in the life of an incarcerated man who attempts to vindicate himself through higher education and enlightenm...


(See Part 1 of this story from last week before reading Part 2)

“What kind of an animal did that?”          

With all the cougars in these California woods, we are used to finding dead, mauled carcasses of deer or smaller animals. But a dead cougar with a three-foot-wide chunk taken out of its side was a completely new exp...

Survival of the Fittest

Post-apocalyptic world, mutations in animals and humans. I’m with a group who are helpful, destination – a sanctuary. Not sure if these people are scouts trying to find survivors or if they were at out on a supply run. They tell me about frenzied gorilla mutations: they can’t see you if you stand still and/or move extremely slowly. We stop for the night in a boxcar….

Best-Selling Author Raises Money For Refugees

“World Refugee Day” is June 20, and author, Neil Gaiman, has promised to read Dr. Seuss’s “Fox in Socks” if one million dollars in donations are collected for refugees by the June 20 deadline. The proceeds will go to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNCHR). This all began with a tweet, from Sara … ...

Feel Good Movies ……..and Don’t Forget the Popcorn!

Let’s change the mood & lighten things up a bit. I don’t know about you, but I’m really sick and tired of only hearing about all of the hysteria all over the world. So, let your imagination wonder & think about your best escape from a stressful day or unsettling events!

Do you escape with a good book? Do you busy yourself with household chores (hardly uplif…

Female Reporters: A Heinous Double Standard

■ It seems more people than ever are watching television news what with all of the recent scandals and investigations (not to mention Tweets by someone we all know). This article is NOT about anything political. It is about comments I often overhear about those reporting the news that I find reprehensible.

■ There is a double-standard when it comes to how vie…


“With a WaterSafe Portable Breathing Mask, you’ll never have to breathe in water again!” The ads are blaring through ear buds, as I swing my tennis racket and adjust my converse shoes. My parents are gone at Lawrance furniture store to pick up a new air-tight door to keep the water out. We have too many cracks in our wood one. 

It’s been a couple years since this ...

Anachronism vis a vis Misappropriation

Some chatter lately on the Historical Fiction Face Book page about concerns of ‘avoiding anachronisms’. Should writers avoid anachronisms? Having spent a great deal of my career in organizational consulting, I would respond in a typical consultant response: “It all depends.”

What are you writing, and who are you writing for? Are you writing a …

A Lesson From the Longest-Running Musical in the W

A Lesson From the Longest-Running Musical in the World


The Fantasticks, has a small cast, few props and simple staging. The premise is equally spare: Two neighboring fathers who want their children to fall in love build a wall between their properties and pretend to feud. Everything follows from that. In spite of the lack of special…

Writing For No Pay: Not A Bad Thing

■ A recent article on Read Feed took those to task who ask artists/authors to work for free with the explanation the exposure they would receive is more important than the money. While I agree that there are some who take advantage of artists/authors I vehemently disagree with those who demand to be paid for everything they write (I’m going to focus on writers in this piece…


He fingers his holster. His badge is shiny, his uniform, pristine.  The patriotic lights on the squad car are dark as it speeds silently through the Chicago suburb streets. He always wonders about that. The sirens are much quieter than he expected from inside. It seems so loud when heard from other cars that he thought it would pulsate through the actual vehicle.  


The End of Childish Ways

On a ship in a port. The ship is a very large, wooden vessel with many sails and rigging. I am Royalty, we are nomadic, this is our home and houses many servants and family members. I’m a princess but very rebellious. I have a girlfriend who I explore with, she is one of the servant’s daughters with a slight build, big blue eyes and platinum hair, just past shoulder length. My clothes…

Navigating GoRead: Part 2

This is Part 2 of articles on how to navigate the GoRead website.

■ Last week I provided pointers on how to navigate GoRead. For someone new and even for veterans navigating GoRead can be a daunting task. Hopefully, you’ve tried some of the suggestions in Part 1. This article deals solely with building followers and fans. It c…

Bringing women conductors to the front

Another day, another person deciding your value based on gender. Thankfully, some Arts Organizations are starting to confront the systemic discrimination that is unfortunately, rampant.

One of these Organizations is the Dallas Opera. who have recently organized an intensive institute for female conductors, aiming to lead a new movement.

“According to indus...


Dirt crept like an animal through the streets of the Eternal City. Even in Rome, ageless nostalgia was accompanied by the filth and neglect of the modern. I walked with desultory interest passed the venders and their antique merchandise. My nose caught the scent of olive oil wafting from open doors, snaking through the winding roads and soaking into my skin a…

Navigating Go Read: Part 1

This is the first of two articles on how to master the GoRead site.

It can be seem daunting for those new to GoRead. There seems so much that has to be done. You might wonder where to start? There is most definitely a learning curve. It’s like learning to swim. You begin with trepidation and then become more confident with each …

Cover Reveal and Launch Date

The Next will be available at all major online booksellers on Tuesday 05/23/2017. Amazon, B&N, itunes and yes GoRead.

I’m very excited to share my tale of revenge and Sci Fi with the rest of the world.

Thanks to all. Here’s a preview with page 1. I hope you’ll want to continue to see what happens Next…

Chapter …

THE VOICE: Short Story

As I scuffed through the dry August sand, I wondered for about the thousandth time if the infernal heat every planned on letting up. Conceding to some unknown desire, I glanced up to the Heavens at the white sun then quickly back down. At the same time, I wondered at the strange impulse. There was certainly no doubt that the cosmic body was still there. It insisted on…

Foul Territory: Chapter Five

Chapter Five 

Jase rounded the corner from the alley to the sidewalk outside Spencer Investigations. He raised his gaze to the office door just as a pretty blonde exited. They made eye contact. 

“Oh my God, Jase Whitfield,” she said with a little awe in her voice. “Zoey said you were in town and, I’m not going to lie, I was hoping I’d run …

Dealing With Abuse: Importance of a Support System

Recently the ESPN journalistic TV show Outside The Lines told the harrorowing story of Baillie Gibson, a student athlete (shot putter) who while at the University of Arizona was sexually assaulted and verbally threatened over a three year period by her coach. She finally confided in her roommate (and fellow athlete). Baillie feared for her life and didn’t think sh...

Arts Workers Getting Rich off of Exposure Dollars

This is a running joke between musicians and stage performers. Everyone has heard the elevator pitch for some “exciting” opportunity that promises incredible exposure. Another personal favourite is the pitch from a charitable organization, one that is paying caterers, bartenders, decorators, photographers, printing, rentals, and a venue, but feels that your performance…

Optimism in Sports – Part II

My most recent article explored the persistence and optimism of the Toronto Maple Leafs fan base: how year after year, season after season, the fans continue to restore faith in the team, hoping that this will be “our year”. Sports fans are incredibly persistent in remaining loyal, optimistic and hopeful for their team. One might even argue that with Toronto’s track rec…

The importance of optimism as a sports fan…

Being an optimistic individual has so many benefits: always seeing the brighter side of a situation, seeing the good in people before the bad, and having a generally happy outlook on life, to name a few. Being an optimist as a sports fan is almost a crucial component to loving or following a sport or team. Being an optimistic sports fan and living in …

Work Smarter, Not Harder: Rocking Your Final Exams

Work Smarter, Not Harder: Rocking Your Final Exams

Part 2

The end is near. The question is, are you going out in a blaze of glory during your final exams, or are you going to crash and burn?

I vote for the first one. Here’s some ideas how to help yourself finish the school year strong.

Get Organized….

Slow Fashion Part 4

Over the past weeks I have focused on writing a series of articles about slow fashion. For those of you who haven’t had a chance to read my previous articles, slow fashion is a growing movement that is pushing the fashion industry toward less environmental harm, increased humanitarian rights, and an emphasis on creating clothes that will last. If you haven’t had a chance …

Tips For Starting A Small Business

Starting a small business can be daunting. You might have a family to support and any new endeavor isn’t a surefire success. When I started Gauntlet Press I was still employed as a teacher. At times I felt I was working two jobs. What I was really doing was transitioning from one job to another. Teaching paid my bills until my business became successful enough for me to ret...

Foul Territory: Chapter Four

Chapter Four 

Zoey heard the plastic of the pen crack between her clenched teeth. She did not need the distraction that was Jase Whitfield right now. She’d finally been making progress on the search for one set of biological parents and didn’t want to be interrupted.  She heard Claire’s voice in the back of her mind telling her to give the guy …

Tips For A Happy And Fulfilling Retirement

Far too many people retire without a plan and regret not having anything to do. In this article I’m not going to discuss finances. That another bag of worms entirely. But, retirement shouldn’t ever be feared. You’re just entering a new and possibly better stage of your life.

First of all, I really don’t relish the word “retirement.” One “leaves” a job. You …

That Is Not What That Meant

Just because they can read it doesn’t mean they can understand it. My daughter and Harry Potter were the same age when the series came out. She insisted that she could read tha...

Foul Territory: Chapter Three

Chapter Three

Jase Whitfield was lost.

Definitely physically and quite possibly metaphorically too. After he’d left Derek’s that morning he’d found the Quickie Mart he’d passed the night before and gotten a large, steaming cup of plain black coffee. Delicious. Having no plans for the day and knowing there was no way he could just sit around at Derek’s he decide…


     Since Christianity was introduced by Patrick in the mid to late 5th century, Ireland struggled adapting to its new religion without completely severing the ties with its ancient culture. Even though the Catholic Church demonstrated a no-tolerance for the “Irish faeriës”, individuals within the community had difficulty drawing defining lines between religious ...

Tips for Single Parenting

Last week I published an article on my experience as a single father. It’s both the most rewarding and exhausting experience one can endure. This articles addresses some tips for single parenting.

1. Plan activities you and all of your children can take part in: Each of my three children were three years apart in age. There are an number of acti…

Foul Territory: Chapter Two

Chapter Two

Today was not going as planned. If there is one thing Zoey Jensen disliked it was when things didn’t go as planned. Most days started the same with coffee at Derek’s apartment while they went over the workload for the day. When she had started working for Derek five years ago it hadn’t taken the two of them long to be…

MORE THAN A FENCE: Flash Fiction

(This is a piece of flash fiction that I wrote. I thought I would share it because it was chosen to be included in my university’s creative writing journal this semester. I hope you all enjoy it!)


A normal day at the ranch pretty much consists of falling off one horse while watching another rip its eyelid open. Well, obviou…

The Challenges Of Being A Single Parent (Part 1)

I get tired of criticisms of “stay at home moms” and those who don’t think a women is working if she remains home to take care of her kids. I know this from personal experience because I was a single father to my three children. I also worked as a teacher, but I know how difficult it is to take care of children by your lonesome.

My ex-wife and I separ…

Welcome to GoRead!

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Foul Territory: Chapter One


Sweet Jesus. Someone was making coffee. Whatever God still believed in Jase Whitfield was feeling gracious today. Peeling open his eyelids just enough to take in his surroundings he slid his eyes to the right. As far as he remembered he was alone in bed but since he couldn’t remember exactly what bed he was in he needed to do a little covert recon...

Playoff Fever Hits the Six

As the NHL playoffs begin tonight, there is a distinct difference in how those in our city are anticipating this event. Of course, it is as a result of the hometown Maple Leafs joining 15 other teams to compete for the Stanley Cup. It’s been four long years of frustration and false hope that has surrounded this franchise since their last playoff appearance, where they were …

Playoff Fever Hits the Six

As the NHL playoffs begin tonight, there is a distinct difference in how those in our city are anticipating this event. Of course, it is as a result of the hometown Maple Leafs joining 15 other teams to compete for the Stanley Cup. It’s been four long years of frustration and false hope that has surrounded this franchise since their last playoff appearance, where they …

Stop Believing these Common Creativity Myths

Creativity is not the illusive mistress, divine-inspiration, or unpredictable storm most people think it is. It is not just bestowed upon the lucky few. We are all capable of new, useful, and yes, creative ideas. So let’s take a moment to demystify creativity and throw out these common misconceptions. 

1. I’m Not Creative

There is no such thin…

Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff: Avoid Too Man Details

I was once a fan of Mary Higgins Clark. Her writing was sharp and concise, her stories well told. At some point, however, she lost me. She began spending pages upon pages discussing dinner dishes, clothes her character wore and other minutia that slowed her novels to a crawl. Many of her readers ate this up. She remained a bestseller. And when I talk to a friend of mi…

Write What You Know, No?

Write What You Know, No?

For a long time I have wondered why — Write What You Know — is the most common advice given to people who are new to the practice of writing fiction. It’s not bad advice. I don’t disagree with it, but I’ve never thought it was particularly helpful. 

When I started writing I wondered who would be interested in what …

Doug’s Delivery March 2017 Toronto Ravines

If you have even a remote interest in Toronto’s Heritage and local history; or more specifically in her Ravines and Urban Forest, this book by Jason Ramsay-Brown is a must read:

“Toronto’s Ravines and Urban Forest, Their Natural Heritage and Local History.” Within the content he reviews 29 urban forests an…

I Killed My Villain . . . And It Angers Me

As an author of fiction I show as much respect for my villains as my protagonists. I’ve read far too many novels where the villain gets short shrift. The back story and motivation of the evil-doer might be summed up in as little as a paragraph or a page or two. From there on he/she commits heinous acts and is invariably taken down by the hero.


In my opinio…

It’s finally cool to be a Leafs fan

Through all the heartbreak and embarrassing yearly drops in the NHL standings, being a Leafs fan over the last decade has been nothing short of challenging. For a fan base as passionate as we are, it is painful to watch teams in cities and markets, who do not care half as much about hockey as we do in Toronto, excel in our nation’s favourite sport. 

Hockey dominat...

Anger to RAGE

Anger to RAGE – Prologue

           “We have his name.” A bead of sweat broke out on the white skin of the robust pastor’s brow. His Sunday shirt had already soaked through from the 100-degree heat and 90% humidity in the 1963 Mississippi Summer. The small office space in the back of the clapboard Southern Baptist Church was a small reprieve from the intense summe...


For those of you that have expressed interest in my novel, ‘VICE WOMB AGE,’ but have not yet bought a copy, or you bought a copy already but have not had a chance to read it, here is a little introduction to one of the main characters:


Dust Conductor [Active Nanochondria Count 87….

Backstory: Deciding to Publish “yes, I do exist”

 Originally, my intentions were to write this book and leave it for my son to publish after my death, due to the content of the book. I had been thinking about writing the book since the incidents occurred in December, 1990 and May, 1991.

 A couple of years ago, I opened my iPad and just started writing the preface and short first chapter. My first write got no change…

A ladies guide to sports viewing

Your boyfriend or husband is obsessed with sports, and you feel completely unprepared to deal with this time-consuming, relationship-hindering passion of his. You see your weekly date nights being shortened or rescheduled due to unforeseen sporting events such as World Junior Hockey games, College Football Bowl games, and NFL games on Thursday nights. This is just too much,…

How to Write a 50-Word Biography


Writing short is hard.


Authors in anthologies are often asked to provide a 50- word biography in preparation for publication. If asked, you might want to follow the example below:


Bull, award-winning author has more than one hundred short stories published. His short story collections and his three novels are a…

Giving Back To The Community

In 2009 I published the first book in my YA Shamra Chronicles trilogy Curse of the Shamra. The book deals with the invasion and enslavement of an agricultural-based country. A small number of those in the country escaped and formed a resistance movement. It was led by Dara, a headstrong young woman who had been considered an outcast by many of her countrymen. She wo…

Live and Maybe Censored

I have a live interview on Tuesday 3/21/2017. We’ll be discussing my upcoming book ‘The Next’. And if there’s time I’ll bring up a fundraising idea I have for a book festival in October. The website is www.artistfirst*dot*com

The substitution of *dot*com for .com is necessary to reach the actual site.

If I don’t make that change whatever poster sized pic...

A Little Dickens

In the dark ages, when I went to high school, required classes in English Literature inevitably involved having to read at least one, sometimes two novels of nineteenth century England. Charles Dickens, who practically invented writing as a career, would always be represented. In my case it was “David Copperfield.” It was an interesting story, but not enough to hook me on Di…

Sing the Blues

“The road to hell is paved with hay, and I ain’t got no fork.” – Rudy Randawl, singer of the Blues

Years ago, as the internet become more popular, the print work I created for my graphic design studio, The LooneyBin, began to dwindle. This, of course, alarmed me. However, as they say, if you can beat them join them… and the best way for me to do so at t…

Writing A Novel In A Month: Not For Me

Let me state the first rule of writing before I begin. There is no one way to write a novel. Anyone who tells you otherwise is just plain wrong.


With that said, I could never write a novel in a month, much less in six days as has popular author R.L. Stine. Nothing against Stine, but reading how he wrote his famous Goosebumps series, saddens me….

Fairly Certain meets When Harry Met Sally

My friend Bill and his wife were both showing horses in a Texas competition, one of their many friendly rivalries. Although Bill had one of the best performances of his career, to his surprise he failed to place even in the top ten. His wife, on the other hand, was named champion after what he felt was an ordinary ride. He withstood her good-natured ribbing until he …


One of my new found fans of my novel, ‘VICE WOMB AGE,’ messaged me during the first week of March and informed me that he completed reading the book, posted a customer review on Amazon and commented on the official review my novel received at, and …

My 5 Favorite Shows

Let me start by saying, I am a mom so I dont have a lot of time for reading or tv anymore. Being a mom is thrilling and exhausting. In those rare moments where my kiddos are sleeping and my husband is not watching sports I snuggle up on the couch for some much needed relax time. Since that time is limited, I am picky about what I watch. I have my favorite go to programs…..

Never Ask Why

The following is an introspective story written as a senior in college giving insight into my experience playing club football.

It’s 7 o’clock Monday morning and I don’t want to get out of bed. Sunday games are always the worst. There isn’t even 24 hours to recuperate before it’s time to head back to class. Before moving I wonder whi…

The Farce of Standardized Tests

As a former teacher I have nothing good to say about standardized tests. In my years of teaching we were told to “teach” the test rather than teach test-taking skills which could apply to any test. We were given a thick book with daily lesson plans we were supposed to stringently follow. I didn’t and drew the ire of my principal. I soon retired as I was determi…

Drama Factor: Living Décor

Theater is a big part of my life, and every event we create is theater. We try to treat each party like a production. Part of that is using costumed models and actors at events to accent the design and add an interactive element to the party. They bring life and personality to a party, but only if you can find the right help. While you can get beautiful talent from mod…

Better Options Than Report Cards

Dana Weiz has written a wonderful and thought-provoking article on the damage report cards does to a student’s morale. A student receives a “C” and the message is he/she is average. And today’s report cards are even worse. Rather than a letter get you get “Proficient” or “Not Proficient” depending on the state where you reside. Just what does that mean? During parent/teache...

Discover the wonderment of the Short Story!

How many of you read short stories? Growing up, I was a prolific reader and as an adult have continued to devour books. However, the short story was never something that crossed my path or even called to me in any way. Most recently I offered our staff book club the opportunity to select a short story as our next work of literature for our up-coming meeting. I was…

Excerpt of Into the Arms of Damon

Suddenly the man from the shop was there beside her. “Salaam, my dear, I am Damon. It appears we are traveling on the same flight to Amsterdam. Is this your final destination or are you returning to America like me? I am returning back to my work as I just completed my assignment here.”

Brenda, thinking how good he smelled, decided she would just sit back and lis…

From Darkness Into The Light

As important — sometimes more crucial than the plot of my books are the characters I create. I live with them for months, from the time I begin planning my novel until I’ve finished the final draft. Most of my antagonists come from a very dark place and over the course of the novel you see growth and even a glimmer of happiness. Every one of us is flawed. It’s how you deal w…

Who Is The Villain Of Your Novel?

You read a book or watch a TV show and it’s pretty obvious who is the villain (or antagonist). But I think a definition of a villain is far more murky than what many think. In my novel Blood Sacrifice there is the obvious villain — Thomas Samuels. Telling you is not giving anything away. He’s a serial killer and from the outset I let the reader know his identi…

Now Available!

Now Available!


From award winning author Warren Bull comes a new novel: Abraham Lincoln in Court & Campaign. No one doubted Abraham Lincoln’s honesty. No one doubted his loyalty to friends. But what happened when those two values collided? Rumors swirl…

Does your setting stink? Maybe it should!

You have your plot for your novel. You’ve crafted a number of memorable characters. You begin writing. But . . . there might be one thing you forget along the way. You have to allow the reader to enter the world you’ve created. You do so my adding smells, sights and sounds.


For most of my life I lived on the east coast. For the last 15 years I...

Top 5 Book Boyfriends

With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, I decided to switch things up and do something different than my usual, and what better way to celebrate the only day dedicated to love than to count down my top five favourite book boyfriends! 

It’s no secret that I love to read. One of the things I enjoy the most about getting lost in a book are the emotions that a …

The Art of Finding time:

The image I’m using here, you might recognize, is of an oil painting by Salvador Dali, completed in 1931. The title of this piece is: The Persistence of Memory.

The modern world is filled with competing distractions. Everyone wants your attention and time, many incomes out there depend on selling you something. We live in a crazy, busy world; an age of constant con...

Breathing Life Into Character You Create

When writing a novel it’s essential to differentiate your characters. You bring them to life by exploring their personalities but that’s often not possible with secondary characters. So, how to make them memorable? By giving them quirks — whether it be their appearance or something they do that sets them apart from others.


I introduced police Sargent Es…

Don’t Take Reviews Personally

What if I told you that you don’t need a thick skin to handle book reviews? Nope, you don’t, not with a proper attitude adjustment. Allow me…

Don’t Take Reviews Personally

I joined a writing group before I became a writer. Hanging around the periphery, I watched and learned, feeling like a poser who had snuck in. I didn’t have a story to wri…

Why you should read historical fiction!

For most of us, unless we are history scholars, we have many gaps in our knowledge and understanding of past history. We are often so caught up in our day to day lives and of course living and dealing with our present day issues, that the lives of those in past history seem to have little relevance. 

I would recommend in the short down-time that we m…

Why you should read historical fiction!

For most of us, unless we are history scholars, we have many gaps in our knowledge and understanding of past history. We are often so caught up in our day to day lives and of course living and dealing with our present day issues, that the lives of those in past history seem to have little relevance.

I would recommend in the short down-time that we mig…

Important Only to the Grouch

The subject for discussion today may not seem important, but to The Grammar Grouch (my blog), it certainly is annoying. Most important, it’s a phraseology that is becoming ever more prevalent.

Most important? Surely I meant most importantly. No, damn it, I didn’t. And the only reason anyone would think the ly has to be there is that t…

Best Bargains on Electronic Media

In a world full of easy access to massive amounts of entertainment and content, and as a person who is into movies, books, music and video games, I have tried to find different ways to get these as cheap as possible. It can get very expensive trying to buy new music all the time, or the newest movies or video games. 

Over the years there have been many options that h…

Pulling it all together

Once you’ve finished your book your all excited your just sure that that’s the end. What you don’t know as a first-time author .Is that now the work really begins. if you’re smart you have an editor so you sent your book off and you wait impatiently for its comeback.  Then it is filled with highlighted areas that you have to fix.

Most of them are small and simple ...

My Inspiration for “Blood Sacrifice”

The inspiration for Blood Sacrifice was the media frenzy that accompanied the first gay graduate of the Philadelphia Police Academy. Normally, I am drawn to a news story due to its plot (a girl kidnapped when she was three is reunited with her birth parents ten years later or a young woman is brutally raped while others turn a blind eye). In this case it was the c...

Patreon for Crowd Funding Creative Types

As a creative person, it is sometimes hard to find ways to find support for the kind of work you do for the length of time it takes to do it. Let’s be honest with ourselves here – creative work takes an amount of vision from your patrons that work such as accounting, sales, IT, and the more concrete or physical jobs don’t require. Each field has its own quirks, and there a…


“I PUT A SPELL ON YOU!” (…in my Screamin’ Jay Hawkins voice.)

Hey, I had to get your attention somehow… did it work? LOL! In truth, I couldn’t find a better title, so I improvised.

With that said… 

Last week, I was sent an email by the team at h...

Book Cover Help Round 2

Based on polling results I was able to narrow down my choices for a book cover. I would like to thank all of those who contributed to the project. Sure, I had to weed through comments such as “I love them all” to “they all suck get your money back”. Those outlier comments were taken into consideration, but ultimately dismissed.

The cover with the white doors was …

Readers as Defenders of Knowledge

I just finished reading Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury for the second time. I enjoyed it more the second time than the first. I find it fascinating that this book written in 1953 was so spot on with its futuristic predictions.

The story line follows a fireman who lives in a wor…

Write What You Know About?

If you’ve heard it once you’ve heard it a hundred times — “Write what you know about.” It’s good advice, though I often don’t follow it. For instance, I’m male, but all of my 10 published novels feature a female protagonist (and often an antagonist). My heroes — heroes and villains alike — had traumatic childhoods. Mine was relatively normal.



Tips to Break Free From Writer’s Block

There’s a certain sense of bliss that every author experiences when they sit down to write, and the words flow seamlessly, effortlessly and organically onto the page. Watching your word count grow to ridiculous numbers in one sitting creates a confidence that makes you feel as though –  not only do you deserve to be crowned Most Productive Writer, but you should als…


I thought it would be a good idea this week to write about a subject that all authors, especially new published authors or aspiring authors are greatly concerned about. At least it has been something of a concern for me at any rate.

I asked a friend (one of many) who was absolutely excited and enthusiastic about reading my novel, ‘Vice Womb Age.’ She h…

How I Create A Multi-Layered Character

Creating a character that the reader can empathize with (even a villain) is what drives my writing. My protagonists are all flawed, just as we are in real life. In the course of my novels I first peel off the layers that made the character what he or she is and as the novel progresses there is growth in that character. By no means does my protagonist become perfect . . . no...

3 Revolutionary Novels

The following three novels are near and dear to my heart. Their messages have lasted beyond the simple season of life I was in when I first read them, and they are all part of my permanent library collection.

1 – My Name is Asher Lev…


Back in October of last year, Marvel, the company best known for producing superhero comic books as well as movies like Captain America – Civil War and the Avengers was forced to pull an ‘Invincible Iron Man’ variant cover, illustrated by J. Scott Campbell, due to pressure from many groups on social media like Black Girl Nerds, who were …

Black Gold – 2

Lamar lay on the hard packed soil beside the Oil Rig, the dirt still held the heat from the unrelenting Texas Sun, and he felt the warmth melting through his clothes. He looked up at the twinkling stars that dotted the big dark sky; then he began to concentrate and take stock of the changes in his body, gone, were the constant aches in his back, his companions for the past ...

Making Goal Setting Fun: A Guide for Youth.

As the new year falls upon us we think about what we want to change, and how we want to grow in the year ahead. For some the list is short, but for most, I imagine, the list is quite long and filled with goals both small and large. At the end of the year we have often achieved some of the things we have set out to do, but usually not all . 

As an educato…

Plucked From The Headlines

Plucked From the Headlines


I have always found the plots for my novels in the headlines of newspapers (often from the much maligned but addictive New York Post). My first book Hungry Eyes was inspired by the kidnapping of 10-year old Katie Beers in 1992. She was kidnapped by a family friend and held captive in a bunker. Whe...

The Making of a Writer

I was not a born writer. Thanks to my brother – and my love of breathing – I was made into one.

It all began on the type of spring day that makes maidens sigh and poets swoon. I was 10 years old, happily charging out the front door, baseball glove cradled lovingly against my chest. Suddenly an arm snaked out of nowhere, wrapped around my throat and yanked me bac…

Who’s in Control Here?
  • It’s 2:00 AM. A seedy motel on the outskirts of town. The con man knows the law/the Mob/an ex-wife is on to him, and is preparing to flee. He grabs all of his belongings and hurriedly crams them into his suitcase. For a thief on the lam, this is an acceptable practice; for a screenwriter, it’s a potential disaster.
  • Do you have control of y…
Life of a Gamer

Life of a Gamer 

I wake up in the morning, and it’s the same routine. Coffee, breakfast, dishes and other cleaning. But that is just my here life. For I am a gamer and I live many lives. You could say I have infinite lives. Once the routine of my here life is done, the unpredictable nature of my other lives begin.  

I wake up, not in my bed but on a desolate …

Black Gold – Part 1

Lamar P. Squatlow was an oil man, or that’s how he described himself to the ladies; oil man sounded distinguished, much more distinguished than when he worked at the shopping center in the food section, asking,”paper or plastic?” all day. Lamar wasn’t really an oil man; just the lowest tier on the rig, Roughneck or Roustabout, whichever you prefer. Lamar, basically perfo…

Blood Sacrifice Description

Blood Sacrifice Description


           In the late nineties Philadelphia media blew up with the announcement that the first openly gay man had graduated from the Philadelphia Police Academy. He faced prejudice, hostility and bigotry . . . from is fellow officers.


           The plots of most of my novels are ripped from the headline…

Down the rabbit hole

I got the idea for “The last white Wolf” when I realized many of the shiftier books out there did not have what i  wanted. So one day when I was sitting on my back porch watching my wolves play. I realized that I wanted more about the Wolf behavior and Pack life in shiftier books. So I figured the only way I was going to get what I wanted was to write the myself .So I dabbled wit…

Calling All Writers and Artists
  • Picture this: It’s the year 2021, and in a public square in Concord, Massachusetts a statue is to be unveiled commemorating the hero of the Second Revolution. The crowd is festive. Children run around and beneath the legs of their assembled parents. At a nod from the mayor, the cloth draping the statue drops away and the people begin to applaud, softly at fi…
Can you feel the rhythm?

Rhythm is at the heart of all music, and the first musical element we try to instil in our young musicians. There are so many fun ways to explore rhythm, and many inquires take place naturally through play and exploration. Its no surprise babies are drawn to objects like pots and pants that they can bang together and make noise with. Although it can dire us nuts, it …

What’s your happiness equation?

As a kid, most of us had big expectations and large dreams, knowing no limits and believing we could actually have, be and do anything we wanted. But along the way, even though it remained true, most people decide that instead they need to just get a good job that pays well and settle into a life that is expected of them. And, along with someone to share it with, this l…

Make That Rejection Letter Your Focal Point!

“I pinned my 1st rejection letter to my kitchen wall because it gave me something in common with all my fave writers!” – J.K. Rowling via Twitter (March 25, 2016).

What do literary geniuses, J.K. Rowling, Dr. Seuss, F. Scott Fitzgerald, George Orwell, and Agatha Christie all have in common? Surprisingly enough, each of them have written books that were rejected b...