Are you looking for that secret element to improve your writing? Do you wish you knew where you could get some personalized advice on writing, editing, or publishing from someone who knows your situation? Do you just need help getting motivated? There’s one answer to all these writerly problems, and I wrote for years before I found it: the writers’ group.
I’ve now been a member of a writers’ group for eleven years, and I’ve come to believe being in a writers group is the number one thing you can do to turbocharge your writing and career. It’s so essential, I would recommend it to any writer. I’m not sure there’s another way for most writers to get out the best writing we’re capable of. Here are the top six reasons to join a writers’ group:Read More
I’m not one of those writers who wants music on or a lot of background noise while I’m writing. In fact, I prefer writing early in the morning before anybody else is up, precisely because of the quiet. Nevertheless, there are some songs that I like to listen to before I start writing, to get me in the mood for punching out my word count for the day. Click below to see five of my favorites.Read More
What do you do when everyone around you is keeping dark secrets and only you know the truth?
Finding Big Joe dead is just the start of J.T.’s nightmare. Inside a pouch J.T. found in Big Joe’s house are photos of the town’s leading citizens caught in dirty deeds… perhaps they’re the reason Big Joe wound up dead? When the Sheriff responding to the call shoots Big Joe’s dogs, J.T. makes a snap decision that’ll change everything.
Now, J.T. and his cousin and best friend Rache—the smartest, fastest, and cussingest girl in fifth grade—make a break for it, fleeing the hometown they’ve always known on a canoe trip down the river. They hope to get the photos to someone who can help them expose the crooked sheriff and corrupt elite, searching for help among the people, friendly or sinister, living along the water’s edge. But the bad guys will do anything to cover their tracks and save themselves…even if it means hunting down and killing a couple kids who know too much for their own good.
Hey, it’s a Writers of Chantilly book, sort of! Bodies Full of Burning is a horror anthology, and one of the stories is by WoC writer D. A. Jobe. And I really probably wouldn’t have picked this up if not for that, as the theme of the anthology is menopause.
Actually, menopause turns out to be a pretty good theme for horror, which may or may not surprise people, particularly women of a certain age. Hot flashes, weird lusts and desires, the desire for revenge against men who don’t understand, the end of monthly bleeding, and a general overall idea of transformation into something new…all ripe material for a horror writer. I’ve read quite a few horror and SF anthologies over the years, and this one is well above average.
My book this time is about a bright young boy who is oppressed at home and school, but one day receives an invitation to attend a very special school, a place where life is far different than the normal, boring existence of everyday humans. Upon arriving at the school, he is immediately hailed as a potential savior against an ancient evil force, but first he has to make friends, do well in his classes, and most importantly, excel in the school’s special sport that all the students are obsessed with. No, I’m not talking about dumb old Harry Potter. This is a far better book: Ender’s Game, by Orson Scott Card.
I’ve been wanting to read Ursula Le Guin’s Left Hand of Darkness for years, but somehow had never gotten around to it until now, as the latest selection in the book club at my work. Thanks be to the book club! Anyway, I quite enjoyed this book, although it’s not without its flaws, so let’s get to it.
I’ve actually reviewed Robert Heinlein’s The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress before, but I read it again for a book club at my work, so I’ll give it a fresh review. I thought it might be interesting to write this new review without reading what I wrote before, and then go back and compare.
TMIAHM is narrated by Manny, an inhabitant of Luna City on the moon, in 2075. The moon was first settled as a penal colony, and Manny is descended from some of the original penal transportees. Even after decades, despite now having four million citizens spread across several cities, the moon is still run by an Earth-based Lunar Authority that operates the place as a colony. The Lunar Authority requires the Loonies (as the moon’s citizens call themselves) to provide wheat for an overpopulated Earth–using their own precious and limited water resources (melted from lunar polar ice)–at unfair prices the Authority sets, and ruthlessly quashes any hint of agitation for self-government among the Loonies. It even charges Loonies a monthly fee for the air they breathe under the domes of each city.
One of my reading goals for 2021 is to read more horror, and so when Amazon recommended Mexican Gothic, by Silvia Moreno-Garcia, I ordered a copy. I didn’t realize until I did a little research today for this review that MG is actually a bit of a phenomenon–a best-seller, and apparently it will soon be a mini-series on Hulu. Well, I can see why, because it’s a fascinating and entertaining novel. It’s something of a haunted house tale, told with a lot of panache.