Bird Watching and Writing

I am a birdwatcher. Not the kind who can’t go out without my binoculars, but the kind who feeds hummingbirds and notices when a sharp-shinned hawk is building her nest in the woods behind my house. I also watch the … Continue reading

Maudie: A Romance with Art

If you think you’ve got it bad, get over yourself and go to Maudie, a quiet yet moving film about Canada’s most famous folk artist. Sally Hawkins is incredible as the irrepressible, smart, yet fragile Maud Lewis. Ethan Hawke admirably … Continue reading

How Yoga and Patanjali Can Help Your Writing

Long ago in a land faraway a humble physician named Patanjali codified his thoughts and knowledge of yoga in The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali. This is a guide for living the right life. It is also a guide to right … Continue reading

Wrestling for Our Children’s Truth

When I was a child growing up in a small town in Missouri, I watched wrestling every Saturday night on television with my father. Inevitably, I would cry foul at a cheap shot or when a tag team ganged up … Continue reading

Mr. Censor Goes to Washington

As the Academy squabbles about what were the best movies to hide out with in tumultuous 2016, here are a few movies that will NOT make the 2017 Academy Awards: Mr. Censor Goes to Washington: Set in the murky and … Continue reading

5 Steps to a Great Book Cover

A book has only seconds to capture your attention, and its attention-getter is the cover. As an author entrepreneur, a professional book designer, and an independent publisher, I’m always looking at covers. Some catch my eye, but many more make … Continue reading

Where Ideas Come From: A Lesson from O. Henry

Unlike O. Henry, most of us are not short story factories. We stare at blank screens and wonder if our writing lives are over. What if we never get another fresh idea? What if that last essay or story or … Continue reading

Surviving Book Awards

As chair of the Midwest Book Awards, I have discovered one can survive running a book awards program. It takes an immense amount of time, planning that would put most military strategists to shame, lots of contacts and friends with … Continue reading

Book Club #2: What Is Harry Potter Without Hogwarts?

I love to travel so I am a fan of settings in books. But I don’t have much patience with pages of purple prose about snowy cliffs or waxy magnolia-guarded plantations or dark Victorian mansions. I like when settings infiltrate … Continue reading

Book Club #1: Why We Love Precocious Child Characters

The Book Club Series is an informal chat about what we love about books, movies, and television shows. Join the discussion. I’d love to hear from you. Eleven-year-old Flavia de Luce, amateur detective and ardent chemist, is the precocious star … Continue reading

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