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

Instead of Banning Books . . .

As Isabel Allende‘s The House of the Spirits haunted book banners in North Carolina and drew the fire of Fox News, I waited for Jon Stewart’s Daily Show writers to come up with their usual slap down of Fox. I … Continue reading

Books and Chocolate: A Sweet Combo for Readers

One day while sending out a book to a reviewer, I made a discovery: the box I was using, which was from a great online chocolate retailer named Mantorville Farms, was a perfect fit for my book. The light bulb … Continue reading

Mothers, Don’t Name Your Children Untitled

As a museum stalker, I ferret out the smell of masterpieces and not-so-masterly pieces whenever I get the chance. I am in bliss, moving on a creative high, until I come across the infamous “Untitled” work. This makes me crazy, … Continue reading

Love Mysteries? Love Yoga?

My first mystery is on the bookshelves. It is called Down Dog Diary. Here’s the teaser: Down Dog Diary One man has died for it. Now it’s Maya Skye’s job to protect it. Can a yoga teacher hunt a killer … Continue reading

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