Book Reviews

The Author Blog

Do you wonder if you should have a blog? If you have a blog, are you happy with how that’s going? The Author Blog: Easy Blogging for Busy Authors by Anne R. Allen  contains clear, concise, succinct information to guide you in the blogging process. Anne explains: How an author blog differs from a business blog. What authors should and shouldn’t blog. Choosing the topics for your genre and audience. How blogging can build your platform. And much more, including topics most of us don’t think about, like what happens to your blog when you die? Myths and Realities about Blogging. Lots to learn and ponder about blogging.

Places to submit


Mudlark was founded in 1995 as an electronic journal of poetry & poetics. It has an ISSN (International Standard Serial Number) from the Library of Congress; is refereed, copyrighted, and archived. Mudlark is “never in and never out of print.” To submit or not to submit? Take a good look at Mudlark. Spend some time on the Mudlark website. Find out what issues, posters, and flashes are. Then make your decision. As our full name, Mudlark: An Electronic Journal of Poetry & Poetics, suggests, we will consider accomplished work that locates itself anywhere on the spectrum of contemporary practice. We want poems, of course, but we want essays, too, that make us read poems (and write them?) differently somehow. Although we are not innocent, we do imagine ourselves capable of surprise. Mudlark publishes in three formats: “issues” are the electronic equivalent of print chapbooks; “posters” are the electronic equivalent of print broadsides; and “flashes” are poems that have news in…

Guest Bloggers

FAD: Feeling-Action-Dialogue

Today’s guest blogger is Nancy Julien Kopp. Her blog, Writer Granny’s World features tips and treats about writing. Her brilliant August 20, 2019 post (excerpt below) focused on how to use action with dialogue. Fingers flying across keyboard, Marlene types, “On with the show, Nancy.” How to show action when writing dialogue. I see writers putting action after dialogue. That’s backwards. Examples of action with dialogue. A.  “Stop that!” Sally slapped his hand from her arm. B.  Sally slapped his hand from her arm. “Stop that!”  C. “Stop that!” Sally said. Sally slapped his hand from her arm. Which is the best? The worst? I think B is best. And C is the worst. In B, we see the action, then hear the words that go with it. In A, would Sally say the words, then slap his hand away? Note from Marlene: This would be a “delayed reaction.”  Sally…


Infuse Your Writing With Earth Imagery . . . Prompt #448

Excerpt from Poetic Medicine, by John Fox, “Giving Yourself Permission to be Wild and Magnificent” Earth offers us powerful images and metaphors with which to tell our stories. Rather than thinking of the earth’s resources as commodities like oil and wood . . . consider the more intangible qualities which nature offers us, such as beauty and spectacle, turmoil and order, mystery and predictability. A sense of beauty – wild and terrible or lovely and breathtaking – can be healing. Infusing your writing with earth imagery will help reveal your unique voice and imagination. The stories of earth – and our stories – are interwoven, constantly changing in the cyclic process of birth, growth and death. A language for expressing these deep changes in your life can be found by tuning to the language of the earth. Poem-making and the natural world give you permission to be wild and magnificent….

Book Reviews

The Write Spot: Memories

Marlene Cullen’s collection of short essays compiled in The Write Spot: Memories unfolds like a gently-made, multi-colored origami box. Each story is its only piece, its own regretful, loving, confusing, humorous, illuminating tale, yet held together by one theme that touches us all—our fathers and our memories of them when we were children, and our awakenings about them as we became adults. The Write Spot: Memories is for anyone who has had a father—whether present or absent, loving or distant, authoritarian or goofball. Authentic and relatable, each story is written with deep insight and love. —Julie Wilder-Sherman I love this book and the way it encourages, instructs and gives writers practical ideas to keep on writing. The stories are captivating and written from the heart. Each author ends with an honest description of their Inner Critic and how they tame it! I read this book twice because of the honest…

Just Write

Myths and Realities of Blogging

I recently spoke at a meeting of the Writers of the Mendocino Coast, a branch of the California Writers Club, on the subject of blogging. I recommend the blogs and books mentioned below. And of course there are many other blogs, books, and information about blogging on the world wide web. Highlights from my talk on “Myths and Realities of Blogging” If you don’t have a blog, but think you should, something to think about is why? Why should you have an author blog? “Blogging is simply a medium that allows you to connect with people who love the same books, hobbies and activities you do.”  — Gabriela Pereira, May/June 2018, Writer’s Digest magazine Author Blog Find Your Target Audience: Read the reviews of books in your genre on Amazon or Goodreads. Use words from the reviews for your headlines and tags in your posts. What to Post Stories about…


Pacing . . . Prompt #447

When you read the next ditty, read “d-o-e-s” as in female deer. Mairzy Doats Mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy a kid will eat ivy, too wouldn’t you? Say it fast and it becomes: Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey A kiddley divey too, wouldn’t you? Link to what this sounds like. I think of this rhyme when I think of pacing – paying attention to the cadence and rhythm of writing. How and when to increase the pace when writing. Paraphrased from Make A Scene by Jordan Rosenfeld: By pacing your scenes well and choosing the proper length for each scene, you can control the kinds of emotional effects your scenes have, leaving the reader with the feeling of having taken a satisfying journey. Pace should match the emotional content of your scene. First scenes should get going with an…


Edges . . . Prompt #446

If your life was surrounded by a frame, what would the edges look like? Sharp, soft, curvy, plain, straight? Brightly colored, small, large? Dull, deep, shallow? Stand out? Plain, simple, fancy? Blend in? Fierce? Protective? Describe what the edges of your life’s frame would look like. Does your frame help you or hinder you? What kind of edge does your life hold? Write about a frame that borders your life.

Book Reviews

Talk Before Sleep

Talk Before Sleep by Elizabeth Berg. In the beginning of Talk Before Sleep, at a party, Ann Stanley tells her husband, “I hate that woman.” She points to a “raven-haired, blue-eyed, neatly petite” woman. Her husband asks, “How do you know her?” Ann answers, “I don’t. But I know about her. Can’t stand her.” And then Ann meets The Woman, Ruth, in the tiny downstairs bathroom and everything changes. “I knew we had a lot to talk about. I could forgive her good looks. She was capable of a scary kind of honesty I was ready for, although until that moment, I hadn’t realized how much I’d been needing to meet someone I might be able to say everything to.” And so, they become best friends. Ann, a former nurse, takes care of Ruth, navigating her last days through the maze of cancer. Elizabeth Berg : “I lost a very…