New WKAR Book Review: Eight Mile High by Jim Ray Daniels

Current StateOn WKAR’s Current State, I reviewed the new collection of short stories by Jim Ray Daniels. Eight Mile High was also selected this year as one of the Michigan Notable Books.

You can listen to my new review here: http://wkar.org/post/book-review-jim-ray-daniels-eight-mile-high

If you would rather read my review, you can do so below.

Hey, did you know Current State has a podcast? If you subscribe, you can download episodes and segments (and you can find me every other Thursday). Here is a link to find it on iTunes- https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wkar-fm-current-state/id594609653?mt=2

You can find the novel on Amazon.com here. If you want to check out my other book reviews for WKAR’s Current State, you can do so via links on this pageContinue reading

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New WKAR Book Review: My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins

Current StateThis is the second holiday season where I have had the pleasure of reviewing a Christmas book on WKAR’s Current State. Last year, I reviewed A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (which you can still hear here). This time I am taking on the new collection of holiday stories My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins.

You can listen to my review here: http://wkar.org/post/book-review-my-true-love-gave-me-wkar

You can also read my review below.

If you want to check out My True Love Gave to Me you can find it on Amazon.com here. You can check out my past reviews via this page on my site.

I hope you enjoy my new book review! Continue reading

If I was… (part 2)

Chef1 of 4

If I was a chef I would have cheap macaroni-and-cheese dreams. My kitchen would never hold a single box of it. Heaven forbid! That kitchen would be photographed for magazines and analyzed by other chefs, debating the ingredients and items in it (Oh, he uses that product, I need one too!). One hint of such a box could ruin my reputation, make me a laughing stock. And, yet at 2 AM when everyone else is asleep and I am staring out my window I would think of that little quick dinner my grand-mama would make me so long ago. I would sit on the counter as she did it, and she would sing me songs in French, now and then taking a moment to rustle my hair.  In the morning, my master chef days would return: arguing with my maitre d over the menu, yelling at my assistants, and cursing at the delivery boys who always seem to arrive a little later each day (even though in my heart I know it is the same). Yet, through all of that, I would be reciting in my mind over and over again, “packet of cheese powder, little bit of butter, three tablespoons of milk and pasta…. maybe even with funny shapes.” Continue reading

New WKAR Book Review: Something that Feels like Truth by Donald Lystra

Current StateThis week I was back on WKAR’s Current State with a new book review!

This time I am reviewing Michigan Notable Book Something that Feels like Truth by Donald Lystra.

You can hear my review here: http://wkar.org/post/book-review-donald-lystra-s-something-feels-truth

You can also read my review below.

You can find Donald Lystra’s latest collection of short stories on Amazon here. If you would like to learn more about my book reviews or listen/read previous installments you can do so via this page on my site.

I hope you enjoy my new book review!

Continue reading

My Online Literary Experiment: The page is up…

Almost time for Chapter 2, and in preparation I have created a page for Permanent Spring Showers (here). As each chapter in my online literary experiment goes up, I’ll as well update this page in case you want to revisit the previous chapters… or if you are just finding my site now (hello, welcome), you can check out this page to start from the attention-getting beginning.

I have a few pages now on this site for different writings that are available online. So if you like my fiction, why not check out some of my other work that is out there on the World Wide Web?

  • Upon The Ground, a new collection of short stories that was recently shared by Green Spot Blue.
  • A Jane Austen Daydream, a literary romantic-comedy in the voice of Ms. Austen, recreating her life as one of her novels, with some very post-modern twists.
  • The Dante 3, a radio comedy series about a group of college students getting a tour and the mess they make of the afterlife. Scripts for the unproduced sequel, as well as production notes/memories, are included on the page for those wishing to learn more.

In regards to the writing of Permanent Spring Showers, so far I am intrigued by the voice of it. Very different from my published novels (my writing page), if anything reminding me of my energetic literary style in college. No holds barred, right for the literary throat.

I hope you are enjoying this ongoing creation and will tune in tomorrow for Chapter 2.

Writing Advice: Never Be Happy

I am never happy with my writing and I consider that a very healthy mindset to have.

I want to forget about past books, destroy old short stories, and hang my head in shame over screenplays. This does not mean I think the work is bad, far from it. It’s just I am always a different writer in a different “place” when I look back at past work, and that old writer who slaved over those chapters or scenes… well… he ain’t in this house anymore, and the new tenant isn’t into it.

In my last writing editorial (“Leave Home“), I discussed some of the pluses and minuses around most writers being introverts. The dangerous fact for writers is introverts like to be in a rut.

A rut is safe.

There are no surprises in a rut.

And for a writer that means genres, characters, scenes, plots, dialogue, expressions, and even favorite words may find their way again and again into “new” works. These ruts are like a warm blanket on a cold winter evening, why would you want to go get out from underneath all that security? (And if you are lucky enough to make actual money off your writing, it makes it that much more difficult.)

Some might find offense in my saying all this, but frankly, the answer to that question in my opinion is the difference between being just a writer and being an author. Continue reading

Five Things I Am Into Right Now, April 2012

I feel like over the last month, I have been doing nothing but battle a cold that will. not. stop.

It has gone from my body into my soul.

Was there a time when I was able to complete a sentence without a cough? Did I ever not sneeze? I can honestly say I don’t know. So as you can imagine, my list this month involves a lot of things I can sit down and enjoy… Right now I like sitting.

Mad Men

It’s fascinating how this show has adapted over the years.  What began as somewhat a mystery around the identity of Don Draper (and who would find out and then what???), has now become almost nothing more than a character study as we watch time pass in their lives. (Dare I call it a soap opera?)  I’m not sure if the lack of suspense or overall plot development is related to some larger vision the creator has for the season that he hasn’t shared yet, or a repercussion of the series being picked up for more seasons; in other words he has to pull his punches because he has to drag it out (The same problem you see every week with How I Met Your Mother– those poor kids listening to that non-ending story! I love a good yarn, but I would have even walked out on the story by now).

Still I am really glad the show is back on the air and it is fun visiting the characters again. I just wish something big would drive it forward. Continue reading

Talking Short Stories in Today’s Writing World

When I was a young writer I was obsessed with short stories.

There was something about them that felt very freeing for me as a newbie; because, they don’t come with the same burdens a novel does, and even in my young writing days I could see that. If you don’t like a story, stop writing it! It’s not like you lose months and years of work like you would on a novel. For a short story you lose, what?, a week in the most.  I don’t know about you, but I can lose a week.

And you can experiment; and, boy, did I like to experiment in stories! I had to try everything! Sci-fi, fantasy, horror, romantic, comedy, parody, etc.; heck, I even wrote my own Chaucer Canterbury tale, if you can believe it! Continue reading

The Mistakes of the Newbie Novelist

Sometimes when I work with new novelists or self-published writers, I wonder (and this is awful to say) if they even really like books.

Why is it that people are drawn to wanting to be writers?  Is the image too glamorized in books, TV, and movies? Is it for the bragging right, so they can say “Yes, I have written a book? It is right there.” Is it because it seems simple to do since we all know how to form a sentence thanks to public education? Has self-publishing companies done too good a job ruining the myth that writing is a skilled craft? What is it that draws people to take on this art, resulting in a congested market and thousands of badly written books finding their way onto amazon each year with badly made covers on photoshop?

I wish I had an answer to all of my questions, because sometimes I want to give new novelists interventions. In other words, sit them down and ask at the beginning of the process, “Do you really want to do this? Really? Why?”

The thing I am the most surprised about when working with a first-time novelist is how many rookie mistakes get made. Yet, they still come up again, and again, and, over time, I have begun to sound like a broken record. Here are four obvious errors that drive me crazy with some helpful recommendations for the newbies out there: Continue reading