Private Sector Forms Group to Advocate for Public Libraries in the Face of Budget Cuts

Fair Oaks Library entrance, Photo by Vincent Fazzi, June 2017.

A group of publishers and trade associations formed the Corporate Committee for Library Investment (CCLI) to advocate for library funding and support in the face of proposed cuts or elimination of funding for public libraries. Do your part—check out the American Library Association’s awareness campaign now. Read the full post »

38 Literary Characters You Won’t Forget—For Better or For Worse

Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet in BBC’s “Pride and Prejudice” (1995).

William Faulkner’s approach to writing a character explains why some literary characters are so real.  “Once he stands up on his feet and begins to move, all I can do is trot along behind him with a paper and pencil trying to keep up long enough to put down what he says and does,” said Faulkner. Read the full post »

Why Corporate America Frowns on These 13 Traits of Creative People

Monet Paintings-CindyFazziPic

Special traits set an artist like Claude Monet apart. (Photo by Cindy Fazzi)

If you’re a writer or artist or scientist and you like working on your own, it could be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, independence is one of 13 traits of highly creative and productive people. On the other hand, employers will say you’re not a team player. Read the full post »

This Summer, Read More Books for Fun—and Good Health

Photo credit: TinaOable via Visualhunt / CC BY-NC-SA

Summer is here—stretching out as far as the eye could see. It’s a great time to catch up with our reading, not just for fun but also for our health. Multiple research studies have shown the many benefits of reading, from reducing stress to increasing empathy. The greatest benefit of all? Reading will help you live longer! Read the full post »

Four Small Presses Welcome Unagented Works

If you’re a writer seeking publication, take advantage of the summer months to submit your work. These four small publishers welcome unagented submissions of literary novels, mystery, romance, fantasy, and science fiction. Read the full post »

14 Lessons for Writers from 3 Classic Foreign Films

Photo credit: popturfdotcom via VisualHunt / CC BY

Film is a universal art form. Those of us who write novels can learn a lot from the storytelling techniques of filmmakers, especially masters like Federico Fellini, Akira Kurosawa, and François Truffaut. Their films defied Hollywood norms and yet found a global audience. Read the full post »

Two Chinese-American Novels Redefine the American Dream

(Image courtesy of Penguin Random House)

All the political talk about the place of immigrants in America under the present political climate got me on an immigrant-saga kick in my readings. I was happy to discover two excellent debut novels:  Celeste Ng’s “Everything I Never Told You” and Jade Chang’s “Wangs vs. the World.” Read the full post »

Study: Reading Completion Rate Correlates with Reader’s Age

Photo via VisualHunt.

Finishing a book depends a great deal on a reader’s age, according to a study by Jellybooks. In most cases, completion rates were higher for readers under 35 and those older than 45. Readers between those two groups had the lowest completion rate. Read the full post »

Beware the “Submission Itch” and Other Common Mistakes Writers Make

“You are what you submit,” says a former managing editor of a literary magazine. It behooves you to submit only your best work, and yet, the submission itch—the mad rush to release one’s work to the world—is a common malady.  Before you submit, make sure you’re not making these three common mistakes. Read the full post »

3 Writing Lessons from “Catch-22” and “Slaughterhouse-Five”

Courtesy of Simon & Schuster

I’ve been meaning to read Joseph Heller’s “Catch-22” and Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse-Five” for their popularity and critical acclaim.  I finally read both recently—at the same time. To be honest, they are not my favorite books, but they taught me three important lessons in writing. Read the full post »