Ryan Gosling & Emma Stone’s “La La Land”: Perfect Antidote to Gloom of 2016

Photo courtesy of IMDB.

Photo courtesy of IMDB.

Film Review: La La Land,” directed by Damien Chazelle, 2016; winner of seven Golden Globe awards.

“La La Land,” released at the end of 2016, was the right movie at the right time for many Americans like me in want of hope and inspiration, no matter how fleeting. Only the truly cynical and jaded heart would remain untouched by Damien Chazelle’s beautiful film. Read the full post »

Top 5 New Year’s Resolutions for Writers Seeking Traditional Publication

"A happy New Year." New York Public Library Digital Collections.

“A happy New Year.” New York Public Library Digital Collections.

As a writer, I have the same New Year’s resolution every year in the past 22 years—to get published traditionally. Some years are more successful than others. In 2014, I signed with my literary agent, whom I admire greatly. In 2015, Lyrical Press published my debut romance book. This time I’m breaking down my New Year’s resolution into five smaller tasks. Read the full post »

Top 5 Film Reviews: Tribute to Robin Williams is Number One

Photo credit: bob in swamp via Visualhunt.com / CC BY

Photo credit: bob in swamp via Visualhunt.com / CC BY

It’s that time of the year again—a time for roundups. In this article, I’m highlighting the five most popular film reviews posted on this blog. Read the full post »

The Giving Season: Top 10 Reasons Why Books Make Great Gifts

Photo by Vince Fazzi, December 2016.

(Photo by Vince Fazzi, December 2016)

Still looking for the perfect gift? An email I received from the Authors Guild listed 10 reasons why you should give books to your loved ones this holiday season—and all other occasions! Read the full post »

Writing Tips: Basic Rules to Remember About Comma

Photo credit: Leo Reynolds via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

Photo credit: Leo Reynolds via Visual hunt / CC BY-NC-SA

One little comma can sometimes mean big trouble when you’re writing. Take this example: “Let’s eat Mom.” Without a comma, you just transformed an innocent invitation to something awful. Read the full post »

Writing Contest: Chicago Tribune’s 2017 Short Story Competition Now Open

Photo credit: avrdreamer via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

Photo credit: avrdreamer via VisualHunt.com / CC BY-NC-ND

The Chicago Tribune is now accepting short stories for the 2017 Nelson Algren Literary Awards. It is seeking original and unpublished short stories no longer than 8,000 words. To enter your story in the competition, it must be entirely fictional and not based on actual person, whether living or not. Read the full post »

Jess Row’s “Your Face in Mine”: Would You Change Your Race if You Could?

Image courtesy of Penguin Random House.

Image courtesy of Penguin Random House.

Book Review:  “Your Face in Mine” by Jess Row, published by Riverhead Books, 2014

Would you change your race if you could? In Jess Row’s provocative novel, Martin Lipkin does just that. He undergoes a racial reassignment surgery, changing his looks from white to black. He assumes a new identity and culture as Martin Wilkinson, a successful businessman.   Read the full post »

St. Martin’s Press Launches Writing Contest for Thriller Writers

Photo Credit: Photo via ghwtog via Visual Hunt

Photo Credit: Photo via ghwtog via Visual Hunt

If you write thrillers, this competition sponsored by St. Martin’s Press might be just the thing for you. The Big Five imprint will choose five winners in the writing contest promoting “A Divided Spy,” a new novel by Charles Cumming. Read the full post »

Five of the World’s Biggest Publishers Stay at the Top

fairoakslibrary-bookshelf-cindyfazzipicFive of the world’s biggest publishers, led by Pearson, the U.K.-based educational publishing company, maintained their positions on the Livres Hebdo/Publishers Weekly  annual ranking for 2015. Read the full post »

Paula Munier’s “Guide to Beginnings”: Why the Opening Can Make or Break Your Novel

writersguidetobeginnings-cindyfazzipicBook Review—“The Writer’s Guide to Beginnings: How to Craft Story Openings that Sell” by Paula Munier, published by Writer’s Digest Books, 2016

The image of an open door graces the cover of Paula Munier’s latest writing book. It’s an invitation to learn and keep an open mind. It also reminds me of the proverbial door being slammed in a novelist’s face. “Competition is fierce—and that’s why your words must be fierce as well,” says Munier. Read the full post »