Day: December 19, 2013

Review of ‘1,000 Creative Writing Prompts, Volume 2’

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Every writer or blogger has at some point faced the dreadful situation of sitting down at the keyboard and coming up dry on what to write about. Your muse slept late, or just decided to take a much needed vacation and your mind is as empty as the cookie jar the day after a holiday.

Well, thanks to Bryan Cohen and Jeremiah Jones, you don’t have to face that keyboard completely empty handed anymore. Their 1,000 Creative Writing Prompts, Volume 2: More Ideas for Blogs, Scripts, Stories and More is the muse that never takes a vacation.

This is a follow-on to Cohen’s first volume of prompts that grew out of his search for a way to make money online. I received a free copy for review of the current volume, and am now searching for number one. After all, who wouldn’t like to have 2,000 little mind-nudges for those times when the idea well seems dry?

Organized into categories, such as Time and Place and People and Creatures, these little memory jogs are sure to help you think of something to write about. That they are subjective is to be expected – we write what we know, and these two are no exception – but, they don’t have to be taken literally. Let your mind roam free as you read, and I think you’ll see the value of this little book. They’ve even kindly indexed the book for those who have a vague idea of what they’d like to write about, and want to look up specifics.

A  helpful little volume indeed.

Maid in Manhattan Case: U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, the Man Who Makes Embassy Row Tremble

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Maid in Manhattan Case: U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, the Man Who Makes Embassy Row Tremble. Interesting that the Indians have their knickers in a knot and have spread all kinds of vicious rumors and untruths about this case, but nothing is said about whether or not the consular official (who did not have full immunity, but shouldn’t have been breaking the law in the first place) did or didn’t do what she was accused of doing – only that her position and class entitled her to ‘special’ treatment. Hooray for Preet Bharara!

Review of ‘Steel City Investigations’

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I love a good mystery story. I also love humor. When the two are combined, I’m in hog heaven. When I got a free copy of Donald Algeo’s Steel City Investigations, I began reading – it started off a bit slow, but by the middle of chapter two I was hooked like a big mouth bass at a fishing tournament.

Eddie and Nicky Carlyle are two very rich brothers, who, if their father can resist spending their inheritance on his next lost cause, stand to be even richer when he finally shuffles off his mortal coil – something he seems determined not to do until all the money is gone. Divorced from their mother, Daddy Carlyle changes his will for the umpteenth time; this time declaring that when he goes whatever is left goes to his grandchildren rather than his sons. Not a good situation for les deux frères Carlyle.

Eddie and Nicky decide to go into a new business. They form Steel City Investigations, and as their first case go after the Belmont Killer, a ruthless murderer who loves inflicting pain – on anyone.

Algeo does a masterful job of switching back and forth from Eddie to Nicky’s point of view in this rollicking romp through the mean streets and dens of iniquity that their quarry inhabits. Changing points of view can be unsettling because of the need to make clear the differences of characters – and Eddie and Nicky are about as alike as a garbanzo bean and a stalk of celery – but somehow, Algeo pulls it off. The dialogue is edgy and the descriptions are evocative. He sucks you into the story like a kid at a malt shop pulling on a straw to get the last of his strawberry shake from the bottom of the glass. At the end, you’re left breathless – from the suspense and the laughter.

This is a must read for that time when you want a literary change of pace.