Day: December 20, 2013

Review of ‘The Ten Commandments for the Thriving Writer’

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Oh my God, I thought, as I clicked open page one of The Ten Commandments for The Thriving Writer, which I received free in exchange for an unbiased review, another book exposing all the secrets to becoming a millionaire as a freelance writer! I started reading, expecting to be underwhelmed – and received a pleasant surprise. Karen Banes, a freelance writer, blogger, and editor, actually offered up some practical advice for anyone who is into, as her subtitle says, “enjoying and embracing the freelance writing life.”

Okay, I’ll be honest, Banes’ book isn’t rocket science, and it’s not the Genie’s Lamp that if you rub will grant your wish for instant fame and riches. It is, though, a fairly well-written book by someone who has had a measure of success at freelancing, outlining some fairly basic principles on how to do it and be fairly successful yourself.

I’m always a but put off by the disclaimers put in books – I have them in two of my own that were put out by a publisher who I suppose worries about potential litigation. The Ten Commandments has a rather lengthy disclaimer up front, one section which I found intriguing – ‘ . . . views not to be taken as expert instructions or commands.’ I’m being a bit of a nitpicker here, but the book does contain instructions, and the title says they are ‘commandments.’ So, that part of the disclaimer at least should probably have been left out. There’s nothing wrong with someone who has mastered a craft listing instructions on doing it, as long as they let you know this is how they did it, and it might not work for you. Okay, okay, like I said – I can pick nits.

If this is the only problem with the book; and, it’s the only one I could find; it still leaves a pretty good read for the beginner who’d like even a sketchy roadmap into the terra incognito of the world of freelancing.

Review of ‘The Audacity of You’

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The Audacity of You is a disconnected series of essays by Dominique Wilkins that share only one common thread – the audacity of human interactions. With Bible verses interspersed, one assumes to illustrate the religious grounding of the stories, they introduce us briefly to such diverse characters as Juan Deau (aka John Doe) Conners, who prefers to be called J.D. or Baby Boy, Nesha’ Chanel, who started out in life as Ernesha Owen, and a host of other characters that are all ‘smaller than life.’ We’re treated to their views on the audaciousness of others – while at the same time, they show their own bald-faced boldness without apparently even being aware of it.

I received a free copy of Audacity for review, and from the opening lines I thought I would follow the life of the three-year-old narrator as he came to grips with the unusual moniker his unthinking parents had bestowed upon him. Alas, other than his griping, I was to be disappointed, and left wondering how he finally coped. The same could be said of the other characters who parade briefly across the pages of the book. Their situations pique your interest, but somehow, there doesn’t seem to be adequate closure – if I may be excused the audacity of using a current buzz word.

Despite the somewhat tortured grammar, and the lack of closure, it wasn’t an uninteresting book. I only wish Wilkins had taken what to me seems a necessary step of going just a bit deeper into each character and closing the loop.

Instead, I’m left wondering if what the author really intended to do was set the reader up for the sequel – or sequels – to some interest-provoking situations. This has the potential to be a really good book, but just misses for me, so I give it two and a half stars, rounded up to three.