Day: January 10, 2014

Review of ‘Four Seasons of Creative Writing’

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Have you ever sat down to write and found yourself staring at a blank screen – with a blank mind? At some point in our lives all of us who write have been faced with at least a moment in time when we were at a loss for something to write about.

Well, that never need happen to you again. I recently received a free review copy of a book that is guaranteed to fill in those blank spaces in your mind and have your writing machine humming at top speed any time, day or night. Four Seasons of Creative Writing: 1,000 Prompts to Stop Writer’s Block by Bryan Cohen comes four years after his popular 1,000 Creative Writing Prompts. Seasons is as the name implies, a series of prompts tied to the four seasons of the year, beginning strangely enough with summer. It is further subdivided into headings like Weather and Nature or Sports, and is a series of questions designed to jump start your creative writing muscles.

The real value in this book is that it should also stimulate you to come up with your own specific questions or thoughts, so it, in effect, is many more than a mere thousand prompts (by the way, Cohen doesn’t number his prompts from 1 to 1,000, but separately under each subhead, so I’m taking his word that the book contains that promised thousand). If you want to forever banish the fear of writer’s block from your mind, this is the book you should have right next to your computer – or, if you’re really old-fashioned, your typewriter.

Review of ‘Northern Soul’

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Jack Stone, an ex-soldier turned private investigator, is back in his old Newcastle neighborhood. Things have changed, but most of the people from his past remain the same – complete with all the old grudges and hatreds. When a questionable hood named Lenny Parker makes a deal with Jack; Jack finds a woman from the past in return for forgiveness of an old man’s debt; the troubles of the past rise quickly to the surface.

Northern Soul, written by Steven Savile and Steve Lockley, is British mystery at its modern, gritty best. Follow Jack through the gritty, soot-filled streets as he tries to save his friend and keep from getting himself killed. Hard-core dialogue and grimy descriptions plunge you headlong into a story that will keep you turning pages until you reach the end, drained of all emotion but the desire for the next Jack Stone mystery.

I received a free copy of Northern Soul for review. A total five-star story!