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Book Reviews
January, 2008

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Book Reviews - November
For only the best in how-to
By  Jody Ellis-Knapp and Shelley Pence

une into IN reviews for the best of How-To books about writing -- all genres -- from high adventure to haiku, from fact to fiction, cookbooks to commentary and much, much more. Always check IN to see what's in. We only publish the best and our rating scale below is based upon the values of the three Es: Ease-of-Read, Educational, and Entertaining.

If you have a how-to write book that you would like us to read and possibly write a review about (we only publish reviews of books that we deem are best of the best) please send it to us. Our snail mail address is located in our 'About' area.

Title: The Romance Writer’s Handbook
:Rebecca Vineyard
Publisher: Klamath Publishing
ISBN: 0-87116-204-0
Reviewer: Shelley Pence 

IN Rating:

Review: Don’t let the name fool you. This book might be titled as a tool for the aspiring romance writer, but it provides some shining jewels of information for beginning writers of all genres. 
Through combining her own knowledge with insights from interviews with authors, editors, and agents Vineyard has created a basic “how-to” for all aspiring novelists. This book outlines and explains some of the simple mistakes that novice writers make which invariably end up turning off editors. For example, what size margins should a manuscript have? How many lines per page are best?

These are just a sample of what Vineyard refers to as the “Top 10 Beginner’s Blunders.”
Along with formatting guidelines, there are solid tips regarding format, dialogue, internal monologues, and plotting. From there the book goes on to clearly detail the business side of writing. What are the dos and don’ts of query letters? How does the world of alternative publishing work?  When is a synopsis necessary? These are among the many questions that writers of all genres confront as they venture on and navigate the publishing universe. Fortunately, this book reveals that you don’t need to travel this territory alone.

Buy this book from Amazon!

Reviewer Bio: Shelley Pence holds a B.S. from the University of Texas-Dallas and a M.A. from Amber Ton University.  In addition to the freelance writing she does reviewing books, she has published music reviews, and a variety of how to articles and interviews for a variety of publications.  She has written speeches for CEOs of various financial institutions in Texas and designs marketing promotions for businesses in the southwest.  Her company, Burgundy Leaves, designs lasting legacies for individuals to pass on to future generations.

If you like this review, take a look at the Freelance Writing Organization International's Members Library Of Recommended Reading for books that have made a significant difference in our members' writing careers.

Title: Make A Real Living As A Freelance Writer
Author: Jenna Glatzer
Publisher: Nomad Press
ISBN 0-9722026-5-x
Reviewer: Jody Ellis-Knapp

IN Rating:

Review: Freelance guru Jenna Glatzer doesn’t pull any punches about the difficulty of making a living as a writer. Her book opens with some rather disheartening statistics on just how little money most freelancers make. But despite the initial downplay, she goes on to give very encouraging advice that both novice and experienced writers can use.

Make A Real Living As A Freelance Writer not only gives step by step instructions and examples of how to write a pitch and sell a story, there are also sections on interviewing, how to come up with article ideas, as well as the more boring (but equally valuable) aspects of writing as a business, such as taxes and what to do when you don’t get paid on time!

The most important aspect of this book is that it is very current as far as information. Rather than antiquated snail mail proposals, Ms. Glatzer encourages writers to use email as much as possible. Regular mail with SASE’s are becoming a thing of the past (although she does caution to check writer’s guidelines because some editors still want to see hard copies of queries and clips, and want that SASE included). Too many freelance writing books seem to go on and on about mailing queries and the all-important SASE. She helps us step into the 21st century by knocking down those walls and making things as streamlined as possible.

There are plenty of links to websites and potential markets throughout, with some innovative twists on story ideas and queries. This book is a great starting point for the beginning freelance writer. It is clear and concise and takes one through every avenue of the world of freelancing. And as a writer’s repertoire expands, the book remains an excellent tool and reference. Anyone looking to break into the freelance market should make this book part of their library. While it does not make it any easier to "make a real living as a freelance writer, it certainly helps set the stage for success.

Buy this book from Amazon!

Reviewer bio: Jody Ellis-Knapp a freelance American writer and book reviewer. PO Box 67091, Chugiak, Ak, USA, 99567

If you like this review, take a look at the Freelance Writing Organization International's Members Library Of Recommended Reading for books that have made a significant difference in our members' writing careers.

Title: Sound On The Page
: Ben Yagoda
Publisher: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0-06-621417-3
Reviewer: Shelley Pence

IN Rating:

Review: The Sound On The Page is not a simple, step-by-step approach for novice writers. Instead, it is a valuable tool for the writer who wants to take their work to a higher level.

Have you ever considered what makes your writing uniquely yours? Ben Pagoda’s The Sound On The Page is a solid source to assist you in answering that question. His book provides insights into the higher levels of writing analysis and is designed to help authors define their voice as a writer.
You begin by examining and analyzing what defines voice. By looking at literary greats such as Dickens and Hemingway, Pagoda makes you think. He leads you to look at your work and say, “I know I’m telling a story. I realize I have a plot and characters, but do my readers actually feel the scene. Do the subtleties of the emotions, surroundings, and time come through to my reader?” 
Pagoda is a well-known and respected author in his own right, having authored a New York Times Notable Book of the Year; still he interlaces this book with thoughts from numerous writers whom he interviewed. This gives the reader a further wealth of insights on the various issues involved in defining style. The use of metaphors, dialogue, even punctuation are reviewed and given a new perspective. After reading this book, you’ll never view your craft in quite the same way.

Buy this book from Amazon!

If you like this review, take a look at the Freelance Writing Organization International's Members Library Of Recommended Reading for books that have made a significant difference in our members' writing careers.
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Writer’s Block
The path to inspiration starts
Upon the trails we’ve known;
Each writer’s block is not a rock,
But just a stepping stone.

Poetry Is Not
Penned to the page
Waiting for us to admire.
It is only a lonely thought
Caught by tears on fire.

Silent Echoes
A quiet rhyme upon a page
Is what a poet gives;
Some gentle words whispered in trust
To see if memory lives.

Bard From Deadlines
What makes a poem finally work
Is not the time it takes;
It’s how the poet used the muse
To prophet from mistakes.

Be Mused
The art and craft of poetry
Are not so far apart;
The craft comes from the cunning,
The rest comes from the heart.

Fine Vintage
Don’t plant your poem on the page
As though you’re hanging drapes;
It’s shape and flow should come and grow
Like wild summer grapes.

Getting It Write
Writers write what they know best,
Their passions, fears, and dreams;
Writers rarely write about
What other call their “themes.”

Double Vision
A writer’s life is paradox,
It’s more than what it seems;
We write of our reality,
The one inside our dreams.

The echo of a promise,
The thunder of a sigh,
The music of a memory,
A child asking why.

Letter Perfect
Twenty six symbols arranged on a page
Can send a soul to heaven or torment it with rage,
Can free a fragile world or hold it in its net--
The power and the magic of the mighty alphabet.

The Write of Passage
The jump from writing just for fun
To getting paid for it
Begins when you first realize
You know you’ll never quit.

It is not the magic of his wings
That sets us free from our bond.
It is the muse within ourselves
That lets our words lift us beyond.

Photo Poet
Consider your mind the darkroom,
Consider your life the lens,
Consider your eye the camera
On whose focus the poem depends.

Rising Moon
A poem is a rising moon
Shining on the sea,
An afterglow of all we know,
Of all we hope to be.

Star Light
Writing a poem,
Reaching a star,
In making good art
We find who we are.

Spider Web
A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.

The final draft upon the screen,
At last my poem’s through;
A verse of only four short lines--
I rewrote twenty-two!

Read All Of Charles Ghigna's Poetry at

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