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Book Reviews
January, 2008

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Book Reviews - April
For only the best in how-to
By  Jody Ellis-Knapp

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: Travel Writing: See The World. Sell The Story (2nd Edition)
Author: L. Peat O'Neil
Publisher: Writers Digest Books/F+W Publications
ISBN: 978-1-58297-381-4
IN Rating:

Review: Break out your reading glasses when you delve into L. Peat O'Neil's Travel Writing. Once you get past the challenge of the small typeface, you realize this book is well-worth reading, and you appreciate that the font size enables O'Neil to pack a ton of valuable information into one volume.

If you have dreamed of travelling the world while getting paid to write about your adventures, this book will give you a reliable departure. O'Neil leaves no question unanswered, offering the would-be travel writer advice on all aspects of the genre. He covers topics such as how to plan your trip, keeping a travel journal, proper tone, photo-taking, and of course marketing. At the end of each chapter there are exercises intended to hone the writer's skills and broaden author's abilities. For a back-of-the-book bonus, O'Neil provides a list of important resources that any writer will find helpful.

Travel Writing is a long yet worthy read. It leaves the reader feeling confident about entering the world of travel writing and excited about the prospect of making it a career.

Buy this book from Amazon!

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

Title: How To Grow A Novel: The Most Common Mistakes Writers Make And How To Overcome Them
Author: Sol Stein
Publisher: St. Martins Press
ISBN: 0-312-20949-5
IN Rating:

Review: Anyone who aspires to write a novel probably wonders what exactly makes a novel good. What makes it worth reading? What makes an agent want to sell it or a publisher want to produce it? Author and teacher Sol Stein provides real answers to these and many other concerns in his book How to Grow a Novel.

Stein points out that what many writers miss is an awareness of writing for an audience. He teaches that writers should think of their work as a potential gift for a stranger -- that unseen reader that we all hope to please. A reader wants to be impressed, wants to be entertained, and wants to be left with something to think about. This book provides techniques and ideas for catering to the audience and delivering what readers want.

With excerpts from books of his own and others, Stein provides concrete examples of what works and what doesn't. He also covers the responsibilities of the publisher, what the publisher wants, and what the writer can expect when submitting work. Additionally this volume contains an appendix of great information for finding further help, both online and in other books.

How to Grow a Novel is an excellent and useful tool for any writer. Reading this book gives the working author further guidance on the path to published success.

Buy this book from Amazon!

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

Jody Ellis-Knapp is a freelance writer living in Alaska. Her work has appeared in various magazines, including Adoption Today, Balance and Alaska Women Speak. She is also a co-editor and writer at

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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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