Dreaming of running away to write a novel, memoir or a few short stories? Me, too, just about every day! I’ve escaped a couple of times and here’s my take on how to plan a great writing retreat: Don’t go empty-handed. I used to think that if only I could retreat from all the responsibilities […]


I often daydream of retreating to a rustic cabin, far from the madding crowd. I also love the poetry of Robert Service, “Bard of the Yukon.” So, during a recent trip to Dawson City, how could I not visit his one-time home? Born in England in 1874, Service immigrated to Canada at the age of […]


Good House is Good Recovery Fiction

May 23, 2013

And speaking of drunkenness (see my last post, Looking for Some Great Recovery Lit?), I just finished , by Ann Leary. Protagonist Hildy Good lives on prime property just outside a coastal town north of Boston. She is the descendant of Sarah Good, one of the first women hanged for witchcraft in nearby Salem. Hildy […]

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Looking for Some Great Recovery Lit?

April 1, 2013
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Thirty pages into a memoir of recovery from alcoholism, I suddenly stopped and flipped the book over to study the photo of the author: Had I read this book before? Then I realized that no, it just seemed that way because I’ve read several such memoirs and they all have the same basic structure. Chapter […]

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I.O.U. a Great Nonfiction Story

October 19, 2012
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Good nonfiction can make a complicated, difficult topic comprehensible. One of the most confounding matters of modern times is how the global financial system went off the rails in 2008. How is one to understand Too Big To Fail banks gambling with other people’s money and then getting taxpayer-funded bailouts? I watched several documentaries and […]

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The Power of Story

June 14, 2012

It’s obvious the ability to tell a great story will get you far in writing fiction and creative nonfiction. But literary devices—the use of scenes, specific detail and suspense and more—can turn informational nonfiction into a riveting read, too. By “informational,” I mean the sort of book you read mainly to find out about a […]

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How To Be a Better Writer

July 29, 2011

In Report on Business today, there’s a review of . I blog on “all things literary” so perhaps you’re surprised I’d comment here on a book published by Harvard Business Review Press. But I’ve added this book to my very long to-read list because I think the creativity of great business minds has relevance to […]

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Your Story: Love It or Leave It?

October 19, 2010

Writer’s block getting you down? Can’t decide whether to give up on your story idea or stick with it? Read this.

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Characters Loom Large Behind a Veil of Smoke

August 24, 2010

Last week, my husband and I drove through the interior of British Columbia. There were over two hundred forest fires raging in my home province and we traveled awfully close to a lot of them. Along a fairly deserted highway, we saw thick smoke ahead. What was around the bend? I felt alarm, forgetting for […]

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Slow Reading For Dummies

July 21, 2010

Have you heard there’s Slow Reading now, similar in spirit to Slow Food? Like foodies fed up with greasy beef patties in buns manufactured a thousand miles away, serious readers are worried about what the Internet is doing to our reading habits. I like online news, Twitter and blogs (obviously), but I also think Slow […]

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