Bryce Zabel’s ONCE THERE WAS A WAY and a Writer’s Most Important Tool

The Beatles have always been a part of my life, though I was born a certain number of years after they broke up.  There are so many reasons that The Beatles have stood the test of time and will continue to be an important part of human culture.  Beatlemania ushered in the rise of youth culture in the West, the reverberations of which continue to this day.  The Beatles’ music was a beautiful mash-up of classical influences and the lively rock-and-roll (and soul and Motown) that were blossoming when John, Paul, George, and (eventually) Ringo were learning to play and write.

At the heart of it, The Beatles were a partnership of four young men who went from obscurity to vast fame and fortune.  Such partnerships can never last forever, no matter how much we wish that were the case.  Bryce Zabel must have had a lot of fun writing his new book, Once There Was a Way, a work of alternate history in which the author wonders what would have happened had the Fab Four found a way to get back homeward.

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Wanda E. Brunstetter, Jean Brunstetter, and Richelle Brunstetter’s THE BELOVED CHRISTMAS QUILT and Imbuing an Object With Meaning

Three generations of an Amish family.  One precious quilt.   Continue Reading

The Great Writers Steal Podcast: Giano Cromley, author of What We Build Upon the Ruins

 

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Visit Mr. Cromley’s web site:

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Greer Hendricks and Sarah Pekkanen’s THE WIFE BETWEEN US and Evoking Empathy for Both the Ex-Wife and Her Replacement

Nellie is a beautiful young teacher who spends her days caring for little children.  Pretty soon, she’ll be caring for her own little ones.  The rich and handsome Richard swept her off her feet.  And what a great guy he is!  Sure, the money is nice, but Richard make sure that she wants for nothing.  There’s only one problem: the ex-wife.

Vanessa is not taking the divorce well.  She lives with her Aunt Charlotte and works at a clothing store…the same kind of clothing store at which she once shopped.  Her old friends sometimes show up to find her in such a lowly state.  And Vanessa won’t stop trying to contact her replacement. Continue Reading

Liam Brown’s BROADCAST and the Slow Reveal of Worlds and Technology

David Callow is exactly the kind of person I love to hate.  There’s absolutely nothing special about him.  He doesn’t sing.  He doesn’t dance.  He has no talent aside from waking up and clicking “record” with his cell phone.

But that doesn’t stop him from being a global media superstar. Continue Reading

Robert Bausch’s IN THE FALL THEY COME BACK and Easing the Reader’s Burden

You know what?  I usually begin these essays with a description of the book in question.  The opening of Robert Bausch’s In the Fall They Come Back, however, demonstrates one of the principles we can learn from the book, so I’ll paste it in right after I tell you where you can buy the book.  (The publisher, your local indie, Amazon.) Continue Reading

Amy Clipston’s A PLACE AT OUR TABLE and Bringing Characters Together

Kayla Dienner is a sweet young woman who works as a waitress at her family’s restaurant.  She was pretty close to a guy named Abram, but he broke up with her shortly after her firefighter brother died while on a call.  (What a jerk, right?)  Jamie is a firefighter who is sweet on Kayla.  See how his vocation is an obstacle to their relationship?  Kayla and Jamie are two great young people…will they be able to make and build a connection? Continue Reading

Amy Lillard’s THE QUILTING CIRCLE and Building a World

Have you ever loved someone who didn’t love you back in the same way?  Have you ever gotten what you wanted at the exact wrong time and wondered how you would cope?  Have you ever felt mistreated by someone you love and hoped they would come around before you take off?   Continue Reading

Tony Vanderwarker’s WRITING WITH THE MASTER and How John Grisham Does It

Writing is a solitary pursuit.  You can have a thousand writer friends, participate in a hundred workshops and have an editor who calls you every day, but in the end, it’s just you and the blank page.  And one of the sad ironies of writing is that you can never, ever read your own work outside of your own consciousness.  Even if you put your novel aside for fifty years, it’s still you turning the pages.  Continue Reading

James Pietragallo and Jimmie Whisman’s CRIME IN SPORTS Podcast and Why Comedians Can Do Almost Anything

A lot of athletes make mistakes.  Big mistakes.  Plaxico Burress went into a strip club with a gun in his sweatpants for some reason.  Steve Howe did nearly all of the cocaine.  Darryl Strawberry did the rest of it.  James Pietragallo and Jimmie Whisman tell the stories of wayward athletes on their Crime in Sports podcast.

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