Monday, December 28, 2015

Writing Can Help The Healing Process

One of the most difficult things to go through in life is an extended illness. However, it's been said that writing about sickness can actually help in the healing process. 

An article in the American Psychological Association entitled, "Writing to Heal," says new research indicates writing may offer physical benefits to people who have terminal or life-threatening diseases.  In addition, writing about emotions and stress can boost immune functioning in people with illnesses such as AIDS/HIV, arthritis, and asthma.

Why is that? For one, while you are documenting your journey through sickness or writing about how you overcame your illness, you are releasing your stress and emotions over the issue. While you may receive a personal benefit from it, you may be helping others who are going through the same traumatic events. 

This is the approach Robbie Dean Press Author Suzan Bryan Hoppe took in writing her book, One Split Second. Things were going well for Suzan, a retired insurance agent, until that fateful day when her son, Danny, was involved in a serious accident that left him with a closed-head injury. She described how she and her husband, Doug, experienced the stages  that families go through to help their child heal. 

If that wasn't enough, Doug underwent a back surgery and open heart surgery. After this episode, Suzan had a brain aneurysm which she said was brought on by stress. Once again, in "one split second," her life was changed. 

You may find it difficult to write about your illness, particularly when you are recalling certain  heartaches, pain, and emotions you experienced. However, keep in mind that your transparency may encourage others to face their challenges with confidence or make new discoveries about their situation. 

In 2009, writer Jeanne Marie Laskas' wrote an article for GQ magazine on a forensic neuropathologist who was the first to discover a football-related brain injury in professional football players. Dr. Bennet Omalu found that chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) was the same type of brain trauma experienced by boxers, who were called "punch drunk." 

After making this discovery, Dr. Omalu took on the National Football League about the brain disease. Former players were grateful to know that they could finally put a name to an unknown illness that was wrecking havoc on their lives. A movie based on the GQ article about Dr. Omalu's discovery was recently released. Concussion, starring Will Smith as Dr. Omalu, is furthering the discussion about brain injuries and football players. 

Writing about your journey through sickness or taking up someone else's cause may not result in a big-screen movie, but it may help in changing lives.  A note about One Split Second, author Suzan Hoppe has died after her story was published, but her book on weathering the storms of illness lives on, and your work can live on as well!

Click HERE to find out more about the book One Split Second.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

MANA's Latest Release: "The Medici Heirs" by Rita J.Scott

Many who study the Italian Renaissance know of Guiliano de Medici. However, do they know about the tales involving his heirs, especially Juliana? If not, they will after reading a new e-Book titled, The Medici Heirs by Rita J. Scott.

The interwoven tale spun in The Medici Heirs intrigues and captivates the imagination of those who relish this golden age of the arts and the mysterious legacy of the family of the Medici. In The Medici Heirs, readers meet the members of the Medici Family as well as Dr. Juliana Smith, a Medici heir, who lives in London but does not yet know her royal legacy. 
Juliana is plagued by what she calls a fiend, “in human shape.” Juliana finds the fiend an annoyance, yet this creature has been in her world for many years and it can take on other shapes. The fiend and Juliana are a major part of this narrative as the work interweaves the 16th century and 20th century.
Juliana accepts a job to translate the legal documents written in Latin into English and develop a summary of the work. She learns more about the Medici family through these documents. 
Juliana is very close to her grandmother, Dr. Catherine Schmidt, a retired pediatrician, who is living in Three Chesnuts, a private retirement, historical residence. Greed rears its ugly head when Juliana’s mother,  unsuccessfully attempts to have her mother, Dr. Schmidt declared mentally incompetent in order to take control of her money. 
Juliana also learns a secret about her mother. However, because of Juliana's dealings with the fiend and her "red dreams," her mother places her in a psychiatric facility. It is this part of the story that reveals the true strength of this protagonist. The author brilliantly shows, not tells, the struggles Juliana has with the invisible creatures: 
I was being pursued by faceless red creatures, led by my mother. "Don't run away. There is no need to be scared," they screamed. "We are acting in your best interests. It's not good for you to stay with old sick people. We are taking you home. Trust us! You'll be safe in our care."
The fiend was floating over them shouting at me, "I told you not to go to Firenze. Stick to your own business. It doesn't matter what you find; you'll never be ale to prove anything. Remember: You are in England, and privacy is sacred. Even the Holy Inquisition won't help you."

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Need Another Way To Promote Your Book? Why Not Try Word of Mouth?

If you're an author, what better time of the year than the holiday season to promote your book. Why? Because this is one of the busiest times – if not the busiest time – of the year. 

You've been promoting your book on your blog and social media pages all year, now try another type of marketing – Word of Mouth (WOM). Yes, WOM is just as legitimate a form of marketing than other methods.  Generally, WOM works when you tell someone something who tells someone else about something who tells someone else. It works the same way with advertising. Think about it, you are more likely to buy something after hearing a review about an item from someone you trust. 

The same is true with your book. Many authors are shy and would rather do anything else other than to personally promote their books. What authors don't realize is that if you tell your family members, friends and co-workers about your book, they will subsequently tell others. Those who know you well will buy your book, just to support you. Those who don't know you, but know others who know you, are more than likely to buy your book if their friends ask them to support you. 

WOM drives 13% of consumer sales, according to a landmark Consumer Word of Mouth study conducted by the Word of Mouth Marketing Association (WOMMA), the official trade association dedicated to WOM and social media marketing. The study found that WOM is responsible for $6 trillion of annual consumer spending. Additionally, WOM amplifies the effect of paid media by 15%, the study said. Apparently, there is power in WOM.

Don't be afraid to let people know that you're an author. Chances are  many of your friends, co-workers and acquaintances do not know that you are a published author. When you meet new people and they ask you to tell them something about yourself, remember to include the word, "author," when describing yourself. 

So, when you go to holiday bazaars, teas, craft shows, winter festivals, parties, or other events, don't forget to take your book along with you. You'll never know who will want to buy one!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A Q&A With Marcel Gomes Balla, Author of "The Importance of Cabo Verde in a Global Context"

Author Marcel Gomes Balla has written an extraordinary book on the history, culture and people of Cabo Verde, a country consisting of 10 islands in the central Atlantic Ocean located off the coast of West Africa.  The Importance of Cabo Verde in a Global Context  provides information that has long been ignored by traditional historians. In a Q&A with MANA, Mr. Balla gives us background information on his book. 

Q. How long did it take for you to do research on the subject of Cabo Verde?
A. 3 years.

Q. What prompted you to write this book?
A. decided to write this book because as a Cape Verdean American, I found it impossible to learn about this history in school, therefore it was virtually impossible to find my true identity as a human being. I received a Euro-centric education and had no idea about the contributions of Cape Verdeans or others to the development of American society. This problem has plagued Cape Verdeans throughout history and has caused a lot of insecurity because Cape Verdeans are unable to properly identify themselves. A major problem was the fact that Cape Verdeans evolved as a new ethnic and culture group that did not exist before 1460 and now there is a strong need to properly identify ourselves so that we can maintain our historical uniqueness and bring dignity to our worldwide community.

Q. Why is Cabo Verde also called Cape Verde?
A. Cabo Verde was discovered in 1460 by Portugal and thus, it has a Portuguese name given by the Portuguese.  Cape Verde is the English translation; however, the government of Cabo Verde has recently requested all nations to respect the name as being Cabo Verde because the English spelling has created a lot of confusion. On 24 October 2013, it was announced at the United Nations that the official name should no longer be translated into other languages. Instead of "Cape Verde," the designation "Republic of Cabo Verde" is to be used (or simply Cabo Verde).*  In a diplomatic note sent on November 27, 2013, the Embassy of Cape Verde requested that the United States Government change the name of the country from "Cape Verde" to "Cabo Verde." The U.S. Board on Geographic Names approved the change on December 9, 2013. *Ref:

Q. Is this your first book?
A. No. I have completed about a dozen books about Cabo Verde and they will be promoted once a good marketing plan is ready.

Q. Are you working on another book? If so, what is it about?
A. Yes. It is a book about Columbus that I believe is the most detailed book ever written about him in Portugal and Cabo Verde before he departs Portugal for Spain with his discovery project. Based on my analysis of historical documents and events, I am convinced that Cape Verdeans could have sailed on the discovery voyage of 1492 and strongly believe that at least one Cape Verdean made that voyage. The book is about 400 pages and will have many documents and references to explain the history of Columbus in Cabo Verde and Africa that should be essential to anyone who truly wants to learn the truth about Columbus before he discovered the New World.  I believe that this phase of history is the most important as regards to the Discovery Age, but it is has been extremely difficult to research this history. I have had to travel to several countries and consult with several key historians in order to develop my conclusions.

Q. What do you want readers to learn after reading your book, The Importance of Cabo Verde in a Global Context?
A. I want people to fully understand the role that Cabo Verde played in the discovery and subsequent development of America and the Western Hemisphere, especially the contributions that made a major impact on the emergence of the United States as the most powerful nation on earth. It is essential to understand that the Americas were developed by a multi-ethnic society that developed a new culture and civilization that is linked directly to Cabo Verde. This story must be told if we expect to bring dignity and respect to millions of Americans who have become marginalized due to lack of information about their past contributions to American society. One of the key issues is the direct connection between Hispanics and Afro-Americans that definitely represents the missing pages of history for both groups. However, this story also represents the missing pages of history for the Portuguese, the Italians and virtually all Americans including Native Americans and anyone who arrived after 1492 in the Americas.

For more information about The Importance of Cabo Verde in a Global Context, click HERE.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Author Makes Learning Homonyms and Homophones Fun In New Book, "Keira & Me"

Many students find it hard to remember the difference between homophones and homonyms. To help with this difficulty, Flint-based educator and entrepreneur, Marsay Wells-Strozier has released a fun and educational book entitled, Keira & Me: Homonyms and Homophones.

For K-6 students and adult learners in Adult Basic Education (ABE) and English as a Second Language (ESL) programs, the Language Arts Mechanics in this book are designed to help them understand how homonyms and homophones are used in our daily language and how to use them in a written sentence.  

The book involves the adventures of Keira, a nine-year-old girl, who travels around the world singing with the Sally Court Club Band whose members are animals that are endangered species. Keira and the band are managed by her Aunt Marsay, a private primary school teacher. Keira and her band learn how to spell and use homophones and homonyms, which can be confusing to students, as shown in a conversation between Keira and her Aunt Marsay:

Keira: "Home-on-thems and Home-on-the-phone?"

Aunt Marsay: "No, Keira, homonyms and homophones."

Keira: "Boy, do they sound funny! What are they?"

Aunt Marsay: "A homonym is a single word that has different meanings, but the word sounds the same each time you use it. Homophones are words that sound alike, but they are spelled differently and have different meanings."

Keira: "That sounds confusing!"

Aunt Marsay: "No, Keira, homonyms and homophones can both be a lot of fun when you understand them."

The book also introduces Geography, endangered species animals, Spanish, and a team approach to learning. In large scale print and vivid color, even adult learners will find humor in Keira and her friends as they give numerous examples to teach homonyms and homophones. 

To preview the book, visit the website by clicking HERE .

Saturday, November 14, 2015

MANA Author Places Cabo Verde Islands In The Global Spotlight

In most history textbooks, particularly those used in schools in the United States, little is written – if anything at all – about the Cabo Verde Islands. 

The Cape Verdeans who hailed from this democratic country have made significant contributions to world history, yet the feats of Cape Verdeans, who are of European and African heritage, have seldom been told. Author Marcel Gomes Balla is rectifying this oversight in his new book, The Importance of Cabo Verde in a Global Context.  

Mr. Balla is a Cape Verdean who has spent much of his adult life researching and spreading the word about the people of Cabo Verde. The Importance of Cabo Verde in a Global Context provides information that has long been ignored by traditional historians. The author said he wrote the book especially for people who want to learn more about the important role of Cabo Verde in world history but have no idea where to find it. 

To start, Cabo Verde is a group of 10 volcanic islands in the central Atlantic Ocean located off the coast of West Africa. The archipelago (group of islands), discovered by Portuguese explorers in the 15th century, was heavily involved in the Atlantic slave trade. The country gained independence from Portugal on July 5, 1975.

In his book, Mr. Balla reveals many facts about the Cape Verdeans and their impact on North America, including:

Thursday, November 12, 2015

We're Going To The NCTE! (MANA) plans to attend the National Council of Teachers of English Convention from November 20-22 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

MANA is the marketing company and distributor for various publications, including those of its parent company, Robbie Dean Press LLC (RDP), a traditional publishing company. RDP focuses on college texts and/or manuscripts with unique subject matter.  

Dr. Gregory R. Shafer, an author of three RDP textbooks, will receive a 2015 NCTE Honorable Mention for the Edward M. Hopkins Award. 

MANA exhibits books for educators from K-college—V is for Vegetables (for children) to adult works like Propaganda—American Style: A Textbook for Critical Thinkers.

Some of the books that will be exhibited at Booth 205 include: 

All About Jane by Carrie Mattern—this narrative is set in a midwestern city which dramatically chronicles the pain, pathos, and results of bullying. Discussion questions are at the end of the book that should get pre-teens and teens talking and really thinking of the consequences of this act and how they may be change agents. For ages 12+.

A Soldier’s Poetic Response: A Slice of His Life by Captain Adrian D. Massey—this poetry collec- tion by this soldier of the Iraqi and Afghanistan wars covers more than issues of the war; they il- lustrate this soldier’s reflections before, during, and after his tours of duty. For ages 16+.

Bare Essentials: A Handbook for Beginner Writers, 15th ed. by Fairy C. Hayes-Scott, Ph.D.—this extremely comprehensive handbook, covering the very basics of parts of speech to the more so- phisticated instructions of writing research papers, is the result of years of continuous input by Dr. Fairy’s college English students. For ages 14+.

Becoming Me Again: A Workbook for Sexually-Abused Kids and Teens by Sharon Ridella-Mehlos,Ph.D.—this workbook provides practical healing exercises and points for discussion that can aid in the healing of the abused and aid teachers and parents who work and live with these young people. For ages 10+.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

A Q&A With Russ Grimes, Author of "The Continuing Adventures of a Middle-Aged Man: Unsung Hero"

Editor's Note: Click HERE To listen to an interview with Russ Grimes on "The Author Inside You Podcast" 

Move over Superman and Captain America, The Middle-Aged Man Superhero is back! 

MANA Author Russ Grimes'  has released his second book, Continuing Adventures of a Middle-Aged Man: Unsung Hero, which is a continuation of his first book, The Adventures of a Middle-Aged Man, published in 2012. 

His first book tells the story of Randy Grames, a 41-year-old electrical design engineer who has been married to his wife, Jennifer, for 17 years. The couple have two children, 10-year-old Alexandria, and 7-year-old Bradley. Although he loves his family, Randy desperately wants more excitement in his life. One Friday, after a long week of work, Randy comes home depressed, due in part, to his mundane life. With prompting from his wife, Randy went outside to plant a flower garden. While digging in the soil, Randy unearths a silver box with ancient-look designs and language. He opens the box and saw a silver coin, which he later would discover contained magic from Grigard the Wise.  Through this magic, he gains his super powers. From there, he goes on adventures saving others. 

In a Q&A with MANA, Russ Grimes explains what's in store for readers in his second book, Continuing Adventures of a Middle-Aged Man: Unsung Hero

Q. What type of adventures does Randy Grames, embark upon in this book? 
A. Multiple secret agent-style action adventures.

Q. Why the subtitle: Unsung Hero? What does it mean? 
A. The main character, Randy, goes on adventures to protect the country and his friends and wants nothing in return, no fame or recognition for the great things he does, just the satisfaction that he helped other people.

Q. Why do the other characters in the book need to believe in this hero? 
A. Randy would do anything for his family and friends. He always tries to take the high road and do the right thing. He doesn’t use his powers in a bad way, whatsoever, so everyone that works with him always knows they can count on him and trust him.

Q. How did you originally come up with the character, Randy Grames? 
A. As funny as it sounds it started as a dream I had one night and I started thinking about it more and worked it into a book.

Q. How much of Randy Grames is a part of Russ Grimes? 
A. Randy is an alter ego of me. He is what I wish I could become and not just having his special powers but to be a totally honest and trustworthy person.

Q. What are you working on now? Another book in the series or a manuscript with new characters? 
A. I am currently mulling around the scope for the third book of the trilogy, but basically a continuation of Book 2 with a few new twists.

Q. Who are your writing influences (writers, books, teachers, family, friends)? 
A. I enjoy reading and watching all types of action adventure books and movies. I enjoy watching the vast quantity of superhero movies and TV shows that are currently out now. My favorite author to read is R.A. Salvatore and his character series featuring Drizzt Do'Urden, the dark elf.

Q. What do you want readers to get out of your new book after they read it? 
A. I want readers to be able to take a break from reality and enjoy a good fantasy. I want them to be able to use their imagination to picture Randy in his adventures.

For more on Continuing Adventures of a Middle Aged Man: Unsung Hero, click HERE to go to  Click HERE to find out more about The Adventures of a Middle-Aged Man.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Dark, Creepy or Horrifying: Writing Scary Stories For Children

When you hear the words, "scary" and "horror," it's not uncommon to think of vampires, witches, and zombies. 

In writing horror stories for children, R.L. Stine, the author of the Goosebumps series of children's books, used animals, a dummy, lawn gnomes, monsters and other spooky characters to horrify kids. 

Author Neil Gaiman created, Coraline, a dark fantasy for children about the main character who finds a locked door in the living room on an old house in which she and her parents just moved. Coraline is warned by mice not to go through the door. The mice were being trained by Mr. Bobo, "the crazy old man upstairs," who says he's training a mouse circus. Of course, Coraline goes through the door, thus beginning a dark adventure that has parts that can even "creep-out" some adults. 

While these stories are popular (both Goosebumps and Coraline have been turned into movies), as a writer, you have several alternatives. You can choose to write dark and scary children's stories, or "pleasantly" scary stories, like MANA author Winifred Parker.  

Ms. Parker, author of 2 Pleasantly Scary Stories For Children, enjoyed telling her grandchildren scary stories as much as they enjoyed listening to them. Her grandson, Vince's request to tell him stories was the catalyst for Ms. Parker to write a book. To their delight, Ms. Parker made Vince and his sister Julia, characters in her book. 

The book, 2 Pleasantly Scary Stories For Children targets children 6 to 11 years old, are whimsical and involve mysteries.  The first story involves 8-year-old Julia O'Brien and her 14-year-old brother, VInce, who, with their friends, embark on an adventure on solving a the mystery of missing dogs in their neighborhood.

In the second scary story, the O'Brien family takes a summer vacation to the Black Hills of South Dakota. While there, Julia and Vince investigate mysterious happenings at a cave.   

Both stories have adventures, clear messages about right and wrong, and valuable information about the Black Hills of South Dakota that both children, parents and teachers will enjoy.

If you need help in writing your children's scary-horror stories, here are 5 resources that will get you started: 

1. How to Write Horror for Children by Sarah Todd

2. Playground For Fear: Horror Fiction For Children by Robert Hood

3. How to Write Your Own Scary Story – Read Write Think

4. How to Write Middle Grade Horror – 7 Tips by Chuck Sambuchino

5. How to Write a Really Creepy Ghost Story – Waterstones

Click HERE to review 2 Pleasantly Scary Stories For Children

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Meet Heather Sisto, Author of "V is for Vegetable," On October 26

Heather Sisto, author of V is for Vegetable, will be among 50 authors who will sign books, greet guests and sell their books at Leon & Lulu's award-winning, Fifth Annual Book & Authors event on October 26, 2015.

For those of you who live in Michigan, the free event will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Leon & Lulu, 96 W. 14 Mile Road in Clawson, MI. The annual festivity celebrates the written word and those who put pen to paper. 

"Books & Authors is one our favorite events that gives Michigan authors a chance to meet their fans," says Mary Liz Curtin, co-owner of Leon & Lulu. "This year we're working with the wonderful folks at the Oakland Literacy Council, who provide the basic literacy and English language instruction necessary for adults in our community to find employment."

Books & Authors is a juried book fair featuring local talent. Guests can enjoy snacks, refreshments and fun during this event, which benefits the Oakland Literacy Council. 

In her book, V is for Vegetable ($14.95, Robbie Dean Press LLC) photographer and storyteller Heather Sisto's book takes her young readers down the vegetable aisle. This work is for children learning their ABCs. In addition to the short verses about each letter, there are vibrant photographs that will capture and maintain the interest of children ages 2 to 7. This delightfully narrated work will be one both children and adults will enjoy reading.

Michigan authors, there's till time to become part of the vent. Please apply at For more information about Leon & Lulu, please visit Find Leon & Lulu on Facebook at

To preview V is for Vegetable, click HERE to visit the book's webpage on 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Coloring Books Aren't Just For Children Anymore!

Click HERE To Download This FREE 
Book Quote Page To Color
Move over romance novels and mystery books, and make room for the latest bestsellers – adult coloring books!  Yes, coloring books, but not exactly like the ones you had when you were a child. 

If you're an author and want to channel your inner artist, then create coloring books. According to the New York Post, these adult coloring books are selling like crazy. While  many color alone, some people have formed groups and meet weekly to color. Others sit with their friends or family members with their pencils, pens and markers to tackle the intricate patterns and pictures of animals, flowers and other designs to relax, relieve their stress, and just have fun. 

Coloring book may or may not have content which is why authors find these low- (or no-) content books easy to produce.

Johanna Basford, a British illustrator, is credited with making coloring popular amongst adults with her worldwide best-selling coloring book, Secret Garden. Ms. Basford said in an interview with Buzzfeed that a publishing company wanted to commission her for a "traditional" children's book. However, she pitched the idea of creating adult coloring books, but the editors needed some convincing. After sending them some of her ideas, "the editors were sold," she said. According to Buzzfeed, Secret Garden has sold more than 1 million copies and has been translated into 14 different languages. To read the entire article, click HERE.

There are several ways of creating coloring books or pages:

1. If you have a flair for illustration, then create your own black-and-white designs.

2. Turn photographs or clip art into black-and-white outlines by using free or paid photo editing software or apps such as Adobe Photoshop, Canva, Pixlr or GIMP. (Note: If you are using photographs that you do not own or you found them on the Internet, make sure you have permission to use them. The photos may be protected by copyrights.)

There are plenty of video tutorials on YouTube or webinars to help you get started producing coloring books pages – from beginners to advance.

So, if you're up for the challenge, then step out of your comfort zone and become an author of the latest trend – adult coloring books!

Get the Book Quote Coloring Page on this page For FREE. Click HERE to download the page! 

Please leave a comment below to let us know how you like our Book Quote Coloring Page. Thank you! 

Monday, August 17, 2015

J.R.R. Tolkien's Early Work To Be Published

Image courtesy of
First, it was Harper Lee and the publication of her lost manuscript, Go Set a Watchman
Now, an unfinished manuscript of Lord of the Rings author, J.R.R. Tolkien, has been found and is about to be published. The Story Of Kullervo is slated for publication in the United Kingdom on August 27 by HarperCollins UK, and in the United States by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on October 27. 
According to published reports, Tolkien's unfinished manuscript inspired Middle-earth, the location for his highly acclaimed, Lord of the Rings and Hobbit novels, which have become blockbuster movie trilogies. 

Tolkien wrote The Story of Kullervo in 1914 while a student at Oxford University's Exeter College. The story is based on a character in the Finnish poem, "The Kalevala."
According to information from the publishers: 
Kullervo son of Kalervo is perhaps the darkest and most tragic of all J.R.R. Tolkien’s characters. ‘Hapless Kullervo’, as Tolkien called him, is a luckless orphan boy with supernatural powers and a tragic destiny,

Saturday, August 1, 2015

5 Types of Books to Include in Your Reading List

By Violeta Maftei 

About Reading Lists

When skimming through various book recommendations, I wonder if they are not misused resources. As plenty others, though my reading time is limited, I usually choose books with a degree of randomness. And yet, how would our reading lists look, if our purpose was to be represented by the books read? How about pursuing a balance between achieving knowledge and dedicating time?

The mind is our utmost valuable instrument. Its evolution is our responsibility. Learn how to develop and expand it or draw away to comfort zones and be devoured by inutility.

For this purpose, the ultimate accessible method of expanding the mind beyond its limits is reading. Books immerse into unexplored, marvelous worlds and facilitate life changing encounters.

Of course, explorers are responsible. At the beginning, readers will penetrate only what subjectivity allows them. Books mirror minds, they offer, but it is up to the adventurers to be conscious of what they perceive.

To conclude, below are listed coordinates for choosing books, for picking the essential from an overwhelming diversity, a subjective recommendation of types of books to read.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Before You Write – Research!

"Inside Out (2015 film) poster" by
Source. Licensed under
Fair use via Wikipedia
If you are writing a book of fiction or non-fiction and have not invested any time in researching your subject, don't write another word until you develop a plan for researching your topic! 

Research is of vital importance to your regardless of the topic of your novel because it can bring substance and depth to your work. Even more, readers enjoy an informative book 

An article by The Guardian on "How to write a book in 30 days," says that "research often unearths important details and facts that can affect your entire story, so it pays to invest the time early on in the process. It's also very hard to write a story with huge holes in your own knowledge; it's like doing the work backwards." 

Your research could include going to the library or bookstores to view books similar to your topic, interviewing experts on your topic, gathering anecdotes to 
liven up your copy as well as reading everything you can get your hands on about your topic. writes that Pete Docter, writer-director of Walt Disney/Pixar's film, Inside Out, conducted research by consulting psychologists during the filmmaking. The filmmakers of this summer's mega-hit also consulted scientists at Columbia University’s Zuckerman Mind Brain Behavior Institute

On one level, kids can't help but to enjoy the visually stunning movie, but according to, the movie actually teaches viewers about the science of the mind. 

Viewers are allowed to "see" into the mind of 11-year-old Riley, whose family packs up and moves from their home in Minnesota to California.  Operating inside of Riley's mind are the "emotions" of Joy, Anger, Disgust, Fear and Sadness. Viewers watch how the range of these emotions  affect Riley throughout the movie (Don't worry, in case you have not seen the film, there are no spoilers here!).

MANA Author Marion Cornett embarked on the task of writing about the history of the village in which she lives. Since 1996, Mr. Cornett dedicated herself to studying the history of Fowlerville, a village in Livingston County, Michigan. 

Saturday, July 11, 2015

First Chapter of Harper Lee's "Go Set A Watchman" Released

Photo via Wikipedia
Social media was abuzz Friday after The Guardian and Wall Street Journal placed the first chapter of Harper Lee's highly anticipated book, Go Set A Watchman, on their websites. The book is set for release on July 14. Go Set A Watchman is a sequel to Ms. Lee's Pulitzer-prize winning novel, To Kill a Mockingbird, which was published in July 1960.

In the first chapter of Go Set A Watchman, readers find Jean Louise Finch, better known as "Scout," as an adult woman living in New York and traveling to Alabama to visit her attorney-father, Atticus Finch, 20 years after the events that occurred in To Kill A Mockingbird. 

According to Wall Street Journal, Go Set A Watchman is the most pre-ordered book on Amazon since Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It comes as no surprise then, that reaction to the first chapter were mixed: 

Bloomberg Business was enthralled with the first line of the book:
"Since Atlanta, she had looked out the dining-car window with a delight almost physical." 

• According to The New York Times' review, the book portrays Atticus Finch, who defended a black man against a trumped-up rape charge in To Kill A Mockingbird, as having a dark side. In fact, the review says the book describes Atticus as a racist who attends a Klan meeting and says not-so-nice things about black people. 

National Public Radio's headline describes the first chapter as swinging from "Homecoming to Heartbreak.

• Mick Brown, writer for The Telegraph, asked whether Harper Lee's  "lost" novel should have been published at all? 

Now, it's your turn to be a reviewer. In case you haven't read it yet, here are links to the first chapter of Go Set A Watchman from The Guardian and Wall Street Journal 

So, tell us what you think of the first chapter ?