Writing a novel… Where do you start?


A Review of John Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men in Celebration of Banned Books Week

An excellent review! Hope you all are reading some banned books. 🙂

Kylie Betzner

In the spirit of Banned Books Week 2014, I decided to review, for the month of September, John Steinbeck’s classic literary masterpiece Of Mice and Men. From the introduction alone, you can probably guess how I’d rate this book. Five of five stars, baby! So, why do I think this book is so great? Is it because of the story? The characters? The writing? All of the above.

imagesCAYSTFMG A simple story with a powerful message.

Many of us were forced to read this novel in high school. I myself taught this novel to my American Lit students back in my teaching days. But for those of you who didn’t crack the spine or who, for shame, were not allowed to read this book because it is on the banned books list, here is a summary of the story: Two migrant workers, George and Lennie, share a dream of buying their own land…

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Interview with Alyssa Brugman

Hey there! I know I haven’t posted anything for months and I do apologize. I’ve just been very busy preparing for college (I’m moving in the 27th) and I haven’t had the time to blog,but I do have a treat for those of you who do read my blog. The lovely Alyssa Brugman (Winner of the WA Premier’s Book Award for YA) allowed me to interview her on her newest book to be released in the states called “Alex as Well”.

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Recommended Reading: I Thought My Father Was God

The Daily Post

In April 1946, Theodore Lustig was discharged after serving three years in the army in World War II. Heading home on a train to New Jersey, he had grand plans for his new life. First, he bought a white shirt: a symbol of his return to a normal routine. The next step? Finding the girl of his dreams: his high school crush.

In his very short piece — “What If?” — he writes:

We got on the same bus — hers — and sat together reminiscing about the past and talking about the future. I told her of my plans and showed her the shirt I had bought — my first step toward making my dream come true. I didn’t tell her that she was supposed to be step two.

What If?” is just one story among the 180 true stories in I Thought My Father Was God: And Other True Tales From…

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10 Great (and Cute) Facts about Writers and Cats

Happy World Cat Day everyone! 🐈

Interesting Literature

It’s World Cat Day! The purr-fect opportunity (sorry – we couldn’t resist) to share 10 of our favourite writer-related facts about cats.

Ernest Hemingway had over 30 pet cats, with names including Alley Cat, Crazy Christian, Ecstasy, F. Puss, Fats, Furhouse, Skunk, Thruster, and Willy. Many of them had six toes; to this day, such cats are often known as ‘Hemingway cats’.

James Joyce wrote two stories for children, both about cats: ‘The Cat and the Devil’ and ‘The Cats of Copenhagen’. You can see some of the rare illustrations for ‘The Cat and the Devil’ here.

French writer Colette started her working day by picking the fleas off her cat.


One of Daniel Defoe’s early business ventures was the harvesting of musk which he extracted from the anal glands of cats. Perhaps unsurprisingly (and thankfully for the cats involved), this venture failed.

Samuel Pepys is credited with…

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What Book Never Leaves Your “To-Read” List?

101 Books

Last week, I told you about a bookish pet peeve that I’m completely guilty of—that being buying books that I never read. Many of you share that same trait—though some of us disagree on whether it’s a bad or good.

Let’s play off that thought today and hopefully generate a little discussion in the comments.

What’s your forever “to be read” book? It’s the book that’s always on your to-be-read list, always the one you’ll be reading next, yet somehow gets the cold shoulder when that “next book” comes around.

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Review of The Murder of Roger Ackroyd

An excellent and well written review! Be sure to check this book out if you love murder mysteries.

Exploring Literature

the-murder-of-roger-ackroyd1What was it about?

The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie is told from the perspective of James Sheppard, a surgeon living in King’s Abbott, England. Although he first meets Roger Ackroyd at a dinner in Fernly Park, Sheppard has known for years about Roger’s family troubles. His stepson Ralph Paton, somewhat of a prodigal son, is engaged to be married to Flora Ackroyd, the daughter of Roger’s sister-in-law. At the start of the novel, Sheppard learns of the death of Mrs. Ferrars, a widow who rumor claimed had killed her first husband. Roger had been engaged to marry this woman.

After the dinner, Roger Ackroyd invites James Sheppard to his study and informs him that Mrs. Ferrars had been blackmailed by someone for the alleged murder of her husband. Roger suggests that the blackmailer is responsible for the woman’s death. Parker, Roger’s butler, enters the study and hands Roger a letter which the…

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You’ve Got to Spend Money to Make Money: How Much Does it Cost to Self-Publish?

For those of you who are thinking about self-publishing. 🙂

Kylie Betzner

We’ve all heard the saying: “You’ve got to spend money to make money.” But how is that relevant to writers? It’s not like we’re running our own business. Or are we? In many respects, writing for a living is just like running a business. You’ve got to create an excellent product and brand. You have to build the platform from which you’ll market your books, and so on and so forth. Sounds like a business to me. And like any business, the key to success is investment.

So, how much should you invest in the creation of your novel? That’s a tricky question, considering there is no set payoff. It’s not like Amazon purchases your novel upfront. But there are several things to consider.

Your Personal Budget. You can’t spend what you don’t have. If you’re drafting a novel, start saving for preproduction costs now!

Expected Earnings. It’s not a secret that self-published…

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Book #72: The Lord Of The Rings

An insightful look and review on one of my favorite trilogies of all time.

101 Books

Wow. It “only” took me about two months, but I’ve finally completed the epic known as The Lord of the Rings.

As I’ve said before, I had only read about half the novel before inexplicably putting it down many years ago without finishing. What was I thinking?

The Lord of the Rings is, quite possibly, the best novel ever written.

I don’t say that ironically, and I’m not saying that to troll. I really mean it. But, of course, as is everything on this blog, that’s just my opinion—which is reflected in my rankings.

You know the story, right?

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