Author Archive | Susan

Review: The Burgess Boys

The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout My rating: 3 of 5 stars I didn’t enjoy reading this book, but I’m glad I read it. Huh? Yeah, it doesn’t make sense to me either. When my book club selected THE BURGESS BOYS for our April read, I was excited. After all, I loved OLIVE KITTERIDGE. Some […]

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Me, Myself, and I–Using the Correct Pronouns

A recent New Yorker cartoon shows a guy lamenting to his friend, “It’s hard being a ‘just between you and me’ person in a ‘just between you and I’ world.” [For copyright reasons, I can’t display it here.] If you’re not sure why that’s funny, you need to keep reading. We’re exploring subjective, objective, and […]

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Review: This Dark Road to Mercy

This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash My rating: 3 of 5 stars This book started off really strong and ended sort of “meh.” The story is told from three alternating first-person points-of-view, which is very hard to pull off, and Cash does not fully succeed. The strongest of the three narrative voices belongs […]

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Funny Mysteries with a Jersey Edge

Hey, how you doin’? Today, I’m here to tell you about some funny mysteries that have a special je ne sais quoi. Je ne sais what? Hey, this is Jersey—we’re talkin’ Jersey Edge. New Jersey—where the surf is high and the politics is low-down. We’re impatient, brutally honest, and, as Jon Stewart points out, we […]

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Mystery Heroes to Take to Bed

In honor of Valentine’s Day I’m creating this list of my favorite mystery heroes to take to bed–quirky, tough, funny, smart, profane, and all sexy each in his own way. Of course, the stereotypical mystery hero is an alcoholic loner incapable of sustaining a relationship, but most of my favorites actually have a track record […]

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Review of THE GOLDFINCH

The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt My rating: 5 of 5 stars Wow, wow, WOW! It’s been a long time since I read a book that I couldn’t wait to get back to every day. When I finished on a weekday morning, I stumbled around the house for a while, unable to resume the activities of […]

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Clunky dialogue? Tips to keep it real.

Is your dialogue as clunky as sneakers in the dryer?  Here are some tips to keep it real. Real people don’t speak in paragraph-long soliloquies.  Keep your exchanges short, and use summary to explain background information. Real people don’t tell each other information they already know as a way of conveying it to the reader.  […]

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Banish Unnecessary Words

Wordiness is the urge to use ten words when three would have done nicely.  Extra words drain the power and urgency from your writing, so be on the lookout for redundancies and meaningless words.  Here is an example. He just tip-toed carefully across the scorchingly hot pavement. Is it possible to tip-toe recklessly?  Can scorching […]

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