Bookin' It

So Many Books. So Little Time. Let's Review!

Good Morning!

Marcia:

Name change on new blog, already, ha! Read about it here, and please think about following. ESPECIALLY if you are a writer. I will use this blog to get as much additional exposure for you and your books as I can. Thanks!

Originally posted on The Write Stuff:

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First, a big thank you to those who have already followed me. You will forever more be known as the ones who have been here since the very first day, and I’m so grateful for your support.

Second, you may have noticed that I changed the name of the blog already. :) WordPress assured me that I didn’t need to overthink the name while setting things up, and could change it later, so I have. I wanted to better reflect what the blog is about, namely writing and writers. Including me, of course, so I’m in the tag line, since all of my book info, news, updates, and excerpts will be here now. But I want this to be about other writers, as well. Especially, though not limited to, those newbies out there who are looking for as much exposure as possible. I will be offering that for them, via…

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Sunday Night Giggle #2

Okay, ONE more, but that’s IT!

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Sunday Night Giggle!

Long, hard weekend. I need a laugh, and I’m sharing it with you!

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Well, That Was Quick!

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I finally bit the bullet and just paid for the upgrade, giving me the control over fonts I wanted. Now, my new blog looks much better, and while I’ll be tweaking it for some time, I’m sure, it is probably ready for Prime Time. Please stop by and see what you think, and I’d love it if some of you decide to follow this one, as well.

The main difference between Marcia Meara Writes and Bookin’ It, is that MMW will be focused primarily upon…tada!…writing, where Bookin’ It was always meant to be primarily focused on reading. As I mentioned, there will be some overlap, but I’m hoping to concentrate on reviews, author interviews, discovering new authors, cover art, and release dates on Bookin’ it. On MMW, I want to talk more in depth about self-publishing, writing practices and roadblocks, news about my own books, promos, and discussions with other writers on the kinds of things that crop up when you are actually trying to make a living doing this.

I think there are a lot of you who would enjoy both blogs (fingers crossed), so I hope you guys will stop by, Follow Marcia Meara Writes, and see what shakes out in the weeks ahead.

Thanks so much, and…as you were, folks! I’ll be back later with a new review. Just need to finish Chapter 26 in A Boy Named Rabbit. I’ve left those poor people in the lurch!! Must get back to that mountain and sort things out.

Have a great Sunday!

Marcia Meara Writes

My Newest Blog

Bear with me, folks. Some of you have found my new blog, already, and that’s great, but I want you to know it’s not done yet! :) Still tinkering with font sizes, display stuff, and content. I realized, even my “test” Welcome post doesn’t cover all the things I hope to do on that blog. For one thing, I want to get some good discussions going there with other writers, things which may or may not be of interest to those not trying to make their way into the business. I’ll be posting a formal announcement when I think it’s really ready for Prime Time, but I welcome anyone who heads on over looking for a sneak peek. You guys rock!

If you do stop by, be sure to let me know, and be RE-assured it’s going to get lots better! Oh, and while you’re there, feel free to go ahead and click that Follow button! :) Things will be happening soon that you might not want to miss. At least, that’s MY plan! ;)

As for Bookin’ It, this change will let me focus on book reviews, Author Interviews, and reading-related posts, here. Yes, there will be some overlap, but removing lengthy posts about what’s going on with my books will make navigation easier for those who want to read more about new book releases and other more general book-related posts.

Hope this all works out as well as I envision…wish me luck!  

New Blog News

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After struggling for some time to get the Menu above organized and several new links working properly, I had to admit defeat. So, I decided to create a new Author’s Blog where I could focus on my own books, news, excerpts, promos, etc, and forget about trying to make it all fit here. Oh, I’ll still keep this blog updated about new promos, etc, but this will let me use Bookin’ It the way I originally intended, namely for book reviews and posts on other people’s writings. It was just getting too cluttered up with my stuff all over the place, too, especially when the links either didn’t show up at all, or didn’t work properly.  

Of course, I spent a whole day trying to remember how to set up a new blog, and get the theme I wanted operating properly. It’s still a work in progress. But once it’s done, I’ll be posting the link here, so that any of you who want to follow my books a bit more closely can do so. Hopefully, you’ll enjoy both blogs enough to follow each. I’ll do my best to make them both worthwhile, and I’ll keep you posted!

What Are You Reading?

Maggie Stiefvater's The Raven Boys Book Cover

It’s Friday again…LATE Friday, but still…it’s Friday, and Friday is What Are You Reading Day. Me, I’m about half way finished with Book 2 of The Raven Cycle, The Dream Thieves. I finished re-reading The Raven Boys a few days ago, and started right in on this one, and with every single page, I’m reminded yet again what a powerful writer Maggie Stiefvater is. Lots of folks write pretty good YA books and fun Urban Fantasy series, but very few people reach the level of writing Stiefvater does. She can lay open a character’s soul more efficiently than a boning knife, and often, with equally painful results.  I want to say more, but I’m restraining myself. I’ll be reviewing these two books soon enough, so no need to go farther at this point.

Your turn, though. What are you reading, and are you enjoying it? Let’s ask that, too. *tapping my foot, here, eager to know*

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A Favor?

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If you enjoy my Wednesday Author Interview feature, please remember to share it. On Facebook, Twitter, by reblogging, or any other way you can get the word out. I would really like for these interviews to increase exposure for the authors who are kind enough to participate, and any help you can give them would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much for considering this. Let’s get the word out! :)

Thor’s Day Joke #3

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Thor’s Day Joke #2

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Thor’s Day Joke #1

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Wednesday Author Interview: Meet Diane Gilbert Madsen

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You’ve GOT to Love This Cover, Right?

Today, Bookin’ It is happy to welcome mystery writer, Diane Gilbert Madsen. Diane, could you tell us a bit about how you became a writer? When did you decide that’s what you wanted to be, and what steps did you take to prepare for a writing career? 

DGM: Like so many English majors, I have the writing gene. Impossible to escape fate, even though I had a career in the business world for many years.  I’ve tried to combine the two in my Literati Mystery series.  Writing a novel is not a thing you do, rather it’s a thing that happens to you.  One day it becomes inevitable.  I prepare to write a new book by doing a lot of research, developing what I hope is a good plot and some interesting characters.  You find yourself in a writing career after you publish the first book, start getting fan mail, and write the second. 

BI: I’m finding a bit of that out for myself. Were you inspired by any particular authors, past or present, and what is it about their work that impresses you, or moves you? 

DGM: I write the Literati Mystery Series. The third in the series is The Conan Doyle Notes: The Secret of Jack the Ripper, obviously inspired by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.  Doyle led a very interesting life and accomplished much more than just writing the Sherlock Holmes adventures.  He introduced downhill skiing into Switzerland; was one of the first to propose a tunnel connecting England and France; was one of the first to drive an automobile in England; helped change the judicial system by calling for an appeals process; and he was an energetic champion of divorce reform.  One question I always had was why he had never written anything about the Jack the Ripper murders – the most sensational case of the time.  This was the first Serial Killer case, and the press made it a worldwide sensation. It seemed odd that he never created a story in which his famous detective, Sherlock Holmes, caught the Ripper.   I began doing research, and found some intriguing facts and incorporated them into this new Literati Mystery. 

BI: Wow, I never knew any of that about Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. How interesting, and I can see why you would wonder about Jack the Ripper. I have a feeling I know the answer, but may I ask what genres you read most often for pleasure…those books you gravitate toward the minute you walk into a bookstore? 

DGM: I love mystery stories. My husband, Tom, swears that I walk, talk, eat and sleep mysteries.  I’ve been that way all my life.  I devoured the mysteries on the shelves in my local library then went on to larger libraries and then to bookstores. I do read biographies and thrillers and adventure stories, too, but as they say – make mine mystery.  It was a thrill to finally see my books on those shelves.

I particularly like mysteries with interesting sleuths and settings and topics that provide opportunities to learn something out of the ordinary, such as mysteries set in Venice, or mysteries having to do with art forgery or history or counterfeiting or industrial espionage. If the author has done a good job of research and writing, the reader can have a great time learning something new without feeling as if it’s School 101. 

BI: I know what you mean. I feel that all the best books teach you something new, in addition to being entertaining. About your writing process—do you have a dedicated workspace, and are you consistent with the amount of time you spend writing each day? 

DGM: I write and do research in my office, which my family calls The Bat Cave. Sometimes when I’m in the middle of research for a project, it gets so messy that my husband Tom says he’s afraid to enter. Since I live in Southwest Florida, I often take a break for a swim in my pool and then go back to the computer.  Of course, sometimes I don’t make it back.  

BI: My personal Bat Cave slops over into the entire front half of the house, I’m afraid. But lucky for me, my husband tends to be oblivious to things like that, so I don’t catch too much flak from him. Do you use visual aids, like Inspiration Boards/Photos or maps of your book’s setting? What reference books or other material do you consult most frequently as you write? 

DGM: For The Conan Doyle Notes , I put a photo of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle on my desk. I use biographies, histories, autobiographies and whatever else I can find including films about my subjects.  You never know when you start where your search will take you, and that’s what’s so much fun about research. For The Conan Doyle Notes,I used materials I’ve collected through my life, as I was interested in Doyle and the Ripper murders for many years before I started doing the research and writing.

For my second Literati Mystery, Hunting for Hemingway, I purchased a portable Corona #3 typewriter of the same vintage as the one Hemingway had in the story I was writing. It’s from the early ‘20’s and the carriage folds down to fit neatly into a leather case.  I used it for inspiration, and it was easy to picture the young Ernest Hemingway carrying his portable Corona #3 throughout Europe, writing his dispatches for the Toronto Star newspaper. 

BI: I like the research process, too, and there’s a surprising amount of it involved, even when you aren’t writing something with a basis in history, so I can only imagine how much you had to dig through. When you have an idea for a new book, do you sit down and start typing, or do you start with an outline, and figure out all the major plot points first? In other words, is your working style structured and organized, or more organic and free flowing? 

DGM: I always run the basic plot line through my husband Tom. He’s a great sounding board and often helps me flesh out details along the way.  I do a synopsis and then expand it to include major plot points.  I don’t do an elaborate outline as some writers do.  However, I always know the beginning and the end.  And I always know who my villain is.  That way, I try to be fair with my readers and give them sufficient clues throughout the book.  A study done on Agatha Christie’s work said she provided readers with a clue every eleven pages.   Once at a conference I attended, a fairly well known author said he didn’t know who the murderer was going to be in his new book until the last chapter.  I wondered whether he had to go back into the book and insert the clues.  

BI: You sound very organized, in the best way, and I can’t imagine not knowing who your villain is until the end. I agree with you, at the end of the book, surprised readers should be able to go back through and see the trail of breadcrumbs you’ve left behind. Otherwise, they have no real shot at figuring out whodunit, and isn’t that why most readers love a good mystery? 

Now back to your preferences—eBooks or print? Why? 

DGM: I prefer print for research and for pleasure. But I also use my Kindle.  The Kindle has attracted a lot of new, young readers who otherwise might never enter a bookstore or a library, and this is a good thing.   It also helps folks who can’t read as well as they once did with enlarged print capabilities.  So I like to think of the e-book as an added bonus.  

BI: Ah, a nice, balanced answer to that question. It always amazes me that many writers don’t see the benefits of using both. (And the ability to set font sizes is a real plus to me.) Now it’s time to learn about the books have you published, and where we can buy them. 

DGM: My Literati Mystery Series features DD McGil, Insurance Investigator, probing the true mysteries and secrets that famous authors have in their past. 

As I was taking my Masters in 17th century English literature, what I found fascinating was reading a work and then speculating on how the story might have continued after the final page. I extended this to the lives of authors, many of who led adventuresome lives away from their writing, with many incidents that led to ‘what if’ speculation.  I decided to combine my conjectures about incidents in authors’ lives with my other passion – mysteries – and create the Literati Mystery Series.  

The series gives readers an intriguing blend of mystery and history. If you think you know all there is to know about Robert Burns or Ernest Hemingway, or Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, you’ll discover some interesting – and deadly – mysteries afoot. All the Literati Mysteries are set in today’s world of academic and corporate treachery.   There are three books in the series. All my books are available on my website: Diane Gilbert Madsen

The Conan Doyle Notes: The Secret of Jack the Ripper questions whether the identity of one of the greatest criminals of all time, Jack the Ripper, was deduced by Conan Doyle, the author of the Sherlock Holmes mysteries. Conan Doyle frequently collaborated with Scotland Yard on real-life cases. What did Conan Doyle know and why he was silent about this case?   Available atAmazon  or at MX Publishing.

Hunting for Hemingway is based on a real incident in Ernest Hemingway’s life when his first wife, Hadley Richardson, packed all his work in progress manuscripts into a suitcase that was stolen at the Gare de Lyon railroad station as she boarded a train to meet Hemingway in Switzerland. Although he offered a reward, Hemingway never got any of his work back. What really happened to it?  A Chicago academic claims he has recovered the manuscripts, they are worth millions if they are genuine.  Insurance Investigator DD McGil, aided by her antiquarian book dealer friend Tom Joyce, are hired to authenticate them or prove them fake.  When the academic is murdered and the manuscripts stolen,  their quest puts them on the trail of a killer, and the hunter becomes the hunted.  Available here on Amazon.

In A Cadger’s Curse, the past meets the present based on an exciting incident in Robert Burns’ life in the 1700’s when an artifact worth millions is uncovered in Chicago in the 21st Century. Is it real or is it faked? And who would kill for it? And how is it all connected to the corporate problems at HI-Data and to DD McGil’s dead fiancé? Available here on Amazon.

BI: These all sound really intriguing, and appropriately, mysterious. Are you currently working on a new book? When do you expect it to be available? 

DGM: I’m currently working on several projects. One is a screenplay about Ernest Hemingway that my agent will be submitting to a Hollywood producer.  I’m also working on the 4th Literati Mystery entitled, The Cardboard Palace.  Additionally, I’m writing a non-fiction book about the Sherlock Holmes stories entitled, Cracking the Code of the Canon: How Sherlock Holmes Made his Decisions. In this book, I categorize all the Holmes stories.   I’m also writing several articles, including one on the Holmes story entitled The Devil’s Foot,and one on The Priory School.  Another article of mine on the Holmes story, The Cardboard Box, will be published in the Fall issue of The Baker Street Journal. 

BI: Wow, Diane! You are one busy writer! I’m very impressed, since cobbling together one romantic suspense novel at a time pretty much eats up my whole life. You have inspired me. Last question. What is the best thing about being a writer? The worst? 

DGM: The best things for me are doing all the research for a new book and also meeting mystery fans. I love the whole research process.  You never know what you will uncover, and I’m always excited about the various twists and turns where different avenues of research take me.  Meeting fans of my work and getting fan mail is always a thrill.  Mystery fans are delightful – so intelligent and friendly – and they always are curious about the writing process, so it’s fun to share “how we do it.” 

DGM: The worst thing about being a writer is the long hours I spend in my “Bat Cave.” Hemingway said, “Writing is easy. Just sit down at the typewriter and sweat blood.”  That’s what all writers do, but it’s a game of chance very few win big.   John Steinbeck said it best, “The profession of book-writing makes horse racing seem like a solid, stable business.” 

Thanks so much for interviewing me, Marcia. 

BI: Thank you very much for taking time from such a busy schedule to talk to us today. I’ve really enjoyed learning more about you and your books, and I can’t wait to read them. I know many of my regulars here are going to want to check them out, as well. Thanks, again. 

DGM

Diane Gilbert Madsen with the Infamous Corona

Diane Gilbert Madsen is the author of the award winning DD McGil Literati Mystery Series including  A Cadger’s Curse, Hunting for Hemingway, and her newest, The Conan Doyle Notes: The Secret of Jack the Ripper.

Formerly, Diane was the Director of Economic Development for the State of Illinois where she oversaw the Tourism and the Illinois Film Office when The Blues Brothers and The Hunter were being made.  She later ran her own consulting firm and is listed in The World Who’s Who of Women and Who’s Who in Finance & Industry.

 She is a member of Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, the International Association of Crime Writers, the Chicago Writers Association, and the Florida Writers Association. Diane was an invited speaker at the International Hemingway Colloquium held in Havana Cuba last year.

She has published articles in the PBS Expressions Magazine; The Hemingway Review; Mystery Scene Magazine; Mystery Readers Journal; Sisters in Crime Newsletter, The Write City Magazine, and the forthcoming fall issue of The Baker Street Journal.

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Angel, In Her Cat Bed

Diane lives with her husband Tom and Angel, their Japanese Chin, at Twin Ponds, a 5-acre wildlife sanctuary on Cape Haze in Englewood, Florida.

 Find Diane’s Books

 The Conan Doyle Notes: The Secret of Jack the Ripper

Hunting for Hemingway

A Cadger’s Curse

Find Diane on Social Media here:

Facebook

Twitter

Pinterest

World Blog Hop

Marcia:

23 Thorns is doing a Blog Hop. Read about it here…trust me, it’s funny. And oh, yeah. I’m proud to say he’s nominated me to take part, too, which I will do very soon. Maybe tomorrow.

Originally posted on 23thorns:

I am not much of a joiner. Or at least I never have been. I have always clung to the vague hope that this would make me seem windswept and interesting, like Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights, but the sad truth of the matter is that I am bulky and blond and blue-eyed, and started developing smile-lines around my eyes when I was about seventeen. The bulky, blue-eyed, smile-lined people of the world might carry many things around with them, but an air of mystery isn’t one of them.

Which is how this half of the band "Modern Talking" was able to get away with murdering 37 prostitutes and a dental hygienist in the 80's.

Which is how this half of the band “Modern Talking” was able to get away with murdering 37 prostitutes and a dental hygienist in the 80’s.

I’ve been a bad blogger. Since I started doing this, a couple of people have done me the honour of nominating me for the various awards that seem to float around on WordPress. I have spurned…

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Monday Giveaway: Jim Butcher and Devon Monk

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My Rating: 5 of 5 Stars

It’s Moon’s Day, once again, and that means time to give away a book or two. Finished up giving away all the Odd Thomas books to date last week, so this week, I’m moving on to other recent releases you might be interested in winning. Read more…

Off For A Chickie Day!

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Hold down the fort, guys! I’m off to spend a wild and crazy day with my favorite Chickie, my wonderful cover designer and very good friend, Nicki Forde. Nicki is an amazingly talented graphic designer who always “gets” my vision, and then improves on it. She’s also the best friend anyone could ask for. See ya tonight!

Thor’s Day Joke on Friday, #3

TEAMWORK

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Thor’s Day Joke on Friday, #2

How cute are these?

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Thor’s Day Joke on Friday, #1

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Love This Quote!

 

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“All of you out there who believe in telepathy, raise your hand. All right.
Now, everyone who believes in telekinesis: raise my hand.” —Dennis Owens

Paranormal vs Supernatural

 

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Ever wonder what the difference is? I did some research, and quickly discovered there were lots of opinions out there, most dancing around the same basic distinctions (though some were quite different). I found the one that made the most sense to me, and suspect that’s what I’ll be using as my guidelines when I’m reviewing books in the future. The entire article at Knowledge Nuts can be found here. For purposes of this post, I’m going with their opening lines. Works for me.

“The terms “paranormal” and “supernatural” are often tossed around to mean the same thing—something we don’t understand. They’re actually two separate terms, though. “Paranormal” refers to something that’s not understood by current scientific knowledge; there’s the potential that something paranormal will someday be explained scientifically, and there’s a likelihood there’s a good, natural explanation for it. “Supernatural” refers to a phenomenon that is beyond our capability to understand, now and simply forever, because it just doesn’t operate under our rules.”

What Are You Reading?

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It’s Friday again, and time for What Are You Reading once again. I know I’ve been remiss for a couple of weeks, but you’ll have to excuse me. The last six weeks or so have been totally out of control. Travel, illness, family drama, and other pressing issues got in my way, but…to paraphrase a certain spooky someone…I’m baaaaaaaa-aaaaaack. More or less. :) So on to the burning question of the day.

I’m re-reading Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Boys, Book 1 in what I think is a trilogy. I have Book 2 waiting for me, but I realized I really wanted to revisit Book 1 before starting it. This is a complicated tale, and I had forgotten some bits and pieces. I also had forgotten how completely beautiful and compelling Chapter 1 of The Raven Boys is. Maggie Stiefvater is an enormously gifted writer. Not just capable of telling great stories, but of using words, phrases, and imagery like no other. She’s who I want to be when I grow up. Her words pull me into her books like no one else’s, and they just don’t let go. I can’t imagine anyone reading the graveyard scene in Chapter 1 and not being caught hook, line, and sinker. I’ve already reviewed this book here and as soon as I finish re-reading it, and then reading the second book, The Dream Thieves, I’ll be reviewing that one, as well.

Now it’s your turn. What are you reading? As always, inquiring minds want to know, so don’t be shy. Let me hear from you.

The Raven Boys

The Dream Thieves

Never Forget

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Wednesday Author Interview: Meet Yvonne Ventresca

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LOVE this Cover!
Can’t Wait to Read The Book

Today, Bookin’ It would like to welcome Children’s/Young Adult Writer, Yvonne Ventresca. Yvonne, it’s great to have you here with us today. Could you tell us a bit about how you became a writer? When did you decide that’s what you wanted to be, and what steps did you take to prepare for a writing career?  Read more…

Update on Release of The Collector’s Treasure

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Just wanted to let you guys know that shortly after Nick Taylor and Alisha Payne’s book, The Collector’s Treasure, went live on amazon, some sort of technical glitch popped up making it impossible to download the ebook or order the paperback. They are in contact with amazon and the paperback is now available again, but the eBook download is still not working. If you were hoping to read this (like me!), hang in there. Surely amazon will sort it out soon, and all will be well. (Good luck, Nick & Alisha!)

Interview with author Marcia Meara

Marcia:

Stella Tarakson interviewed me for her blog, and it was so much fun, I had to share it with you.

Originally posted on Stella Tarakson:

I’ve come across some amazing people through the blogsphere. Even though we’ve never met, I feel like I’m getting to know Marcia Meara of the Bookin’ It blog, an inspirational woman of drive, wit and wisdom. She wrote her first novel at the age of 69, and her message to the world is, ‘It’s never too late to pursue your dream’. She kindly agreed to be interviewed for my blog.

Marcia Meara

Marcia Meara

1. Have you always wanted to write?
Short answer, yes. I’ve wanted to write all my life, from the age of five when I first started scribbling poems on yellow legal tablets. (Yes, they had them clear back then.) I went all the way through high school, planning to be a writer, and constantly scribbling poetry here and there. But times were different, and my parents thought pursuing a writing career was a waste of time, and going…

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