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Best 5 Books About Writing Every Writer Should Own

(Photo Credit): Pintrest

If you want to become a better writer, you have to keep writing and studying your craft. Over the years, I've read hundreds of books on writing better and faster and I keep researching for new titles I haven't read yet.  It takes courage to write honestly and to write well. is one of the dozens of writing sites I visit regularly to stay  engaged. 


What I like best about this site is that it a great resource for writers just starting out. Sometimes I forget what that is like since I write for a living. It's been mentioned  by some of my favorite media outlets including Publisher's Weekly,  Writer's Digest and The Chicago Tribune


So here's author John Matthew Fox's Top 5 Best Books  (including print and Kindle editions) on writing which mirrors many of my own choices, especially On Writing by Stephen King. Here, he explains why each book is necessary, so pay attention.  Regardless of your level of writing experience these books will help to improve your craft.


So, add these resourceful titles to your bookshelf today. 


1. Best Book for Beginners

"On Writing" by Stephen King

This book is the equivalent of an entire degree in writing. Seriously, my entire undergrad experience in creative writing could have been boiled down into the plainspoken and practical advice that King gives. He's exceptionally clear and only includes the most helpful information. If you are starting out as a writer, this book is vital.


2. Best Book to Help You Overcome Writing Fears

"The Courage to Write" by Ralph Keyes

So many of us fear writing. We love it, we want it, and yet we're scared of it. Keyes encourages us that this is perfectly normal, and shows us all the famous authors who have overcome crippling fears. If you want a bolt of lightning in your fingertips, Keyes will deliver it to you. There is no way you can read this and not feel emboldened to write your book.


3. Best Book to Help You Live the Writing Life

"Making a Literary Life" by Carolyn See

Carolyn See is responsible for my writing habits. She told me to write 1,000 words every day, and I followed this advice religiously. She has a ton of other practical advice too (about money, and about habits) and she literally changed my writing life. Read her. Now.


4. Best Collection of Writing Essays

"The Writer's Notebook" by Assorted Authors (Tin House Books)

Steve Almond talks about sex scenes ("Hard Up for a Hard-on"), Aimee Bender talks about character motivation, and we also get essays about how to write a dynamic scene and choose exactly the right word. Whether you're just starting out or have 3 books under your belt, this book will give you the lowdown on powerful writing skills.


5. Best Book for Advanced Writers

"The Art of Subtext" by Charles Baxter

You don't just want to write books that are good on the surface. You want to write books with layers of meaning, books that entertain the reader on the second read and the third read. Books so deep the reader can't stop thinking about them, and want to discuss them with their book club. Baxter teaches you how to do that.


For more writing tips for beginners as well as  advance writers, visit  the BoxFox here.

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Angelina Jolie, Fake News and How To Spot It For Kids

Fake News is information that cannot be verified, without sources, and possibly untrue.

I've been writing about entertainment/celebrity news most of my adult life. I've been published consistently since I was 15. When I was learning my craft, I took my journalism training very seriously. "Report only the facts, verify your sources, keep clear of controversial topics,  that kind of thing.  Now, the rules seem to have changed and I am not so comfortable writing about celebrities and other public figures anymore. 
 There are so many "Fake News" stories and outlets as well as well as way too much celebrity gossip and scandal news  which I have no interested in reporting.
I came across this story on actress Angelina Jolie and how she plans to produce a TV show that will teach older kids how to spot fake news stories.  I was intrigued. Now, that's a novel idea.
Fake News just seems to be everywhere on the Internet. But what exactly constitutes Fake News and how will older kids be able to determine the difference?
According to Wikipedia, Fake News is "a form of news consisting of deliberate disinformation or hoaxes spread via traditional news media or online social media. Digital news has brought back and increased the usage of fake news, or yellow journalism."
Bottom line: Fake News is  information that cannot be verified, without sources, and possibly untrue.
Jolie, who has six children teamed with the BBC to create BBC My World, which will "explain the stories behind news and offer facts and information"  to help kids over the age of 13 make up their own minds on pressing international issues.


In a statement, The Maleficent star explained:  "As a parent I am happy to be able to give my support to a program that aims to help children learn more about the lives of other young people around the world, and connect to them to each other. I hope it will help children find the information and tools they need to make a difference on the issues that matter to them."
BBC My World will be a weekly half-hour program airing Sundays at 11:30 a.m. on BBC World News and will also be made available via a YouTube channel. The program does not yet have an air date. 


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2019 Best Indie Book Award Winners Announced

Best Indie Book Awards Submissions are now open for the 2020.

Best Indie Book Award has named the best independent books of 2019. Twenty-four authors, two illustrators, and one book cover designer are among the winners of the 2019 Best Indie Book Award (Otherwise known as the BIBAs). The winners were all presented with a physical BIBA trophy and their books displayed on the BIBA website.


2019 marked the 7th year of the BIBA contest, with two new awards being added to the lineup this year, an illustration award, and cover design award. The illustration contest resulted in a tie between Stefan Motmans (STEMO) and Rashad Malik Davis, bringing the total awards to twenty-seven.


24 Literary Award Winners
2 Illustration Winners
1 Cover Design Winner

Iconic actor, Alan Scarfe, known for his roles in Star Trek, Highlander, Stargate Atlantis, Lethal Weapon 3, Mysterious Island and The Outer Limits is one of several actors that garnered an award this year. Miles Watson picked up his third BIBA trophy for his works Knuckle Down and Sinner's Cross.


"The indie author scene has exploded in recent years, and the quality of indie writing continues to improve as a whole. We definitely have our work cut out for us."


Indie (Independent) authors are those who are engaged in self-publishing. Wikipedia defines self-publishing as "The publication of media by its author without the involvement of an established publisher. In common parlance, the term usually refers to physical written media, such as books and magazines, or digital media, such as e-books and websites. Unlike the traditional publishing model, in which control of the publication is shared with a publisher, the author controls the entire process, including design, price, distribution, marketing, and public relations."


According to Fortune Magazine, Ebook self-publishing has well surpassed the $1 billion mark.

"Our entrants understand the value of standing out in the crowd. With more than 1.5 million self-published books being released every year, it's easy for an author to drown in a sea of electronic pulp. Winning an award for a book can go a long way when it comes to visibility and credibility as an author. Best Indie Book Award helps authors reach a broader audience, and readers can be confident in their purchase when they choose an award-winning book."


A few of the other 2019 winners are:

Action Winner: Zimbabwe Hustle by Nate Granzow

Non-Fiction> Health Winner: Your Precious Sight by Dr. Eichin Chang-Lim

Mystery Winner: Honest John Raises Cain by Michael Dell

Memoir Winner: Stealing Cinderella by Mark D Diehl

Romance Winner: Playing With Fire by D.A. Henneman

Novella Winner: Kindred Spirits by Kevin Christopher Brown

Poetry Winner: Labyrinth by Fernando Rover Jr

Children's Winner: The Way To Be From A To Z by R.B. Schimmel


A complete list of winners is available on the Best Indie Book Award website:


2020 Best Indie Book Awards Submissions are now open for the 2020 Best Indie Book Contest, 2020 Best Illustration Contest, and the 2020 Best Book Cover Design Contest. Entries are accepted online at

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Bobby on Beaverstreet

I'm always happy to help promote my friend, author Robert Rosen's latest works. Bobby in Naziland: A Tale of Flatbush is described as a darkly comic and deeply moving memoir of a New York City lost to time. He'll be doing a book reading along with a few local actor, writer and musican friends at NYC's Killarney Rose on Beaver Street. See ya there!

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