Radio Radio

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 I’m old enough to remember when radio was a big deal. As a kid growing up in L.A. in the 60s and 70s, our generation’s golden years, I listened to “Boss Radio” with legendary DJs Robert W. Morgan, the Real Don Steel, Charlie Tuna and Humble Harve (who went on to do a stretch in…
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His Desk

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My friend, Renaissance man Doug Cox, has penned books, essays, poems, even a hit song or two during his remarkable life. In this essay, taken from his latest book, Sunlight and Shadows, he delivers a lifetime’s worth of practical writing advice. I reprint it here with permission. HIS DESK Through a beautiful wrought-ironwork window piece…
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Random Weirdness

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At my very first book festival in the early 2000s, I was sitting at a table in my tiny booth when a woman approached and asked about my novel, a question I was only too happy to answer in great detail. As I spoke, I noticed her digging around in her purse, presumably for money…
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Karma Kameleon

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I’m fascinated by karma. It’s been a theme of all my novels and many of my short stories. Rather than some mysterious external cosmic force, I see it as self-inflicted payback for a lifetime of hubris, arrogance and worse. In other words, shooting yourself in the foot. Let’s take the case of a hypothetical President.…
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So It Goes

Here’s one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever seen on the subject of creativity, courtesy of the late, great Kurt Vonnegut: In 2006 a high school English teacher asked students to write a famous author and ask for advice. Kurt Vonnegut was the only one to respond – and his response is magnificent:…
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Books I’ll Never Get To Write

I’m good at naming stuff. For years I’ve been throwing scraps of ideas into a file with pretend names of movies, bands, products, songs, businesses and books. More book titles than I have time or energy to write. Here’s a sampling, broken down by genre. Feel free to use them as you see fit. No…
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Songs That Make Me Cry

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I’m not a crier. Never have been. And yet, every now and then, a song on the radio will catch me off guard and get me all verklempt. With New Year’s fast approaching, maybe I’ll pour myself a glass of ancient Irish whiskey and crank up the waterworks with the tearful tunes below: Redemption Song/Bob…
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A Tribute to Becky

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Every cat has a story. Becky was the Marley of cats. She wolfed down her food, drank out of the toilet, knocked over the trash, begged at the table and, although she was an inside pet, tried to slip outdoors every chance she got. But she also met me at the door each day after…
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Consider the Source

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Let’s talk about reviews. Are they helpful?  If you mean, can good reviews help you sell more books, it’s possible. Especially if you’re lucky, and talented, enough to receive some kind words from a credible source like Kirkus or Publisher’s Weekly. How about Amazon reviews? I think so, although no one knows for sure. Amazon,…
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“I Only Read Nonfiction”

At a book fair signing yesterday, a man I thought was a potential buyer told me, “I only read nonfiction.” He said it with an air of disdain and something approaching a sneer. As if made-up stories were beneath him. I’ve heard this before and I still don’t get it. Nonfiction, of course, can be…
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