In a recently reposted essay, Joel Friedlander of book design fame extols the virtues of utilizing snappy photographs to grab readers’ interest. I heartily concur. In my eleven years of blogging at Pension Risk Matters, followed by Good Risk Governance Pays and now I Paint With Words, I have included an image in nearly every write-up. A visual can sometimes be more evocative of an idea or feeling than words alone. A selection can enhance the central message even when it’s not directly related to the subject at hand. To reinforce my commentary about building trust, I embedded an illustration of a giraffe atop an elephant with the latter walking acrossRead More →

During the last year, my research about the science of happiness and gratitude, along with my related analysis of what publishers are buying, suggests that stories about dogs and cats continue to be big business in the literary world. They are pop culture and movie favorites too. Although my debut inspirational gift book, soon to hit shelves in January 2017, is not exclusively centered on Fluffy and Rover, I’m excited that some of my pages reflect the sweetness of beloved pets. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (“ASPCA“) estimates that 40 to 50 percent of U.S. households include 70 to 80Read More →

In the last few months, I’ve been getting a crash course in independent publishing from idea generation to distribution. Candidly, the process is considerably more work than I anticipated but I am excited about the feedback from beta testers and the continued validation about potential readership appeal. I will report much more about what I’ve learned as my first of several books gets closer to a launch in early 2017. For now, I offer three observations: Writing for profit is a serious business. One should have a good idea, investigate competitors and figure out how the final book should be priced, marketed and sold. ForRead More →

If you are in midtown Manhattan, try to make your way to 41st Street, between Fifth Avenue and Park Avenue, for a glimpse of delightful expressions about books, writing and life. Known as Library Way, this series of bronze placards calls out notable words from famed authors that include Thomas Jefferson, Ernest Hemingway and Langston Hughes. Click here to read the full catalog of quotes. Once you have finished (if you are moving east to west), you will be rewarded with a view of the impressive main library building and the pair of lions, Patience and Fortitude, that guard the door. Time permitting, go insideRead More →

I took away lots of lessons from ThrillerFest 2016, including the need to spice up dialogue and emphasize active over passive. More than a few faculty members, bestselling authors all, went so far as to encourage attendees to learn about screenwriting techniques. Ever eager to learn, especially now at this early stage of my mystery writing endeavors, I signed up for the next Save the Cat workshop in New York City. For those who don’t know, this famed approach to screenwriting was created by Blake Snyder and described in a series of books he wrote prior to his untimely death in 2009. In a Writer’sRead More →

According to a recent email from the Authors Guild, there is a worldwide campaign to call attention to the impact of writers on the lives of others. Begun as the brainchild of the Writers’ Union of Canada, readers and authors are invited to reflect on this topic and then post their thoughts to #WhyWritersMatter. Coincidentally, I had already begun an essay about Mark Twain and his observations of the cultural zeitgeist of the late 19th century. The catalyst was my “eureka” moment during a tour of the Breakers in Newport, Rhode Island. Until then, I did not know that Samuel Langhorne Clemens (his real name) had coined the term “Gilded Age” to decry his view ofRead More →

Poetry is the gift that keeps on giving in terms of inspiration and enjoyment. A personal favorite (and there are many) is “The Sun Rising” by John Donne. Poet Carol Rumens describes this work as “one of the most joyous love poems ever written.” In only three stanzas, Donne gives life to a “busy old fool” who should bother tardy students and leave young sweethearts alone to idle in bed. His words resonate so well that we see the pesky intruder in our mind’s eye and bid her a quick adieu. Margaret Mitchell was no less influenced by a poet’s pen. According to “10 Fascinating Facts aboutRead More →