Thinking of writing a book review?

So you know how to write a review do you? Think again!!!

Have We Had Help?


This post is aimed squarely at my fellow writers.


Since the act of reviewing a book was made available to every Tom, Dick or Harriet, and before you even think about writing one, there are a few things everyone needs to take into consideration before you hit the ‘Publish’ button.

To begin with, avoid spoilers (giving away the plot) like the plague. Next refrain from mentioning that you found errors in any given book, whether traditional or Indie published. No one likes a smart arse endlessly droning on about it in every review they write, least of all the publisher and author of the work in question. To say the least, it becomes tiresome in the extreme. To that end there’s a highly appropriate saying which goes something like this – “People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”

If you don’t want to give the wrong impression…

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Montalbano sono!!

Stefania loves Salvo – so do I…



Andrea Camilleri, interviewed by Professor Tullio De Mauro, has recently explained the reason why he chose Sicilian dialect to write the majority of his novels and his well-known series centred on his most famous creature: Il Commissario Montalbano. In his early years he had started writing poems ( the Italian poet Salvatore Quasimodo had offered to include them in a Sicilian anthology of poems) and short stories. Short, in fact, whenever he tried to write in Italian, it seemed as if he “ran out of breath”, he said, and couldn’t carry the narration any further.

camilleri1When his father, with whom he had always had a conflicting relationship, was diagnosed of an incurable disease, he decided to spend his last days with him. It was the last occasion to talk, to make things clear, to understand each other, if possible. In one of these daily visits, Camilleri explained…

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Dream on all gullible idiots…

Theres gold in them thar words – yeh right, pull the other one!!!

Have We Had Help?


This morning I perused several posts on different internet pages extolling the importance of attending workshops and conferences for writers. All of them give the unsuspecting the totally wrong message, by implying that participation is a guarantee to literary success by sitting down with, and talking to, what the various sites claim are professionals in our business.

Most also suggest that by spending copious amounts of money to promote your work via their sites will also ensure success. This little time bomb is usually to be found buried in the small print, tucked well away from the main text.

To put it crudely – it’s all complete bollocks!

If you are a social climbing gadfly with money to burn who loves to tell anyone within earshot that you are an author, by all means flit between the various writers workshops and conferences, no matter where they are, to your heart’s…

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I do love a story, don’t you?

France & Vincent


…It was midnight before the Evil One came down

out of the mountains and made his way to Baugi’s farm.


He introduced himself, claimed he had been walking all day,

then asked for a meal, and to stop over in one of Baugi’s barns.


“What a time to come calling,” snorted Baugi.

“Is something wrong,” asked the Evil One, affecting concern.


“My farmhands have been killed,” said Baugi banging his fist into a wall.

The farmhouse shuddered.

“All nine of them!”

“I have an idea,” said the Evil One, “I will cover for them.”


Baugi looked the Evil One up and down, incredulously,

and then he grinned, “What wages would you want?”

“One sip of Suttung’s mead,” said the Evil One.


Baugi shook his head, “the mead is my brother’s, I have no claim on it.”

“To be a poet,” mused the Evil One…

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Book Reviews Versus Critiques

Read and learn…

Have We Had Help?


Since sites like Amazon gave the general public the opportunity to review any book they have read, what many still fail to understand, or indeed appreciate, is the difference between writing a review and what amounts to a critique.


Here is a typical example of a professional newspaper review:

The Secret History of the Blitz by Joshua Levine, review: ‘tunnels behind clichés’.

Next is an example of a critique by an individual who quite simply failed to appreciate the book they read:

A second weakness in Frankl’s writing is in the assumptions he sometimes makes to prove his point. He makes overarching generalizations several times in his book, making statements that, although may have been true for himself and those around him, might not have been true for every prisoner in every concentration camp during the Holocaust. For example, in one instance, he says, “The prisoner of Auschwitz …

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A-R International: Allan Hudson

What’s Allan been up to?

Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing

Allan Hudson
Authors-Readers International

I live on the east coast of Canada where the moody waters and fabulous sunrises inspire me. I’m married to a wonderful lady, Gloria.

I love reading and writing.

My short story The Ship Breakers received Honorable Mention in the Writers Federation of New Brunswick short story competition and has been selected by McGraw-Hill Ryerson to be part of their iLit collection.

My short stories have been published on and in The Golden Ratio. I published my collection of short stories, A Box of Memories, in April 2019.

I have self-published two action/adventure novels in the Drake Alexander Adventure Series, Dark Side of a Promise and Wall of War, that are available in both print and eBook formats through Amazon. I am presently working on a three volume historical fiction project tentatively titled The Alexanders.

I work as a…

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Déjà vu

Ok people pin your ears back. Here’s your christmas present – bah humbug!

Have We Had Help?

If this post seems familiar to some of you, it should do. I originally posted it on the 15th of February, 2015. Later I reblogged it. But as you know WP only allows a post to be reblogged once by any given individual. Hence the repost today with a couple of additional points included. Why? Because in these days of don’t read anything longer than a tweet, its message is still relevant – probably more so…



How much wood could a woodchuck chuck
If a woodchuck could chuck wood?
As much wood as a woodchuck could chuck,
If a woodchuck could chuck wood.

If you are of a certain age, chances are that you learnt that tongue twister in primary school, just as I did back in the early nineteen-fifties. It is a perfect example of the overuse of specific words, even though in this case it’s just a…

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Senility before Sunset.

Merry Christmas one and all….


I don’t sleep well. In fact, days where I manage 4 hours are unusual but very welcome. I don’t know if this is still the malign influence of Somnos or whether it’s just habit. I know that when people ask me about it I just laugh, shake my head and tell them it’s just the way I am and makes no difference to who I am and what I do. Or so I thought.

I had not slept on a Monday night so there was no chance I’d miss my early departure to go mooching with my daughter.We each try to discourage the other from spending. It doesn’t work of course but it’s fun trying. She is after a founder member of Shoppers -ing Unlimited.Anyway, I had a good day but for some reason I didn’t sleep Tuesday night either. I slept for 3 hours on Wednesday morning so…

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Want to make my skin crawl? Then carry on misusing words!

Like – you might like this post – like…

Have We Had Help?


Even though, like so many others who inhabit the internet, I make use of the ‘Like’ function, whether here in the blogosphere or on social media sites such as Facebook, there is a fundamental problem with doing so. What is it? See if you can guess before reaching the end of this post.


The Oxford English Dictionary has several definitions of the word Like. Here are just four:-

1. Having the same characteristics or qualities as; similar to

2. In the manner of; in the same way or to the same degree as

3. Used with reference to a person or thing of the same kind as another: the quotations could be arranged to put like with like | I know him—him and his like. (the like) a thing or things of the same kind (often used to express surprise or for emphasis): did you ever hear the like?…

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A-R International: Bob Van Laerhoven

My mate Bob is interviewed…

Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing

Bob Van Laerhoven
Authors-Readers International

A fulltime Belgian/Flemish author, I made my debut as a novelist in 1985 with the novel Nachtspel (Night Game) and quickly became known in Flanders for my ‘un-Flemish’ style and my kaleidoscopic novels in which the fate of the individual is closely related to broad social transformations. I became a full-time author in 1991. As a freelance travel writer I explored conflicts and trouble-spots across the globe from 1990 to 2003: Somalia, Liberia, Sudan, Gaza, Iran, Iraq, Myanmar, Lebanon, Mozambique, Burundi… to name but a few.

During the Bosnian war I spent part of 1992 in the besieged city of Sarajevo. Three years later I was working for MSF – Doctors without frontiers – in the Bosnian city of Tuzla during the NATO bombings. At that moment the refugees arrived from the Muslim enclave of Srebrenica. I was the first writer from the…

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