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Writers Lost in 2010 Quiz – Guessing Closed

These writers wrote their last chapters in 2010.  Leave a comment with the # and writer’s name.  Each one worth 10 points.  You have until noon on Friday to submit your answers.  Be the first to get on the Leaderboard!

A few rules…No cheating.  No googling or looking at other commenter answers.  Yes, we’re going by the honor system…Your first answers will be the only ones accepted…Have fun!

1.  This British born mystery writer often set his crime novels in the horse racing world, a world he was comfortable with because of his time as a jockey.  Dick Francis (2-14-10)

2. Holden Caulfield became the face of teen angst and this reclusive author became a legend.  J.D. Salinger (1-27-10)

3. This American novelist wrote women’s fiction, including the Werner family sagas.  Belva Plain (10-12-10)

4. After creating some iconic television (Rockford Files, A-Team, etc.), he turned to novels, writing 14 before his death.  He had a successful writing career despite suffering from dyslexia.  Stephen Cannell (9-30-10)

5. This Portuguese novelist won the Nobel for Literature in 1998.  His last book, Caim (or Cain), was published in 2009, but I always think of him as the man who wrote a story about a mass epidemic of blindness.  Jose Saramago (6-18-10)

6. He wrote this novel and screenplay about love and how it means never having to say you’re sorry.  Erich Segal (1-17-10)

7. He wrote lots of  books about his activist views, but is most popular for People’s History of the United States .  Howard Zinn (1-27-10)

8. This comic book writer was a Clevelander who is perhaps most famous for the American Splendor comic series.  He is buried in a Cleveland cemetery next to Eliot Ness.  Harvey Pekar (7-12-10)

9. This crime writer wrote the popular Spenser series, also made into a popular 1980’s tv show.  Robert P Parker  (1-18-10)

10. Although a politician’s wife she wrote two very personal books discussing her bouts with cancer.  Elizabeth Edwards (12-7-10)

January 4, 2011 Posted by | Quizzes | , | 33 Comments

Writers Lost in 2009 Quiz

Here’s how to play…Identify the author and leave a comment with the # and the name and I’ll cross it off the list. No Googling, that’s cheating and no fun!  These authors wrote their final chapters in 2009.  If you are the first one to get it right it will earn you an extra entry for Beautiful Creatures by  Tracy Chevalier (details here).

1. This Pulitzer Prize winner is best known for his Rabbit series.  John Updike, 1/27/09 (Susan)

2. This epic fantasy novelist took us to Belgariad and Malloreon.  David Eddings, 6/2/09 (Strangelove)

3. This children and young adult author won the Newbery Medal in the late 1980’s.  My favorite was about a girl named Trissy.  Norma Fox Mazer, 10/17/09 (Em)

4. This science fiction writer’s young life was best represented in his autobiographical novel (and later a  movie starring a young Christian Bale) set in Shanghai where he was born in the International settlement and interred during World War II.  JG Ballard, 4/19/09 (Strangelove)

5. This Florida writer was best known for her Suspicion series.  Barbara Parker, 3/7/09 (Kay)

6. This gay African-American man authored 10 consecutive New York Times bestsellers. E Lynn Harris, 7/23/09 (CeeCee)

7. A long time syndicated political columnist for the New York Times and a contributor  to On Language in the New York Times magazine.  William Safire, 7/23/09 (Hannah)

8. The 1977 feminist novel The Women’s Room is perhaps her best known work.  Marilyn French, 5/2/09 (Strangelove)

9. Although best know as a politician from a very political family his memoir was published after his death. Ted Kennedy, 8/25/09 (Debbie)

10. He became a regular contributor to Vanity Fair after his daughter was murdered.  He hosted his own tv series on Court tv (truTV) about justice and celebrities Dominick Dunne, 8/26/09 (Debbie)

11. This Canadian author wrote a series of archaeological mystery novels, one of which I read last year because it began with an X.  Lyn Hamilton, 9/10/09 (Jenners)

12. He wrote the screenplays for some of the best movies of the 1980’s.  Does Sixteen Candles or Planes, Trains, and Automobiles ring a bell?  John Hughes, 8/6/09 (Stranglove)

13. This English model and photographer also wrote more than a dozen glitzy romance novels.  Pat Booth, (Sarah E)

14. This conservative columnist, journalist, and author died of brain cancer.  Robert Novak, 8-18-09 (jb)

15. Best known as an actor and dancer, he wrote this memoir with his wife before losing his battle with cancer.  Patrick Swayze, 9/14/09 (Debbie)

January 12, 2010 Posted by | Quizzes | , | 16 Comments

9 in ’09 with Tish Cohen and Book Giveaway

This Friday Canadian writer, Tish Cohen, joins me for 9 questions.  I reviewed Inside Out Girl last year and it was a 2008 favorite.  Tish is a novelist, YA writer, and children’s book author.  Visit her website for more information.  Thank you so much for answering my questions and for offering a free book, Tish!

Ms. Cohen is graciously offering a signed copy of Inside Out Girl to ONE lucky reader.  To enter please leave a comment on this post after reading the interview, one entry per person.  There are no shipping restrictions.  I’ll draw a winner next Friday, February 6th, at noon.

Cover Image

1. Your first book, Town House, is being made into a movie.  Can you tell us a little about the process and how involved you are?

I’m not involved in the process beyond getting to read the script and hearing which actors are being considered.  But I’ve learned a great deal nonetheless–most of all that Hollywood is a hurry up and wait industry.  I think it’s important to trust the people who are making your film adaptation – I feel pretty lucky with my studio, producer, screenwriter, and director.  They all want to produce a quality film and I couldn’t ask for more than that.

2. I loved your novel, Inside Out Girl, and it’s most compelling character, Olivia, who is stricken with NLD (nonverbal learning disorders).  What is the one thing you want people to know about this disorder?

My close friend is a family therapist and once told me her favorite clients are the children with non-verbal learning disorders, because of their loving dispositions–naivete’, and utter inability to connect with other children.  She loved that they talked too close, constantly knocked things over, said the wrong thing, and still got lost on the way to the restroom down the hall in an office they’d been coming to for five years.  Often they can’t walk up the stairs and talk at the same time, their clothes are inside out and their lack of motor skills means they can’t brush their own teeth.  If you tell them to jump in a lake, they probably will.  Frustrating, to say the least.

But they will hug you until you weep.  They not only wear their hearts on their sleeves, but on a neon sign above their heads.  They see nothing wrong with marching straight up to the meanest clique in middle grade or the bully everyone fears and wrapping themselves around them in a full-body hug.  And they cannot for the life of them see why they’re rejected.

I thought about what it would mean to have a child with NLDand the joy and pain that would entail.  Then I wondered what that parent would do if he found out he was dying and had to leave his daughter in a world that doesn’t understand her.  The reason I chose a father and daughter for this story was very deliberate.  Parents of girls with conditions such as NLD or Asperger’sface a very real threat, especially as their daughters reach adolescence.  Girls with social disorders can be so naive that they can be easily preyed upon by males.  And lacking a healthy level of skepticism or wariness, they can easily be lured into dangerous situations.

3. You have written two novels and a children’s book.  How is the process of writing the two different?

Honestly, all the same elements go into a children’s book: character development, plot development, subplots and layered storylines, etc.  It’s all there but the energy is amped up.  Kids’ books can be quite a bit of fun and it’s always interesting to mine your children’s school lives for funny happenings!

4. What is the best aspect of life as a writer?

Hmm…great question.  There are some things that are exciting–the film stuff and the TV stuff (Zoe Lama has been optioned for a television series), meeting other authors at literary events, forming close friendships with other writers who “get” what you’re going through.  But I think the best aspect would be making up lives and characters and worlds for a living.  I wouldn’t trade it for anything.  It gets to the point thinking about imaginary people keeps you sane!

5. How did you first get published?

I had certainly had much rejection before Town House sold.  I secured an agent withmy first manuscript, but the book didn’t sell.  And rightly so, as it was severely lacking in plot!  I probably would have given up at that point but the rejections were quite encouraging so I wrote another manuscript using what I’d learned from the rejections.  Also, I realized at that point I needed an agent who was more familiar with the fiction market (my first agent was primarily non-fiction) and parted ways withher, eventually landing the agent I have now.  He’s a dream agent and was willing to work with me as I got the next book ready for sale.  But that book didn’t sell.  Came close but no sale.  In the meantime, I wrote Town House, again, learning from my rejections.  Then when it came time for my agent to send Town House to editors, I made a decision.  If no one jumped on it right away, I would go fill out an application at The Gap.  The book went out on a Thursday and, unbeknownst to me, the editors slipped it to literary scouts who work for Hollywood and a week later we had a film offer from Fox.  It sold as a book one week later.  The film thing was a huge shock, totally unexpected.

6. I love quotes.  Do you have a favorite quote or motto?

One of my favorite quotes is from Steve Martin.  “Be so good they can’t ignore you.”

7.  What are you reading right now?

Meg Wolitzer’s The Ten-Year Nap.  Great book.

8. If you got stuck in the life of one fictional character, who would you choose?

Miss Elizabeth Bennett from Pride and Prejudice.  Horses, long dresses, and Mr. Darcy.  Need I say more?

9. And finally, what are you working on right now?

My debut teen novel, Little Black Lies, is coming out in September, so I’m working on edits.  And my third novel for adults comes out in a year, so I’m writing the first draft and having a ball with it.

Books by Tish Cohen- Town House, Inside Out Girl, Zoe Lama children’s books.

Leave a comment to be entered in the free book drawing.




January 30, 2009 Posted by | Author Interviews | , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Writers Lost in 2008 Quiz

Thanks for playing!  Check back next Monday.  For my first quiz of 2009 I’ll be offering a small prize 🙂

Here’s how to play…Identify the author and leave a comment with the # and the name and I’ll cross it off the list. No Googling, that’s cheating and no fun!  These authors wrote their final chapters in 2008.

1. Once dubbed “The Queen of the American Gothics” she wrote more than 70 novels and died at age 104. – Phyllis Whitney died on 2/8/08

2. His second (and last) novel made TIME’s 100 Best English-language Novels from 1923-2005.  He committed suicide after suffering from depression for more than 20 years. – David Foster Wallace died 9/12/08

3. In 1994 he became the only artist to have a film, a television series (currently in its last season), and a novel all number one at once.  His first novel was released in 1966 under the pseudonym John Lange and in 1992 he made People’s Most Beautiful People list.  Michael Crichton died 11/4/08-  Elena

4. He was a mystery writer best known for his series about an investigative reporter, memorably played by Chevy Chase in the films.  He also won 2 Edgar Awards. – Gregory McDonald died 9/7/08

5. Nationally syndicated newspaper columnist who founded the National Review in 1955.  William Buckley Jr. died 2/28/08Mark

6. She was the only child of a President who wrote biographies of both of her parents as well as a popular murder mystery series set in and around Washington DC.  Margaret Truman died 1/29/08–  Kathy

7. British author of the Flashman series.  George MacDonald Fraser

8. British science fiction writer and inventor.  He was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Peace in 1994, but he is best known for his collaboration with Stanley Kubrick.  He emigrated to Sri Lanka in 1956 where he lived until his death.  Arthur C. Clarke died 3/19/08Mark

9. This novelist wrote more than 30 books, 18 of those in his Navajo series.  In World War II he earned  a Silver Star, Bronze Star, and Purple Heart.  Tony Hillerman died 10/26/08 Don

10. American author, historian, actor and broadcaster who received the Pulitzer Prize for General Non Fiction in 1985 for The Good War.  He never learned to drive.  Studs Terkel died 10/31/08–  Dave

December 29, 2008 Posted by | Quizzes | , , , , , | 6 Comments

A few words from Philip Roth

“A Jewish man with parents alive is a fifteen-year-old boy, and will remain a fifteen-year-old boy till they die.”

“History… is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.”

“I cannot and do not live in the world of discretion, not as a writer, anyway. I would prefer to, I assure you – it would make life easier. But discretion is, unfortunately, not for novelists.”

“The road to hell is paved with works-in-progress.”

“When you publish a book, it’s the world’s book. The world edits it.”

September 23, 2008 Posted by | Say What? | , , , | 2 Comments

This Writer’s Life in Writer’s Digest

 I have a subscription to Writer’s Digest and occasionally read the magazine within the month I receive it.  There is lots of good stuff in there (how’s that for descriptive?) and not just for writers.  One of the bright spots for me is the hilarious Kevin Alexander column called This Writer’s Life.  The good news is that you don’t have to read the magazine to enjoy his writing.  He has a blog

and you can check him out for yourself.  I think he will make you laugh even if you are not an aspiring author.  I’ll be adding him to my blogroll.

August 21, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment