Saturday, January 31, 2009

From The Writer's Block...

Last summer, a friend who had read my novel Painting The Invisible Man offered this compliment: "I enjoy a writer who knows her way around a thesaurus."

Admittedly, at first, I prickled. And although I tried, I could not rein in my response. "I do in actuality have a very good command of language."

"I didn't mean that as an insult," she replied with just enough of a hurt-filled tone, I felt an immediate need to do penance.

Truth be told, I do rely on a thesaurus...and I proudly own a superb Thomas Y. Crowell Company edition of Roget's International Thesaurus. I use it as a trigger when I am trying to recall a word I know conveys just the right connotation. For example, I may want to describe the rather staid Englishman's reaction, not as prudish, but....(here's where I may turn to Monsieur Roget, for I know the better word exists, but at the moment it refuses to break through my middle-aged brain)...Ah, yes! The word I seek is not 'prudish,' but rather 'priggish'. A much better choice of word for a male character.

But, the use of a thesaurus merely to impress will more than likely render language that sounds pretentious or just plain wrong.

Use your thesaurus wisely and your writing will have substance and style.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Remember the KISS Principle

When writing radio ads, remember the KISS Principle — Keep It Simple Stu--- (you know the rest).

A radio spot flies by fast. It can't be reviewed or replayed at will. So, your radio ad is no place to recite a laundry list of product features or business blather. Your ad must grab the listener's attention, make a relevant offer, and generate a phone call or visit. Focus on one idea and drive it home.

When there's a choice between 30 seconds and 60 seconds, opt for 60 seconds. You'll have twice as long to establish your scene, sell your product, and repeat your phone number at least twice. And a 60-second spot doesn't cost much more than a 30 second one.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Support Your Local Independent Bookseller

During the past few weeks I've been visiting independent booksellers trying to drum up some book signings for Painting The Invisible Man. During the reconnaissance phase of my visit, I was struck every time by the owners and staff members depth of book knowledge and their remarkable attention to personal service.

So, before you buy that next book from, shop locally and support your local independent bookseller. If the book you want isn't already on their shelves, in almost every case they will order it for you.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

January 13 on "Talk To Me..." Erica Ferencik

My guest on "Talk To Me..." Tuesday, January 13 is satirist Erica Fenercik, author of Cracks In The Foundation.

After 39 years of digging for paydirt in Squamskootnocket, New York's famously feeble real estate market, Ginger has again struck...dirt. Her newest listing? A "starter" outhouse with water views of weed- choked Squamskootnocket Lake. With no closings in a year and the wolf at the door, Ginger will stop at nothing to seal a deal — she'll even team up with her 93-year-old Aunt Maxie Kanadoo ("the World's Oldest Living Realtor!") Meanwhile, Ginger's own badass, newly Wiccan daughter Harvest is eager to pitch in with a naked rite or two. Then there's Tandy Brickenhausen, the cleavage- wielding rival out to poach every listing in the greater Squamskootnocket Valley.

Will the outhouse find a buyer? Will Harvest's potions conjure a sale, or wake the dead? Will "the World's Oldest Living Realtor" retain her coveted title? Will somebody let the air out of Tandy's bra?

Cracks in the Foundation is a hilarious, dead-on send-up of the wild wild world of real estate, small towns, white zinfandel, black magic, outhouses and the American Dream.