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The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse

The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse: A Review

I have two favorite kinds of picture books: those that I’ve read so many times that I’ve memorized them, and those that, on the first reading, I know are destined to become the first kind. The Wolf, The Duck, and the Mouse by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen (Candlewick Press, October, 2017) is now well on its way to becoming the first kind. The first time I picked it up, I read it three times, and I didn’t even have a child nearby to encourage me. Since then, I’ve lost count of how many more time I’ve read it, and a number of other people have read it, too. It would have been easy enough to hide it under other books on my desk, but I’ve been enjoying this one’s (more…)

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#VegasStrong

#VegasStrong and Even Stronger

“I can’t imagine.”

It’s a well-worn comment most of us have fallen back on when we hear about an awful event.

She lost her baby.
His wife was killed.
The whole family died.

“I simply can’t imagine what that would be like/what I’d do/how I’d feel.”

In the wake of the events in Las Vegas last Sunday, I’m sure the phrase was oft repeated.

But not by me. Because I can imagine. If I let my mind travel to the country music festival last weekend, I can easily picture the happy throngs in cowboy (more…)

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Used Cars, Lost Dogs, and Naked Ladies

Right after Hugh Hefner’s death was revealed the other day, posts began appearing in my Facebook feed. They came in a variety of flavors, but the most oft-repeated went something like this:

“Everybody claimed they read Playboy for the articles, but I really did.”

I won’t call these nostalgic Playboy readers liars. There’s no question that Hefner published good writing and paid his authors well. He paid his naked ladies (more…)

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An Evening of Strings to Celebrate a Book Called Strings

Strings: A Love Story got a kickoff like few others last Wednesday. Violinist Ethan Lee and cellist Marcus Lee filled the beautiful, two-story atrium at the Viewpointe Executive Suites in Las Vegas with music so lovely I swear I saw a tear or two. Oh, wait. Those were mine.

And there was more. Juan Soto, who is a luthier by trade, brought several of his most beautiful (and expensive) violins for everyone to see. He also brought a violin in pieces, so we could get a glimpse what it takes to craft one of these amazing instruments.

And The Goodwich, that wonderful restaurant downtown that fortunately will travel, provided (more…)

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Irma and Harvey: The Long Road Home

Irma and Harvey: The Long Road Home

As I watch news of Hurricane Irma’s destructive progress across the Caribbean and southern Florida, I can’t help thinking about what will follow. Like thousands of people in Texas in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, those in Irma’s path will soon be faced with the calmer but no less agonizing challenges of her aftermath.

Some will go home to houses that are broken but still habitable. Some will go home to rubble. Some won’t go home at all. All of this brings back memories of the day I lost my own home to a wildfire in southern California. Around 250 other houses also burned down in that fire, and hundreds more (more…)

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One Book at a Time

Last Thursday, I went to school. E.W. Griffith Elementary School, to be exact. It’s in Las Vegas, not far from downtown. When I got there, a big truck was parked right in front of the main entrance, and a bunch of excited kids had gathered nearby. The truck was from Spread the Word Nevada, and the children had obviously gotten wind of why it was there. Their school was about to become Spread the Word’s 49th “adoptee.”

Channel 8 was there, too, along with a crowd that included (more…)

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Some Famous Poetry

Some Famous Poetry, with Apologies and Thanks to the Original Artists

I created this collage of short excerpts from the works of noted poets a number of years ago for a variety show I organized. It was meant to be read aloud, but it also appeared in Writer’s Digest as a challenge to readers to identify all the original sources. However you choose to experience it, I hope you enjoy it!

‘Twas the eighteenth of April in ’75.
Hardly a man is now alive, who remembers that famous day and year
When the highwayman came riding, riding, riding…
Once upon a midnight dreary
By the shores of Gitchee Goomee (more…)

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Strings: A Love Story

Strings: The Story Behind the Story—and an invitation!

My new novel, Strings: A Love Story, will be released September 12th. That date is fast approaching, so I thought I’d write a little about what this book is about and how it came to be.

Strings is about Ted and Olivia, a pair of soul mates who meet when they are both students at a California boarding school back in the 1960s. Life gets in the way of their youthful plans to be together, but neither one ever forgets the connection they shared as teenagers.

Ted goes on to be a noted violinist, and Olivia finds success as an actor. When the unexpected appearance of (more…)

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The Writer's Block bookshop and Grouchy John's Coffee Shop

The Best Spots for Writing and Coffee in Las Vegas

Coffee Writing Club
How can any coffee-loving writer resist? The Coffee Writing Club at the Writer’s Block meets every other Sunday morning.

I’m sitting in the back room at The Writer’s Block with a handful of other people. We’re here for the Coffee Writing Club, a bi-weekly gathering of folks who assemble to drink some good coffee (generously donated by PublicUs down the street), chat, and even get some writing done. I have to drive across town for this one-hour event, and over the past couple of months, I have not missed a single session. Kind of crazy, don’t you (more…)

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