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Book Review: Correlation

This is the first of three YA novels I’m reviewing for the Red Adept Publishing book tour, “Young at Heart.” Disclaimer: Review copy provided by Red Adept Publishing.

“Do you believe it’s possible to change history?”

Sixteen-year-old Hailey Kent faces this question in Correlation, a young adult novel by Rosemary Fifield (writing as Mia Grace). A ride on a old Schwinn bicycle owned by Susan, the grandmother of Hailey’s best friend Jenna, sends Hailey back in time to the 1960s with a chance to change the future of her family and friends.

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Why remember?

Mary Ann Henderson grave marker
Another September 24. Another painful anniversary. And another question: Why remember a murder that happened nearly 40 years ago? Is it morbidity? A stubborn unwillingness to let go of a long-gone past?

If I didn’t remember, the only alternative is to forget. “You cannot invest in retrospect,” as my dad used to say. And I did try to forget. I thought I’d be able to forget when I moved from the Valley. When I started my current job on September 24, 2003, I thought it would finally remove the tragic association with that date.

But I’ve been unable to shake September 24, 1976.

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How to Be a Writer: Lesson 4 – Develop Your Own Style

How to Be a Writer: Lesson 4 - Develop Your Own StyleThink about your favorite author. What is it that keeps you coming back to that person’s books? Perhaps you enjoy the type of stories the author tells. Or the books feature a recurring character you like. Perhaps you like the way the author uses language or the types of scenes that appear in that person’s stories. In short, you like the author’s style.

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How to Be a Writer: Lesson 3 – Write Clear Descriptions

Lesson 3 of The How to Be a Writer SeriesTo be a good writer, I had to unlearn some habits I developed when I started. One of them was how I used imagery in my writing.

In high school, I was into similes and metaphors. These are typically the first tools people learn in creative writing. I was also influenced by the singer-songwriters I listened to in the 1970s. The best of them, like Carole King, Kenny Loggins, and Dan Fogelberg, knew how to use similes and metaphors to pack meaning into brief song lyrics. Consider “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman.” The title alone evokes images of a sensual woman whose love for someone makes her feel free and whole.

When similes and metaphors work, they are powerful and effective. When they don’t, they sound clumsy and cliche. They also don’t translate into different cultures and languages, and they can become dated. You can’t depend solely on similes and metaphors in your writing. You have to learn how to write clear descriptions.

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The night I protested against Joan Rivers

Protest Flyer I made in 1982Although I’ve lived in the Los Angeles/Orange County area all my life, I’ve only had a few encounters with celebrities. But one night in 1982, I protested against Joan Rivers.

I was heavily into politics when I was younger because I was scared about my future and angry at the world. My friend Gino and I got involved in different political campaigns and protests. One of our targets was a measure on the 1982 California ballot, Proposition 9. This measure would have built the Peripheral Canal that would divert water from the Sacramento River to Central and Southern California. This would have been destructive to the environment. (It also wouldn’t have done us any good these days when there is no water to be had anywhere in California.)

Joan Rivers did several TV ads in favor of the proposition. When she performed at the L.A. Cabaret in Encino, Gino and I decided this was the perfect opportunity to make our opinions known. I created the flyer you see to your left. While Joan was doing her act, we placed the flyer on every car in the parking lot.

Why do I bring up this story while the world is mourning her death?

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