New brain research reveals how we hear stories

brain research

Reading time: Less than 1 minute This is my weekly installment of "writing about writing," in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a discovery on brain research reported in the science  journal Nature... New brain research, published recently in the prestigious science journal Nature, shows how our capacity to understand words and ... Read More

Raw Spice Bar botches customer service

customer service

Reading time: Less than 2 minutes Customer service is a big problem for many companies but it never fails to surprise me when I encounter it as a consumer... I'm a serious cook, and I recently subscribed to a paid service called Raw Spice Bar. For $6 dollars per month ($10 in Canada, where I live) you get three freshly ground packets of spice with a regional theme and three kitchen-tested re... Read More

The central bonfire licked the sky…

Paula McLain

Reading time: Just over 1 minute I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about a series of similes from novelist Paula McLain... I discovered the American writer Paual McLain through her wildly successful novel, The Paris Wife —  a fictionalized account of Ernest Hemingway's first marriage to Hadley Richardson. Seeking to ... Read More

What’s an “epergne”?

epergne

Reading time: Less than 1 minute Increase your vocabulary and you’ll make your writing much more precise. That's why I provide a word of the week. Today's word: epergene... I view myself as a serious cook and entertainer, but I had never come across the word epergne until I read Patricia Volk's memoir: Stuffed: Adventures of a Restaurant Family. Here's how Volk used it. At home, I shov... Read More

11 email mistakes you really shouldn’t make

email mistakes

Reading time: Just over four minutes Is email the best, most efficient way of communicating or is it a heavy encumbrance that stops us for talking to each other? Whatever you think of it, email is part of the business world and you'd be wise to avoid these email mistakes... How many emails do you produce each day? And how many of them are polite, effective and easy to read? If you’ve eve... Read More

See how TED curates author videos

Elizabeth Gilbert

Reading time: Less than 1 minute This is my weekly installment of "writing about writing," in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a video featuring author Elizabeth Gilbert..... I watch TED talks all the time but only recently discovered a link to 10 TED talks from authors. If you don't have the time to listen to Isabelle Allende... Read More

How to apologize

how to apologize

Reading time: About 1 minute There's an art to saying you're sorry. Here are some guidelines for how to apologize... I had an important interview scheduled for this week, but the person's Executive Assistant emailed me to re-schedule it. The new time she suggested wasn't convenient for me — I had another call booked — but the interview was  important, so I decided to re-work my schedul... Read More

The figurative language of Celeste Ng

Celeste Ng

Reading time: Less than 1 minute I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about a metaphor and a simile from Celeste Ng... I don't typically read mysteries or thrillers but I'm always willing to make exceptions when something literary crosses my desk. My husband recently passed along one such book to me — Everything I Never Tol... Read More

Deconstructing the word ‘jiggaboo’

jiggaboo

Reading time: About 1 minute Increase your vocabulary and you’ll make your writing much more precise. That's why I provide a word of the week. Today's word: jiggaboo. I feel uncomfortable defining a word that's essentially a racist slur, but that's what jiggaboo is. It refers to a very dark skinned black person with strong negroid features — big lips, wide nose, nappy hair. I liv... Read More

Why writing is like figure skating

why writing is like figure skating

Reading time: Less than 3 minutes I’m guessing that most aspiring writers have never been serious figure skaters. Here’s why you might have more in common with that type of athlete than you imagine… Should there be a publication ban on the names of all defendants and victims in criminal trials until a verdict has been reached? That was just one of the questions facing two 16-year-ol... Read More