It’s called learning by experience. Most of us get to a point where we regret that we didn’t ask our parents and grandparents more questions about their families and about what life was like when they were young. So now, we are determined to write our own stories as a legacy to our children and grandchildren, so they won’t be left wishing they had likewise asked us more.

Excerpt from Helen Lammers-Helps article in Country Life– Read more.



A few weeks ago, I came across a review on Goodreads mentioning Laurie Colwin and how, in that reader’s opinion, she was one of the few recent authors who wrote about happiness. My curiosity piqued, I ordered one of her novels, Happy All the Time, through my local library, and I let myself entertain modest hopes for the book.

Excerpt from Ryan Lantz’s blog on his website, A Writer’s Path. Read more.

Alley Poet’s Pen: “Never Too Late”

Alley Poet's Pen - Sandee Gertz

Nashville, TN – “Never Too Late…” (For an MFA)

Many people wonder what it’s like to go back to school later in life to do something they were meant to do (or should have done) a long time ago. Some people dream of a long-forgotten talent being awakened, a paintbrush being lifted back up to a canvas, or delving into studies for an advanced degree in a field they’re passionate about. Thankfully, in 2010, I found out what this is like.

Excerpt from Sandy Gertz’s article in Clarksville Online- Read more. 

The writing in the sand that saved British guy’s life

The writing in the sand that saved British guy's life

A British tourist who went missing in the Australian outback admitted that he had made ‘the stupidest decision of his life’ after being rescued.

Geoff Keys, 63, was rescued after two days thanks to a massive SOS message he wrote in the sand in Jardine National Park, Queensland.

He didn’t have any food and ended up several miles away from his camp after trying to re-trace his steps.

Excerpt from Richard Hartley-Parkenson’ article in Read more.

The Geek’s Guide to the Writing Life: Alan Cheuse’s Gift


Some weeks ago I was headed down up the Hudson River on the train from Albany-Rensselaer to Penn Station. As I rode I was thinking about my former teacher, Alan Cheuse because at the time, Alan was still in a coma from head injuries sustained in a car accident in California and I was among thousands of people worrying and praying about him and because I often thought about Alan on that particular train route.

Excerpt from Stephanie Vanderslice’s article in the Huffington Post- Read more.

Le Roy author travels the world of teens

BATAVIA — Teens may very well live in a world all their own.

Retired psychologist, author and columnist Joseph Langen has found a way to at least visit them. He has written a book, “Make the Best of Your Teen Years.”

“I wanted to give them some things to think about,” he said at his Le Roy home. “They’re trying to figure out who they are and who they want to be.”

He actually started writing it several years ago and then stopped. He thought he was about finished with the project but left it alone for awhile. Then he asked some people to read it and they — adults and teens alike — said they wanted to see more of the stories. So he went back to work on it and ended up with 11 chapters and a story for each. There are also poems to set the tone.

Langen dedicated his book to his very subjects: a group of teens that shared their own struggles, concerns and experiences. Instead of writing what he thought kids deal with, Langen first issued questionnaires followed by in-depth interviews to be able to better understand their world.

After working with that age group for 35 years, he figured he had a good starting point. But there needed to be more. As a teen, one is no longer a child and not yet an adult, he said. There can be many topics those youth find troubling or, at the very least, puzzling.

So he dove into topics of one’s emotions, family, friends, physical, mental and sexual health, love, difficulties, spirituality and future. Areas within those topics include suicide, self-injury, substance abuse, bullying, death, homosexuality and pregnancy. Each chapter includes a story, loosely based, about a day in the life of a teen.

For example, Alice talks about her appearance while John discovers why a stranger makes him so angry. After the story, Langen makes a series of suggestions. To make better sense of your feelings, he suggests that the reader make a list of things he/she feels bad about and another list of everything he/she is good at doing.

“I wanted to help teens realize they’re not weird,” he said. “The virtual world has taken over. It has really taken away the human part of interaction. It is OK to talk with other people. Don’t limit yourselves to texting. They know what you’re saying but not how you’re feeling.”

He thinks it might be a good idea that parents read some of the book as well. He wasn’t certain if troubled teens would be as inclined to just read this book themselves. It may be a nice gift from a parent, teacher or counselor. It’s also a helpful aid for peers to be able to understand one another, he said.

“The stories are not about any one person; they’re to give you an idea of what it’s like for kids,” he said. “I think it can be a bridge for talking about difficult things with your parents. Teenagers are sort of a mystery.”

Langen worked for more than three decades with children, teens, adults and seniors to help them to deal with assorted stress. He has written six books and his next project is to condense a previous book into 30 pages about stress for teens and adults.

Langen has a blog at

For more information about his book, go The book is available in either paperback or ebook formats.

Article by Joanne Beck, The Daily News, Batavia NY

Ten Things Not To Say To A Writer

#TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter is a trending hashtag on the internet and one which Jodi Picoult, Amy Tan and others are having fun with…so I thought I’d chime in. After three decades of living the writer’s life, I have many more than ten juicy possibilities for this list. But here is my all-time personal favorite:

“I found your book at a garage sale! In the Free Box!”

Excerpt from Laura Munson’s article in the Huffington Post- read more