Spycraft: Essentials–a Review

Spies, and spooks, and agents, oh, my! Spycraft: Essentials by Piper Bayard and Jay Holmes has the title right. This book is for anyone who writes about spies, loves the history of American intelligence agencies and spycraft, or anyone who enjoys a good and educational read.   Clear definitions give the reader the background she needs to understand American politics as it relates to the spy business. Explanations of the distinctions between American agencies clarify a lot. And there are fascinating examples of events and people in the business.   The sections addressed to writers and how one can use the information included in the book are idea-sparking. Who knew that being color-blind would keep a spook from being good at planting bugs?   What makes the book a sheer delight for me is the humor hits. Piper and Jay have rapier wits and use their humor in unexpected places. “Let’s say someone at the CIA identifies Schmucky Putavich in Bananastan as a person of interest.” There were many times while reading that a chortle escaped me.   This is a book you can sit down and read front to back, or choose a specific topic and only read those sections. Whatever […]

Born storytellers. Lynette M Burrows discusses how storytelling helps and hurts us.

Born Storytellers

We are born storytellers. Have you ever told a ghost story? Or did you tell a lie to make certain you stayed out of trouble? Perhaps you told a friend or coworker about the terrible, horrible, no-good day you had? Maybe you shared a story about the joyful day when your son or daughter was born. Or you simply relive the day your parent, teacher, boss, or revered mentor did or said something you cherish. Yeah. Me, too. Storytellers do that. We use stories every single day. Generally, they are really short stories, unless you are the person who goes on and on and on and on. This inborn sense of the dramatic is part and parcel of who we are. We feel a compulsion—no, not to lie—to share our feelings. That’s what storytelling is all about. At least, compelling storytelling is. THE INVITATION This is why movies, novels, articles, artwork, photography, and songs are so important to us. They invite us to imagine ourselves in a different situation, or to remember a similar feeling, or to re-experience that feeling we want or need to re-live. THE EMOTION Why would we want to feel negative feelings of sadness again, you […]

In the Air is a blog post about recent podcasts, livestreaming, and YouTube videos Lynette M Burrows enjoyed recently.

In the Air: livestreaming, podcasts, and YouTube

Livestreaming, podcasts, and videos on YouTube are an endless source of information, inspiration,  and a huge research rabbit hole. Listening or watching while involved in completing mindless household chores, makes my chores more pleasant. Here’s a tiny sample of what I found in the air this month. SFWA-#SpecWomenChat— Episode 2—available on YouTube A fascinating panel discussion of space opera featuring five women who work in the field of or read Speculative Fiction. Ann Leckie, Bonnie Milani, Khaalidah Muhammed-Ali, Chandra Trulove Fry, and Diane Morrison discuss space opera they’ve written, read, and watched. In their discussion, the scope of space opera ranges from hard science to fantasy. The setting involves anywhere other than Earth. And they felt that space opera is at least a journey away from Earth. Listen to their wide-ranging discussion on writing and reading space opera. The Mom Writes Podcast— Episode #35—on Itunes or the author accelerator website In this episode mom writers, Abby Mathews and Melanie Parrish, interview Author and Medium Roland Comtois. Comtois’s experiences as a nurse and personal experiences inform his views on grief and pain. His book, 16 Minutes…When One Breath Ends, Another Begins, chronicles his last moments with his mother before she died. This podcast […]