Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

Archive for the tag “writing”

Book Review: Exposed by Lisa Scottoline

On my honeymoon I finished reading the latest thriller by Lisa Scottoline, Exposed, and it was highly entertaining. As with many of Lisa’s books, this one centers on an ethical dilemma. It also spends a lot of time on interpersonal relationships, which many thriller writers fail to do. It’s one of the reasons why Lisa is so good at her craft – she takes the time to develop characters so readers are more invested in the outcome. By the end of the book, I was definitely fully engaged in what was going on, and the last twist was so surprising I read it twice. While Corrupted still remains my favorite book by this talented author, Exposed is absolutely worth reading – even if you’re not on your honeymoon.

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Author Interview: Jason Pinter

Jason Pinter is one of my favorite authors. He’s an excellent writer who has written numerous internationally best-selling books. And, he’s also the founder and publisher of Polis Books, an independent publishing company he launched in 2013 following positions in editorial and marketing at Warner Books, Random House, St. Martin’s Press and Grove/Atlantic and the Mysterious Press.

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Celebrating Five Years!

Five years ago I started this blog because of a desire to write a novel, and I wanted to make sure more people bought it than just my parents. So, I figured this blog would be a great way to increase brand awareness – with the brand being me! So far, it’s been more than I ever could have expected. Not only have I written about books, authors and literature, I’ve interviewed nearly 50 celebrities, including numerous #1 New York Times best-sellers, as well as Tony, Grammy and/or Emmy award-winning musicians and actors. This blog has enabled me to meet Bruce Springsteen, James Patterson, Neal Schon, Dionne Warwick, John Oates, and countless other legends in the arts and entertainment world. Along the way, I’ve reached more than 700,000 people and had my content published in Reader’s Digest, Classic Rock Magazine, ABC News, and on the cover of The Aquarian Weekly, among other media outlets. Connecting with so many of my idols, as well as my readers, has been a thrilling experience that I look forward to continuing for many years to come. And I haven’t given up on that novel. Perhaps, that’s what I’ll be celebrating five years from now.

I Finally Started My Novel

Well, kind of. A couple days ago when I downloaded the Dragon Anywhere app on my iPhone – which I’m using right now to write this blog post – I decided now was finally the time to start outlining my novel. What will it be about? I can’t say just yet. How long will it take to write? Who knows. All I know is that it won’t get done if it doesn’t get started. One of the things I’ve learned from the myriad of successful authors I’ve interviewed and befriended over the past several years is that outlining a book before you write it can be incredibly helpful. I’ll keep you posted on how my journey is progressing and any key milestones along the way.

Three Books Every Aspiring Fiction Writer Should Read

There are many great writing books to choose from. But if you’re an aspiring fiction writer, below are three that should be at the top of your list.

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Couple Days Off

For those of you that don’t know, I’m entering my final year of grad school and the semester has begun. This fall I’m taking my last two classes and in the spring I’m working on my Master’s Project. To maintain my sanity, I’ll be posting less frequently to my blog, maybe once a week or once every other week. But there’s no need to worry because I’ve got great stuff planned for you this fall, including more interviews with best-selling authors and accomplished musicians, as well as my thoughts on a variety of books, albums and concerts. I plan on ending the year on a high note, so thanks for sticking along for the ride. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy a couple days off.

FanFest: A Thriller Reader’s Dream

FanFestLast week I attended ThrillerFest IX in New York City. This annual event is held by the terrific organization International Thriller Writers, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year. While at ThrillerFest IX, I had the opportunity to attend FanFest, a portion of the week-long event where fans get to meet and spend time with a multitude of authors over cocktails. Picture it: There’s a large room with Lee Child, Michael Connelly, David Morrell, and countless others at tables waiting to sign your book, take photos with you and chat. It was a great way to cap off my week at ThrillerFest IX. Below are several photos of myself and authors whom I spent time with during the conference or at FanFest.

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Book Review: Keep Quiet by Lisa Scottoline

Keep Quiet

Yesterday I finished Keep Quiet, the latest novel by one of my favorite authors, Lisa Scottoline. This book is about Jake, a father who’s looking to get closer to his son. Despite his good intentions, he makes a decision that could tear his family apart.

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Book Review – Missing You by Harlan Coben

Harlan Coben - Missing YouI’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Harlan Coben is my favorite author. His novels are replete with well-developed characters, believable dialogue, great humor, and they have more twists and turns than a steep mountain road. Coben’s last thriller, Six Years, was my favorite of 2013 and I just finished his new book, due out this Tuesday, Missing You. So, how does it measure up to last year’s offering? Read on, my curious friend.

My favorite part of Missing You is the inspiration for it’s title – the #1 1984 hit song “Missing You” by John Waite. Being a fan of all things ’80s, this brought a smile to my face and made me want to listen to John Waite, which, by the way, I’m doing right now as I write this review.

But let’s get back to the book. While it’s not quite as spectacular as Six YearsMissing You is a solid thriller that delivers the goods. The story’s protagonist, Kat Donovan, finds her ex-fiance on an online dating site and, as expected, things aren’t what they seem. This is an interesting premise and it pulled me in right from the start. In typical Coben fashion, there are multiple plots that eventually overlap, and he handles them deftly.

But where he really shines is the romantic scenes. For my money, Coben is the best author when it comes to writing a scene that conveys characters’ spoken – and unspoken – feelings toward one another. His books always move me at some point, and Missing You did so on numerous occasions.

The novel features a nice balance of dialogue and action, and the scenes where “business picks up” are edge-of-your-seat fun. If you’re a fan of thrillers or love Coben’s previous work, I think you’ll enjoy Missing You. It’s head and shoulders above the competition and the most fun you’ll have outside of listening to a John Waite song. I highly recommend it.

Below is the official synopsis, as well as the “Missing You” music video by John Waite that inspired the title of this book:

Synopsis 

It’s a profile, like all the others on the online dating site. But as NYPD Detective Kat Donovan focuses on the accompanying picture, she feels her whole world explode, as emotions she’s ignored for decades come crashing down on her. Staring back at her is her ex-fiancé Jeff, the man who shattered her heart—and who she hasn’t seen in 18 years.

Kat feels a spark, wondering if this might be the moment when past tragedies recede and a new world opens up to her. But when she reaches out to the man in the profile, her reawakened hope quickly darkens into suspicion and then terror as an unspeakable conspiracy comes to light, in which monsters prey upon the most vulnerable.

As the body count mounts and Kat’s hope for a second chance with Jeff grows more and more elusive, she is consumed by an investigation that challenges her feelings about everyone she ever loved—her former fiancé, her mother, and even her father, whose cruel murder so long ago has never been fully explained. With lives on the line, including her own, Kat must venture deeper into the darkness than she ever has before, and discover if she has the strength to survive what she finds there.

Janis Ian – This Train Still Runs

Janis IanMy musical tastes are eclectic – I like everything from Patti LaBelle to Chromeo. Regardless of musical genre, I’m a sucker for a good melody and a great lyric. “This Train Still Runs” by Janis Ian has both. My favorite part of the song is:

“Sure as a baby loves the teat
Sure as a high heel on concrete
Sure as the songs I’ve left unsung
This train still runs”

And my favorite line is “sure as a high heel on concrete” because it’s incredibly visual without being overly descriptive.

Below are the rest of the lyrics and a live recording of the song. Enjoy!

This Train Still Runs

Janis Ian/Jess Leary

“I felt a rumble in my heart, over the mountains
as the engine ate the spark, spitting out the miles
Times when I tried to jump the track
Weight of the world upon my back
Still after all is said and done

This train still runs
It doesn’t matter where it’s gone
This train still runs
and though the baggage weighs a ton,
we carry on
Nothing is forever young
I’m not done – his train still runs

I had a friend I left behind, back at the station
We used to burn the power lines, racing with the wind
But time has the manners of a thief
Young love turns bittersweet
Still we keep that lantern hung – this train still runs

This train still runs
It doesn’t matter where it’s gone
This train still runs
and though the baggage weighs a ton,
we carry on
No one is forever young
I’m not done this train still runs

Got a ticket in my pocket & I’m ready to ride
Got a motor rolling over to an easy glide
I’m gonna travel on the gravel to the other side
Sure as a baby loves the teat
Sure as a high heel on concrete
Sure as the songs I’ve left unsung
This train still runs

This train still runs
It doesn’t matter where it’s gone
This train still runs
and though the baggage weighs a ton,
we carry on
Nothing is forever young
I’m not done – this train still runs
This train still runs
This train still runs”

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