#WriterWednesday: 6 Books Every Writer Should Have On Their Bookshelf


Every writer knows that reading is essential to good writing. Here are six books that all writers should have on their bookshelves for reference. If you don’t have them all, get them today.

The Writer’s Market

For every freelance writer or write who dreams of getting published one day, The Writer’s Market is an invaluable resource. Every year a new edition of The Writer’s Market is published, and it contains information about almost every single publication that take submissions. Detailed information is given regarding what that publication pays, what type of work it accepts, how to submit, and more. Submissions are organized by genre, and the book also contains helpful information and advice on writing query letters and following up with your submissions.

The Elements of Style

The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White is a classic book that’s been popular with writers, professors, and editors for decades. It’s a timeless book that gives concise, easy-to-understand advice on writing style and guidelines that work for improving the work of all types of writers. While “style” certainly varies from writer to writer, the “elements of style” in this book are simple rules that work for everyone and truly make for better writing, no matter the genre or personal style of a writer.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary

A dictionary is essential for all writers, and The Merriam-Webster Dictionary is a solid choice. There are many different dictionary publications, and it really doesn’t matter which one you choose, so long as you have one. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary has been trusted for centuries, and it’s updated every year to reflect changes or new word entries.

The Merriam-Webster Thesaurus

Another bookshelf staple is a thesaurus, and The Merriam-Webster Thesaurus is a popular choice. Once again, there are many different thesaurus publications to choose from; it’s just important that you have one. The Merriam-Webster Thesaurus contains more than 150,000 synonyms and antonyms, and it includes example sentences and brief definitions.

The Associated Press Stylebook

For journalists, The AP Stylebook is a must-have reference tool. All news writers can benefit from this book that helps to clear up just about all of the word usage questions you could ever have. The AP Stylebook contains incredibly useful information and rules on spelling, capitalization, punctuation, proper nouns, number usage, and much more. It’s updated every year to reflect any changes, and the dictionary-style layout makes it easy for you to look up the answer to any question you have while writing.

The Chicago Manual of Style

The Chicago Manual of Style is a book just like The AP Stylebook, but it is intended more for book authors and editors. It contains many more rules and guidelines, so it’s a helpful reference to supplement The AP Stylebook for journalists, too. It’s updated every year, and while there are some conflicts with rules in The AP Stylebook, this is the go-to reference for authors.

Author Byline: Jacob Smith is a teacher and freelance writer.  He enjoys writing and is currently involved is a writing project for nanowrimo.


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National Poetry Month Spotlight: Vernon Davis Jr. – Her Smile



Her Smile
Silent Smooth
A Mystery In A Sea Of Love
Waiting To Open Up
Unveiling Her Innermost Intimate Secret
As Questions Of Desire Float By

Her Beauty
Drawing You In
Be Careful–You May Get Lost In…

Her Eyes
Enticing Your Thoughts
To Travel Into…

Her Warmth

Her Willful Wayward Ways
Leading You To…

Her Smile
Simply Has A Secret
She Chooses Not To Reveal…

Just Yet

And As Attractive As She Is
You Are Impressed

Her Smile

BIO: Vernon J. Davis Jr. has been writing poetry since the early seventies. He was first inspired by Langston Hughes’s poem “Impasse”, which started his journey and adventure into the world of poetry and the spoken word. Vernon’s very first published poem,”Beautiful Black Woman”(the basis for his poetry book) came out in 1978 in a magazine called Black Forum. More poetry followed in other magazines like SoulWord and Dawn, a magazine supplement to the Los Angeles Sentinel, an African-American newspaper. Mr. Davis has also taught Creative Writing and recited his poetry in talent shows, Church gatherings and open-mike forums. He is still inspired by and in awe of Langston Hughes, Nikki Giovanni and Maya Angelou. His Idols. His creative collection of Love poems,”Love,is, the Beautiful Black Woman” is his 1st book. Vernon’s 2nd book of poetry–“The Emosewa Woman”–was released Feb. 14th, 2010. He is currently working on his 3rd Book of Poetry, Tentatively Titled, “Her,   She,   Woman”(Her, She–Hershey(Chocolate) Woman).

Tina B. Tessina, PhD

Women's History Month Spotlight: Tina B. Tessina, PhD "Dr. Romance"

TBT photo Kathy's photo of me laughing_crop

Name and Occupation?

Tina B. Tessina, PhD, “Dr. Romance” licensed psychotherapist and author, and Chief Romance Officer of

What do you love about being a woman?

I have a huge amount of empathy and encouragement to offer people.

What do you hate about being a woman?

Seeing fellow females abused and confused unable to get their lives together and I am only able to help the ones I can reach.

Who influences you?

My father, first and foremost. My mentor, the late Rev. Denton Roberts, M.Div., MFT. Many scholars and thinkers in the therapy field. My very accomplished and talented women friends, and my beloved husband of 31 years.

Tell me something about yourself that would shock people:

What would probably shock people is to know I was essentially orphaned at 18, and I’ve made my way entirely on my own, working first as a waitress, then getting an office job and working my way up to being the Accounting Supervisor of a nationally known company, then founding my own bookkeeping business so I could put myself through college, then going through five years of schooling and training to become a licensed psychotherapist in California.

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Black History Month Spotlight: Alisha Somer – Writer, Editor & Publisher


What do you love most about being a Black woman?
I love the color of my skin and the kinkiness of my hair. I love how we hold so much mystery: everyone wants to know our secrets. I love the strength we possess and our ability to build and uplift a community.

Who or what inspires you most?
The women who contribute to the magazine who have the courage to share their art and their trust in me to showcase it inspire me so much.

My children’s energy, their big dreams, and their unwavering belief that anything and everything is possible–that inspires me!

Advice for Black men and women?
Sometimes you need to leap before you look. When I started my magazine I didn’t have a 5 year plan or any capital, but I believed in my dream and I took a risk. If you want to do big things, you have to take big risks.

1st issue

What are you working on that we need to check out?
I am currently gathering submissions and laying out the next issue of BLACKBERRY: a magazine, a literary magazine featuring black women writers and artists. This is my way of giving a voice to those who would otherwise be silent. I hope to continue to expose readers to the diversity of the black women’s experience and strengthen the black female voice in mainstream and independent literary markets.

Where can we find you online?
You can find my writing at


The Ingredients of a Historic Novel

Regardless of whether you are a huge fan of reading or not, you have likely read at least one historic novel in your lifetime that you felt like you simply could not put down. You may not have known exactly what it was that drew so much of your attention in, but something was definitely there that separated this book from any other you ever laid your hands on. While it could have been any number of things that kept you interested, we have come up with a list of five ingredients that nearly all historic novels have in common.

Protagonist and Antagonist

First of all, any good, historic novel features a protagonist and an antagonist. The author will also take it a step further by making it to where you are not only reading about the events occurring between the opposing characters, but they will actually make you “cheer on” the protagonist. Additionally, they will work to make you want to hate the antagonist as much as possible, and you may even find yourself trying to punch the book to land a shot on the evil character.

On the Edge

Historic novels also keep you wanting to know what will happen next. While you may have a pretty good idea what will happen based on how the characters have acted in previous chapters, the answer is still not a dead giveaway. A good novel will be nearly impossible to put down for the night because you are dying to know what will happen next.

Able to Relate

You will also find that practically all historic novels make it easy for you to relate to the characters and the setting. Rather than giving you a brief description of what the characters and the setting look like, you will quickly feel like you are actually there. If you are not careful, you may quickly feel like you are actually running from the antagonist yourself.


The best novels in history also have climaxes that are built up to. The authors know you do not want to read something where similar events keep happening over and over again, so they choose to have smaller events lead to a big climax to keep you on your toes.

Relationship Tension

Finally, you will find some type of relationship tension in practically all historic novels. Sometimes it will be a boyfriend and girlfriend breaking up, while other times it will feature a child who is disowned from his family.

While some books are flat out boring to read, you will find that the five ingredients used to create historic novels make them impossible to stop reading. Pick up any historic novel today, and you will likely find all of these ingredients inside.


About Author

This article has been written by JP for Orlando Figes who is a Professor of History at Birkbeck College, University of London. He is the author, among other books, of The Whisperers: Private Life in Stalin’s Russia and many more such interesting novels.


Flint Positive Spotlight: Artist – Percy

Painting and creating art is a way I can express myself; express what I see and feel in the world around me, in an almost universal language. What’s important about my art is not that I express exactly my thoughts to the ‘T’. Sometimes I start out with an idea, and it turns out totally different from what I had in mind. I understand that art can be very subjective at times. It can mean different things to different people, but as long as my art gives people pleasure in any way, be it in an intellectual level or merely pleasing to the eyes, to me this is what makes art fun. Getting close to something that you intend to say through visual poetry, a canvas can speak to a nation. Though I am fairly new to the art world (2 and a half years),finding my way through styles and paint mixture brings me joy. I just want to capture the essence of life and what that entails with my brush, and that is the adventure.

Should YOU Be in the Flint Positive Spotlight?

Does Book Size Matter?

Several months ago I had a conversation with someone regarding my first book, Keep Your Panties Up and Your Skirt Down. They asked how many pages the book was and my response was “less than 100”; you would of thought the bottom dropped out by the response I was given. This person, an aspiring author, proceeded to inform me in so many words that my book was too short and that the cost of $10 was too high. Ya’ll already know I let him have it in my own way, but I have a question:  Do you take the size of a book into consideration before you buy it? Or, do you buy a book because the author, genre, or subject matter interest you?