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A Book By
           Its Cover
Those Crazy Ideas
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Fun Stuff
Books & Films
Lists of Twenty

Fun Stuff


Model Mugging

This program and its related variations have expanded to many cities. It offers an excellent basic self-defense course, primarily for women, that can be completed in a limited number of sessions. Well worth doing, no matter what your fitness level, experience, or inclination.





Paris Notes

A terrific internet resource for people who love Paris, or who are planning a trip there. My mom is a fan of their newsletter.





I love to cook. It's creative and satisfying, and I can share the results the same day (instead of waiting a year for publication)! This is the best source I've found for herbs and spices. Great quality, huge selection, and reasonable prices. And you'll love the catalogue they'll send you!


Thou lumpish pottle-deep flax-wench!

A fellow writer insulted me so colorfully, I demanded to know where she had learned her remarks. She gave me this wonderful URL for an inexhaustible supply of Shakespearean insults.




Jacquie Lawson Greetings

Lawson's animated, musical e-cards are so charming that I think they're nicer to receive than real cards. I have a subscription and use this service regularly.


Greeting card


The Modern Antiquarian

I have a mild obsession with megalithic monuments. This website has a lot of fun links and resources for an interested layperson like me.




Design-her Gals

By using this business' mix-and-match menus, you can design an illustrated character that looks like yourself (or like the intended recipient), and then order the image on business cards, invitations, thank you cards, coffee mugs, post-it notes, etc. Excellent resource for a unique gift!





Some Cool Art Sites


Daniel Dos Santos

Dan Dos Santos is the talented and award-winning artist who does most of the covers for my Esther Diamond series. He's also done some of my dad's book covers. His work encompasses a wide range of fields, as you can see on his website.




Paula Pearl Design Studio

Paula was the young editorial assistant who pulled my first manscript, a romance novel called One Sultry Summer, out of the slushpile and convinced Silhouette Books to publish it, lo those many years ago. She subsequently came to her senses and left publishing. Now she's an artist, and you can see her work here!


David Palumbo

Here's the website of the talented artist who did the cover of DAW Books June 2012 reissue of Disappearing Nightly.

DN cover


Muddy Colors

This is a group blog of working artists and illustrators, mostly associated with the fantasy genre, who herein discuss their work, their influences, and art in general. The contributors include Dan Dos Santos, who does most of my Esther Diamond covers.


Some of my favorite online booksellers


Book Closeouts

I've found some of the coolest books, for pleasure and for research, at this discount seller.



Having trouble finding a book? This search engine looks for the book you want by searching the databases of book dealers all over the world. I have used this service to acquire books I couldn't find any other way, and from places as far afield as Europe, South Africa, and Australia.



Hamilton Books

A favorite site for research books, due to the extensive categorization by topic and sub-topic. Excellent, well-organized source of remaindered and close-out editions covering a wide variety of subjects.



Heart of Albion Press

A British publisher of folklore, mythology, and cultural studies. A cool source of off-beat subject matter.



Librairie de France

Want to buy a book in French without paying international postage? Or a book about France? Or a book to learn French? This New York-based bookstore has an exceptional supply of such books.




Teaching Company

Not exactly a bookseller, but close enough. They produce recorded lecture series. Fascinating and varied subjects explained by experts in their fields.

Friends and Relations


On January 1, 2011, my (real-world) friend Arlynn had about 325 Facebooks friends, scattered around the globe. And she set herself the goal of meeting them all in person by the end of the year. (I was included in her April round of visits to FB friends.) She eventually dubbed her quest the Face-To-Facebook Project (F2FB). You can read about her adventures, and why she decided to do this, on her blog, complete with pictures and videos.




Friesian Season

Interested in show horses? A childhood friend of mine grew up to be the proprietor of a world-class breeding and training stable for saddle-bred horses.




Diary of a Mad Hausfrau

An American friend of mine who lives in Germany blogs about her experiences as an expat foodie who loves to bake. Recipes included, as well as lots of great pictures!





Friends of mine founded and run this independent, non-partisan service. They write letters about issues of the day (if you want a letter written, contact them about the issue), collect e-signatures from people who want to be heard on that issue, and send the letters to the relevant leaders or public figures.



Some media sites

Bad Science

"Dr. Ben Goldacre is an award-winning writer, broadcaster, and medical doctor who specialises in unpicking dodgy scientific claims made by scaremongering journalists, dodgy government reports, evil pharmaceutical corporations, PR companies and quacks. He has written the weekly 'Bad Science' column in the Guardian since 2003. It’s archived on this site along with blogposts, columns for the British Medical Journal, and other stuff."

Bad Science




A non-partisan project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. Offers fact-checked analyses of political ads, speeches, and articles to a hype-wearied public.


Journalist's Resource

This website for journalists, educators, and students is run by a policy-and-press studies center at Harvard University. It curates reports, research papers, and reference articles on a wide range of subjects related to journalism and public policy.


JR graphic

Project Censored

"Through a partnership of faculty, students, and the community, Project Censored conducts research on important national news stories that are underreported, ignored, misrepresented, or censored by the US corporate media."


Fareed Zakaria

Zakaria is my favorite political columnist, combining an international and historical perspective with articulate writing. You can read his columns here.





"PolitiFact is a project of the St. Petersburg Times to help you find the truth in American politics. Reporters and editors from the Times fact-check statements by members of Congress, the White House, lobbyists and interest groups and rate them on our Truth-O-Meter." Politifact.com won a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the 2008 US elections.




Nicholas D. Kristof

A two-time Pulitzer Prize winner, Kristof covers a wide variety of topics in his interesting and intelligent Op-Ed column. His excellent blog, On the Ground, includes additional material that doesn't get into the twice-weekly column.





My Favorite Podcasts


I'm a podcast junkie, and I have exercised considerable restraint here in selecting just a handful of favorites to recommend to you. These are all available via iTunes, so you can go directly there to find them. Alternately, each of their websites or blogs, to which I have linked here, offers additional information about them, background material, and links to whatever various audio formats their shows are available in.


Dan Carlin's Hardcore History

Carlin is a professional broadcaster and an enthusiastic amateur historian with a particular interest in military history. These podcasts are infrequent, since he spends so much time reading to prepare for each one, and they're well worth the wait. Carlin also does a good weekly podcast called "Common Sense," which is his commentary on current affairs; but there's an abundance of current-events commentary in the world, whereas a good history program on audio is hard to find—and Carlin's is doubly rewarding for being unusual and thought-provoking. His website also provides his reading list for each history topic he covers.




Friday Night Comedy From the BBC

If I had to choose one podcast as my very favorite, this would be it. Two half-hour British comedy shows alternate in this weekly slot, each doing six-week series. One is The News Quiz, in which teams of comedians answer questions about the week's new stories; the other is The Now Show, which features comedians doing, sketches, monologues, and satirical songs about current events. Although the programs often cover British domestic news with which I'm unfamiliar, these are the funniest shows on the radio, on either side of the Atlantic.





In Our Time With Melvyn Bragg

Also from the BBC, this is a fascinating program in which journalist Melvyn Bragg moderates discussions among scholars about literature, mathematics, religion, science, philosophy, politics, or culture. The topic may be (for example) the Great Fire of London, the Law of Unintended Consequences, the legend of the Fisher King, the history of anaesthetics, the Islamic philosopher Avicenna, geological formations of the Pleistocene era, or the history of anarchism.




Love Bollywood

This program, also from the BBC, is for Bollywood fans like me. Although the celebrity-gossip aspects of it can be a bit tiresome, they do reviews of all the new Bollywood releases, and they do excellent interviews with an impressive array of guests, from major Indian film stars and directors, to singers, composers, dancers, and scriptwriters. This is how I keep up on what new Bollywood films are in production or being released, and how I decide which ones to add to my Netflix queue.





The Bowery Boys: New York City History

Two New Yorkers who love their city and love history host this engaging podcast in which they research and enthusiastically tell us about various fascinating people, places, and events in the Big Apple's past. I started listening to it as part of my overall program to learn more about New York for my Esther Diamond series; but, in fact, I find that I mostly listen just because I enjoy it.






A Way With Words

Grant Barrett and Martha Barnette are etymologists (word experts) who host this delightful NPR program about language. They introduce and discuss a few topics, and they usually take a clever word quiz administered by a fellow "verbivore," but they spend most of each show just taking phone calls from their listeners and answering questions, discussing pet peeves, and sharing observations about language. The callers to this show usually have terrific questions or amusing observations, and the good-humored hosts are a mine of interesting information.






Travel With Rick Steves

Rick Steves, author of a range of popular guidebooks to Europe, hosts this excellent weekly radio show from NPR. Each episode usually has a specific topic, which could be anything from exploring the food of Spain, to discovering the Easter traditions of Eastern Europe, to how to rent a canal barge in France. Rick usually has an expert or two as his guest, and he takes calls from listeners asking questions or sharing their own knowledge of the week's topic. Lots of engaging information and practical tips about the places you plan to visit and the places you dream of visiting.






Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me!

This is NPR's weekly news quiz in which comedians spend an hour playing news-trivia games and answering questions about current events. This is always a funny and engaging program, with a terrific cast of performers.





A History of the World in 100 Objects

This fascinating, ambitious, and well-produced series, which is my new iTunes podcast addiction, is a joint project of the BBC and the British Museum. Each installment examines an important object in the British Museum's vast collection and discusses the era and the society in which that object was made.





Something of value

National CASA Asssociation

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) are volunteers who represent the needs of foster kids in the system. You can find the CASA program near you by looking on this national website.



Clinton Foundation

A friend of mine works for the Bill Clinton Foundation, which works with governments and other partners on local and global initiatives in environment, development, sustainability, and community health projects. When exploring the website, check out the How You can Help section.




This is a green business that plants trees to replace the ones that are cut down to supply the raw materials for manufacturing books.

Eco Logo

Peace Parks Foundation

A 10-year-old environmental initiative in southern Africa to extend wildlife parks across political boundaries in a war-torn continent where, go figure, animals don't consult maps before migrating, hunting, or searching for water.



Room To Read

This organization provides books to communities in the developing world, particularly children's books in local languages. Room To Read develops schools and other educational infrastructures in rural areas, and they have established more than 3,600 community libraries in developing countries.


Save the Elephants

Advocacy, legislation, fun facts, cool projects, fundraising.




Soteni International

A friend of mine volunteers in support of this project
to assist AIDS orphans in Africa.