Let’s Judge a Book by its Cover


I’m sure you’re familiar with the age-old saying, “Never judge a book by its cover.” A common expression distilled into many of us at a young age. Not only because it’s true with books – a mere glance isn’t sufficient enough to formulate a fair assessment – the saying is applicable to people, places, objects, etc.

The other day, while perusing the New York Times’ best seller list, that saying hit me like a ton of bricks. I couldn’t help but notice how every book on the fictional hardcover best seller list was plastered with the author’s name in letters bigger and bolder than the book’s own title. It appears you could put just about anything on a book’s cover, so long as the names “Stephen King” or “James Patterson” are prominently affixed to it in big bold letters.

But what happens when you strip away the author’s name, and in some cases that “#1 New York Times Best Seller” label? What does a book’s cover actually tell you about the book when all you’re left with is the title and a graphic? Continue reading

Featured Contributor: Debra Barracato

Deb bio picYou may have become acquainted with writer/editor Debra Barracato when we profiled her back in 2013, but we’d like to introduce her again as our new expert in the food section. We also took this opportunity to ask her some delicious questions about her relationship with food –eating it and reading about it. Read on to see what keeps her inspired in the culinary world.

School: University of Maryland at College Park (fear the Turtle!)
Degree: B.S. Journalism
Years at studio: 4.5

Your life in a Tweet (140 characters): Just departed on a private jet. Headed to France, Spain and Portugal. Plans: Surf. Eat. Sleep. Repeat. Rob to meet us there.

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Where the Writers Are: Homes of Writers We Love

writers homes

Whether lounging by the beach, pool, lake or air conditioning unit, avid readers likely have a book in hand at all times. That’s one of the perks of sweltering summers: extra time for languid afternoons and books. Then again, summer is also about vacationing and taking full advantage of those long weekends. This got me thinking and led me to the conclusion that the best way to embrace both perks of summer (reading and vacation) was to visit the homes of beloved bygone authors. Here are just a few of the homes you could visit this summer. If you’d like to search by state or author, visit Writers Houses: Where Stories Live for a seriously comprehensive list!

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Pros & Cons of Writing in a Bar

writing-in-a-barPrior to my research for this post, had someone told me that they go to bars with the sole intention of writing, rather than drinking, I’d assume they were crazy. However, many bars across major metropolitan cities have begun a huge push in alternative forms of advertising and offerings, including “Free WiFi,” in an attempt to lure customers (most likely writers) away from coffee shops, and through their doors instead.

And you know what? It might just be crazy enough to work.

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A Toast to E.B. White

lime-twistNot only is today Friday (woo-hoo), it’s also the day we get to celebrate the birthday of a literary icon: E.B. White. As if the end of the week isn’t reason enough for a cocktail, let’s all raise a glass (preferably with his favorite cocktail; a martini) and toast to the author of Charlotte’s Web  and co-author of the essential writing guide Elements of Style is a worthy event.

Let’s take a moment and reflect on E.B. White’s monumental life.

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Music + Writing = The Perfect Combination


Music and I have a longstanding relationship. We understand one another, so there’s not a whole lot of push and pull going on. For example, I’d never go out of my way to attend a music event out in the middle of the desert, surrounded by the ear-piercing screams of fans for three long days; just the thought of that is enough to send shivers down my spine. Rather, music and I have a more robust way of interacting. Preferably, I find myself listening to orchestrated classics right before and oftentimes during my writing segments. And I’m sure I’m not the only one.

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Today’s Storytelling: An Act of Interaction

Photo Credit: BrandingStrategy.com

Photo Credit: BrandingStrategy.com

Technology, heightened communication and non-stop media socializing is changing the way we do most everything. The saying, “If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, did it really make a sound?” made sense at at certain point in time. Today, however, it might be more apropos to ask, “If something — anything — happens and it isn’t promptly Tweeted, Facebooked or Instagrammed, did it like, really actually happen?”

Less philosophical to be sure, but it seems that’s where we’re headed. Even storytellers, who traditionally write from their own pool of creative genius, are now turning to face their audience and ask quite unconventionally: What do you want?

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Incredible Nature Photography, With a Twist

AdamsPowerful words by the great Ansel Adams and a gentle reminder that not all photographs need an explanation, but rather simply deserve to be marveled at. Which brings me to Huffington Post’s These Are Some Of The Past Year’s Most Spectacular Wildlife Photographs. The author, , created a spectacular montage of the past year’s more intimate/joyful/scary photographs depicting mother nature—and you, the viewer, get to decide which nature photographs you like best.

The following selected images truly are breathtaking, inspiring, and well worth sharing. I highly recommend you visit Natural History Museum’s website in order to view the images in their native resolution, and more importantly, cast your vote. Voting ends on September 5th, 2014. Also, special note: this marks the 50th anniversary of the wildlife photographer of the year (WPY) 2014 People’s Choice collection!

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Get Your Meez On


Image credit: abbeyscalia.wordpress.com

I love to cook. I love it because it challenges me to focus and use my creativity and skills to make something delicious. It also allows me to eat, clearly my primary goal. Since my early days of trolling recipes online and teaching myself to execute them (and make a mess) in my mom’s kitchen, I learned a very important lesson about cooking: make a plan.

The only times I really got myself into a pickle (and ordered a pizza in the absence of an edible meal) was when I failed to read the recipe and prep my ingredients, or mise en place. It didn’t occur to me that a successful cooking strategy could directly correlate to my workday as an editor until this Business Insider article reminded me of outspoken celebrity chef and travel host Anthony Bourdain’s 10-minute ritual.

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Inspirational Quotes by DMS Editors

It all began with a single quote, encompassed in a routine email that occurred between myself and Betsy Brooks, the Home/Home Decor Editor.bestyquote

Betsy went above and beyond the call of duty when she immediately got back to me with her completed articles, which in turn eliminated my need to hound her down later in order to retrieve them. I was so impressed by her tenacity to get it done now  vs. later (when it was due) that it inspired me to plaster her words over a serene landscape–as a form of inspiration.


After marveling at Betsy’s and my handiwork, it was clear to me that the only logical next step was to seek out wise words, thoughts of inspiration, and/or general advice from my fellow comrades, and place their wisdom over images.

Behold, the powerful words, advice, and inspiration from DMS’ Editorial Team (and myself). Be sure to click on each image for a FULL SIZE version, that way you can maximize their true potential…or make yourself a new motivational wallpaper for your desktop.

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