The Journey to Publication

7 Reasons to Keep Reading

Seeing as last week I looked at 7 reasons I abandon books, I thought this week I’d look at 7 reasons I fall in love with an author. And believe me, from the over-loaded bookshelves in my library and the length of my TBR (to be read) list, I like to fall in love with new authors. 🙂

  1. Great characters. Unusual is fine, but I also like to return to more familiar “types,” too, just so long as the author has really fleshed out the character, gave it a strong voice and passion.
  2. Fascinating premise and world-building. I mention this one because it can sucker me into a book and even a series, but it does have limits. For example, if the premise doesn’t live up to expectation, or the focus is too strongly on premise and world-building.
  3. A touch of humor. What can I say? I like a touch of humor in my reading, no matter the genre, and no matter how dark or serious it can delve.
  4. Emotional depth. If an author can make me actually cry, then I’m probably already envious at how fantastic they are. 🙂
  5. Skilled handling of plot elements without being obvious about it. I’ve read very well-plotted books that were good, but seemed a bit like an exercise in plotting. And I’ve read wonderful books which handled all the elements skillfully – so skillfully, you forgot they were there and what they were doing.
  6. A story or lesson that sticks with me. Maybe this is one scene, maybe the theme, a character, but something that resonates and sticks, long after the title of the book is forgotten.
  7. An author who continues to grow and improve in their craft. To me, there is nothing better than reading an early book from an author and thinking it was quite good. Then reading a later, and finding it better. And then reading a later book still and being blown out of the water. For me, this is the kind of author – and the kind of person – I want to be. Someone who never stops growing, never stops striving for improvement.

So, what about you? What are some of the reasons you fall in love with a book, a series, or an author? What makes you hungry for the next book and impatient for the next read?

Thanks for reading, and wishing you all a great week. Happy Halloween! 🙂

The Paranormal

What I’m Reading: Libriomancer

I have a book recommendation for you. It’s a fun one, and be warned: this is the kind of book that will make you want to forget all the things you should be doing and just go off and read. 🙂

51hecROhA8L._SY344_PJlook-inside-v2,TopRight,1,0_SH20_BO1,204,203,200_To follow with my recent love affair with urban fantasy, I’m reading Libriomancer (Magic Ex Libris, Book 1) by Jim C. Hines. I saw the recommendation on another author page with an interview with the author, and it moved up quickly on my TBR list. And I’m glad it did.

Here’s the back copy:

Isaac Vainio is a Libriomancer, a member of the secret organization founded five centuries ago by Johannes Gutenberg.  Libriomancers are gifted with the ability to magically reach into books and draw forth objects. When Isaac is attacked by vampires that leaked from the pages of books into our world, he barely manages to escape. To his horror he discovers that vampires have been attacking other magic-users as well, and Gutenberg has been kidnapped.

With the help of a motorcycle-riding dryad who packs a pair of oak cudgels, Isaac finds himself hunting the unknown dark power that has been manipulating humans and vampires alike. And his search will uncover dangerous secrets about Libriomancy, Gutenberg, and the history of magic. . . .

What do I like about it? I really love how much this author clearly loves books; this book reads like a near homage to other paranormal, urban fantasy, and books in general. The writing is cute and funny with a quirky character voice, and I figure it has to be cute that I even find myself fond of a very large spider. Lots of fun, lots of pop culture references, and if you read in this genre and sub-genre, I imagine you’ll enjoy it even more. Personally, I’m finding it rather hard to be a good girl and do my work instead of just curling up and reading until the last page. 😉

So, any good books you’d recommend? I’m a decent way through the Harry Dresden books thanks to my brother, and also done most of The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne. If only I could read faster!

Thanks for reading, and have a great week. 🙂


The Journey to Publication, Writing

Books on Writing: Some go-to greats

Source:, by Lin Kristensen from New Jersey, USA source Wikimedia license CC

As with most writers, I’m also a reader, which is why I probably am just as likely to buy a book about writing and the writing life as a work of fiction. This week, I wanted to share some of my favorite go-to writing books, especially the ones I return to again and again when I need a pick-me-up, or sometimes just a reminder of why it is writing is important. In the weeks following, I’ll be looking at some ideas from one book in particular in a series of blogs. Just to be clear, these are simply my opinions, which haven’t been solicited, but I find I’m always interested in other writer’s sources, techniques, and work life, so I’m sharing mine with you.

But, enough preamble. Let’s get to the books!

Books on technique and particular writing needs (this category became a bit of a catchall, for which I apologize:

  • Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass (and Writing the Breakout Novel workbook)

The first of Donald Maass’ very successful books, like the follow-up (The Fire in Fiction), it aims to help you fix the problems that may be getting you rejected, and to help you produce the best book you can. I find the workbook especially helpful, since it’s a lot like a workshop (or several workshops) in a book, and can be used on its own, or for some stubborn scenes or chapters when nothing else works.

  • The Fire in Fiction by Donald Maass

Why this book? It’s inspiring, makes you think about your reasons for being a writer, and suggests ways to make your writing better. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure if I’ve ever completely finished it, because I often hit a section that has me running to the computer to write, abandoning the book!

  • Break into Fiction by Mary Buckham and Dianna Love

Another interesting book with tips and guides to what worked for these authors and others, and again, ways to make your own writing shine. (As you might be able to tell, I’m often searching for different options, some which work better for some manuscripts than others and vice versa.)

  • The Complete Writer’s Guide to Heroes & Heroines:  Sixteen Master Archetypes by Tami D. Cowden, Cara LaFever, and Sue Viders

Perhaps one of my favorite plotting tools since I discovered it. This is especially useful when you’re just starting to flesh out your story, searching for inherent conflicts, what direction the plot may go, etc. Very interesting and fun to use, and just read.

  • Story Structure Architect by Victoria Lynn Schmidt, Ph.D.

Another great plotting book. This book proposes to break down all the different types of plots, and then divides them into the Act structure, with questions as prompts to fill in “what happens now” – at least, that’s how I use it. 🙂

  • Breathing Life into Your Characters by Rachel Ballon, Ph. D.

Pretty interesting book, helpful for fleshing out characters, and sometimes for working out the issue if you’re worried characters are coming across as flat, or in character and plot development to help you understand GMC (goals, motivation, and conflict).

  • The Element Encyclopedia of Birthdays by Theresa Cheung

Nope, not technically a writing book, and I confess, my husband and I purchased it on impulse a few years ago. BUT, it has been fun not only to look up friends and family, but also assign specific birthdays for your character, and essentially look up their horoscope and reading, based on the date of birth. It can help flesh out a character (and again, lots of fun!).

  • The Definitive Book of Body Language by Allan and Barbara Pease

Another not-technically-a-writing book, but a very fascinating one just to read. It’s helpful in writing to remind you to watch the body language of characters, and how mood, emotions, character, relationships, etc can be conveyed through a way of holding one’s arms, feet, etc.

Writing Productivity:

  • Book in a Month by Victoria Lynn Schmidt

Just as the title suggests, this is an actual plan (with a full plan to full in, and calender of actions, etc) to complete a first draft in a month. It’s also helpful for helping speed up your writing or boost your productivity, even if you don’t have the time (or inclination) to get an entire book done in a month. I find the method of planning and plotting interesting, and something I’ve incorporated into my own writing.

Because this post is getting quite long, I’ve decided to divide it into two. Next week: books on the writing and artist way of life – may favorite category. But meanwhile, have I forgotten some books here? Any that you find it difficult to live without? Please, leave a comment and let me know (my husband will forgive a few extra books on the shelves – it’s Christmas soon anyway. :)) Thanks for reading, and have a great week.