Book Reviews and Writing Tips

Book Reviews and Writing Tips

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year!

Attribution By Cemg (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

A big thank you to all of you have followed me and read my blog posts over the last year.  I love all your comments and try to reciprocate by visiting your blogs as well.  As a result, I’ve met a lot of nice people out there and read some interesting posts.  I hope to do better about dropping by more often, but I always run out of time.

I’m not a big one for making new year’s resolutions because it’s hard to keep any resolution and I don’t like to commit to something I probably won’t do consistently, however, I will say that I’m trying to do better with that way of thinking.

I’m going to try to write more than I do now.  I’d like to finish the three books I have started and get one of them published this year.  It seems I’m always writing now, if you could hear my husband talk, but sometimes it’s just email and blog posts.

I wish everyone a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.  Keep that positive attitude and be realistic about your goals.  It’s easier to find satisfaction that way and not disappoint yourself because you will get there eventually.

If you’re celebrating, be careful on the road and get a designated driver if you’re drinking.  Have fun and make merry with friends and family.  Tomorrow’s a brand new day.  Happy New Year everyone!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Becoming a more productive writer

This is definitely a new year’s resolution.  I was involved in a discussion a few days ago in a writing group on Linked In and this was the topic.

It got me to thinking how hard it is to actually sit down and write a book.  It takes a lot of tenacity and discipline, as well as using all the creativity you have down in there somewhere.

Non-writers probably don’t realize all the obstacles and challenges we face as writers.  There is always more to any endeavor you’re involved in than most people even contemplate, unless they’ve been there themselves.

I’m working on a mystery book that I hope I can finish this coming year.  I’ve been working on it since 2012, but not continually, or I would have it finished by now.  I’ve written two other books in between editing and rewriting this one.  My ultimate goal is to make this a mystery series.

My problem is I get involved in every writing competition or contest that comes around because I can’t resist entering.  In a way this is a good thing because it forces me to write something.  On the downside, it puts me behind on my current WIP.  But I look at it as a learning experience and I always feel like I get better at my craft because I participate in these things.  I guess there is always plenty of time to get all this work completed, or so I tell myself.

Susan Uttendorfsky started this discussion of being a productive writer and offered up a blog with help to keep you inspired and productive if you’re struggling, so I’m posting that link here for anyone who wants to read more.

What are your goals for 2015?

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas Everyone

My cats - Koki - Tootie - Raven

Thank you for following me, reading my posts and leaving comments.  I enjoy hearing from all of you.

Wishes for a great holiday season with family and friends and a new year blessed with health and all you enjoy.  May your writing endeavors be many and you stay inspired so the well never runs dry.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

In Memory of the authors who died in 2014

We lost eight writers this year.  Do you have any of their books in your library?

Gabriel Garcia Marquez - Wikipedia

Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1927-2014) Nobel Prize winner, Columbian writer of magical realism.  He wrote six novels, four novellas, and several short story collections, as well as seven non-fiction books and one film.

 Nadine Gordimer - Wikipedia
Nadine Gordimer (1923-2014) Nobel Prize winner, South African writer and political activist wrote epic pieces dealing with moral and racial issues.  She wrote fifteen novels, twenty-one short story collections, as well as one play and several other works.

 Peter Matthiessen - Wikipedia

Peter Matthiessen (1927-2014) won the National Book Award three times.  He was a naturalist, wilderness writer and a CIA agent.  He was co-founder of the literary magazine, The Paris Review.  He wrote eleven fiction books and twenty-two non-fiction books.

 Farley Mowat - Wikipedia

Farley Mowat (1921-2014) A Canadian author and environmentalist who wrote forty-five books including novels, short stories and plays.

P.D. James - Wikipedia

P.D. James (1920-2014) Crime fiction pioneer born in England.  She won acclaim with her Adam Dalgliesh mysteries.  She wrote nineteen detective novels, most of them featuring her police commander Adam Dalgliesh.  She wrote nine other works.  Fifteen of her books were adapted for film or TV.  She was also a baroness.

Sue Townsend - Wikipedia

Sue Townsend (1960-2014), an English writer whose works include novels and screenplays.  She wrote fourteen novels, two non-fiction books and twelve plays.

 Daniel Keyes - Wikipedia
Daniel Keyes (1927-2014) Hugo Award winner who wrote mainly fiction, science fiction and fantasy.  He wrote nine novels and two collections of short stories.  Two of his works were adapted for film.

Mary Stewart - New York Times

Mary Stewart (1916-2014) was a romance/mystery writer born in England.  She wrote gothic romance and historical fiction novels.  Fifteen gothic romances, five King Arthur novels, two children’s novels and a poetry collection.  Her King Arthur tales are wonderful.

May they all rest in peace and readers continue to enjoy all the characters they brought to life through their books.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Gifts for Writers

We all know that there are many things we can give a writer on our Christmas list, but let me suggest a subscription to Writer’s Digest magazine.  Wow!  This magazine has everything you’d ever want to know about writing and then some. 

I received a subscription to this magazine last year and I love it.  I’m so impressed that I could write several pages on the merits of this trade publication.  I won’t do that here because none of you have the time to read that much, but the magazine covers everything.  Each issue is so jammed full of things concerning the writing craft that you won’t be disappointed.  Not only is story structure, plot, keeping the action moving, dialogue, etc. covered, but there are also articles on writing query letters, marketing, getting published, and interviews with seasoned authors and newbie’s.  In the back there are contests and writing meet ups.

I know I left some things out.  I’m always astounded how a small magazine can cover so much in each issue.  Any writer you know would be happy with this trade publication.  It’s a good refresher course, if nothing else.  I renewed my subscription and look forward to this little gem arriving about every six weeks (eight issues a year).  Start your 2015 off with a bang and pick this up now.  To find out more, click here.

Here’s something else for you writers to look over.  I know there will be something of interest in this long list.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

First things first

It’ll be a couple more weeks before I can get back to rewrites on mystery novel number one.  With Xmas coming, it’s time to think about gifts and get all that out of the way first because I have to mail stuff.  Sometimes I wish family lived closer and maybe someday I’ll live closer to them.  We’ll see.

Right now, I’m making my mom a family calendar, like I do every year.  Gathering pics is a real challenge, but I get a few new ones to work with every year.  It takes me a good two weeks to get this thing together.  I have a template for the calendar pages, but the dates have to be changed on it every year so it matches the actual calendar year coming up.  Then I always add family birthdays, anniversaries and holidays in all the appropriate places.  Once that’s done, it’s time to tackle the picture portion.

Actually, I enjoy this part because I get to use a different creative ability and work in Photoshop (in layers) to assemble the collage that will go on each page for each month.  Once it’s all finished, I can print it taking extra care I put the right calendar on the right picture page because it will be a flip calendar when finished in size 8 ½ X 11.

Back of 2014 Calendar

The back page takes the longest because I put a thumbnail pic of each month’s picture back there.  It looks really nice when completed, but is a detailed and time consuming job.

My next post will be about writing I hope.