Archive for Book Links

Good reading

I recently had the pleasure of reading Sylvia Day’s new book Bad Boys Ahoy! so I could interview her about the book. I was excited to realize this was a historical entry into the Bad Boys anthology series from Brava.

I don’t usually recommend books on my blog, but I thought I would recommend this one. I really enjoyed reading the book and I think a lot of people are going to like this one. Especially those who enjoyed the earlier Bad Boys anthologies but grew tired of them. This isn’t the same old thing. It’s the first historical Bad Boys anthology from Brava.

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Remember? ME?

I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned in my blog before that I’m co-founder of the community, but we just finished a site redo, making many improvements. :-) Or so we hope.

The community is for romance readers and writers–or authors–whichever title you prefer. Personally, I think if you write, you’re always a writer, but you’re only an author when you’ve actually published something. I wonder if this is something I made up or if other people feel the same?

Anyway, that’s all beside the point, as I was talking about We’ve got a nice little collection of members and if I remember to do it, I’ll have to start a blog for the community someday. I’m just not that fond of starting a blog when there’s little chance I’ll have any more time for it than I have for my own. :-)

I read my latest how-to book in record time, but in the end, I don’t feel it ended as promising as it started. Lots of stuff about voice (the book’s called Finding Your Voice: How to put personality in your writing) but somehow I felt it fell short of the mark.

That’s not to say I didn’t like the book or that it didn’t have some good advice in it. However, I won’t re-read it for a while, for sure. On the other hand, the first time I read Beginnings, Middles & Ends by Nancy Kress, I didn’t think it was all that hot either. And now, I love that book and have referred to it many times.

So, I’m not giving up on the book, and I’m certainly not giving it away, but I’ll put Finding Your Voice away for a while and revisit it when I think I can gain something from it that I didn’t get the first time around.


  • Finding Your Voice: How to Put Personality in Your Writing by Les Edgerton
  • Beginnings, Middles & Ends by Nancy Kress


Another How-To Book

I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m a little nuts about reading how-to books. I’ve received a new one, just today, called “Finding Your Voice: How to put personality in your writing” by Les Edgerton. So far, so good. I’m on page 19 and already I’ve run across some wonderful advice.

He has a theory about “natural voice” in which he says (on page 4), “…readers select certain authors to read in much the same way as they select their personal friends: on the basis of the ‘voice’ (personality) of that person. All human beings in the world have a circle of people who like them and want to be around them…and they also have folks who don’t like them all that much. The same is true of an author’s readership. They are the ‘friends’ he or she will accumulate.”

I can’t disagree with this statement, because I believe it. I read authors because I like the way they write. And if given the chance to get to know any of those authors, I’m sure I would like most of them. :-)

It’s very rare for me to enjoy reading only one book by an author, but not enjoy any others, and vice-versa. If I’ve had trouble reading one book by someone, usually I’ll have trouble reading the author’s other books too.

I also think that’s why voice is so important. It’s unique, it’s you. It’s your one chance to make an impression on someone, to let them know just what kind of person you are–for good or ill!

On page 19, Edgerton says, “…how you achieve your own voice is governed largely by the words you select to place on the page. When you select the only word you feel fits in a particular sentence, then you’ve made your choice–a choice many others wouldn’t have made–and the accumulation of those choices is largely what determines your own style.”

I know this, but it was nice to hear it so neatly explained. It also sheds light on an incident I had with another writer a few years ago about the use of the word “pervaded.” I wanted that word in my story. It was the exact word I felt it needed. She wasn’t fond of it, and she thought I should use a different word. Of course, it was my book, so I won the debate. :-) But the point is that she wasn’t wrong. And I wasn’t wrong either. She was just unknowingly trying to get me to rewrite something in her voice, instead of staying true to my own.

I like “pervaded,” just like I like lots of other words that aren’t words she likes. That’s what makes us different, and that’s what makes our stories unique and our voices our own. Our plots may end up similar (haven’t yet–but you never know what someday might bring!), and if they do, our stories will still end up totally different, because of our voices.

So why am I reading this book?

Because I can’t trust myself to trust my own voice. I’m hoping this book has the tips I need to learn that trust. :-) Wish me luck!

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The “Boring” Stuff

Okay, I just read my last post, and thank goodness I didn’t say anything too embarrassing. ;-)

Today, I had the commute, and instead of letting myself drive comatose, I plotted. It’s interesting the kinds of things a person can come up with in an hour, but I am trying to remember Elmore Leonard’s words, paraphrasing here: I try to leave out the parts people skip.

Leave out the boring parts, in other words. It makes for a much tighter story. :-)

Something I read in Lawrence Block’s Telling Lies for Fun & Profit has stuck with me this last week. “Submit relentlessly” he says. It kinda makes me feel guilty that I only submitted my last book to about 4 people before I set it aside. It was necessary though, because I discovered a major problem with the beginning that I must fix before I send it out again–and yes, I will send it out again!

But there’s the whole wanting to finish my current project before I go back to the previous. Unfortunately, the current project is taking much longer than I’d planned!

I’ve recently made some resolutions and I feel good about them. Change is difficult, much more difficult in real life than in fiction, I believe. But I intend to take this seriously, and we’ll see how I’m doing in a few weeks.



I learned something last night. Several somethings, in fact.

I came home yesterday evening, and because I was tired, I ended up putzing around instead of doing anything productive. Before the night was over, I had watched three (yes, three) hours of Project Runway. It was the finale, and although I’ve only ever seen one other episode, I couldn’t seem to get away from the tv.

However, as I said, I did learn something….

It’s all about the style
Jay won, in case you’re wondering. If that doesn’t mean anything to you, then maybe this will. Jay won because the judges thought he had a style all his own–a style they could distinguish from the styles of all the other wannabe designers and the already-made-it designers. He offered something different in his collection, but each article of clothing within that collection was clearly his. It made me think about how important it is, whether you design clothes or write, to have a unique style. Kara Saun lost because her work was too much like Gucci, and Wendy (poor, benighted soul) lost because she seemed not to have fully developed her own style yet.

This applies to writing fiction so obviously that I’m not even going to bother to explain it.

A trip to Amazon, and this was what I found (and added to my shopping cart–only $13.11 more before I can bring it home (I’m too cheap to pay shipping…)): Finding Your Voice: How to Put Personality in Your Writing by Les Edgerton.

Oh, and that’s not all. I learned something else from Project Runway, in a round about way.

I spend too much time composing and not enough time writing
And no, I’m not talking about music here. This morning, as I was traveling to Chattanooga to do some accounting (never let anyone convince you to make a career out of something just because you’re good at it, okay?) and started thinking about the show.

Before I’d even finishing writing the first sentence in my mind, I’d gone back and begun editing my composition. Then I realized what I was doing: I was fixing my words before I’d even finished writing them. I’ve wondered why I write so slow, and I think I’ve found my answer. :-)

So, what’s the cure?

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In a quandry

I received my books today–books I’d ordered late last week from Amazon.

Telling Lies for Fun and Profit by Lawrence Block
Spider, Spin Me a Web by Lawrence Block
Writing the Breakout Novel by Donald Maass

Not that I expect any of these books to miraculously improve my writing, but I do love reading how-to books. :-) It’s one of my greatest weaknesses. And that’s where my quandry comes in. The school is out today and the kids are home, so writing has been slow going. I’ve tinkered with other projects I’m working on, but I haven’t done anything especially productive this morning. The afternoon looms short–afternoons never seem to last long around my house–and I’m waffling on what to do with today’s.

I should write, even as slow as the going is, but I want to read…



I’m sick, so what else is there to do but write.

I’ve never been particularly fond of the belief that any writing is better than no writing, until the last six months or so, but I’m putting it to the test today.

It’s either that, or stay in bed. I have a headache, so staying in bed is out.

My Current Reading: The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear by Ralph Keyes

A sharp reminder that writing is about communicating:

“A writer who isn’t clear has work to do. If a reader doesn’t “get” what he’s saying, it’s the writer’s problem, not the reader’s.” –Ralph Keyes, The Courage to Write