Category Archives: Books to Consider

One Hundred Years of Confusion

pileofbooksI’ve been reading One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.  I feel kind of lame because I had to reference Spark Notes to follow the story.  I’ve also had to draw a family tree to keep track of the characters who tend to have the same names.  Double lame!

If you haven’t read this literary masterpiece I do recommend it. The author’s voice is probably like nothing you’ve read before.  The story follows a scattered timetable that is almost more challenging to follow than the repeated use of (variations of) the same names.  In fact, I couldn’t help but wonder if maybe Marquez had had an editor from today, the novel would have turned out very different.

This novel has it all–love, sex, incest, war, money, insanity, friendship, family, death (murder, suicide, one death by ants, and a few characters die of old-age in their 120’s).  Oh, and there are ghosts and magic, too.  Marquez threw in everything you could possibly want in a story including the kitchen sink.  Whew!

Go check it out.  It will remind you that sometimes ‘outside the box’ actually works. As emerging (YA) authors we’re so focused on making sure we follow all the rules–no prologue! at least 60K words but not more than 80K! first person POV, no wait, make that third person! no f-bombs–unless you really have to–that it’s easy to forget how to enjoy just writing the story.

(Try to) stay true to yourself (a la Marquez) and enjoy writing!  Add One Hundred Years of Solitude to your TBR pile and be inspired.

Happy Writing!



Words of Advice

Ladies, how do you provide yourself with the best workout?

  1. Cover areas of wobbleage!  That’s right.  Where do you wobble the most?  Cover it!  You know it’s gonna wobble but the quickest way to end a workout and head straight to a donut is to not only feel but to visualize your inner thighs doing the hokey pokey during a workout.  Cover them!
  2. Do the cool down!  It’s the best time to stretch and clear your mind!  I never understand why people turn off the video for the last 5 minutes.  Hello!  It’s the easiest part!
  3. Schedule your workouts!  Just like you schedule your writing time you should schedule your workouts.  It will make your writing better.  That’s a promise!

Down to business….after hearing lots of good stuff about Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins at WriteOnCon, I went and bought a copy.  It’s awesome!!  READ IT.  Romance. Humor.  Great setting.  It’s in there!

I also (finally) read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  What a package of awesomeness!!  I haven’t read a book with so much action in a looooong time.  I couldn’t put it down.  Finished it in 24 hours.  BUY THIS!  I’m headed to the mailbox now to wait for the 2nd and 3rd books in the trilogy to arrive.

Happy Writing!

Read This!

If you haven’t already discovered The Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auel, then add it to your stack of books to read.  It’s the first in a series of books that was first released 30 years ago.  Amazon’s summary of the book sets the tale:

When her parents are killed by an earthquake, 5-year-old Ayla wanders through the forest completely alone. Cold, hungry, and badly injured by a cave lion, the little girl is as good as gone until she is discovered by a group who call themselves the Clan of the Cave Bear. This clan, left homeless by the same disaster, have little interest in the helpless girl who comes from the tribe they refer to as the “Others.” Only their medicine woman sees in Ayla a fellow human, worthy of care. She painstakingly nurses her back to health–a decision that will forever alter the physical and emotional structure of the clan. Although this story takes place roughly 35,000 years ago, its cast of characters could easily slide into any modern tale. The members of the Neanderthal clan, ruled by traditions and taboos, find themselves challenged by this outsider, who represents the physically modern Cro-Magnons. And as Ayla begins to grow and mature, her natural tendencies emerge, putting her in the middle of a brutal and dangerous power struggle.

Jean Auel is profoundly talented in her ability to draw the reader into her settings.  She depicts the surroundings of her characters beautifully.  You can’t help but feel that you’re there with the clan when you read the story. 

Pick it up today and be inspired!

Exciting Book News!

If you have not read Shadow of the Wind or Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon then add these books to your reading list.  Shadow of the Wind is my favorite and I recommend listening to it on audio for an even better experience.   Zafon’s stories have mystery, humor, romance, suspense, memorable characters and so much more.  Any writer will appreciate Zafon’s profound ability to tell an intricate, beautiful story.  Here’s a link to more information on The Shadow of the Wind,

The exciting news is that on May 4 of this year The Prince of Mist will go on sale, Zafon’s very first novel that was actually written for a young adult audience.  I’ve already pre-ordered my copy!

Great book for writers

I’ve read over 20 books with tips, techniques and rules/suggestions for good writing.  Sometimes I feel overwhelmed with the amount of valuable advice that I have to remember from those that have already won the golden ticket (a published novel).  I have a degree in the medical field and I often tell family and friends to be careful how much internet research they do on symptoms because they will soon discover that a headache might be a brain tumor and that nausea might be cancer somewhere in the digestive system.  What it really is is a case of information overload.  Medical professionals (physicians, PAs, NPs, etc) are trained to slim down that very long list of possible diagnoses based on the history the patient provides as well as their physical findings after examining the patient.  Early in my training I was often tormented by the thought of misdiagnosing a headache that really was a brain tumor.  After more training and interacting with more patients I quickly gained confidence to not fear calling a headache a headache (and leaving out the MRI).   Writing is like this, at this point (a member of the ‘unpublished’), I still feel like I may miss the dreaded brain tumor if I don’t read every book out there that’s written to inspire and teach me the writing skills necessary to create a great novel.  I’m currently drowning in information on how to achieve my goal but I’m slowly gaining confidence and learning how to use what applies to me.  A comrade in this journey to publication recommended a book to me recently that (surprise!) I didn’t already own and which has proven to be a refreshingly good book full of advice that works for me.  If you’ve read this entire post waiting for the title then ‘Thank you’, you’ve made it worth it, if you skipped to the last sentence to be rewarded with the title here is the answer to your obvious need for instant gratification…Techniques of the Selling Writer by Dwight Swain.  I hope it proves to be a valuable addition to your writing reference library as well!