Award-Winning Children’s and YA Books: 2018

Drum roll, please! Book award season is here. Every February, during its midwinter meeting, the American Library Association (ALA) announces the best children’s and young adults books published during the previous year. For lovers of children’s literature everywhere, it is the equivalent of the Oscars. There are acceptance speeches, selection committees, runners-up (honor books), and… Read more »

Tell your Things to Grow Up: Three Quick and Easy Organization Books

Organize (or´gə-nīz´):  To reduce to a system;automatize. To make independent. I am Marie Kondo’s first failure.   Less than six months after reading last year’s hot organizing book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I had to forcibly stuff my flannel pj’s into their drawer today. Gulp. Books, once pine-scented and tied with ribbons at… Read more »

#5onFri: Five Types of Books Writers Should Read

Harry S. Truman said, “Leaders are readers.” I don’t consider myself a leader; not really. I’ve always considered myself a follower. But the Lord has been hammering it into my big skull lately that leaders are just ordinary people with a little bit of influence. If you write, and anybody—I mean, anybody, even if it’s… Read more »

How to Read like a Writer

Here at DIY MFA, we talk a lot about writing, but reading is also an important part of the program. And reading isn’t about just sitting on the beach with a book in one hand and a Mai Tai in the other. You have to read like a writer. That’s where this post comes in. Most… Read more »

#5onFri: Five Books to Help You Start and Finish Your Writing

What’s the hardest part of the writing process? Writers are divided on whether it’s starting or finishing. It’s a challenge to face a blank page or screen and get those first words down. Once you’ve found momentum on a writing project, you might run into writer’s block while wading through a tricky, unstructured middle. Finally,… Read more »

Five Nursery Rhyme Origins to Spark Your Next Story

The true stories behind nursery rhymes are often historical, political, or just downright dark. With a little research, any of these delightful ditties can lead you to a compelling story idea. I’ll delve into five particularly juicy rhymes here and give you some resources at the end to further your research. 1) Ring Around the… Read more »

E-books versus Print:  Which do we Retain Better?

E-book sales skyrocketed in 2007 when Amazon unveiled the Kindle. Some said the demise of paper books was imminent. After a few years, however, e-book sales declined as the novelty wore off and consumers discovered e-books weren’t always cheaper than print books. It wasn’t until May of 2017 that e-books once again saw a small… Read more »

How Literary Themes Are Presented in a Book Series

Who doesn’t love a good book series? George R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire, Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone novels, Ken Follett’s Century Trilogy – no matter the genre, readers get a thrill out of revisiting familiar settings and reuniting with favorite characters. It’s also possible that we might continue reading a series because… Read more »

Beyond Westworld: The Reinvention of Western Novels

When I first became a librarian in the early 1990’s, it was common for libraries to devote an entire section to western novels. Authors such as Louis L’Amour, Zane Grey and Larry McMurtry graced those shelves. We even stuck “boot” stickers on the spines so readers could find these books quicker. Then, a new millennium… Read more »

Six Ways to Create Romantic Tension

I’s fair to say, without tension, there is no romance. There is tension in love. The very word attraction in physics is a force drawing objects together. A force. An interest. Evoking desire. To be attracted to someone implies a longing or a needing to be around that person. This means whenever they are not… Read more »