#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 »

Six Writing Books Librarians Recommend

In my neck of the woods, it’s fall–time for flannel shirts, warm apple cider and reading up on my craft. Yes, that’s right, I’ll be reading rather than writing more. I prefer to throw myself into a more grueling writing schedule during January when there’s six inches of snow on the ground and a wind… Read more »

#5onFri: Five Myths to Plunder for Ideas and Inspiration

Whether you’re writing a fairy tale retelling or just looking for inspiration, myths can provide a wealth of material to play with. Love, betrayal, war, politics, you name it–whatever you’re looking for, there’s a myth to help you. Myths can also serve as mini masterclasses in plot structure, for the framework on which the stories… Read more »

Beyond John Grisham: A Guide to Legal Fiction

“I’ve read all of John Grisham’s books. What other legal fiction authors would you recommend?” This is probably the most common reading question I’m asked at my day job as a librarian. For a long time, there was only one other author that wrote like Grisham – Scott Turow. Turow is often credited with inventing… Read more »

Writing By Reading

I do my best writing reading. Yes, you read that right. I write best when I read what I want: spicy romance, psychedelic fiction, heart-expanding poems. I finish one book; I pick up another. Along my meanderings, I discover good writing across authors, genres, and forms. How does all of this indiscriminate reading help my… Read more »