Book Recommendations for Writers

A few of my favorites:

Get Known before the Book Deal [Use Your Personal Strengths to Grow an Author Platform], Christina Katz. I came by this wonderful resource through a friend who recommended it. Having a platform as an author has become very important in the publishing world. We have lots of competition out there and a changing industry. One of the things that will make a difference is if you have a platform. It takes you step-by-step through the process. Even if you already have published, Katz shares valuable advise and how-to information that will help you sell more books.

The Lineup: The World’s Greatest Crime Writers Tell the Inside Story of Their Greatest Detectives, edited by Otto Penzler. This book is such fun. You’ll get the inside scoop from the authors themselves. Whether you read or write mysteries, I think it’s a great addition to any writer’s library. Find out where these characters came from and how they developed. Read it one at a time or spend a long weekend curled up with the book. Prepare to be entertained.



Book Recommendations for Readers

For Readers:

If you’ve never read a book written by the wonderful collaboration of Davis Bunn and Janette Oke, then you’re in for a treat. The first book in their “Acts of Faith” series came out in 2009, The Centurion’s Wife. Well researched and written, you will find yourself in 1st century Galilee and Judea. You’ll feel entwined in the lives of Leah, who is from a wealthy Roman family fallen on hard times, and Alban, a Roman soldier who is on his way to power and position. Their paths cross and when a rabbi is crucified and the body disappears, life changes. They find themselves searching for answers. It is a great read.

Book 2 in the series, The Hidden Flame is set in a Jerusalem that is torn apart in the aftermath of Jesus’ crucification and proclaimed resurrection. Both the Roman’s and the Jewish Temple leaders want to stamp out this new religion. Abigail is caught in the middle and pursued by two suitors – one Roman and one Hebrew. It is a great story of courage and faith that I would recommend.

The final book in the series, The Damascus Way, tells the story of a young girl, Julia, who has a Greek father and Hebrew mother. He is a wealthy merchant with another family. Julia turns to the new faith growing around her and becomes a messenger between believers as the persecution of believers intensifies. In her travels, she finds out her brother Jacob is also a believer and messenger but outwardly works as a caravan guard for his father. What will happen to them? Can they learn to trust each other?

Printed Books, Audio Books, and E-Books

Do you have a favorite? Some of us grew up going to libraries and reading. Others only read what they are assigned at school or at work. For me, I’ve always loved books. My mom read to us as we grew up. I love the smell of a library. About half of the books that sit on the shelves in my home came from Friends of the Library sales and second hand stores. The other half are brand new books and you can hear it in the binding when you open them for the first time. In case you didn’t know, I’m a tactile and visual person.

Publishing and the way we get access to books is changing, as you all are well aware. I treasure holding a book in my hands and turning the pages. Then, after hours on the computer five days a week, my eyes got tired and I wanted to read at night but my eyes bothered me. I’d heard of audio books but had never listened to one. After a trip to the Amarillo Public Library branch closest to me, the world of audio books opened up. A whole section of classics and new releases sat on the shelves and I’d never noticed. Audio books go on road trips, flights, and act as bed time stories. They are even in the yard with me sometimes while I get the garden ready for planting in the Spring. My mother-in-law lost her sight in the last few years of her life and she listened to audio books. She’d been a voracious reader all her life.

Enter E-books in all their forms. At first, many thought it wouldn’t be much more than a flash in the pan. However, it is revolutionizing the publishing world for all of us and opens up options for authors.

Now, I realize none of this is news to any of you, but as the industry has diversified, so must we. Keep a finger in all the pies. Versify your writing and use all the wonderful ways to get your writing out to others. I’ve learned this lesson over the past year and a half and am working on just how to get it all implemented. That’s where time management comes. The next post will address some time management tips for the busy writer.

Tips on Starting a Book Club

Tuesday’s post talked about book clubs a bit and I made a suggestion. If you’re not a part of a book club and want to be in one, then ask around, look in your community newspaper for announcements or at your public library. The alternative to that is start your own with some friends and neighbors.

You’ll need to make some decisions on how large you want your group to get. You may want to limit it to a certain number like 6 – 10. Sometimes a larger group can be harder to manage with busy schedules.

Find a place for your meetings. Most libraries have a room you can use for a minimal refundable deposit. They love having groups meet and read. Your group may want to take turns meeting at each others homes. Dinner and a discussion in a restaurant that provides a private room may be your choice. Coffee shops are everywhere and can be a great place. Many book stores have a coffee shop in the store or near by.

Decide what types of books you want to read – fiction, nonfiction, genre. Vote as a group to decide. You could read a combination of different types of books and then compare them.

Set your meeting day and time. How often do you want to meet? How long is your time together?

Set the amount of time to read the book – 4 weeks, 6 weeks – be specific on what date member need to complete reading the book . That way no one gets confused.

Decide on a book to read together with suggestions from the group or a reading list that you all agree on.

Discussions should be focused on the book, it’s subject, the author, elements of the story, social issues, etc. If one person disagrees with another about the book or some point of view, then it should not become personal. It is an objective discussion about what the author wrote. You may not always like the book as much as others, but there is always something to be gained by reading and discussing the book afterwards.

Most of all enjoy yourselves. Your book club doesn’t have to read serious nonfiction that addresses the world and society. You can read humorous books or only one genre. You may want to focus on one author only. I know there are Jane Austin Clubs. It’s all up to you and your friends. Books take us places we may never go otherwise. Enjoy!

Book Clubs

How many of you are in a book club or have participated in one? I’d love to hear about your experiences and how you choose which books to read. Some groups take suggestions from members and then vote. If you read books from Oprah’s Book Club, then you read her choices – many of which are wonderful reads.

Book clubs can be a group of friends, neighbors, or an online group like at Katrina Wampler’s blog. We’re just getting started on the first book of the year, Cedar Woman, byDebra Shiveley Welch.

Lena Cedar Woman Young Bear, a daughter of the Lakota Sioux, opens the first high-end Native American restaurant in Central Ohio.

This is her story.

Born in May Hill, Ohio, Lena Cedar Woman travels to Columbus at age 12 after tragedy befalls her family. Here, in the capital city, a chance encounter leads her to her destiny.

Walk with her as she changes the lives and fortunes of those she loves.      

Follow her to powwow where she meets her half-side.

Rejoice with her at the grand opening of her restaurant.

Cedar Woman allows the reader to learn the ways, and some of the language of The People, while also offering romance and discovery.

This might be the book you and your friends want to read next.

Snow Storms and Subzero Temperatures

Cold weather, hot chocolate, and curled up with a good book (or Kindle, Nook, iPad to mention only a few).

How’s everyone doing out there? Hope you’re all keeping warm. I have stayed hunkered down with the wind howling outside and wind chills 20 below. Now I realize that many of you have it much worse than we do here in the Panhandle of Texas, but this is way colder that usual and just a dusting of snow. We are really dry here and could sure use some of the moisture others are getting. Our weather patterns have gone nuts in the past few years. Okay, I  know you don’t need another report on weather conditions.

Has anyone been writing while their stuck inside? I’d love to hear what you’re working on. My new schedule for three posts a week is off because I was ill, but am feeling much better and really hungry today.

I’ve been reading – of course. Next up on my list is Stephen King’s book, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft. I don’t usually read horror and his books are a bit much for me, but several members of my family love his books. I recognize him as an excellent writer. This book on his experiences as a writer and about the craft of writing is said to be a must read for those of us who write. I expect it would also be a great read for those of you who love his books. It will give you a glimpse into Stephen King himself – the man behind the stories. At any rate, I’m looking forward to it.