weekend reading

Read two great books; Lean Mean 13 (more Stephanie Plum!) and The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes.

Lean Mean 13 had me laughing probably more often than any other Plum adventure I can think of. I’m not sure what I loved most; the snake, the exploding roadkill, the Rangeman embroidery on Stephanie’s underwear, the universal hatred for the cable company, or Lula losing it over Tank. Fantastic, fun, and as always a lean, mean, tight read.

The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes exceeded my expectations. I really couldn’t imagine how a book cowritten by three people could be so smooth and seamless. I loved how the three sisters’ stories entertwined, how well developed the romances were and their struggles to cope with their gifts, and I really want to know who Mother was. Not your ordinary tattoo artist, but that’s left a mystery. I loved the shoes and frogs and bunnies and I really loved Pywacket the tiger cat. A great book.

Aside from that, it’s the usual stuff around here. Kids, house, laundry, working on the book.

TRS gives Night Music 4.5 Hearts

From The Romance Studio reviewer Maura: “This is a great series and I look forward to continuing to read about the Sirens. Rom and Meghan have so much chemistry that the love scenes sear the page; there is also a bit of humor in the story, such as two centuries-old vampires living like modern day computer geeks. This is a great way to hide in modern society, as is Meghan’s rock star persona. That allows for all kinds of eccentricities. I can’t wait for Lisa and Valentine’s story.” Woot! Full review is here.

About Valentine and Lisa’s story, I took down the free ebook and am trying to figure out what to do with it. Even though I had it here free, people buying and reading Night Music didn’t know about Night Rhythm. I’d have to expand it to sell it to Samhain, so I am considering my options, there. I’d like to make it easier for people to get their Sirens all in one spot.


PBW’s list of what she read in a week had my jaw hanging open and my soul writhing in envy. All that reading! I don’t get time to read that much. But I am making more room in my schedule to read, and I thought I’d start with keeping track of everything I read and listing it here. Maybe once a month, my month in books. I’ve never kept a reading journal, but I’ve noticed several readers do and it strikes me as a good idea to at least write down on a list somewhere all the books, magazines, etc. I read. (Another recent decision: read more magazines. I got out of the habit, and I could stand to broaden my reading horizons.) So I will keep track through July and do a round-up at the end of the month.

What I’ve read in the past week:
Stray, Rachel Vincent
All About Evie, Beth Ciotta
The Good Guy, Dean Koontz

Up next: The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes, Crusie/Dreyer/Stuart.

What are you reading?

13 ways to kickstart writing

1. Read over and revise the previous day’s (or session’s) writing. It’s a nice warmup for easing into the flow of the story and getting new words going.
2. 10 minutes timed writing about anything at all. If you don’t stop until the 10 minutes are up, you did it right.
3. Think about the 5 senses, look at the scene you’re writing, and imagine how and what the characters see, feel, hear, smell, taste.
4. Baby steps. Write for ten minutes on the work in progress, take a break. Work another ten minutes, take a break. You can fill up a lot of pages with baby steps.
5. “If you’re blocked, lower your sights.” This is my favorite Lawrence Block quote, and it’s very true. Quit thinking about the book’s future sales or performance. It doesn’t have to be the best novel ever written. It just has to be YOUR novel, and written.
6. Play “how many ways”. How many ways could this scene be written, or how many ways could it end? How many ways can your character communicate the piece of information that has to be said? Iambic pentameter, rap, sign language. Sure, you’ll come up with silly ideas that won’t work, but you’ll get out of a mental rut.
7. Read. Reading greases the wheels of the imagination.
8. Start with a starter sentence, and go on from there. If you can’t think of a starter sentence, there’s always the classic, “It was a dark and stormy night”. Raid your bookshelf for somebody else’s sentence and use that as your starter.
9. Don’t get ahead of yourself. Instead of thinking of writing the whole book and feeling overwhelmed by the enormity of the task, focus on writing this page. This scene.
10. If you really can’t get yourself going, maybe something is wrong with the story. Write for 10 minutes about the project, how you feel about it, what you suspect is causing you to stop. I often get hung up because there’s something I have to go back and fix in the first act in order to set up the story’s correct development in the second and third acts.
11. If you already know what’s broken, go fix it. Don’t be a Nazi about not making changes until the bitter end. Fixing it now will save you work.
12. If you can’t figure out what’s broken and can’t move forward, ask a friend or two to read it for you and give feedback. Even if you don’t have a regular critique partner, there’s probably a writer in your acquaintance that you can ask. In return, be willing to read their broken story and help them out when they need it.
13. Write something else. Yes, if all else fails, put that project aside and write something else. Keep moving forward. Prove to yourself that you can still write, build up your confidence, and eventually that tangled manuscript will unsnarl itself and you’ll move forward on it again.