Reading to be a Better Writer

Love scenes can either be done wonderfully or horribly with a lot of mediocre in between.  I read The Twilight Before Christmas by Christina Feehan last night and was enthralled with the book.  I could not put the book down.  Feehan’s love scenes were sensual, enthralling, and steamy. 

She included words I would not have thought would be good in a love scene but they completely work in hers.  I’ll be studying her scenes.  The entire book kept me enthralled for the whole night.  Her pacing was non-stop, she went from one crisis to another without giving the reader a chance to catch their breath – in the best possible way.  Her women are strong, feminine, and sexy.  Her men are strong, respectful, loving and sexy.  It is the perfect combination. 

As a reader, I enjoyed reading the book and can’t wait to start the next one in the series.  As a writer, her writing excites me and I am going to study her techniques. 

One of the things I heard in most of my classes was to find an author who writes in the genre you want to write in and study their work.  Mostly they were talking about classical writers like Mark Twain and other people most non-writers don’t like to read.  In rediscovering my love of the reading, I’m finding myself inspired by the stories but even more by the techniques I’m finding in the books that keep me riveted. 

Even though I’m enthralled in the story, in the back of my mind my writer persona is taking notes.  I find myself occasionally saying – oohh I like how this worked or I like the way this was said or I like how this phrase was turned.  In describing the heat of the moment, instead of saying something spread like wild fire the author used a different term (can’t think of it right now off the top of my head) and it worked so much better.  It took away the cliche of the phrase we all know but got the same results of the cliched phrase.

My first novel is a culmination of ten years of writing, getting a story down on and developing characters, plot, and technique.  As I read it now, I see some things I have changed in how I write; I also see some really good techniques. 

I’ve had writers tell me how to write.  I take in their advise but know for me in the rough draft I can’t do it that way (at least not right now).  I can incorporate some of the ideas in my editing process.  I know I’m evolving as a writer and in another ten years I’ll probably look at my first books and see things I’d do differently.  It is sort of like hair styles of old pictures – we look back and sometimes think – what were we thinking, and other times – that was good I should do it again. 

Books Interrupted

Grocery shopping is done.  Other errands are done.  A short story and a book read and another book started in the last two days.  It has been a productive weekend.

I saved over $50 in coupons and shopping sale items.  This is always a bonus.  As we were checking out at Woodman’s I was freaking out a bit as my total was significantly higher than I wanted.  I just kept saying to myself – I have coupons.  Two of my coupons were $5 each so I knew it would come down a lot.  By the time we were done the total was back down in the range of where I expected it to be.

Friday night I started a book.  I told Vicki I wanted something light and magical to read.  I grabbed the list she gave me and started going through it and she said – read that series.  The first pages I was seriously annoyed and disappointed.  The book opens with a woman being dragged from a dungeon to go to her death.  This is not light and magical – in fact probably the opposite.  I kept reading though.  At 11:00 I said to myself okay I need to go to sleep because I have to be up for a lot of things tomorrow.

At 1:30 I glanced at the clock and said my favorite curse word because I truly didn’t realize it was that late.  I looked at the table of contents in the book because quite frankly I was tempted to keep reading if there wasn’t that much left.  I still had ten chapters to read.  I forced myself to stop reading (very reluctantly) and go to sleep.

I was a bit groggy and grumpy yesterday but we still got all of our errands run.  I also finished reading Poison Study by Mary Snyder.  Last night I read Assassin Study and started reading Fire Study.  I honestly didn’t want to put that book down either but at 1:00 I did so I could function today.  There is one more after this one and I think Vicki said a couple of short stories too.

Vicki gave me a several page list of books to read and I’m working my way through them.  I’ve not been disappointed yet.  I’ve not had a chance to listen to Magic in the Wind by Christine Feehan because people have either wanted to talk to me while I’m driving or they have been in the car with me.  I guess I’ll be patient and listen to those on Monday when I go back to work.

If you are looking for a steamy thriller romance – check out Secret Past.  It is on sale on right now for 25% off along with Moments in Nature and Moon Affirmations!

Escape with a Good Book

I’m still on a reading spurt.  I am reading the Fablehaven series.  It is a good series for young adults full of adventure, magic, fairies, and fun.  The roles are a bit traditional for my tastes but I freely admit this is my own hang up. 

Writing tasks are screaming at me while I spend my evenings immersed in this lovely world created by Brandon Mull.  It is a fun distraction but soon I’ll be turning my focus back to writing and reading a bit less.

Over the weekend I finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows (again).  Rowling created quite the world.  I’ve read these book many times and returning to them is like visiting an old friend.

I’ve also started Magic in the Wind by Christine Feehan.  It is a romance novel with a supernatural bent.  Seven sisters with power to help them as they discover love and more.  Magic in the Wind is the first in series of seven.  I’m listening to this one in the van as I drive to and from work. 

When I was in school it was all I could do to keep up with the technical reading I had to do.  Reading fun books that inspire, amuse, entertain – that was impossible for me to do except during my down times like holiday breaks.  Even then I was usually too busy to pick up a book for enjoyment. 

Last night after Ken went to bed I opened up the fourth book in the Fablehaven series and fell into it.  I lost more than two hours while I followed Kendra and Seth adventuring in the Dragon Sanctuary.  It was exciting and pleasant.  I looked up at 9:30 and said – where did the time go? 

At 10:00 I finished the book and my immediate question was – Do I start the fifth book or put it away?  The danger of course being that I will read too late and get up grumpy the next day.  I checked my emails which took all of ten minutes (most of that time spent waiting for the netbook to boot up).  Of course I started the next book and of course I stayed up too late.  Though I did force myself to stop reading at 12:30. 

This is what a good story should do.  It should suck you in and keep you wanting more – keep you turning pages.  If it doesn’t do that, what is the point? 

It may be summer and you may have a lot of other activities you are doing but I say grab a good book and curl up somewhere to be transported somewhere different.

Here are my books:

Secret Past

Available on Barnes and Nobles:
Available for sale at:
Available on Amazon:

Moon Affirmations  Daily Meditations Using the Moon Phase to Focus Your Energy

Available for sale at:
Available on Amazon:
Available on Barnes and Nobles:

Moments in Nature

Available at Barnes & Nobles:
Available at:
Available on Amazon: