When You Aren’t Writing, You Should Be Reading

At the California Dreamin’ Conference 2015 last weekend, wonderful and talented authors suggested books for attendees, both fiction and nonfiction. I pulled them out of my notes and made this list. And wow, some of these just knock me over. I loved the ones used by certain panelists to illustrate excellent use of descriptions, but all these are on my Amazon wish list.

The first part is a list of non-fiction books recommended by various authors. For Balancing Backstory, Laura Drake http://lauradrakebooks.com/ recommended Margie Lawson classes on-line. http://www.margielawson.com/ Donald Maas has a library’s worth of books on writing, any or all are worth having. http://maassagency.com/books-on-writing/ The same for James Scott Bell https://www.goodreads.com/author/list/11957.James_Scott_Bell

In The Selling Synopsis workshop, Shannon Donnally http://shannondonnelly.com/ urged everyone to have Character and Viewpoint by Orson Scott Card https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7963.Characters_and_Viewpoint for the basics of storytelling.

And I stumbled across The Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/76611.A_Natural_History_of_the_Senses while discussing description.

Moving to the second part, we have fiction! My personal favorite. And romance authors love to tell you about their favorite books, or books that really impacted them in some personal way. Again in Balancing Backstory, Laura Drake recommended Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15818107-orphan-train and Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43641.Water_for_Elephants Lisa Kessler presented Black Moments, which was very dramatic. This woman loved to throw the big guns at her characters. I can’t wait to read the whole Night series she has out, especially Night Child https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/21408412-night-child

Louisa Bacio http://louisabacio.com/ and Tara Lain http://taralain.com/ are definitely on the hot list. They presented 10 Rules for Writing Sex Scenes That No One Will Skip because, let’s face it, that’s what they do best. They mentioned Jordan R. Hawk’s book, Widdershins, and I am so there. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16128152-widdershins

The magical Susan Squires presented Kick Your Writing Up a Notch: Mastering POV. She provided a marvelous checklist to keep you on track. And her Night Magic, the most recent book in her Magic series, looks lush and exciting. http://www.susansquires.com/

Love, Sex, and the Alpha Male ranked high on my list of favorite workshops. Jane Porter is excellent as a presenter, a bubbly person who has had a life that would make a great book. http://janeporter.com/ She lives in a home full of Alpha Males, so she knows first hand what she is talking and writing about.

I sat in on part of the session with Kim Killion and Jennifer Jakes. I took a short break first because they were at my local chapter of RWA not that long ago and gave the same workshop. I scored a cover model calendar, so it was certainly worth it. Hot Damn, indeed! http://thekilliongroupinc.com/

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Julian Christian at an RWA meeting with the Killion Group.

Because I have been having fun with some short prompt-inspired stories lately, I attended The Long and The Short of it: Novellas, Novelettes, & Lunchbox Romances. The presenters were Laura Bacio, Chris Marie Green http://www.chrismariegreen.com/ and Michelle Klayman of Burroughs Publishing https://gust.com/companies/boroughs_publishing_group . They provided a lot of information in the hour available. My favorite was a quote from Edgar Allan Poe, who said “A short story should be read in one sitting, and written in one sitting.” (I couldn’t find that exact quote, but this page has a summation of Poe’s short story rules. http://www.pittsfordschools.org/webpages/gwiener/index.cfm?subpage=37276 )

Be sure to look at the list on Burroughs’ web site of short Lunchbox Romances and Romantisodes. Great concepts for a quick read. http://boroughspublishinggroup.com/books

This is only half of the list I compiled, but I think it’s more than enough for one post. I’ll be back on Thursday with the second half. Thanks for reading!

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