My To-Be-Reads

99931c2095a59c8ddb1aa8534e78dc89   Oh, come on, autumn! Hurry up! I’m eagerly anticipating new book releases by four of my favorite authors:

On the writing front, Larry Brooks is adding to his excellent how-to’s with STORY FIX: TRANSFORMING YOUR NOVEL FROM BROKEN TO BRILLIANT. I live by his advice from previous books, Story Engineering and Story Physics. He is so helpful and so right.

The newest thriller by Douglas Preston/Lincoln Child is coming out on November 10th– CRIMSON SHORE. It’s the newest novel featuring FBI Special Agent, Aloysius Pendergast, along with his friends, loves, cohorts, and diabolical enemies. Pendy!

Inspirational pastor, Joel Osteen, has a new book, complete with Study Guide: THE POWER OF I AM. His writings lift me up.

And, last but not least, we’ll have a new offering from the Murder, She Wrote series by Donald Bain/Jessica Fletcher. These come out every April and October like clockwork, and I have them all. This one is a Halloween book, THE GHOST AND MRS. FLETCHER.  Is an old house in Cabot Cove haunted? Delightful fun.

Oh, hurry autumn! Come quickly! I just can’t wait!

Best Bookstore Pickup Lines

imagesFY5T0OVV  “Excuse me, could you point me toward the Self-Help section? I need some advice on how to approach a gorgeous girl in a bookstore without seeming creepy.”

“I don’t know about you, but I found Dave Eggers’ latest effort to be really derivative. Just kidding. I don’t even know what ‘derivative’ means. God, your eyes are pretty.”

“I’ve got a great reading light by my bed.”

“Have you seen a copy of tax tips for billionaires?”

“You’re pretty nicely stacked, too.”

(These were rounded up from the internet for your enjoyment by my friend Melanie Tighe (author Anna Questerly). She owns the Dog-Eared Pages bookstore in Phoenix.)

Don’t Break the Chain

imagesEN139F1FHere’s a present for you for 2015.

It’s a motivational tool developed by Jerry Seinfeld. When he was first starting out, he realized the only way he would make it would be to write new jokes every day and just keep doing it. So he created a calendar called “Don’t Break the Chain” and marked off every day that he wrote. After a while, he just couldn’t bear to break the chain!


Karen Kavett has created a new 2015 calendar that you can use for writing, running, Weight Watchers–anything! Print it out for free at:

Here’s to a happy and productive new year!

Faces from the Past

Hey, history lovers! I found two great web sites with extraordinary photos of real people from the past. Writers, find some new characters!

One is the Pinterest page, “Faces from the Past.”

The other is a blog, “My Daguerrotype Boyfriend.”  (“Where Early Photography Meets Extreme Hotness”)

Here are two of my favorite photos. Enjoy!

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BEAST by Judith Ivory

899b877863a79ab883efbbec903ed772I’ve been re-reading my all-time favorite romance novel, BEAST by Judith Ivory, and I just have to wax rhapsodic about it.  I’ve enjoyed many romance novels, but this is, by far, the best I’ve ever read. It’s the Grand Opera, the Taj Mahal, the Ritz of romance novels.

A retelling of “Beauty and the Beast,” the story is set around the turn of the 20th century, a time when young American heiresses were married off to aristocratic European gentlemen–even ones who might seem, at first glance, to be rather beastly. The first half of the book takes place on the ocean liner Concordia; the second half takes place in Provence, France.

Two things make it so special–the marvelous writing with luscious descriptions (I swear you can smell the scent of ambergris!), and the deep point of view that makes Charles and Louise come alive as real people. You feel you know these characters. You are these characters, and you experience every thought, every chuckle, every sigh, right along with them.

Oh! There’s a third aspect that makes this book so charming, and that is the character of Louise. Yes, she’s beautiful and intelligent, but we expect that of romance heroines. Louise has something more, a trait that is admirable:  She knows how to take care of herself. She knows her own worth. While kind-hearted, she never denigrates herself or turns herself inside out, trying to please others.  She pleases herself–a refreshing lesson for all modern women.

The book came out in 1997, but you can still find it on Amazon.

Highly recommended! If I could ever write a novel half as good as this one, I’d die happy. :)