Tag Archives: Reading

Great Opportunity to Read Free Books!

I know a lot of avid readers out there (myself included) that would hurdle over a semi-truck for this chance to read a bunch of great books like this! BookLove

North Texas RWA is holding a new contest for published books, called the Carolyn Reader’s Choice Awards. Judges will read various Advanced Reader Copies of novels (for free!!!) from up to 9 categories, and score them based on certain criteria.

Here’s the sweet part: they need judges! Anyone salivating yet?

The judges are avid readers who are not members of any professional writing organization or associated with the publishing industry in any way. That means no authors, no editors, no agents, etc… Just people who love to read romance novels! Since these are romances (varying heat levels), they require all judges to be at least 18 years old.

There’s an online application if you’d like to become a judge. You can fill out your preferences for which categories you’d like to read, which heat levels you’re comfortable with, as well as which length novels you’d prefer. Talk about best of all worlds!

Here’s the kicker: there’s a time frame you MUST stick to. You can choose which round you’d like to enter, the first or the final. First round is through March 14th, 2014. You’ll need to read at least the first 30 pgs of up to 6 novels. The final round begins March 31st, and ends May 14th, which means you’ll need to read up to 3 full stories in that timeframe. But that’s not as intimidating as it sounds. With awesome books like these, you should fly through them like a G6 plane!

For more information on the contest, click here

To apply to judge the Carolyn Reader’s Choice Award, click here

2013 NTRWA Logo Full Color

If you’d like to see more about North Texas Romance Writers of America, click here. They’re a local writer’s group full of experience, resources, and fun!

Hope you enjoy!

Books vs Movies: The Complementary Battle

Many avid book readers claim that novels are far better than the movies created in their wake. I’ll admit, they’re right. 99.999% of the time.

I’ve found very few movies that did the books justice, let alone were better. Particularly any of the classics. Pride and Prejudice, Ulysses, Jane Eyre. (no, the Twilight series is not considered a classic, nor will it ever)

Mainly because they can’t capture the inner minds of the epic characters we see in our heads as we read them on the page. Or is it perhaps our imaginations are far more brilliant than what’s depicted on screen? Or merely different, and then our expectations are let down.

One of the biggest examples of this is the Harry Potter series. There is so much detail of the witchcraft and wizardry world that the movies will never be able to capture, although they’ve done a fine job of attempting it, thanks to the advancements of computers and green screens. If the movies were able to depict every scene in the books, then each movie would be eight hours long. Particularly the last one; it would have been thirty hours. And who in their right minds would be able to sit in a chair and watch a movie that long?

Well, book lovers of course. And if they are going to sit in a chair that long, they’d rather be reading.

A few movies have come close to matching the same feelings I get from the book. Timeline by Michael Crichton. Here’s the odd thing: there were a few changes in the back-story of that film from the book of which I rather liked. It was a simpler explanation, more believable, and more poetic at the end. That, and I’m a sucker for Gerard Butler.

One movie changed it’s colors almost entirely from the book, and a classic one at that. If you’ve ever read The Count of Monte Cristo, you’ll know the movie is almost completely different. The prison break scene seems to be the only matching event. The ending is completely different. And the movie leaves out an entire set of characters that are so vibrant and alive in the book. I never would have known that had I not read the book. I’ll admit, I saw the movie first. But redeeming factor here, it compelled me to read the novel. Of which I liked much more than the movie.

Nevertheless, I will always watch the movies. I go into the theater (or plop onto my couch) knowing that the book will always have an advantage over the screen depiction.

What about you? Are there any movies that you liked as much as the novel? Or even better? I’m curious to see if there are any out there.

Reading Blitz

All writers (and aspiring authors) need to read. How else are they supposed to know their market? Of course, how else did most writers figure out that’s what they love to do? By reading. Duh. (I know, not a writer-ly word, but it fits).

I’m a big romance reader, if you haven’t visited the other pages on my blog, and also trying to improve my skills as a writer. Since I finished the rough draft and first round of revisions of my manuscript, I’m twiddling my thumbs as I wait for my critique partners to get back to me on what they think. But I’m not twiddling air between my thumbs; I’m twiddling pages. A whole new meaning to twitter! Maybe I should start a new website called Twiddle, and its all about the books!

Anyway, I’ve raced through 3 books in about a month (yes, that’s racing for me. Back off- I have an almost-3-year-old who is faster than most Olympic sprinters). In between books, I also finished plotting my third book and can’t wait to get started on it. I’m saving that storyline for NaNoWriMo in November. It’ll be the first time I participate and I’m seriously excited! (And nervous how in the heck am I going to write 10K words/week with my toddler running around!)

I’ve been on a great streak recently, not just with writing but with the great quality books I’ve picked up this month. I’ve expanded outside of my normal genres and included a few paranormal romances, historical war story, and even a horror/thriller from a critique partner during a beta-read.

The only negative thing I have to say about my reading blitz is that now I think my lasik eye surgery from 2005 needs to be retouched. Or I need reading glasses. (Maybe I’ll choose the less expensive option). My eyes are cross-eyed!

But it’s been a blast! I like to think of it as research, if only the stories weren’t so fascinating that I lose track of the art of writing and instead lose myself in the characters! There are so many good authors out there, that it makes it worth wading through the crummy ones until you find the real jewels!

Inspirational Settings

In a few short days, I’m heading to this lovely island with my family.

Guess which island? Nope- not in the Caribbean. It’s actually not even tropical.

Hilton Head Island in South Carolina.

As I look at these photos knowing I’ll be playing on the beach with my son and hubby, it reminds me of the exotic and far away settings a lot of books have. I’m a big historical romance reader, so a lot of settings are in mist-covered castles all over Europe, all built against picturesque lakes, lochs, or cliffs. Those kinds of fanciful stories are a great escape from the every day life of toddler tantrums, runny noses, laundry, dishes, and fretting over potty training.

Then I compare these incredible settings to the ones in the stories I write. I write contemporary romance and romantic suspense. And they all take place in North Texas. Hardly exotic. And it brings up an interesting question in my mind. How can I love to read about unique settings and be thrown into fantasy worlds, but I write about normal people in every day settings? They could take place in a Normalville in any state. But perhaps its because I view contemporary hometowns (like mine) as my strength. Perhaps writing in far away islands or mountains is my weakness. I don’t know. I’ve never tried.

But they say to write what you know. And I know my state. I know my surroundings. And when I close my eyes and envision the setting my characters live in, I see Texas. And they always tell you to write what you see. Maybe that means I’m not very imaginative. And I’ll be the first to tell you that, if I truly am not as creative.

But then I widen my scope (literally, as I sit here and type this), and think of the vacations and exotic places I’ve been. And I’ve been to several. Heck, I’ve lived in several.

Maybe if I steal away a few precious, uninterrupted hours on my vacation I’ll try to write a short diddy in one of these locations: Curacao, Cancun, Cabo San Lucas, Belize, or Honduras. I mention Curacao first because its one of my favorite vacations I’ve ever taken. Pure white sands and the most awesome scuba diving ever. I could write a contemporary romance in that spot any day. But now I just have to imagine the characters and the jaw dropping storyline.

Any romance author or editor will always say setting is crucial; like another character intertwined in the storyline with its own personality and flavor. And I’ll admit, characters aren’t my forte. In the stories I’ve written I focus on the plot first and think secondly on characters. Which is why my local settings aren’t as creative. It’s like a tertiary character to which I hardly give any thought.

So that’s what the back of my mind will focus on while I’m bouncing around Hilton Head Island with my family. Widening my scope to more creative settings.

What about you? What settings capture you in your readings, and if you’re a writer, what places do you see in your mind?

How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Read Your Ways

Husband Waiting Area

Image by Thomas Hawk via Flickr

I read an interesting blog discussion the other day about romance writers who have their spouses read their work-in-progress. Their husbands’ or wives’ willingness to read the love scenes (some erotic) made me laugh out loud. I’m not laughing at them- I commend them for having (and using) that luxury. I wish I had that luxury. Because my husband doesn’t like to read. Not ‘doesn’t like to read my stuff”; but doesn’t like to read, period. At all.

Which made me think: is it ironic that I’m an aspiring romance author, writing up a creative storm every day (or most days), and the very man who inspires much of the love scenes I write doesn’t like to read? I quit my day job so I could write full-time (and take care of our son), and he helps me accomplish this by providing for our family so I can pursue my passion. But he doesn’t want to read my passion. (He’d rather leave it in the bedroom).

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not making any assumptions about my husband’s unwillingness to read my work. It’s not like I’ve never asked him just thinking he’d prefer not to. That was one blog responder’s story. She never asked because she didn’t think her spouse would be interested.

But I’ve asked my husband. Several times. “Just 1 paragraph, please?” He still refuses. But I can’t blame him. As much as he detests to read, I still laugh when I see him sitting in his office reading a text-book (he’s currently studying for his Masters degree). Which, when he told me he wanted his Masters, I laughed again because I knew how much he hated to read. And Masters is ALL READING. But I still support him 100% and get a kick out of watching him read his textbooks.

But I won’t rag on his unwillingness to read my work too much.  He still helps me come up with perfect zingers and one-liners that fit perfectly to my characters and dialogue. My husband is an expert at off-the-cuff comebacks.

And bottom line, I know he loves me. I know he supports me, and he works hard so I can write full-time. And I thank him every day for giving me this chance. So instead of reading my work to help me, he assists me by being my muse and inspiration for the stories I love to write.

What about you? Does your significant other read your work? Have you even thought to ask them?