Apologies if this comes to you twice but my links got a little messed up and I had to fix.
During these last few months of questioning my goals I have made it a point to random read. I seriously mean there hasn’t been a pattern to choices. As a blogger I follow blogs and as an avid reader I also follow authors so it hasn’t been too difficult to come across a fair selection of books. Why the random reading?
As you know I self-published and I also did it without much professional input. Following a dream can be costly so I chose a path to suit what I could make possible. I was prepared to learn as I went and learn I have. Just recently I have been doing some work with a book called Edit Your Own Romance Novel by Ebony McKenna. This particular book has an almost rambling layout that allows me to follow it and put it down quite easily and check my work, and then start the process again. It fits the pace I work at. I just read what Ebony says and look at my work more clinically than I have done in the past, and continue working. Writing is personal but we do need to step away to improve. Ebony’s book encourages this in us (I intend to write this in my review of the book along with my thanks). Random reading, using this book, along with a variety of posts and other reading matter has allowed me to focus on readers, and what holds their attention. It has also make me dizzy at times.
Some interesting points that I am filing in my super brain special folder (I wish I had one but am hoping but just in case I have a paper trail) have surfaced. I am still editing for the print copy and re-upload of Unexpected Obsession and my book sabbatical has impacted strongly on this, enough to challenge my style, my choice of words and in general the events and characters that make up my created world. I have had the time to appreciate the finer nuances that make a book appeal. Yes, it is subjective but I am hoping that the objective has also had its part to play.
So what holds me as a reader? What is the common thread? Is it genre? Is it the perfection of the words and the order they are delivered? How picky am I, or am I? There are times I overlook errors without flinching, and other times I want to skip pages and skip more pages breaking my never skip pages rule. Silently, slowly and smoothly (I thought I would use some alliteration here just because I can) I have randomly read, studied and taken note of more than I thought I could. Has it improved my writing? I hope so but then again I am happy to accept I still have a way to go in this process. In the meantime here are a couple of the books that I enjoyed.
Order of the Seers is a trilogy by Cerece Rennie Murphy. It started strong and with a freshness to the theme. The second book introduced a creature similar to so many plots out there in reader space. It disappointed me for about five to ten minutes until I realised it didn’t matter how the bad guy was depicted, the freshness remained. Meant for a YA audience it featured young people but young people that inspired hope in the reader. Too often in this genre the characters can be shallow, whinging and selfish and whilst these characteristics often do apply to young people there is a multitude of young out there that are caring, considerate, brave, and capable of deep abiding love. It was obvious to me that the writer respected her creations and she wanted them to make a point. It worked. I got inside the quorum along with the seers. I wondered what it would be like to have a world where they existed.
From this I moved to modern romance with the Sinclair Sisters. Phyllis Bourne’s characters were funny, often ridiculous but so caring of each other. They cared enough to get involved in each other’s lives. The women were sexy, sassy and simply delightful, and the men willing to think about what their respective lady needed. Warmth shone through every word in both books so of course a reader gets sucked in. That warmth exudes a sense of belonging in the page.
From here I moved back to the paranormal and Gabriella Messina’s Quicksilver, the second book in The Bloodline Series. Again I must use the word – freshness. This is about wolves and shifting but a clever use of history cements the plot and captures our attention. However it is the vulnerability of the characters that holds the reader and makes a connection. Suspending disbelief is only a small portion of entertainment. We all want to forget our world and just revel in the new one in front of us. This is all well and good but without a connection we remain conscious of reading, escaping. When we connect, we are inside the book.
It would seem I have sent myself quite a task. Am I up to it? I can only try.
P.S. Let me know what holds your attention, what gets you in.