Thursday, July 30, 2009

Book Covers

If you’re like most folks, you do judge a book by its cover. A book cover is designed to sell books, the goal is to intrigue you enough with the cover that you pick up the book and investigate what it’s about.

When a book cover entices me to pick it up off the shelf, I usually flip it over and read the back copy, and then open the book and read the first few sentences. For me the book has to have more than just an attractive cover to win me over.

The book covers shown have something in common. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Write Away Field Trip

Today I joined my Words For The Journey writing friends on our 3rd annual Write Away Field Trip to the beautiful Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs.

It's a beautiful resort, and they are very welcoming to the dozen or so writers who take up residence on the patio and in the mezzanine to write for the day.

We all -- well, most of us -- spent the time there productively writing our novels, article, and non-fiction books. The sound of our keyboards clacking away was music to a writer's ears.

Above is Lucille, Kay, and Diane. This is the cool table. You can tell by the serious, writerly look on Robbie's face. From left to right: Michele, Heather, yours truly, and Robbie. And here's the social table with Denise and Jan. They were the chatty girls.
This is our 2009 group photo, but unfortunately it didn't occur to us to take the photo until after some of the ladies had gone home. Sorry, girls.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A novel’s first sentences

I’ll say it up front: I’m a real sucker for a good first sentence in a novel. I may read on if the sentence is ho-hum, but I’ll read more eagerly if the first sentence pulls me into the story.

Like many readers I’ll peruse the books on a shelf and pick up novels by authors I’ve previously enjoyed or select a book whose title or cover catches my eye. I’ll flip it over and read the back cover copy and then turn to the first page. Reading the first lines of a novel is like going out on a blind date, I don’t know what to expect, but I’m hoping to be pleasantly surprised, swept off my feet, and fall madly in love.

Some people contend that the most difficult sentences to write in a novel are the first ones. After all, they are the hook that draws people in. My favorite first sentences are the ones that make me ask, “what??” —the lines that peak my curiosity and leave me panting for more. Please don’t give me a weather report or tell me what the character looks like. I want to read a provocative statement or a question that has me hungering for an answer.

Of course there are some first lines from bestselling authors that are so boring I want to toss the book across the room, but then because it was written by a bestselling author, I read on. After all, their books sell, and they could probably post their grocery list on the first page and people would read on. However, for the rest of us authors, we need to give our readers some lines that will keep them engaged.

Here are a few of my favorite first lines:

Keep reading . . .

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Author Frank McCourt's legacy

Did you read Angela's Ashes? I did, and I loved it. I was sad to hear about author Frank McCourt's passing this past Sunday.

Frank McCourt, the schoolteacher turned late-blooming memoirist, died Sunday of cancer. He was 78.

McCourt was known for verbally spinning a great tale long before he even penned the words to his debut book, Angela’s Ashes.

Keep reading . . .

Friday, July 10, 2009

A day at the beach

We spent the day at Nickerson Beach on Long Island, NY. Here's 10 seconds of bliss.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Answering critics

Everyone’s a critic. Everyone has an opinion. And of course, everyone's entitled to their opinion.

But what happens when a critic or a reviewer or a book club member reads your book and doesn’t like it? What do you do when you read a cutting review of the book you toiled over for months (or years)?
Keep Reading »