Read What You Love, Love What You Read (And Write)

Guest Post by Gloria Marlow

medium_8468101322I have a confession. My reading material is far from lofty. It always has been, and I would hazard a guess it always will be. I haven’t read most of the books considered “classics” and most certainly can’t discuss the ones I did read when I was in high school decades ago.

You see, in high school, I was quite busy devouring books by my favorite authors. Victoria Holt, Phyllis Whitney, and Mary Stewart to name a few. I didn’t really have the time or interest to read Orwell, Salinger and Bradbury.

For many years after becoming an adult, I was rather ashamed of this fact. I wondered if I could really be a writer if I hadn’t at least attempted to read Hemmingway or Melville. After all, how could I possibly know anything about writing if I had never finished a book by those considered “masters of the craft”?

Lately, however, I’ve been thinking about the classics I did read. The Scarlet Letter, The House of the Seven Gables, Ethan Frome, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Rebecca (and du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn), The Great Gatsby, the plays of Shakespeare and some Dickens.

What I’ve come to realize is that all the required books I read had one thing in common with the books I chose to read on my own. Romance. Whether reading it or writing it, I love romance.

Judging from my reading list, I particularly love gothic romance. I love it when the dark brooding hero, innocent heroine, house filled with secrets and peril, and some hint of the paranormal come together to transport me to another place and time.

That leads me to another confession. My reasons for reading and writing aren’t any loftier than the books I choose.

I read to be transported, to become someone different, somewhere else, at some other time for just a little while. I write hoping to do the same for some other reader out there. A teenager, a housewife, a harried secretary reading on her lunch break, people just like me, who might not know much about the “masters” but know about their favorite authors.

One of the first pieces of advice we writers get is “write what you know”. I would add “read what you love”.  Know the kinds of books you read. Write the kinds of books you love.  If you write what you read, you’ll love what you write.

About The Author:

Gloria Davidson Marlow is the author of several romantic suspense novels, including Sweet Sacrifices and soon-to-be-released When Swallows Fall. She resides in Northeast Florida with her husband, works as a paralegal at a local law firm, and spends as much time as possible with her three grandsons. Visit her blog or her website to learn more. You can also follow her on Twitter.
photo credit:

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J to tha M: What We’re Reading

We Want YOUR Recs!

book recommendations from ruthie knox

© Makarand | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

J:  I put out a request for geek heroes on twitter

and got responses from Ruthie Knox, Delphine Dryden, and Charlotte Stein

A little surreal

M:  I love recs, and getting some from those ladies has to be great.

J:  reading a Charlotte Stein now

I think you’d like

M:  someone rec’d her to me a while back

I looked at her Amazon author page

she has a bunch that sound good

J:  reading Power Play

geek sub

M:  Right up your alley

J:  only I’m getting the feeling the geek part is an act to draw out the Domme nature of the heroine

there is some suspension of disbelief necessary

M:  I can deal with suspension of disbelief if the story is done right

J:  everything takes place in the workplace so far

which twangs my HR strings pretty hard

M:  see, that would twang my OCD. I sure hope they clean that desk

J:  I can’t watch The Office without stressing out

so you can imagine how tough I find BDSM in the office

M:  heh

J:  But we have to discuss – at least a little – the ARC of Kate SeRine‘s Along Came a Spider. Due out Aug 1?

M: August 1, yes

J:  I mean, Nicky Blue…

M:  I loved him. Loved.

She writes a really great hero

J:  and I got this weird feeling this is the last

which makes me a little sad if true

because I want to see Gideon’s story

M:  I don’t know. I think she left Gideon pretty open for his own story

I’d like to see more about Lavender’s brother Puck, too

And Cindy needs a real Prince Charming. And Al needs a good romance. And…

J:  I hope she keeps going

M:  Oh, yes. Me, too

J:  she did mention she’s got a WIP, so at least we’ll see more from her, whatever it may be

M:  I’ve read a couple interesting ones

I did finish Beyond Shame by Kit Rocha and was caught up so I bought the second in the series, Beyond Control

I really liked that one

I’d highly recommend for those who like erotica that’s a little different and really sexy

and wowsa hot

J:  I’m about half through Beyond Shame

I kinda stopped when I got the chance to read SeRine’s ARC

:-/

M:  I know some readers are looking for erotic tales a little beyond the usual after That Book

and this is a series and writer(s) I’d definitely rec

I liked Beyond Shame, but I really liked Beyond Control

got into the characters a lot more

Looking forward to the third in the series

J:  Well, you know I loved Delphine Dryden’s books and rec Theory of Attraction

and Ruthie Knox’s Flirting with Disaster. Hero with a stutter. Be still my heart

even quiet and stuttering, she made him so sexy

unf

there’s something about her technique, too

M:  I’ll try it. I read Big Boy – Strangers on a Train from your rec, and it was good

J:  short and different

M:  I like different

J:  but the technique got me with that one. a kind of ebb and flow to the sentences

M:  got you in a good or not so much way?

J:  mostly good. sometimes I just wanted her to come right out and SAY what was going on

it was hard to imagine that kind of arrangement, for one thing

I mean, for me

M:  I enjoyed the story, but for some reason, it was more like reading, not living the characters and scenes

if that makes sense

J:  yes, it does

like, you’re in the scene, you see it happening, but you have no effing clue why

M:  I felt the connection to the characters and story, but not as deep as I thought I should

J:  because it was like watching two strangers do something a little strange

rather than BEING one of the strangers doing something a little strange

M:  well, I like strange. I’m on board with strange

J:  what did get me, though, was the hero’s attempt to fix things at the end

I like a guy that won’t give up without making it right

even if he knows he may not get his desired result

M:  I like that, too

He was really kind of odd and dislikable in his reaction to her wanting more at first

and maybe the reason came a little too late?

or maybe there should have been more hints of vulnerability? I just don’t know

J:  maybe. but I saw it as wanting to desperately cling to that double life. to avoid showing her anything that might scare her off, even if it meant letting her go. at least it was on his own terms

but then he did show that vulnerability. he did decide to let her in

to take a chance

even if it might have been too late

M:  he did. I guess I would have liked to see a little more a little earlier, been given little hints through her eyes kind of thing

but it was a very fun read. I’d definitely read more by her.

J:  all these things I’ve read lately have helped so much with my writing

**dances**

M:  I’m dancing with you – yay!

reading is good

I read a book by Tracey Garvis GravesOn the Island

I’d seen her name here and there, and the ebook went on sale

I’m not a fan of survivor island books, but I liked

J:  oohhh

is this the one where she’s with her student?

I’ve seen such mixed reviews

M:  I liked. I recommend

I thought the whole story was well done

He’s in remission from leukemia, and his parents hire her to tutor him to catch up over the summer

they rent a vacation place in the Maldives, and she and TJ fly out a few days later than the family

the plane goes down, and they’re stranded on the island

Nothing happens between them until he’s almost nineteen

I had my skeptic hat on until I read, but I thought she did a good job of handling the whole situation. I believed, and you know I can be picky

J:  fair enough

M:  She actually took a bunch of my not-favorite tropes and really made them work

well written both in editing and story

very layered

what I really liked is that the story didn’t end when they got off the island (hope I’m not spoiling)

there was still a lot of developing in the characters and plot, which made the second part as interesting as the first. Maybe more

And – ugh. He makes a gesture that just about broke my heart

J:  you’re not spoiling. I need urging to read it. otherwise, it would stay on the shelf

M: read it

J:  heh. Okay.

M:  honestly, the whole book is worth the one line

she nails it

She had the first chapter of her next book at the end. She’s tackling some really difficult and different subjects, and after seeing how she handles this, her next book is going on my buy list

difficult subjects, but handled realistically in my opinion, without the overwrought drama

And speaking of which, pretty much my entire family is coming to visit this week (Stop reading this, Mom. I’m just kidding.)

J:  So you may not brb

M:  probably not

and I can’t say “laters” or you’ll slap me

so…smell ya later?

J: Just go

J to tha M: What We’re Reading

Holding Out for a (Geeky) Hero

geek romance heroes

stock.xchng/Morrhigan

J:  I have a new book to send you

I adored

M:  ooh, what was it?

J:  I think it’s called The Theory of Attraction

looking to see if it’s lendable

Geek dom

you know I love the geek heroes

it is not lendable

but I recommend

I’m about to buy the second in the series

the author is Delphine Dryden

and the series is called The Science of Temptation

M:  I shall check it out

geek doms are fun

J:  pygmalion trope

I know you love that one

M:  mmm, yes.

J:  I’m definitely on a geek hero kick

more than usual, I mean

M:  nothing wrong with that

J:  did you have a free moment to read this week? anything interesting for me?

M:  nothing I think you’d like. I’ve been more on an edgy kick

I read a couple decent ones, but they ended in that damn cliffhangery thing that isn’t really a cliffhanger, more like stopping right in the middle of the damn story so you have to move onto the next book to continue. I find that irritates me more than tantalizes

I’m more excited and liable to by the next if there’s a satisfying ending to the arc but the possibility of more

J:  oh yeah

*grumble*

i haven’t read any of those lately

but reviews sometimes give me the heads up

M:  ugh. me no like

I’m still a little starry eyed over Captive Prince – the writing was only okay, but the twisty turny characters, the manipulation within the story, the perception-mangling interactions…

I love that stuff

J:  you said it was picked up by a publisher?

or is that the version you read?

M:  No, I read the pre-publisher version. I’m not sure when that will come out.

I did really enjoy The Mistress Matchmaker series by Jess Michaels, erotic historical

J:  I’ve been looking at those

the moment I get a craving for historical, I’ll go for it

M:  Well, I liked the first two a lot. The third was a little disappointing

Not the story or characters so much, but more the writing, I think. Or editing. Or something

J:  complacency?

M:  Honestly, I’m not sure. Maybe.

A lot more repeated words, passive, just not as tight

J:  sad.

and jarring when you’ve come to expect so much better

M:  Not horrible, by any means, but noticeably different in my opinion than the first two

But I do recommend the series. I really did enjoy

J:  maybe she just had a different editor

M:  could be. kind of felt that way.

I’m in the middle of a more erotica type one by Kit Rocha. I think it was free.

It’s actually pretty interesting and well written

I saw someone mentioned it was edgy and a bit subversive, so I was all “sign me up”

and I’m into it so far

Now, if it ends in a damn cliffhanger thing…argh

J:  what’s the name? I’m looking it up

M:  Beyond Shame

but it’s so much more than the title so far

J:  it’s 99 cents now

M:  it is the first in a series, I see

J:  huh. it actually looks interesting

M:  I saw “subversive” and “dystopian porn” mentioned in the reviews, and I was “huh”

sounds interesting

and it’s pretty solid so far

I’m a little confused about the hero’s attitude, but I think at the point I’m at in the story, that might be the intent

J:  think he’s pretending to be something he’s not?

M:  No, not like that. More either the author is going for more of a reveal – like he’s waiting for the heroine to discover her true self by herself and is just leading her along slowly to help, or his character isn’t as developed as it should be

could go either way right now. Hoping for the former

he’s giving me and the heroine mixed signals

so it’s either going to be an eye-roller or awesome

J:  well, I’ll give this one a shot if you end up liking it

I’m interested enough in the premise

When’s Kate SeRine’s next one come out again?

M:  August 1, I think

J:  that’s not soon enough

M: You could buy it now, and it will show up as soon as it’s released.

J: Ooh, good idea!

brb

Book Review: The Future of Our Past

Guest Review by Wenisa Conedy

the future of our past by kahlen aymesRyan and Julia. You want to root for their success. You want to go for them to be together and have their happily ever after.
Best friends in college, they both have deeper feelings for each other but they were afraid of ruining the friendship so they never said anything. But now that college is over, Julia is off to the west coast to try her luck in Los Angeles. Ryan is heading to Boston to be a medical student at Harvard. The impending Separation has made them realize they need to be honest with each other as each person feels pain at just the thought of being a part and not seeing each other for many months.
The Future of Our Past is first of a trilogy and shows how Ryan and Julia open up to each other about how they feel, their plans for the future, their budding romance and how they deal with the separation. For me, book one’s story development is a tad slow. There are a few chapters I thought were added for fluff rather than plot or story development. A few characters and situations were introduced that could have added a bit of conflict to the story but didn’t.
I applaud that the author didn’t make Julia a simpering wallflower who would cave to the demands of Ryan. She is independent yet caring. She takes care for Ryan, but doesn’t sacrifice her ambitions because he demands something else. She is emotional yet strong. Ryan would do well to take a page out of her book and trust in her decisions.
I would have liked to see more of how they both mature from where they were in college. I was hoping that there would  be some  character growth and maturity, more plot development – laying a solid base for book two and three. Sadly book one did not have that.
I am, however, intrigued and invested to find out how this ends for Julia and Ryan — enough that I am not giving up on this trilogy and plan to purchase book 2 shortly.
book review the future of our past kahlen aymes

About the Book

Julia Abbot and Ryan Matthews have been inseparable best friends since the moment they met. Each of them fight an internal battle unwilling to risk their incredible friendship but unable to quell their deep longing for the other. On the verge of his departure to medical school and to her new job on the opposite coast, Ryan and Julia are forced to face the undeniable truth of their deeper feelings.

About the Author

Kahlen is an award-winning author of sizzling hot, deeply moving contemporary romance. Her stories are filled with intense love, passion, angst and emotion that breathes life into her characters and leaves her readers captivated. She lives near Omaha, Nebraska with her daughter, Olivia and their three dogs. Creative by nature, she enjoys the arts, music and theater… But the love of her life is writing!

Represented by Elizabeth Winick-Rubinstein of McIntosh & Otis Literary Agency, the first two books in her series; The Remembrance Trilogy are available now. Follow her on Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter, or visit her website.

About the Reviewer

Daughter, wife, friend and aunt –  thats me in a nutshell. There are a handful of important things in my life: My husband, my family my friends, my pup and my books. I  am a  life-long lover of books who discovered reading  at age 5 and grew up in a such a humid environment that I locked myself in the only cool room in the house to read – the bathroom. Reading takes me to realms and worlds where I can spend long hours meeting unforgettable characters (Hello Fifty), savoring, living and experiencing  their exciting, glamorous, dangerous, adventurous, angst filled or humor riddled lives from the safety of my favorite armchair. I love discovering new books and stories and recommending them to my friends and family.