About me, Obsessions, Reading

2015 review: My favorite books and music of the year (and BT Urruela!!!)

I thought about doing an introspective end-of-2015 post, but since I kind of laid my soul bare here, I’m going to skip the deep thoughts for my last post of the year. (Update on that, though: I start Judaism 101 classes on January 10th at a local synagogue. I’m excited! Went to my first Shabbat service last week and it was fascinating.)

Anyway, for my final post of the year, I’m going to talk about my favorite books and music of 2015. So, without further ado —

Continue reading “2015 review: My favorite books and music of the year (and BT Urruela!!!)”

Books

Changing me by changing what I read – My Reading List

I’m a struggling artist, if I define struggling as “someone who intentionally doesn’t do something” and artist as “a writer that never actually spends any time writing.”   Continue reading “Changing me by changing what I read – My Reading List”

Books, Writing

A writer’s struggle: exploring spirituality in characters without boring the reader to tears

One of my biggest struggles as a fiction writer is that I want to explore spirituality and religion with my characters, but I absolutely do not want to write Inspirational or Christian fiction.  Why? Well…

I’m a romance novel junkie.  Seriously. There is nothing I love more than reading, and writing, romance.  I love experiencing those emotions, the excitement and the pain and the fear and the lust and, ultimately, the love. Continue reading “A writer’s struggle: exploring spirituality in characters without boring the reader to tears”

Books, Writing

The epicenter

When I was a kid, my house had a library.  Okay, it was really just an unused dining room filled from floor to ceiling with bookshelves, but to an introspective, socially awkward girl like myself, it was a refuge.  There, I learned about the world through the encyclopedias that ran along the bottom shelves. I was exposed to history through the hundreds of World War II books Dad had, as well as stacks of Life magazines from the 40s and beyond.  The library was where I discovered smut and would sneak through pages of Clan of the Cave Bear when Mom and Dad weren’t home, my mind sucking up words like “throbbing” and “turgid.”  And there, in the Romance section (aka Mom’s books), I was introduced to the book that I realize now has had a huge influence on my life as a lover of the written word.  When I was 12 years old, I read Ashes in the Wind by Kathleen E. Woodiwiss for the first time.

Continue reading “The epicenter”

Books, Reading, The novel, Writing

The problem with romantic fiction

Alright, so… romantic fiction?  Yay or nay?  As a reader, they’re my favorite kind of books to lose myself in and, as an aspiring writer, romance is, by far, my go-to topic.  Trying to find good romance novels to read… Well, that’s a challenge.  Why?  Because a big majority of romantic fiction out there just downright sucks.

Continue reading “The problem with romantic fiction”

Books, Reading

Cookie-cutter fiction

So the thing about me is that when I find a new author I like, I read everything I can from that author.  This happened to me recently because I borrowed a book from the library (ebook version, of course) by Diana Palmer.  Because I have a thing for cowboys, I really enjoyed the book.  So then I borrowed about seven more from her.  By the time I was into the fifth one, I was pretty sure I’d read this book before.  That’s when I realized that all her books follow the same formula.  Young virginal woman + older man + tortured attraction + unrealistic characters who profess love in gorgeous prose = every Diana Palmer book. Ever.

The same can be said for Nicholas Sparks.  I know he’s wildly popular but his books wouldn’t be his books unless someone dies at the end, bringing everything full circle and leading to the main character(s) having profound realizations.

What is it with these authors?  Why do they publish the same book, over and over again?  Why does the reader never seem to mind and just keep buying them?  Is originality dead?  I mean, Colleen Hoover runs circles around Diana Palmer – yet Hoover had to self-publish at first!  As an aspiring author myself, I’m beginning to realize that there’s no rhyme or reason to getting published.  Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series is proof of that.  That series should’ve ended about ten books ago, yet it just keeps going and going and going.  Stephanie’s car blows up + Grandma Mazur is funny + Lula makes fat jokes + Stephanie can’t decide between Joe or Ranger (the answer is ALWAYS Ranger, in case you were wondering) = every book in the stupid series.

The only thing I can surmise is that readers aren’t picky and that there’s no accounting for taste (or the lack thereof).  50 Shades of Grey is proof of this!

Reading, Writing

The POV debate

As I have stated in a previous entry, I’ve had a long-time ban on books written in first person POV (known as FPPOV for the rest of this entry).  That ban ended, though, upon giving in and reading Colleen Hoover’s Hopeless, because then I read Slammed and Point of Retreat.  This past weekend, I read John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, which is another book written in FPPOV, and also another book that had a gutting, heart-wrenching effect on me.

So all this crying I’ve been doing over these books lately – all written in FPPOV, no less – have me thinking:  is FPPOV the new “thing” in popular fiction?  Because all of these books that have knocked me to my knees with emotion are best sellers, and they’re all written in first person.   Is that where it’s at now in the world of fiction?

I’m struggling to write my own book.  Each and every sentence feels like a monumental task because I’m still trying to find my characters’ voices.  The idea of just one voice, flowing so freely in “me” speak, is appealing.  But I’m a third person kind of girl.  I love third person.  I’ve embraced it my entire writing life.  Third person POV and the Oxford comma are my two favorite parts of the writing process.  Can I write my story, and tell it as authentically as I want to, if I’m only inside one character’s head and only sharing her voice?  One of the reasons I love writing romances is because I have two characters who are world apart at the beginning who have to find their way to a spot where their orbits intersect.  If I’m only sharing one voice and one character’s thoughts, I can’t do that.

So what’s the answer – is FPPOV the way to go now?  Do readers have a particular narrative that they prefer?  Am I using this debate as just an excuse to put off writing even more?  I need answers!