Elizabeth: What Have You Been Reading – Classic Edition

CarpeLibrumIf you’ve ever read Stephen King’s On Writing – part memoir, part writing advice, and completely entertaining – then you’ve seen this piece of advice:

“If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others:  read a lot and write a lot.”

So this week we’re taking a break from talking about writing and publishing to talk about reading.  Conveniently, I’ve spent the last two weeks doing little else besides reading and talking about books.  Since I’m currently studying Victorian sensation and detective fiction, my reading selections have had a distinct “blast from the past” flavour.

So, here are the last three books I read: Continue reading

Nancy: Serious About Series, Part 1: Chief Inspector Gamache

How the Light Gets In, the ninth Chief Inspector Gamache novel, was my introduction to the series.

How the Light Gets In, the ninth Chief Inspector Gamache novel, was my introduction to the series.

For the next few weeks, I’m going to talk about different book series I’ve been reading and what they’ve taught me about planning and writing two upcoming series of my own. As I told you in last week’s prologue to my series on series, first up is Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Gamache cozy mystery series. The books are set in Quebec and star – you guessed it! – Chief Inspector Armand Gamache, head of this fictional world’s Quebec police force homicide division.

There are lots of things to love about Penny’s books, but if you’re a regular reader of the blog, you know she had me at cozy mystery. Oh, how I love a good cozy mystery! While I did binge-read several of the books after finding How the Light Gets In (book 9, and boy howdy! Stuff Happens in this one), I didn’t do it aimlessly or purely for the joy of it. I took some time to parse through what drew me into the series, what has kept me there, and in the spirit of great art, what I can steal or at least borrow for my own series writing pursuits. Looking at this series affords us the opportunity to explore one that is long-running, has the same recurring main character, and includes an overarching story that spans the course of the series thus far.

Give the protagonist a raison d’êtreContinue reading

Jilly: Treats from the Peak

North Lees Hall, the original Thornfield Hall (David Lally via Wikimedia Commons)

North Lees Hall, the original Thornfield Hall (David Lally via Wikimedia Commons)

Are you tempted by our Christmas Week Short Story Challenge? Everyone’s invited, and it’s only a measly five hundred words.

The challenge evolved in the comments to my post Man-Caves & Brainwaves, about the rich and varied history of my home county of Derbyshire and its story potential. The rules (guidelines, really, it’s Christmas and we’re flexible) are simple – write a 500-word short story including ‘Derbyshire’ and at least three of the following: Darcy, Rhinoceros, Woolly, Admire, Love, Mine, Villain, Volcano, Ghost. Extra kudos for using more than three, and kudos with sparkles for Christmas references.

I’ll be starting off the challenge next Sunday (21 December). Several of the other Ladies are planning to play, and Michaeline will close the week in style the following Saturday, 27 December.

If you have a little reading time, here are Continue reading