Posts Tagged ‘#NWNF’





Why Authors Read

People read books for different reasons. Some desire a quick get-away from mundane or stress-filled lives while others like to travel with the characters into worlds unknown, precarious or dangerous situations. And yet, other readers imagine themselves living in the drama of a good romance or with the desire to help the protagonist fall in love or make the right love choice.


But what about those who write these stories? Why do authors continue to read? What value could they possibly pull from other books when they write their own?


Authors like to be swept away by a great story, too, but while reading, they see how other authors write, build their characters and make the unreal—real. Curiosity may pique as the reader discovers another author’s writing techniques and how those work for them.


What are some of the reasons that writers must also read?

  • Reading reveals different writing styles and can offer insight into what works best to capture the readers’
  • Reading the work of others may prompt writers to ask themselves these questions. Have I made my voice clear? Is my voice distinct and consistent in all my books? Would a reader be able to identify me by my voice without seeing my name first?
  • Reading stretches the imagination and can be the catapult that sparks new ideas for plot twists, scene changes, character behaviors, etc.
  • Reading may help authors press through writers’ block.
  • Writing skills are likely to improve when authors continue to read and can be beneficial if they read books in their genre.
  • Authors may discover the importance of consistent descriptions. Have you ever backtracked in a book because a character’s hair color or other physical features changed?
  • As a story unfolds, an author might become aware of how much research goes into building the profession of a character. Did the doctor make the right medical decision, order the right tests or medication for a specific injury or sickness? Did the author use the correct terminology that fits with the different professions? Did the pizza joint really serve steaks?
  • While reading, authors will, without even trying, notice point-of-view switches within a chapter or scene changes that needed a transitional sentence. Repetitive words will jump off the page for the trained eye, perhaps prompting authors to search their work for similar transgressions.
  • Authors don’t normally read another author’s book to search for errors unless they’ve been asked to critique it. However, when we notice mistakes in others’ works, we can learn from them.
  • Reading helps keep authors alert to the details and the continuing changes in writing guidelines.


It’s interesting to find ideas for descriptive tag lines, body language, and setting while reading. Seeing how authors show emotion through their characters body language rather than telling can be enlightening to another author who may struggle in the area of showing and telling. Reading about a character slamming his fist on the table rather than saying he was angry helps the reader experience the anger rather than hearing about it.


There are multiple genres and reasons to read, but enjoying a great story is the ultimate goal for authors and the general public. Once upon a time, a dark and stormy night or her scream devoured the silence may hook readers and keep them turning pages, but it also confirms what type of adventure they are about to experience. Whether it’s a fairy tale, suspense or murder mystery these stories transport readers into an imaginary world of adventure with laughs, thrills, and unexpected twists.


Regardless of the genre, readers become enthralled and devour the books while authors read and continue to learn.



Loretta Eidson writes romantic suspense. She won first place in romantic suspense in the Foundations Awards at the 2018 Blue Ridge Mountain Christian Writers Conference and was a finalist in the 2018 ACFW Genesis, and a finalist in the 2018 Fabulous Five. She was a double finalist in the 2017 Daphne du Maurier contest.

Loretta lives in North Mississippi with her husband Kenneth, a retired Memphis Police Captain. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her four grown children and twelve grandchildren.








#Blogwords, New Week New Face, #NWNF, Guest Post, Loretta Eidson


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The Value of Reading for Writers: 10 Ways to Improve Your Writing from the Novels You Read


Do you remember this line from the movie version of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society?

“The Times has asked me to write an article about reading,

and I’d like very much to write an article about you.”


Reading fiction is about pleasure, but for writers it is also about inspiration. In short, it’s about you, or at the very least, it’s about what you do.  While we all look forward to that time in our day when we can sink into a good book and escape for a bit, it is nearly impossible to ignore writing technique while we read. The more we write, the more we become aware of the way others excel—or sometimes don’t— in the craft.


Now if you’re reading this piece thinking, I hardly ever read anymore, I don’t mean to shame you but rather to encourage you to get back on track. We always talk about how important it is to read books on craft and to grow in our work. Reading a big, juicy novel in whatever genre you love to write is just like reading a book on craft. If it’s a well written story, you’ll learn from it, as long as you keep your writer’s eyes open and ears tuned.


I like to mark up the fiction I read, just like non-fiction, underlining the things I want to focus on and making notes in the margins. Even the novels on my Kindle are full of highlights and notes.


Here are 10 things I mark for study when I read a great novel (in no particular order).


Emotional Impact. We’ve been taught that the main reason anyone reads a novel is because they are seeking a powerful emotional experience. As writers, of course we want to provide that. When reading great fiction, some scenes will provide such a powerful emotional impact, I have to go back and read them again. I can’t help but be drawn into how the writer accomplished it. First, of course, I wallow in the joy, fear, or whatever emotion the character feels. Then I pull in a breath and go back. What words did the author use to convey the emotion by telling without showing? What internal or external body responses were the characters demonstrating? How were their thoughts conveyed? Study those and reel in what makes the emotion work.


Deep POV. I’m just going to camp on this one for a minute. There are further times beyond those emotionally charged moments when we can learn how body language and internal thought affects the story. Pay attention to the subtleties of deep point of view in masterful writing. Also note how internal thought isn’t tagged with phrases like “he thought”, she hoped”, or “he realized”. It’s integrated through the senses of the point of view character whose shoes we’re in. The study of deep point of view is on-going for me and probably for you too. We slip out of it easily. How does the author you’re reading now manage it? The more you read current novels written in deep POV, the easier it is upon reading an older book, to figure out why we left the old way of writing behind. We love being placed firmly inside a character’s head, living in and breathing out their thoughts.


Conflict and Pacing. Most stories engage conflicts that are pretty obvious. I like to observe the manner in which the author introduces each disturbance and ramps it up. Put a sticky note or comment where you see this happening, and you might learn something about pacing and conflict as your write.


Well-chosen verbs. Verbiage that dances and sings, creating vivid imagery by showing without telling, is worth highlighting and remembering. When I discover excellent use of a verb in a novel, it makes me ponder whether or not the verbs I’ve chosen in my own writing for any given action are as succinct as they can be.


Picturesque prose. We don’t go to the lengths of prose in fiction nowadays that they used to back when. Readers are impatient (sigh). Therefore, when there is a stitch or two of prose in the lovely fabric of our novels, it should appear like a cleverly woven, golden thread in the tapestry. I highlight prose that is evocative without being purple when I read.


Transitions. Did you ever wonder how to get your character from point A to point B in a story without belaboring the mundane movements? I know I have my characters turning way too often. I sometimes get locked into a timing problem, when I really want to move my story forward. Chapter breaks and scene breaks often beg the question of when and how to position the next scene. There are also choice words to use in making transitions, even if time is merely transitioning from night to the following morning. When I notice a transition while I’m reading, I try to note how it was done and whether or not it was done smoothly.


Dialogue. Did you just read through a page or two of dialogue that sizzled with reality and uncontrived emotion, filled with both verbal and non-verbal communication and cues? Read it again. How did that happen? Why did it feel so natural and real? How did the author avoid stilted use of language (unless they are doing so intentionally to convey discomfort or dialect)? How did they use action beats instead of he said/she said to tell us who is speaking? Examine good dialogue in light of a scene you’re working on if you think your fiction is weak in this area.


Research. Does the author get time and place right without seeming to try too hard? Even excellent writers struggle with knowing how much of their research to put into a story. They’ve learned so much, and they want to share it. Been there? I have. I love historical fiction above all the other genres. When I’m enjoying a novel that gives me a sense of time and a place while I’m reading, or helps me understand the tools and know-how of the characters’ daily lives without feeling like I’m being taught a history lesson, then that means the writer did his or her job. I want to do mine like that, so I take note on how much the author actually included to make me feel grounded in time and place. Was it a little? Was it a lot? There’s a fine line between too much (which the reader will skip over) and not enough (which will leave the reader with an unclear picture).


Grammar and usage. I am determined to figure out the correct way to use English form in everything from placing commas and em dashes to arranging word order and capitalization. There is often room for disagreement, and I love to follow the Editor’s Blog. In all that, I note the way the answers to my usage questions work out in popular novels. Each publisher has their own style sheet for certain things, but there are other parts of grammar and usage that answer to universal rules. I think it’s wise to take heed while you read, if you find this area of writing overwhelming at times.


Plotting. This is a big one. Without fail, I note what is happening at the 50% mark through any novel I read. That should be a turning point in the story at some level. It’s a stimulating and transitional moment for the main character that may make a reader go “uh-oh” or maybe even moan aloud or cheer. If the writer understands what makes a story really work (and my attention will have remained riveted to this point if they have) then that turning point will show. If they haven’t done that, then there is a good chance I will let the story go (if I haven’t already). I also key in to other turning points while I read—the ¼ mark where there’s a subtle change and sometimes an increasing danger or secondary plot line brought in, the ¾ mark, where we hit the black moment, as well as what builds tension along the way to each. This helps me to learn to plot build better in my own fiction.


Themes. Did the author strike on a theme that resonates without spelling it out oh-too-clearly? I highlight themes if I see them (without prying too deeply). Sometimes a theme might be a bit more declarative than subtle, which is okay in some novels, but not so much in others. I may have a varying purpose with themes in my own writing. Some are “out there” and easy to see. Some themes hide among the layers. I like to observe how other writers do it, so I watch for themes peeking out of the stories I read. ***As an aside, I always plot with theme in mind and occasionally smaller, sub-themes as well.


I hope these ten insights to consider help you glean more from your reading. It may sound like looking for all these things weighs down the pleasure of reading, but it really doesn’t. When I’m reading for pleasure, usually something about a scene will jump out so I can’t help but stop and ponder it. Within moments, I realize it was because the writer did one or several of these things really well. Happy reading and wonderful writing! ~Naomi




After her aunt’s death, Métis woman Brigitte Marchal finds herself alone in Montreal. Uninterested in the convent and desperate to flee a loathsome suitor, she disguises herself as a young man to travel west by voyageurs’ brigade in search of her long-absent, fur-trader father. But her inexperience and disguise don’t hide her for long. 

René Dufour yields to the unwelcome position of shielding Brigitte, but he cannot hide her identity forever. Keeping her safe while meeting his North West Company obligations and honoring his family promises may prove to be more disquieting to his heart than he imagined.

As Brigitte adjusts to the voyageur life on Lake Superior, she struggles to justify the faith she grew up in with the mysticism around her, but greater still is the conflict her heart must settle over who to trust in this rugged, unfamiliar country.

Purchase Link




Naomi is an award-winning author who crafts her stories from the pristine north woods of Wisconsin, where she and her husband Jeff live as epically as God allows near the families of their five adult children. She enjoys roaming around on the farm, snacking out of the garden, relaxing in her vintage camper, and loving on her passel of grandchildren. Naomi is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, the Wisconsin Writers’ Association, and the Lake Superior Writers. Though she has written in a variety of venues, her great love is historical fiction. Naomi would love to connect with you around the web. Visit her at:








Monthly Newsletter: News of the Northwoods


#Blogwords, New Week New Face, #NWNF, Guest Post, Naomi Musch

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Reading to Write


Like many writers my interest in writing grew from a love of reading. When I was little, I eagerly awaited the day the bookmobile visited our neighborhood. I always checked out a stack of books, which I quickly devoured. By third grade, I had decided that someday I would write children’s books. My reading at that time, however, was chiefly for pleasure. I read every horse book in the library, followed by every animal book I could find—then whatever else caught my eye. I escaped into wondrous new worlds, but also grew and learned from each book.

Now, as a writer, I still read for pleasure, but I also read to improve my own writing. The types of reading I do fall into several categories—each with a different purpose, but with the overall goal of furthering my career—and ministry—as a writer.


Books about Writing

This first category is obvious. I have accumulated shelves of books on different aspects of writing, each pushing me to improve in one way or another. Besides the needed reference books—dictionary, thesaurus, market guides, etc.—I have books on plotting, character development, use of language, elements of fiction, writing for children, how to write a book in a month (helpful for National Novel Writing Month), and many other topics. There are also inspirational books like Walking on Water by Madeleine L’Engle and books on marketing (a weakness of mine). I learn something new from each new book. (and tend to accumulate way too many of them…)

A random few of my favorite writing books


Books in My Genre

At writing conferences the importance of reading in your genre is often stressed. At one conference on writing for children, a speaker suggested reading 100 children’s books in the coming year. While I haven’t hit that goal, I do try to read a lot of middle grade novels, since that is what I write. When I visit the library, my first stop is the New Children’s Books rack. Surveying the new books gives me an idea of what types of books are being published these days. How many are fantasy? What topics seem popular? What percentages are humor, historical, contemporary, cross-cultural?

After an overview, I pick out books of the general type that I write (contemporary), as well as something a little different that might stir my creativity. As I read the books, I note what the author does well—perhaps something I need to improve on—and what techniques they use. Besides just enjoying the book, I learn from it and try to apply what I learn to my own writing. I have heard newer writers ask whether there might be a danger of inadvertently copying something from another author. I’ve never found that to be an issue. I may pick up ideas, but after reading many books, the techniques and topics blend together, mixing in with my original thoughts and voice. What I write may be influenced by what I have read, but it becomes uniquely my own.


A mixture of sun and rain produces a unique rainbow.

Reading in my genre can also prepare me for my next project. For example, I am currently working on a book that deals with race relations. So I search out books from different cultures, particularly ones written by African Americans. This can help my writing become more realistic and culturally sensitive.

Of course, new books are not the only middle grade books I read. Classic children’s stories are still around for a reason, and I can often learn from them and be inspired to push my writing to a higher level.


Books for Spiritual Growth

Another aspect of my reading menu involves reading for spiritual growth. That includes reading the Bible and various inspirational books. While this may seem unrelated to writing, it definitely applies. If I am not growing in my faith, how can I embed realistic spiritual themes in my books? For me, the goal is not just to entertain the children who read my books, but to inspire them to grow emotionally and spiritually. For a book to touch a child in that way, the faith aspects must be a natural part of the story, not awkwardly pasted on in an attempt to make the book “religious.” And for me to write that way, faith must be a natural part of my life.


Books that Friends Wrote

Okay, you may say, it’s nice to read books written by friends, but does it really have anything to do with reading to write? It certainly does. We writers are a weird bunch, telling tall tales, living in alternate realities, crying over characters we created ourselves. Only other writers really understand us, and other writers can be our best support group. When I read a book by a writing friend, I not only enjoy a good story, but I have an opportunity to help that author. As soon as I finish the book (assuming I liked it, of course), I click my way over to Amazon and/or Good Reads and write up a review. That review may help draw other readers to the book and increase sales. And “As you sow, so shall you reap.” A number of those friends have done the same for me, and I am so grateful to them.

With author Angela Ruth Strong at the Oregon Christian Writers Summer Conference


Last Words

While these are some categories of reading that can help a writer learn and grow in their profession, really almost anything you read might help, sometimes in unexpected ways. An article in the newspaper—or even a magazine in the dentist’s office—may spark an idea, bring up an old memory, or arouse curiosity in some topic you had not considered writing about—until now. Words are writers’ tools, and the more we take in, the more we have to give.




Susan Thogerson Maas has been a part-time freelance writer for over 35 years. She has published dozens of articles, children’s stories, and devotionals in publications such as Hopscotch, Clubhouse, Jr., Homeschooling TodayEvangel, Live!, The Upper Room, and Pathways. Susan’s first book, Picture Imperfect, is a novel for middle grade children. It began life as a NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) novel. To pay the bills, Susan writes passages and questions in science and social studies for standardized tests.

Susan earned her first $5.00 as an author when her sixth grade teacher submitted her story “The Wonderful Woods” to The Horn Book—and she still loves writing about nature. Her WordPress blog, Sparrow Thoughts, uses words and photographs to explore the spiritual side of nature and everyday experiences. When not writing, she may be found pulling weeds from her vegetable garden, hiking in green Pacific Northwest forests, or snapping photos of anything beautiful—from mountains to flowers to her amazing grandsons.









Susan is offering a print copy of her book, Picture Imperfect, to 2 winners. (Sorry, U.S. addresses only, due to high shipping cost.)

Winners will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Giveaway will begin at midnight on Sunday 3 February and end at 11:59 on Monday 11 February. Giveaway is subject to the policies found on Robin’s Nest.






#Blogwords, New Week New Face, #NWNF, Guest Post, Susan Thogerson Maas

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Eight Ways Being a Reader is Crucial for Writers


I have been invited to speak to high school and middle school language classes. When we get to the question and answer part of what is the most important thing someone can do to prepare to be a writer, I tell them, “be a reader.” Those who cannot understand are doomed to be neither.

It’s not too much to presume that people who want to play with words do so because they love them. It may be a love/hate relationship, but it must passionate, as passion undergirds story. If you have little experience with story, whether it’s someone else’s or your own, you are in no position to offer a tale to anyone else. As you can read between the lines above, being story—that is, living widely enough to be able to look back and appreciate the scenes that make up life—is the second part of an equation for authorship that has an endless answer like the square root of pi. For now we’ll focus on the first aspect—Why Read?

A person who wants to write literature but will not read it can sound like a human explaining to a guppy what it’s like to sit in a recliner and watch television. Anyone can learn the mechanics of language. People can learn to repeat a joke or assemble facts for a report, but a storyteller is an inventor. Inventors don’t generally birth a concept into an immediate, fully-functional working contraption without some apprenticeship, doodling, tweaking, and trial and error. A person with an idea who refuses to go through the work of developing that notion into a presentable product usually gives up, hires someone else, or fails.

Like inventors, authors are constantly learning. We learn from others, and from trial and error. Here are eight ways being a gluttonous reader helps writers.

  1. Osmosis. Yes, the sponge effect. By soaking up good stuff, it will seep into your membranes. You may not know initially why a sentence sounds good, or a piece of dialog has a great back-and-forth that just works, but it will stay with you and you’ll have a better chance of spitting it back out in a sensible way. However, you know what happens when you let your sponge sit in unpleasant gunk. Rinse and repeat. Do this by
  2. Reading carefully. Read from different large publishers and indies, as well as some self-published material. If you don’t have a library card, get one. Even rural communities have access to public libraries. Become such a good reader that you’ll be able to figure out if the publisher missed an error. Large publishers have several layers of editing and proofreading before they give a product to the public. Learn what sort of material is popular, and are good sellers, talked about, and why. You should also
  3. Read widely, especially outside your genre. Include nonfiction, especially poetry, and fiction. Nonfiction takes a practical approach to a topic. There are often reference and notes about research. Fiction writers can find new avenues of research, and information that will make fiction that much closer to believability. Nonfiction authors can learn to put their material together in ways that create interest and intrigue. Poetry is the ultimate distillation of language to create story. If you don’t know poets, find some! Writers will have to create marketing material for their own work, which often includes back cover copy, a synopsis, a hook sentence, and a biography. This material should be attention-grabbing and poets know how to draw the essence from experience with a perfect word.
  4. Copy. Not plagiarize. Go ahead and keep a notebook of phrases that move you from the books you read.


Why did that word or scene or sentence evoke emotion? How can you create that mood in your story? Begin to appreciate the doodling, the tweaking, the sweat that went into developing that moment. Know that quite likely, that phrase or sentence was the result of several minds mulling over the words. The author may have originated it, or perhaps the urging came from an agent or developmental editor. A copy editor may have requested a tweak. A publisher may have asked for an addition or deletion. Careful, studious readers can understand that writers will have to develop a working relationship with their editors and their readers. Careful readers will eventually come to appreciate the

  1. Rules of language. Grammar. The mere presence of the word can be as frightening as the word algebra is to those of us who think it’s ridiculous there can be an endless answer to the square root of pi. Good readers should pick up some natural grammatical dynamics, general punctuation, and the understanding that syntax will guide your vocabulary choices. As an editor, however, I say this concept is wishful thinking more than it should be. Bibliophiles will need to spend some time undoing whatever it is that made you think it was okay to put a period outside of a quotation mark, or dangle prepositions, or misplace modifiers. Readers who learn grammar will unfortunately be utterly ruined for reading after some of the mystery of untangling language is revealed.

But, wait! Now writers who are qualified to know when it’s okay to break the rules will be inducted into the secret society of those who can break them well. You may not have even noticed the number of times I begin a sentence or a paragraph with a conjunction.  What you won’t know is how many adverbs and modifiers I removed or the tenses or plurals I adjusted in my self-edit, and that’s as it should be. Don’t be one of those authors who argue with their editor about how so-and-so author broke this-and-such rule. Don’t bother to hire an editor if you know everything. If you’re smart enough to know that you don’t know everything, you’ll be admitted to the inner circle of knowing when it’s okay for YOU to break the rules. Because writers who read know general rules, they see patterns. A single paisley flower in a plaid weave sticks out. So does your attempt to change points of view or use the wrong tense. These errors make writers look bad. It can affect your

  1. Natural marketing and networking.


If you ask for endorsements or reviews from authors you respect, but are turned down or get a bad review, readers are not inclined to spend money on a product they don’t think they will enjoy. They won’t tell others to buy the book, or worse, will tell others how bad it is. Word of mouth will always be the best marketing for any product or service. Authors who read should talk about what we’re reading and something about why we like it or think others will like it. We recommend books to book clubs, our friends, and our circles of influence. Those of us who teach use your work as material in our talks and workshops.

  1. Reading also shows us how to do Market Analysis for our own work. Reading other books like ours and comparing our work helps define our readership. And finally, reading authors
  2. Help other authors with a REVIEW! Review books on as many social and publisher’s sites as you can. Use your name and website link. Reviewing is a great service networking with other authors and their readers.

Ultimately, our goal as Authors should be that we are Read. If all you want is to be published, that’s a pretty small niche. Anyone can get published these days. Any writer can write. An author shares a gift that multiplies and enlarges a reader’s spirit.


Photos within the post are licensed by Creative Commons and free to reprint for personal and commercial use. They are courtesy of Pixabay.





After being left at the altar, Ivy Amanda McTeague Preston uproots herself and her cat, an Egyptian Mau named Memnet, from her boring and lonely life to start over at the urging of Mayor Conklin, a fellow pedigreed Mau owner.
Ready to move in a fresh direction, Adam Thompson, accepts the mayor’s invitation and uproots himself and his beloved Mau, Isis, to open a branch of his trendy bookstore and coffee shop in the small town.
When Ivy takes a mysterious message while the mayor is away on business, only her criminology professor mom and Adam believe there’s something rotten in Apple Grove. Then Ivy discovers the community grant money that Adam was allotted to start the store is mysteriously being siphoned off, a dead body surfaces, and the victim’s missing Mau becomes the primary suspect. . .just another day in Ivy’s far-from-boring new life.
In love with Apple Grove and with Adam, Ivy hopes to carry on their romance while saving the town from further mayhem.



Ebook release is January 25, 2019; Print release is February 1, 2019; Hardcover Large Print release is May 8, 2019


Barnes and Noble

Pelican Ventures, LLC



Lisa Lickel is a Wisconsin author who loves books, collects dragons, and writes inspiring fiction. She also writes short stories, feature articles, and radio theater, and loves to encourage new authors through mentoring, speaking, and leading workshops. Lisa is a member of the Wisconsin Writer’s Association, the Chicago Writer’s Association, and vice president/instructor for Novel-In-Progress Bookcamp and Writing Retreat, Inc. She is an avid book reviewer and blogger, and a freelance editor.









#Blogwords, New Week New Fact, #NWNF, Guest Post, Lisa Lickel

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The Value of Reading for Authors


Since I could read see Jane run, I’ve had a book in my hand. My parents have pictures of me sleeping with my face in an open book. In my teens I used to take a flashlight to bed with me so I could read after I was supposed to be sleeping. Hard as it would be to give up writing, if I had to choose between reading and writing, I’d pick reading. I wouldn’t survive without being able to read!


Reading for a writer is invaluable. My first piece of advice for an aspiring writer is always read widely in the genre you want to write. You pick up important details like pacing, how to set a scene, characterization, and all those other important skills by reading.


Reading stretches you as a writer also. I constantly want to push myself to bigger and better stories, and I do that by reading what’s out there. The books I read expand possibilities in my mind and can often trigger an idea that has nothing to do with the actual book I’ve just read but can springboard off of it to something interesting.


Reading non-fiction is an important part of researching my novels as well. Quite honestly, this is the only time I read something other than novels. But the details when researching can make a huge difference in the layers that emerge in story. For Secrets at Cedar Cabin I read several books on the history of Cambodia, and some of that research went into the novel. Those of you who follow me on Facebook or who have read some of my other books know I have a passion for Cambodia anyway and researching the history of the Apsaras, found in so many of the beautiful Cambodian temples, ended up being an important layer in the novel.

Some writers find reading an encouragement to try a different technique, but that hasn’t been true for me. I’m firmly in the close third person point of view, and no matter how many novels I read in first person tempts me to write a novel that way. J I’ve tried a scene or two in first person, and it’s not my natural voice. But experimenting can be especially helpful in the beginning for writers. Trying a new technique, you found compelling may lead you to your own natural voice. Beginning writers especially can land on a type of writing they think is expected instead of finding their own way of telling a story.


Readers often tell me they love the way I immerse them in the setting of the story, and reading is what taught me how to hone that particular craft. Detail is important, but it’s equally crucial to only put in the details that are needed. I always try to leave out the parts readers skip! If you’re like me, you tend to jump over too much detail and backstory. Reading helps you figure out what parts need to be deleted.


I’ve often read a compelling suspense novel and then taken it apart to figure out what made me keep reading until 3:00 A.M. When you discover what keeps you reading, you can figure out how to torture your own reader with equal skill. I love to hear a reader complain I kept her up most of the night!


If you’re a writer, I suggest checking out the USAToday or New York Times bestseller lists in your particular genre. See if you can figure out why they are selling so well, then take a look at your own story and see if you can bring some of that insight into your novel. Don’t be afraid to read while you’re writing. I’ve never found reading to mess with my voice, and if I had to wait to read until I wasn’t writing, I’d never be able to read!



USAToday bestselling author Colleen Coble’s novels have won or finaled in awards ranging from the Best Books of Indiana, the ACFW Carol Award, the Romance Writers of America RITA, the Holt Medallion, the Daphne du Maurier, National Readers’ Choice, and the Booksellers Best. She has nearly 4 million books in print and writes romantic mysteries because she loves to see justice prevail. Colleen is CEO of American Christian Fiction Writers. She lives with her husband Dave in Indiana.







#Blogwords, New Week New Face, #NWNF, Guest Post, Coleen Coble, The Value of Reading for Authors

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and the winning post was by


Congrats to both winners!


#Blogwords, New Week New Fact, #NWNF, Who’s Your Favorite Winners

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Comment on this post for a chance to win a $10 Amazon gift card. Each commenter will be entered, and the FAVORITE GUEST POST will win one as well.


* Voting open through 7 January.


I’ve had 21 guest posts this year on NEW WEEK NEW FACE and it’s time for you, MY READERS, to vote on your favorite. So here, in no particular order—just kidding, in chronological order—are my guest posts this year.


15 January                   Carrie Schmidt


22 January                   Murray Pura


05 February                 Ginger Solomon


12 February                 Peter Leavell


19 February                 Lisa Lickel


26 February                 Stephenia McGee


12March                      Robin Patchen


19 March                     Melinda Inman


2 March                       Melissa Wardwell


7 May                          Linda Rodante


14 May                        Becca Puglisi


21 May                        Lynn Dean


03 September              Jessica Baker


10 September              Kathleen Denly


24 September              Angela Ackerman


01 October                  Jennifer Hallmark


15 October                  Sarah Monzon


22 October                  Toni Shiloh


29 October                  Bethany Jett


05 November              Heather Gilbert


19 November              DiAnn Mills




I’ll tally the votes after the first of the year and post the results on Monday 14 January.



#Blogwords, New Week New Fact, #NWNF, Who’s Your Favorite

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