Five Quotes on Reading

Recently, I read five quotes on writing by Elmore Leonard (Western and mystery writer, screenwriter, novelist, and more). They are listed below:

1. “… The writer has to have patience, the perseverance to just sit there alone and grind it out. And if it’s not worth doing that, then he doesn’t want to write. …”

2. “A writer has to read. Read all the time. Decide who you like then study that author’s style. Take the author’s book or story and break it down to see how he put it together.”

3. “The main thing I set out to do is tell the point of view of the antagonist as much as the good guy. And that’s the big difference between the way I write and the way most mysteries are written.”

4. “It is the most satisfying thing I can think of, to write a scene and have it come out the way I want. Or be surprised and have it come out even better than I thought.”

5. “Write the book the way it should be written, then give it to somebody to put in the commas and shit.”

I think these are some of the most “spot on” descriptions/explanations of the writing process. But writing and reading go together, right? Two sides of the same coin, right? So when considering one, it’s nearly impossible not to think of the other. Right? Right. So as I considered these quotes I couldn’t stop myself from tossing reading quotes around in my head. And of course, as a writer, once it’s in the head, paper is next. So I found myself typing a short list of reading quotes. I’m not sure where I read or heard the quotes below but they well represent the readers’ side of the writing process. Give it a quick scan and tell me if you agree.

1. “Giving one’s time and attention to reading is as vital as giving one’s time and attention to thinking.”

2. “Reading a variety of genres is the equivalent of having a variety of spices in one’s pantry.”

3. “Reading is to mental growth as prayer/meditation is to spiritual growth.”

4. “A good book is near even when family and friends are not.”

5. “Reading forms bonds of friendship by unraveling the many artificial threads meant to separate.”

Aaahhhh! Reading and writing, writing and reading…gotta love ‘em!

My Bucket List

Recently, a friend posted her author bucket list–a list of things she wants to accomplish as an author/writer before she dies. Her post at FaithSimone.com inspired me to think about what I want to “check off” as an author/writer before I “check out.” I’ve always kept a list of goals as a career guide and because of that it took me a while to understand the difference between goals and a bucket list. But once I separated the two in my mind, I had a ball creating my wish or dream list.

Below is my list. What about you? Do you have a personal, career or professional bucket list? If so, feel like sharing?

images9B25AQGJ

1. To have publishing credit in multiple categories/genres: children’s, screenwriting, romance, horror, etc.

2. To attend at least one of the premier literary awards ceremonies: Nobel Prize, National Book Award, Academy Awards, etc.

3. To buy a writing retreat; a private oasis where I can visit, think, dream and write.

4. To have lunch with Toni Morrison and Stephen King, individually.

5. To establish a scholarship for young African American creative writers.

6. To establish a stipend-based award for adult African American creative writers.

7. To read at least one book by the “important” novelists. (Thanks to Carol Baladywer for expanding this list.)

8. To attend an international writers retreat and/or conference.

9. To attend a major literary event in NYC, the mecca of the US publishing industry, such as the Harlem Book Fair.

Here’s Mine…Now Show Me Yours

Vacation photos that is.

I recently returned from nine glorious, wonderful, relaxing days in beautiful Costa Rica. If you’ve never been there, you must go. The land is green and lush, and the plants, animals and people are so diverse. The food is fresh and healthy, and the culture is steeped in tradition. I love their approach to life which is captured in a saying you hear frequently, “pura vida” which means pure life.

In between feasting my senses and re-charging my soul, I managed to snap a few photos. I’m happy to share them with you. Enjoy and don’t forget to send me a link to your vacation photos. I’d love to view them.

 

DIGITAL CAMERA DIGITAL CAMERA ???????????????? 3 Guest Robes DIGITAL CAMERA 5 Doka Coffee Plantation 2 5.5 Coffee Bean Wagon 6 Trekking to Waterfall 7 Volcano Information 8 Volcano Crater covered in fog 9 Walking Path at La Paz 10 Waterfall 10.5 Pam at Waterfall 11 Butterflies on Ledge 12 Butterfly and Hummingbird Garden 2 13 Butterfly and Hummingbird Garden 3 14 Butterfly and Hummingbird Garden 4 15 Butterfly and Hummingbird Garden 16 Butterfly and Hummingbird Food 17 Butterfly and Hummingbird Food 2 18 Toucan 19 Arenal Kioro Suite 20 Arenal Kioro Suite 2 21 Arenal Kioro Suite 3 22 Arenal Kioro Jacuzzi in room 23 Arenal Kioro Elephant from Blanket 24 Arenal Kioro View 25 Arenal Kioro View 2 26 Arenal Kioro View 3 27 Arenal Kioro View 4 DIGITAL CAMERA ???????????????? DIGITAL CAMERA 31 Recycling Everywhere 32 Cows on Highway Arenal to Tamarindo 33 Cala Luna Hotel 34 Cala Luna Hotel 2 35 Cala Luna Hotel 3 36 Cala Luna Jacuzzi 37 Cala Luna 38 Greenery in Tamarindo 39 Church and School at Guaitil 40 Man Making Pottery 2 41 Man Making Pottery 42 Guaitil Pottery Oven 43 Pottery Being Made 44 Pottery Man and his tools 45 Susan and Jesus' Pottery Shop 46 Susan and Jesus' Pottery Oven 46.5 Park in Santa Cruz 47 Arch in Central Park at Santa Cruz 48 Bullriding Statue in Central Park, Santa Cruz 49 Chortega Indian in Park at Santa Cruz 50 Downtown Santa Cruz 51 Kids with Cow Mask in Park at Santa Cruz 52 Woman Making Tortillas - Santa Cruz Park 52.5 Clock Tower at Church at Santa Cruz 53 Bells at Church at Santa Cruz 53.5 Church at Santa Cruz 4 54 Black Jesus in Church at Santa Cruz 2 55 Church at Santa Cruz 2 56 Church at Santa Cruz 3 57 Church at Santa Cruz 58 Sunset in Tamarindo 59 Sunset in Tamarindo 2 60 Sunset in Tamarindo 3 61 Sunset in Tamarindo with ocean waves

 

Romance in March

Many of you know that I started my writing career as a romance writer in 1990. My first romance book was published in 1996 and I was blessed to have four additional romance stories published before I got the nudge (from a Higher Being) to move into the horror genre. Even though I’ve been MIA in the romance genre since 2002, I still love everything about it–the camaraderie of the authors, the loyal readers, the generous opportunities, the blended storylines, the supportive affiliates, etc., which is why I have on occasion attended RSJ (Romance Slam Jam) since “semi-retiring” from romance.

RSJ is an annual conference of African-American romance readers, writers and affiliates. It is a traveling conference that is hosted by a book club and a romance author in the city (or state or region) in which it is being held. Next year in 2015, RSJ lands in Dallas, Texas. I am excited about this because it is close to my home base which means…I am already making plans to be “in the place.” And you’re welcome to join me and about 200 additional participants. Just click here (www.romanceslamjam.org) to learn more about this fabulous organization, conference and opportunity.

See you March 2015!

 

Lead With Love

On June 25, we observed the anniversary of Michael Jackson’s death. Five years after his passing, his legacy remains intact; that legacy in my opinion being:  lead with love.

Michael Jackson 2Despite what we may think about his personal life, Jackson’s message in several songs serves as a reminder of that which is greater than any vice or victory. LOVE! Love of God. Love of Mankind. Love of Self.

Click on the links below and listen to two of his legacy songs: Man in the Mirror, my personal favorite, and We are the World, a humanitarian fundraiser really that features many of the most amazing songbirds on the planet.Michael Jackson 1

After listening, ask yourself as I did, “Do I lead with love in all situations, all circumstances, with all people?” Hmmmm…oh boy, there’s still work for me to do.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wUrqFkR7QlI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OoDY8ce_3zk

Sending you love, Michael! red-hearts-in-3d-1134893-m

 

Working Your Mission

Some people call it purpose, others term it a calling. Lovenia and Evelyn call it a mission. These two ladies are the founders of Working Your Mission, an inspirational/motivational company that encourages people to identify their passion, purpose, calling, mission or whatever term you use to label it, and then work it until it becomes their livelihood.

This is a topic that is cradled in my heart. I feel very strongly about people stepping out of their comfort zone to embrace that for which they live and breathe. I talk about this in depth with Lovenia and Evelyn, and you can listen to our conversation by clicking on the Working Your Mission link.

If you have a mission that you’ve been thinking of shaping into a business, or if you need to be sustained as you work your mission, or if you just want to pick up some really wise words of instruction, then you’ll want to subscribe to Working Your Mission. Regardless, Lovenia, Evelyn and I are rooting for you. You can do it!

A big THANK YOU to Lovenia and Evelyn for the great conversation and for working their own mission. God bless you ladies!

Summer Reading & Book Reviews

I don’t know about you but for me summer and reading go together like salt and pepper, bacon and eggs, animals and Dr. Seuss–you get the picture. So I thought I would share some of the books I’ve downloaded to my Kindle and/or purchased so I can enjoy a well-stocked supply of reading material for the beach and travel, which I’m planning a lot of this summer.

Person reading a book on the beach

The books are not listed in any order, but I encourage you to check them out. I’ve interacted with some of these authors and know their writing and storytelling ability to be “spot on.” For other authors on the list, I’m planning to finish the series/trilogy or read the latest by some of my favorite writers. Feel free to monitor my Goodreads and Amazon accounts for my review of some of the books; the reviews may help you plan your own summer reading. If you already have a summer reading list, I’d love to acquire a copy of it. I always make time for a good read!*

Happy Summer & Happy Reading!

1. Missi’s Dating Adventures by Carol Balawyder

2. No Conditions by Dr. ViVi Monroe Congress

3. Voices from the Block:  A Legacy of African-American Literature by various authors (anthology)

4. Dark Justice by Donnie Light

5. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson

6. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

7. A Dangerous Kiss by Francis Ray

8. Hell’s Corner by David Baldacci

9. The Haunted House Symphony by Sue Latham

10. Reserved for a referral*