Thursday, February 4, 2016

2016 Reading Challenge: Week 4 - Finshed my 1st book on the list


I'm happy to say that I finally finished the one book holding me up from starting this challenge and "Honeymoon" by James Patterson as my first book from the list (suggested book to read by friends, spouse, etc).

Okay, so I guess I should give some feedback on the book I just finished reading...right? Well, this was an easy read, and if I had carved out some time one weekend, I might have been able to finish this novel in one day. It's a fast moving storyline and one I enjoyed reading not only as a reader but also with an author ear.

What do I mean by this? "Honeymoon" breaks the POV rule we are heard when it comes to writing as a first-time or even as a seasoned author. I was surprised to find both 1st person and 3rd person point of view alternately throughout the book. Kid you not. It was well done, and the transition between the two different POV's was smoothly done. A true master.

What I liked about the book was getting into the both the protagonist and antagonist's head. You felt for both characters and honestly felt they traded spots on who was evil and who was good throughout the story.

As always, Patterson delivers some twists and when you think you know how the book is going to end, he, of course, reverses direction and WHAM you get hit from the side with a totally different outcome.


Now, to pick my next book from the list. I'm going to choose a book I can read in one day. Not sure which one that will be yet, but I guess it will be in the middle grade or YA genre.

Leave a  comment and let me know how you are doing with your reading challenge.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Is Research Really Important in Fiction Writing?


In a lot of the writing groups and conferences I've been to the topic of research has come up from time to time. There are many different opinions on the subject, and many will tell you research is only necessary when you are writing about something you know very little to nothing about. But is this really the case and if it is, does your writing suffer from not doing research all the time?

After writing many short stories and picture books for young readers, my opinion on doing research might be very different from yours. I have always felt research is critical no matter how much I know or don't know about a certain subject. There is always something I learn each time, even on topics I know a lot about as things are always changing, and changing fast sometimes these days. However, I thought I was just one of the weird writers out there feeling this way until I took a research workshop with James Patterson, who had this to say about research.

"Research really helps your confidence." —James Patterson

He also talked about how it can enhance your writing, even on subjects you may know a lot about. I was surprised to find out Mr. Patterson never writes any of his books without doing research, long before sitting down to write, on everything from locations to types of characters (i.e. Police Officer, School Teacher, etc.)

I tend to do a lot of job shadows, character interviews and even have gone to high schools, shadowing the students and getting ideas of how my teen characters will behave. I find my characters are more authentic because I take the extra time to do this every time I set out to write a new story. Just doing research once with a police officer for one book doesn't mean you shouldn't interview an officer, sergeant or captain of a police department the next time. You should because interviewing a different person or someone who holds a different title will give you more insight to what you are writing about the second time around. Unless, you're writing book two of your series. In this case, you would want to interview the same perons again or get their feed back on what you are writing.

Research should also be done for locations as well. I"m working on a book currently based in my old hometown of AppleValley. I lived there for a number of years, but there are things I may not remember or may have changed since living there I might want to know about now for my book. Also, walking the streets and visiting old hang outs brings back memories and ideas I can use in my book, too.

The point is research is important no matter what you are writing about and should always be done before you start working on drafts of your manuscript if you want top notch writing. After leaving Jame Patterson's workshop I felt good about the path I was on as a writer and even better about now hving more imput and focus on how to keep moving in a postive way with my writing. Even though I was doing much of what he talked about, I also learned new ways or reevlauated how I was doing things. I feel my writing will benefit from his adavace and I find myself looking forward to sitting down and working on my book ideas with a better attitude and as he said with more confendance.

Still not sure you need to to research before you set out to write..then read this article http://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/columns-and-blogs/soapbox/article/55152-what-i-learned-from-james-patterson.html

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

2016 Reading Challenge: Week 1 Still Not Started - Can I add one to the list?

Here is my weekly report on my 2016 Reading Challenge. I'd love to say I'm on track and reading up a storm, but this would only be sort of correct. I have been reading, but not the book I said I would be starting with...Honeymoon by James Patterson.


Currently, I'm trying to finish up a book I started in 2015 but don't read every chance I get. I wonder if I could somehow include this on my list of books to read in 2016? How about read a book you didn't finish in the pervious year (2015)? That works, right?

Anyway, I'm planning on finishing up this book and jumping into the reading challenge by this coming week. That's the goal and I'll be sure to update you this time next week on how I did.


Let me know how you're doing with this reading challenge or just share some great books you think I might enjoy reading. If they don't fit into my list of books to read for 2016, I'll see if I can come up with a new category for it on the list.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Special World Of Ink - Guest Gerard de Marigny is back!


Join Marsha Casper Cook  and Virginia Grenier on January 12 at 4 pm EST 3PM CST 2PM MT 1PM PST when they welcome back Gerard de Marigny. Gerard is the author of the best- selling thriller and adventure series about CRIS DE NIRO.  He has been on the rise since he began his writing career and continues to entertain his fans with new exciting work. He will be discussing writing, publishing and how he comes up with great ideas and terrific stories. If you haven't heard him talk about his career listen in for a fabulous show.

Live or on demand - to talk to Gerard  call - 714-242-5259

For more info about the show - and advertising on the show
http://worldofinknetwork.com
http://www.marshacaspercook.com

For more info about Gerard
http://www.amazon.com/Gerard-de-Marigny/e/B004KNAJ2M/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1451285049&sr=8-1

Listen to the show at BTR's World of Ink Network
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/worldofinknetwork/2016/01/12/special-world-of-ink--guest-gerard-de-marigny-is-back

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Raw Ideas

James Patterson said, "Once you have your original plot condensed, call a friend and share the pitch. Pause for a moment and see if they ask for more. If they do, you might be onto something."

Raw ideas may come to you all the time. I know I come across new ideas all the time and daily sometimes. However, not all those raw ideas are worth turning into stories and this is why it is important to take those ideas and work them into a plot or as James Patterson suggests, "Use your favorite raw idea and write a plot down in 3 to 5 concise sentences." This sounds a bit easier than it is and so I'm here to share two of my raw ideas written down into a 3 to 5 concise sentence plot. Let me know what you think and if you're brave, I'd love for you to share a raw idea written down into a 3 to 5 concise sentence plot.

Raw Idea #1
Coming of age, paranormal, mystery about a young girl, Kayla, who starts seeing things after the stabbing of her best friend during a house party in the high desert of California. At first, Kayla doesn't believe her best friend is indeed dead and later finds her close circle of friends know more about what happened then they want to let anyone else think. Kayla starts to feel she is losing her mind and her friends only help to push Kayla over the edge until she discovers the truth of how her best friend died and finds herself in danger with no one to trust but a new kid she hardly knows and who happens to be the son of local law enforcement.

Raw Idea #2
A young girl visits her grandmother who is on her deathbed. The grandmother gives the young girl a battered leather journal, which looks used and has some pages sealed or stuck together. Unsure why her grandmother gave her the journal, the young girl finds herself soon ripped from her life and in a Central California beach town. Feeling out of place, alone and depressed as the only person she ever really could talk to has passed away (her grandmother), the young girl starts to discover family secrets that put her life in danger.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

2016 Reading Challenge

Along with working on my manuscripts and my writing classes, I'm going to take on this reading challenge as reading more than you write is something my all time favorite author Stephen King talks about. So here is the list and I hope some of you join me in this challenge.


I can't say I'll do these in order, but I will post my progress every Wednesday. To start, I'll read a book chosen for me through my writing course with James Patterson. With that said, I'll be reading "Honeymoon" by James Patterson.