My Eleven Favorite Literary Heroes

After compiling a list of my favorite literary heroines back in March, it’s only fair to devote a post to their male counterparts. Except that, well, I forgot about it for a while, until Sarah J. Higbee recently shared her own list. Thank you for the reminder, Sarah!

Featuring the same number of heroes here as I did with heroines proved tough. It’s not that I don’t like or admire male protagonists. I just happen to be drawn more to stories with female leads. But once I took a close look at my bookshelves, the eleven male characters I eventually picked started jumping out at me. (Not literally, but you know what I mean.) And I’ll admit, some of them won’t surprise you at all. 😉

Here they are, in alphabetical order: Continue reading

My Nominations for The Writing Hufflepuff’s 2015 Book Awards


Writing Hufflepuff Book Awards

Fellow writer and blogger Michelle @ The Writing Hufflepuff is holding a special Book Awards contest. I don’t know if this is something she does annually or if it’s brand new, but I thought I’d join in and share my picks for as many categories as possible.

Normally I’d share the rules and encourage other bloggers to participate. But considering tomorrow (Sunday, March 29th, 2015) is the deadline for nominations and I’m squeaking these in at the last minute…. Oops? *blushes*

Anyways, here are my nominations for The Writing Hufflepuff’s 2015 Book Awards:

Continue reading

Acts of Compassion in Literature – A Special #1000Speak Edition of “Theme: A Story’s Soul”


On February 20, 2015, 1000 Voices For Compassion will take to the blogosphere and share their thoughts and stories about compassion in all its forms (love, kindness, understanding, empathy, mercy, etc.). Many of these “Voices” are also posting articles on the subject in advance of the big day. Since I’d been debating between two ideas I like equally, I decided, “Why not pursue both, and make one the lead-in article?” 🙂

As an avid reader and a novelist-in-progress, some of the most powerful lessons I’ve learned have come from literature. So, for my lead-in to #1000Speak, I’m doing a literary “exploration” of compassion that aligns with my DIY MFA column “Theme: A Story’s Soul.” Below are some acts of compassion from books I’ve read over the years. As you read the examples, think about what you can learn from each character, as well as the impact their decisions or actions may have on other characters, their world, and the story’s audience. Maybe you’ll want to add some of these books to your wishlist if you haven’t read them yet. Either way, I hope you’ll find this sampling of literary compassion as inspiring as I do.

NOTE: Some of the following examples contain spoilers (either major and minor) that are necessary for discussing the topic at hand. Continue reading

Looking for Recommendations for Fantasy Novels

Recently I posted two book recommendation requests at Goodreads. (Consider them part of my “market research” as a fantasy novelist. *wink*) I’ve gotten a few responses so far, but I thought I’d expand those requests to the blog. Feel free to post your suggestions in the Comments below or respond directly to the requests at Goodreads.

  1. Fairies in Fantasy Novels: I’m looking for fantasy novels (YA through adult) that feature fairy characters. The protagonist for my current WIP (YA fantasy) and some of her companions are Faeries, and I want to make sure my story offers something different compared to others that have been published. The only fairy book I remember reading is Jennifer Armintrout’s Queene of Light (which is part of a trilogy I’m not interested in continuing, since I didn’t care for Queene of Light).

Recommendations So Far: Holly Black’s Tithe, Laini Taylor’s Blackbringer, Herbie Brennan’s Faerie Wars, and Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely

  1. Mermaids in YA Fantasy Novels: I’m also looking for YA fantasy novels featuring mermaids, specifically a female mermaid as the protagonist. I have ideas for a future novel like this, but I want to check out the market so I know how I can set mine apart from what’s already out there.

Recommendations So Far: Kathryn Lasky’s Hannah

Thanks very much in advance! 🙂

Field Trip: 2013 Massachusetts Poetry Festival

2013 Mass Poetry Festival

Attending local literary events has become one of my favorite ways of pursuing and nurturing my writing passion. I’ve gone to the Boston Book Festival every year since its inception in 2009, and also to the AWP Conference in Boston this past March. These have all been immensely enjoyable learning experiences that convince me to return the following year. So, for this reason, I finally made plans to go to the 2013 Massachusetts Poetry Festival. This year’s edition was held in Salem, Massachusetts from Friday, May 3 through Sunday, May 5. I was only able to go on Saturday, but what a nourishing – and gorgeous! – day it turned out to be. Continue reading

Chronicling The Craft: 3,000 Words

Starting Anew – And “Skipping Around”

Yes, I’m finally writing my second book! It feels incredible to be back at it again. And although I don’t have as much time to write as I used to, I’m using any time I have to work on the book. Imagining scenes, noting a character’s traits, or actually writing – they’re all important parts in recording this story that’s playing like a movie in my head, and I’m determined to make it happen again.

I thought it would be neat to blog about my progress on the new book. Of course, if I blog about it, I should try to do so regularly. And by regularly, I mean when I reach certain milestones while writing the first draft.  And since I crossed the 3,000-word mark the last time I sat down to work on the book, let’s start with me blogging an update every 3,000 words. This could change, depending on my schedule outside of writing as well as figuring out what topics to write about in each blog entry. But I have to start somewhere, right? Continue reading

Recent Reads: “The Writing Circle” by Corinne Demas

When it comes to buying books by authors I’ve never heard of before, my choices can sometimes be spontaneous. Or, in the case of Corinne Demas’ “The Writing Circle,” inspired by coincidence. I’d been part of a local writer’s group for a couple years when Demas’ novel caught my eye at a bookstore. My reaction was immediate: “Hey, I’m in a writing circle! So maybe I should read this book.” Of course, I read the critical praise as well as the summary on the inside cover before making my purchase, so I knew well in advance that this book was more than just a discussing about editing and literature. Continue reading