I read because I can’t help myself; I would be lost without a good story. But I also read with an eye to plot and characters and scenery and clever words. Why did she do that? How did he feel? Can that really happen, and if so, then what? Good stories take my mind on a creative journey where I always examine the landscape to see what I might find or borrow or change to fit my needs. Reading helps you write with style, understand pacing, craft your sentences so you tap into the reader’s emotions. By studying other authors you become a better writer.
This holiday season, remember your friends and family (or treat yourself) with a good book or two or three. I’ve read hundreds of books this year (exaggeration is a marvelous writing ploy), some of them great, a few magnificent. Below are my top ten, a mix of historical fiction, teen stories (I love the adventure), and commercial fiction. You'll see the standard blurbs along with my own thoughts about why I loved the books. And then there's The Sacred Flame, a bonus book, for those who love love and serious drama.
I hope you’ll find something that excites and inspires you. And may your own writing be all the richer for it.