Writers Need to Read

I’ve heard it from various writers: they don’t read because they don’t want to copy (consciously or unconsciously) another person’s work. They want all their story ideas to be original. (Let’s not burst their bubble by talking about the belief that all plot ideas can be broken down into limited groups, whether one thinks there are seven, twenty, or thirty-six basic plots, but I digress.)

The one I remember most vividly was a young man who only came to our online writers group once, to regale us with how great his writing was, and how he never read books because he didn’t want to taint his writing. Several of us tried to give reasons why reading was important, but he wasn’t listening, so I just thanked him for his opinion and took the discussion away from the topic.

However, he’s far from the only one that has that notion. And excuse me, but: bollocks!

In any profession, you need to be familiar with the tools of that trade. Not to mention, learn from others in that profession, either through classes, apprenticeship, or other means. So why do some writers think they can learn, and polish, their writing in a vacuum?

Reading opens up the world, not only to ideas (and pardon me if I ask, but if one doesn’t want to read because they might inadvertently steal an idea, do they also not watch movies or TV shows or any other type of storytelling entertainment, like theatre?), but of how to write well (and how to write badly at times). How do you learn a skill properly, not to mention proficiently, if not through exposure to it?

Jon Del Arroz, an author friend, put it like this:

“Your mind draws upon what you read, and the more your read, the more tools you’ll have to be able to create.”


If you’ve stopped by this blog, then I would assume you love to read, and so I offer my latest book, endorsed by both Jon Del Arroz and P.M. Griffin:

Children of the Enaisi



I thought my forsythia had died. But today I saw it had one lone little flower on it. For some reason, that sweet, little yellow flower gave me hope. Sometimes things aren’t as dark as they seem.

Happy Easter!


I Miss You, Starsky! Love Ya, Buddy!

I just realized it’s been exactly twelve years since the last time I saw my Best Friend in person. And it’s almost eleven years since she died. That gaping maw is still there; it will never leave.

The two books published in my Deuces Wild series are both dedicated to her. All books in that series will be:

Deuces Wild is dedicated to the memory of my best friend; my inspiration for an enduring friendship…

Good-bye, Starsky


I Owe My Mother for the Love of Books

The title says it all. From my earliest memories, I remember sitting in my mother’s lap while she read to me. Some were Little Golden Books and Wonder Books (my favorite was the BingityBangity School Bus) and others things like Grimm’s Fairy Tales (favorite: Town Musicians of Bremen).

Don’t underestimate the power of reading to your children. They don’t need all the TV and electronics, they need someone to read to them, to open their minds to the wonder and power of words.

I thanked her while she was alive for giving me a love of reading, but I reiterate it: Thank you, Mama!




Minutiae and Being Nibbled to Death

I’ve been thinking lately (yes, I know this is Wrong and Trouble and just generally Not a Good Idea).

I’ve worked with various editors over the years, and of course know lots of authors, some of whom have been in critique groups with me. And frankly, a few of them (not all, just a few) are so anal and set in their ways and opinions that nothing, even a Voice Coming Down from Heaven, could sway their views on what is Proper Writing.

So here’s my question, Dear Readers. How much does Something You Don’t Like affect your ability to enjoy and continue reading a story? If it’s well crafted, can you suppress the fact that the author has not excised every single “that” from it (regardless of how it’s used), or that it includes dialogue tags and attributes instead of just beats, or heaven forbid, there is some telling instead of all showing, or perhaps the author uses the time-honored but now outmoded omniscient third person instead of sticking with the POV of one character in each scene – or even, heaven forbid! – doesn’t use a deep POV? How about finding a typo, or the wrong word used (thinking of at least two revered, award-winning SF writers here that I regard as my heroes), or too many or not enough commas, or the use of ellipses, or the use or lack of use of semicolons? Or [fill in the blank with whatever your pet peeve is]?

I honestly want to know, because at times I feel I am being nibbled to death by…what are those earth creatures called: feathers, long bill, webbed feet, go “quack”? Ah, cats! I am being nibbled to death by cats!


Has Spring Sprung? One Can Hope!

My character Tam loves gardening (don’t know where she gets it from). I know she’d love to see these first blooms of spring.

I cannot wait to write about the spring flowers on her world, but that is a couple of books away, as the series is heading from fall into winter in book three, due out later this year.



Two Recent Reviews on the Sword’s Edge Chronicles

Two recent reviews, one on each of the first two novels in the Sword’s Edge Chronicles series:

book one –
Sword’s Edge: “A Gem of a novel”

book two –
Children of the Enaisi: “A Sequel that Tops the Original”

And yes, I’m working hard on book three!