Monday’s Manuscript with Rebecca DeMarino

Ten Books Every Fiction Writer Should Own (If you want to improve your craft)

If you write with the goal of publishing, whether traditional or indie, there are essential books to keep in your toolbox. Keep them on your bookshelf or online, but have them at your fingertips. The list could be endless, but here are ten I keep at the top:

1.     Twenty books in your genre. I know, I know—I said ten books and I’m starting you out with twenty! But truly, in order to write fantastic romance (or historical, or speculative, etc.) you have to read in that genre. And study it while you read it (What makes it good? What makes it not so good?). At least twenty.

2.     A good dictionary. I keep Random House Webster’s within reach and utilize dictionary.com and (because I write historical romance) etymonline.com online. Etymonline is invaluable because I can research the word and find out when it was first in use, what it meant at the time, and how it’s evolved.

3.     The Chicago Manual of Style, University of Chicago Press. It is the style guide for American English, and the gold standard for most publishing in America. A resource every writer should have, it’s also available online. I prefer to be able to thumb through my sixteenth edition.

4.     Roget’s Thesaurus of Words for Writers, Olsen, Bevilacqua, Hayes, and Bly. With over 2,300 words that will help you keep your vocabulary finely tuned and out of the ordinary.

5.     The Flip Dictionary, Barbara Ann Kipfer, Ph.D. For when you know what you want to say but the word just won’t come to you. Picturing a violent disruption, but want to be cleverly specific? Page 660: cataclysm, convulsion, upheaval.

6.     Wording Painting, Rebecca McClanahan. Though I try to keep up with books in my genre, while I’m in the writing phase of a novel, I only read books that pertain to the writing craft, usually in the evening after a long day in the office. This is one of my favorites.

7.     Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott. Every writer should read this, and then just write.

8.     Eats, Shoots & Leaves, Lynne Truss. Because punctuation matters.

9.     Self-Editing for Fiction Writers, Renni Browne and Dave King. While I try to turn off my editor brain while writing a first draft, I find this book invaluable when I move into revisions.

10.  The Emotional Craft of Fiction, Donald Maas. Or anything by Donald Maas. I have, and have read—and refer back to—all of his books on craft! Excellent advice, with practical ways to apply it to your current project.

Two more that I must mention that do not fall into craft per se: How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci, Michael J. Gelb, and Walking on Water, Madeleine L’Engle ~ either will delight and inspire your writing!

Do you have a favorite from my list? What about it do you love? How about a favorite that is not on the list?


Rebecca DeMarino writes inspirational historical romance and is the author of The Southold Chronicles (Revell). The three-book series is set in the 17th century on Long Island and is based on her real-life ninth great-grandparents who came from England on a little ship called The Swallow. Her titles include A Place in His Heart (2014). To Capture Her Heart (2015), and To Follow Her Heart (2016). You can find the e-book edition of A Place in His Heart FREE on Amazon May 2nd through May 9th.

 

For more information please visit Rebecca at www.RebeccaDeMarino.com and www.facebook.com/AuthorRebeccaDeMarino or tweet her @RebeccaDeMarino.

 

Promoting Christian Fiction Authors–Angela K. Couch

The Patriot and the Loyalist

Completing his three years in the Continental Army, Daniel Reid still has no desire to return home-not after losing the woman he loves to a British Captain-so he volunteers to ride south through enemy lines and deliver a message to Colonel Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox. With his temper needing a release and a dark haired beauty finding her way into his broken heart, Daniel decides to join the Swamp Fox’s efforts against the British. Little does he know the British still have the upper hand.
Lydia Reynolds has learned that love comes at a price, and she refuses to pay. Better to close her heart to everything and everyone. When her brother-in-law won’t grant her passage to England, where she hopes to hide from her pain, New Englander, Daniel Reid, becomes her only hope-if she can induce him to give her information about the notorious Swamp Fox and his troops. When the British grow impatient and Daniel evades her questions, Lydia must decide how far to take her charade. The poor man, already gutted by love, hasn’t grown as wise as she. Or so she supposes. . .
Until the truth is known, the muskets are loaded. . .and it is time to decide where true loyalties lie.
Completing his three years in the Continental Army, Daniel Reid still has no desire to return home-not after losing the woman he loves to a British Captain-so he volunteers to ride south through enemy lines and deliver a message to Colonel Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox. With his temper needing a release and a dark haired beauty finding her way into his broken heart, Daniel decides to join the Swamp Fox’s efforts against the British. Little does he know the British still have the upper hand.
Lydia Reynolds has learned that love comes at a price, and she refuses to pay. Better to close her heart to everything and everyone. When her brother-in-law won’t grant her passage to England, where she hopes to hide from her pain, New Englander, Daniel Reid, becomes her only hope-if she can induce him to give her information about the notorious Swamp Fox and his troops. When the British grow impatient and Daniel evades her questions, Lydia must decide how far to take her charade. The poor man, already gutted by love, hasn’t grown as wise as she. Or so she supposes. . .
Until the truth is known, the muskets are loaded. . .and it is time to decide where true loyalties lie.
Completing his three years in the Continental Army, Daniel Reid still has no desire to return home-not after losing the woman he loves to a British Captain-so he volunteers to ride south through enemy lines and deliver a message to Colonel Francis Marion, the Swamp Fox. With his temper needing a release and a dark haired beauty finding her way into his broken heart, Daniel decides to join the Swamp Fox’s efforts against the British. Little does he know the British still have the upper hand.
Lydia Reynolds has learned that love comes at a price, and she refuses to pay. Better to close her heart to everything and everyone. When her brother-in-law won’t grant her passage to England, where she hopes to hide from her pain, New Englander, Daniel Reid, becomes her only hope-if she can induce him to give her information about the notorious Swamp Fox and his troops. When the British grow impatient and Daniel evades her questions, Lydia must decide how far to take her charade. The poor man, already gutted by love, hasn’t grown as wise as she. Or so she supposes. . .
Until the truth is known, the muskets are loaded. . .and it is time to decide where true loyalties lie.


To keep from freezing in the Great White North, Angela K Couch cuddles under quilts with her laptop. Winning short story contests, being a semi-finalist in ACFW’s Genesis Contest, and a finalist in the International Digital Awards also helped warm her up. As a passionate believer in Christ, her faith permeates the stories she tells. Her martial arts training, experience with horses, and appreciation for good romance sneak in there, as well. When not writing, she stays fit (and warm) by chasing after three munchkins.


Promoting Christian Fiction Authors–Dawn V. Cahill

Moonstone Secrets – Seattle Trilogy, Book 2

About Moonstone Secrets: As the Christmas season sparkles around her, DeeDee McCreary eagerly anticipates visiting magical Victoria, BC, with her boyfriend, Nick, and meeting his family. But the trip proves disastrous. First, Nick finds his bank account cleaned out. Then he disappears. Frantic, she determines to uncover what happened. When she discovers something far worse than she anticipated, she questions everything she believes to be true about him.
With the man she loves in jail for an unspeakable crime, DeeDee knows the truth lies somewhere in Nick and his ex-wife’s past. But if she pursues their secrets, will she put herself in danger, too?
What are readers saying about Moonstone Secrets?
  • “I couldn’t put it down. The vivid descriptions and the setting pulled me into the story.” – reader Joy
  • “The sisterly bond was wonderful to see, how they stuck by each other. It was good to meet up with DeeDee and Livy again.” – reader Julia

Buy at Amazon.com


Author Dawn V. Cahill pens “Stories of Victorious Faith for the 21st Century,” nearly always with a crossword puzzle, sudoku, or dark chocolate nearby. “The characters in my stories face situations that would have been unthinkable even 20 years ago. We live in a vastly different world than our parents did, and that’s the world I write about.”
Ms. Cahill also blogs about puppies, substance abuse, and single parenting…sometimes all in the same day. She’s going to finish that novel she started at age 11 called Mitch and the Martians…someday. She has written several newspaper articles, three Christian contemporary novels, and more limericks than she can count. Email her at dawn@dawnvcahill.com, or find her on Facebook. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW).