Need Last Minute Gift Ideas?

For readers, here are some recommendations for books published this last year:

Anne Ayers Koch has written two books of essays:

It’s all About the Story: Composing a Life in Books “speaks to everyone who appreciates mystery, detective and romance stories. In a series of twent-two brief essays, the author reflects on these genres—why they work, when they help, and what makes them relevant to modern life. This book is a tribute to the ability of old fashioned storytelling to sharpen our awareness of the human condition and lessons that are found not only in “serious literature” but popular fiction as well.”

Finding Home: A Memoir of Arts and Crafts. Amazon’s description is: “Finding Home speaks to everyone who appreciates arts and crafts and the role they play making a home. In a series of twenty-six brief essays the author reflects on a range of topics-from rug hooking and macrame to tole painting, letter writing, calligraphy, card making, and porcelain painting. The book is a tribute to the ability of modest excursions into popular crafts to make a difference-by making us aware of the beauty and lessons found as we create in multiple mediums. Lessons not only for the projects we undertake, but for living.”

Semper by Peter Dudley: Dane’s sixteenth birthday holds a choice he didn’t expect to face: Should he take his place as Semper, obeying his cruel uncle and twelve generations of Southshaw Truth, or should he follow his heart and risk exile and death to unearth the real truth? An exotic huntress, a mythical ghost-man, and a tailor’s daughter hold the keys to his answer. And to the survival of Southshaw itself.

Check out Stacey Gustafson’s humorous story about hair in Not Your Mother’s Book…On Being A Woman  Funny! Daring! DIFFERENT! Not Your Mother’s Book (NYMB) is a new anthology for a new century. Women of all ages and with very different life experiences have shared their personal stories for “Not Your Mother’s Book . . . On Being a Woman.” Some are seasoned writers, others simply have great stories to tell, but all are stories that women can relate to–and laugh about. The authors write candidly and most with great humor.

Rock’N’Roll in Locker Seventeen by Shannon Brown A story set in 1964 Ricky Stevenson was living the rock’n’roll dream. He was on the top of the charts, and on the cover of almost every fan magazine. What those publications didn’t tell you was that he had no privacy, few real friends, and a hectic schedule of touring and recording. Though tempted to lose himself in a haze of drugs and alcohol, Ricky knew it would only be a temporary escape. What Ricky wanted was to be rid of the pressures of fame for good, so one day he simply disappeared.

A Miracle Under the Christmas Tree: Real Stories of Hope, Faith and the True Gifts of the Season by Jennifer Basye Sander: True stories about the kindness of strangers and the blessings of answered prayers, this collection with its small miracles truly captures the spirit of the season. These stories of hope, faith, and joy are a moving tribute to the true meaning of Christmas and remind us all that the greatest gifts in life can’t be gift wrapped.

The God Patent by Ransom Stephens:  The memo said they’d get bonuses for submitting patents, so why not? Money came easily during the dot-com boom. Concealed in engineering jargon, Ryan McNear submits a patent for the soul disguised as a software algorithm and his best friend Foster Reed rewrites Genesis and calls it a “power generator.” What he thought was a joke is generating stacks of money amid claims that it will provide a source of limitless energy and prove the existence of God. Ryan stakes a legal claim to the patent. Racing against time and aided by a motley group of assistants that includes an attorney/conman, a beautiful and passionate physicist and a death-obsessed adolescent math prodigy, Ryan gets caught in a battle between hard science and fundamentalist religion that threatens his sanity, his freedom and his son.

Character Prompt

Want a new character in your book or story just for fun?  Plan a trip to a store where there is only one cash register. Promise yourself that the first person in line when you walk in will be a character you will develop. What does he/she look like? What kinds of clothes? Hairstyle? Notice shoes, shopping bags, purse, and can you tell what he/she bought? Give him or her a name. Go back to your computer and plug him/her into the story.

Frances Caballo Book on Social Media

Social Media can be overwhelming, it still is for me. I’ve found Frances Caballo’s book, Social Media Just for Writers, The Best Online Marketing Tips for Selling Your Books, helpful. It’s an interesting read compared to some books I’ve checked out on the topic.

It doesn’t make the overwhelm any easier, but at least I can absorb some of what she details. I like the two quotes she has on the first few pages:

Pablo Picasso said, “I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”

Nicholas Sparks said in Message in a Bottle, “Nothing that’s worthwhile is ever easy.”

Those quotes she selected encouraged me, and I enjoyed looking at the different pictures of the monitor to see what to do step by step. Now I just need the time to apply it all without too much frustration.