First Line Friday Full of SF&F Love

February’s First Line Friday Full of SF&F Love Stories is part of a series of blog articles posted on the first Friday of every month. The first line of a story, we’re told, must hook the reader. Implied is that the reader will not buy the book if the first line isn’t great. These entries are from Amazon, my personal library, or other online booksellers. Do these first lines hook you? Do you want to read more? When Commander Rhys “Rest in Peace” Rykus walked back into her life, Ash smiled because she knew it would piss him off. Shades of Treason: An Anomaly Novel by Sandy Williams “Lady Mother,” Adena whispered, lips barely moving. “I don’t think I can do this.” Chosen by the Rakian Commander: Rakian Warrior Mates by Elin Wyn Not long ago, the sweaty hand snaking up my skirt toward my ass would have turned to mummy dust on contact, but I restrained myself. To Catch a Stolen Soul: A djinn haven story by R.L. Naquin “Mom?” I pushed my headphones off my ears and looked at my bedroom door. I could have sworn I heard a scream. Defy the Ravaged: Matron’s Watchmen Book 1 by […]

You Need to do A Reading Study

Have you ever done a reading study? Recently, I listened to the Mysterious Goings On podcast that featured the Constant Reader and his journey re-reading Stephen King’s bibliography. The idea intrigued me. I’ve often re-read books I’ve enjoyed. Some of them many times. And of course, I’ve read complete series. But I don’t recall ever reading a single author’s entire catalog. The voice in my head said, you need to do a reading study. What is a Reading Study? That’s the fun part. You get to design your own. How? There are no rules. But here are some questions and suggestions to help you get started. What’s Your Purpose? For the Constant Reader, his deep love of Stephen King’s books motivated him. Which author do you read most often? Or choose an author you’ve never read before. If you’re a writer, you may want to figure out how an author created the world, or the characters, or how the writer makes us readers believe it all. Many things go into writing a powerful story. Perhaps you want to read an author with a unique writing style. Or a strong voice.  But what if you’re a reader and not a writer? […]

12 Ways to Increase Your Reading Pleasure

You are a reader. Whether you read stories or novels, on paper or on an electronic device, you get pleasure out of reading. But I’ll bet there’s at least one thing you can do to improve your experience. Consider these 12 ways to increase your reading pleasure and let me know if you try one. The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story. Ursula K. Le Guin 1. Decide What to Read What do you want to achieve? Learn something? Be entertained? Be frightened silly? Be encouraged by a hero? Read what you like. Unless it’s a school assignment or a skill-learning attempt, don’t waste time reading what you don’t like. Also read books for your reading level or a bit higher. Don’t know what your reading level is? Go to the library (or an online store like Amazon, Kobo, or B&N for those of us self-quarantining), and look at the first pages of a book that interests you. Your reading level should be a bit uncomfortable (in order to stretch yourself) but not so difficult that you put the book […]