Writers Must Read


In On Writing by Stephen King, he says that it’s vital for authors to be voracious readers. I agree. Not only is it important for the purposes of knowing what’s going on in the book world, it’s critical to love the product. Unlike drug dealers who are not supposed to sample the wares, having a passion for the written word is the only way any author can write authentically or powerfully.

If you don’t love reading, how can you believe anybody will love what you write?

Personally, I recommend a balanced diet of genre fiction, classics, bestsellers, books outside the genre you write, and non-fiction. I had a tablet on which I read e-books for quite a while. While I read those, I built up a large stock of paperbacks. When the tablet broke, I started reading paper thinking I’d replace the tablet when I finished the pile. I keep buying e-books with that end in mind, too. However, the funny thing is, I haven’t managed to work through the stack yet. It keeps growing faster than I can keep up. So I still don’t have a tablet. *shrug* The majority of books I read are written by friends and associates. I know some extremely talented people.

I also love audio books. I usually have one I listen to when I’m driving. Sometimes I read books aloud to my family. As an acquisitions editor, I often have a manuscript I’m reading to decide if it should be published or not or one I’m editing for a friend. I usually read those on my computer. That means I’m usually in the middle of three or four books at any one time. I’m not a fast reader, but I make up for it with chaotic simultaneous consumption.

I just finished Origin by Dan Brown (paper), In the Warmth of the Sun by P. A. Podrazik (computer), and Split Second by David Baldacci (audio). I’m currently reading The Giant’s Seat book 2 in The Extraordinary Journeys of Clockwork Charlie by Dave Butler (paper), When Did You See Her Last? book 2 in All the Wrong Questions by Lemony Snicket (aloud), Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben (audio), and A New Trope book 4 in Death by Cliche by Bob Defendi (computer, editing). When I finish these I’m going to read Saved by H. A. Anderson (paper), book 3 in AtWQ, book 5 in DbC, and it’s a race between Salvation by James Wymore (coming soon!) or The Crystal King by John Olsen– depending which reader gets done with the audio book first.

I’m not sure how many books I read in 2017, but it’s probably around 30. My advice to anybody considering writing a book, stop reading if you need to make time to write. But only after you stop watching television and playing video games first. If you don’t love reading, why write a book at all? 🙂

What are you reading?



Book Review: Gerald and the Amulet of Zonrach


I’m thrilled to announce the release of Gerald and the Amulet of Zonrach by Carl Hackman!


In the realm of Wyverndawn, a wizard’s height is the mark of his power, and shrinking an entire inch is disastrous for twelve-year-old Gerald.

Looking for promotion of an inch or two, Gerald attempts to create a village landmark using his superior wizarding skills. But the spell he bought – from a guy who knows a guy – is a tad more powerful than he anticipates. The resulting earthquake breaks off a chunk of Wyverndawn from the rest of the realm allowing Vabalaz, a highly dangerous wizard, to escape from prison.

A red-faced Gerald is banished from his village and, to complete his shame, is demoted another inch; two more and he’s likely to become a Royal Equine Poop Disposal Coordinator. Gerald’s questionable acquisition of a certain golden amulet could be the answer to his problems. But when Vabalaz discovers it may also be the key to creating his elite wizard realm, Gerald is elevated to evil wizard’s enemy number one.

Gerald’s hopes of returning home hinge on repairing the damage to Wyverndawn and thwarting Vabalaz’s plans. Failure could mean Gerald’s next spell might well be his last.

My Review:

A fantastic mix of quirky and serious, Gerald is a fun character with a lot of heart. Hackman’s premiere delivers a surprisingly powerful feel good story you won’t want to put down.

You won’t want to miss this amazing story. Get it now!

Book Review: Death by Cliche by Bob Defendi

Death by Cliche cover

The first time I encountered this book, I listened to the audiobook. I laughed SO MUCH! Now I’ve read it, and it still cracks me up. Bob Defendi is some kind of genius. That must flow from his extensive writing, game designing, and gaming background.

My review: Dragged into an awful alternate fantasy reality by the hack DM who tried to murder him, Damico has to try and manipulate the real world through the tritely constructed game dimension. Defendi is a masterful writer, making you love characters you knew were one-dimensional just moments before and keeping the reader on the hook to the very end. Oh, and did I mention it’s funny?

Trust me, GET IT NOW! (Also, if you check his blog, I appear occasionally… most of it’s not true. Well… some of it’s exaggerated.)