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Posts from the ‘Reference’ Category

Ebooks Versus Paper Books

I am often asked why I don’t read ebooks more? Especially given my space issue with my large library. What can I say? I prefer paper. I want to hold the book in my hand and feel the pages as I turn them. I want to browse my shelves and pull books down to flip through old favorites and to search for my next adventure to read. Scanning electronic shelves is not the same. There’s no anticipation of seeing titles from across the room and remembering the moment I found it waiting in a book store for me.

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Too Many Books…I Don’t Think So

Today’s blog is a bit of a rant about my library—my personal library. Now, I am the first to admit I own a lot of books. Just over 7,000 at last count. But that does not make me weird or a hoarder. I simply refuse to believe that books can be hoarded. A library is a treasure of stories, worlds and knowledge, not a pile of rotting papers moldering in the corner. There’s a difference.

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Apps and Electronics—Gadgets & Gizmos (Part 2)

Last week I shared my favorite gadgets and gizmos. This week I am focusing on programs. While I am not a huge user of apps, I do find a few helpful and have looked into other that I don’t use yet but plan to add to my capabilities.

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Gadgets and Gizmos: Writer’s Tools

I am the first to admit I am not enamored of all things electronic. I tend to be a bit old school, but I do have my favorite things, which I am going to share today.

The reason I am not fond of many gadgets and apps is that I find they confuse things and make them harder than they should be or at least more cumbersome. When it comes to research and writing, I like to keep things fairly simple, but that is not to say I don’t use technology. I do and the things I use I swear by. Don’t try to take them away from me. You will get hurt.

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The Passing of a Book Lover

I run a small book club that actually reads the selected books. We are a tight group that loves books and sharing them, beyond our group reads. We have a page set up on Goodreads and talk about our lives, books and all things story in whatever form they exist. They are my tribe. The people who understand me. We may not always read the same books or genres, but we share a love of story and the feel of books in our hands. We are true readers.

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First Blog of 2016: A Reader’s Problem

It’s a new year and a new opportunity to write and read.

I have been adding to my to-read pile throughout the holidays and it is now so large I don’t know where to begin. There are more than 600 books on the so-called “short” list of what I want to read this year and that doesn’t account for new releases that will appeal to me. It is insane. There is no way I can hope to read a quarter of that, much less all of it.

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Holiday Spirit: Finding It Through Picture Books

It has been a busy season around here and I have been struggling to finish projects and get into the holiday spirit. Instead of baking gingerbread houses, I have been crunching deadlines and running errands like a crazy woman.

We finally got our tree up and decided that we needed to do something to find the spark that was eluding us. Hanging the stockings just wasn’t getting us there. So we did something that never fails: we turned to a book. Well, books. But not just any books–picture books.

As always, the books did not fail.

So if you are feeling more stress than spirit, here is one way to fix the problem–a list of our top 12 Christmas picture books that are sure to bring a smile to kids of all ages, even those who are just young at heart:

Santa Trap by Jonathan Emmett
This is a great story about a naughty boy who tries to exact his revenge on Santa for not caving to his demands for toys.

A Wish to Be a Christmas Tree by Colleen Monroe
A sweet story about a tree that has grown too tall to fulfill his goal of being a Christmas tree and how his fiends convince him that he is their present just as he is.

Auntie Claus by Elise Primavera
Where does Auntie Claus disappear to every year? Sophie decides to find out.

Snowmen at Christmas by Caralyn Buehner
Another snowman book that tells what these icy beings do to celebrate Christmas.

Olive the Other Reindeer by J. Otto Semibold
Olive mishears a popular Christmas carol and believes she must be a reindeer. This is what happens when she arrives at the North Pole.

Russell’s Christmas Magic by Rob Scotton
Russell decides to wait up for Santa and ends up saving Christmas.

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
There are few books that capture the spirit of Christmas as well as this one does. Who doesn’t want an invitation to ride the Polar Express to the North Pole to see Santa off on Christmas Eve?

Merry Christmas, Splat! by Rob Scotton
Poor Splat worries that he has not done enough to prove that he is nice enough for a good present from Santa and sets out to fix that.

A Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles M. Schulz
This is the classic animated story in book form.

Bear Stays Up for Christmas by Karma Wilson
Bear decides to wake from his hibernation long enough to celebrate with his friends.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss
What can I say about this classic? It’s the Grinch. Enough said.

And, finally, because how can you celebrate Christmas without the Christmas Eve classic: The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore? You can’t.

If you want more grown up content, but still in the same vein, then you can’t go wrong with Letters from Father Christmas by JRR Tolkien or A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens–the original Christmas story.

Happy Holidays, everyone! I will see you all in the New Year. This blog will be silent until then, so grab a good book and curl up by the fire. See you in 2016.

12 Non-Writing Fields Writers Should Study

Studying is an eternal state of being for writers. It’s our lifeblood--how we hone our craft and add depth to our work. As Gary Paulson says, “If you want to be a good writer, you’ve got to read like a wolf eats.” I believe that applies to studying too.

Luckily, there are many sources for reading and novels of all genres and types. Read the hard ones and the fun ones. Heck, even read the bad ones to learn what not to do. Then read nonfiction to inform your writing. There are tons of books on the craft of writing, and they are important. Growing as a writer means professional development, like any other field. Read those writing books, but don’t stop there. Study broadly.

Here are my top 12 to consider adding to your studies:

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