From fiction to non-fiction, religious to history, I take every recommendation given to me and try to recall or write it down for future reference. I like to keep a list of books I want to read as well as a wish list on Amazon. The library is my friend and without I would be miserable. My husband and I also talk of getting a Kindle which makes me giddy beyond belief. Can you imagine having a Kindle and books? C'est Magnifique!!
I take immense pleasure in reading a few books at a time. Currently I am still reading One Hundred Years of Solitude which has been wonderful. I also have been enjoying the hilarious Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore.
For research on my newest novel I use the Bible (NIV), Dark Night of the Soul by St John of the Cross and Meister Eckhart. The last two books were highly recommended by a friend who is on the path to being a choice religious scholar. They are an intense read and ones needs to really sit in quiet to read them
Everyone needs a break now and then with a little light reading, something that is mindless yet stimulating. For me this is romance and/or erotic fiction. I know this may put some of you off and I apologize, but there is a good reason I mention this. Erotic fiction is vastly different from romance in that it does not always need a happy ever after like romance and sometimes there is nothing but carnal pleasures throughout. One of my favorite authors is Joey W Hill. The best thing about reading someone like Joey W Hill and others like her, though I find her to be at the top of her game, is that they do inspire passion and grand romance. She explores a lot of psychological issues with the characters in her stories and weaves them within the BDSM world. Her boudoir scenes are H-O-T and for some folks they would be over the top because in erotic fiction, you need to be as graphic as possible which you do not do in romance. You can, but usually it is must more flowery. Erotic fiction can be crude, sexy, vulgar, beautiful and romantic all at once. Pretty much how sex is in the real world. Again, this is not for everyone, but I find it interesting. The one thing she does do in her books that surprised me was the use of a high amount of dialogue. Yes I want my readers to understand the reasons my characters behave in certain ways, but at the same time, I do not want to give you every single piece of information. Less is more in some cases.
This not a dig at Miss Hill who writes wonderful vignettes with characters from prior novels. My newest favorite is Jessica and Lord Mason from Beloved Vampire which I never read, but the vignette is very sexy and sensual. That exact story is what made me think about the amount of dialogue actually. In regards to expressions of feelings, some are made very clear by a look, a touch, a whisper and they also talk it out...A LOT. While I enjoy the expressions of love and devotion that is declared over and over, especially when someone is bound, safely and lovingly pushed past the brink of sanity, I wondered how it could play out if they would just stop talking? There is a lot of over analyzing by some of her characters, which I do understand. There are story lines where some of these folks have endured serious pain and abandonment and then find love. They go into deep places with each other emotionally, spiritually and physically, being rebuilt after being destroyed by a wretched past or a relationship that ate them down to nothing. The weaving of constant reassurance through the dialogue that they are everything the person needs and their forever love is heartfelt.The raw honesty of her dialogue is superb, but I do feel some of it can be construed as overkill.
I bring this up because, like any writer, I struggle with how much needs to be stated by my characters. Take a character whose heart has been shackled by their own doing. Now they have to express whatever they need when the their heart is finally freed. There is a very fine line of what I have them say and do. I am sure the reader will scream with joy when the character gets and gives love, but I do not want to have someone reading my book think, "Okay, can she/he just embrace their new destiny of love and happiness and stop worrying??"
While every writer has their own style and voice, I still sometimes have a hard time finding my own. So I am grateful to all the writers out there to let me hear theirs so I can improve mine.
And if you are feeling daring, check out Miss Hills' vignettes on her website and her books The Ice Queen and Mirror of My Soul. Have a fan and a glass of water nearby and if you have a partner, enjoy playtime :)