Favorite Novels – What’s on Your List?

DSC04542As I sit here this morning looking out over our backyard, a heavy mist shrouds the landscape.  The snow and grass seem to be in a struggle over which parts of the yard belong to whom.  Across our property lies a patchwork of white, brown, and green bordered by trees that actually seem to be looking down upon the earth wondering when it will be time to awaken from their long, cold slumber. And as if the East Coast hasn’t already had more than its share of winter, more snow is heading our way.  The good news for those of us in the Mid-Atlantic is that at least we’ve been able to thaw a little in between each storm.  Not so for Boston, Buffalo, and many other cities and towns north of here!

I’ve already accepted the fact that there will be four people in the kitchen tomorrow baking Katie’s sweet sixteen cake rather than just one, and I might just have many more hands available to decorate for her party on Friday. However, I so long for an entire week of writing without interruption!  I understand that many people are just itching to get into their gardens and out in their boats.  I would just love to have a five-day stretch where I can sit in quiet and complete a chapter or so per day in my next novel.  Alas, that doesn’t seem to be in the forecast for me this week, but perhaps a good read is in your future.  So I’ve decided to share with you my list of my all time favorite books.  Like all good librarians, I will categorize the list.  I hope there is something here that you will enjoy reading.  I believe that you will find a few hidden gems amongst some of the more well-known titles.  So pick a book, sit by the fire, and remember that spring is just 15 days away!

Amy’s All Time Favorite Books:

Historical Fiction

The Lady of Arlington by Harnett T. Kane – a novel based on the life of Mary Custis Lee, the wife of Robert E. Lee

The entire Little House series – have you read them as an adult?  You should!

Romance

Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Green – a book I have loved since I was in middle school.

Fantasy

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by JK Rowling – really, did you truly expect me to not have a Harry Potter book on the list?

Memoir

The Reading Promise by Alice Ozma – A father and daughter vow to read together for 1,000 nights, and magic happens.

General Literature

So many to list!

Beaches by Iris R. Dart – A tear-jerking story about lifelong best friends and the ups and downs of their relationship

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield – a timeless tale (truly – you have no idea when in time this takes place) of secrets and lies that come out when a young writer is summoned to write the memoirs of a dying woman.

Playing for Pizza by John Grisham – perhaps an odd choice, but I love a good book about football, and this one is a lot of fun!

The Choice by Nicholas Sparks – The “choice” will leave you buried in a pile of tissues!

Classics

Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier – A nameless heroine falls in love with Max deWinter, a man haunted by his past.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte – Jane falls in with Mr. Rochester, also a man haunted by his past.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – love and romance in the Victorian Age

Mystery/Suspense

This is the hardest list to narrow down for me.  I am a sucker for a good suspense story!

The Christmas Train by David Baldacci

The Lifeguard by James Patterson

Where are the Children by Mary Higgins Clark

Please add your favorites to the list!

Amy Schisler is an author of mystery and suspense novels.  Her first book, A Place to Call Home may be purchased in stores, online, and through ibooks.  Her previously published children’s book, Crabbing With Granddad may be purchased in stores and on Amazon.

https://amyschislerauthor.com/amyschislerauthor.com/Books.html You may follow Amy at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth and on her web site http://amyschislerauthor.com

Advice From the Desk of A Writer

10371504_1493211267560036_1559440155953801216_nThis February marks fifteen months since my first novel was accepted by a publisher.  Oh my, how much I have learned between then and now!  Since A Place to Call  Home was released last August, I have been asked countless times what advice could I give to aspiring writers.  I love how so many of the bestselling authors say things like “write every day,” or “just keep typing away and submitting,” or “you can do it if you work hard.”  Sure, all of those things are great, but here’s the reality: I could write a whole new book just on my experiences over the past fifteen months and what I have learned.  And believe me, I’m still learning.  Every day I read or hear something new that I think, I should do that, or remember that, or look into that.  So here are some things that I have learned that I hope will help others.  Feel free to comment below to open a dialogue on what YOU have learned.

  •   Don’t rely on anyone else’s word that your final copy is without editing flaws, even your editor’s.  People make mistakes, and so do computers.  Read every word before you give the okay to print, or, better yet, have a professional proofreader read every word.  I really learned this the hard way.
  •   Marketing your book is up to you and you alone.  Your agent or publicist may have some good ideas or point you in a certain direction, but you will need to set aside an entire day once a week to market your book.  And marketing means everything from writing a blog to contacting booksellers to entering contests.  Some weeks, one day isn’t enough, and some weeks, that day might be spent in your car driving from one bookstore to another.
  •   Never stop looking for ways to promote your book whether it has been out for a week, a month, or six months.  Until the next book hits the shelf, that book is your livelihood.  Even when you’re at the point where you secretly hate that book because it won’t go away and you want to move on, keep promoting it.  Later in life, you may look back and realize it was the best relationship you ever had, a stepping stone to greater things to come.
  •   Learn to self-promote.  For some, including myself, that’s so very hard to do.  At first, my parents sold more of my books than I did.  And why should that surprise anyone?  Parents brag about their children their entire lives.  Writers need to learn to brag a little about themselves, too.  I’ll admit that I’m still working on that one….
  •   Choose book signings wisely.  Yes, every public appearance you make gets your name and face out there, but is every public appearance worth doing?  I’ve done signings where I am speaking to people and signing books constantly, and I’ve done ones where I’ve sat and stared into space all day without seeing a single soul.  While you can never predict what will work and what won’t, do some research, talk to other authors, figure out when and where the successful signings take place and take advantage of those.  But don’t overlook a great opportunity to network. The last signing I did was at a local library. We had a few dozen people wander in and out, and each of us sold two or three books, but I made some wonderful new contacts who have given me invaluable advice.
  •   Network, network, network.  Oh, yeah, and don’t forget to network.  There is so much to be learned from other authors and people in the industry.  Reach out to them, follow them on Twitter, talk to them at conferences (GO to conferences).  You will always come away with something useful as well as a contact you can go to when you need advice.
  •   Never dismiss anything as not being something worth writing about.  I keep notes of anything and everything that comes to mind that might be useful in a book.  Very often, while writing, something that I jotted down comes back to me and fits perfectly into whatever scenario I’m working on at that moment.
  •   And yes, write every day.  Dean Koontz says he writes 12 hours a day!  I’ve read that Sandra Brown writes at least an hour, seven days a week.  James Patterson puts in a full eight hour day every week.  Perhaps you aren’t able to do that at this point in your life (I know I’m not, but I’m getting there), but whatever time you can take to write, take it.  The biggest thing I have learned is that the more I write, the better my writing is.

What can you add?

Amy Schisler is an author of mystery and suspense novels.  Her first book, A Place to Call Home may be purchased in stores, online, and through ibooks.  Her previously published children’s book, Crabbing With Granddad may be purchased in stores and on Amazon.

https://amyschislerauthor.com/amyschislerauthor.com/Books.html You may follow Amy at http://facebook.com/amyschislerauthor on Twitter @AmySchislerAuth and on her web site http://amyschislerauthor.com