Category Archives: Books

Creative Juice #72

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Creative Juice #72

Fourteen servings of beauty and creativity:

  1. Animated photos.
  2. These houses are for the birds.
  3. Beautiful quilts by Diana McClun.
  4. Two-dimensional reclaimed wood portraits.
  5. An interesting glimpse at Da Vinci’s genius, and two more books I want to read.
  6. A sculptor talks about the Period Room at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
  7. Oliver Sacks said imitation and mastery of form precede creativity.
  8. Embroidery beyond the hoop.
  9. Nonfiction reading list.
  10. Illustrators celebrate Christmas.
  11. This Christmasy blog post is just so pretty I had to share it.
  12. A quick trip around the world in photographs.
  13. Some lovely menorahs.
  14. An artist’s (slightly twisted) process for writing a Christmas book.

Guest Post: My Favorite Christmas Books by Linda Carlblom

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Guest Post: My Favorite Christmas Books by Linda Carlblom

A big thank you to Linda Carlblom for these Christmas reading recommendations. Linda is the author of Meet Shelby Culpepper and other books for tweens.

Doing Life Together

At Christmas, I sometimes like to read something that gets me in the Christmas spirit. I’ll share a few of the books that have helped me do that.

marys-journal-bookMary’s Journal, A Mother’s Story by Evelyn Bence gives life to Jesus’s mother, before she conceived him, during her pregnancy, and in the early years of Jesus’ life. It is imaginatively written, but done in such a way that it seems very believable. I gained fresh insight into that time period, its customs, and what might have been some of Mary’s thoughts and feelings as the mother of God’s Son.

shepherds-abidingShepherd’s Abiding by Jan Karon is the heartwarming story of Father Tim trying to restore an old nativity for his wife, Cynthia. It’s filled with the usual quirky characters from Mitford and written with Karon’s typical warmth and humor. If you’re a Mitford fan, you need to add this to your collection.

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Video of the Week #127: Kingly Collaboration

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Video of the Week #127: Kingly Collaboration

Creativie Juice #68

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Creativie Juice #68

A dozen inspiring articles to spark your creativity:

  1. Beautiful Jersey City and Paterson, New Jersey.
  2. Two of my favorite things: quilts and limericks.
  3. Art dolls.
  4. Can creativity be taught?
  5. These new books sound great. Hollywood thought so, too.
  6. This article about Picasso summarizes: “Not only has massive chunks of our culture been created by specific men who abuse women but also that so-called ‘Western culture’ in its entirety has been marked and in many ways defined by systemic and institutionalized misogyny that has chewed up women for art and discarded them en masse.” Some things never change. Or can they?
  7. Do you like potato chips that look like faces, and clouds that look like other objects? Then this quick video will make you smile.
  8. How to draw a fox.
  9. Some beautiful tangles.
  10. What the blank spaces in a painting convey.
  11. Inexpensive copies of art masterpieces you’ll use every day.
  12. Bonsai!

Guest Post: Ten Amazing Authors You Should Read Right Now  

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This article has been reprinted with the permission of Writer’s Relief, a highly recommended author’s submission service. We assist writers with preparing their submissions and researching the best markets. We have a service for every budget, as well as a free e-publication for writers, Submit Write Now! Visit our site today to learn more.

authors you should read

Contemporary literature offers us so many well-written books with unique, fresh perspectives on the world we live in, it can be hard to decide which one to read first. To help you choose, we present ten amazing authors you should be reading right now.

 

Ten Authors Whose Books You’ll Want To Read

davidsedarisNYorker
David Sedaris: Author and humorist Sedaris’s essays and short stories are autobiographical and cover events from his youth through present day. His succinct, witty writing style offers an entertaining view of growing up in middle-class America and of his later adventures abroad.

 

JohnGreenJohn Green: An author of young adult fiction, Green has recently been in the spotlight due to the film based on his novel The Fault In Our Stars and his work with Mental Floss. John Green’s writing is fairly well-paced and unburdened by complex plots or verbiage. His novels speak to the hearts of his teenage audience while offering adults new insights into the lives of young people.

 

MalcolmGladwell
Malcolm Gladwell: A staff writer for The New Yorker, Gladwell’s books and articles deal with the unexpected implications of research in sociology, psychology, and social psychology. His books explore the truths hidden within marketing and consumer data to bring an insightful, new understanding of the things we usually overlook or take for granted.

 

GillianFlynnGillian Flynn: A former television critic and current author of three novels, Flynn’s work has received high praise. One of her most notable efforts, Gone Girl, has been made into a feature film. Her books are suspenseful and detective-like, offering unique perspectives on crime and the people caught up in its dangerous web.

 

TARTT
Donna Tartt: The author of three novels, Tarrt won the WH Smith Literary Award for The Little Friend in 2003 and the Pulitzer Prize (Fiction) for The Goldfinch in 2014. She was also named to the TIME 100: The 100 Most Influential People in 2014.
ChimamandaAdichieChimamanda Ngozi Adichie: A Nigerian author, Adichie has been called “the most prominent” of a “procession of critically acclaimed young anglophone authors [that] is succeeding in attracting a new generation of readers to African literature.” She is definitely a young author to watch!

 

Eleanor Catton
Eleanor Catton: A Canadian-born New Zealand author, Catton’s second novel, The Luminaries, won the 2013 Man Booker Prize, making her the youngest author to receive this award. At 832 pages, The Luminaries is also the longest work to win the prize in its 45-year history. The chair of the judges, Robert Macfarlane, commented, “It’s a dazzling work. It’s a luminous work. It is vast without being sprawling.”

 

IsabelAllendeIsabel Allende: Allende’s novels are often based upon her personal experiences as a Chilean-American. Imbued with passion, her works combine sweeping narrative with elements of the “magic realist” tradition. In 2014, Allende was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

 

DeepakChopra
Deepak Chopra: A prominent alternative-medicine advocate and author of more than eighty books, Chopra is one of the best-known advocates of the holistic health movement and has been described as a New-Age guru. His nonfiction work has been critically acclaimed.

 

KhaledHosseini
Khaled Hosseini: An Afghan-born American novelist, Hosseini released his debut novel, The Kite Runner, in 2003 to much acclaim. The novel was later adapted into a film. He has since published two more books which also offer seemingly simple tales of redemption set against the unforgiving backdrop of war, and he continues to be an important voice in American literature.

There’s Still More To Read!

These are just a few of the many authors blazing new trails through today’s literature. Start by choosing one whose voice speaks to you, and see where the pages take you!

Writer QuestionsQUESTION: Who is your favorite contemporary author?

Creative Juice #65

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Creative Juice #65

Twelve sips of creative juiciness to inspire artistic vision.

  1. Total cuteness.
  2. Why bloggers blog.
  3. It’s not too early to start some Christmas quilting projects.
  4. In honor of the coming 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, here are Martin Luther’s 95 Theses. I confess I haven’t read them yet, but I’ve printed them out with every intention of studying them.
  5. Awesome prize-winning photographs from the National Geographic contest.
  6. Epic ink landscapes.
  7. For the writers: best books about writing. I only know half of these—I’ve got some reading to do!J
  8. A cute and easy little weaving project for kids of all ages.
  9. I’d love to see a resurgence of interest in embroidery. Here’s what you need to get started.
  10. There are still a few days left to enter this photography contest. Check out your competitors.
  11. Homage to the doily.
  12. It’s almost time for the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall.

Creative Juice #64

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Creative Juice #64

A dozen articles to spice up your creative life:

  1. Ursula LeGuin on the difference between cats and dogs, among other things.
  2. Taking Zentangle to the next level.
  3. Sorry to be punny. Food memes.
  4. Seeing this wall of mini-quilts is making my fingers itch. I want to make a couple dozen so I can have a wall like this one.
  5. Here’s a fun Halloween face-painting
  6. I want to go on a guitar retreat like this one!
  7. I was afraid this article was about manipulating people. It’s not.
  8. This is the best short story I’ve read in a long time.
  9. This new television series looks wonderful.
  10. A different kind of patchwork.
  11. Everything I know about Richard Feynman I learned on Big Bang Theory—until now.
  12. Check out these awesome mask kits.

Writing Books on my Kindle

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Writing Books on my Kindle

I’ve written about the writing books on my bookshelves here and here. But I also have a collection of writing books on my Kindle. I’ve reviewed several of these on ARHtistic License; click the highlighted titles to read.

  1. The Audacity to be a Writer: 50 Inspiring Articles on Writing that Could Change Your Life compiled by Bryan Hutchinson.
  2. Crank it outCrank It Out! The Surefire Way to Become a Super-Productive Writer by C.S. Lakin.
  3. Creating Character Arcs: The Masterful Author’s Guide to Uniting Story Structure, Plot, and Character Development by K.M. Weiland. I haven’t read this yet, but I love this author’s work.
  4. The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi. This is one of the best resources a fiction writer can have. It lists the physical manifestations of various emotions which you can use to make your readers viscerally experience what’s going on inside your character. (If you want, you can try out the abbreviated version, Emotional Amplifiers, for free.)
  5. Growing Gills: How to Find Creative Focus when You’re Drowning in your Daily Life by Jessica Abel. I’m reading this now, and it’s excellent, but you really have to do the steps. This is the manual for professional cartoonist and graphic novelist Abel’s Creative Focus Workshop. Not strictly a writing book, it’s useful for all kinds of creative endeavors.
  6. How to Write a Sizzling Synopsis: A Step-by-Step System for Enticing New Readers, Selling More Fiction, and Making Your Books Sound Good by Bryan Cohen. I haven’t read this yet.
  7. Inspired Writer: How to Create Magic with Your Words by Bryan Hutchinson. I haven’t read this yet.
  8. Jumpstart Your Creativity: 10 Jolts to Get Creative and Stay Creative by Shawn Doyle and Steven Rowell.Outlining
  9. Outlining Your Novel Workbook: Step-by-Step Exercises for Planning Your Best Book by K.M. Weiland. I’d recommend getting this in hard copy.
  10. Productivity for Creative People: How to get Creative Work Done in an “Always On” World by Mark McGuiness. I haven’t read this yet.
  11. Publishing Poetry & Prose in Literary Journals by Writer’s Relief, Inc. I haven’t read this yet, but I find lots of good information on their website.
  12. Write Your Novel From the Middle: A New Approach for Plotters, Pansters, and Everyone in Between Write Your Novel From the Middle: A New Approach for Plotters, Pansters, and Everyone in Between by James Scott Bell. I have to read this—I’ve heard such good things about it.
  13. Writing in Obedience: A Primer for Christian Fiction Writers by Terry Burns and Linda W. Yezak. I think I read this and was underwhelmed. It might be a good place for a beginning Christian writer to start.
  14. Writing Short Stories to Promote Your Novels by Rayne Hall. I haven’t read this yet.writing the heart
  15. Writing the Heart of Your Story: The Secret to Crafting an Unforgettable Novel by C.S. Lakin. One of the best books I’ve ever read on the art of the novel, which I will probably reread every year.
  16. You Are a Writer by Jeff Goins. A nice little motivational book when you need a kick to get going.
  17. The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women: A Portable Mentor by Gail McMeekin.
  18. The 15-Minute Writer: How to Write Your Book in Only 15 Minutes a Day by Jennifer Blanchard.
  19. 5 Secrets of Story Structure: How to Write a Novel That Stands Out by K.M. Weiland. I can’t remember if I’ve read this yet. Weiland often gives it away free.

Of all the above books that I’ve already read, my two favorites are #4 and #15.

Did you find this article helpful? Please hit the Like button. Have you read any of these? Or do you have a writing book to recommend? Write your comment below.

#IDareYou Book Tag

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I accepted this challenge after reading The Magic Violinist‘s answers to these twenty book questions.

1. What book has been on your shelves the longest?

Hi. My name is Andrea, and I’m a bookaholic. My house is full of books. I have books I bought decades ago that I haven’t read yet. I couldn’t possibly tell you which one has been waiting the longest.

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These are just the TBRs that are stacked on the floor of my office. I have more on my bookshelves all through the house, and more in closets…

2. What is your current read, your last read, and the book you’ll read next?

I usually have about five books in progress at any one time. Currently, I am reading Canon EOS Rebel T5/1200D for Dummies by Julie Adair King and Robert Correll; Growing Gills: How to Find Creative Focus When You’re Drowning in Your Daily Life by Jessica Abel;  Good Poems collected by Garrison Keillor; Born to Run by Bruce Springsteen; and Tanabata Wish by Sara Fujimura. The last book I finished was The Serpent King by Jeffrey Zentner. I think I need to reread Self-Editing for Fiction Writers by Renni Browne and Dave King next.

3. What book did everyone like, but you hated?

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. Ugh! What an ugly world.

4. What book do you keep telling yourself you’ll read, but you probably won’t?

War and Peace.

5. Which book are you saving for retirement?I am retired, so all of them. Or none of them.

6. Last page: Do you read it first or wait until the end?

For goodness’ sake, each page in order, please.

7. Acknowledgements: Are they a waste of paper and ink or interesting?Because of my obsessive/compulsive characteristics, I have been reading the acknowledgments sections since I was a child, even before I knew what the word meant. As I writer, I find them fascinating.

8. Which book character would you switch places with?

I don’t know. I have a pretty terrific life.

9. Do you have a book that reminds you of something specific in your life?

Heidi, by Johanna Spyri. I read it as a little girl (and saw the Shirley Temple movie) and read it to my daughter when she was little (it brought me to tears, because of Heidi’s childlike faith). It reminds me of my grandmother’s house in Germany.

10. Name a book that you acquired in an interesting way.

My Bible study leaders gave me a copy of Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. At the time, I resisted reading it, but I’m so glad I finally relented.

11. Have you ever given away a book for a special reason to a special person?

Last January I attended a writers workshop where the featured presenter was Allen Arnold. While he was speaking, I kept thinking of Tom, a friend of mine who was struggling with finishing a book. Arnold’s message would have been so encouraging to Tom. So I bought two copies of his book The Story of Withone for me and one for Tom.

12. Which book has been with you the most places?

When I travel, I take my Kindle with me, so hundreds of books have accompanied me across the country and to the doctor’s office.

13. Any “required reading” you hated in high school that wasn’t so bad two years later?I pretty much loved everything I can remember reading in high school.

14. Used or brand new?

Since I reread books I like over and over, used is not an issue. In fact, I like the idea of keeping preread copies in circulation. I donate books that I know I’ll never read again, and I’ll generally buy a used copy if I can find one, because it saves me money for more books. The exception is when one of my favorite authors (see the answer to question #19) has a new release. I can’t wait, so I buy new.

15. Have you ever read a Dan Brown book?

All of them. I am looking forward to the release of Origin.

16. Have you ever seen a movie that you liked more than the book?
I can’t think of one. I usually like the book better than the movie, even if I loved the movie, because the book contains nuances that don’t translate over to film, or scenes that had to be cut for time’s sake.

17. A book that’s made you hungry?The Mitford series by Jan Karon. Some of the cakes sound to die for.

18. Who is the person whose book advice you’ll always take?

Jeff Goins.

19. Most read authors?

Patricia Cornwell (for her Kay Scarpetta series), Sue Grafton, John Grisham (for the legal thrillers), and Janet Evanovich (for her Stephanie Plum numerical series).

20. Ship from two different books?

I don’t even know what this means.

Tag, you’re it! Answer some or all of these questions on your blog (give us a link!) or in the comments below.

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Creative Juice #61

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Creative Juice #61

Oh boy! Lots of inspiring stuff to jumpstart your creativity this weekend!