Monthly Archives: December 2014

Reading Wednesday: Turning the next page

What makes you turn the pages of a book? I’m not talking about why you start reading a book in the first place although those reasons alone could take up a whole blog with reasons such as a friend’s recommendation, a great cover, or a free copy. I’m writing about what makes you turn the next page and the next page of a book. For me, I’m a character driven reader. When I like the characters of a book, I try to steal extra minutes to find out what happens to them. To my wonderful hubby’s dismay, I’ve even been known to read late into the night to find out how the hero and heroine overcome that black moment or find out the identity of the villain. That’s how I know whether I really liked a book or not: if I can’t wait to finish the book. My own personal benchmark for whether I liked a book or not is whether the characters stuck with me while I was doing other things and whether I couldn’t wait to get back to read the rest of the book.

This month, I’ve been fortunate enough to read three books that make my qualifications for a good book.

The Preacher’s Promise by Piper G. Huguley. First a brief disclosure. I know the author as we are both members of Georgia Romance Writers. Now, having disclosed that, I have to admit I was more than pleasantly surprised by the high caliber of this work. When Cupcake, Chunk, and I went out to lunch, they played in the play area while I whipped out my Kindle to find out more about Amanda and Virgil. This was definitely a book that stayed with me while I wasn’t reading the story. The book itself takes place in 1866 in the states of Ohio and Georgia. Amanda Stewart, a recent graduate of Oberlin College, is taken aback when she discovers the extent of her precarious financial situation. Her father, a lawyer, has passed away and left her penniless. She finds an offer to teach newly freed slaves and their children in the town of Milford, Georgia. When she arrives in Milford, she meets the town’s mayor, Virgil Smithson, who was expecting a man for a teacher. Virgil is adamant that Amanda gets back on the train and travel back to her home state of Ohio. Amanda is equally adamant that she fulfill her purpose by becoming the teacher to students eager for an education. The book is an inspirational, historical romance that follows Amanda and Virgil as they struggle to discern God’s will for each of them in the antebellum South. The book is a thoughtful exploration of that time period through the eyes of two African-Americans who were raised in different conditions and have endured different paths that lead to Milford.

Hope for the Holidays: The Historical Collection by Mary Connealy, Ruth Logan Herne, Myra Johnson, and Julie Lessman. This is the book I am currently reading. I’ve finished the first two stories and loved them. I found myself reading “Sophie’s Other Daughter” and not being able to put it down. On the night of Kath’s band Christmas concert, I was in the high school lobby glued to my Kindle laughing over Ike’s reaction to Clay McClellan who, while holding a rifle, tells Ike that the McClellan Ike should fear is his wife, Sophie. While the orchestra set up, I would steal a couple of minutes of reading time to find out more about Ike and Laura. Then I’d listen to the music and then return to my Kindle while the next band set up on stage. I tried not to laugh out loud during some of the scenes so as not to draw attention to myself. So I enjoyed this short story. I was convinced I wouldn’t be able to enjoy the next story nearly as much, and then I started reading Edward’s and Sylvie’s story. And opened my Kindle at Cupcake and Chunk’s preschool playground while they played. And opened my Kindle while I was eating breakfast to read more pages of their story. So this passes my test for a good book: I’m reading it whenever I can and I’m thinking about the characters when my Kindle isn’t in my hands.

A Little Night Murder by Nancy Martin. I didn’t think I’d like my Kindle, but I do. However, I still like to read a paper book that I can hold in my hands. There’s something about the smell and feel of a book that I can’t resist. I’ve now read nine of the ten books in this series. I like the Blackbird sisters, and this book kept me company in doctor’s offices for the past week as I disappeared into the world of Philadelphia society and the backstage world of the theater. This cozy mystery was well worth my time, especially with the fact that it was a library book.

But throughout the year, I’ve been very fortunate enough to read some books that kept me turning the pages for more. A huge thank you to Jill Shalvis, Nicki Salcedo, Sarah Mayberry, Sarah MacLean, Mary Connealy, Piper G. Huguley, Kristan Higgins, Carolyn Hart, Stephen King, and all the other authors who have written the books that I’ve loved reading this year. I’m sure I’ve left off some wonderful authors, but these were some of the authors whose books I couldn’t wait to continue reading and whose characters or lessons taught me something.

What about you? What are you reading? How do you fit in reading time to your day? Let me know.

Easter Eggs

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What’s that I write? Easter eggs at Christmastime? Yes, you read that correctly. I’m blogging about Easter eggs today, but not the type that you dye at Easter. These Easter eggs are the little hidden secrets in a movie, television series or a book that often refer to an inside joke or inside story. For instance, when I visited Disney World this past September, I noticed something new. In The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh ride, there is a framed oval portrait of Mr. Toad. For those who have previously visited Disney World before the opening of the Winnie the Pooh ride, they might remember Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride that occupied the space until the ride was remodeled and refashioned. But the picture itself is an Easter egg, an homage to a little secret known to some of the riders of the Winnie the Pooh ride. Some writers utilize Easter eggs in their books, and hence the inspiration for this post.

Do I use them? You bet I do. I’m fortunate enough to have inherited Frederick’s Hope, a genealogical study of my family that traces the roots on my father’s side back to the time of the Revolutionary War. In each of my books, I’ve sneaked in a name somewhere that pays a little bit of tribute to someone in my past. One of my heroes shares a last name with one of my great-great-grandmothers. A heroine in a different book shares the same last name as another great-great grandparent. Of course, my characters are fictional, but some of their names have a deeper meaning to me.

If you are a writer, do you use Easter eggs in any of your works? Is there a first name of a childhood friend or the last name of a favorite teacher? If you’re not a writer, do you look for Easter eggs in movies or TV shows? Let me know.