Friday Favorites: September

I am posting my Friday Favorites on the last Friday of the month (this time), instead of the first! The month got away from me, with the RMFW conference and birthdays and life.

This month, I thought it would be fun to share some of things things I took away from RMFW (Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers) conference. I learned so much as a writer, and had so many wonderful experiences, so I will share only the highlights! (All of this is paraphrased and taken from my notes.)

Sherry Thomas, Romance 101

Characters in conflict is the engine of your story – it drives your story forward.
• Characters must be introduced and conflict must be established as early in your book as possible.
• Dialogue should be used to further conflict.
• The first page sells this book – the last page sells the next.

James Hunter, The Villain’s Story

• Villains should have moral quandaries.
• Villains need nuances to be good villains.
• Protagonists / Antagonists are two sides of a coin, who play by different rules.
• Your Antagonists should have strengths that can exploit your Protagonists’ weaknesses. They should be each other’s opposites.

Bonnie Ramthun, How to Write a Breathtaking Action Sequence

• Raise the stakes – life or death.
• Suspense happens when the reader knows something the characters in the scene do not.
• Start emotions in a place where you can build from.
• Use flashing glimpses instead of lingering observations.

Diana Gabaldon (the author of Outlander!), Immersion: The Best Books Are Made of Quicksand and White Space: You Think It’s All About Words

• Don’t tell your readers anything they don’t need to know in that moment.
• There should be at least one action in each paragraph. Even small actions, like body language, create immersion.
• Create a cascade of questions that makes the reader want answers. They can be small questions that are answered quickly, but they will make the reader keep reading.
• A good sex scene is about the exchange of emotions. You don’t need to show much for them to feel deeply.
• You want friction in your fiction.
• Sometimes if you plan too much before entering a major scene, it loses its juice.

Thea Hutcheson, Fishing For Readers: How to Hook Em

• You have about 150 words to hook your reader before you lose them (agent, editor, reader).
• Sensory details light up the brain.
• Remember the first 150 words technique for the beginning of every scene/chapter.

Susan Spann, Coal to Diamonds

• When you finish writing for the day, try to stop right before something exciting happens, so you are excited to write the next day.
• Leave your chapters unresolved.

I would love to hear your thoughts on these notes! Which ones do you find the most helpful?

Finally, here are some cute pics of me and Brianna having the best weekend ever!

Image result for rmfw

Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, closeup Image may contain: 2 people, people smiling, people standing


Friday Favorites: August

I’m still in denial that it is actually August! Summer always seems to go by way too quickly.

For my Friday post this month, I wanted to share with you some books that I HIGHLY RECOMMEND for any fellow writers. I am getting ready to go to a conference next month, (Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers Colorado Gold), and present some work there. (fingers crossed) There are two books that I have found incredibly helpful during this writing process, and I want to share them with you!

Writing Magic: Creating Stories that Fly, by Gail Carson Levine. For the low price of $3.03 on Amazon. (Seriously, this is a steal!)

Writer to Writer: From Think to Ink, by Gail Carson Levine. Also for the low price of $3.03 on Amazon.

I recommend starting with Writing Magic, as it’s the first one she wrote. These are books I consider to be musts, especially for writers of young adult, middle grade, and children’s fiction. They are amazing!

Have you read either of these books? Tell me what you thought of them!

Friday Favorites: June

Happy first Friday of the month! Now that Memorial Day is behind us, and we are in the month of June, it feels like summer is finally here! (yay, yay, yay!)

Do you have any summer travel plans? I don’t know about you, but whenever I travel, which is as often as I possibly can, I make sure to bring along a book that will not disappoint.

So I thought it would be fun to come up with a travel themed reading list! Here are some books that are set in the states, that take place both in the past and the future. Some I have read, some I had to look up. Hope you enjoy!

Road trip, anyone?












Alabama: To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

Alaska: Into the Wild, by Jon Krakauer

Arizona: The Host, by Stephanie Meyer

Arkansas: Where the Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls

California: The Selection Series, by Kiera Cass

Colorado: The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins

Connecticut: The Witch of Blackbird Pond, by Elizabeth George Speare

Delaware: Fight Club, by Chuck Palahniuk

Florida: Because of Winn Dixie, by Kate DiCamillo

Georgia: Gone With the Wind, by Margaret Mitchell

Hawaii: The Girl From Everywhere, by Heidi Heilig

Idaho: Housekeeping, by Marilynne Robinson

Illinois: Divergent, by Veronica Roth

Indiana: The Fault In Our Stars, by John Green

Iowa: A Thousand Acres, by Jane Smiley

Kansas: The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum

Kentucky: Uncle Tom’s Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe

Louisiana: A Confederacy of Dunces, by John Kennedy Toole

Maine: Skylark, by Patricia MacLachlan

Maryland: The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, by Ann Brashares

Massachusetts: Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott

Michigan: Middlesex, by Jeffrey Eugenides

Minnesota: Little House on the Prairie, by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Mississippi: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain

Missouri: Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain

Montana: A River Runs Through It, by Norman Maclean

Nebraska: Eleanor and Park, by Rainbow Rowell

Nevada: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, by Hunter S. Thompson

New Hampshire: The Hotel New Hampshire, by John Irving

New Jersey: Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume

New Mexico: Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume

New York: Percy Jackson, by Rick Riordan

North Carolina: A Walk To Remember, by Nicholas Sparks

North Dakota: The Round House, by Louise Erdrich

Ohio: The Broom of the System, by David Foster Wallace

Oklahoma: Paradise, by Toni Morrison

Oregon: Wild, by Cheryl Strayed

Pennsylvania: Red Queen, by Victoria Aveyard

Rhode Island: My Sister’s Keeper, by Jodi Picoult

South Carolina: The Notebook, by Nicholas Sparks

South Dakota: By the Shores of Silver Lake, by Laura Inglalls Wider

Tennessee: Christy, by Catherine Marshall

Texas: No Country for Old Men, by Cormac McCarthy

Utah: Under the Banner of Heaven, by Jon Krakauer

Vermont: Pollyanna, by Eleanor H. Porter

Virginia: Bridge To Terabithia, by Kate DiCamillo

Washington: Twilight, by Stephanie Meyer

West Virginia: Shiloh, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Wisconsin: Little House in the Big Woods, by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Wyoming: My Friend Flicka, by Mary O’Hara

What would you add to this list? Which ones have you read? Are any on your TBR list? I want to hear from you!

Reads and Roses is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to