How Do You Like Your Books: Paper or Digital?

Now that the holidays are over, a few of my friends have showed off their new e-readers to me, like a Nook or the drool-worthy Kindle Paperwhite. It appears that the rumors are true: E-readers are taking over the reading universe!

Funnily enough, a few years ago my husband asked me if I would like a Kindle or Nook for Christmas. My reply? NOOOOO! Paper books forever! Get your silly technology away from me! But now, here in the shiny new year of 2014, I sheepishly have to admit that I read most of my books on my Kindle Fire or on my–gasp!–iPhone. I just love the convenience of having a whole library of books at my fingertips, especially when I’m stuck somewhere like the DMV or the grocery store check-out line. Plus, I save a bit of cash whenever I buy an e-book versus a paper one! More money to spend on new books, right?

But old habits die hard and I can’t resist the siren call of a book whenever I take a trip to B&N or a local indie bookstore. Although now I tend to only buy a hardback or paperback of books I really love or that my friends have written. Which is probably a good thing since my bookshelves are stacked to the brim as it is!


So I’m curious… How many of you have e-readers? Or do you only read paper copies of books? Or are you like me and you dabble in both? At the end of the day, I love the convenience of e-readers but nothing beats the scent of an old novel or the crisp pages of a new read. 🙂


That One Perfect Line

We all have our favorite lines…phrases that encapsulates the entire theme of a book into one fantastically written sentence.  If you’re like me, you find them rattling around in your head for weeks, months, even years later.

“Because this is what happens when you try to run from the past. It just doesn’t catch up, it overtakes … blotting out the future.” ~Sarah Dressen, JUST LISTEN

“Scars have the strange power to remind us that our past is real.”  ~Cormac McCarthy, ALL THE PRETTY HORSES

“The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive.”   ~John Green, LOOKING FOR ALASKA

It’s easy to point to these out in other people’s work. As writers we appreciate, even savor that truly awe-inspiring sentence and find ourselves dumbfounded by the profound depth they convey.  But when it comes to dissecting our own work, when we are cornered at a conference and asked to get the heart of our story in one compelling sentence, we often freeze, forgetting not only the name of our characters but the entire plot.

Today, as we start a whole new year of writing, I challenge you to read through your own WIP and find that one sentence that brings your entire manuscript to life.  I guarantee it’s in there, that awe-inspiring sentence that has you saying “Crap…I wrote that?”  Then share it here for the rest of us to marvel over. As encouragement, I will toss out one of my own.

 “The darkness would’ve scared me years ago, but not anymore.  If you couldn’t see it, then you didn’t know it was there to be afraid of.” ~untitled WIP


Why I Write

For my first post here on this new website in this new year, I gave a lot of thought to what I wanted to discuss. My book is through its edits and mostly out of my hands now, on its way to the completion of a journey that I have dreamed about for years. And, as a consequence, my life lately has been more worrying about marketing than worrying about writing. And some of this marketing gave me advice about the things I should be writing, about what’s selling and not selling, about what people want to read. Which is all important when you are in the process of marketing your book.

But it got me to thinking about why I write. And, when I sit down to write a story, it’s because the characters are clamoring in my head and I need to get them out so I can get some peace and quiet. It’s because there’s an image, or a place, or a line of dialogue, that I want to get down on paper (or screen, more likely), so that I can share it. And it used to be that I just shared it with my family and friends, but now I’m lucky enough that I get to share it with all of YOU. (Or maybe you’ve all become my friends!)

So I write. I write because I love creating. I write because it brings me joy. I write because it makes me happy. And I hope that what I write brings you some joy and happiness, too! That is, I think, my best approach to marketing. 🙂

13 Writers’ Resolutions for 2014

Every year I make pretty much the same resolutions, and every year I drop them, one by one, like pretty petals scattered before a bride. I’m sneaking chocolate by January 3, I never floss, and the dog is lucky if our daily two-mile walk doesn’t morph into a lazy stroll around the yard by Groundhog’s Day.

Photo by Tony Delgrosso, Flickr, Creative Commons
Photo by Tony Delgrosso, Flickr, Creative Commons.

Of course, that doesn’t mean a list of resolutions isn’t helpful. It is— especially for writers. It gives focus to our intentions. Or at least the illusion of focus. And illusion is worth something, right?

So, in the name of willful illusion, I’ve asked some BookYArd writers to share what they’ll be focusing on for the coming year. Here they are—plus one from me and one for you!


AdriAnne’s resolution: Get out more.
This year is going to be crazy with a book release, sequels to write, and of course those completely new projects. When dealing with typed words on a computer screen all day—whether in books, on blogs, in reviews—it’s easy for me to get sucked into a very small world and have the problems therein feel huge and overwhelming. Stepping outside always puts things back in perspective for me. I resolve to get out more frequently to do something fun: whether grabbing a beer with my husband/friends, going camping, taking a long bike ride, canoeing, volunteering, going to concerts, or even traveling abroad. Stories aren’t just for writing—they’re for living, too.

– AdriAnne Strickland, author of Wordless


Skylar’s Resolution: Listen to my characters.

Image by Natalia Love, Flickr Creative Commons, with goofy speech bubble by Mary.
Image by Natalia Love, Flickr Creative Commons, with goofy speech bubble by Mary.

Sometimes, in the middle of all the drafting and editing and revisions, I feel like I lose sight of the story I was writing in the first place, if that makes any sense. So I want to make a resolution to, every once in a while, pause and take my characters out for a metaphorical cup of coffee and just listen to them chat about their lives, just to reconnect with why I started telling their stories in the first place!

– Skylar Dorset, author of The Girl Who Never Was


Photo by Wetsun, Flickr Creative Commons.
Photo by Wetsun, Flickr Creative Commons.

Monica’s Resolution: Banish insecurities.
I thought that after securing my first publishing contract I would have all the confidence when going forth with future writing projects. I should be all I GOT THIS. But sometimes I find the opposite. Instead of that carefree writing-for-myself feeling, I now feel like I’m writing with my agent, editor and the whole world looking over my shoulder. I’m resolving, as I move further into my WIP, to let those fears go, or at least set them aside until after the first draft! And to continue to dig deep serving the story and muse first.

– Monica Ropal, author of The Body of Cooper McCay


Danielle E’s Resolution: Enjoy this moment.
I have three books coming out this year. That’s so very exciting, but also I have three books coming out this year! (Alongside the many other hats I wear and having more deadlines to write more books.) It’s a really great problem, but I’m one of those people who doesn’t like to say no. I get ideas and I act on them. I build up expectations in my head, and expect nothing less. I have to let go of that as a writer and really enjoy where I am; this is hard for me because I’m always thinking about the next thing. I need to be aware and keep myself in check so I don’t get carried away. My debut year isn’t going to be like anyone else’s, and while that’s super cool, I also run the risk of expecting too much from my readers, my publishers, my author community, my characters and myself. I’m hoping I can set realistic goals that help me stay productive but mostly: let me enjoy 2014. I’ll never get it back. I want to be in the moment, build memories and soak all of this up.

Danielle Ellison, author of Salt


Kate’s resolution: Do the dishes.

Photo by Syl, Flickr Creative Commons, possessed by Ryan Gosling.
Photo by Syl, Flickr Creative Commons. Possessed by Ryan Gosling.

I have a bad habit of letting dishes stack up, of leaving mail unopened, of neglecting to vacuum until my corners are filled with such large hairballs that I wonder how I have any strands left on my head. This doesn’t sound like a writing problem, but I know I’m cheerier and more productive when I’m working in a clean space. However, so far, that knowledge has meant nothing. I hereby resolve to follow the One-Minute Rule: anything that takes less than a minute to do, I’m doing right away. My sink will remain empty. Junk mail will get recycled. I’ll rein in this overweening ambition here, though: I make no promises about the hairballs.

– Kate Hattemer, author of The Vigilante Poets of Selwyn Academy


Stefanie’s Resolution: Reach out to others and connect (particularly in-person).
I’m a horrible introvert, and one of the things that scares me most about being a debut author is getting “out there” for signings, panels, events, etc… I think it’s incredibly important for authors to do these things, though, and to connect with other authors. Not just for promotional/marketing purposes, but also for our own well-being. Writing can be such a lonely profession, and at the moment I’m most comfortable locked in my office or hiding in corner of a dark coffeehouse with my headphones in, cutting everyone off while I type away. And while I’ll probably keep doing that, I don’t want to *just* do that. I don’t think it’s healthy for me, creatively or otherwise. So in 2014, I’m resolving to attend more writing events, to meet more authors and try to make real, meaningful connections with them.

– Stefanie Gaither, author of Falls the Shadow


Lindsay’s Resolution: Ditto.
My resolution is similar to Stefanie’s in the sense that while I’m pretty connected online and through social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter, I’ve never been to a conference *gasp*! I know, right?!? I feel that 2014 needs to be the year that I get out more, make more writer friends and overall, enjoy the fact that although writing can be a solitary thing, it doesn’t have to be. This is part of why I love writing horror/thrillers with Trisha Leaver—we can share in those publishing ups and downs throughout the process. My goal for this upcoming year is to attend a few events and meet some of my dear cyber friends in person!

– Lindsay Currie, coauthor of Creed

Image compliments of AJ Cann, Flickr Creative Commons. Adapted by Mary.
Image compliments of AJ Cann, Flickr Creative Commons. Adapted by Mary.


Christina’s resultion: Take the plunge.
This is going to be an amazing year. I’m so excited about bringing two books out in 2014, and I want to enjoy every moment of this expereince. There is only one year for an author that is truly their debut year, and I’m hoping that I can savor each step along they way instead of being overwhelmed with being too busy to enjoy it. I’m also hoping to stretch myself in new ways by writing a new project unrelated to GILDED and that world. Whatever happens, I’m ready to jump on this rollercoaster, hold my hands high and take the plunge!

– Christina Farley, author of Gilded


Rin’s resolution: Eat more fries.
I could spin this to mean that we should all live in the moment, to stop and smell the roses and listen to musicians in subways. Because we never know how long roses last, and we’ll never know it’s violin virtuoso Joshua Bell playing, until we take a break and enjoy them while they’re here. That we ought to do the things we want to do before we are no longer in a condition to enjoy them. It’s both hard and thrilling for debut authors this year; everything is uncharted territory, and there are so many little things that need finishing that they build up and threaten to overwhelm, and sometimes we forget to take deep breaths and remind ourselves we’re doing this for the love of it. And we owe it to ourselves to take a break, to watch a game and relax at the beach and eat fried cholesterol-laden potatoes because we deserve this, too.

(But really, I’m a mother-to-be and perpetually hungry and just want more fries in my future.)

– Rin Chupeco, author of The Girl from the Well

Photo by Denise Krebs, Flickr Creative Commons, adapted by Mary.
Photo by Denise Krebs, Flickr Creative Commons, adapted by Mary.


Sarah’s Resolution: Write more.
It sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? Here I am, debuting my novel this year, and I’m proclaiming that I need to write more. My problem is that I let myself get derailed. I’m a stay-at-home mom to three children, and we’ve had health problems in our family. It’s been easy to give in to the urge of being too exhausted to write even 100 words a day. So my goal is to simply write every single day in 2014.

– Sarah Bromley, author of A Murder of Magpies


Trisha’s Resolution: Pay It Forward

I have accomplished my publication dreams, in no small part, due to the generosity of fellow aspiring authors. They have spent countless ours reading my first…second… even fifth drafts, each time imparting their wisdom. From them I have acquired a kill list of words, learned fifteen variations for the word smile, and learned to take risks and trust my instincts. In 2014, my goal is to return the favor by reading and editing a manuscript for one new, aspiring author each month.

– Trisha Leaver, author of Between Sisters and Creed (coauthor)


Mary’s resolution: Do something that’s not in the plan.
Taking a risk can lead to some pretty cool stuff. It can also land a writer in a verbal dung heap, of course. But I believe risks, even those bound for the dung heap, are worth taking for their own sake. So, once a month, I will try to write something that makes me uncomfortable. Sure, I may feel like a cat being stroked the wrong way. And sure, what I write might end up in the metaphorical (or even literal) crapper—but I’ll be living the dream, baby! Taking risks is part of the deal.

– Mary Crockett, coauthor of Dream Boy


And now here, if you chose to accept it, is a resolution for you: Read something you love.

Starry Raston, Flickr Creative Commons
Image by Starry Raston, Flickr Creative Commons.

Books bring us other worlds, other ideas, other points of view—and as we read, a weird thing happens: that otherness becomes part of us. So that we’re bigger, better people when we finish a book than we were when we started. I don’t want go all let’s-hold-hands-and-sing-kumbaya or anything, but seriously, good books make for good people. So, my wish for all of us in 2014 is that we take some time to read something wonderful—something that feeds an essential part of us—and that we love it.

The Writer’s Lair

Jane Austen wrote at a pedestal table not much larger than a pizza pan.

Charles Dickens and Victor Hugo–both hugely prolific–wrote at standing desks.

Rudyard Kipling wrote in a sunlit room, surrounded by floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. Roald Dahl, in an overstuffed armchair with a lapdesk. George Bernard Shaw, in a whitewashed outdoor shack.

Virginia Woolf (she of the “room of one’s own”) wrote at a simple wooden desk in a simple wooden chair, looking out upon a field of green. (For images of these and more, check out Mary’s Writers’ Rooms Pinterest page.)

We at the BookYArd may not be Dickens or Woolf, but we have our own spaces for our own words.

Christina Farley, author of Gilded
The desk of Christina Farley, author of Gilded.
Sarah Bromley, author of A Murder of Magpies
The writing nook of Sarah Bromley. Note the little dog (Bella) in the chair. Sarah rescued Bella from Animal Control and on the way home found that her agent had sold A Murder of Magpies.
Lindsay Currie, coauthor of Creed
The desk of Lindsay Currie, coauthor of Creed.
Mary Crockett, coauthor of Dream Boy, is a migratory writer. Any available space is fair game. When her husband set up a tent in her family room for the amusement of the kids, Mary moved in. (Note the laptop behind the two-year-old.)
Mary Crockett, coauthor of Dream Boy, is a migratory writer. Any available space is fair game. When her husband set up a tent in her family room for the amusement of the kids, Mary moved in. (Note the laptop behind the two-year-old.)
Office space of Monica Ropal, author of The Body of Cooper McCay, surrounded by inspiration of the Harry Potter kind. Also note the tiny Lego creations, evidence of the pleasant and creative interruptions by the children kind.
The Girl from the Well author Rin Chupeco’s writing station varies from season to season (read: unspeakably rainy to unbearably hot days), but beds always figure in somehow. A decided bonus: sheep.