Quoting Your Favorite Authors via Their Books

ImagePhoto Credit: Grammar Wiki

I mentioned in yesterday’s post that today’s would be related. If you missed it yesterday, you can read it here.

Yesterday’s post focused on the first lines of books. How there may even be greater importance placed upon the first sentence of a work containing well over 100,000 words. That some seem to think that the author can lose a reader within those first few words.

Well, in today’s post we’ll be talking about quotes from your favorite books. I guess they don’t necessarily have to be your favorites, but I don’t know many people quoting books they didn’t much care for.

There are so many writing quotes floating around the internet. So many. And quite a few of them have to do with the fact that reading a book lets the reader into the mind of the author. You’re getting to experience something attributed to a single person, and to some, myself included, that can be a wonderful thing. I mean, let’s think of some of the more popular series today. We’ve all gotten to experience life at Hogwarts with Harry and company. Many of us have gone to the Capitol with Katniss and Peeta. Or Narnia. Or Middle Earth. Imagine if these authors I’m speaking of had never created these wonderful worlds for us readers. We’d have missed out on something very real to us.

So with all that being said, there have got to be many quotes from some of your favorite books that you just can’t seem to forget even if you wanted to. I’m a little hesitant to say that I have many fewer than I would have thought when I decided to write this post. Eh. That’s okay. Here are the ones that I know. The punctuation in the actual quote may differ slightly.

“I volunteer! I volunteer as tribute!” Seriously just got chills typing that out. We all know it’s from The Hunger Games and Katniss.

“I’m not allowed to bet, but if I could, I’d bet on you.” The Hunger Games, Cinna

“May the odds be ever in your favor.” Said by just about everyone in THG

“You’re a wizard, Harry.” Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Hagrid

“Thank you, for your consideration.” The Hunger Games, Katniss Everdeen

“That’s okay, I think crazy stuff like that about you all the time.” Divided Within, Andrew Banks

“You have the eyes of an angel.” Divided Within, Andrew Banks

“Oh my stars!” Divided Within, Vanessa

“Let me in! Let me in!” Divided Within, Sydney Durham

Unfortunately, that’s all I have. I sat here thinking of every book I’ve read trying to come up with quotes and it just didn’t happen. BUT I know you guys must have some quotes from your favorite books. Please do share!

A Novel’s Opening Line

ImagePhoto Credit: Portrait of a Book

Today’s and tomorrow’s posts will be slightly related. I won’t reveal any more details now. You’ll have just have to see for yourself tomorrow.

Okay, so I’ve written posts about some of the more important aspects of books. Title. Character names. Well, today we get to talk about the first line of the book. It is often said that an author can lose a reader within those first few words, although I’ve never been one to believe in this notion. Let’s think about it. You’re reading your favorite author and the first sentence isn’t exactly the most enticing thing you’ve ever read. Are you going to close the book and throw it under your bed never to see the light of day again? No, of course not. Another scenario. You’re reading an author you’ve never read before and came across this book by any number of ways. You read the first sentence and it’s not necessarily to your liking. Are you going to close this book and vow never to read another book by this particular author again? No, you’re not. That would be stupid of you as a reader because you haven’t given the book or the author much chance at succeeding.

But since so much of the literary world seems to place so much importance upon the opening line I figured I could write a post about it. Now let’s get personal. Was I thinking about losing my reader by not writing a great first line? No. Did I place more importance upon the first line of my book than any other sentence? No. Am I a great writer? No. Wait, you tricked me! Anyway, the point that I’m trying to make is that the first line of your book is important, but let’s not pretend that it’ll be the end of the world if it’s not the most wonderful first sentence you’ve ever written.

The last point I’d like to make is that I’m not even sure I remember the first line of my book. So now I’m going to guess and then I’ll check to see how close I come. Sounds fun.

Guess

“I began pseudo dusting my desk that had accumulated no dust.”

Actual

I was close.

“With nothing better to do, I began dusting my desk that had accumulated no dust.”

So now I’m asking you both as a reader and as a writer, do you think greater importance should be placed upon the opening line of a book? Are there any first lines of any books that you know by memory? I have none. And feel free to criticize my opening line while you’re at it.

A Letter to my Character

ImagePhoto Credit: Letters to Humanity

Okay guys, did you happen to catch the letter I posted last Monday that was sent to me from my protagonist? If not, you can quickly view that post here. Anyway, this is the follow up letter that I’m sending him with my responses to some of the concerns he raised in his initial correspondence. Take a look.

Andrew,

Yes, you can call me JohnRaymond if you like, but I’d much prefer that you call me John. Or even Mr. Guillen. After all, I did create you. I don’t see anything wrong with a little respect between the two of us. I’ll call you Andrew or Banks or whatever you like, let me know in any future correspondence.

The first point you raised in your letter is that you don’t see us being the same person like I do. Hm. I’d say that’s understandable. But I’d also refer back to something else you mentioned in your letter. You said that I gave you a moral compass that could only come from me. And you’re absolutely correct in your conclusion. All of my morals and beliefs have been transferred directly over to you. All of them. So yes, we may not be identical twins, but we most definitely ARE the same person. There’s no denying that simple fact.

You also made it a point to mention some of the great things that have been given to you. They’ve all helped you already, but the one in particular that we both know is most important is Sydney. Andrew, I’m convinced that you couldn’t be yourself without her by your side. You wouldn’t be able to do the job that you do. You would be a completely different person. I mean, if not for Sydney you wouldn’t have opened your own office. Ever. You probably wouldn’t have been able to make your way out of the Vega case. Think about what happened that night in the guest bedroom. Why do you think you were able to get out of there alive? Sydney. Period. This is another fact that cannot be questioned. She’s the very reason you do everything you do. But I’ll let you in on a little secret Sydney and I have kept from you. You’re all of those things to her. She’d be just as lost without you as you without her. Don’t forget that.

The final point you raised in your letter related to the types of cases that walk in your door. Yes, they’re not always as simple as you might like, but I send those particular individuals into your office because you’re the person they need. Not police. Not another private detective. You. But how you handle their cases is up to you. I can’t force you to take on a particular case any more than another. And I also can’t control its outcome. Your cases are yours. I just document the events that take place.

There’s one last point I’d like to make. Yes, you always seem to say or do the wrong thing when it comes to you and Sydney. Look, no relationship is perfect. But she loves you, madly. She’d literally sacrifice herself for you. I mean, look at what she did during the Vega case. I still can’t believe it as I sit here and write this. It wasn’t for your clients. Or for her. Or for some greater good. She did it all for you. No relationship is perfect, but she is. So do what she says. Always. And when you do manage to upset her you better make it right. Immediately.

Regards,

John Guillen

My Writing Process Blog Hop

ImagePhoto Credit: Empi Baryeh

First off, I would like to thank Hayley and Crystin for both tagging me in this wonderful writing process…thing on the same day! I’m convinced they’re after secret information I don’t know I have. Anyway, let’s go ahead and get started. I’m sleepy and it’s late. Like always.

What am I working on?

I’m currently working on the second book in my Andrew Banks series. Unfortunately I haven’t given away the title and am not going to do so now. I have it. And I’m sticking with it, but you guys just aren’t in the know as much as you think. Ha. But it’s a suspense novel that follows him as he works a case. This time it’s quite a bit more difficult because his client is a prominent activist known across the country. Again, not saying what he advocates for. Sorry guys.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

Quite simply, it doesn’t. I’m okay with that. Have you not heard that there are a set number of stories to be told? Well it’s true. How many authors out there write detective fiction? Too many to count, right? Well I’m not going to sit here and tell you that my stories are so much different from all the thousands written before it. Let’s be real. The one thing that I’ve really tried to do with my character is to make him real. You’ll read other detective stories in which the main character almost walks around with superpowers. He or she knows things no one else would or catches on to something that is irrelevant to the case and ends up solving it. I’m not complaining about that happening, but it definitely doesn’t happen in my books. Banks isn’t a superhero. He’s a detective. Hm. I guess I did have an answer.

Why do I write what I write?

Come on. This is easy. Look over at my shelf about ten feet away from me. What do you see? Detective fiction. I love the genre. Can you believe that my reading is the reason I earned my degree in criminal justice? Believe it, because it’s true.

How does my writing process work?

You’re not going to like this. I don’t really have any kind of process. I just write when I want to. If I don’t, then I don’t. Other writers place what I believe to be unnecessary burdens upon themselves by aiming for certain word counts each day or this number of chapters to be edited and all of that nonsense. I don’t. I was lucky enough to write my first book in less than three months, which is right in line with that great Stephen King quote, but I’ve been lazy with the second. No real reason, to be honest. Just have been. My only real answer to this question is that now I write my chapters in two sittings. So maybe I’ll sit down and write 1,100 words and then write the rest the next day. I’ve never once worked on multiple chapters in a single day. But I did write the last seven chapters of my first book in 11 days. It was only 21 chapters total. I guess it’s possible to light a fire under me and get me writing, but I haven’t experienced that this time around. I’m okay with that.

So now I’m supposed to tag others, right? Well call me a rebel because I’m not going to. I already wrote my Liebster Award post two weeks ago and I would likely tag those same people. Don’t want myself becoming an annoyance now.

At least you know a little about my writing process now, A little.

And the Most Banned Book of 2013 is…

ImagePhoto Credit: AbeBooks

Actually, I’m not sure if this list is 2013 or 2014, but let’s just say 2013. Eh. Before we delve into the list let me first say that I see no point in banning books at all. Actually, I do have one exception. I apologize beforehand if you happen to be a fan of this author or her writing, but there’s an author on WordPress who writes a series of stories that follow a stepbrother and stepsister who are involved with each other. Sexually. Yeah, ban that. Ban it here. On Amazon. Everywhere. And the titles of the books are so horrible. Ugh. I’m leaving it alone. Other than that, I’d say most everything else is fair game.

10. Bone (series) by Jeff Smith

I honestly have never heard of this series of books. But the reasons listed for its placement on this list were political viewpoint, racism, and violence. I won’t comment because I simply am unaware. I will say that the cover shown in the article I’m referencing looks to be aimed at children. I think it would be understandable for a book aimed toward a younger audience to be included on this list if it has racism and violence.

9. Bless me Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya

Another book I’m unfamiliar with. The reasons given were Satanism, offensive language, religious viewpoint, and sexually explicit. Hmm. Okay.

8. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

I haven’t read the book, but I have seen the movie. I thought it was great. But I also find its placement on this understandable. I mean, this is geared toward teens, right? Well the nature and things discussed in the book are definitely serious in nature. The reasons given were drugs/alcohol/smoking, homosexuality, sexually explicit, unsuited for age group. Can’t say I disagree with any of those. Though this is a book I want to read at some point since I’ve seen the movie.

7. Looking for Alaska by John Green

Hasn’t John Green become something of a superstar recently? I’ve never read his books but I hear his name all the time and see blog posts about him just as often. I assume this is a YA book? The reasons given were drugs/alcohol/smoking, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group. And here I thought YA was all about vampires and paranormal romances. Guess not. But then again I have no earthly idea what this about.

6. A Bad Boy Can be Good for a Girl by Tanya Lee Stone

I’m starting to see a patten here. The reasons given were drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, explicit language, sexually explicit. Never read this. Never will. Moving on.

5. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

WHAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTT?! Last I checked Katniss isn’t running around having sex with everyone or drinking or smoking or anything besides trying to stay alive! This is stupid. Do I agree with this making the list? No. Do I understand it making the list? No. Do I want to find someone who helped come up with the list and punch them in the face? Yes. The reasons given were religious viewpoint and unsuited to age group. Shut up. Before I get angry.

4. Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James

I can honestly say that there was not single tidbit of surprise in me when I saw this book made the list. I mean, it doesn’t get any more self-explanatory than this, right? I’m not going to list the reasons given because you all know them already. If you don’t, good. Stay away from the internet!

3. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Never read, Reasons given were drugs/alcohol/smoking, offensive language, racism, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group. I’m assuming that this is another YA book or geared toward even younger audiences because that seems to always be the case when you see “unsuited to age group.”

2. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

I thought Toni Morrison was one of those authors who everyone loves today? I’ve never read her books, but I swear I’ve read plenty about her. Hm. Reasons: offensive language, sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, violence. What’s with all the sex and drugs in these books? I guess someone’s got to write about it all, right?

1. Captain Underpants (series) by Dav Pilkey

Ha. Seriously, this just tells me what a joke this list is. I mean, most of the books are so understandable that explanations aren’t necessary when you see the content you’re dealing with. But this? Really? I remember EVERYONE reading these books when I was in elementary school. I never read one, but everyone else did. Because they were pretty funny, I assume. Reasons: offensive language, unsuited to age group, violence. I’m done. This is no longer relevant. To find this book on the same list as some of the other titles. And I’m seeing here that it’s not the first time it’s made it. Oh well.

So there you have the most banned books of 2013. What do you think? If you’re anything like me, about a third of the list is a laughing stock.

You can read an article about the list on The Huffington Post here.

 

Literary Characters who Should Die

ImagePhoto Credit: A Book Lover’s Diary

I love books. You love books. We know that. But we’ve also all read characters in books who we just wanted to push off the side of a cliff for any number of reasons. Don’t shake your head. Yes you have. Liar.

Anyway, why don’t I just start listing off the characters I’ve disliked so much that I wanted to dedicate an entire post to them.

Draco Malfoy

I actually have a friend who loves Draco. We used to randomly discuss HP and it was before I’d read any of the books and she banned me from ever having an opinion on the series. So what do you think I did, I only talked about the one character I knew she adored, Draco. Ew. What was she thinking. I HATE Draco. Seriously. Yes, I’ve only read the first book in the series, but I already hate him even more than before! The worst part is that she loves Tom Felton too. Huh? But really, Draco should just die. Like right now. I don’t have anything more to say about him.

Keller

You know those books you’re looking forward to reading and you end up being utterly disappointed? That was me when I read Hit Man by Lawrence Block. If you’re unaware, Lawrence Block is a Grand Master with the Mystery Writers of America. He has a large body of work and he’s won eight Edgar Awards. He’s the real deal. So imagine me when I found his series revolving around an assassin by the name of Keller. I thought I’d found a new author and series to read for years to come. Wrong. The book was so bad. I did finish, but man was it awful. Keller would assassinate a random person pretty much every chapter. He wasn’t funny. Likeable. Or anything but boring. Suffice it to say that I won’t be buying another of Mr. Block’s books and definitely not in the Keller series.

Kinsey Millhone

Do not yell at me for this. I am well aware how popular the alphabet series by Sue Grafton is. And I know that Kinsey is Sue Grafton. There have been 23 books written in the series so far, I’ve read letters A-F and S in the series. There’s a book for every letter through W. I’ve always read such raving reviews about her attention to detail and how great Kinsey is as a character. I just don’t feel the same way. At all. I’ve had the book for G on my TBR shelf for years. Years! I’ve started and stopped it twice! To me, Kinsey is awkward and mediocre at her job as a private investigator. She’s not as funny as she thinks. And she drives, at least in the books I’ve read, a Volkswagon Beetle. I mean, no. Just no. But what do I know, right? Not like her books are consistently #1 NYT bestsellers or anything.

President Snow

All you THG fans better feel the same as I do about this guy. Seriously, look what he puts Katniss and Peeta through. Sure, they defied the capitol in their first Games, but EVERYONE loves them! And then to personally threaten her family before she begins her Victory Tour. No. President Snow, go in the arena and eat some poison berries or shoot a fireball at yourself. That’s about all you deserve. I think Donald Sutherland is great as Snow in the movies. To be fair.

Okay, now I’d LOVE to hear about some of the characters you’ve forced yourself to read who you thought were ugly and disgusting and just bad. Tell me!

The Lack of Diversity in my Reading

Photo Credit: Valparaiso, IN

Before I continue with this post, I’d like to let you know that I’ll be talking about the lack of racial diversity in my reading. But I know that some people see anything Race related and automatically turn away, which is why I left it out of the title. The topic of racial diversity in publishing will NOT be discussed. This time. We’re strictly talking about my reading. Let’s begin.

One more point that I need to make before moving on is that in no way am I saying that these books, authors, or series are any less worthy of reading. We’re talking about me.

I’ve talked quite a bit about my reading habits on here. I mean, I have three different pages that are dedicated to books I’ve already read or want to in the future. And obviously reading is a big part of any discussion about books, so it makes sense to devote a good amount of space on here to my reading. But I realized something earlier today that I honestly hadn’t noticed before. It was something of a shock, actually. A huge percentage of the books I read not only have White protagonists, but they’re written by White authors. I can assure you that this was not done on purpose. That would be me saying that protagonists or authors of another Race are less worthy of reading. Absolutely not. I’m Mexican! Yes, I realize that in itself does not mean much, but I’m a Mexican author too. I want EVERYONE to read my books. And quite honestly, I believe my audience to be middle-aged, educated, White women. This is based off of the author events I’ve attended for writers in my genre. I saw the same person in the audience over and over again. I can tell you for certain that I was the youngest at every event I attended. By decades.

Anyway, let’s get back on topic. Let me tell you about some of the series and authors I read.

Authors

James Patterson – White

Suzanne Collins – White

Lee Child – White

Steve Hamilton – White

Robert B. Parker – White

Robert Crais – White

You get the point. There are more but it is not MOSTLY the same, it is EXACTLY the same. There is one author out of all of my books who is not White. Michele Martinez. I do have all of her books, but she only has four. Now let’s look at the protagonists I read.

Series

Spenser – White

Katniss Everdeen – White

Harry Bosch – White

Elvis Cole – White

Kinsey Millhone – White

Alex McKnight – White

Merci Rayborn – White

There are a whopping two series I read that revolve around non-White protagonists. Alex Cross, who is African-American. And Melanie Vargas. This is disappointing to me. Quite so.

I can guarantee that the Race of the main character is never once mentioned in any of these series, except for Alex Cross and Melanie Vargas. It’s not mentioned because it’s so obvious to the reader that it never needs to be mentioned.

I love all of the authors I’ve listed, all of them. Their books and writing and careers all speak for themselves. But I can’t wrap my head around the fact that I consider myself an avid reader and yet, it would appear that I’m an avid reader of the exact same thing over and over again. I’m sure plenty of readers are the same way, but I don’t want that to be the case with me. I want to be a well-rounded reader because there are plenty of great writers out there who are worthy of reading but may not be well known. It’s time for me to make an effort to read more books that follow a Black protagonist or Mexican or whomever, along with the series I already enjoy.

And the absolute worst part of all this, and I do mean the worst, is that I wrote a protagonist who is me in every aspect…except Race. And I’ll even tell you why. Because I thought him being White would attract more readers than him being Mexican. I sincerely love Andrew and the character I’ve created, but I HATE that I did that. Hate it. I don’t know if this is me conforming to the publishing industry or what, but I need to figure out whether I want to write the stories I want to write or whether I’m writing what I think might get me published one day. They may or may not be the same thing. Which is unfortunate.

I know my posts are typically witty, funny, and informative, but this was a post I needed to write for me.

Thanks for reading.

I ask that you glance over at your bookshelf and see if you find the same problem I did.