Ever Get Tired of Reading the Same Genre all the Time?

No.

That was my response yesterday when Jess asked me this question. My reasoning for it is simple. There are great books released in every genre every year. Which means there are always good books out there to be read, no matter the genre. I’ve stated so many times in the past on this blog that I mostly read crime fiction. I don’t think it’s better than any other genre. I don’t think the authors are inherently more talented. I simply enjoy good detective stories.

This is why I want to write crime fiction. Because of what I’ve read. Because of the authors I’ve come to read so many times. For instance, James Patterson is one of my favorite authors. I know he’s always getting criticized for how his books are written and released, but I’ve never not been entertained by one of his Alex Cross novels and I think I’m ten books in. Robert B. Parker has probably influenced every crime writer out there today, and you can definitely see his influence in their work.

See, I don’t have an issue with someone who reads five different genres or dozens of authors all the time. But I think I do have an issue with someone asking this particular question in a manner that suggests one genre isn’t worthy of being read all the time. Because that’s absurd. No one says anything to those readers who only read classics. Or to all those readers who have a never ending YA TBR list. So don’t sit there and ask me how come I only read mysteries. The funny thing is that I’ve read a few different genres and authors in the last two years. JK Rowling. John Green. Anne Frank. Michael Lewis. So even though I might say I mostly read mysteries, I also dabble in other genres along the way.

So tell me, do you ever get tired of reading books within the same genre all the time? You know my answer.

My 2014 Reading Biography

AKA the books I read this year.

Honestly, I’m not sure that “reading biography” is a thing that people say, but I saw it on another post and I’m stealing it. How about we make it catch on and then eventually everyone who reads this blog will be able to say they had a hand in a new tag/meme on WordPress. I can see it now.

“Hey guys, this is my reading biography. As started over at Write me a Book, John!”

Maybe? Anyway, this is going to be a much shorter post than I’d have hoped at the start of the year. I’m pretty sure you know by now that my goal each year is to read 50 books. I think it’s a nice round number that’s definitely attainable, considering I read 44 a couple years ago in just seven months. Guess how close I got? Just guess. I’ll wait.

Hurry up.

Okay. Time’s up. I read…seven books! SO close to my goal! Not. It was a terrible reading year. I mean, how can I even say I’m a reader with that kind of number? It’s really disappointing and there’s no explanation. I’m just a loser. Here’s the mediocre list anyway. And I’m even going to post the date I finished each one so you really get an idea how bad it really was.

1. Valediction (Spenser #11) – Robert B. Parker – January 1

2. The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank – March 7

3. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (Harry Potter #1) – JK Rowling – March 13

4. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl – March 26

5. London Bridges (Alex Cross #10) – James Patterson – April 12

6. The Fault in our Stars – John Green – June 12

7. The Drop (Harry Bosch #15) – Michael Connelly – June 21

Pages Read: 2193

Reading Time: 36:07

Series Books: 4

Authors: 7

Amazon 100 Books: 4

That’s it. That’s all there is to know from what I read in 2014. This means I’ve read a whopping 22 books since January 1, 2013! What am I doing!? No. 2015 will be better. I know it.

How was your 2014 reading year? It couldn’t have been any worse than mine.

Which Authors Would you Invite to Thanksgiving Dinner?

thanksgiving-turkey-dinner

Photo Credit: Delish

I know Thanksgiving has already passed, but I wanted to post my poem on Thursday and then I thought you guys might like to know about Amazon’s promotion yesterday. So you’re getting a post related to Thanksgiving a bit late. Sue me.

Okay. It’s the beginning of November and you’re trying to figure out who is and who isn’t coming to Thanksgiving dinner. Except this time we’re not talking about family members you see each year. Nope. They’re on vacation in Cozumel. Now you’re inviting some of your favorite authors instead. How exciting!

Let me tell you who I would invite. Michael Connelly, James Patterson, Robert Crais, Robert B. Parker, and Suzanne Collins. The first four all for the same reason. Because they all write truly great detective series that I’ll never be able to compete with. So I’d just pick their brains about writing the genre for a few hours. I probably wouldn’t eat. These guys are heavyweights going strong with no sign of slowing down. Except for Parker, who died a couple years ago.

And Suzanne Collins. Because I’m obsessed with the character she created. I mean, I want to get a freaking Mockingjay pin tattoo. Oooh. Maybe I could get it before she arrives and show her how crazy I am. I’d just tell her everything I love about her stories and Katniss. Then I’d beg to get all three books signed by her AND Katniss herself. Then I’d just die. Right there.

So those are the authors I’d invite to Thanksgiving dinner! What about you? And don’t you dare try saying EL James or Stephenie Meyer. I’ll block you. Not kidding.

Do you shy Away From Reading Long Series?

I actually just read a blog post about this topic yesterday that gave me the idea to write this. I’d link to the post if I remembered the name. Oh well.

Let me just tell you what this other blogger said. She categorized a “long” series as more than five books. And basically said that anything more than that is just too long and fails to keep her attention. I disagree. Let’s not forget Harry Potter was seven. Just saying.

I mean, five books being categorized as a “long” series is a joke. That is a short series. A very short one. I mean, five books is probably only long to YA readers who read trilogy after trilogy. Followed by Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey. I’m not trying to generalize here, but really who thinks five books is a long series? Who? Another question. How many books are in your favorite series? Mine happens to have three, but when I start looking at more of the series I read I see a whole lot more books than that. Let me see. Robert B. Parker’s Spenser series is into the 40s. And oh by the way, this is only considered one of the great detective series of the past half century. Jack Reacher is about to reach 20. Alex Cross is into the 20s. Harry Bosch is nearing 20 books. Alex McKnight is in the double digits. Jesse Stone is at 14. Elvis Cole is at 16.

See what I’m saying? These are not just random series I found on the internet. I read all of them and there are several more that I could name. But I think I’ve made my point. I know I don’t speak for every reader out there, but it does beg the question that if readers were turned off by long series, then why are so many authors writing them? Michael Connelly just released a new Bosch novel this week and I’m near certain that it’ll be a #1 NYT bestseller whenever the list updates. As is also the case with most of James Patterson’s books. And Lee Child’s. And Sue Grafton’s. And I know there are YA series that go on and on, as well.

The moral of this post is that I don’t buy into the notion that readers are turned off by long series. Not at all. There are way too many that sell quite well for that to be the case. But I’ll ask anyway, do you shy away from reading lengthy series?

Do you Know How Much you Read?

Okay guys, I’m posting this way later in the day than I’ve posted in a long time. Why? Because last night I fell asleep something like three hours earlier than normal. So I didn’t write anything for today just two days after I promised to write a post every day this month. I wanted my streak to last longer than two whole days, so now you’re getting a slightly delayed post.

So, do you know how much you read? It seems like an easy enough question, right? You’re probably thinking that you can look on your shelf and know which books you’ve read. Or perhaps you have a nice little spreadsheet with the information. That’s all fine and dandy, but I’m talking more than that.

Can you tell me how many hours you read in 2013? Or 2012? Or maybe the last five years? I started timing my reading at the beginning of 2012, which also happens to be my best reading year yet. I read 44 books that year, 38 of which I have information for. I can tell you that those 38 books took me 10 days, 5 hours, 54 minutes, and 51 seconds to read. So the other six books I didn’t track likely added another day and a half of reading. I can also tell you that I took the most amount of time to read Gears of War: Coalition’s End at a ridiculous 13:07:57. That is a LONG time to be reading one book. In my defense, it is still the longest book I’ve read at a cool 591 pages. I can also tell you that I took the least amount of time to read A Savage Place by Robert B. Parker, taking only 3:26:12 to read its 184 pages.

Isn’t it awesome? To have all this information at your finger tips about YOUR reading. It’s nice to see the books on your shelf or on your Kindle, knowing you’ve read them. But I think it’s pretty cool to be able to look at which books took you a long time to read and which ones you maybe weren’t interested in.

PS: I didn’t read a single page during the months of July, September, October, or November that year.

So tell me, do you REALLY know how much you read?

Here’s my spreadsheet for the year.

jjjjj

jjjjjj1

 

Pre Release Excitement

WhyPreOrder2

Photo Credit: Lieberman’s Bookstore

Can you believe I’ve once again tricked you into thinking something completely false? I’m about to release a book! I think it’s a major step above my first book and hopefully the story is read by millions around the world. The excitement is getting to be overwhelming.

Oh come on. I KNOW you didn’t believe that. Writing is the last thing on my mind right now.  But I am a little curious about something. We all have our favorite authors who we hate every year for forcing us to wait a full year for their next book, unless we’re talking James Patterson. Of course, you could be like me and have one or several of your favorites no longer living and that just sucks even more. But as I was saying, we all have our favorites whose books we cannot wait to read. We’re tweeting about their upcoming book tour and new book and then writing a nice five star review of the book just a few hours after getting our hands on it (assuming you write reviews).

But what I’m thinking about now is if you have any author(s) who you don’t look at the price or the synopsis or anything about their new books before making your purchase. You see the book is available for pre-order on Amazon and six months ahead of its release date you have made your purchase. Do you have any authors you love so much that you do this? Cause if I’m being honest here…I don’t. I’ve never pre-ordered a single book in my life. Of course, this is a little misleading because it just happens that most of the authors I read released books years before I found them. For example, Suzanne Collins. Or Robert B. Parker. Or Michael Connelly. There are a few who I am aware of their releases each year, but most of the time I wait for the paperback to come out rather than spend a stupid amount of money on a hardcover. There’s a reason my hardcover shelf is about 35% full and my paperback shelf is about 80% full. But that’s just me.

Now tell me, are there any authors who you pre-order books from months or weeks in advance of their release? Or just go to your nearest bookstore and purchase the book on release day? You know my answer to that question, what’s yours?

And did you know that if you pre-order on Amazon you get the book on release day? Unless of course if it’s a Hachette book, then you get it three weeks later. Ha!

Is There a Proper Chapter Length?

ImagePhoto Credit: The Wicked Writer

This is one of those posts I’ve wanted to write for some time now because I think the responses I’ll receive will be all over the map. And that’s okay. So, obviously today’s post will be about chapter length.

You’re likely a writer if you’re reading this. Or perhaps you’re a reader? Or maybe you’ve stumbled into an alternate universe and somehow made your way to your new favorite blog? No matter how you made it here, I have treats! Okay, I have no idea why the heck I’m typing these things. Let’s see if the second time around I can actually get down to business, shall we?

So you’ve decided that writing a book is your calling, that this is something you MUST do. You’ve decided on the genre. You’ve come up with what you think is the basic premise of the next New York Times bestseller. You open your Word document and type the words “Chapter 1” and start in on your future masterpiece. But wait, how long are your chapters supposed to be? Quick! Google!

This person who claims to be a bestselling author himself says a good length for chapters is 3,000-5,000 words. But this person says 5,000-7,500. But THIS person says anywhere from 3,000-10,000. Oh look, a cat climbing up a wall. Focus! And now we have a guy who says chapter length is irrelevant. WHO’S RIGHT?!

Relax. Let me tell you a little about my own chapter lengths and then about what I’ve read in actual books and not in internet forums. My first book, if you can even call it that, came in at just over 55,000 words and 21 chapters. Some simple math puts the average chapter length at roughly 2,600 words. I think it’s actually just a tad higher because the book may have been closer to 55,400 words, but let’s just go with the nice round number of 2,600 for the purpose of this post. That would put the average chapter at about 10 pages in my book. Note that my book averaged about 250 words per page. The typical books I read average between 250-350. But the number of pages is irrelevant. It’s all about word count if you ask me.

But the average is not necessarily representative of the norm when it comes to my book. The shortest chapter I wrote was a mere 900 words. I didn’t much like it, but ended up leaving it in because it seemed to somewhat fit in the story. It was the second chapter I ever wrote. I honestly had no idea what the heck I was doing at the time. Still don’t, to be quite honest. Anyway, The differences don’t end there when it comes to chapter lengths in my short book. The first 10 chapters of my book roughly averaged 2,300 words each. The last 11 averaged 2,800. That may not seem like a huge difference, but it definitely is. One more final note before I get into what I’ve read about chapter lengths. The longest chapter I wrote for my first book came in just under 3,700 words, which I think was 18 or 19 pages in the book. So my range was 900-3,700 words per chapter for the whole of the work. Now let’s see what others have to say about it.

I definitely did the whole Google thing to find out the proper chapter length for my genre before I started writing, and it pretty much played out how I described above. There are simply too many voices out there telling you this or telling you that that it’s impossible to ever know for sure if there is a specific chapter length that you should aim for. For my references to other author’s works I’ll have to use page counts because I don’t know the exact word counts for any of their books. Robert B. Parker’s mystery novels tend to stay within 5-7 page chapters. Steve Hamilton’s are in the 12-15 page range. Michael Connelly writes in the 10-15 page range. But then Kevin O’Brien and Karin Slaughter, both New York Times bestselling authors, rarely write chapters less than 25 pages! WHAT? And then you have James Patterson on the opposite end of the spectrum writing 2-4 page chapters. What’s your take from this? There is no set chapter length. There isn’t.

But since most of you are writers yourselves, I’d like to know about your personal preferences when it comes to chapter length. I like 2,000 words to be minimum for mine, but I’ve written several below that threshold, including in my second book. But you all are also readers. I’d like to know if there is a certain number of pages per chapter that you feel is simply too many. In my opinion, once I get over 20 pages in a single chapter I’m hoping the next turn of the page is a new one. But that’s just me, tell me about you!


I wrote this post by referencing earlier posts from last year when I was still working on my first book. I was sitting here crying because you can feel the excitement in each post growing as I neared what I knew would be the end. I don’t know if one’s earlier self can inspire one’s later self, but I’m thinking it’s possible. I want to get back to that point in my writing again. I’m a baby, I know.

Here are three posts I think you might enjoy reading. You’ve never seen any of these, they’re from August of last year.

And Then There was One

The End is Near

Done! Acabado! Fertig!

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.

Nominated for an Award, no Two!

ImagePhoto Credit: Out and About

I typically only post on one Saturday a month, but this is a celebration! So, sorry for two straight six post weeks. Don’t get bored of me, please. 🙂

I’ve read about SO many bloggers being nominated for this award and that award and every time I just want to punch them in the face. Cause I think I’m a pretty good blogger who writes interesting and relevant posts and I never get nominated for anything. Until now! Actually, I have to admit that I was first nominated about a month ago but my blogging schedule is planned quite a bit ahead and certain posts are scheduled for certain days so I’ve been trying to fit it in and never had a good day for it. So let’s just get on with the fun-ness, shall we?

I’d first like to thank Writer X for first nominating for me the Versatile Blogger Award. You are too kind. Second I would like to thank Erynn for nominating me for the Liebster Award. Geez, you guys. I love you both. Haha I’m only kidding. Okay, I’m not. Moving on!

Image

Before I begin, I’m going to merge the two awards. So instead of 11 facts you’ll get 15 and I’ll nominate 11 bloggers. Time for secrets!

15 Facts about me

1. I was the youngest in my university’s graduating class last May. Something like 1,000 students. I was 21.

2. I have a crush on this girl I work with and I haven’t told a single soul. Until now. Wait, am I too old to crush on someone? Eh. Y’all are officially in the know! Shhhhh.

3. I cried during Transformers 2. Hush your mouth and don’t judge me!

4. I’ve never had a sip of alcohol in my life. I’ll be 23 at the end of the year.

5. I lost all the numbers in my phone last November and never made any attempt at getting them back. Now I have 26. I laugh every time I see it.

6. I honestly believe that baseball is man’s greatest invention.

7. I graduated from high school weighing about 110 pounds four years ago. I’m currently at about 180. Remember, bodybuilder over here.

8. I have many celebrity crushes. Jennifer Lawrence is number one. Emma Watson. Katherine Heigl. Rachel McAdams. Kimberley Perry. Taylor Swift. Just to name a few.

9. I look up to my little brother more than I think he knows. My degree is in criminal justice. He studies petroleum engineering. He’s also the only person who can push me in the gym. And he calls me fat.

10. I LOVE tattoos. A girl with a sleeve is like heaven.

11. I LOVE girls who wear boots. It’s weird. Like it doesn’t even matter what the boots look like. Cowgirl. Hot pink. Ugly rain. Doesn’t matter.

12. I’ve named characters in my first two books after the best people I’ve ever met. I’m talking about you Nathan, Sydney, Mercedes, and Stephany.

13. My favorite country singer is Blake Shelton. If you don’t like him then I don’t like you.

14. I’m Mexican-American. Many people think Filipino upon first meeting me. It’s the eyes.

15. I’m atheist.

Now the 11 questions I’m to answer.

1. What kind of music do you like to listen to while writing, if any at all?

No music for me. I’ve listened to ocean waves before. They’re soothing and bring a sense of calm to an otherwise stressful situation. Writing.

2. What is it about writing that keeps you going, even when you’re not sure you want to continue?

I have stories that need telling. They may be bad. They may not be read by many people, but they’ll always be mine and have my name on them.

3. Who is your favourite author?

Stop it. This is nearly impossible. I’m going to say that it’s a tie between Robert B. Parker and Michael Connelly. I could have named several others.

4. What genre do you read, but swear you’ll never write?

Easy. Sci-fi. I like it okay. I have maybe nine sci-fi books. But I’m not into world building and all of that. I’ll leave that to the real writers.

5. What do you do when you tell yourself something along the lines of ‘I’ll only procrastinate a little bit longer’?

Read. Sleep. Read one of the many blogs I follow on here. Or lie in bed. I’m boring.

6. What brings you right into a writing mood, and how do you keep it that way?

I read this quickly and wondered why the heck you wanted to know what gets me in the mood. Hahaha whoops. Nothing. I just write when I have something to write. That’s about it.

7. Favourite series, and favourite stand alone?

THE HUNGER GAMES! The Hunger Games! The Hunger Games! Remember I’m in love with Jennifer Lawrence, and I love love love the books. Standalone would be Pacific Beat by T. Jefferson Parker.

8. Have you ever seriously screwed up your sleeping schedule because of a book? Was it worth it, and what were you reading?

Well first off, my sleeping schedule is already messed up. Since I graduated from college. But of course. I never mind finishing a book at three in the morning. I like it. I’m about to finish my latest book as soon as I finish typing this up. It’s a little before one in the morning now.

9. What do you do to remember those ideas you come up with when you’re not able to write?

I’m always able. I don’t work Monday-Thursday. Which means I make my trip to the gym each day and spend the rest of the time at home. I’ve tried carrying a notebook around but always ended up leaving it somewhere and never actually writing anything down. I remember. I mostly come up with blogging ideas more than book ideas. I have a notebook on my desk with like twenty ideas for blog posts.

10. Are there any books or series that you thought were great, and then the ending just ruined everything for you?

Hmm. I’ve only finished a few series because most of my favorites are long and I’m behind. I’d have to say that Mockingjay was my least favorite book of THG. And I didn’t like what happened to Prim. At all. Thank you, Katniss for what you did later. You’re my hero.

11. Why do you write?

Because I’m a writer, silly.

My nominations

1. Melissa L. Delgado

2. Jenn not Jenny

3. NaturePreserve

4. The Road Jess Traveled By

5. Coffee. Write. Repeat.

6. Meg Writes Stuff

7. kdaugh1992

8. The Sonrisa Project

9. Browneyedgirldotcom

10. Inkcouragement

11. Seihren Songs

If you haven’t checked out any or all of these blogs, then you should. Seriously, they’re all great. I had to choose from SO MANY blogs I follow and these are the ones I came up with. So, all of you are nominated for the Liebster Award! I’m supposed to have 11 questions for you but I’m sleepy. So you can answer the same questions I did. Sorry for not being prepared!

Lastly, I’m writing this late at night and it won’t publish until the morning, so you’ll be reading this as I’m at work. So if you see your name then comment so I don’t tell you about it later! Deal? Deal.

Shelfie: Finally organizing my bookshelf

This was my first ever shelfie! Okay, actually I don’t think that’s true. I know it isn’t. But lies aren’t always bad, right? Anyway, I wanted to give you guys a look at my books and what I’ve read. This is my read paperbacks shelf. Yes, I actually have another shelf dedicated to hardcovers. But it isn’t nearly as full as this one is. It’s not even close. I don’t really buy hardcovers because I’m usually a few books behind the authors who write my favorite series so I’m rarely rushing to the store on release day for a book. Well, I’ve done it maybe once, but that was because it was an author event and I had to buy the book to get my other ones signed. Besides, $24.95 is way too much for me.

By the way, I just recently put six books on this shelf that I’d read a long time ago and never got around to putting them up and I was pretty excited to see that I finally made it to the bottom shelf!

Okay, so let me tell you a little about the books.

# of Books

119

# of Authors

34

# of Series

24

# of Series Books

89

# of Standalones

30

Most Common Author

Robert B. Parker (16 books)

Most Common Series

Harry Bosch (14 books)

So that’s it. Those are all the paperbacks I have that I’ve read. As I told you, I have another shelf that holds my hardcovers and to-be-read shelves. How does my little library of books stack up against yours? Tell me, please.