Sunday Salon: Ooh la la! murder, mayhem, deceit, romance - what a combination!

I'll admit it.    I read a lot of books and generally enjoy most of the books because I have a system.  I'll read the synopsis, then check out the first page.  If the first page captures my attention, will pick random pages here and there.  It's generally harder when buying online unless familiar with the author.  I love Amazon and Barnes and Noble because you can peek inside the book.  I always try to find an excerpt that will give me some idea of the author's writing style and if the story engages me.   There have been times have thrown caution to the wind and either been pleasantly surprised or really really hated the book. I usually don't do negative reviews but going to make an exception for a book I read for TLC Book Tour - The Tobacco Wars. Trish talked me into - saying folks will appreciate a honest review rather than not saying anything at all.  Besides its the first book I've read as a TLC Book tour host that I actually didn't like.    My review will be up on Thursday, July 28th so stay tuned. 

So excited and happy because just received Lori Foster's latest  Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor series:  When You Dare, Trace of Fever and Savor the Danger.   Just love it when get sent books for one of my favorite authors, especially when its a steamy romantic mystery suspense story.  *sigh*

Just finished reading my first Cara Black book Murder in the Marais.  It is #1 in her Aimee Leduc series about a female private investigator in Paris.   I discovered Aimee is a feisty chick who jumps into situations fearlessly, throws herself body (literally) and soul into her investigations.   She isn't afraid of a few bruises and once she's on somebody's trail, doesn't let go.   I was amazed at this character's tenacity. I was exhausted just reading the story.  Paris is more than just the setting, it is also a living breathing character that helps bring the story to life.  I also highlighted Cara  today over at Read 52 Books in 52 Weeks reading challenge.  It's week 30 already!

It's always  interesting discovering new authors and absorbing their styles, experiencing their distinctive writing voices.   I came across this great article written by James of Men with Pens about "How to Find Your Writing Voice"   When I first started writing, I started hearing about writing voice and didn't have a clue what it meant. James explains it best:

"What is writing voice? 

That’s a good question. Your actual voice has pitch and timbre and tone, and you speak in a certain way or with a particular accent. Your writing is much the same – it has a similar pitch and timber, it has a specific tone and style, and it stamps your words with a particular feel, beat or pattern.

People can “hear” your writing voice subconsciously as they read your text through a process called sub-vocalization. This means that as we read, we sort of “whisper” the words to ourselves, which helps us grasp more meaning, more understanding and retain the message longer in our memory.

Your writing voice is important, no doubt about it. So why is it so hard to pin down?"

It's a great article and has some example of great exercises to help find your writing voice and I love his last statement:

Enjoy yourself. Write as if you’re the only person who’ll ever read your work. Take pleasure in what you’re doing and just be you. Your writing voice? It’ll come to you all on its own – naturally."
I'm getting there.  It's when I fight myself and try to control the process that the words comes out with my characters sound stilted and awkward.  I think the more you write, the more you become comfortable in your own writing skin, willing and able to try different things and see how it works.  Blogging is also a part of that and have noticed in following different authors and reading their books, their voices, whether on the blog or in their books, reflect them.   I think I've found my voice through blogging and it's helped with fiction writing.  At least hope it is.  Which leads to my goals for this week (nice little segue, eh!) 

1.  Write for at least 1/2 hour every morning towards finishing first draft of Red Thief.  
2.  Morning pages - using as creativity journal working out issues on the page and if feel the need to whine, taking it to the pages.
3.  G.I.T. training - Treadmill for 40 minutes 5 days this week.  Plus work up strength training program for my son and I.
4.  Cheerleading duties as sponsor visiting other participants and providing encouragement and high fives.  Still working on that cheer.  :)

Check out how everyone else is doing here.

Happy reading and writing! 

“Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go.” - E.L. Doctorow


  1. You sound like one busy lady. I'm trying to write a book where the setting becomes a character. I'm not much in to mysteries, but I might check out Murder in Marais to see how the author does it.

    If you have any tips on making the setting a character, I would LOVE to hear them.

    Finding your author voice is a great accomplishment! I definitely "hear" your writer's voice from your blog.

  2. I mainly use ebooks for the free samples, I'm a hard reader to hold the attention of and I love the no commitment sampling. Good luck with your goals and that sounds like a good article.

  3. I like the ideas about writing voice...the notion of "voice" always seemed mysterious to me, too.

    I've noticed that in my more recent work, I can "hear" an identifiable tone that's me.

    Thanks for visiting my blog.

  4. I look forward to reading your review :-)

    Also, your description of checking out a book got me thinking. If I'm not going by authors or by recommendation, I'll read the first chapter or two ... then go to the last page.

    I know, I know, it's cheating, but I enjoy the process of a mosaic of story being woven, and it helps me see what's coming.

  5. Very good check in. I like your goals. They remind me of my own. I recently had a bout with my "voice" and I thank you for posting the information. So very true. Keep up the good work!

  6. Very reasonable goals, Robin. Good luck with everything you're working to accomplish this week!

  7. Nice work this week! Glad you posted about writing voice - it's a complete mystery to me and I'm not sure that I know how to write any other way than how it comes out, so I always find the topic interesting. That Aimee, she sounds like a splendid character! Going to check out your review on 52...

  8. I have always had trouble posting negative reviews for book tour books as well. I know that as reviewers we can't like everything, but it makes me feel so bad to post a negative review of a tour book for some reason. I have had that same conversation with Trish as well!

  9. Great post! Good to hear you're doing well on your goals. I'm the same way when it comes to books - don't really start one until I've made sure it'll be one I like. Especially because I always feel compelled to finish, even when I don't like it!

  10. Enjoyed your post. Good luck with your goals this week. (I love this idea of 52 books in 52 weeks. Will have to consider that for Jan. 2012).

    Thanks for stopping by Depression Cookies!

    Loving the ROW80 support.

  11. Well, Robin, here I am! You challenged me to visit each and every ROW80 participant, so there! Just kidding!

    Great post on "voice." I've been looking back at the file drawer full of things I've written through the years, and I can see my voice developing--fascinating.

    It looks like you're doing well on your goals. I'm thinking I need to add exercise to my over-full day somehow. Hmmm.

    Thanks for visiting my blog, and for the encouragement!

    Nancy (lapidaryprose)

  12. I admire your goals. And 52 books in 52 weeks sounds huge to me these days! I've gotten so slow at reading these days with all the blogging and writing, etc. I need to gain some speed reading skills. LOL.

  13. @Nicole - I haven't quite figured out myself how to make the setting a character though I can recognize it when others do it. The best I can say is the setting is central to the story - a mountain that needs to be surmounted, a scary house, etc. You just have to play with it. Hmm - giving me some ideas. :)

    @Katy - I haven't been taking advantage of the free samples. Will have to start doing that.

    @Laurel - The mysteries of voice. We know it when we hear it.

    @KLo - The last page! I just can't do that. Would spoil the story for me.

    @Wendy - Glad the link on voice helped. Thanks for dropping by.

    @Laura - Thanks!

    @Lauren - I think, like for you and other folks, it just comes naturally.

    @Zibilee - Yep, tough decision.

    @Deniz - I used to always finish even if I hated it. Have given myself permission to quit if don't.

    @Tia - Please do consider joining in 52 books. Be glad to have you. Thanks for dropping by.

    @Nancy - Lol! Glad you made it. Never quite realized I had a distinctive voice so its neat to see.

    @Sonia - Thanks! 52 books is a huge amount for some folks and tough to do. I'm a speed reader and have a hard time slowing down.

  14. You really have a lot going on there!! I am trying to stay true to my writing voice every time I post a review. I have been journaling but it's just for me.

  15. I haven't read the Aimee Leduc series, but I've always heard good things about it.

    You are sooo busy!!!


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