2013 and The Books I’ve Read


I may not have had a stellar month of reading in November (or December), but then again, I published my fourth novel, so cut me some slack! Here are the books I actually finished in 2013 (I started plenty more – some I couldn’t finish and some I’m still reading):


  1. Wishin’ and Hopin’ by Wally Lamb. 1/3/2013.
  2. I Heart Ed Small by Shirley Johnson. 1/4/2013.
  3. Rule Number One by Nan Reinhardt. 1/19/2013.
  4. The Fall of the Misanthrope by Louise Wise. 2/3/2013.
  5. The Girl, the Gold Tooth, & Everything by Francine LaSala. 2/13/2013.
  6. Christmas in Wine Country by Addison Westlake. 2/16/2013.
  7. Champagne Toast by Melissa Brown. 2/23/2013.
  8. Boardwalk Empire: The Birth, High Times, and Corruption of Atlantic City by Nelson Johnson. 2/23/2013.
  9. The Obituary Writer by Ann Hood. 2/27/2013.
  10. A State of Jane by Meredith Schorr. 3/3/2013.
  11. Unmasking Maya by Libby Mercer. 3/18/2013.
  12. The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb. 3/18/2013.
  13. In Need of Therapy by Tracie Banister. 3/27/2013.
  14. Social Insecurity by Kate Eileen Shannon. 4/6/2013.
  15. Way Out West by Blanche Marriott. 4/13/2013.
  16. Viewer Discretion Advised by Cindy Roesel. 4/14/2013.
  17. Maid for Love by Marie Force. 4/19/2013.
  18. Daydreamer by Brea Brown. 4/23/2013.
  19. Is This All There Is? by Patricia Mann. 4/27/2013.
  20. Wild for You by Sophia Knightly. 4/28/2013.
  21. Eyes of the Many by Kelly Graham. 5/3/2013.
  22. Hopeless by Colleen Hoover. 5/7/2013.
  23. The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap by Paulette Mahurin. 5/11/2013.
  24. Rita Hayworth’s Shoes by Francine LaSala. 5/20/2013.
  25. Fatty Patty by Kathleen Irene Paterka. 5/27/2013.
  26. The Secret Keeper (#1) by Brea Brown. 5/27/2013.
  27. The Karmic Connection by Libby Mercer. 5/31/2013.
  28. When You Were Older by Catherine Ryan Hyde. 6/2/2013.
  29. Midnight Train to Paris by Juliette Sobanet. 6/18/2013.
  30. The Gatsby Game by Anne R. Allen. 6/22/2013.
  31. Saving Saffron Sweeting by Pauline Wiles. 7/6/2013.
  32. The Sunset Witness by Gayle Hayes. 7/16/2013.
  33. The Secret Keeper Confined (#2) by Brea Brown. 7/20/2013.
  34. Amy and Isabelle by Elizabeth Strout. 7/30/2013.
  35. The Secret Keeper Up All Night (#3) by Brea Brown. 8/9/2013.
  36. The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton. 8/15/2013.
  37. Where We Belong by Catherine Ryan Hyde. 9/8/2013.
  38. The Illegal Gardener by Sara Alexi. 9/12/2013.
  39. The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman. 9/13/2013.
  40. Thin Rich Bitches by Janet Eve Josselyn. 9/14/2013.
  41. Men in my Town by Keith Smith. 9/16/2013.
  42. Chasing Memories by Tia Silverthorne Bach. 9/27/2013.
  43. Don’t Let Me Go by Catherine Ryan Hyde. 10/3/2013.
  44. For I Have Sinned by Kathleen Irene Paterka. 10/8/2013.
  45. Fifty Ways to Leave Your Husband by KC Wilder. 10/20/2013.
  46. Oxygen by Carol Cassella. 10/25/2013.
  47. Merry Chick Lit by various authors. 11/24/2013.
  48. Merry & Bright by various authors. 11/24/2013.


My favorites from this list? In no particular order, the books that affected me most this year were:



I don’t usually jump on the NYT best-seller bandwagon. In fact, I’d rather support indie authors, being one myself. Many of the books listed above are indie-published, and well worth your time. Read the blurb, check out some of the reviews, and find yourself some good books!


Self(less) Publishing


Today is a better day than yesterday. Yesterday, I read a post from a writer who claimed, “I can’t believe it. TWO DAYS and I can finally say I’m a real published author!” She said this because, after self-publishing her début novel, she had connected with a self-described “team publishing platform and a social marketing engine for books.” She’s ecstatically happy about it, and good for her. Each author should publish her books the way she wants.

The problem I had with that statement, though, and previous statements made by the writer, is the implication that a self-published author is less than one who is traditionally published. I commented on that post, and the writer attempted to backpedal, posting “I think you’re a real writer if you write and you’re a real author if you finish a book, but a published author is someone who’s been published by someone else. So, I was a real author before, but not a published author because I didn’t have a publisher. It doesn’t mean my work is any better or worse.”


Ha! Okay, whatever. Hugh Howey, Jasinda Wilder, and Catherine Ryan Hyde might disagree. I disagree. I am both an author and a publisher, and very real at that. I publish my own books, so how can I not be a published author? I’ve established tremendous relationships and friendships with self-published authors online – I wouldn’t think of even one of them as anything other than a (real) published author.

So this morning I headed over to my local Barnes and Noble bookstore. It’s minutes away from home and a nice place to visit before the frenzy of Christmas shopping turns it into a circus. I bought a small non-fat salted caramel mocha (no whip) and a copy of the current issue of Poets & Writers magazine. What a great issue! There’s a big section about self-publishing in the current issue – well worth a read. Here’s some of what I took away:

“Both traditionally published and self-published books can be amazing, good, or just plain bad. So it’s an author’s job to do his best to be in the amazing category and blow readers away.” (Jennifer Ciotta, author of I, Putin)

“The bitter reality is that this is a ludicrous way to make money. No creative endeavor – actor, rock star, dancing, etc. – is a plausible way to make money…So if you’re doing it for the money, you’re on a pathway to bitterness. Do it because you love it, you love the process, you love the engagement, you love getting better at what you do.” (Richard Nash, founder of Cursor and publisher of Red Lemonade)

And relating to the term “self-publishing,” as if it existed in contradistinction to “selfless-publishing,” Nash says, “I do hope we abandon the term quickly, so we can proceed to helping individual writers realize their goals, matching their skills with peers and intermediaries without regard for how closely they mimic what was once called traditional publishing. We’re all publishers now. That’s both a desire and a prediction.” [my bold]


Write Fast, Edit Slow

Bird by Bird

“Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. I think perfectionism is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.”
―   Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life    

I’m in the editing process now, and that doesn’t leave a lot of extra time for blogging. The “sh*tty first draft” is done, but turning it into something worth reading? Now that takes time. And dedication. Distractions are everywhere, including the aptly-named Bermuda Triangle of email, Facebook, and Twitter.  I’m taking a very short break to post this blog, just to let you know that I am here, and I am focused!

Meanwhile, here’s a little bit of inspiration. If you’ve never read anything by Catherine Ryan Hyde, please do. You won’t be disappointed. And pay it forward!