Beth Camp Historical Fiction

Saturday, January 25, 2014

What'cha reading?

I've always been a bookworm. There's something about trolling the aisles at a bookstore or library to find just an outstanding read.

Before Kindle, I carried a book everywhere. After all, you never know when you might have to stand in line. My first date with my husband-to-be took me to a library. The rest, as they say, is history. Now I carry my Kindle -- over 100 books with me at all times.

I'm pretty much an omnivorous reader in fiction. My likes range from literary fiction to historical fiction, fantasy/science fiction, and genre fiction (thrillers and, yes, romance). I can always tell when stress heats up my life, for I grab light reading like it's chocolate.

Currently I'm reading Elizabeth Lowell's Dangerous Refuge (I read somewhere she's written 50 books and has 30 MILLION copies in print). One example of her prose from Dangerous Refuge -- which I love for its sheer insight into the character and appropriateness for the genre:

It's called a homicide investigation, Tanner reminded his impatient self. Suck it up. Impatience is a rookie mistake. 

But reading tastes aside, sampling brings a new issue. Before Amazon's "look inside" feature, I would give potential books the 'acid test'. Pick up the book IF the title, author, or cover appeals to you. Read the blurb. If that's OK, crack the book to somewhere in the middle at random. Read a page or two. If the story grabs you, it's a keeper.

On Amazon, I sample. Don't you?

Editors tell writers that those first few pages are critical, and even more so in this digital age of self-publishing. Yet, some stories start slow; they require settling in, getting acclimated to the world this writer is creating. For example, Carsten Jensen's We, The Drowned (678 pages!), an unforgettable A+ read that I recommend to nearly everyone.

Which brings me back to today's advice:  Impatience is a rookie mistake.

We self-published writers are stretched in every direction, well beyond the round of drafting, writing, revising, and editing. We now challenge ourself to publish (cover design, digital formats), and market our books. We may go slowly, make mistakes, but take courage! We will persevere and publish and find our readers.

So, what'cha reading?

More about Carsten Jensen and Elizabeth Lowell.


  1. Just finished the Divergent series.

  2. Thanks for the recommendation. The Divergent Series by Veronica Roth is right up there as a NYTimes best-seller, a three-book dystopian series set in Chicago, and the covers are gorgeous. I will check it out.