I hope you all read Deb Dana’s post (scroll down one). Among other things I was nodding my head about (crazy pre-baby expectations anyone?) I totally agree with her about the navel-gazing, stare out the window, think about nothing time being some of the most important writing time I used to have–and don’t really have anymore.
There’s one thing I do in my job as a writer she didn’t mention though–reading. Reading is how I fill up my well and dare myself to write. Good books make my brain itchy and interested; less good ones make me remember, hey, I can do this!
But I find when things are getting really rough, reading in my own genre–in my case women’s fiction–makes it worse! So here, for my fellow women’s fiction authors out there, are a few of my favorite “get out of my head, fellow author” recommendations to give your storybrain a break. Read them while nursing, after bedtime, or listen on audio while you wash every item of clothing that has ever been sewn in the history of mankind. Let your own genre breathe with these great authors of MURDER AND MAYHEM. Sorry Deb Susan, you’ll have to get your own list, you mayhem-maker, you.
1. The Jack Reacher series by Lee Child. There is only one bad book in this entire very long series. If you start at the beginning with THE KILLING FLOOR it will take you a long time to get to it and by then you’ll be, like me, such a devoted Reacher Creature that you’ll let it slide. Jack Reacher is simply the baddest-ass, coolest-cucumber, stone-coldest killer-catcher in the book world right now. He’s a giant slayer with a broken nose and an unbreakable heart. Are you digging me? The. Greatest. Thriller. Series. Being Written Now. Jack Reacher.
2. The Blackbird Sisters Mysteries by Nancy Martin. Funny, smart, delicious wish fulfillment with truly hard-to-solve mysteries layered on top. I always wanted sisters. Nora, Libby, and Emma are exactly the sisters I would have wanted, too. Old money, much of it long dried up, fabulous Philly settings, and a guy–oh a guy–to die for. Sometimes, in these books, someone does. And how you’ll laugh despite yourself.
3. Sometimes only a cozy will do. If that’s what you need, you just can’t beat the Southern Sisters mysteries by the late, great Anne George. These books are funny, refreshing, twisty and turny in all the right ways. Her heroine is hilarious, her evildoers are not too evil, and most of all, these books are deeply, richly, fried-in-lard-and-served-on-a-biscuit Southern. Just what this Yankee likes when her muse needs to cool her heels on a front porch with a glass of something sweet and icy for a while.