My Top Ten Nicholas Sparks Books

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My Nicholas Sparks Books

Before discovering Christian Romance, Nicholas Sparks’s books were my first encounter with romance novels as a teenager. My mom has always been a huge fan of his books and after reading a few, I found the other ones she had. I also watched a few film adaptations of some of the books. For this week, I wanted to do a top ten list of my favorite books from this author. See if you recognize your favorites! His next book, Every Breath, releases later this year.

10) The Last Song

9) Dear John

8) Message in a Bottle

7) The Notebook

6) See Me

5) Nights in Rodanthe

4) The Longest Ride

3) A Walk to Remember

2) Safe Haven

1) The Lucky One

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Tune in next week for my next list!

Happy writing!

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My Top Ten Shakespeare Plays

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Image: Books18 (Flickr.com)

I can imagine a few groans with my list this week. Many of you read a few Shakespeare plays back in high school and probably dreaded them. I admit, I was the same. But after taking a Shakespeare class my junior year of high school and later on in college, I began to appreciate the Bard’s works. Timeless themes, memorable characters, and famous scenes showed me that Shakespeare was ahead of his time. I also had the chance to read some of his sonnets in college, but I prefer his plays more. Plus, watching film adaptations of the plays helped me better understand the language and the timelessness of Shakespeare.

So without further ado, I present my Top Ten Shakespeare Plays. I also listed two or three of my favorite characters:

10) Henry IV Part One (Favorite Characters: Falstaff, Hotspur, Prince Hal)

9) The Tempest (Favorite Characters: Miranda, Ariel)

8) A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Favorite Characters: Helena, Oberon)

7) Macbeth (Favorite Characters: Lady Macbeth, Three Witches, Banquo)

6) Romeo and Juliet (Favorite Characters: Friar Lawrence, Nurse, Juliet)

5) As You Like It (Favorite Characters: Celia, Duke Senior, Touchstone)

4) Julius Caesar (Favorite Characters: Calpurnia, Soothsayer, Portia)

3) Othello (Favorite Characters: Desdemona, Emilia, Iago)

2) Measure for Measure (Favorite Characters: Isabella, Vicentio the Duke)

1) King Lear (Favorite Characters: King Lear, Cordelia)

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What top ten list will I unveil next week? Tune in to find out!

Happy writing!

A Sudden Absence and Top Classic Novels

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Image: Pixabay

I have been absent since the beginning of this month. From a busy professional life to prioritizing family for personal reasons, I’ve had to take some time off. I will resume my weekly posting duties for July and my Book of the Month pick for June has been posted as of last night. Go check it out!

Please know that I would never leave my blog unattended unless there was a reason out of my control. I’ve had times when things go on that I have to put writing aside, or struggle to write altogether. It happens to all of us from time to time and we should not beat ourselves up for it. If you need to prioritize things in your own life for a time, you should and not worry about what others may think. Sometimes you can plan ahead despite setbacks, but other times you cannot. I will NEVER put writing before my family. I realize writing requires some sacrifice, but there are some things that cannot wait or be put off. I hope to one day better understand this balance because I may love writing, but I will never place it above more important things. Some things may leave a mark for a time, but many more things do forever. So I guess this list of classic novels is fitting to end this month.

A classic, to me, is a novel that has left an impact on readers or a genre many years, or centuries, later. Besides considering classics I’ve read, I want to think about books readers remember fondly and continue to read again and again. There are also two books on this list I’ve never read but know belong on a list of this caliber (try to guess which ones!). You might see a few familiar titles from my Top 20 Books list.

Here is my Top 10 Classic Novels list:

10) Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

9) Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

8) Far from the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

7) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

6) Villette by Charlotte Brontë

5) A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

4) Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

3) Middlemarch by George Eliot

2) Ethan Frome by Edith Wharton

1) Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

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I hope to resume my top ten series in July without interruption. Stay tuned to find out what I’ll rank next!

Happy writing!

My Top Ten Christian Fiction Writers

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Image: StuartMiles (freerangestock.com)

Back in April, I compiled a list of my top 20 favorite books. That was a little difficult to do because of having to rank some books over others, but it made me consider which books had a great impact on me and which ones I just enjoyed but also memorable. For the rest of June, I’m going to do a four-part series of top 10 lists. This will allow readers to make new discoveries, get to know my reading tastes better beyond my Book of the Months reviews, and so on.

This week, I’m going to focus on Christian Fiction because this genre of literature has become a part of my life since the summer before I started college. Over time, I’ve discovered an array of sub-genres including Biblical Fiction, Contemporary Romance, General Christian Fiction, Romantic Suspense, and more. Last week, I read an article from Publishers Weekly detailing the “noticeable presence” of religious publishers at this year’s BookExpo in New York City. I found the read interesting and I was given insight into the growth and strategies being utilized to promote books and make new connections.

So without further ado, here are my Top Ten Christian Fiction Writers! Like my previous list, the writers are not limited by genre. Also, if a particular author is not listed, it does not mean I love their work any less than others. For this list, I wanted to narrow it down and focus on writers I feel deserve some attention, and highly recommend my favorite books.

10) Karen Kingsbury (Between Sundays, The Chance, Unlocked)

9) Tessa Afshar (In the Field of Grace)

8) Jill Eileen Smith (Bathsheba (Wives of King David #3), Abigail (Wives of King David #2))

7) Diana Wallis Taylor (Journey to the Well, Claudia, Wife of Pontius Pilate)

6) Katie Ganshert (A Broken Kind of Beautiful, The Art of Losing Yourself)

5) Francine Rivers (A Lineage of Grace, Redeeming Love)

4) Mesu Andrews (The Pharaoh’s Daughter (Treasures of the Nile #1))

3) Jennifer Rodewald (Reclaimed, Red Rose Bouquet (Grace Revealed #2))

2) Becky Wade (Undeniably Yours (Porter Family Series #1), A Love Like Ours (Porter Family Series #3), My Stubborn Heart)

1) Rachel Hauck (Once Upon a Prince (Royal Wedding Series #1), Princess Ever After (Royal Wedding Series #2), The Wedding Chapel)

Honorable Mentions to Also Check Out:

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Next week, I will list my top ten classic novels. Happy writing!

The “Wonder” of a Message

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Image: Amazon.com

This week, I began reading Wonder by R.J. Palacio. Some of you may have read the book last year when the film adaptation starring Jacob Tremblay, Julia Roberts, and Owen Wilson was released. The book first came out back in 2012 and received many accolades since.

For me, this book is reminding me of why I love literature. Sometimes, it takes just one book to give us a new perspective on things, including life. It’s why Christian Fiction has become part of my life since the summer before beginning college, why I’ve come to appreciate the classics of Dickens and other Victorian authors, and why I want to write.

I want to pass along the messages I’ve learned, and help others see what I do now.

For those who haven’t had the chance to read the book, Wonder is about a boy named August, or “Auggie,” who is attending school for the very first time in his life. Auggie has an extraordinary face that distinguishes him from other children. I am currently on page 100 of the novel…and it’s beautiful. If you haven’t had a chance to read it, you should. The message is very relevant…and something we all need a reminder of from time to time: be kind.

Never be afraid to check out a book everyone else is talking about. It might contain a message you need to hear and remember, because there are still good things in this world.

Happy writing!

 

Writing Prompt: Observing Memorial Day

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Image: michaelbennett (freerangestock.com)

Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone! Here are some prompts to think about the significance of this holiday:

  • Write a poem about why we should pause to celebrate and remember.
  • Write a profile about a local veteran in your community or family member who served in the military.
  • Write a story about the meaning of sacrifice.
  • Free write

Whether you choose one of the above prompts, attend a Memorial Day parade, attend a vigil, place flags on the graves of our veterans, and more, please remember our heroes this Memorial Day weekend. They made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. Let’s not forget that not just this weekend, but every day.

Happy writing…and to all our troops and veterans, thank you.

Writing Experience: YAYWORLD

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Image: YAYWORLD

Even writers find themselves taken away from writing of all sorts by busy schedules. Apologies for less posts shared this month.

Today, I’m going to talk about a content creation marketplace that you should check out not just for utilizing writing skills, but also making some money. It’s called YAYWORLD.

Launched in June 2017, YAYWORLD is a start-up content creation site where YOU write and share your opinions, hobbies, experiences, and so on. If you’ve visited my blog before, you might have noticed the “YAYWORLD Posts” page in my portfolio. Here, you find posts I’ve contributed to their site. When I recently remade my blog, I added a photo of a box containing my pens. Above the picture was a caption reading, “LET ME WRITE FOR YOU!” If you click on it, you’re led to my YAYWORLD profile and their website as a whole. This has become another way of promoting the site while also showcasing my work. I’ve enjoyed sharing my thoughts and experiences with YAYWORLD and letting people see other things I’m interested in outside of writing and music. We are all quite multi-faceted people.

So why should you check out YAYWORLD and what’s in it for me besides money? Well, you have a chance to give more attention to something you love, especially if it’s local! For example, let’s say there’s an independent bookstore I love visiting that I feel people in my home state of Massachusetts should check out. Besides writing about my experience with the employees or their inventory, I can take it a step further by getting the local business to sponsor me. I can propose to the bookstore about what writing about them will do for their business and give them another option for attracting the younger generation. We would then negotiate a reasonable fee for my work. I would have photos, some ideas, and more to craft a great post. Plus, with YAYWORLD having so many websites specifically linked to state, country, and city, I can narrow down my posts to a specific audience. For my metaphorical post, I would choose YAYMASSACHUSETTS or YAYBOSTON if the bookstore I visited was in the Boston area. Besides promoting what you can do, you are also giving businesses and franchises another opportunity for advertising and promotion.

But remember, your sponsor needs to register with YAYWORLD before you can go forward. Your posts are also NOT reviews. They are about sharing your experiences and talking about a business people should check out or consider. Your posts are also about the hobbies and interests you enjoy that you think deserve some more attention. With music posts, for example, I’ve written profiles about favorite artists; chronicling their careers, some of my favorite performances and so on. With travel, I talk about what stood out to me and how the trip made me feel. I also make sure to include images and videos that will draw people in. Having a post with just words is not enough to entice people to your sponsors or your work.

Plus, social media can be a viable asset for promotion of not just the business, but you too! Share your posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more to reach a larger audience and generate interest in what you have to offer.

I regret that I haven’t done many posts lately…but maybe it’s because we all get scared sometimes. We have a lot to offer, but sharing opinions – especially on the Internet – can be frightening at times. Plus, you want to promote places or people that you care about, but you don’t know how they will respond until after you ask. My advice would be to give YAYWORLD a chance and take a deep breath, and let go of fears. Write to your heart’s desire and do what makes YOU happy. That’s what writing should be about. But you never know until you try.

To get started, just create one post and then you’re ready to go! For more information, check out yayworld.com.

Happy writing!