My Writing and Reading Life

I haven't given much background when it comes to the above title, and someone might find this of slight interest. So I'll regale you with a bit of information concerning the genres I read and write about (at the moment since things are forever changing).

My Reading Life:

Here is my inset bookshelf. If you can make out the authors’ names through the fuzziness (sorry), you’ll see that the first shelf contains all my Stephen King novels. The second shelf holds a smattering of others: Terry Brooks, Octavia Butler, Edgar Allan Poe, Piers Anthony, and Isaac Asimov. Don’t be fooled by the few books on this shelf. I have more here.

This container holds all my fantasy novels: J.R.R. Tolkein, Mercedes Lackey, David Eddings, R.A. Salvatore, Margaret Weiss and Tracy Hickman (no relation), Neil Gaiman, Harry Harrison and too many others to even name.

So the genres I read are: suspense, fantasy, and science fiction.

Um, sort of.

I was a huge fantasy buff while in my teens. Instead of using my school lunch money for. . . well . . . lunch, I spent it at the local Waldenbooks store inside the mall. The first novel I fell in love with was “The Sword of Shannara” by Terry Brooks. His stories influenced the buying bug in such a genre. Then, when my interests waned, I scavenged my parents’ bookshelves for something new. That’s when I came across Stephen King. By my guessimate, I have at least 20 of his novels, all his older stuff. I won’t say my interest in him waned. I simply came to a point in my life where I read fewer novels due to time constraints. As for the science fiction of Butler, Asimov and Harrison, someone gifted these. I’m glad they did. I have enjoyed reading, and rereading, them immensely.

This doesn’t explain Poe.

I was a Poe fan since the time I could read. I knew Poe back in grade school. My parents weren’t ones who forbade me from reading stories outside my age group. So long as the story got me out of their hair, then it was fine. The first story of Poe I got my hands on was the famous “The Tell-Tale Heart.” Did I have nightmares of it? Sure right, I did. For several sleepless nights, I laid in my bed imagining some manservant crawling through the window to bludgeon me before tucking my body into the floorboards.

Yet this never stopped the ten-year-old from sitting on her bedroom floor and reading that story all over again the next night. And I continued to read him into my adult life. My love for Poe will be everlasting.

Yet, with all this being said, I can read anything. The books I buy shouldn’t reflect what I enjoy now. Slap a memoir down in front of me - I’ll read it. Slap a history in front of me - I’ll read that too. The genres in my possession are simply ones that have been gifted to me, and I continued reading and buying the same authors to continue the trend. I could have shown you a bookshelf of romance if someone had given it to me. Or southern fiction. Or young adult. Or . . .

My Writing Life

This dead pulped tree pile are my finished manuscripts: 5, to be exact. 2 of them are fantasy. 1 of them is a mystery. The other 2 are suspense.

Only two of these stories are up to publishing standards (or close to being in my humble opinion): the mystery and one suspense story. The mystery I wrote back in 2008, and it took me a full six months to finish: 3 months to write and 3 months to edit - respectively. This story has received the most agent attention with requests. I pulled it from the submission’s process last year because I need to do a major rewrite: as in turning a 1st person POV into 3rd person. This will make the story flow smoother for the reader. I’m hoping that, when I finally resubmit, agents will send offers.

The suspense I haven’t done much with. I finished it (both writing and editing) in 3 months flat back in 2009. I sent out some feeler queries, just so I could perfect my letter. It needs a read-through and a critique. Once done, I’ll start bombarding the agents’ emails with this submission. My fingers are crossed on this one.

The urban fantasies I wrote on a whim to see if I had what it took to write a full-length novel. Those I started in 2000, and it took me up to 2006 to finish both. I don’t expect to ever get them published (although it would be nice).

The last manuscript, the other suspense, is trash that is only good as kindling to burn the photos of those disbelievers who don’t feel that I will ever become published. I wrote it in 2007, taking a full year. During this time, I was under the naive assumption most first writers starting the submission process have that every word they place down on the paper is gold. Going through the dismal battleground of rejection, I soon came to learn that not everything should be published. This story definitely falls into the “WTF was I thinking with this idea???” category.

There are several other projects I’m doing at the moment, none worthy of mention as of yet. Most of my life has been taken in with freelance writing. Paying the bills is paramount at the moment. When I get a breather, I’ll come back to these stories. Once this happens, I’ll share a bit more with you on what they are about.

As for now, this is just a small snippet of my reading and writing life.


  1. Yeah, another Mercedes Lackey fan! Great post and loved getting to hear about your projects and books you like. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Oh, boy!!! I'm glad I visited here!! I found out that much more about you! And you know what? You READ the very, very best!!! Love fantasy and sci fi! And who could NOT love Poe!!?? Brilliant!!! And wow! You've got 5 manuscripts! You are prolific! I'm so IMPRESSED!!! That's fabulous!!! You are definitely going someplace, Michelle...and I want to be there to congratulate you when you get your first book contract! Love you, Janine XO

  3. We own all of Stephen King's book except The Dome and the one with short stories. So we have that in common with you. We also have Asimov books. Poe has been for you like Louisa May Alcott was to me, one of the first books I read and I read Little Women about once a year. OMG, you have all those finished manuscripts. I have to bring my jaw back in place. I wish you so much success with the finished re-write of the mystery.

  4. Robin: I think Lackey is incredible when it comes to internal dialogue. I've never read an author who could create a story like she does, putting the reader right into the head of every character to experience all their emotions.

    Janine: You're the second person who's said I was prolific. I don't see it, with the amount of time it took me to write my first manuscript to now: 10 years. And I only have 5 done. On some days, I feel like I should have more.

    Technobabe: I'm not sure which of the short stories of King you're referring to not having: Skeleton Crew or The Bachman Books (I have both). I don't have the Dome either. Took it out the library and then took it back scared at the sheer number of pages - over 1000!

    I stopped with King when he took so long with his Gunslinger (I think that's the name or it might be Dark Tower) series. Just got sick of waiting and drifted from his novels.

  5. Michelle, I stopped reading Stephen King at the same exact point you did! Isn't that interesting. I do miss him though.

    Have you read, "The Farseer Trilogy," by Robin Hobb? I would highly recommend it. Also, "The Sparrow," by Mary Doria Russell?

    Given your preferences, I believe you would really enjoy both.

    Enjoyed reading your post. I will stop back again!

  6. Lisa: I never read Hobb although I have heard of the author and those great books. Never heard of Maria Doria Russell. I'll check those books out at the library. Thanks for the recommendations!

  7. Hey now! I'm sure that last mannie isn't just trash as in kindling. There's magic in every manuscript -even the not so great ones.

    Don't burn it. You might be able t salvage a verb or two somewhere down the line...

  8. Holy cow, you have five novels written already! That is great!


All comments are welcome. Thanks for stopping by!