To be a better writer, be a better reader

From the archives while I’m on holiday.

The weekend is here. Time to curl up with a good book. But do remember to leave a review when you’ve finished. Also, take the time and notice what you love or hate about the book.

Analyzing how we feel about a story can make us better writers!

Everything boils down to the characters. 

Image source

I have a policy. No bad reviews. Why? Because I would no more tell a writer their book is flawed, than a new mother her baby is ugly. And I do not plan to give a bad review today. However, I learned…

Click and keep reading! 

Source: What do your readers feel?  PUBLISHED ON July 9, 2015


Are you ever unsure what to say?

Or how?

Me too!

That’s the case in today’s review. I never want to say anything bad because one opinion can be vastly different from another’s. What I might love you might hate. So I never want to dissuade anyone from reading a book, yet on the other hand, I want to give an honest review.

Over my long holiday, I’d planned on taking the time to read for pleasure. I love the way Diana Gabaldon writes. She is one of my favorites. Her prose is beautiful. But as life would have it, I’d only read books one through three of the Outlander series. So I decided this holiday would be a great time to pick up number four Drums Of Autumn. I’d also loaded up my kindle with a few other books, after all, I had three weeks to read.

Drums of Autumn is 3600 meandering pages about Jamie and Claire as they struggle to settle in America. While Ms. Gabaldon beautiful prose didn’t disappoint I struggled with the length. I hated when her first three books ended, but wanted this book to speed up a bit and found myself skimming. Don’t get me wrong, Ms. Gabaldon is an amazing writer and storyteller and this book is very good, just in my opinion, not as good as the first three.

Will I read number five, The Fiery Cross? Of course! And not just because of my Scottish roots, (the M in my name stands for McIntyre.) But because I love reading great writing and I want to see how the story of Jamie and Claire ends. Will they stay in America or return to Scotland?

I did manage to read one other book by another author, after finishing this massive tomb, that review next week.

The bottom line.

The writing is amazing. The story too long-winded, kinda like your Aunt Mavis after too many glasses of wine. Characters are as vivid and alive as ever, I can’t wait to see what happens to them next. And I’m still hooked on the series, so I’ll keep reading.

PS:  I’m also addicted to the TV series Outlander. Be still my heart! Jamie is hot!

Have you read any of the Outlander series?

What did you think? Which is your favorite?

What to read samples? Click on the images below!

I’d love to hear from you! Click the “write me” tab or contact me on Twitter @jeancogdell,Facebook at jean.cogdell and, stop by and say hey! The lights are on, and I’m waiting.

Please remember to share this post with your Twitter  peeps and Facebook fans.

Drums Of Autumn (Outlander, Book 4) by [Gabaldon, Diana]
Click to read a sample
The Fiery Cross (Outlander, Book 5) by [Gabaldon, Diana]
Click to read a sample

Everyone enjoys a little haunting every now and then.

And that’s what you get a story you won’t be able to turn loose long after reading the words  “The End.” Jennifer McMahon leads us all down a rabbit hole of lies and deceit in this disturbing haunting, psychological thriller, and paranormal page-turner.

Many kids have big imaginations and imaginary friends to keep them entertained. Parents think it’s cute, and give little thought to any of their imaginings being real.

But if you lived near Reliance, a village that mysteriously disappeared one day, you might believe in the paranormal too. You might surround your bathtub with iron to keep away the things that live among the shadows.

Fifteen years after Lisa told everyone she was crossing over to the world of the fairies to meet the Fairy King and disappeared, her brother Sam wants to find the truth.

In Don’t Breathe a Word: A Novel by Jennifer McMahon introduces us to a family ravaged by loss.

Like me, you will not be able to put this book down until you find out what really happened to Liza.

You’ll keep the lights on long after you finish reading the last page.

Don't Breathe a Word: A Novel by [McMahon, Jennifer]

Practice makes perfect, writing with prompts

And so I keep practicing.

If you’re looking for a good place to start, check out Describli for inspiring prompts.

Here is my latest contribution to one of their promptsSoft footsteps.brentford_street2


I stopped, frozen in place and waited for the sound of soft footsteps. The quiet stillness around me gave me pause. Had I’d imagined him? Dim streetlights did little to push back the night. My eyes blinked against the darkness, hoping to see something. But not even the moon ventured past the thick clouds to help me.

Next time Abe offers to drive me to my car, I’ll say yes. I eased forward on the balls of my feet and like a child tip-toed toward the corner. All I had to do was make it a little further to the bar on the corner. Safety in numbers, right? I’d worry about my car later.

The footsteps behind me grew louder, less careful. I wasn’t the only one who spotted the neon sign. Fear gripped my throat. I no longer cared about the noise of my heels against the pavement. My eyes focused on the flashing Miller Lite sign in the window. I ran.

The door to Mitch’s Bar & Grill opened. Yellow light framed a man as he stepped out onto the sidewalk. Relieved to see another person, I called out as I dashed toward the alley’s end. Strong arms wrapped around me. A gag choked off my air as a dirty glove covered smothered my scream.

Oh God, he is real. I really wish I hadn’t taken that shortcut. alley-990959_640


Have you practiced with any prompts lately?

I’d love to read them, leave me a link in the comments section.