Resources for Writers


Books That Inspire

When I first started writing, the Internet wasn’t widely available. When I wanted to be visually inspired, I would get books of paintings and illustrations from the time period I was writing about and leave them open all around the room. I especially loved using National Geographic. I cut out the pictures and pasted them on the walls of my study. That way I could “see” myself in the time and place of my story. Now, of course, the Internet serves that purpose. But I still rely on books – especially history and art books. There is nothing like literally seeing something to help you visualize!

Here are some excellent books that I am using for my current project:

  • A Red Like No Other: How Cochineal Colored the World by Carmella Padilla & Barbara Anderson (editors)
  • Feather Serpent Smoking Mirror: The Gods and Cultures of Ancient Mexico by C.A. Burland and Werner Forman
  • Mexico: A History in Art by Bradley Smith

The Craft of Writing

Reading can’t make you a good writer, but everything you read should help make you a better writer, especially in your particular genre. But here are some books on the craft of writing and marketing today that I have found helpful. They are separated by writing and marketing, but not in any particular order. I’ll add more as I discover them.

  •  Your First Fifteen Pages by Sandra O’Donnell
    In today’s fast-paced world, what it takes to capture a potential agent/reader
  • Story Genius by Lisa Cron
    How to write based on what science says our brains are wired to crave
  • The Emotional Craft of Fiction by Donald Maas
    How to make the reader’s experience an emotional journey
  • The Writer’s Journey by Christopher Vogler
    An exploration of the relationship between myth and storytelling
  • On-line Marketing for Busy Authors by Fauzia Burke
    written by a digital marketing pioneer
  • This Business of Books 5th ed. by Claudia Suzanne
    Because writing is a business and you will need to know this.
  • The Tao of Book Publicity by Paula Margulies
  • How to get the book-buying public’s attention
  • APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur by Kawasaki and Welch
    How to succeed as a self-publisher

Book Club

Sometimes people want to know what I am reading. I’m in a book club with a few close female friends. We agree on what to read and then have a fabulous potluck to discuss the book when we finish. We’ve been doing this for almost 20 years, so we have read a lot of books! Lisa See’s The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane was our latest.

We all liked the book, although some of us more than others. We certainly learned more about tea than we ever thought we would want to. But it made us decide we needed to go into Chinatown and attend a tea ceremony! I found the parts about the indigenous minorities and their lives in China fascinating. I love reading a book that teaches me something new.

Next we are reading Jasmin Darznik’s Song of a Captive Bird.


Have you checked out my blog? A Million Monkeys is specifically for writers and people who love to read. Every month I have a guest blogger who posts something about her or his experience with successful writing. I also post once a month on something I learned from researching my latest book, The Fifth Sun. Check it out.

monkey on typewriter


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