The Power of a Great Book

Hello. Is this thing on? Testing. One, two, three.

A couple of stereo-typical cheesy lines that I used to use in my former life as an entertainer. The tech would always ask me (and whatever band members were singing) to "check the mic". This was before the performance, to make sure the monitors and mains were loud enough and the EQ was pleasing (to both performer and audience) and, if the performer wanted 'effects' (reverb, echo--voice enhancements, if you will), to make sure they weren't too sparse or too heavy, but just right.

"Test the mic," the tech would say. Which meant: Talk and keep talking until I like what I hear (tone/volume wise). So basically I started with the cliched testing, one, two, three and then rambled on about nothing. Something I do well. As proven in these opening paragraphs.

My intention wasn't to talk about 'the old days', but to address the fact that I haven't blogged in a week. Is anyone still coming here? Is this thing on?

What can I say? I've been working. I've been writing. And I've been reading. Reading! I used to read like a maniac. One book after another. Book after book after book . . . But these days, time is crunched. Super-crunched. Time I used to spend reading is now spent researching. But in order to write about life one must live it or at least read about it, so for the past two weeks I committed and read every chance I got. I read three books. Three books within my genre, the romance genre, start to finish.

One was severely disappointing. The next was extremely well written, but in the end, left me wanting. Doesn't make it a bad book, just not the book for me.

Then I revisted a past favorite author and was instantly reminded of why she was/is a fave. After days of feeling like I have nothing to say, I'm suddenly compelled to spew on several different subjects. All intertwined. Except I'm still on deadline and can't speare the time. For now I'll simply give a enthusiastic shout out for NATURAL BORN CHARMER by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. (I read the hard cover version, but it's now out in paperback as shown here.)

A random reviewer at described her as smart and funny. Smart and funny pretty much covers all of the SEP novels I've read. But more than, that Ms. Phillips stories have heart.
As I read this wonderful book, I was reminded of what drew me to romantic fiction to begin with. As I read, I was entertained and inspired. I was taken away, pure escapism. And I was reminded why I write what I do. To make people believe in the fantastic. Because the fantastic is often our reality if only we believe.

Now, granted, this book touched on a few things that are significant to my life--music, entertaintment and art. It also touched on disfunctional families and oddball characters--also significant to me. Although extremely well writen, I'm assuming this book called to me more than some because I, personally, could relate.

It's all subjective. Something I always keep in mind when wondering how readers feel about my own stories. What delights one reader, won't delight every reader. Doesn't make it a bad book, just not the book for them.

Another subject for another blog post.

What about you? Have you recently read a book that inspired and entertained you in an extraordinary way?


flchen1 said…
Just wanted to say, "Hi, Beth!!"

I'm glad to hear Natural Born Charmer is great! I've loved almost everything else SEP's written, and just haven't gotten around to reading this one yet (sometimes I don't like to read everything by an author right away, to keep something in reserve--doesn't that sound crazy?)

Hmm... recent reads I've loved include Merline Lovelace's EX Marks the Spot and Risky Business, and Stacey Kayne's Mustang Wild and Maverick Wild. And last year I stumbled onto Lisa Wingate's writing and loved it all. She takes on some pretty serious topics, but the books are never downers--I can't stop turning the pages and then I'm smiling at the end.

And yep, I haven't read your entire backlist yet either--I've got to save a little bit to savor in between your new releases :) (Yes, yes, I know I'm insane...)

Happy weekend!
Tori Lennox said…
I'm still here. :)

Three fun books I've read recently are Guns Will Keep Us Together by Leslie Langtry, 50 Ways to Hex Your Lover by Linda Wisdom, and Alibi in High Heels by Gemma Halliday.
Beth Ciotta said…
Hi, flchen1! Happy to know another SEP fan. She's great, isn't she? The first one of hers that I read, and still an all time fave, was Heaven, Texas. What a hoot!

Thanks for the list of your most recently enjoyed reads. Some new-to-me-authors that I'll have to check out.

As for keeping books of a fave author in reserve... it's not insane. It's smart! That way, if you run into a string of books that just aren't doing it for you, you can always delve into that special stock. :)
Beth Ciotta said…
Hi Tori! Thanks for the recommended reads. LOVE those titles!!
Julia Templeton said…
Hi Beth,
I'm currently reading SEP's AIN'T SHE SWEET. It's my first SEP book, and I can see why she has such a loyal following.
I recently finished UNINVITED, an intense paranormal YA by new author Amanda Marrone. A great read!

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