Your favorite word

words

WORDS. Writers love ’em. And what power they have. Power to inspire, comfort, engage, infuriate. They can cause war. And bring peace.

Words refine our thinking. They give us pause to examine ourselves. They are the machinery that runs the enterprise of civilization.

Consider this: God spoke the world into being. Not a bad advertisement for the power of words.

Do you have a favorite word? I do. Mine is kinestatic. You won’t find it in the dictionary because it hasn’t made its way into popular usage. Yet. The word was coined by my husband several decades ago when he invented and patented an imaging device and named it the Kinestatic Charge Detector. (You can google it.)

Of course, I’m proud of Frank’s work, but I’m also amazed at the word he came up with. You see, kinestatic is an adjective describing something that is moving in one frame of reference, but at rest in another one.

Think of walking up a down escalator. Or running on a treadmill. In both cases, you’re moving in relation to the escalator or treadmill, but you’re still in relation to the surrounding area. That’s pretty interesting, but it gets better.

The word kinestatic describes so much more. Have you ever thought that you spent all day rushing around, but didn’t get anywhere? That’s a kind of kinestasis (using the noun here). How about climbing the corporate ladder, but never succeeding in accomplishing your goals? Same thing. You can probably come up with quite of few examples of kinestasis yourself. What a great word!

Do me a favor and post your favorite word or words below and let us know why you like them.

What Do Editors Do? By Mel Hughes

I’m thrilled that Mel Hughes has written this guest post for my blog. Mel is a wonderful freelance editor and provides us with a clear and entertaining definition of each type of editing. So much information packed into this one!

You can contact Mel at mlktrout@bellsouth.net.

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MelThere was a time before I knew what editors did. I thought the name sounded cool, and I knew it had something to do with words—but as to what it was…no clue. After all, if you Google “types of editors” you’ll find a thousand different definitions of what editors do. A lot of what people think of as editing is really proofreading or copy editing. Don’t get me wrong—proofreaders and copy editors are essential. A book full of typos is not a fun read, even if it’s a good story. I’ve read—or tried to read—some stories so full of typos that it would take a magician to decipher what the author was trying to say. A book full of homophones (words that sound the same but are spelled differently and mean different things) is also tough on my spine. “He through there chance away.” “Come to the alley at two—and be discrete.” Bleah! But those aren’t the only kinds of mistakes you will see as you read (or write). What about the beautiful blonde named Amanda on page 22 who was a flaming redhead named Miranda on page 78? Or the couple that was supposed to be biracial in a racist world, but were both white by the book’s midpoint? What about the airplane that started out as B17 from WWII in chapter 3 but had become a Boeing 77 by chapter 19? Or the guy who was taken captive in chapter 3 and spent the rest of the book trying to escape…from a cell that was four feet deep? (Yes, such mistakes are possible.)

So…we live in a world where anything is possible, and in the world of writing, there are people who can fix mistakes as easily as a mechanic can replace brake pads. In fact, there are multiple sorts of people who can fix the multiple sorts of errors writers make.

  • Developmental editing is usually done while the book is somewhere in progress. The glory of this kind of editing is you can hire a developmental editor before you’ve written a word. A developmental editor helps you (wait for it) develop your book: ideas and themes, structure and organization. Developmental editors are typically brought in early in the process because it’s better to hear that your idea for “a Kafka-esque circus monkey who works nights as a hard-boiled detective” might run into some difficulty before you’ve written half the book. They don’t worry much about homophones or whether you’ll win the spelling bee; they’re concerned with ideas. They want to help you create a book that works. Developmental editors are also the most expensive editors.
  • Substantive editors typically get a finished draft of the book. This editor will analyze what you’ve written and tell you the good and bad of it. If a character in chapter 18 acts in a manner totally out of keeping with the way he’s been written up till then, a substantive editor will point this out and advise you to provide a believable reason for his actions or rewrite the section. If you have a destitute girl’s car break down in New Mexico on p. 54 and on page 56 she’s in New York and still broke, the substantive editor will want to know how it happened. Substantive editors notice when things happen out of a logical order; they’ll also point out that the wife beater who becomes the hero of the book while not changing his treatment of his wife will probably not appeal to the author’s intended female audience. Substantive editors will also point out sagging sections, purple prose, and places where you took 148 words to say something you could’ve said in three. A substantive editor may fix your grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors, but is not obligated to.
  • Copy editors are the famous red-pen carriers. They carry this name because they developed in the newspaper arena years ago, editing newspaper “copy” and advertisement “copy.” They are concerned with the infamous “PUGS”: Punctuation, word Usage, Grammar, and Spelling. If you said “more then ever” or “you must be, Varina,” it’s the copy editor you rely on to catch it.
  • Line editors…are usually mentioned when someone means “copy editor.” In real life, line editors are more like substantive editors.
  • Proofreaders are brought in last, when every word has been written and analyzed to death. Their job is to ensure there are no typos or other minor booboos in your text—although since many proofreaders read the text backwards, they probably won’t catch the dog on page 90 who has become a cat by the bottom of the next page. That’s just not what they are looking for—they’re looking for misspellings and and (heh heh!) repeated words and the like.

Don’t misunderstand me—just because there’s a distinct hierarchy in payment (and possibly in prestige) does not mean, for instance, that proofreaders and copy editors are less important than developmental or substantive editors. A beautifully developed novel that’s full of typos is just as hard to read as error-free text that tells a drab, emotion-free story. If you want the glory of seeing your name in print, do it right and work with the pros.

What does it cost? It depends on what you want done. To get a an idea of price ranges, visit the Editorial Freelancers Association, where they have posted rate guidelines (https://www.the-efa.org/rates/). Editors’ rates are frequently open to negotiation; don’t be afraid to ask.

If you’re lucky, you’ll find an editor who can honestly say “I do all kinds” and then who’s willing to put it into practice. I do it, and I’m not alone. There are several editors in the Christian PEN and/or the Christian Editor Connection (https://christianeditor.com/) who say, “I’m an editor” and that’s all. If you send a manuscript to them for a substantive edit, they’ll do it, but they’ll include fixing all your PUGS for free. Others are more specialized; if so, you may end up working with more than one to get your manuscript ready. That’s not a bad thing; frequently it’s a lot of fun.

One thing an editor should NOT do—ever—is change your voice. Every writer has a unique voice, and so does every editor. Do not let the editor change your voice to theirs’. The best editor for your project will make it the best it can be while keeping your voice intact.

If You Ruled The World

EarthImage2“A word fitly spoken
    is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.” – Proverbs 25:11

Words are important. Everyone should love words. They are the tools of creation, the manifestation of thought, one of the ways in which man is made in the image of God. Whether written or spoken, they have the potential to change the world. For better or for worse.

Did you know that there are almost 200,000 words in the English language? About one quarter of those are adjectives. That’s a lot to choose from. And yet our popular culture shows a remarkable lack of variety in its choice of adjectives. When was the last time you saw a movie or read a book that didn’t use some degrading form of profanity? Over and over again.

I was thinking about the issue of word usage this morning as I was doing my daily reading in the Proverbs. Since today is October 15, I read chapter 15, and I was amazed at how many verses in that one chapter referenced something about words. Out of the thirty-three verses in Proverbs 15, I counted nine that directly referenced words. Here are a few:

“The tongue of the wise commends knowledge,
    but the mouths of fools pour out folly.” – Proverbs 15:2

“A gentle tongue is a tree of life,
    but perverseness in it breaks the spirit.” – Proverbs 15:4

“To make an apt answer is a joy to a man,
    and a word in season, how good it is!” – Proverbs 15:23

“The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer,
    but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.” – Proverbs 15:28

Unfortunately, most of us are guilty of using words as weapons of destruction at one time or other. Remember when you cruelly gossiped about a friend and your hurtful words got back to her? Or how about that email you shot off in anger and came to regret?

Clearly, all of us need to be more careful about what we say and what we write. So here’s my challenge: If you ruled the world, what would you do to fix this problem?

I’ll go first. If I ruled the world, I would require everyone to read a chapter in Proverbs every day. Since there are 31 chapters in Proverbs, it’s easy to remember which one to read. Just read the one with the same number as the date. Every month you will have read the entire book of Proverbs through (except for the months with less than 31 days, but that’s okay) and you can start the next month at the beginning.

The Book of Proverbs is overflowing with practical wisdom beyond the use of words. It teaches us to be honest and generous, to refrain from gossip and cheating, to give to the poor, to beware being used by other people, and so on. Reading the simple straightforward verses over and over changes you. And it may just change the world.

  • What law would you legislate if you ruled the world?

Plot Review: Is it really necessary? by Rachel Hills

I am honored that Rachel Hills has agreed to guest post to my blog. Rachel provided an excellent plot review for my book over a year ago that caused me to make significant changes to the plot and resulted in a tighter, more interesting story. Whether you’re a “plotter” or a “pantser,” her insights are especially valuable.


PlotArc3

Plot Review: Is it really necessary?

 

Can I skip that step?

I once stated the process of writing a work of fiction consists of hundreds of steps. You’re thinking of several, aren’t you? There are many pieces in the creative dimension of fiction writing just as there are in the mechanical aspect.

For the actual writing, you must consider plot (with its arc), structure, characters (and their arcs), conflict, cohesion, and much more. The best writers know when to break these rules. And of course grammar, syntax, and spelling require attention.

But wait – do you have a platform? What about a marketing plan? Do you know how to write a book proposal that secures an agent?

Sometimes we get to skip a step or even three in this magical but lengthy and convoluted process called writing a book. How do you know when it’s smart to skip a step? With regard to the writing, a plot review can reveal issues unknown to you as author because you are so close to the work.

A plot review should include an assessment of the key elements, such as characterization, structure, dialogue, and coherence along with an evaluation of issues that could be improved to achieve publishable quality.

To the plotters:

You wrote a detailed outline, character sketches complete with arcs, timeline, and back story; you created conflict and selected the best point of view for your protagonist. You researched the location and time of year. You’ve spent months preparing just to get to the fun part of writing – why should you solicit a plot review? You worked hard on the preparation stuff, stitched together all the pieces with your best writing, and now you’re ready for editing, right?

But the middle does drag a bit and you’re hoping the editor can tighten it enough that readers won’t get bored. Or you’re unaware, only because you’re so involved, that you didn’t reveal a piece of back story that connects part C to part D.

To the pantsers:

You know who you are. You have to transmit virtuosic visions from your head to the monitor. It took weeks and months of your life but you had to pour out all the wonderful pieces of your book. It’s your baby, and you’re not sure you want someone telling you what’s wrong with it.

But the pacing is erratic and some dialogue is sketchy. Or certain scenes don’t drive the plot – they’re in your manuscript solely because you love them.

You have some darlings that need to die and it’s hard to let them go. Or maybe you’re just stuck and don’t know where the story should go next.

To writers who are both plotter and pantser (that’s most of us):

All of the above apply. Don’t believe it? How many times have you been bounced out of a good read by a misstep in the writing?

So, you deny, defer, and delay but eventually submit your manuscript for a plot review. When it comes back, you see your manuscript with fresh eyes. From 30,000 feet, the plot holes are obvious. That bog in the middle? Now you have fresh ideas how to drain it, leading to a killer climax.

Suddenly your manuscript has potential, your story is powerful, and you discover all over again how much you love to write because you were willing to learn from someone who wasn’t in your head when you were creating.

So many elements to writing a book – is the plot review one you can skip? Is it one you really want to skip?


Freelance writer and editor Rachel Hills assists both new and experienced writers. For the previous 18 years she edited writing primarily from those in higher education, spiced with the occasional memoir manuscript. The last five years however, fiction became the focus, that of other writers and her own. You can learn more by visiting her website.

An Author’s Prayer

Prayer2

 

After reading a blog post by Bob Hostetler entitled “A Literary Agent’s Prayer,” it occurred to me to create a similar prayer for myself as an author. Here is is:

 

 

Almighty God,

You spoke the universe into being.

You gave humans the gift of language.

You commanded us to write Your words on our very hearts.

Please hear my prayer.

 

I am Your servant, and I am an author.

Fill me with enthusiasm to write novels that reflect Your glory.

Discipline my heart and mind to Your will.

Give me an abundant desire for excellence.

Help me find patience and endurance to do the hard work of writing.

Guide me to professionals who will help me do my best work.

Strengthen me to overcome my doubts and insecurities.

Remind me to be grateful that I have the time and resources to pursue this dream.

Most of all, fill me with the humility to realize that all I have is from You.

Lord, please hear my prayer.

 

  • If you have a special prayer and are willing to share it, please add it here.

God’s Calling to Write by Kathy Ide

I am so happy that Kathy Ide is providing this guest post for my blog. Kathy has been my editor and mentor for over a year and has shepherded my novel from a raw draft to a finished product.

Kathy’s article is an inspiration and speaks to all of us who write to reflect God’s glory. Enjoy!


kathyinblue

“You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8 (NKJV)

Have you ever read an article, book, or story that really touched your heart? Did you ever think about what had to happen for that piece to get into your hands?

Before you could read it, someone had to buy it from someplace. That place had to purchase it from a publisher, who had to get it from an author. Before that, the author had to have the idea to write it. Even before that, God had to touch that author’s heart with a call to write.

God knows how long it takes to get a manuscript written (and rewritten, revised, edited, proofread), accepted, and published. He also knows who is going to need to read what He wants an author to write, and He knows precisely when those people are going to need it.

Since God knows all that, and since His timing is perfect, we writers can relax! We can trust that He called us at the right time, and He gave us everything we need to fulfill His plan.

Think again about that piece you read that touched your heart. What if the author had let rejection letters or the cost of a writers’ conference or some critical comments from an editor crush her spirit so that she turned her back on God’s calling? Then the moment when God touched your heart would never have happened.

If God is calling you to write, that’s every bit as important as if He were calling you to a foreign missions field. Being a writer is a lot like being a missionary.

Missionaries go through extensive training, including learning the language and cultures of the countries they’re traveling to. Writers need to learn everything they can about how to best reach their target audience.

Missionaries need sponsors. Writers need people who can support them emotionally, financially, and through prayer.

Missionaries are often misunderstood. Your loved ones may question why you’re working so hard at something that seems to have so little reward.

Missionaries sometimes suffer squalid conditions and adverse circumstances because they believe in their calling. If God has called you to write, you may have to squeeze in writing time and costs among all your other priorities.

Missionaries are often rejected by the people they are trying to reach. If you submit queries, proposals, or manuscripts to publishing houses, you will be rejected. But you mustn’t let a few—or even several—rejections sway you from the task God has called you to.

A missionary can reach many people. An author can reach countless individuals through a book, article, short story, play script, or screenplay.

If God is calling you to be His witness through writing, you have His promise to receive power from the Holy Spirit to fulfill that task.

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Kathy Ide is a published author/ghostwriter, editor/mentor, and writers’ conference speaker. In addition to being the author of Proofreading Secrets of Best-Selling Authors, she is the editor/compiler for the Fiction Lover’s Devotional series. Kathy is the director of the SoCal Christian Writers’ Conference and the Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference. She is also a co-owner of the Christian Editor Network and founder of three of its divisions: The Christian PEN, the Christian Editor Connection. and PENCON. To find out more about Kathy and read her blog, visit her website.

RUNNING AND WRITING

finishI am a runner. I was reluctant to call myself that for years. After all, I’m not an elite runner. Not like Shalane Flannagan or Paula Radcliffe. And I never ran track or cross country in high school or college. But after more than 10,000 miles of putting one foot in front of the other at a faster-than-walking pace, maybe it’s time to assert that title. And after typing tens of thousands of words on a keyboard, I may lay claim to another epithet, but that’s a subject for later in this article.

I ran my first 5K a couple of decades ago. I knew nothing about training or strategy, but an acquaintance suggested it and I was game. Back then there weren’t electronic timing devices, so the organizers would hand you a card when you crossed the finish line that indicated your place. The idea was to write your name on the card and drop it in a basket for your age range.  I was such a novice I thought they were handing out door prize cards at the finish line!

There weren’t any door prizes, of course, but when I discovered I did well in my age group, it lit a fire in me that’s still burning. I wanted to become a runner.

I jumped in with both Nikes. I knew one thing: that I didn’t know much about running. Doesn’t that sound a lot like those of us who decided to write a book? We may have the desire but lack the experience, confidence, and tools to succeed.

I acquired all the equipment and knowledge I could, but it isn’t enough to have the right shoes and show up on race day. To become a good runner, one must train.  Intervals at the track to increase speed, long runs and hills along park trails to strengthen muscles, tempo runs through the neighborhood to build endurance. For every 5K I ran, I must have put in hundreds of miles of training. It was hard work but I was getting stronger and faster. Isn’t that the same with writing? Few people can sit down and whip out 80,000 words of first rate fiction. Even talented writers have to train by forcing themselves to tone their writing muscles every day.

My training runs didn’t always go well. Some days I felt tired and didn’t meet my training goals. There were aches and pains and a few injuries along the way. But all runners know that improvement isn’t easy, and it doesn’t come all at once. You pay for it one mile at a time. You accept that there will be setbacks, but you don’t give up. It’s all about slow and steady progress. Anybody see the similarities to writing?

Training eventually leads to racing, and racing requires even more stamina and determination. Good runners learn to pace themselves through a marathon one mile at a time. Sometimes the race doesn’t go the way you expected and you have to re-think your strategy. Negative thoughts, frustration and discouragement are always close at hand, ready to sabotage your efforts, but you know the real reward is in finishing the race. The only disappointment is if you don’t try. Same with writing.

When I began my novel several years ago, I assumed it would be an easy task. After all, I had always done well in English classes. Teachers loved my essays. But like my novice runner self, I soon learned that there was a world of information I didn’t know. And a sophisticated skill set I didn’t have.

But just like running, there are plenty of resources for novice writers: books, podcasts, online courses, conferences, and tons of blogs. Professional editors can help an author turn a mediocre manuscript into a polished deliverable.

I learned that writing strength comes slowly and steadily, through consistent practice and attention to all the good advice that’s available. Like a seasoned runner, the writer keeps her eye on the finish line while carefully navigating the next chapter. And she deals with disappointment and rejection as part of the learning process, but hard work and persistence are bound to pay off.

And so I write on, one word after another. A slow jog of backstory here, a quick dialogue beat there, until miles of sentences build up. My novel, The Watch on the Fencepost, is being published by CrossLink Publishing and is due to be released later this year. It was my first literary race, but, God willing, it won’t be my last. Now it’s time to start training for the next one. I am a writer.

  • What experiences have you had with running or writing that enlightened you?
  • What’s the best advice you have for new writers? Or runners?

I Wrote My Book — Now What? by Beth Lottig

I’m honored that Beth Lottig has agreed to guest post on my blog. Beth is the co-founder of AuthorSource, a full-service self-publishing company, and has helped hundreds of authors bring their works to publication.

Whether you’re just beginning to think about writing or you’ve finished that manuscript, Beth’s words of wisdom will be a valuable resource.


Beth Lottig 2

I WROTE MY BOOK — NOW WHAT?

Developing Your Publishing Vision

When you first start writing a book, it’s possible that you are carried away with inspiration and eager to get the book “out of you,” buoyed by the thrill of becoming an author. You willingly spend late nights typing at your computer when everyone else is asleep. You wake early, gripping your coffee mug for dear life as the sun rises, writing furiously before the great idea you dreamed about disappears with the daylight.

You edit and rewrite the same sentence twenty-two times, and revise whole chapters, all with the final destination of authorship in mind. But what happens when you finally finish that last sentence and figuratively, or literally, type the words “The End”?

What’s next after writing your book?

Whether you plan to go the traditional route and secure an agent who will shop your book around to publishers or pursue the self-publishing route, it’s a good idea to give some thought to what you want to get out of your writing career. Some questions to consider:

  • Do you plan to continue your full-time gig while you pursue your writing dream?
  • Do you want to eventually leave your day job and become a full-time writer?
  • Are you willing to travel to do book signings and readings while you promote your book?
  • If you write non-fiction, does your book set you up as an expert in your field?
  • Do you dream of holding your book on stage and speaking about your passion?

Having a bigger goal or dream in mind is absolutely critical to getting where you want to be.

If you plan to self-publish, you need to consider important parts of the publishing process that a traditional publishing house would usually handle—editing, creating an eye-catching cover and book interior that works for your genre, distribution and fulfillment. And keep in mind that whether you self-publish or go with a traditional house, you MUST participate in the marketing of your book. There are so many options available, and it pays to do your homework to find the right fit for you.

A few steps to tackle right now:

  • Write your author bio, both a short one for the back cover (about 50 words) and a longer “About the Author” one that will appear on the last page of your book.
  • Write your back-cover copy. After a person sees your cover and picks up your book to learn more, guess where they go next? They flip the book over to check out your back cover. At about 250 words, the back-cover copy should hook the reader and tell them exactly what they will get out of your book. Imagine the reader asking, “What’s in it for me?” then answer that question in a compelling way.
  • Start thinking about the style of your cover design. Flip through pages on Goodreads or Amazon to see which types of covers you are drawn to in your genre. Understand that non-fiction, sci-fi, romance, and fantasy all have specific styles that your readers will expect. Your cover designer will be better able to catch your vision if you have a few examples of styles to point to.

 

If you plan to pursue traditional publishing, you will want to begin research for your proposal, that all-important piece that tells an agent your book is their next best-seller. For a terrific example of what to include in an agent proposal, see agent Steve Laube’s article: https://stevelaube.com/guidelines/.

A few steps to tackle right now:

  • Start work compiling the elements for your proposal, which will include your author bio (including social media metrics), one-sentence hook, back cover book description, competitive titles, your marketing plan (Yes, they will expect you to help market your book!), and a synopsis (fiction) or table of contents (non-fiction).
  • Research agents who represent your genre and are seeking new submissions.
  • Research publishing houses you are interested in pitching. Though most traditional publishing houses only work through agent proposals, a few still accept direct submissions from authors.
  • Ramp up your marketing game: Develop an author platform on social media, a website, and start engaging your target readers.

With a clear publishing vision in mind, your next steps after “The End” will be more defined, more productive, and hopefully more enjoyable.

Happy writing!

 

As a freelance writer and editor for more than 15 years, Beth Lottig has worked with hundreds of authors to bring their works to publication through the editing and production process. She now serves authors full-time as co-founder of AuthorSource, a full-service self-publishing company. When she’s not hiking along the coast or sipping cold brew coffee, she is helping writers just like you realize their publishing dreams. Find out more at www.authorsourcemedia.com.

It’s a Mystery!

detective

It’s been said that everybody loves a mystery. But why?

“It is the glory of God to conceal things,
but the glory of kings is to search things out.” – Proverbs 25:2

The desire to understand, to search out the truth, to solve the problem is a part of the human condition. Scientists look to the heavens to understand the formation of the universe. Biologists want to know the building blocks of life. Psychiatrists pry into the human psyche to find out what makes us tick.

All of these fields are concerned with investigating the unknown, the mysterious. If we can figure it out, we can deal with it. Many eminent figures have commented on the power of mystery.

 “The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science.” – Albert Einstein, “The World as I See It”

And then there are the writers…

The mystery novel is the simplest form of problem-solving. There’s usually one clear problem (the murder) and one solution (who did it).  Mystery novels are characterized by strong characters, lots of suspects, plot twists, and surprise endings.  Along the way we meet fascinating folks and eventually discover the how and why as well as the who.

In a mystery novel, the author drops clues and red herrings along the way while we get a chance to match our wits with the head sleuth. And oh what fun the author can have in creating those memorable sleuths. From the meticulous Poirot to the devout Father Brown to the down-to-earth Jessica Fletcher, we meet and love the personalities who figure it all out.

My favorite mystery? I’m going to go with “And Then There Were None” by Agatha Christie, possibly the most popular mystery of all time. It was made into a very entertaining movie in 1945. If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie, have a go and see if you can find the killer.

So what’s your favorite mystery? Book or movie, let us know what you think.

“Attempt the end, and never stand to doubt. Nothing’s so hard but search will find it out.” – Robert Herrick

Your Favorite Book

Pile of books

Okay. We’ve all shared our favorite words. And what a great bunch of words you came up with! Now it’s time to move on to our favorite books. Let’s exclude the Bible from consideration. Otherwise, I suspect most of you will choose it, and we won’t learn about your other favorites. So tell us about the book that inspired you, entertained you, helped you, or educated you. It can be a novel, a biography, historical fiction… any book you’d like to share with the rest of us.

I’ll go first. My favorite book is West With the Night by Beryl Markham. Ms. Markham was a contemporary of Isak Denisen (aka Karen Blixen, the Meryl Streep character in Out of Africa.)

Beryl Markham was born into a well-to-do English family that moved to Kenya when she was a small child. Her writing style is captivating, and the stories she tells about growing up in Kenya in the early part of the twentieth century are amazing.

The title of the book comes from her adventure of becoming the first person to fly non-stop east to west over the Atlantic Ocean from England to North America.

Now it’s your turn. What’s your favorite book? And why?