What’s New in 2016?

What’s on your reading list for 2016?

What are your goals for the new year?

One of my goals was to start a YouTube channel—it’s a way for me to bring a more multimedia experience to the blog. It also helps me break up the monotony of text-only blogging. I’d rather tell you about my favorite books than write to you about them. Plus I’m a visual person, and I’m really excited to become a part of the BookTube community. And I’m excited to start interacting with you all in a different medium.

Here’s my first video, with a “cameo” of a 2006 version of me.

Are you on YouTube? What are your favorite channels?

The next few posts on here will be video-heavy as I talk about my favorite books of 2015, but then I’ll get back into more writing topics. Is there anything in particular you’d like to know more about? Anything you’d like me to revisit? I’m open to suggestions!

15 New Books I Want to Read in 2015, Part One

15 New Books in 2015 (January–June) | Write Lara Write

These are fifteen books coming out the first half of 2015 that I’d love to read! It’s a weird mix of adult literary and YA of all sorts of genres. Later I’ll post my top 15 of the second half of 2015, but I’m waiting on some cover reveals, first 🙂

Quotes either come from the Goodreads summary of the book or the recommendation from The Millions’ Most Anticipated: The Great 2015 Book Preview

Debut Authors

The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall, 1/13/15

“Forbidden love and code-breaking, masked balls and explosions, destiny and dark secrets collide in this romantic thriller, in the vein of a YA Da Vinci Code.”

Unbecoming by Rebecca Scherm, 1/22/15

“A major debut novel of psychological suspense about a daring art heist, a cat-and-mouse waiting game, and a small-town girl’s mesmerizing transformation.”

The Country of Ice Cream Star by Sandra Newman, 2/10/15

“In the aftermath of a devastating plague, a fearless young heroine embarks on a dangerous and surprising journey to save her world in this brilliantly inventive dystopian thriller, told in bold and fierce language, from a remarkable literary talent.”

Mosquitoland by David Arnold, 3/3/15

“Told in an unforgettable, kaleidoscopic voice, “Mosquitoland” is a modern American odyssey, as hilarious as it is heartbreaking.”

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley, 4/28/15

“Maria Dahvana Headley is a firecracker: she’s whip smart with a heart, and she writes like a dream.” —Neil Gaiman

The Cost of All Things by Maggie Lehrman, 5/12/15

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind meets We Were Liars in this thought-provoking and brilliantly written debut that is part love story, part mystery, part high-stakes drama.”

Nimona by Noelle Stevenson, 5/19/15

“Nimona is an impulsive young shape-shifter with a knack for villainy. Lord Ballister Blackheart is a villain with a vendetta. As sidekick and supervillain, Nimona and Lord Blackheart are about to wreak some serious havoc. Their mission: prove to the kingdom that Sir Ambrosius Goldenloin and his buddies at the Institution of Law Enforcement and Heroics aren’t the heroes everyone thinks they are.”


The Buried Giant by Kazuo Ishiguro, 3/3/15

“The Buried Giant begins as a couple set off across a troubled land of mist and rain in the hope of finding a son they have not seen in years. Sometimes savage, often intensely moving, Kazuo Ishiguro’s first novel in nearly a decade is about lost memories, love, revenge, and war.”

God Help the Child by Toni Morrison, 4/21/15

“Spare and unsparing, God Help the Child is a searing tale about the way childhood trauma shapes and misshapes the life of the adult.”

The Trouble with Destiny by Lauren Morrill, TBD

Pitch Perfect meets A Midsummer Night’s Dream on a cruise ship”


The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy: A Lexicon of Life Hacks for the Modern Lady Geek by Sam Maggs, 5/12/15

The Fangirl’s Guide to the Galaxy is the ultimate handbook for ladies living the nerdy life, a fun and feminist take on the often male-dominated world of geekdom.”

Short Stories

Hall of Small Mammals: Stories by Thomas Pierce, 1/8/15

“[The stories] take place at the confluence of the commonplace and the cosmic, the intimate and the infinite.”

Lucky Alan: And Other Stories by Jonathan Lethem, 2/24/15

“From forgotten comic book characters stuck on a desert island to a father having his midlife crisis at SeaWorld, the nine stories in this collection explore everything from the quotidian to the absurd, all with Lethem’s signature humor, nuance, and pathos.”

Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman, 2/3/15

“[It] should be no surprise that [Gaiman’s] third short story collection defies genre categorization, delving into fairy tales, horror, fantasy, poetry, and science fiction.”

Voices in the Night: Stories by Steven Millhauser, 4/15/15

Voices in the Night collects 16 stories — ‘culled from religion and fables. . . Heightened by magic, the divine, and the uncanny, shot through with sly humor’ – that promise to once again unsettle us with their strangeness and stun us with their beauty.”

What new books are you looking forward to in 2015?

Mother Writers


Well, in a week I’ll be finished with my last design project for a while. This won’t be a complete sabbatical, since I’ll design some stuff for my Etsy shop, I’m sure, but it is a break from commissioned work, which is rewarding, but also very, very time- and brain-consuming.

I’m also giving birth in the next month(ish), so that will take up quite a bit of time and brain power. However, I would like to take this opportunity to get back to writing, even if it’s slow going.

How & when do mothers write?

That’s something I’m trying to figure out. Apparently there’s a book on the subject? (If you’ve got tips, please share.) The more I read about writers, the more I see a pattern—if they are women, they aren’t publishing while raising very small children. But I think they are still writing and reading, and I should be writing and reading, too, even with a toddler, puppy, and soon-to-be howling, hungry infant.

The baby steps are these:

  1. Read one literary novel each month
  2. Read short fiction and poetry once a week
  3. Create and execute one writing assignment biweekly or weekly
  4. Finish one poem or flash fiction piece per month

Eventually, the idea is I’ll get up to writing 1,000 words per day (excluding blogging and status updates), and then work my way up to 2,000 words per day.

That last one could take about ten years, or until the last of our brood is of school-age. We are well on our way to becoming brunette, American Weasleys over here.

Read one literary novel per month

I’ve got a book club going, and we are working through the Newbery (US) and Carnegie (UK) Medal Winners for juvenile fiction. They are short, simple reads that are deemed literary by librarians. Good place to start.

Read short fiction and poetry each week

The idea is to get as many contemporary voices into my head as possible. The Newbery and Carnegie medals are awarded each year, so 90% of the winners aren’t contemporary writers. I probably won’t blog on these a bunch, because that will soak up my writing time, but I’ll post recommended readings (what I liked) to my Facebook page. Feel free to share your own recommended readings for short fiction and poetry there, too! I’ll also post recommended readings on my blog under the Reading and Poetry tabs. (I just added one there this morning—check out Amy McCann’s “Human Climate” via Revolver)

Writing assignments and finishing poems

In an attempt to write more poetry and short fiction, I’ll be posting weekly or biweekly writing assignments here on the blog and then completing them for myself. The idea is that by the end of the month, I’ll have at least one I can turn into something more polished. I’m calling these short assignments “Fifteen Blinks,” the idea being that, whether the piece yields poetry or prose, you could read it in about 3 minutes.

If you want to join me on these assignments, please let me know! If I know other people are participating, I’m much more likely to stick to it and keep generating writing exercises. It’s an accountability thing.

I honestly have no idea what day of the week I’ll be posting Fifteen Blinks. Mondays I’m going to try to devote to motivational works and Author Chats. It’s going to be irregular at best, so your best bet is to subscribe to WriteLaraWrite via email (see right column for sign up) or follow me on Facebook.

Reading & Writing: Dr. Seuss


Writing The Cat in the Hat

The Cat in the Hat contains 1,626 words (source). Reportedly, Theodor Geisel thought he could write it in a couple weeks. It ended up taking him “a year and a half” (source).

Just something to think about.


How to Read Dr. Seuss

You know, I’m really not a Dr. Seuss fan. It really isn’t his fault, except for the creepy way he illustrates feet. Mostly I blame the people that read his work aloud, because 99% of them read his rhymes in that ploddy, sing-song voice that is worse than the sound of two pieces of Styrofoam grating against each other. Take this page, for example:

(From Anita Silvey’s Children’s Book-A-Day Almanac)

Some people read it like they are learning to drive a stick for the first time:

Putmedown said the FISH

Thisisnofunat ALL

Putmedown said the FISH

Idonotwishto FALL

And then there’s those who read like first-year poetry students, trying to guess the meter:

Putme DOWN saidthe FISH

Thisis NO funat ALL

Putme DOWN saidthe FISH

Ido NOT wantto FALL

Just a note to readers of verse: inflect the words like a normal person. Just because something is written in meter doesn’t mean you should read it like you are sitting on a galloping horse. Ignore the rhyming words and line breaks and read it like a narrator during the narration, and an actor during dialogue.

“Put me dooooown!”

said the fish.

“This is no fun at all. Put. Me. Down!”

said the fish.

“I do NOT wish to FALL!”

Actors and actresses interpret dialogue differently, so each reader should read aloud differently. If you find yourself reading like the first two examples, break the habit, give yourself some credit as a reader, and have some fun with the reading!