I like vampires

Hook the reader from the start.

That’s what my writing mentors have taught me. So, yeah, I have a thing for vampires right now. I’m a little late. Dystopian survivalists seem to be the “thing” now, but I’ve been carrying around Twilight for months. I want to read it. I want to learn from it. I want to discover the secrets of how it became an icon in popular culture.

Oh, yeah. I also think Johnny Depp and Dark Shadows revamped my interest in the vampire culture. Pardon the pun. My mom and I used to watch the show together when I was a little girl. The movie brings back fond memories.

I’ve been working with a group of very talented writers in my creative writing class. Each of them has his or her own blog, and we have a group blog page called the Bluelight Lounge. You can find it at this address:  bluelightlounge.wordpress.com . There is a link to all the writers’ blogs on the page for easy access to their work.

Our assignment this week was to write a blog about reading, so I figured I should follow my own rules and write about reading too.

When I was growing up, my family didn’t have a lot of money, and I was an only child. I spent a lot of time alone. Fortunately, my mom let me get my very own library card, and I was off on new adventures at the public library. Most people in my town won’t remember this, but the public library used to be on the square in an old building. I still remember the smell of the books. I still remember carrying out every dog book I could find. I loved dogs, and I read everything I could about them, including fictions stories—all the Lassie stories and the books about Ginger Pie. And horses. I read everything I could about horses, but I found most of those books in my school library.

I wasn’t a good reader. I was a bad reader, bad in that I wanted to read what I wanted to read, not necessarily what my teacher assigned to me. So, yes, kiddos, I get it when you sneak a book in your lap and turn the pages when you are supposed to be listening to me teach. Sometimes a good book is just too difficult to put down.

The Outsiders remains my all-time favorite, but I like mysterious stories with a twist of the supernatural. I think that’s why Frank Peretti’s book This Present Darkness changed my life. It opened my eyes to another world beyond the veil. Right now I’m hooked on the Odd Thomas series by Dean Koontz. Odd is a twenty-year-old fry cook who sees dark shapes that show up at places of mass destruction. Are they demons or omens of death? We don’t know. Odd’s visions are a gift—or a curse. Whatever the case, he deals with it with his ever so funny, dry sense of humor. Oh, yeah, he also sees ghosts. Elvis shows up every now and then. And who can resist Elvis?

When I went to the ACFW conference, I naturally had to visit the Revell table at the bookstore. (Hint, hint. I would be ecstatic to see one of my novels with a Revell logo on it.) This year I didn’t have much cash to spend on books, but I could not resist picking up a couple of Revell novels by Mike Duran: The Resurrection and The Telling.

The back cover blurbs hooked me. “When Ruby Case raises a boy from the dead, she creates an uproar in the quiet coastal town of Stonetree. Some brand her a witch; others a godsend.” I can’t wait to open the first page of The Resurrection. So what’s the answer? What is Ruby?

The Telling is Duran’s second novel, and the back blurb is equally compelling: “Zeph is also blessed with a gift—an uncanny ability to forsee the future, to know peoples’ deepest sins and secrets. He calls it The Telling.” Wow. Zeph sounds like someone I know. I can already imagine the movie playing out in my head.

But right now my two favorite books are The Edge and Crossroads, my manuscripts in what I hope will be a series.

I was talking to a friend of mine about how our children were growing up. We’ve devoted our lives to helping their dreams come true. Now she and I, both writers, want to complete our lives—to find and develop our calling. And I believe the answer lies within books—God’s book, the Bible, of course, and the stories He has given us to enjoy our own creativity and to create books to inspire other people.


What’s your calling? What are you reading? How has reading changed your life? Please offer some feedback. I will randomly choose from the comments and send the speaker a book from my library. But if you are chosen, you must send me a private email with your contact information so that I can get it to you.

Happy reading!  You have until Saturday, October 13, to join in the conversation. Please let me know what you think. Your words, your writings, truly encourage me, and, hopefully, I, in turn, can encourage you.

13 thoughts on “I like vampires

  1. When I was 4 years old, I was hooked on the written word. I loved to look at books, and the first book I actually read was a Captain Kangaroo book. When I did finally learn to read, I read everything in sight. However, I was not a good tester and was placed in title 4 reading, which haunted m my entire life. I was removed from title 4 reading because I excelled in it in the first grade, but I was always placed in lower level reading classes. When I was in high school, my freshman English teacher thought I needed something more challenging, so I was moved to a higher level reading class. That class was yours. My father is practically illiterate, so he instilled a love for reading in me. He said, Rachel, if you can read, it will take you places you never imagined. I have lived that my entire life. I read still about 6 books per week, if I am lucky. I read whenever I can find the time. I read aloud to my kids hoping to insitill a love of reading in them. Reading helped me to get away from my nightmare of a chiildhood. It showed me there was life out there. I cannot really name a favorite book, but I have several that have changed my life. Anne of Green Gables, The Outsiders, Gone With the Wind, Izzy-Willy Nilly, The Hobbit, The Wizard of Oz and all of the Oz series, and Karen Kingsbury’s Bailey Flanagan series are among my favorites. I simply cannot name all of my favorites. However, reading counts and when I do become a teacher, I only hope I’m half as good as you!

  2. Rachel, you will be a marvelous teacher. I have no doubt. Your eyes light up whenever we get a chance to talk about writing. What you said is quite true. Reading does take us away from the unpleasant things in our life and allows us to experience adventure in the safe zone. It gives us a sense of freedom–and offers us insight into life’s mysteries. Please keep on keeping on. Life is so hard, but you are going to make it. I’m sure the student will surpass the teacher in this situation. 🙂 I am proud of you.

  3. I read Dr. Seuss for SO long, my mama thought there was something wrong with me. I just love the rhymes and the made up words and the “fantasy” he created.
    Then as a teen, I too, loved The Outsiders.
    Now I read a lot of fiction, but at the moment, I am reading a cookbook called, The Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler.
    I was (and still am) a quiet child and when mama got to missing me, she’d usually find me sitting up in the tree outside our back door reading a book.
    As for my calling. Thats a puzzle. As I always wonder what IS my calling every time I read about someone who has always known what they want to be when they grow up. Or every time I read about the “purpose” of some ones life.
    It remains a mystery.

    • I would like to send you a book for reading my blog and entering my contest. Would you please email your contact information to lockhart13@charter.net ? Please let me know what type of books you enjoy the most. I travel the several writing conferences, and I have a collection of books that are duplicates. I will try to send you one that you might like. Thank you so much for supporting me and my blog. If you have not heard from me by email after you make contact, please send me a message on this blog. I do not want you to miss out on your book. Sometimes, however, information drifts off into cyberspace.

  4. I read Dr. Seuss for so many years that mama began to think there was something wrong with me because she felt like I was just getting too old for his books. But I just loved the rhymes and the made up words and the wild imagination he must have had.
    We had a Bookmobile that stopped at our house once a month during the summer and I continued to get his books plus a dozen or so other books.
    Then as a teen, I too loved The Outsiders. I felt so …. BAD …. reading it. LOL I was very sheltered. 🙂
    Now I usually read fiction, but at the moment am engrossed in a cookbook called The Everlasting Meal by Tamar Adler.
    What IS my calling? I need help with that one. Or maybe one day it will come to me.

    • I was so disappointed when my sons outgrew the Little Critter books. I still want to buy them, but I don’t have anyone to read them to. I don’t know how a person knows his or her true calling. I just know that I feel so passionate about encouraging others. I guess it’s because I know what it feels like to be overlooked and underestimated and misjudged. Words are powerful, and books can strengthen the reader and boost the courage and sense of adventure. So don’t fret about your love for Dr. Seuss. I understand. By the way, I always envied the people who had access to the BookMobile. I always wanted to see what it was like.

  5. The first books I can remember reading are the Dick and Janes books and the Mr Men and Little Miss books. My mom is a teacher so she would always have books I could read. However, in third grade, I never could finish a chapter book. I wanted so badly to read one of the Boxcar Children books all the way through. When I finally did, I felt so proud of myself! I read the Babysitters Club books, the Saddle Club, Nancy Drew, Nate the Great. Eventually, I picked up Harry Potter and the Series of Unfortunate Events. I wanted to be a detective, a wizard, a horse trainer. I wanted to yell at the adults for not recognizing Count Olaf! My favorite books are “superhero” books like Maximum Ride or Percy Jackson. I want superpowers to help people. But, even though superpowers are just fiction (I’m still hoping though!!), I have found a way to help people. Maybe it’s my calling or maybe just along the way. And, I have dreams of publishing a book, too! Maybe even a series. I’ve got a wild imagination after all. But, then again a lot of readers do. And, it’s always changing! New adventures come everyday, and new stories are primed for the telling. Reading has given me a gift. A gift of the open mind. Of viewing the one side and five others. Of interpreting two meanings from the same sentence. Putting myself in that other person’s shoes. I can view it like a story unfolding in my head, like the words of a book coming to life. Reading has given me so much more than just knowledge.

    Right now, I’m reading Inheritance by Christopher Paolini and Let Us Now Praise Famous Men by James Agee and Walker Evans (it’s for my documentary class). One stimulates my creativity and interest while the other has me in deep thought of life and of my own beliefs. Sometimes, I feel as though my mind holds much more than my age suggests.

    Reading is a power, a strength that anyone can wield. It stimulates the mind and can lead to ideas far into the future. I may sound crazy, but cracking open a book is not just the start of another exciting Maximum Ride or Percy Jackson adventure. It feeds my hunger for knowledge, of wanting to know another piece of the world. When I read, I get excited because I know something amazing is going to happen next. That amazing thing may be in the book or in my head, but I turn each page with baited breath, savoring each word as I find out.

    Mrs. L, I hope your books get published because I’ve been wanting to know what’s been hidden in those pages for several years. 🙂 I hope to follow you and publish a book as well. I’ve got the story in my head, and more comes everyday. I just got to put words to paper and stop fretting over the grammar. You are such an inspiration, and I miss you so much!

    • You are so kind. I would not be the least bit surprised to see your books on the shelves. You definitely have what it takes. And you are right. Don’t worry about the grammar. It’s the STORY that sells the book. You are so creative. I miss you too. I hope we can find some time to get together over the Christmas holidays.

  6. My current calling in life is to learn how to be better teacher; therefore, I am reading Brain Rules by Dr. John Medina (I’m actually reading it because my professor assigned it). I was thrilled when I received it in the mail. It’s nonfiction, so it’s slow moving for me. It’s amazing, though, what our brains have to offer! There’s so much that applies to what I’m doing in my class.

    I really prefer fiction. I love anything paranormal or anything that is different. Okay, that’s all I have..

  7. I long to know what my calling is, but the full picture remains concealed for now. I know God will reveal what I need to know in perfect timing. I try to stay focused on being obedient to His present leading and taking one step at a time as he directs.

    There is so much I would like to say about reading. I have enjoyed it as long as I can remember. I read more nonfiction than fiction, but I enjoy both. Most of my favorite fiction books are ones I first read as a child: The Little House on the Prairie series, The Chronicles of Narnia, Anne of Green Gables, A Little Princess, Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, Matilda. One of my favorite nonfiction books is Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend. I think most people would benefit from reading that book. I recently listened to Salt: A World History by Mark Kurlansky. It was a very interesting exposition on how man’s need for salt and efforts to improve and control salt production shaped history in ways big and small.

    • I read Boundaries. It was really helpful to me. I need to read it again, but I loaned it to a friend who needed to read it as much as I did. I think what I need most right now is better time management.

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