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Recommended Reads

These are books we have read, currently own, and definitely recommend you read!


We love The Emotion Thesaurus and recommend that anyone working toward gaining a deeper sense of POV through showing vs. telling and the use of body language buy this book. Personally, Nancy Cassidy recommends getting this in paper format so you can easily bookmark it and add in your own notes. When an editor says “This is telling, show me the character is anxious (or whatever emotion)”, pick up this book!

Along the same lines, the authors have a couple of other books in the series.Emotion Amplifiers (a FREE companion to The Emotion Thesaurus)
The Negative Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Flaws
The Positive Trait Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Attributes (Writers Helping Writers)

This one is our personal favorite!

Buy it in paperback here: The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To Character Expression


For those of you looking for some help in the plotting area, How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method by Randy Ingermanson was indeed a bit flaky but a great way to ease a pantser into plotting. If you need a fresh approach and you just don’t get GMC, this could be the book for you.

Told in a storybook setting, or more accurately in a classroom filled with storybook characters, this book leads you from a single sentence book idea through to a full plot.

You can buy it here:How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method (Advanced Fiction Writing) (Volume 1)




Donna’s Recommendation #1 Fogarty’s funny, conversational tone takes the dry subject matter of punctuation and makes it accessible and memorable. Even those with very good writing skills will pick up some tips to help make their written work clean and polished. Donna’s considering recommending this one to all her clients, since she read it and realized that her “great” writing skills needed a little TLC too.
A great buy at only 99cents – this is definitely the basics, but a great start (Nancy). Buy it here: Grammar Girl’s Punctuation 911: Your Guide to Writing it Right (Quick & Dirty Tips)





Donna’s Recommendation #2 Straightforward and concise, this book hits all the necessities from creating the best product possible, navigating the technical requirements of self-publishing, and gaining visibility. In particular Donna loves the checklists at the end of each week as an organizational tool. If you’re an indie author and get your kicks from lists, this one’s for you.

Buy it here: YOUR 30 DAY BOOK LAUNCH PLAN: A Complete Step-by-Step Guide from the No.1 Bestselling Author NINA HARRINGTON





Technical – If you really want to learn the correct way to use a comma, among other more esoteric things in the grammar world, there is no better way that to read The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White. Often referred to a as simply Strunk & White, this little gray book is worth investing in.

One warning. This book will put you to sleep. Do not read in the tub, as Nancy’s first copy died this way.

Buy a copy here: The Elements of Style, Fourth Edition
Or in print: The Elements of Style (4th Edition)





Alternatively, you really only want to invest in these two books if you decide to take up a career in editing. The Chicago Manual of Style is a necessity (as is their awesome and so much better than the book website and subscription service) if you decide to be an editor as many publishing houses refer to this manual for the final word on any decision regarding grammar. Although there are many editions, the 16th edition remains the most commonly used.

Check out the website here: Chicago Manual of Style


Along similar lines, the Copyeditor’s Handbook by Amy Einsohn, is only recommended if you want to become a copy editor, and may be a little dry even then.

Nancy has referenced this book exactly twice.

While it isn’t helpful for the average author or fiction editor, it does make a lovely coaster.