Snow It Goes: Reading and writing

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. A good book on your lap … or laptop. Need a break from the holiday hassle? Crawl into a good book:

Cozy up with a good book

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. A good book on your lap … or laptop. Need a break from the holiday hassle? Crawl into a good book:

“Secret Garden: An Inky Treasure Hunt” by Johanna Basford. This series of coloring books—for grown ups—created by the Scottish illustrator has been a surprise hit.

“The Martian” by Andy Weir began was a blog by “science nerd” Weir, but quickly gained a fan following and the attention of Crown Publishing. The science-fiction thriller has since been adapted into a hit film starring Matt Damon.

“Killing Reagan” by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard, the latest in a historical series, is a recount of the 1981 assassination attempt on the 40th president.

“Dashing Through the Snow” the latest offering by multi-million selling romance writer Debbie Macomber. Her “Cedar Cove” books became the basis for a scripted series on the Hallmark Channel.

”The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins. Part confessional, part whodunit, this taut novel will keep you guessing until the end. Set to become a feature film in 2016.

“A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. Because you can’t go wrong with this holiday classic.
—Charita Goshay

Write a novel

November is National Novel Writing Month—an online creative writing project that challenges those who have always wanted to write a novel to craft a (minimum) 50,000 word manuscript in 30 days.

Since it began in 1999, hundreds of thousands of writers every year take part in the annual event, and many of their completed novels have been published. A famous example—“Water for Elephants” by Sara Gruen, which went on to also be a hit film.

Participants can connect with other writers online ( and join regional groups for motivation, encouragement and camaraderie. A local group, founded in 2003, holds writing meet ups throughout the month (more at

NaNoWriMo may be over, but if you’re bursting with creativity, why not take on the challenge this winter? You can write the sequel next November.

To get started, check out tips and inspiration from expert authors at

Here are some quick tips on tackling your masterpiece:

• Schedule time for writing. Set aside a few hours every night, and plan for longer sessions on the weekends.

• Try to get to know your characters before you start writing. NaNoWriMo offers a 46-question character questionnaire to get you started.

• Gather your tribe for encouragement. Whether it’s your best friend, spouse or favorite local librarian, let the supportive folks in your life know when you need a pep talk.

• Stick with it. You can do this.
—Jessica Holbrook