Tag Archives: books

5 LGBTQ Books to Read for Pride Month

Hey writer bees!

Diversity in storytelling is so important. Every kind of person should be represented and represented well. No matter the story, the characters need to feel realistic. That includes their sexuality and gender identity.

In honor of Pride Month, I’m sharing some colorful books that celebrate the LGBTQ community.

Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel

Distant and exacting, Bruce Bechdel was an English teacher and director of the town funeral home, which Alison and her family referred to as the “Fun Home.” It was not until college that Alison, who had recently come out as a lesbian, discovered that her father was also gay. A few weeks after this revelation, he was dead, leaving a legacy of mystery for his daughter to resolve.

I’ve read this book, and let me tell you, it’s an outstanding story. Alison Bechdel is an exceptional and brave writer. Full of humor and heartbreak, I couldn’t recommend this graphic memoir any higher. You don’t have to be queer to feel touched by her life story. Seriously, Fun Home is a must-have in your book collection.

Amazon.com: Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic eBook: Bechdel, Alison ...

The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson

On the first day at his new school, Leo Denton has one goal: to be invisible. Attracting the attention of the most beautiful girl in his class is definitely not part of that plan–especially because Leo is a trans guy and isn’t out at his new school.

Written in first person narrative, Lisa Williamson tells the story of two transgender students who are navigating their gender identity. Based on reviews, it’s a great exploration of what it means to be transgender today. This one is definitely on my To-Be-Read list!

The Art of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson - review | Children's ...

Prince and Knight – Daniel Haack (Author), Stevie Lewis (Illustrator)

In this modern fairy tale, a noble prince and a brave knight come together to defeat a terrible monster and in the process find true love in a most unexpected place.

Not every prince is looking for a fair maiden. If you want to introduce the youngsters in your life to inclusivity and the LGBTQ community, look no further than this charming children’s book. This fairytale is colorful and magical and incredibly sweet. Frankly, I might buy this book for my nephew, so he can learn about acceptance and love in all forms.

Prince & Knight (Mini Bee Board Books): Haack, Daniel, Lewis ...

Stonewall: The Definitive Story of the LGBTQ Rights Uprising that Changed America

On June 28, 1969, the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar in New York’s Greenwich Village, was raided by police. But instead of responding with the typical compliance the NYPD expected, patrons and a growing crowd decided to fight back. The five days of rioting that ensued changed forever the face of gay and lesbian life.

For all the history buffs out there, this is the book for you. A masterful, powerful retelling of the Stonewall Riots and the first gay rights march, written by historian Martin Duberman. With everything going on in the world right now, this piece of work is so relevant and on the pulse. Learning about our history is important, now more than ever.

Stonewall: The Definitive Story of the LGBT Rights Uprising that Changed America by [Martin B.  Duberman]

This Book is Gay by Juno Dawson

There’s a long-running joke that, after “coming out,” a lesbian, gay guy, bisexual, or trans person should receive a membership card and instruction manual. THIS IS THAT INSTRUCTION MANUAL. You’re welcome.

Lighthearted and informative, this is the unofficial guide to being gay and/or curious. Inside, there’s candid answers to any and all LGBTQ related questions. No matter your sexual preference, this book makes for a great gift and an even greater addition to your bookshelf.

This Book Is Gay by Juno Dawson, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

As writers, as readers, as humans, let’s expand our horizons and promote inclusivity in everything we do.

What’s your favorite LGBTQ book? Lemme know in the comments.

Write with heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

Writing Services // Follow Me on Twitter

How to Choose a Read Worthy Book Title

Hello writer bees!

If there’s any silver lining to this chaotic time, it’s that writers are using their time to work on new projects. And with new projects comes a daunting task; Choosing the perfect title. It’s a huge question for any writer with a WIP. How do you create an interesting title that catches the readers attention and perfectly represents your story?

Today, I’m showing you what story elements can lead you to a read worthy title. Here are some ideas for where you can find the name of your book.

Character Inspired Titles

Image result for gatsby gif

If you have a character focused piece, pick a title that highlights the main character. Although it might be a simplistic option, a book named after a protagonist can be compelling to potential readers. And it doesn’t necessarily need to be the character’s name either. Think about the role the character plays in their world.

Examples

Setting Themed Titles

Consider naming the book after a prominent location featured in the story. Do the characters live in a specific town or residence? Or are they traveling to a certain destination? Settings transport the audience to a different time and place. Intrigue your readers with an invitation to a new world.

Examples

Memorable Line or Object

See the source image

Is the adventure centered around a coveted object? Or is there a sentence/phrase that sums up the entire novel? A memorable line or item featured in the story can become a great book title. Search through the text and find those stand out bits that you feel represent the entire novel well.

Examples

Bonus Tips for Book Titles

  • Represent the right genre: If you pick a title that sounds like a fantasy story but it’s really a murder mystery, reader will be confused. Choose a title that reflects the genre. Research book titles in your preferred genre before naming.
  • Understand the theme: What themes does the novel explore? Underlying themes can be transformed into thematic phrases. Theme inspired titles give a nod to the audience of what the story is about. (ex. Pride and Prejudice)
  • Look through bookshelf: Check out your bookshelf, or the shelves at a library or bookstore. As a reader, what kind of titles catch your attention? Novels from other writers may inspire a title for your own piece.

Bottom Line

When coming up with a book title, focus on the core elements of the story. A character, a setting or even a memorable line can become a read worthy title.

What is the title of your WIP/Novel and how did you choose it? What are some of your favorite book titles? Lemme know in the comments.

Stay safe and keep writing!

Lady Jabberwocky

Writing Services // Follow Me on Twitter

Pick-Me-Up Gift Ideas for Struggling Writers

Hello writer bees,

With all the chaos in the world, some of us have a lot to say, and creating art is a great outlet. Now more than ever, an ounce of kindness goes a long way. Sending a small gift to a loved one says you are thinking of them, that you support them, and that you encourage their writing endeavors during this complicated time. Whether you want to spoil yourself or another writer in your life, check out these ideas of uplifting gifts for writers.

Mugs, Glasses and Other Goblets of Victory

It goes without saying, but I think we all need a comforting drink right about now. As cheesy as it sounds, a cute mug won’t go to waste in a writer’s home. And why not add these adorable literary tea bags? If the writer is in the editing process, maybe sending them a spiffy wine glass would be best. No matter coffee drinker, a tea drinker or a adult beverage drinker, raise a glass to the writer in your life.

Desk Essentials

Yes, you might be stuck at your desk, but you want to feel content and creative in that space. Consider purchasing some cute decorations or some useful office supplies. Like these hilarious scented candles that may or may no cure writer’s block. Also, note cards with words of encouragement would be nice too. I have this typewriter pencil holder on my desk that I absolutely adore. And trust me, I go through sticky notes like there’s no tomorrow. A thoughtful token for someone’s workspace is like a friendly reminder that there are loved ones out there cheering you on.

Aspiring Author Apparel

Let’s be honest, who wants to write their story wearing slacks, or a tie, or high heels? That’s right, nobody. Hoodies, t-shirts and socks, oh my! Some really enjoy wearing comfy clothing with a literary flair. Consider sending a fellow writer a cozy sweater to show off their bookworm pride. Even comfortable pajamas will do. Wearing something warm and snuggly is like a long distance hug they’ll be sure to appreciate. And with social distancing, I think we all need a long distance hug right now.

Weapons Against Writer’s Block

Many writers are struggling with writer’s block during lockdown. Myself included. Help get those creative juices flowing again. I’ve seen quite a few items online that help with fun writing prompts and exercises. This Writer’s Toolbox looks so fun. Also, journals can be used to plan out plots, jot down ideas or keep a WIP on track. And if they don’t use them, that’s fine. Plenty of writers out there with a unused journal collection. You know who you are.

Buy More Books

Sometimes, all we want is to escape reality and curl up with a good book. If you or another writer read or write a specific genre, buy a book from that genre. Or share a book that you are reading that made you think of them. One of my favorites is Lin-Manuel Miranda’s G’Morning, G’Night: Little Pep Talks for Me and You. I open that book anytime I’m feeling blue.


While my blog may be a small platform, I still want to do my part in encouraging and supporting writers during this chaotic time. To anyone reading this, spread a little love to all the creatives out there. We’re in this together. Let’s fight negativity with creativity.

Stay safe and keep writing, writer bees!

– Lady Jabberwocky

Pen Name VS. Real Name: The Great Writer Debate

Hello writer bees!

So, lately, I’ve noticed a heated debate within the writing community. When you finally publish a story, should you use your real name or a pen name? For aspiring authors, it’s a tough question. Have no fear, I’m here to help!

Today, I’m taking a look at the pros and cons of both sides of the argument, to help you decide what name will be printed on your book cover.

See the source image

Pros of a Pen Name

  • The power on anonymity: Some people find freedom in using a new moniker. And If you are sharing a personal life story, you can keep it private. Your boss and your church friends won’t have any idea.
  • Choose a more ‘writerly’ name: Create a memorable, eye catching name that suits the genre you are writing in. Pen names give you a chance to give yourself the name you’ve always wanted.
  • Dip your toe in multiple genres. Be fluid and experiment in various genres with multiple personas. And if you fail to sell enough books, simply reinvent yourself.

Cons of a Pen Name

  • Difficult Marketing: It’s harder to spread the word on your book under a nom de plume. Keeping your true identity a secret may hurt your book promoting process.
  • Struggle with building an author-reader connection. And it takes some time for the name to gain recognition.
  • Establishing a brand new persona. With a pen name, you may have to balance a double life. That might mean managing multiple social media accounts and writer websites etc.

Authors That Used Pen Names

  • J.K. Rowling (Joanne Rowling)
  • Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
  • Lewis Carrol (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson)
  • Dr. Seuss (Theodore Seuss Geisel)
  • Stan Lee ( Stanley Martin Lieber)

See the source image

Pros of Using Your Real Name

  • Pride: That’s your name on the cover of the book. Sweet success belongs to you. Some writers dream about seeing their name in a bookstore. It’s a major accomplishment.
  • Easier to promote your work with your real name. Friends, family members, neighbors etc. will know it’s you. And you can do more local promos as well.
  • One name, one identity. No need to manage multiple social media accounts or author websites. Also, forget the hassle or confusion of a fake moniker. Readers and business associates know how to address you.

Cons of Using Your Real Name

  • Your name may sound similar to another famous name. That might cause confusion to readers.
  • You may have a forgettable or fairly common name. (Shout out to the John Smiths of the world.)
  • You are writing within a genre where books written by the opposite gender sell better. Unfortunately, sexism against authors is real.

Would you use a pen name or your real name when you publish a book? And what’s your take on nom de plumes? Talk to me in the comments!

Write with heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

What’s in a Name?: Tips on Naming Characters

Hello hello writer bugs!

I don’t know about you guys, but for me, naming a character is like naming a child.

Whether it’s for a main character or a background character, the names you choose should be significant. Names can tie characters to the setting, to their roots, or just hold a greater symbolic meaning. How do you find the perfect name for a character? I’ve got some tips that are sure to help.

Baby Naming Websites

Baby naming websites for mommies-to-be are actually really helpful. Check out the extensive lists and dredge up some ideas for names. If you are looking for a name that begins with a certain letter or a specific cultural origin, you’ll be able to search names that fit your criteria.

A Name with Meaning

Sometimes, names have a deeper root meaning. And those meanings can fit into a character’s personality. You’d be surprised what some names translate into. Not every reader is going to make those connections, however, you, as the author, will know. A meaningful name may influence a character’s identity.

For my MC, his first name is Graham, which means ‘grey home’. That image really connects with his gloomy and mysterious personality.

Historical Context 

If your story takes place in another time period, keep in mind the historical context. Names that are common today may not have been 100 years ago. Find out what names were common at the time. If you Google something like ‘names from 1920s’, a list of popular names from the 1920s will probably pop up.

Also, check the Social Security Administration website for ranked list of common names of the decade. It’s pretty useful, and it’ll give you a feel for the time period and what inspired names during that era.

Sound it Out

When in doubt, sound it out. Say the name out loud. If it doesn’t sound right, or its difficult to pronounce, or just sounds like a mouthful, then something’s off. Keep trying. Once you’ve found a name that suits your character, it should just click. Like, “huh, that one sounds right.”

Consider the Entire Cast

Try not to have characters’ names sound similar, or readers may be confused. Think about your fictional crew as a whole and note if names sound too alike. By differentiating characters, readers will have an easier time following the story and connecting with individual characters.

One time, in fiction writing class, a classmate had two characters named Flip and Clip. Unironically. Don’t have a Flip and Clip in your story. I’m still confused about it.


How do you go about naming your characters? Lemme know in the comments!

Write with heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

Become a Patron! // Writing Services // Follow Me on Twitter

Main Character Name Reveal (And Staying Positive)

Hello Writer Bugs!

It was been a rough week for me. Job hunting is difficult. Rejection is disheartening. I’m working on staying positive and strong, and learning how to keep my head above water in tough times. Shout out to my amazing boyfriend for keeping me afloat when I was drowning. I don’t know where I’d be without his unwavering love and support.

On the plus side, I think my main character for my WIP finally has a new name. For those of you who have been following my journey as a fiction writer, you’ll know that I’ve been wanting to change the name of my main character, after 5 years. Since this is a small milestone for me, and a brighter point in my week, I thought I’d share with you guys.

Drumroll please, writer bees! My detective’s new name is…

Graham Ward Barnaby or Private Detective G.W. Barnaby

This may not seem like a big deal to most of you, but to me, this is a well needed change. Personally, I put a lot of thought into character names. They have to look and sound like a given name found in the real world (in the right time period). Now, his name is still subject to change but for now, I think this name suits him well (both as a full name and as initials). I’m happy with the next chapter in my beloved character’s evolution. And who knows? You might see Detective Barnaby is another project of mine. Wink wink.

Thank you guys for always being so sweet and supportive of this little ol’ blog. It means more to me than words can express. You writer bugs keep me going, and keep me writing.

What do you think of his new name? Have you ever made a major change to your main character? Talk to me in the comments, I’d love to hear from you!

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

4 Story Clichés to Avoid At All Costs

Hey Writer Bees!

Hope life is treating you better than usual.

Today, we are talking about clichés. Those overused and utterly boring plot devices that drag a story down into the abyss of unoriginality. Here are four clichés to avoid so your story can shine in all it’s original and spectacular glory.

Describing Self in Mirror

See the source image

I confess, I’m guilty of this one. It’s tricky to describe what a first person narrator looks like. But it is unrealistic. How many times have you looked at your reflection and described yourself to yourself? Unless your narrator is incredibly self indulgent and narcissistic, talking about one’s reflection is a cheap trick. And some find it a bit lazy.

Instead, leave it up to the reader’s imagination. Let them create an image of the character themselves. Or, have another character make a comment about one’s appearance. This will throw subtle hints to the reader about what the narrator looks like. Maybe something like, “Wow, your hair has grown so long!” or “You look just like your father.”

You know what I mean? You know what I mean.

All Hail, The Chosen One

Image result for chosen one character

Yeah, that’s right, I’m calling out characters like Harry Potter and Frodo and (I’m so sorry) King Arthur. Fight me. Many fantasy stories have this idea of the Chosen One, the guy who is destined to save the world, defeat the big baddie, find or destroy the magical item. The fates have decided that this is THE guy to do all that. And he happens to still be in high school or college.

Truthfully? No divine intervention required. Your hero does not need to be chosen by destiny to be special. Heroes aren’t born, they’re created. Just because they were “chosen”, does not make them heroic in nature. It just forces a character into a role. Make your character a hero worth rooting for. Give them the motivation behind their good deeds and give their true purpose to defeat evil wherever it lurks.

What a Knockout

Image result for anime  fainting

Did a character suddenly fall unconscious? And they wake up in another location? That’s a weak transition. And if that were to happen in real life, you’d need to rush to the hospital, not the next scene. Having a character faint just to move to another location quickly is overly dramatic and far too convenient. There are ways to ease into a new setting and make for a more graceful transition. Try and figure out how to move the plot along some other way.

Bad Parents Make Bad People

Big cliché alert. Antagonist who are products of horrible childhoods. It’s touch to justify a jerk of a character and his or hers bad behavior. And things like abuse or cruel parents make the evil character easy to forgive. No, I’m not trying to belittle someone’s tragic backstory. And yes, these things do happen in real life. However, I’m just saying , It can’t be that simple to explain away their flaws and their poor choice.

The only way to combat this tired cliché is to really focus on characterization. Give him or her a better reason to be a jerk than their bad parents. And keep in mind, not every antagonist comes from a broken home. Think about the jerks that come from perfectly lovely families. Now that’s scary.

Only You Can Tell Your Story

While some clichés are tough to avoid, let your story speak for itself. Don’t copy parts from other books or movies. Pick those boring clichés out with a tweezer and let your originality stand on it’s own. Turn stereotypes on it’s head and leave dull plot lines in the dust.

What’s one cliché in writing you can’t stand? Let me know in the comments. And don’t forget to check out the tip jar.

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

The Work In Progress Tag

Hello everyone!

Now that we are in 2019, I have a couple new year’s resolutions. One of them is to work on my WIP, my novel. So what better tag to start off the new year with than the W.I.P tag? Found this on The Shameful Narcissist‘s blog. Hope you guys enjoy.

And psst! No judging my work in progress. It’s still in progress.

1. What is the working title of your book?

The title, drumroll please, is The Case of the Drowned Mermaid. Add the bright lights and the confetti. And as of now, I’m pretty sure that will be the title of the finished product. I wanted the title to be reminiscent of classic murder mysteries, like ‘The Murder in the Rue Morgue.” Also, in the story, it’s the name the narrator dubs the case him and the Detective are investigating.

2. Where did the idea come from?

I’ve had the idea for my detective for about 5 years. When I entered college, I had an interest in mysteries and began reading the Sherlock Holmes stories. And then, I asked myself, “If I created a detective and sidekick, what would they be like?” Soon after, the detective and his partner were born. Sometimes, characters and ideas are born by asking yourself “what if?”

The idea for the actual murder in the murder mystery is a whole other story. This wasn’t going to be a simple point-and-shoot kind of mystery, those aren’t my Detective’s cup of tea. The more peculiar cases are more interesting, right? Next to my love of mysteries, there is an equal love of fantasy stories. I love fairytales and magic and “the strange and unusual”. I did a lot of research on the 1920s and freak shows at the time. And being a New Yorker, I’m a train ride away from Coney Island. A vague story line, centered around a dead sideshow performer, seemed to just fall into place. 

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Mystery/Detective fiction would be my WIP’s genre. I wanted it to be a twist on a classic murder mystery. My detective isn’t like typical detectives, nor is his partner like Watson. My mystery solving duo is complex, have flaws, and stray away from tradition.

Also, there’s a bit of romance, humor and historical fiction thrown into the pot too.

Image result for detective gif

4. Which actors would play your characters in the movie adaptation?

Wow, hard to imagine my rough first draft as a full fledged movie. But sure, I’ll play along. I have two main characters and a list of suspects. This is a murder mystery after all. I’m just going to focus on those two. So, Detective H.B. Cooper is a long-in-the-tooth private detective, from Great Britain. Perceptive and irritable, he has a gifted memory and a crippled leg.  Now, I’m not sure who would play him in a movie. Maybe a bearded Ian McKellan?

Image result for ian mckellen
Image result for andrew garfield gif

On the other hand, I know exactly who would play the detective’s assistant, Oscar Fitzgerald. Andrew Garfield would be perfect. I always imagine Oscar with that cocky, playful smirk. He’s a young man, living it up in the 1920s. Sarcastic and cheeky, he looks after Mr. Cooper, in more ways than more. I like to think they make a pretty good team.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

How to condense my life’s work into one sentence. Hmm…

When a sideshow mermaid is found floating belly up, Detective H.B. Cooper and his associate, Oscar Fitzgerald, unravel a mystery surrounding her untimely death.

Peek your interest? Man, I hope so.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft?

That’s a complicated answer. See, I was working on one mystery, with the same cast of characters. Then, I basically started over. I changed the murder in my murder mystery. After I scraped a lot of written material, a new plot rose from the ashes.

My first draft, of about 20,000 words, was finished around Christmas. It took a decent couple of months. Participating in National Novel Writing Month really pushed me to write. Slowly, but surely, this little draft will grow into something bigger and better. So, short answer, a good six months, at least.

8. What other books will you compare your book to?

I feel as though my humble draft is unworthy and cannot be compared to published masterpieces. If I had to compare, It’d have to be a Hercule Poirot book.

Image result for poirot gif littler grey cells

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

With a genuine interest in mysteries, I took a Detective Fiction class in Hunter college. There, I read all the greats, like Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie, Edgar Allen Poe, and Raymond Chandler. Those authors really inspired me to write a story like this.

10. What else about your book might pique a reader’s interest?

Lots of things, hopefully. Call me a perfectionist, but I hold myself to an unreachably high standard. And if I ever do achieve my goal, I want it to be real page turner.

  • A Death at a Coney Island Sideshow
  • The 1920s at it’s Best, and Worst
  • An Unlikely Partnership
  • A Detective with Golden Eyes and an Extraordinary Memory
  • Suspicious Suspects
  • The Anti Femme Fatale
  • Sarcasm and Humor mixed with Mystery
  • The Biggest Plot Twist Surprise Ending EVER 



And there you have it. Let me know what you think of my novel idea. Be kind, all things start from somewhere. If you’ve got a Work In Progress, proudly show it off in the comments, I’d love to know what you guys are working on.

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

Words for Writers Wednesday: Read Everything

For you, as a writer,

to achieve great heights,

you need a solid foundation.

Every writer should read everything.

The good stuff. The bad stuff.

The classics. The new releases.

Every genre, every style, every kind of voice.

Read it all.

And once you have that solid foundation

that foundation of stories will become a launch pad

for the stories you will write.


I have this pet peeve of people who stick to only one genre. Yes, of course, you can love a specific genre or writing style. I love stories of fantasy and mystery. But there’s so much more out there. Don’t be afraid to read outside of your usual once in a while. And you never know what will inspire you.

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky