I wish you a fantastic 2013

I hope you will...

Write the story you want to read.

Be the person you want to meet.

Count the flowers in your garden, more than the leaves that fall.

I hope you'll always find something to be thankful for.

Thank you for everything you've done with me and for me in 2012.

- Raum


Two years ago, at the beginning of the Xmas break, a friend on Twitter gave me a good advice. I used to share my TwiFic recs on Twitter, and she suggested me to put them on a web page, telling the reason why I'd liked those stories. 

A few hours later, the first post of MyReadingLounge was on the web. Now you can find MRL also on Facebook and Tumblr.

Thank you for all the love you've given to this little blog so far! 

Over the past 24 months, so many people have made this website special. 

“My Best Friend is a person who will give me a book I have not read.” ― Abraham Lincoln

Thanks to Camilla, whose enthusiasm is always extraordinary. To Fany, who never misses a shot with her fabulous recs. To Lissa Bryan, an amazing writer who finds the best writing tips. To JMolly and Holly, who so often leave their comments. Thanks to... 

40 writers who contributed to the Writing Lab. New guestposts are always welcome!
Over 60 authors of recommended stories -- you can choose among TwiFics, Original Novels, and free books for your enjoyment. And if you want to recommend a story, just let me know!

More than 70 faithful followers!

18 affiliates -- those websites rock!

More than 30,000 visitors!

Have a blessed Xmas and a Happy New Year.

Happy 2nd Birthday, MyReadingLounge!


The last chapter of
is waiting for you. It's my way to wish you Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year.

Summary: "A man struggling to escape from the darkness, and a woman who thinks she doesn't deserve the light. How will an ice sculpture affect their lives?" AU with vampires.

Each chapter has its own image.

Thanks for reading! Reviewers get a poem.

"...savoring every moment of the most beautiful night of her life."
"Their future stretches before them, full of possibilities. [...] All that is certain is that they will be together."


I'm working on a new story, and I hope to post the first chapter in January 2013. Stay tuned!


MyReadingLounge has a page on Facebook! Come say "Ciao!" 


I've found the perfect article for this last post of the Writing Lab before Xmas. You might remember that a well-known article by Chuck Palahniuk on Showing vs. Telling was featured on the Writing Lab a few months ago.

Chuck Palahniuk

This time, you can get not just one, but 13 writing tips from such a renowned author. Go read:

A Christmas Stocking of Writing Tips from Chuck Palahniuk

My favorite is this one.

"Surprise yourself. If you can bring the story - or let it bring you - to a place that amazes you, then you can surprise your reader. The moment you can see any well-planned surprise, chances are, so will your sophisticated reader."

I wish you a wonderful Xmas, and I hope that in the New Year you'll get to write the book you want to read.


Thanks to Lissa Bryan's and Camilla's suggestions, I'm pleased to recommend an article by Donya Linne and a book by Jill Elizabeth Nelson

In her book Rivet Your Readers with Deep Point of View, Nelson -- award-winning author and writing teacher -- helps fellow writers to anchor their readers inside the point of view character(s) of their novels, and she teaches the transformation from ordinary narrative to deep narrative

In her article  

Donya Linne comments Nelson's book and deals with these topics:
  • What is Deep POV? 
  • Phrases and Words that Scream "Shallow POV" as Opposed To Deep 
  • The Five Senses...If You Tell Us the Senses, You're Not Deep Enough 
  • Avoid Naming Feelings and Emotions If You Want to Go Deep 
  • Prepositional Tells - Ditch 'em 

I've found those suggestions very effective, and I hope Donya Linne's article and Jill Elizabeth Nelson's book will help you as well.

As usual, your comments are welcome!

- Raum


Bella and Edward have made up their mind. Will he stay? Will she move with him? The new chapter of
will provide the answers.

Summary: "A man struggling to escape from the darkness, and a woman who thinks she doesn't deserve the light. How will an ice sculpture affect their lives?" AU with vampires.

Each chapter has its own image.

Thanks for reading! Reviewers get a poem.
The next chapter is due to be posted in two weeks; it will be the last one.


Carnelian and Ice has been nominated as Best WIP featured in 2012 at Rob Attack Fan Fiction Fridays

Would you vote?


MyReadingLounge has a page on Facebook! Come say "Ciao!" 


We've recently talked about Mary Whitney's novel, A Political Affair.

Today we're meeting one of the main characters...drum roll please...Senator Helen Sanders!

The book is now available: http://ph.thewriterscoffeeshop.com/books/detail/71
Good morning, Senator Sanders. Would you please introduce yourself to our readers who may not be familiar with your story?

You’re not familiar with my story? But I’m sure you’ve heard my name before. I’m Senator Helen Sanders from Idaho. My family has dominated Republican politics in Idaho for a few generations. Of course, I’m the first woman to have risen to this high of an elected office. 

What are you going to sacrifice in order to achieve your goals?

To be honest, my goal in life is to sacrifice nothing. My father was a World War II buff, and he always quoted General Patton to me. The goal of war is not to die for your country. It’s to make the other guy die for his.

What do you expect from your partner in a romantic relationship?

I expect unconditional love and allegiance. This is why I love my fiancĂ© so much—he’s devoted to me.

What do you consider are your strengths?

I think my greatest asset is my ability to get people to do things they don’t want to do. I also won’t take “no” for an answer. I always get what I want.

What's the best thing your political career has given you? And the worst?

Politics has given me power—the power to change people’s lives. It is a huge honor and responsibility. Unfortunately, being in politics has also made my personal life a public matter. Believe me. I could do without that.

Would you tell us something we don't know about your writer -- Mary Whitney?

Mary Whitney is a bleeding heart liberal, but she simply adores me, so I can’t fault her too much.
Thanks, Senator Sanders!

Author Bio:

Even before she graduated from law school, Mary Whitney knew she wasn’t cut out to be a real lawyer. Drawn to politics, she’s spent her career as an organizer, lobbyist, and nonprofit executive. Nothing piques her interest more than a good political scandal or romance, and when she stumbled upon writing, she put the two together. A born Midwesterner, naturalized Texan, and transient resident of Washington, D.C., Mary now lives in Northern California with her two daughters and real lawyer husband.

Summary of A Political Affair:

Stephen McEvoy never expected to fill his father’s U.S. Senate seat at such a young age—or to fight to keep it. When clever Anne Norwood interns in his office, Stephen dismisses her as another pretty face—until her independent streak catches his attention. They’re both too smart to fall for one another, yet they do. During a tough election, their relationship is an impossible political gamble. Campaigns—like love—are either won or lost.


I'm glad to announce that many of my writing buddies are now NaNoWriMo winners (congrats!). Among them, today we're meeting Lissa Bryan, who during this NaNoWriMo has been working on her third novel.

Isn't it a great news?
Lissa Bryan is the fabulous author of Ghostwriter (have you read the interview with its main character?) and of The End of All Things

Today she's talking with us about her NaNoWriMo experience, with some exciting news about her upcoming new novel.


NaNoWriMo was good for me (by Lissa Bryan)

I’m so busy these days, I struggle to find time to write. Social media, blog posts (both mine and guest posts) answering emails and PMs, plus trying to finish the last few chapters of my fanfic story. I saw a blogger once say he was too busy being an author to write, and I began to commiserate with that statement. I found myself saying frequently, “I’ll do this stuff today and write tomorrow.”

I started work on my third novel back in May and by October, I’d barely made a dent in it. First, I had the edits on my second novel to complete and then it seemed like there was something else always waiting for my attention. I started seeing the posts for National Novel Writing Month and it was like a light at the end of the tunnel.

Here was something that would force me to focus. It had accountability and I’d be forced to keep on track. A participant has to enter their daily word count, and then sees a chart showing where they should be. The daily word count recalculates based on your progress, so losing a day of progress adds to the number of words you’ll need to produce in the future to reach 50,000.

1,600 words a day. I remember when I used to produce 5,000 word chapters per night without breaking a sweat. But as soon as I began writing novels, my word count plunged. I know why: I’m taking it too seriously. I need to return to those days when I could “write like no one is reading.”

That’s what NaNoWriMo is all about: speed and progress, getting that first draft out of your head and into the hard drive, and letting go of your worries about editing, grammar or how to word that sentence just right. It can always be corrected later; what can’t be fixed is a blank page.

My goal was to finish the first draft of the entire story, but as I learned during my early fanfic days, I’m terrible at estimating story length. I reached my NaNo word count goal of 50K, and I’m still only about halfway through the storyline.
What I loved most about NaNo was the spirit of community among participants. Other writers set different goals and we cheered when they met them, whatever their word count was. Because NaNo isn’t only about hitting a certain number, it’s about the war against the blank page. And whether you hit the 50K mark or the 5K mark, you’re a winner in that war.


Thank you, Lissa, and congrats again!

Lissa Bryan's new novel will be available in January 2013! Don't miss it.

The NaNoWriMo is over, and I've written a post for Lissa Bryan's blog, discussing my experience.

Go read:

NaNoWriMo Was an Unexpected Success for Me


Has Edward figured out the truth about the mysterious I.S. Carnelian? The 8th chapter of
contains the answer.

Summary: "A man struggling to escape from the darkness, and a woman who thinks she doesn't deserve the light. How will an ice sculpture affect their lives?" AU with vampires.

Each chapter has its own image.

This chapter's kiss

Pilgrim at Sea, by Par Lagerkvist - the book plays a role in the chapter

Worthington Glacier, near Valdez -- Bella goes there often

Worthington Glacier

The story is due to be updated in two weeks.

Thanks for reading! Reviewers get a poem.

MyReadingLounge has a page on Facebook! Come say "Ciao!" 


While she's in Edward's loving arms, vampBella reveals more about her story. The 7th chapter of
is ready for you.

Summary: "A man struggling to escape from the darkness, and a woman who thinks she doesn't deserve the light. How will an ice sculpture affect their lives?" AU with vampires.

Each chapter has its own image.

Valdez, Alaska
Thompson Pass, Valdez, Alaska

The story is due to be updated every Monday.

Thanks for reading! Reviewers get a poem.

MyReadingLounge has a page on Facebook! Come say "Ciao!" 

My friend Camilla has posted a new one shot. Go read

"This One Shot is inspired by Breaking Dawn 2 and by Alice's vision - the vision that couldn't be. In Canon with the movie."


In A Political Affair, Mary Whitney tells us the story of a young and brilliant senator, scion of a political dynasty, and of a young intern working in his office.
"Yeah," one could think, "same old, same old..." Well, not exactly. Suspend your judgment, please (and forget about the Oval Room). Are you ready to meet Stephen and Anne?

Senator Stephen McEvoy has inherited his seat from his father, but now he has to earn it, against an ultra conservative Republican opponent. And polls are not that good. Fortunately the McEvoy family is strong and loving; Stephen's two sisters help him to run his campaign, and he can count on his mother's support. She's a powerful political matriarch, and Washington DC has no secrets for her.
In his romantic life Stephen is not as lucky as in his political career. Still unmarried at 32, he's had a string of liaisons, from vapid starlets to lady parliamentarians, but as we get to know him better, thanks to the amazing way Mary Whitney introduces him, it becomes evident that he's not happy, nor satisfied. He probably had to start his political career too early – due to his father’s death – and the responsibilities stifled him, warping his sentimental growth. His adventures are more stress relief than anything else.

Enters Anne Norwood. She's the new intern, preparing for her history major and, interestingly, her thesis is about another forbidden relationship: the one between Thomas Jefferson and his slave.
Anne comes from a Republican family - her father is a local District Attorney in Colorado – but her parents are open minded and wouldn’t dream to coerce her politically. On the Senator’s side, they decide she doesn't pose a security risk, because her credentials are good. So she's hired. At the beginning, McEvoy is Anne’s political hero. But when she gets the chance to see him from a short distance, she notices how he's also charming and sexy. Without even realizing it at first, she falls for him. Stephen's attitude changes as well. On discovering that Anne is brilliant, sharp and very pretty, he's smitten too.

However, Stephen and Anne are too responsible just to give in to passion. They know how this kind of adventure can destroy political careers – should it be known. They both love their families and are aware of their duties toward them. Can they conceal their feelings? Could they content themselves with being just friends – and from a distance – until he is re-elected and she has concluded her internship?

Most of the plot is about this struggle, but nothing of it is cliché. Stephen's family takes a surprising role, and the main characters find an original way out. For these reasons the novel is so good to read.

But the UST of the first part of the story is not the only reason that makes A Political Affair so captivating; the political setting is quite interesting, too. Unless you're an expert of the inner workings of Washington DC, you'll find a lot to learn in this novel, thanks to Mary Whitney's extensive research about party politics, campaign financing, shady deals, compromises and even soft blackmailing. We bet you'll feel that Stephen deserve to win the day, both as lover and as a politician who has a streak of morality well above the average.

So, when Election day arrives you’ll be biting your nails.

Camilla & Raum

The book is available!

Mary Whitney, A Political Affair
published by The Writer's Coffee Shop


Do you trust Bella? Do you believe she cares for Edward? Or will the monster be stronger? The 6th chapter of
will provide the answers to the questions above.

Summary: "A man struggling to escape from the darkness, and a woman who thinks she doesn't deserve the light. How will an ice sculpture affect their lives?" AU with vampires.

Each chapter has its own image.

The story is due to be updated every Monday.

Thanks for reading! Reviewers get a poem.

MyReadingLounge has a page on Facebook! Come say "Ciao!" 


What happens when a chain is broken, and Edward is set free? What does the chain mean in Bella's sculpture? The 5th chapter of
is ready for you.

Summary: "A man struggling to escape from the darkness, and a woman who thinks she doesn't deserve the light. How will an ice sculpture affect their lives?" AU with vampires.

Each chapter has its own image.

The story is due to be updated every Monday.

A part of Bella's sculpture
Ice Flames

"Writing on ice...can you believe it? The sculptor must be so skilled."

Thanks for reading! Reviewers get a poem.



The Stand Up for Katalina fundraising has been a success!
With so much interest in the compilation, the donation period has been extended. If you send your donation receipt by Nov 8th, you'll get the compilation on Nov 10.

I've made three banners for this noble initiative. The compilation is really awesome, so don't miss the opportunity to donate...and please spread the news!

It Shouldn't Happen to a Cow, by JMolly (author of Cats and Dogs)

Tempt Not a Desperate Woman, by Nachos4Children
Did You Forget? by AngelycDevil

- Raum


Like a carnivorous flower, vampires are physically attractive to their prey. The 4th chapter of
is now available.

Summary: "A man struggling to escape from the darkness, and a woman who thinks she doesn't deserve the light. How will an ice sculpture affect their lives?" AU with vampires.

Each chapter has its own image.

The story is due to be updated every Monday.

A blooming Darlingtonia
Thanks for reading! Reviewers get a poem.


MyReadingLounge has a page on Facebook! Come say "Howdy!"


Have you ever heard of the NaNoWriMo? It's an annual novel writing project that brings together writers from all over the world. Look! It begins on November 1st!

Basically, on November 1, you begin writing a novel. It can be a new fanfiction, or an original project; it doesn't matter. But what matters is that your goal is to write at least 50,000-word by midnight, local time, on November 30th.


Do you need some encouragement?

The fandom and Project Team Beta want to help you!

Various authors and sites have come together to host a WC every day in November. That’s hours of scheduled writing time just for you to keep you on track with your goal!
What is a WC? A group of authors who meet in a specific location to discuss their writing and, most importantly, write for a set amount of time. 

Here's the schedule:

Do you need a little bit of incentive? What about a giveaway?

Every Fandom NaNo WC you participate in counts as an entry into the Scrivener Giveaway. Two winners will be chosen on December 1, 2012. 

Scrivener is a powerful content-generation tool for writers that allows you to concentrate on composing and structuring long and difficult documents.



We've recently talked about Alexandra Allred's novel, Damaged Goods.

MyReadingLounge is very happy to say "Welcome!" to this great author for today's stop of the Blog Tour. 

Today we're meeting a special person: Damaged Goods' main character, Joanna Lucas. She has an amazing story to tell, and I bet she'll reveal something about her author...

Hi Joanna! Would you please introduce yourself to our readers who may not be familiar with your story?

I still can't believe people are listening to our story.  It's all so surreal. I never meant for this to become such a big deal.  Or, at least, I never imagined being a part of something so big. I am just an everyday woman who tried to start a life over after leaving my unfaithful and abusive husband. But I guess I should back up.  For a proper introduction, my name is Joanna Lucas.  I moved from the Hamptons after a very public, very messy divorce and hoped to renovate an old farm house and establish myself in a quiet, sleepy town.  Boy, was I ever wrong!

What do you do for a living?
Today, I am so proud to say I am living a dream as a sculptor and I run an animal sanctuary. I never fully believed in my own talent as an artist until I moved to Marcus and met my amazing friends.  Before my move to Texas, I was always told I was wasting my time, that I wasn't any good and I believed it. Who would have believed a crazy protest, an outrageous act of rebellion could have set me on course to live a dream? I still can't believe it. As for the animal sanctuary, I laugh almost every time I think about it.  Me! I, along with my friends, run a non-profit organization that rescues, feeds and houses exotic animals that were abused and/or thrown away by careless and thoughtless people. It is an honor to do this.  It's a tribute to someone we love.  Again, it's crazy.  It is a crazy life I live.
Where do you live?
I live in Marcus, Texas.
In one of the first chapters of Damaged Goods it's said that you're reading a book. I bet you like reading. Which books are you taking with you in Texas?

This is such a fun question.  You know, I was a bit of a book snob before my adventure began.  I have always loved biographies, history and historical fiction. When I moved to Marcus, I did have several boxes full of books that included The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot, Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President by Candice Millard, Close to Shore by Michael Capuzzo, Weird Sisters by Elanor Brown and books by one of my favorite author, Erik Larson.  But today, you would never believe what books I have on my nightstand. Raising Emus: The Proud Bird that Lays the Emerald Egg by Carrol Ridlen, Real Stories of Big Cat Rescues: Tales from the Exotic Feline Rescue Center by Melanie Bowlin, A Wolf and His Man by Elizabeth Parr and We Bought A Zoo by Benjamin Mee. Oh, how my life has changed!

Your new home in Texas represents the new life you're beginning. Are you going there alone? Do you have a family?

When I moved to Marcus, I truly thought I was all alone.  I come from a very dysfunctional family, riddled with addictions and, well, denial.  This is difficult to discuss but I knew at a very early age that the only way I would survive was if I escaped.  I guess that was how I wound up with my ex-husband.  At the time, he seemed like the solution.  Well, his money seemed like the solution.  I had been so poor, I thought that money would solve my problems. All I managed to do was move from one dysfunctional family to another.  When I moved to Marcus, I thought I was done with people.  I didn't trust anyone.  I didn't want to trust anyone because it places you in a very vulnerable position. But now I have a family.  And I never knew that family could be like this.  We have a trust, a kind of bond that I cannot describe.  I love my sisters.  I love my husband.  And, yes, I consider my animals to be very much a part of the family.

What about your friends? What role does friendship have in your life?
They found me.  I was lost.  I was so lost and didn't even know it.  But these insane, crazy, nutty women just swooped into my life and changed my world.  The didn't just find me, they discovered me.  Until they came into my life I didn't know who I was.  Now I do and I owe them everything.

What do you consider are your strengths?
My strength is my home.  Shady Land. I know that might sound a bit odd but my home is our base for ... for everything.  We, the group of us, built our home despite the fire, big industry and naysayers.  We built this home in honor of lives lost and for the animals and for us, the survivors.  It is where we all come to love and laugh, celebrate and pay tribute.

If I say "love," do you think about someone -- or something -- in particular?

This makes me smile.  Thank you for asking this because it gives me pause to think about love.  When I came to Marcus, I honestly thought I would know know real love, be it in a sexual relationship or a friendship.  A family?  I just didn't think it existed for me.  So when I hear the word "love" I see the faces of the family I have today.  My girls.  Roberto.  My animals.

Would you tell us something we don't know about your writer -- Alexandra Allred?
She craves a Shady Land of her own.  The daughter of an Military Intelligence Officer, she moved all her life.  Every time she met a friend and felt settled in her new home, new orders came in and the family was packing again.  She dreams of having a home - a safe and healthy home - filled with friends and family (and animals) where she can finally settle down.


Thank you, Joanna, and thank you, Alex Allred!

Here's a gem for our readers!

Meet the real Suzette Lee, Sue Pope, with Alex Allred

Who's the author of Damaged Goods
Alexandra Powe Allred graduated from Texas A&M University with a B.A. in History, saying, "As everyone knows, once you get a degree in history, all you can really do is teach or write. I'm just doing what I can!" As the daughter of a (now retired) U.S. Diplomat, Allred traveled all over the United States and around the world. Her writing career began before graduation with several pieces on bi-lingual education with national education publications.

But the real stories began while living as a youth in Moscow, Russia. Under a communist regime, imagination and the ability to create stories was the very best way to beat boredom (and the freezing cold!). As her career was taking off, Allred embraced her second passion -- sports. She trained for and made the U.S. women's bobsled team in 1994, becoming the first U.S. National Champion. She was named Athlete of the Year by the United States Olympic Committee and garnered much worldwide attention as she was also 4 1/2 months pregnant at the time! Her training regimen was (and is) used by the United States and International Olympic Committees for pregnant athletes. Following her retirement from the sport in 1998, Allred returned to the literary world with The Quiet Storm.

While living in the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid, NY, she was able to talk to Olympic and National athletes from all disciplines and share with sports enthusiasts. From there, her career was launched. She did adventure freelance writing for Sports Illustrated, Muscle & Fitness for Her, and Volvo magazines. She held a sports column, worked as an editor for NOW magazines outside Dallas, Texas and began working as a Clean Air advocate, often testifying before the EPA.

Today, she writes (mostly) fiction, teaches kinesiology classes for Navarro Community College while enjoying her family and animals in Texas.

Thanks to TWCS Publishing House for providing the ARC and the opportunity to participate in the blog tour.


I'd like to share with you my impressions about an article by Kristen Lamb:

The author stresses a lot the importance to write every day. On this, I absolutely agree. A new National Novel Writing Month is beginning in a few days (there will be more about this on MyReadingLounge), and it can provide a great incentive to keep writing.

Among the many tips Kristen Lamb offers to improve your writing, I particularly liked this one: "Understand We Are Capable of More than We Believe". I would have never imagined that I would write stories in a foreign language, that I would write not only one-shots, but even complete novels, and that I would find the support of such a great community of readers and fellow writers. Instead...

Maybe reading Kristen Lamb's article, you'll think "I'd never do this." Never say never!

Is there something you think you'd never accomplish in your writing? Tell me.

Ad Maiora is a latin motto meaning: "to greater things"

If you read 5 Ways to Get Out of the Comfort Zone and Become a Stronger Writer, would you tell me your impressions?

I'd like to thank Lissa Bryan who recommended this article on Facebook.

All the best,

- Raum

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