GoodreadsLogo02One sure way to improve your writing is to read–a lot. You also need to read outside your comfort zone. If you plan to write fantasy, and fantasy is all you ever read, then your writing will never be more than a mirror.

Starting today, James River Writers will help you broaden your reading options with our first ever reading group on Each month we plan to select two books. One will be intended for adult readers with a second book focused on younger audiences. The books will feature some of our past and upcoming speakers from our annual Writers Conference and monthly Writing Show. Whenever possible, we plan to invite the writers and editors to join us in the discussion on the message boards.

MarchGoodreads01Our first books feature speakers from our 2012 Writers Conference. How do you give your readers the chills? Editor Phil Ford will join us in March as we read his book Richmond Macabre: Nightmares from the River City. We’ll also show you how to thrill your readers with our March Young Adult selection: Malinda Lo’s Adaptation. Lo’s novel will take you on fast-paced ride through an alien, sci-fi conspiracy.

We’re happy to say that both Ford and Lo have agreed to take part in some of our message board discussions. We hope our members will embrace this opportunity to improve their craft by learning from the pros. Not all of the discussion will focus on the craft, though. We also intend to let readers offer their thoughts on the books. If you know someone who’s looking for a good story to devour, then invite them to join our Goodreads group.

LydiaNetzer175aAll too often, our conference attendees never get to interact with our speakers until the big event in October. This year will change that. Now’s your chance to meet some of our future speakers online and join in the excitement of our upcoming conference. In April, we’ll introduce you to one of our 2013 headliners Lydia Netzer. Her novel Shine Shine Shine, which is also a New York Times Notable Book for 2012, is partly set in a historic neighborhood in Norfolk, and is about robots, motherhood, NASA, true love, and the dangers of fitting in. The 2012 Los Angeles Times Book Prizes has also selected Lydia’s novel as a finalist for the Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction.

We hope you’ll join us for the launch of our reading group and enjoy this year’s many selections as we lead up to the 2013 James River Writers Conference!

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