How to find a Read-A-Like

Dear Fellow Journalers,

If you read series books, I have mentioned my favorites in the past (Murder She Wrote, Cosy Mystery series from Joanne Fluke and Miranda James) when you’re either waiting for the author’s next book or just wanting to find a read-a-like, where do you find it?  This article from the Cheshire Library Blog may help you.


New post on The Cheshire Library Blog

How to Find a Read-alike by Mary

If you are like me, when I find a series I love I burn through it in record time and then am left mourning that I have finished the series. Finding a new series can be difficult, so invariably I turn to NoveList for help.

NoveList is an online database that offers recommended reading lists. You can sort by age and genre and even by topics such as “fast-paced and amusing” or “moving and haunting” and even “snarky and compelling”. However my favorite part of NoveList is the Read-alike links.

If you type in a book title or author, NoveList will produce a list of results that include three very handy links: Title Read-alikes, Author Read-Alikes and Series Read-alikes.

What is a Read-alike?

A read-alike is a book, author, or series that shares some of the basic characteristics of another book, author, or series. It means that if you enjoy, say, author Marcia Muller, you may also like books by Laurie R. King, Kate Wilhelm, or Iain Pears,

For example, type in Lord Peter Wimsey (one of my favorite British mystery sleuths), click on Series Read-alikes, and you will get a list of recommendations that include the Phryne Fisher mysteries by Kerry Greenwood (stories that have also been turned into a wonderful BBC drama: Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries) and the Adam Dalgliesh mysteries by P.D. James, among many others.

Bingo! Two more series just waiting to be devoured.

Try NoveList. It works!

Writing in the midst of Covid19

Dear Felllow Journalers,

It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything about mindfulness. Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about ways to cope with all the negative feelings I’ve been having. As this forced isolation goes on, and some  areas reopen, we  all hold our collective  breath and hope that life will go back to normal. There are so many things that try to drive us down. Death and fear, loneliness and isolation, lack of food and jobs, anger and violence. We wonder if the world is coming to an end. We loose hope. We think that there are no longer any good people in the world.

We all try and find new ways to cope. It’s to hot to craft so I write stories. A friend of mine tries out new recipes,  a neighbor makes scrapbooks, in short, we all try to forget. Some of us, those not working, spend a lot more time watching tv.

So, this month, I thought I’d go back to my roots. More ideas about getting ourselves to hope, to love, to join the human race- to fight stress, to listen to music and to find ourselves, our best selves.

The video below is a good start:



Music has the power

Check out Endless Ocean by Instrumental Piano Music on Amazon Music trackAsin=B003VNH1H8&ref=dm_sh_x0ofugA8aBosxDZW2FRig8nn1


Follow the blog this month for new ways to cope during these trying times!




“Remember you can’t reach what’s in front of you, until you let go of what’s behind you.”


Dear Fellow Journalers,

I knew I had to advance the plot in keeping with the timeline I had set up. The problem was that I  had no idea how to do it. Then one weekend, I happened upon a BookTv program. The author was talking about my very problem! He solved his dilemma by mentioning the season in the first paragraph of each chapter. I was reminded of the movie “Notting Hill” where the main character walked through a familiar place in rain, next shot -snow; next shot – springtime flowers; next shot- falling leaves.

Instead of taking the whole story apart, I took one chapter at a time, making sure to number them to agree with the outline. I advanced my timeline by describing the actions of the characters. One of the things that helped was I put the month on the chapter.

I took my time, proof-reading at night, spell checking at the end of each chapter. At first, doing the ‘re-write I would discard passages then delete them but as I stretched the Story, I began to save the passages for future stories.

I was also mindful of the time period I was writing about. Not being familiar with the 1870-1880’s western USA I skimmed things on the internet about travel time for mail, passengers, medicine, illnesses, food preparation etc. I started a new section called Research. I also subscribed to a western magazine.

I found out that I was using the term “he said” way to much, so I found more action verbs:

  • He mumbled
  • He spoke gently
  • He whispered
  • He grumbled
  • Putting his hands on his hips, he took a stand, saying forcefully
  • He snapped
  • He howled
  • He grunted
  • He whined
  • He questioned
  • He hissed
  • He complained
  • He replied
  • He stated
  • He argued
  • He interrupted
  • He moaned

And instead of repeating ” he stood”:

  • He jumped
  • He snapped up, to attention
  • He struggled upward
  • He eased himself down
  • He drew himself up to his full height

Oh and one day, while playing with a “character conversation” I found my title:

The Reluctant Imposter




“Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.”


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