Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Book Review. The Tyrant King by Cheri Chesley


Here's what the book has to say about itself:
Krystal's peaceful life as queen of Fayterra is shattered when a stranger arrives with a connection to Jareth that threatens to change everything. Soon her loved ones are threatened, her people are under attack, and Krystal must face a devastating loss. As the future becomes bleaker and the mystery continues to unravel, Krystal's enemies will learn just how far she will go to defend the people she loves.

Here's what I have to say about it:

This was a fun read. Krystal was the Peasant Queen (see below) so some of what I say here will be a spoiler for the Peasant Queen. Now that she's married to King Jareth and they have a son and her Sister-in-law's wedding is coming fast, we get to meet the son of King Greggory (the bad guy from the Peasant Queen.) But Krystal didn't know Greggory had a son, so his arrival is a surprise. One they aren't sure what to think of.
Donovan is a good looking friendly type guy, but you can't help wondering about his motives. He comes to the castle to attend his cousin's wedding, and get a feel for the people and life there. Then  he shows his true colors as an angry and jealous man. He wants what would have been his had his father lived to give him the kingdoms he gained by his own betrayals.
Donovan demands the kingdoms be given to him, and when he's refused he wages war against them. Krystal isn't your typical queen. She grew up on a farm and has some ideas that aren't quite in line with a perfect queen, but she isn't going to let anyone stop her from protecting the people and country she loves. Krystal even gets to work some magic, but she doesn't solve her problems with magic, she gets into things by pulling up her sleeves and using a sword. (something I loved since magic can't take care of everything.)
There is sweetness and romance. Kissing and babies, but you don't have to worry about it being inappropriate. No blushing going on here. The romance is throughout the story. The characters are all well developed and I found myself really rooting for them. Though there is war and fighting, and one scene where there's a bit of blood, it isn't going to give you nightmares either. I'd recommend this book to anyone. But I'd also suggest you read the others first. They are available in print or ebook form.

The other books in this series are also available.

  Where we learn about Greggory's mother, and King Jareth's grandmother. (one warning about this. Though it is excellently written and the story is very engaging, it has a non- traditional ending that some readers didn't like. (not your happily ever after, but who really has those all the time anyway.)
  Where we get the story of Krystal who loves Jareth, but is kidnapped by Greggory.

Read the Peasant Queen first, then the Wild Queen, then The Tyrant king if you're looking for what order to start.

check them out on Amazon HERE
Barnes and Noble HERE
Smashwords HERE

See Cheri's website HERE . You can learn how to enter in for a $50 amazon gift card just for reading this review.

Monday, December 3, 2012

What are your days filled with?

I've had some technical difficulties with my blog, but hopefully I've figured them out. And I've been spending more time working on my novels than blogging. I do hope to improve my blogging schedule.

To do that, I'm starting with the goal to do mostly book reviews, some author interviews, and doing some links to things I find interesting when it comes to writing.

First off, I'm going for my 3rd time to LDStorymakers writers conference in May. I've already signed up. I even signed up to do a pitch to a real agent. Just thinking about it makes me nervous, but it's still exciting.
 If you want to know more about LDStorymakers conference go HERE  I've loved it the other times I've gone. It's during mother's day weekend, but it's gonna be my gift to myself and from my husband (who will be staying home with 5 kids to experience "Mommyhood" himself. He'll do great.)

Also, I won NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month. So basically, I wrote 50,000 new words on a new project in the month of November. I also got a certificate, and a cool little button.

I've got 2 projects in the work right now. 2 completed MS. One is ready to send out to agents and publishers by query. The second will be reviewed again to see what needs to happen to get it ready to send out into the world.
So, my days are filled with writing things: Facebook to socialize with people outside my imagination, imaginary friends, magic, betrayal, love, kissing, research, laptop, reading, daydreaming...
 as well as my motherly things: diapers, dinner, lunch, dishes, breakfast, dishes, laundry, diapers, homework, kisses, love, joy, diapers, tantrums, reading board books, and so on...
but I love it all .
What are your days filled with?

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Book Review. BROKEN by C.K. Bryant

Here's what the book say's about itself: 
With Kira injured and dying, Octavion's last hope is to plead with the king of Panthera for a cure. But King Ramla's magic isn't free. The price he asks Octavion to pay goes against everything he's fought so hard to protect and could destroy his bond with Kira. Will Octavion trade his crown and swear allegiance to a kingdom feared by all, or will he sacrifice the woman he loves to remain faithful to his father and Xantara? Find out when BROKEN takes you on a journey into the savage and unpredictable world of Ophira.               

Here's what I have to say about it.

Book 2 is awesome. If you liked Twilight, you'll love this. If you didn't like Twilight, I think you'll still like this. Though Kira is a human in love with a man who craves her blood *spoiler alert if you haven't read book 1 yet*(he's part wild cat from a different planet). Kira is a much stronger character and has lots of spunk. You see how she won't let Octavian control her. I still think he gets too angry, but I guess that happens when you are in his position. The only thing I found annoying about their relationship is that she kept doubting herself too much and doubting his feelings for her. The characters were totally in love, but the romantic scenes never went above a PG rating in my mind. They maintained decent interactions with each other, but I still felt the heat and steam. You don't need to have sex in a book to make it romantic and Mrs. Bryant knew how to make it romance without the smut.
I loved how Mrs. Bryant told the story from his and her viewpoints.
The characters were well developed. The trials and conflict of a new world were there and I loved being able to see this new world through Kira's eyes. The story kept me very engaged, but I almost felt like the main threat never materialized. I know it will come up in book 3 but it was sure forefront in my mind, and when it didn't deliver at the end I was only okay with it because of the way it did end. I seriously can't wait to get my hands on book 3.

C.K Bryant is a great story teller and I've really enjoyed reading these.

For a short time, Book 1 BOUND is free on Amazon. Check it out here

I loved this book and hope you will too. Go check it out on her blog HERE.

Order it from Barnes and Noble HERE

Smashwords HERE

or Amazon HERE

Thursday, June 21, 2012

So much going on.

Do you ever experience so much going on in your life, you just can't fit it all in? Of course you do. We only have so much time in each day and we have to use that time wisely.

I of course haven't been using my time all that wisely some days, but others, I'm right on top of it. I would like to promise to get my little tail in gear and make consistent post to this blog, but I will probably not. I'll do more than I've done in the last month, (see, I'm already doing more.)

I have been working on my writing. Switched from 1st person narration to 3rd person. I think it's helping the manuscript. I've also decided to go back to a previous story and spruse it up a little so it can be out in the world getting looked at, probably rejected, and possibly requested while I continue writing.

And when I'm not actually typing at the computer, I'm networking... (hey, facebook is networking) I've also had ideas and plots, and story lines running through my mind. Reading other books is very important as well.  Currently, I'm reading the Fablehaven series to my kids. Brandon Mull was a genious. I'm reading Brandon Sanderson's Warbreaker to myself. I've read free books I've gotten on the kindle app, and doing some editing and beta reading for my writing buddies.

It's a fun journey and I do stop the writing to take advantage of the precious time I have with my young children. I realize that I might not get published as quickly as another writer, but I'm okay with that. I still think my kids and husband are more important than my writing. Don't get me wrong. I still am very selfish about my writing, but only to the point where I don't let it consume my life. Just part of it.

How do you do it all?

Monday, May 14, 2012

Book Review. Million Dollar Diva

Million Dollar Diva. The Smart Woman's Guide to Getting Rich Safely by Tristi Pinkston, Brett Kitchen, and Ethan Kap

This book is a fast and easy read with great information. Tristi is a writer friend of mine and when she asked for people willing to review her book, I jumped at the chance. Free book right? What could be better than that? Well, the information in the book is so valuable I really encourage you to check it out. If you do it quickly, you can get the book for free until June 15, 2012, just pay the small shipping fee.

So let me tell you about the book and why it would be a great read.

Tristi and her husband actually put their real figures and their real debts out there for you to see. You can get the specific advice that Brett and Ethan (both financial advisers) give to her. I've heard these get out of debt principals before, but seeing it in the works for a real person helps. See their website here to learn more about Brett and Ethan

First off, start putting money into savings and plan for retirement. With that money out of the way and not thought of as yours, but as your retirement age self, you'll never miss it.

 Pay off your smallest debt first as you continue to pay the minimum payments on all other debts. When first debt it paid off, then apply the money you had going to first debt to the other and soon you'll have things paid off completely.  Sound advice. Easy right? As long as you remember to keep paying that to the other bills instead of using that "freed up cash" for something else. I've seen it before, but actually seeing the charts in the book showing Tristi's examples and seeing how soon she could have things payed off helped to solidify it for me.

They also talk about how to adjust your spending, looking for ways to cut out unnecessary things. In Tristi's case, they didn't have a whole lot of wiggle room for cutting anything more. They'd already cut plenty. But when they brainstormed and discovered they could adjust their Tax withholdings to free up money to pay off debt instead of giving Uncle Sam an interest free loan they could take control.  Also coming up with ideas to use what they have, or getting lower interest credit cards just by asking the bank to help. Also how to think of ways to bring in extra income by doing things you know how to do.

One thing I really liked about the book is they tell you that becoming a Million Dollar Diva happens in 3 steps.
 1. Taking ownership.
 2. Living the proven wealth process.
 3. Having a "Dream Scene" to keep you on track.
You don't have to give up everything. You don't have to live so frugally that your pennies scream cause you hold them so tight. You just need to plan for your expenses. If you want nice clothes, plan for them. Save for them. Don't go into debt to buy them.

As I finished the book, I determined to make some small changes in my spending. We are pretty fortunate and don't have a lot of debt besides the house and the car we are paying off, but I do have a tendency to let the credit card build up. After paying it off completely recently, I vowed to never let it get out of hand again.  Just as said I wouldn't buy anything I didn't have cash in hand for, my dishwasher died.  So holding true to my promise, I haven't bought a new dishwasher yet. We washed by hand for a couple weeks, but a friend of mine who had just upgraded their dishwasher let me have the old one for free.
We also got the kids on board. They've been saving up their money to buy their Wii game they've been begging for. We also let them know why we don't just buy what we want when we want it. We've explained how the whole money thing works at our house and why paying bills and putting money into savings is so important. So I can say it's possible to be frugal with your money. You just have to make the effort.

A few times as I read the suggestions the financial guys gave, I thought: I'm already doing that. Or That makes total sense, I should do that. Or That will never work for me. Or I don't agree with that. Or the thing I have in effect now works great for me. Nice thing about this book is they give you ideas, brainstorm with a real person and then you get to go to the website and see as Tristi posts updates to show how things are working.

Go to the website here to get your free copy until June 15. You only pay the shipping fee. I think it's totally worth it.

If you happen to read this after June 15 you can go to Amazon HERE to find the book.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

What have I been up to?

I've been working on a new project and have really enjoyed the process about as much as I've hated it. It's hard work, but so much fun.

Let me explain. I am either new at this or I've been doing this whole author thing for awhile. Depending on your point of view. Some writers have done this for years and years and even decades. I'm approaching 4 years of writing, though only 3 of it would I consider myslef as being serious about it. In those years I've been fortunate to go to a couple of writing conferences.
  Recently I went to LDStorymakers conference in Provo Utah. It was awesome and while I wished it could have gone on for a few more days, I also knew there was no way I could have absorbed any more information and been able to keep my mind. I needed to take a break at the end of it. Take a long nap on Sunday and try to wrap my mind around the awesomeness that was presented there. And I even had to miss about 8 classes that I really wanted to take because I was attending another really important one scheduled at the same time.

Now while I can't even begin to tell you of all the awesomeness, I wanted to share a few pointers that I garnered from the conference. Some are direct quotes from the presenters, and others are from the way my own mind interpreted what I heard. (Don't worry, you're allowed to do that.)

* Writers need other writers. Spouses, family members, and friends are valuable to the writer and support them in so many ways, but a writer can THRIVE when they have other writers to socialize with. We need other people to GET us.

* Formulas for stories can be very helpful as you are building your plot, but a formula shouldn't be followed exactly, or the story will get boring. Write the story how it needs to be told. If that means breaking a couple of the "RULES" of writing, then do it. But you better know the rules before you break them.

* "Been done means squat." according to John Brown. All stories are the same in some ways, but since the author puts thier own twist on it and tells it their own way, you can have the same premise and it will be a completely different book. See his youtube video about the Hunger Games and what it did right HERE

* You can write anything you want to write. You can build whatever fantastic and unreal world you want. Just remember to pick it apart and poke holes in it as you do so you can fix those holes and make it stronger and better as you develop your story.

* When writing a series according to Dan Wells, author of the I'm not a Serial Killer trilogy, see his blog HERE you can elaborate on the first book by keeping in mind what people liked about the first book and develop it, but don’t repeat it exactly. If your audience loves something, deliver on it, but don’t overdo it. Give them what they want and you have to interpret what it was they wanted while still give them something new they don’t expect. (if you can't get the jist of it from my class notes, I'm sorry, you can interepret it how you want.)

* When editing your own manuscript, watch for all the normal gramar and punctuation stuff, but don't forget to watch for repetive words or phrases. Make sure the word you use really means what you think it means. This is where you should remember Inigo Montoya and Vincinii in the Princess Bride. Is your character reacting realistically? Condense your words. Use fewer to say the same thing. Example. He was going to go to the store. Change for Bob went to Albertsons. More information with less words.

* The price of magic class was great and though I can't give you all the notes I can send you to Writing excuses podcast and have you look for their discussion on it. Go HERE to hear the magic system and rules and then spend more time listening to their other podcasts.

* One great thing I learned as well is that since it takes practice and hard work and contiued effort to become successful in anything, if I want to become a published author it's totally up to me. And as Howard Tayler said so wonderfully in his class I'm going to do it so someone can say, "Wow, you must have worked hard on that." Another great quote from his is "I've been practicing the wrong thing" so if you find you've been doing something wrong, then change it and practice it in a better way. See a youtube of Howard Tayler discussing how talent is irrelevant HERE

Thanks for letting me sum up what I learned and only touching on the surface of it. What kind of advice would you give to a writer? share in the comments and then go check out Natalie Whipple's blog post about it HERE

Friday, April 13, 2012

What are your goals?

My goals change daily.

When it comes to my writing goals, I have the goal to get a book out there into stores. To do that I have to get published. To do that I have to get a book deal/publishing contract. To do that I have to get a manuscript accepted. To do that I have to get a manuscript read completely. To do that I have to get an agent to either read it and or pass it on to an editor. To do that I have to send out a partial. To do that I have to send out pages. To do that I have to send out a query. To do that I have to have a completed manuscript. (I have 2 so I'm doing alright there, but I'm needing another to send out soon). To get a completed manuscript, I have to have a completed first draft that I can give to my critique group to read and make suggestions that I accept or reject. To do that I have to write the last chapter. To do that I have to write the chapters that come before the last one. To do that I have to write. To do that I have to stop this blog post.

To do that I will hit publish post and get onto the writing part of my day.

And one last thing before I go.

What are your goals?


Thursday, April 5, 2012

The more you know...

The more you know about writing the harder it gets. When I first started writing a few years ago (I can't believe it's actually been that long) it was so fun and easy. I just wrote what came to mind and let the ideas flow. Of course after reading what I'd written it was obvious that I was very much an amateur. I didn't know the rules and ins and outs of writing, but it was fun. I came up with a passable plot and some good characters, but it was lacking in conflict and wasn't more than a pleasant read for those I could get to read it.

Once I joined a writers group and started going to conferences, researching online about the whole publishing process and basically teaching myself about writing I realized I had a lot to learn. I was naive thinking that you could write a book, send it out to an editor, they'd tell you how to fix it or fix it themselves and it would be on the book store shelves in no time. (HA HA) that is definitely not how it works. I have been working on my craft for some time now and am still far from being published. But I'm getting better with each word I write.

Now working on this current project, I've begun to fear it a little. What if it ends up being no good? Why should I spend this much time on something that won't be seen by anyone besides my critique group and beta readers? Then I think to myself, if its just practice writing, then it's better than quitting. No one ever succeeds on accident. Athletes, artists, business owners, scientists, doctors, and so on spend countless hours perfecting their craft. And so will I.

Don't worry, I'll be sure to let you know when I do succeed but for now, it's back to practicing.

What are you working on?

Friday, March 30, 2012

So many ideas become distracting

It's kind of funny what a writer will do to get out of writing.
I've been working all month long on trying to get a story pounded out. I started the month planning on working on a project I had more than 30,000 words in. Then the more I wrote, the more I hated it. That made me decide to put it on the shelf for a while and get back to a project I'd shelved earlier that I've had in the back of my mind. I worked on it for awhile, but I still wasn't loving it.

In the mean time, I had an idea for a story come to mind as I was driving down the road to visit my sister. I plotted it out as I drove, and when I got home I was so excited to get started on it. But I didn't want to drop a second story that same month to begin this new one. (Plus when I began telling my husband the idea he kind of shot it down) He was washing dishes at the time--I know, lucky huh-- and didn't really focus all his attention on my words. ((He's since heard it again and has told me it actually sounds kind of cool, once he let me explain the whole thing.))

Now that I finally decided to give this story it's turn, I find myself getting distracted by other things. A writer friend of mine posted a funny comment on facebook, and how he and I are chatting about how that would be the funniest premise for a story. Who know's maybe we'll collaborate on it and sell it as an ebook.

There are so many ideas out there and so few writing moments that we could never write them all. But we can sure have fun brainstorming and daydreaming.

What would you like to write about if you had the chance?

Friday, March 23, 2012

What have you been reading lately?

I've been trying to read and write during my free time. Though I've found I'm spending more time reading than writing. And that's ok, but today I started on my writing again after a few days off and realized I'm influenced by what I just read.

Let's see if I can explain this better. On my first story, I had been reading the Twilight series most recently before I began writing my book. After finishing it and sending it to some readers, many of them said, "you know, even though this isn't a story about Vampires or anything, it reminded me a lot of Twilight."

Then in my next story, I tried to be more careful about what I was reading and how I was writing so it didn't sound like I was trying to write in the same style as the author I was reading. I've heard many authors say they have discovered the same thing in their experience.

Lately I've been re-reading a couple of the Wheel of Time by Robert Jordan to get ready to read the final book being finished by Brandon Sanderson. Now my story is nothing like the WOT, (It's more of a dystopian at the moment) but I find myself thinking of the way the story is done in his world. I have to conciously stop myself from using some of Jordan's terminology.

It's a fine line to walk. You want to read other books, see how authors did it right, but you also have to make sure you keep your own voice. I guess it helps to take a break from writing for a little to do some reading. You just have to make sure when you get back into your writing you can keep the little voices in your head separate.

So what have you been reading lately?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

We can learn from our mistakes. (I mean experiences)

I have been writing furiously on a few different projects lately and have come to discover that sometimes I don't like what I'm writing. I'm not saying that my story is junk, I'm just saying I'm not feeling the love for it right now.

I've been forcing myself to finish a story thinking the only way I could get better at writing was to finish it and learn from the experience. While I believe that is true, it is also true if you don't write what you love and love what you're writing then no one else will.

I had a partial request that just came back as a "no thank you". And while it was dissapointing that they didn't want it, I also discovered that I feel relief knowing the next project I work on doesn't have to be the follow up that would go with that story. This is the thing I've been working on recently and what I did my NaNoWriMo project on.

So in my last post I made myself a challenge to do a mini writing month and get 30,000 words written. I am still going to do that, but as a writer/creator I can decide what project it will be on. I have another story that's been percolating in the back of my mind that I'll be jumping into. I'm excited to see where it goes.

There are also a few blogs and things I've read recently that I thought I'd share so you can benefit too. I hope they are as helpful to you as they've been for me.

Reading this blog post from Natalie Whipple gave me some much needed reminders and lessons I can learn through her experience. Check it out HERE

Betsy Love, a friend of mine online, though I feel like I know her in real life though I've never met her had this on her blog.It's some great information about what agents and editors really care about. Check it out HERE

Also a couple of agents or blogs or podcasts about writing I think are great

Writing Excuses

Nathan Bransford

Rachelle Gardner

Please share in the comments some blogs or websites I should look into. Thanks


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Another month filled with words.

I enjoyed the writing abandon of NaNoWriMo so much that I'm going to do my own month of writing here in March.
I managed to churn out the 50,000 words in November, though some of them were repeats and do overs, and begin agains, I was able to keep at least 30,000 of those after doing an edit to get the story straight in my mind again. So my goal for this month is to write 30,000 new words.

I plan to write them on the same story I did in November, which happens to be a follow up story of my most recent completed novel. I figure doing 30K is a realistic goal and I have a group on FB I'll be reporting to so I'll have incentive to keep going. Plus, getting this story closer to completion is always a reward in itself.

So you fun readers who see my blog. What other kind of reward should I give myself if I accomplish my goal. (Can't cost more than $10, but free or low-low cost would be even better) And what should be my consequence if I don't complete it? I need your suggestions.


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Book Review Jacob Wonderbar and the Cosmic Space Kapow

I eagerly awaited this book since I sort of have a writers crush on the author. Nathan Bransford was a literary agent with an amazing blog that taught me tons about the whole publishing world. He is no longer an agent, but his blog still has all kinds of helpful information. See his blog HERE

I was able to get the local library to get a copy of this book and was so excited to read it. When I did, I enjoyed it, but not as much as I had hoped to. I don't know what it was that felt lacking for me, but as I thought about it, I wondered if it was because it is a middle grade novel instead of Young Adult (the category I've found myself reading most frequently of late)
It is still an enjoyable read, and I think it's worth looking into.

Here's what the book has to say about itself:

Space travel is all fun and games until someone breaks the universe.

Jacob Wonderbar has been the bane of every substitute teacher at Magellan Middle School ever since his dad moved away from home. He never would have survived without his best friend Dexter, even if he is a little timid, and his cute-but-tough friend Sarah Daisy, who is chronically overscheduled.

But when the trio meets a mysterious man in silver they trade a corn dog for his sassy spaceship and blast off into the great unknown. That is, until they break the universe in a giant space kapow and a nefarious space buccaneer named Mick Cracken maroons Jacob and Dexter on a tiny planet that smells like burp breath. The friends have to work together to make it back to their little street where the houses look the same, even as Earth seems farther and farther away.

Here's what I have to say about it.

I liked the characters in it. I did giggle in places. The planets they visit are wildly imaginative. A planet with 30 second days, and 30 second nights. A planet entirely populated by scientist, a planet of substitute teachers. The planet where the King of the Universe lives sounds nice and too perfect. The space ships are fun and I'd love to be able to trade a corn dog for one myself.

Jacob, and his friends Dexter and Sarah have a great friendship, but find it tested as they go through some of the experiences in outer space. There are parental issues brought up. There are friendship problems brought to light and how to deal with making choices you are willing to live with, but done in a way that isn't too preachy.

I know that Bransford is a fan of the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams, and a few places in the book reminded me a lot of that series.

Some places in the book confused me and I believe or hope they'll be cleared up in some of his follow up stories. I believe there are 3 planned for it.

Overall, it's a fun book and I'm sure the middle grade audience it was written for will love it. I enjoyed it, but at times found myself analyzing it as an adult instead of just letting myself really get into it.

Check it out for Amazon HERE

Check out Barns and Noble HERE

Check out his website again HERE

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

It's been a long time, but it hasn't been wasted.

I haven't posted in almost a month, and I didn't realize it was so long ago. I've been doing some reading, and writing, and parenting, and living, and so on. I probably have had time to do a post, but I haven't done it so now I'm setting a goal to do at least once a week. I did plan to post a couple times a week, and do some book reviews as I've completed books, but it just hasn't happened yet.

So I'm going to do a book review once a month, and do a post about writing once a week. Beyond that, we'll see what happens. Like I mentioned before, I am a mother. I have 5 kids that are more important than the extra things I'd like to do. Don't get me wrong, I'm not completely selfless. I will still do many things that make me happy. Some of that involves my kids and husband. Some of that will be writing related.

Writing does make me happy. The prospect of trying to get an agent, or have a publishing house makes me nervous. Putting my work out there for others to see isn't what gets me. It's the fact that the publishing industry is so subjective. My work might not be what they are looking for at the time, though that doesn't mean my story is bad, it just means it isn't for them.
That's okay. I still like it. And I'll keep writing more and more. Who knows, maybe someday, the whole world can read my thoughts.


Monday, January 23, 2012

So you've written a book... Now what?

Yeah, I know I know, you sell it. Or publish it. Or so on.

But really, what do you do once you've written the final words and tagged on "THE END". Well, just because you wrote those final two words, it doesn't mean you are done. You have to go over it and over it and then over it one more time.

Once you've corrected every single little error you can find, then you give it to someone else to read to tell you whats wrong with it. And though family and friends are great at giving you positive feedback, or at least neutral feedback, you need someone who will tear it apart for you and tell you what is wrong. And not only what is wrong, but WHY it is wrong. Is there a problem with your plot? Is your character pretty boring, or irritating, or not likable enough to keep the reader engaged? Then you also hope this reader will tell you what is RIGHT about it. Every writer wants to hear praise, but it's the best when you can get praise for what you did well, along with suggestions on how to fix what is wrong with it.

My most recent manuscript was finished toward the end of July (just before my baby was born) I let it sit for about a month while I enjoyed my newborn. Then got back at it in September and worked on fixing what I could find wrong with it. I sent it out to about 5 readers who took the time to look through it and tell me what they liked and didn't like. Then I spent another month applying those edits. I sent it out again to 4 other readers and back to 1 of the first 5 to have another look. Now I'm in the process of fixing it again. And can I tell you this version will be so much better than the first one I had finished in July. Critique groups are so so so so so important.

Another thing to work on once you get the story written is to work on a query letter, and also a synopsis so when you start sending it out to agents or publishers they can get a quick look to see if it's something they want to see more of.

So I've written a book. And now I'm fixing it up. Writing a summary/synopsis of it. Writing a query. Daydreaming about how wonderful it is and how quickly it will sell and make me untold amounts of money. Feeling completely inadequate about the whole process and enjoying it all at the same time.

One more thing. If you've ever wanted to write a book. GO FOR IT! It's hard work, but it sure is fun. And the writing community is so wonderful.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Book Review: Two Souls are Better than One by Karen E. Hoover

This was a fun read.

It's quick and easy and entertaining. It's geared to younger teens and I think they'd love it. Those who like Harry Potter, the Percy Jackson stories, Fable Haven series and the Far World or 13th Realities would probably like this too.

Here's what the book says about itself:

Barely thirteen, Jeremy James Johansen has had more than his share of trouble. His father disappeared without a trace and the police believe he murdered his lab assistant, though his son knows it isn’t true. His dad can’t even handle a knife, let alone a bow and arrow.
A year later Jeremy stumbles across a portal to another world and gets pulled through—but not as himself. Somehow he swaps bodies with the man on the other side before the portal disappears.
Captured by a dragon and a man in black who insists on calling him father, he tries to escape, only to plummet to his death. He awakens in his own bed, believing it was all a bad dream. The problem is there are holes in his memory he can’t fill.
In time, he discovers that the portal holds the answers not only to his forgotten memories, but most importantly, points him down the path to finding his father.

Here's what I have to say about it.

Jeremy was a fun and believable character. He has hopes and dreams, but lots of flaws and problems too. When he ends up going to the other world and swaps bodies with a magician there, the description of a boy's soul or consciousness inside an old man's body really made sense. He couldn't run like he used to 'cause things hurt. Karen really did a good job making me believe Jeremy was really experiencing something completely foreign to him but possible nonetheless.
Then since he plummets to his death in that old body he returns to his own, but the soul of the magician (who was in Jeremy's body) has no place to return so he stays with Jeremy's body. I loved how Karen had the two struggle to come to terms with this yet it didn't ever get over the top or strange.

I loved the magic in this story. Magic in the other world is completely normal, and science is top order in our/Jeremy's world, but Jeremy begins to use magic in our world since the magician sharing his consciousness teaches him about the possibilities out there. It was fun to have two worlds to go back and forth between and Karen did a good job keeping me guessing on what was going on while still giving me enough information I could piece things together to understand what would come next. Besides dragons, there were shapeshifters, Pegasus, and other mythical creatures.

I'm looking forward to the next in the series since she left it off in such a way that Jeremy is still in some trouble, but I have hopes things will work out well for him.

Karen's website is HERE

Amazon link HERE

Barns and Noble link HERE

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Book Review I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells

Holy smokes this book was WOW.

I hadn't really heard a lot of this book other than it was really good. So I was listening to the podcasts Writing Excuses (you should totally go listen to them if you are interested in writing at all, great stuff) and Dan Wells is one of the authors involved on that podcast. I had to make a run to the library and I decided to see if this book was available. Miracle of miracles, it was (Though I had to get on the waiting list for the next 2 books)

I started reading it right there in the library while my kids browsed their section and played with the toys in the children's area. It started out so gripping, I didn't want to pack up my kids to go home. I would have stayed right there in the library reading it if my kids hadn't started to get a little bit noisy.

Here's a brief summary of it. John Wayne Cleaver lives in a small town in a small apartment above the towns mortuary. His mother and her twin sister are morticians and John has an obsession with dead bodies. He's also what you'd call a sociopath. He doesn't connect with living people at all, and is very aware of his faults and strangeness. He has another obsession with Serial killers, knowing the details of many cases throughout history. He worries he might become one so he sets up rigid rules for himself to avoid it. He studies people in order to try to blend in, but the way Dan Wells creates this kid and gets him involved in the strange murders that happen in his town make you at once disturbed and delighted in his evolution.

I don't want to give any spoilers, but I have to say that I was relieved when something about the bad guy made him less evil in a way and I even found myself caring for him. It's a gripping read and I'm not one to like horror novels. I stay away from things I worry will give me nightmares, but this book worked for me.

Pick it up today.

Dan Wells website HERE

Amazon HERE

Barnes and Noble HERE

or find it at your local bookstore