Books and Reading and Reviews (Looking for Books to Read!)

 

I’m looking for one-three (clean) Romance books to read between now and January, and am open for suggestions!  I’d prefer it to be an ebook, but will take print versions as well.  If you’re an author of such book, please let me know a bit about your book’s premise to help me decide.   Whichever book(s) I decide to read, I plan to post a review on this blog by the end of January (if not, sooner).

You can let me know either via the comment section below, or through the Contact form.

🙂 🙂 🙂

 

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Reading: What’s Your Favorite Genre?

Book Review: To Trick a Hacker by India Kells

 

 

To Trick a Hacker is a Romance Suspense book written by the gifted storyteller India Kells.   It follows heroine Dylan Harris a loner who’s hiding within the fringe of society working as a hacker for a secret organization called Purgatory.   With a tumultuous and traumatizing past she’s trying to hide from, she finds herself hunted by an unknown assailant who seemingly have ties to her painful past.

In comes Owen Sorenson, a gorgeous former Navy Seal, sent by Purgatory to protect her from further harm which she reluctantly accepts.   Each battling scars of various kinds, they at first formed an uneasy team as they set out in search of a killer that soon grows into a passionate and emotional relationship.   A relationship which gets tested time and time again threatening to send either one over the edge and into darkness.  It’s a romance forged in pain and loneliness as they each face their personal demons from the past which keep returning to haunt them.  Sprinkle in a killer bent on turning Dylan to the dark side by threatening all who she cares for and you have a riveting story that will keep you turning the pages till the very end.

To Trick a Hacker ultimately is a story about family, love, second chances, and sacrifices.

India Kells’ writing style can be liken to Sherrilyn Kenyon and Sara Mackenzie, and I definitely look forward to reading many more of her books!

 

You can find India Kells at the following places:

http://www.indiakells.com

Facebook

Twitter

 

 

 

Writing: Slow Starts

 

Snow came way early this year in my neck of the woods (as shown above).  In fact, here in North Dakota, we went directly from summer to winter.  There was NO fall.   According to the local weatherman, we’re to get an additional 3-6 inches of the white stuff between today and Sunday.

Ugh.

Originally, I’m a northern-climate gal having been born near the border of Quebec, and grew up in the Adirondacks so I’m no stranger to the cold and snow.  However…I spent nearly 15 years in North Carolina before moving up here so my body is still trying to get re-acclimated to the changes.

I’ll get there eventually.  🙂

Whether it’s the sudden changes or getting older (I’ll take the former thank you very much), I’ve been slow getting started with NaNoWriMo this year.

Sitting at 500 words on day 3 kind of slow.

But, at the very least, it’s a start.

I will be working on two writing projects.  One’s projected to be about 7,500 words while the other around 10,000 so most likely I won’t win this year.  That’s okay just as long as I get the drafts of these two completed by November 30.

The 7,500-word novelette is inspired by the TV show, Deadly Women, I binge watched the past several months.  It’ll be a slightly different genre than I’m used to writing, but so far, an enjoyable experience.  I plan to post the synopsis later this month.  My goal for this story is to hopefully either self-publish it, or place it on Channilo.  In the past, majority of the stories I wrote have been horror and/or young-adult with sprinklings of science fiction and fantasy.   This particular story is Suspense/Thriller with some Romance.

Stay tuned.

The second project is a serial fiction I started last year called, The Hidden Realm, which is a fantasy/horror story.

Click on image to start reading it

 

During this month, I plan to finish writing the second half of Part One.   Writing serial fiction is tricky for multiple reasons; one being that it requires long-term commitment to post a new installment in a timely manner until either the story’s completed, or you give up on it.   I’ve written several in the past, and gave up on them all mostly because I either got bored with it, or got stuck on the storyline.  I hope by writing large blocks of the story in a short time and then posting them in small increments will enable me to actually finish this one.

We’ll see.

 

I will post more on both stories throughout the month of November.

 

What about you?  What are you working on this month?

 

 

 

 

I Fear I’ll Never Publish a Book

Click on the image to access this group’s official page

 

This month’s question:  Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project? Have any of them gone on to be published?

 

 

I’ve participated in NaNo nearly every year since 2008, and I will do so again this year.   I won twice, first time in 2008, which was the most complete first (and only) draft I’ve written.   It’s an apocalypse-science fiction story I titled Hope Falls.  It’s to be the first book in a series.  I believe it has promise only that…

It’s still sitting on my hard drive (have a binder with printed pages as well–somewhere).

I love to see it published.

Why haven’t I done it yet?  I mean, it’s only been NINE years.

Honestly, the editing/revision part scares the crap out of me.

Shorter works I can handle.  Just not sure how I’d handle a book-length editing process.

I feel like a wuss.

A coward.

And I’m worried.  Really worried.  If I’m this frighten over one manuscript why would it be any different with another?

Am I a lost cause?  Can I break this rut I’m in?

I’m a published writer in that I have short fiction and poetry published in multiple zines (both online and print).  My next goal is to be a published author.

I fear that dream may never come true.

 

 

Books: Street Teams (Poll)

 

Don’t forget the great NaNoWriMo Debate! Ongoing ’till October 30th!  Are you “for” or “against” it?  Click on image for the original post to comment!

Friday Thoughts About NaNoWriMo

“But I am learning that perfection isn’t what matters.  In fact, it’s the very thing that can destroy you if you let it.” -Emily Giffin

 

“If a story is in you, it has got to come out.” -William Faulkner

 

 

There’s currently an open debate about NaNoWriMo (aka National Novel Writing Month).  Click on the image below to read about it:

 

There’s one post live discussing and debating about NaNoWriMo by Katherine Karch!

Want to add your opinion to this debate?  Follow the instruction above and we look forward to reading about it!

 

Difficult Writing Process (Poll Results)

 

The other day I posted a poll (both here and on Twitter) asking which part of the writing process was the most difficult.

Here are the results.

Twitter:

Marketing 51%

Rev/Edit 21%

Writing the story 21%

Coming up w/ idea 7%

 

Blog:

Marketing 56%

Rev/Edit 22%

Coming up w/ idea 11%

Writing the story 11%

Overwhelmingly, marketing seems to be the most difficult for writers.  The reasons?  There could be many.

One could be that the writer is an introvert, and finds the social media intimidating.  And speaking of social media, there are thousands and thousands of writers and authors on them trying to get their books and stories out in the world.  With all that noise, how does one writer or author find a way to stand out and be noticed?

What’s even more frustrating is that it doesn’t matter if you’re traditional or self-published, you’re still expected to do most of the marketing.

How does one even start?

Here’s an article I found that offered some insights: Marketing Your Books

 

According to these results, coming up with a story idea doesn’t seems to be that big of an issue for most writers.  I suppose what could be problematic is choosing which idea to use.  Which one will readers want to read?  Which one will I want to write a book-length manuscript, and not get bored half-way through?

For me personally, at this point in my writing career, the editing/revision is the most difficult part.  It’s like trying to get a donkey to do something it really doesn’t want to do.  Yeah, I can be that kind of a donkey.

Next!

Writing: Which is the Hardest to Do? (Poll)

It’s time to take a brief break from our writing to ask ourselves the following question:

The NaNoWriMo Debate: Are You “For” or “Against” It?

Take part in a debate and voice your opinion as a writer!

 

 

 

Click on link below to enter your post:
https://www.linkytools.com/basic_linky_include.aspx?id=282069

or

Post your post’s link in the comment section below (same rule applies-one with the most likes, wins).

 

 

 

Writing: Finishing a Draft Dilemma

 

October.

This means that fall’s foliage is at its’ peak, and the sugar beet harvest is in full swing up here in the Red River Valley of North Dakota.

I woke up this morning to the ground covered in a thin layer of frost.  Even had to turn on the heat briefly.  With the warm air blowing through the vents, I counted at least four of my ten indoor cats huddled on top of them.

Darn, should have snapped a pic.

Next time.

October is also the month to prepare for NaNoWriMo (aka National Novel Writing Month) so I’m taking a month-long course with Beth and Ezra Barany to help me plan a novel idea I have.

 

Like I said in a previous post, I have little problem with finishing short pieces, but a book-length?  It IS like running a marathon (I’ve ran 5-ks in the past so I can only imagine what 20-plus miles would be like!) where I almost always fizzle out by the middle, and that’s it.

Finito.

I either lose interest, or life gets in the way, or writer’s block sets it.

Excuses…excuses.

Excuses won’t get the book written.

I need to really look at why I’m not finishing.

Am I meant to be just a short story writer?

A poet?

I’m unable to accept that.

I can’t.

I won’t.

I may never be a prolific novelist like Stephen King or Nora Roberts, and that’s okay.   I just believe that I have at least one book in me that I must write.  And this what’s been driving me to try again and again.

A quote by Maya Angelou keeps haunting me:

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

Now that I’m middle-aged, I have this growing fear of dying before I’m able to complete the kind of writing I was meant to do.

It’s a horrible feeling.

One that’s growing worse by the day.

The only one book-length manuscript I managed came during the 2008 NaNoWriMo, and that’s because of my curiosity to see if I could actually write at least 50,000 words.

Since then, all my attempts to write another book have failed.

I think it may be because those stories were not meaningful to me.  They were just stories that I had a vague interest in, but as I laid down word after word, I lost interest.

I find that I can’t devote hours and days to something I have no real passion for.  Life is just too short.

In my heart, I’ve always wanted to write a story that revolved around fatherhood and daughters.  This desire…no, need have grown exponentially since my Daddy’s death in September 2014.

Three weeks ago, I saw a particular news article that gave birth to a story idea for such a book.   In taking the above course, I’m working to develop this idea, flesh out the plot/subplots as well as create my two main characters.  I plan to use NaNoWriMo as a jump-start to write as many words as I can, but the goal isn’t to win, but to ultimately have a finished first draft by the end of the year.

I believe I have found the reason and motivation to drive me to be successful this time.

Stay tuned for more later.

 

 

 

 

Writing: How Much Of “Me” Actually Goes in the Stories?

Click on the image to access this group’s official page

 

This month’s question: “Have you ever slipped any of your personal information into your characters, either by accident or on purpose?”

 

 

Hmm, an intriguing question posed by IWSG.  “Personal” could mean just about anything in my mind so I’d have to answer this honestly with a YES.

Many of my main characters have pieces of me injected in them which make the stories I write personal and meaningful to me.   They entice me to finish each story so not to leave them incomplete which borders tragic in my mind.

The characters may have some of my physical attributes, but mostly I inject events and emotions that I’ve experienced in hope to make the stories more dramatic and real to the reader.

Granted, majority of the stories I write are short so it’s relatively easy to finish.  Writing a book-length story is a different matter in that I’ve yet to complete a full first draft since 2008 (my first and only full draft from NaNoWriMo which still sits on my hard-drive).    However, this year I hope to change that.   I will post more about this later this week.

 

What about you?  How much of yourself do you include in your writing?

Book Review: Storytelling for Pantsers: How to Write and Revise Your Novel Without an Outline

Available October 1, 2017. Click on image to purchase book.

Annalisa Parent, teaching extraordinaire and editor of Chair & Pen: Musings on Writing and the Writing Life, has come out with a new book called, Storytelling for Pantsers: How to Write and Revise Your Novel Without an Outline.

If you’re someone who tends to write on “the fly,” but always seems to have a problem either finishing or figuring out where the story’s going, this book is for you.

Annalisa, a Pantser herself, understands how other fellow Pantsers tend to lose their way when they write a book because of the unorganized fashion of their creativity.  This book aims to help them–you— find your way through the “muddle” quicker.

How?

By finding the patterns (or theme) in the story, and then build upon them.

This book is not your typical how-to-write book.  The instructions and examples are not in your usual cut-and-dry and formal format.  This is nothing like an ordinary book about writing.  Did I say that Annalisa is a teaching extraordinaire?  Well, she proves it in this gem.  Her presentations throughout the book are personable, easy to grasp, and her witty sense of humor and uncanny culture references make for a truly enjoyable learning experience.

Annalisa believes in taking the whole writer in account and not just about providing knowledge.  For the first part of the book, she turns her attention solely to the writer.

You.

Knowing and accepting yourself for who you are as a writer is half the battle in your journey to becoming a published author.  She talks about brains, and how Pantsers are who they are because of the way their brains are wired.  She talks about how we tend to limit ourselves by giving in to our fears, and how the wrong kinds of feedback could damage our future as writers indefinitely.  Annalisa shows us how to turn all of this around.  How to manage the fears and find the right kind of feedback needed to move our writing forward instead of backward.

Annalisa firmly believes that having the right mindset coupled with positive support could mean the difference between having a publishable or an unpublishable book.

The focus of the second half of the book is on the writing craft as she breaks down various parts such as character development, plot structure, conflict, setting, pacing…all geared for Pantsers.  She provides tips and exercises on how to take what you have and improve upon them rather than change everything.   Annalisa is a firm believer in NOT interrupting the creative flow as you create your story; but to take what you have created later on and make them better, interweaving them together so they become connected as part of one seamless story.

Annalisa truly understands you as the writer, and takes a holistic approach to helping you reach your goal-having a complete and publishable book.  This book is unique and a joy to read.  You learn more about yourself as a writer, gain the confidence needed to move forward while enjoying the journey.

 

Writing: Is The Novel Becoming Obsolete? (Poll)

Fantastical Friday: Harry Potter

 

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,  the first book in an iconic fantasy series, was released on 26 June 1997, and boy did it change everything.

Then comes the movie (released 2001) and a whole new magical world is opened up for both kids and adults alike.

 

I enjoy reading and watching series of all kinds, but I’m a HUGE fan of Harry Potter’s!

 

What about you?  Do you have a favorite book or movie series?

 

What If My Writing Isn’t Good Enough?

Click on the image to access this group’s official page

 

This month’s question:  What if my writing isn’t good enough?

 

This group (also endearingly known as IWSG) is all about insecurities; and gosh, I have a boat-load of them!

 

Where even to begin?

 

I’ve battled with insecurities all my life, and they’ve filtered over in to my writing life.

 

You’ll never be good enough. 

You’re worthless.

Don’t bother even trying.

 

There are so many ideas running through my head.  And I have written many of them…but, they usually die (or get placed in the trash).

I have published several items (all short ones) so that is something, I suppose.

 

But…

 

I keep feeling like I’m missing something.

Or, there is a story somewhere within that needs to be written and then released to the world.

 

But…

 

In the past, in my previous work life, I had this nasty habit of self-sabotaging myself.

Not allowing myself to experience success of any kind.

And this is quite prevalent in my life as it is in my writing life.

It’s like I feel like I don’t deserve it.

 

You’ll never be good enough.

You’re worthless.

Don’t bother even trying.

 

 

A lot of this stem from childhood abuse.  Others from a progressive disability.

Excuses, I suppose.

But they’re the Goliath in my life, and I’m the puny boy with no sling-shot or weapon of any kind.

Just a pen.

 

 

I’ve heard that a pen holds power.  I just don’t have any faith in the holder of this particular pen.

 

Am I good enough?

Will I ever be?

Do I even bother trying?

Writing: The Power Behind Words

Click on the image to access this group’s official page

This month’s question: What is one valuable lesson you’ve learned since you started writing?

 

This was a difficult question.  I couldn’t think of any one thing specifically but just the knowing that writing in of itself has been incredibly valuable for me.  Without it, I don’t think I’d be as “put-together” emotionally and mentally as I am.

Even though I’ve been writing for a number of years now, and have several of my short works published,  I’m not famous or rich.

In fact, most people have no clue who I am.

I suppose that’s okay.

What matters to me is that the words I write impact people in some way.

So, yeah, I write for myself first but I also write to give voice (or try to) to those who cannot speak.

For me, writing is therapeutic.

Which means words matter.

And I want it to matter to the reader as well.

In the end, I can think of a particular lesson that writing has taught me.

Compassion for others.

And empathy.

Writing offers a way to let others know that they are not alone in feeling the way they’re feeling.

And for that one reader, the writer’s words can make all the difference in the world.

Favorite Friday: Ray Bradbury (on leaving behind a legacy)

 

“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.

It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.” – Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451