I Messed Up Book Tag

 

 

Thank you Danielle at the Introverted Book Nerd for tagging me!

A character appearance that you misread or imagined differently.

Jamie from Outlander, I’m not really sure how I pictured him. I think I just had a hard time actually picturing him.  But I love Sam Heughan’s portrayal. He’s amazing as Jamie. I wish I got to watch the show more, I’m way behind!

A character name that you have been pronouncing wrong.

I think everybody might have stuttered over Hermione from Harry Potter, at least until the movies came out!  Even Viktor Krum had a hard time with it!

And then  there’s Laoghaire  from Outlander.   I always thought it was La-heerie but it’s actually LEE-ree.  Oops!

 

 

An overused trope that is your guilty pleasure.

The one who appears as the good guy is the murderer. I love a good plot twist!

A cliche character type that you like better on screen than reading about.

It’s the funny ones, like the Weasley brothers!  They are so funny in the movies, it’s really difficult to capture that humour with the written word.

 

Have you ever not read or completed a required-reading book for school?

Never!

Have you ever skipped (or wanted to) a chapter from the point of view of a character you weren’t interested in?

Of course, but I never do. It might be important to the story later on! I have read the last page of a book before, though!

Have you ever canceled social plans to read a book?

Oh yes.

I tag..

Two Gals and a Book

Darque Dreamer

Cassie Winters

Blame Chocolate

 

 

 

Unique!

I am so far behind on my awards and tags…can you believe that 6…yes, 6 awesome bloggers nominated Inspiration Pie for the Unique Blogger Award!  Holy Cow!

I’m going to do the best I can, but it’s kind of a long one, so be patient with me, okay?

Thanks!

So, huge thank you to Jennanicolee at Bookmark Your Thoughts! Jenna has  wonderful posts, from book reviews and bookish posts to her 52 Weeks of Gratitude.

Noriko at Diary of a Bookfiend has kindly adopted me as her aunt.  She is a sweet soul, always friendly and easy to chat with. She has awesome book reviews and she’s an all around great person.

Jay at This Is My Truth Now  is one of my very first blogging friends. He is an author (soon to be published!) with an amazing blog filled with tons and tons of reviews as well as his 365 Day Challenge.

Didi Oviatt  is another amazing author to check out, she has a wonderful blog filled with writing advice, inspiration, poetry, reviews and her own books!

SunSunny has wonderful, dog-loving inspirational posts that just make you feel good inside.

Stephanie of Stephanie’s Novel Fiction is a beautiful person who like a long distance sister to me.  She has an amazing blog with excellent reviews and bookish posts.

The Rules

  • Share the link of the blogger who has shown love to you by nominating you.
  • Answer the questions.
  • In the spirit of sharing love and solidarity with our blogging family, nominate 8-13 people for the same award.
  • Ask them three questions.

Questions from Jennanicolee at Bookmark Your Thoughts:

  1. What is your favourite Disney film and character (they don’t have to be from the same thing)? Why? I’m going to go with Maleficent here, for film and character.  She was just a great, strong character who was treated so unfairly, so cruelly that it was heartbreaking. Yes, she put a curse on Aurora, but in the end she did the right thing for everyone, including herself.
  2. How do you handle with your TBR list when it gets out of control? I just keep reading, one book at a time.
  3. What is your favourite type of post to blog about? I love doing my Friday post!  Linking up with Book Beginnings(Rose City Reader) and Friday 56 (Freda’s Voice).  You share the book beginning and an excerpt from page 56, it gives a great taste of what the book is like without actually giving too much away. It’s a quick and fun post, and I love reading what everyone else on the linky shares as well.

Questions from Noriko at Diary of a Bookfiend:

  • Out of five senses (sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch), what is the most important to you and why? Sight, I think.  I love colour, and art and reading and I think it would be awful if I couldn’t do that anymore!
  • If you could recreate one food from your favorite books/films/TV shows etc., what would it be and why? Uma Thurman’s $5 milkshake.  I hear it’s a pretty freaking good milkshake!
  • What was your favorite and least favorite subject in school and why?
  • My favourite subjects were biology and chemistry, my worst, was English!

 QUESTIONS  from Jay at This Is My Truth Now:

  1. What talent do you have that people would be surprised to know? I think most people know that I write and paint. Other than that, I’m not really sure!
  2. What do you want to change about your blog? Oh, it needs to be more organized, and I need to get my art up there, too!  Hopefully that will happen this weekend, right Noriko?
  3. Where else would you want to live if somewhere other than your current country? I’d love to live in England.  Or France.  Either/or!

 QUESTIONS from Didi Oviatt:

  1. Are you an introvert, extrovert, or ambivert? I’m a fullout introvert, no question!
  2. What is your favorite weekend activity? Having breakfast in my pajamas!
  3. Could you survive without the internet? Oh yes, at least for an hour or two!

Questions from Sun Sunny:

 

  1. What is the last thing you ate? A cheeseburger from Wendy’s with no bun and a side salad.
  2. Who was your first crush? Shaun Cassidy!  Da Doo Ron Ron
  3. What kind of music do you like to dance to? (Remember, everyone likes to dance! Even if it is just swaying or nodding to the music!) Abba!

Here are Stephanie’s questions:

  1. What’s the funniest book you’ve ever read or movie/tv show you’ve ever watched? Or both? I’ve always thought Seinfeld was hilarious, I love their sense of humour! The Office is a close second.
  2. What is something that you’ve always dreamed of doing but never have? Become a best selling author.
  3. What author, living or dead, would you like to spend an entire day with? Why?Whenever this question comes up, I’ve always said JK Rowling. But, just for a change, I’m going to say Harlen Coben. I love his mysteries! And he seems to be a pretty easy going kind of guy.

 

 

 

Okay, now I have to come up with three questions for my nominees!

  1. What is one thing you would like to change about your blog?
  2. What is your dream job? Are you doing it now?
  3. Are you an introvert, extrovert or ambivert?

I’m nominating some of my newest followers, I apologize in advance if you’ve received this award already! There is no obligation to participate, just know that I was thinking of you and wanted to share some blogging love!

Just Brittany Moments

Dancing Alone

Books Bejewelled

Momentum of Jo

 

 

Some Sunshine!

collage (2).jpg

I was nominated by two wonderful bloggers for the the Sunshine Blogger Award!  Thank you to Lana at Lana’s Life in Words and Lyrics and  Ink Owl for thinking of me! I’ve been following these two wonderful bloggers for a while now.  Lana has tons of great, honest book reviews on her colourful blog. Ink Owl has beautiful creative writing with lot of guest posts.  If you haven’t already, you really should check these guys out!

What is the Sunshine Blogger Award?

The Sunshine Blogger Award is given to those who are creative, positive and inspiring, while spreading sunshine to the blogging community.

How Does It Work:

  • Thank the person(s) who nominated you in a blog post and link back to their blog
  • Answer the 11 questions sent by the person who nominated you
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo on your post and/or on your blog

These are questions from Lana:

Is there something you can tell readers about yourself and your blog?

Okay, when I was young and people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would say, and artistic author. I wanted to be an artist and a writer. And, mostly kids my age would say, there’s no such thing.  You’re either one or the other.

Well, I still want to do both!  So, I write, and I blog and I paint.  There!

What satisfaction do you get from blogging?

I love sharing what is going on in my little corner of the world. Even moreso, it’s pretty cool meeting other people, near and far, hearing their stories and what’s going on in their world!

How do you bring traffic to your blog?

Traffic? I live by ‘if you build it, they will come.’

But seriously, I find interacting and commenting on other bloggers posts is the best way to build relationships, and with those relationships, your blogs grows.

What’s something that you’d like to improve on this year?

I’d like to improve my writing skills and get more organized with blogging.  Right now I take a willy nilly approach when the mood moves me lol.

How do you get motivated to blog?

This is actually Lana’s answer, but I’m stealing it because she said it perfectly!

It’s not the motivation, it’s time I’m lacking at the moment. I have so much tags I’m behind on, it’s getting awkward.

Do you have any favorite books this year?

Oooh, yes! Both of these books were amazing:

 

Are there any songs you’re into right now, or music artists?

I honestly don’t listen to a lot of music, which is weird because I grew up loving music. I know they lyrics to most 80s songs lol.  But now, I find music distracting and I prefer quiet. I hope its just a phase!

What do you like to do with your spare time?

Read, paint, write, camping, taking photos with my iPhone.  I have a good camera but I’m too scared I’ll drop it or something.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

I’ll have a couple of novels on the New York Times Bestseller list.  Oh, and I’ll be rich. And travel a lot.  Why not aim high?

If you could choose ONLY 5 subjects to read on other blogs, what would they be? (Books, music, film, health, etc.)

Books, Art, Movies, Health, Travel

Do you make money from your blog? If not, do you have plans to try in the future?

Um, no.

Okay, these are the questions from Ink Owl:

What is your favorite season of the year?

Autumn!  Love that fresh, crisp air and the colours of the leaves.

What do you do when you’re stuck in traffic?

Listen to the radio, usually CNN. Or Forensic Files, that’s always good.

How do you prepare your space to write?

I sit down and open my laptop!  But first, I have to check email and Facebook.

Name one of your obsessions.

Chocolate. But I’m doing Atkins right now, so no chocolate yet.  Another obsession is King Arthur.

What music can you not live without?

I haven’t been listening to a lot of music lately, but I do love Abba and Fleetwood Mac.  I also like Brand New.

What time of day is the most conducive for writing?

Morning or late at night. For some reason, everyone here is going to bed and I’m just getting rolling!

How do you push yourself to finish a story?

Sometimes, it will hang there for a while, and I just get it in my head…finish the darn thing!  That doesn’t happen too often, though, especially if I’ve been away from writing for a little while. It’s hard to get back in the mode.

What is an irrational fear you have?

Heights.

What’s your favorite character you’ve written so far?

Merlin.  He’s a bit of an asshole, but he’s pretty cool, too.

Do you have a perfect happenstance in time you remember? What happened?

I think meeting my husband on a Sunday afternoon.  We’d been friends for years, but the timing was never right. Until that day. It was a beautiful sunny day, and I was feeling sorry for myself and dwelling on being alone.  He was going to Dairy Queen for a Blizzard, but he changed his mind about that and the two of us went for a nice long walk in the park.  The rest is history!

What is your favorite part of summer?

Ahhh…having breakfast out on the deck with a fresh cup of coffee.

Okay! Here are the 11 questions for my nominees ( I stole some of these from the questions above! Shhhhh!):

  1. Is there something you can tell readers about yourself and your blog?
  2.  What’s something that you’d like to improve on this year?
  3. Name one of your obsessions.
  4. What is one of your favourite blog posts to write?
  5. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  6. What are your favourite books this year?
  7. It’s the perfect evening.  What are you doing to relax?
  8. Do you have any pets?
  9. If you could choose any career, what would it be?
  10. What’s the first think you check when you go on your computer/tablet?
  11. What author would you like to have lunch with?

My Nominees:

  1. Invisible No More
  2. Lois Reads Books
  3. Two Gals and a Book
  4. Susan Loves Books
  5. Sherina Speaks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So Versatile!

Thank you so much to Caterpillars 2 Butterflies for nominating me for this award!  She has an incredibly inspirational blog, if you have’t already had a look at her blog, please do so now. She’s a beautiful soul and will change the way to look at life.

RULES OF THE VERSATILE BLOGGER AWARD:

1.) Thank the bloggers who nominated you and share their links.
2.) Nominate at least 10 bloggers for the award and provide links to their blogs.
3.) Also inform them about their nomination.
4.) Reveal 7 facts about yourself that your readers may not know.

Well, here’s 7 things about me:

1. I love to write.  I do enough rewrites that I think I am actually getting better at it.

2. I’ve been working on the same novel for about 5 years. I have 2 other novels I have written as well, all in the first draft phase with multiple rewrites.

3.  I painted with watercolour for years and several years ago switched to acrylic for a change. It is very different and challenging for me!

Here’s a watercolour I did years ago.

4. I am obsessed with the legend of King Arthur.

5. My favourite colour is teal/turquoise but its been changing to purple lately.

 

6. I  struggle with anxiety and depression.

7. I’m doing the Atkins diet right now. It’s going well, but I swear, it won’t be long before I will never want to see another egg for breakfast again.

 

My Nominations:

  1. The Geeky Book Lady
  2. FrogDiva Thoughts
  3. DoniW
  4. Robbie’s Inspiration
  5. Unfolding from the Fog
  6. Being Lydia
  7. Plants and Beyond

 

Supportive Bloggers, 2nd Poem

Love this girl! <3  Check out her poem for her supportive bloggers!

Didi Oviatt

I’ve created a beast now it’s time to keep feeding it,

As the first bloggers poem I wrote is still getting hits.

With a hundred fifty views and counting my gratitude grows,

If you could see my face for real, I’m confident it shows.

I’ll start with Jo-Ann and her love of creativity,

She’s positive, uplifting, and so great to me!

Our shared love of books makes me sniffle and sigh,

If you look for well rounded you’ll find it at Inspiration Pie.

Stephanie has the most impeccable liking,

If there is a great YA book out there, she’ll hunt it down like a Viking.

The adventure in this blog is jam packed, a precious vault,

To find a young readers quality, stick with Teacher Of YA.

I can’t go on any farther without throwing Danny in,

If you’re one of his thousands of followers then you’re in for the win.

His posts are inspirational and so very supportive,

If you want a touch of the heart then go now to Dream Big.

I have one more today and Susan is her name,

Or you can call her the twitter dominator, its all the same.

To find the best book reviews, you can never go wrong,

By checking first at Books From Dusk Till Dawn.

The scratching of surface has still only just begun,

Hang tight for poem three, more praises will be sung.

Six Simple Reasons Our Story Sucks & How to Fix It

Why is it so many new novels are—to be blunt—crap? How can we find an author we love with one book, then all the love goes away with the next? What’s going wrong? What’s missing? Where did everything go wrong?

How can we learn and do better?

First and foremost, to be an author it’s imperative to embrace some healthy sadism. We’ll chat briefly on this so the “wrong turns” in story can become far easier to spot.

We MUST Go Against Our Nature

Humans have all kinds of intricate biological wiring that propels us to AVOID CONFLICT/PAIN. Now this is great namely because our desire to avoid pain is what keeps us alive and gainfully employed. It’s also how many of us are able to endure the holidays when forced to see family.

This said, it is human to avoid conflict and to smooth everything over and civilization would implode if we didn’t heed our biology. We feel the rising anxiety and our nature steps in to “fix” everything and return to a nice comfortable homeostasis.

Avoiding conflict and pain can be healthy in life, but it spells death for fiction.

So here are a couple reasons your story might suck. Btw, remember while I have one finger pointing at you? Three are pointing back at me. I use these guideposts in my own work when I sense it’s starting to seriously suck.

#1—We Have Decoration Devoid of Substance

I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Novels are not pretty sentences or even pretty words. Sure, it’s nice to have them, but they’re not entirely necessary.

It’s like a cake. Some cakes are so intricate they’re literally works of art, but cake is meant for people to EAT. So I’d much prefer a plain cake that is so yummy angels sing than to bite into a work of “art” and get a revolting mouthful of sugar-laden lard.

Same with stories. Stories, too, are meant to be ingested, to FEED us emotionally.

Fiction is about one thing and one thing only—PROBLEMS.

PROBLEMS are the “cake” of story.

I don’t emotionally connect to a cerulean sky or a painstakingly accurate description of a forest or an 18th century tea setting. I have zip-nada invested in an outfit, a garden or the layout of a room (that’s “icing”). Most people prefer cake with icing and readers like stories with description, setting, superlative prose etc. (though to the degree varies with reader preference).

All that “stuff” can make a story better, but they are NOT story, just like icing is not cake.

#2—We Have No Plot

Plot is basically a fancy way of saying we have a core problem in need of resolution (cake) and a plan (recipe) to do just that.

I cannot connect emotionally with a detailed description of a designer outfit, but I can connect with the woman who’s wearing this outfit. I don’t care all that much about the outfit, I care about the woman and the why behind the outfit.

What is she hiding? What is she up against? What must she face to become whole?

Is she in this outfit because she desperately needs a job? Because it hides the bruises from her emotionally and physically abusive husband who controls her life? The one she must find the courage (and job) to escape?

This is why I’m a huge believer in writers being able to articulate what their story is about in ONE sentence. If we can’t do that? Odds are we have icing and no cake. Or maybe a cake that’s half-baked or missing key ingredients.

#3—We Have No Clear Plot Goal

All stories have ONE CLEAR FINAL goal. And I don’t want to hear the BS copout of:

“Well, my story is literary and character-driven. Her goal is she wants to find out who she is.”

Aside from the fact that literary and character-driven stories don’t automatically get a pass on a plot, why do we care? What happens if the protagonist doesn’t find out ‘who she is’? Why is it important? What are the stakes? Why should I (the reader) root for her?

Besides that is the wrong question entirely.

Regardless of genre, the protagonist is never finding out who she is, rather what she is made of.

For that to happen? We need a PLOT PROBLEM.

Clear plot problems offer context. If I (reader) have not been clearly shown the story problem, then I’ll be quickly bored because I lack context that makes any setback a setback.

It’s like showing me a guy driving off for a destination and not telling me where he’s going. Yet, if I know he’s driving to Canada from Texas, then accidentally turning down I-35 South because he’s arguing with his ex on the phone MEANS SOMETHING.

I can clearly SEE he’s headed for MEXICO, not Canada. The wrong turn means something and so does every setback which creates bigger and badder problems (which turns pages, btw).

By DEFINITION a setback can only happen when there is an actual goal.

We need a Death Star, a Mount Doom, and a Labyrinth or….meh.

Same in character-driven stories. We root for Evelyn Couch in Fried Green Tomatoesbecause we know the final goal is her growing a spine. We know she has “won” when she stands up to her bullies and to the husband who’s disrespecting her.

Bad situations are not a plot. It’s soap opera writing. Soap operas get forty years and go into infinity. Novels don’t have that luxury.

#4—Too MUCH SUGAR

We’re being way too nice. I see way too many new manuscripts and the reason they’re boring the paint off the walls is nothing is happening and everything is too easy. Everyone gets along is super sweet and lots of colorful pretty descriptions and empty calories that make us sick.

Humans have fears and faults and failures that will collide, especially under pressure. I see far too many manuscripts where nothing is happening. People talking.

Description not friction. No friction? No traction.

#5—We’re Making it TOO Easy

Yes, your protagonist has ONE core story goal in need of resolution, but there should be a ton of hardship, suffering, setbacks and pain along the way. Our protagonist must work for everything and earn every reward, even the small ones with blood, sweat and sacrifice. NOTHING should be easy. Ever.

Authors deal in solid gold rewards, not plastic participation trophies.

If our protagonist is being spoon fed the answers (dreams, journals, letters, flashbacks, “super helpful” ancillary characters) that’s cheating. If the protagonist is rescued constantly by others and it never pushes any pain points? Where’s the glory in that?

When I was in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, most people don’t last a month. Most females never make it past white belt. It takes a YEAR to earn blue belt. I had to do this grappling men twice my size.

It took me a year and a half of busted lips, blood, bruises, and strains. It also cost me a broken nose and a dislocated knee…but guess what’s framed in my office?

I can tell you that had I been handed a blue belt for attendance, it would be in some junk drawer along with the piles of other worthless awards.

Same in fiction. We revel in the protagonist’s victory only when the title of “HERO” is earned.

#6—We Forgot to Turn on the Heat

The greater the stakes the better the story. No heat and we don’t have cake, we have batter. Same in fiction. Turn on the heat.

A friend of mine had a brilliant idea for a story, but her niceness kept killing it. She emailed me that her story is about an artist who has five years to make it in NYC or he has to return to his family’s house-painting business.

I replied: NOOOOOOOOOOO!

If our artist has five years in the beginning? We aren’t too worried. There’s time. But if we know he’s at the end of five years and has only one final narrow window? Everything changes.

If the stakes are he returns to an occupation close to what he loves (painting) and also limited seasonally (house painting in NY) it isn’t that big of a deal. He can dream away what he longs to create while on a ladder touching up eaves. He also will have seasons he can still create art.

But, what if he’s returning to a job that is not only the opposite of what he loves, but can potentially drain every creative molecule from his soul? A stressful occupation that might just kill him with seventy-hour work weeks (accounting firm)? Or physically endanger his hands/ability to paint (family auto repair business)?

And while we are at it? He’ll have to return to a family that never really was supportive and will be delighted he failed and relish rubbing it in.

NOW we have a story 😉 .

Crank up that heat. Shorten timelines and up the stakes, both physical and emotional.

If your protagonist fails, it isn’t simply a failure, it needs to be an extinction event.

In the end, I have a mantra: Make it worse until you make it weird.

What are your thoughts? Have you been too easy on your characters? Maybe indulging in flashbacks to “explain” why a character is a certain way instead of making the reader work to uncover it? Have you been too nice? Unclear? What ways can you wind that tension tighter? Shorten the timeline or up the stakes? We only will value what COSTS a lot. No one values free and easy 😉 .

I love hearing from you!

The Suspenseful Collection

Congratulations to Didi Oviatt and Kim Knight on the release of their compilation book of short stories!  

Click to be taken to Amazon.com
The Suspenseful Collection by Kim Knight and Didi Oviatt

These two very talented and lovely suspense authors have the most interesting way of putting their stories together.  One author starts the tale, the other finishes it.  How cool is that?  They live on opposite sides of the Atlantic, which makes it even more fun.

 

I’ve been intrigued by these stories since before they released it.  Confession: I did try to preorder but my Amazon account was all wonky that day and because well, life’s distractions, I just never got back to it.

I did enter their Rafflecopter contest however, and guess what!  I won a copy and I’m so excited to read this!  I’m mean…look at that cover.  It’s gorgeous!

Thank you so very much, Didi and Kim for the opportunity to win this and read your book!

I will be posting my review soon but I do hope everyone will go ahead and check this book out for yourself.  It’s already gotten some great feedback!

Here is the blurb from Amazon with a little summary of each of the short stories:

For Mature Readers Only:

A suspenseful novel with a twist. Eight short stories, by two suspense authors, from diverse backgrounds. From opposite sides of the Atlantic these stories have been created. One author started the tale and the other ended it. No discussion, no pre-planning, but yet their stories are seamless. With just creativity and the use of writing prompts, to craft one tale, with two different writers. This anthology of suspenseful, fast paced and engaging tales covers multiple genres. From heart felt romance, crime, fantasy, and steamy historical fiction. There is a story for everyone!

Steamy Historical Crime Fiction: It was The First Time I Killed A Man.

It’s 1972 and New York’s first female serial killer Lisa Vanacilli is in the hot seat again, ten years after her conviction of murder to the first degree and innocent plea. The ruthless but sexy reporter Tiffany Low cracks Lisa for a confession… at a price. Lisa is strong, courageous and says it how it is. This story has been extended due to reader’s demand. And is only for adult readers.

Psychological Fiction: Every Time I Hear That Voice From The Basement.

George appears to be harmless. The local neighbourhood geek on the outside, married to Jolene. In reality, he’s a very disturbed man. His path crosses with Dana, the local check out girl. This is a psychological suspense story with a twist.

Crime Fiction: The Entrance To The Tunnel Is His Only Way Out.

Juan is a wanted man, and an ex-gang member on the run from Atlanta to Mexico. With a hundred grand in cash stolen from his ex-boss, he meets an unlikely fate in Mexico. A fast-paced crime fiction story.

Contemporary Romance: When His Hands Run Up My Thighs I…

Love has no time limit, age limit or use by date. Sarah now in her fifties is reunited with her long-lost love Joshua. They last had contact in 1961. In the present day, thanks to the advancement of technology their paths cross. A heart-warming and modern tale, about long distance love, that will leave you warm inside.

Suspense: We Only Said Goodbye With Words, I Died A Hundred Times:

In 1963 Russian Femme Fatale Mila Petrov is London’s top Madam. Her entertainment house is booming, she has a team of London’s strongest women behind her. Unfinished business from her past creeps up and haunts her. It’s nothing she can’t handle. A suspenseful historical tale, with a strong femme fatale.

Fantasy: The Ones Who Live At The Bottom Of The Ocean, Come To The Surface.

A beautiful coming of age story, featuring sixteen year old Zoe and her mother May-Li. Myth becomes reality, as Zoe finds out who and what she really is. Her mixed descent reveals more than what meets the eye. This fantasy story is set against the backdrop of a Greek island and Hong Kong, China.

Suspenseful Crime Fiction: Guilty As Charged, In Self-Defence

California’s sassy, tough, and likeable defence lawyer Catherine has taken on a case so high profile, if she wins she’ll become a partner of Martin Law Firm. Defending forty six year old Mrs. Chevelle. An ex Las Vegas show girl, now a Hollywood wife, on trial for the murder of her high-profile husband. She claims she’s innocent. Readers are taken on a fast -paced journey on a mission to seek the truth.

Contemporary Fiction: It’s A Man’s Man’s World:

A beautiful modern tale showing the love and appreciation of a woman. James Brown said it right when he said, “it’s a man’s man’s world, but it would mean nothing without a woman or a girl.”The Suspenseful Collection by Didi Oviatt and Kim Knight

9 Daily Habits You Should Get Rid of to Become a Better Writer

Nine Bad Writing Habits

9 Daily Habits You Should Get Rid of to Become a Better Writer

By Veronica Hunt 

How do you know what’s good or bad for you unless it leads to losses or depression hereafter? I call it the self-reflection time when a writer needs to analyze what has been done right or wrong for developing his masterpiece. Today we’ll uncover 9 habits that can actually ruin your career of a writer, blogger, reporter, etc.

There’s no exact timeframe to eliminate bad habits and clear your mind for inspiration. It can vary from 72 hours to more than 21 days because some long-lasting habits are ingrained at our neural level. They can even determine our behavior or outlook.

Which is why self-publishing writers whose success depends on their productivity should get rid of those daily habits which hold them back. Here are 9 of them with explanations and my own writing experience insights.

1. Not sticking to the writing plan

Never rely on the whimsical character of your inspiration. This lady is too weak to bring a masterpiece to the surface. I have the same bad habit – can’t stick to the plan even after I’ve elaborated the perfect one. Of course, it makes me mad because I realize that having this non-systematic approach stops me from publishing an aspired novel. The thing about plans is that you should always follow it without yielding to excuses. Here are three ways you can make yourself stick to your writing plan.

  • Make monthly, weekly and daily goals to control the process.
  • Write for 3-4 hours each day with one break in the middle.
  • Do not review a single sentence until you finish even if you know there are some mistakes.

2. Giving in to procrastination and self-criticism

Forming a steady writing habit predetermines the highest result. Therefore any self-publishing writer should mind deadlines and develop a sense of confidence to what has already been crafted. Procrastination and postponing your writing goals to fulfill other minor errands is the biggest mistake. We have thousands of these small errands each day from cleaning the kitchen to folding clothes, and they will always take that golden time you should devote to writing your novel. Another bad habit is to return to what you’ve written and carp at some parts of your book. Imagine that you have a creative child in you – an internal artist you can offend with criticism. You should protect yourself from its cruelty says Julia Cameron’s in her bestseller The Artist’s Way. Once this book became my manual which helped me form positive habits of write better.

3. Thinking over some paragraphs or dialogues when you are not writing

This particular habit can actually prevent you from becoming another Joanne K. Rowling because writing a book in your mind is the same as eating with your eyes solely. Sure, it’s pleasant but not useful for your empty stomach. What’s most important, you just waste your time because thought-out dialogues will never look the same when they are actually penned. Besides, it will be much harder to get down to writing a paragraph you have already finished in your mind.

4. Writing without enough sleep

When your mind is already dried out, you shouldn’t expect anything special to come out. First of all, sleep deprivation can result in chronic fatigue and even severe depression. When writing a book you should include four priorities in your everyday routine:

  • From 7 to 9 hours of sleep each day.
  • From 3 to 5 hours for writing a novel with 30-minute breaks every 2 hours.
  • From 2 to 3 hours to promote your writing on your own blog.
  • From 1 to 2 hours for physical exercises.

5. Giving someone to read your unfinished book

Never ever do that even if the person is the closest to you and can be fully trusted. Believe me; it can ruin your intention to continue writing even if you get the positive feedback. I do remember how my sister was hiding her uncompleted pictures from my eyes so that it didn’t influence the whole creation process. She used to say:

“I don’t want to show it until it becomes something strong!”

6. Limiting yourself with one place for writing

I do recommend you to change places as often as it’s possible. Limiting yourself with one place can serve as a bad habit because you’ll depend on particular conditions. I suppose a writer should free his mind from accommodation issues to devote it to the fictional space of his characters. And I do think a successful writer should be flexible enough or even tempered facing such obstacles as noise or crammed rooms.

7. Dividing your time to 2 or more storylines at once

Even if you have several ideas for different novels, I do recommend you to write a few sentences about those newly born stories, put them in different folders without any exact titles and forbid yourself to think about their characters’ names until a previous novel is finished. Dividing your attention between several storylines can confuse you and make the process of writing a single book by the very end almost eternal.

8. Isolating yourself from family and friends

It’s a myth that to write a good book you need to dive into it and ignore the dearest people who can support you. There are a lot of writers who succeeded being good writers and parents at the same time. For instance, Julia Cameron managed to make an awesome writing career and grow her daughter at the same time. Besides, becoming estranged from your family and friends can lead to serious mental problems. You might suffer from loneliness, depression and even panic attacks.

9. Having bad nutrition and drinking too much coffee or energy drinks

A healthy writer has nothing to be distracted from own writing goals. Taking care of your nutrition habits, you save time on treatment in the hospital and make sure you’ll have enough efforts to finish a novel. Also, one of the most harmful habits for writers is drinking too much coffee and energy drinks while working on their novels. And when it adds up to lack of sleep and unbalanced diet you get a cocktail of self-destruction. These things might help for a day or two, but then you’ll become a veg without any decent ideas to pen.

Veronica HuntVeronica Hunt is an edtech expert and an experienced content marketer from Philadelphia, PA. As a blogger, she sees her purpose in providing her readers with up-to-date info in the spheres of marketing, entrepreneurship and psychology. Currently, works for Eduplace as a content manager. Apart from work, she adores traveling and yoga. Follow @VeronicaHuntt or find her on Facebook.

Friday Post: The Last Place You Look

Another Friday is here!  Bring on the Weekend!

Book Beginnings on Fridays

Book Beginnings on Fridays is a meme hosted at Rose City Reader where you share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires. Please remember to include the title of the book and the author’s name.

The Last Place You Look by Kristen Lepionka

I just picked this up at the library tonight and plan to start it in the next couple of days.  I found it on one of the blogs I follow, but I can’t remember whose blog it is!  Sorry!

 

Here’s the Book Beginning:

“Matt said you found things.  For a living,” the woman said on the phone.

I was lying on the carpet underneath my desk.  I’d only answered the call to make the shrill ringing stop.  The inside of my mouth tasted like whipped cream and whiskey, and the sound of my breathing was like a roaring thunderstorm in my head, but at least I was alone and in my own apartment. “That’s right,” I said.

“What kind of things?” Her tone was suspicious, like her main objective was to debunk whatever my oldest brother told her.

“Objects.  People. Answers. Whatever needs to be found.”

“You good at it?”

I hadn’t worked much in the last nine months and didn’t want to start now. But my bank balance had other ideas.

 

The Friday 56

The Friday 56 is a meme hosted at Freda’s voice.

Rules:
*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader
(If you have to improvise, that’s ok.)
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it)
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.
*It’s that simple.

Here’s a blurb from page 56:

In the light of day, I could see that whoever had gotten into my car last night must have used a slim jim or a coat hanger.  The weather stripping at the bottom of the window was ripped and the blue paint on my door was faintly scratched.  Better than a brick through the glass, but it still pissed me off.

On top of that, I didn’t quite know what my next move should be on Brad Stockton. So far there were three votes for Brad Stockton’s innocence, two maybes on the unnamed dog owner, on strange encounter with the Belmont cops, but zero corroboration for Danielle’s claim that the woman she saw was Sarah.

 

What do you think?

Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

Sarah Cook, a beautiful blonde teenager disappeared fifteen years ago, the same night her parents were brutally murdered in their suburban Ohio home. Her boyfriend Brad Stockton – black and from the wrong side of the tracks – was convicted of the murders and sits on death row, though he always maintained his innocence. With his execution only weeks away, his devoted sister, insisting she has spotted Sarah at a local gas station, hires PI Roxane Weary to look again at the case.

Reeling from the recent death of her cop father, Roxane finds herself drawn to the story of Sarah’s vanishing act, especially when she thinks she’s linked Sarah’s disappearance to one of her father’s unsolved murder cases involving another teen girl. Despite her self-destructive tendencies, Roxane starts to hope that maybe she can save Brad’s life and her own.

With echoes of Sue Grafton, Dennis Lehane and the hit podcast Serial, The Last Place You Look is the gripping debut of both a bold new voice and character.

Sounds good, doesn’t it?  I’m excited to start this one!  Have you read it?  What are you reading now?

 

Book Review: Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

I’ve seen the Six of Crows on so many book review blogs, it had so many great reviews and avid fans, I was curious to read it, too.  The title certainly helped… I love crows!  They’re gorgeous birds!

The Six of Crows is first of a duology, followed by the Crooked Kingdom.

So, when I started reading Six of Crows, I found it a bit slow going.  Not because there wasn’t enough action…there was.  I was unfamiliar with the world itself.  

The Six of Crows is preceded by the Grisha Trilogy and I’m thinking that, had I read it would have explained the world much better.  That being said, it can still be read as a standalone, it just took me a bit longer to process what was happening.

Kaz as a main character started out as arrogant and somewhat unlikeable to me. He always has everything planned umpteen steps ahead of everyone else, almost too good to be true.  I found myself disappointed that he was to be such a major character, that is until I found out there was much more to Kaz than what meets the eye.

Each chapter toggles from the perspective of multiple characters, their personalities developing nicely as we learn more about each one, their history and their unique abilities.

Kaz and his crew head out on a mission, that by all standards is considered impossible.  On top of the difficulties they expect to encounter, they are hit by snag after snag.


 

I really got into the story and enjoyed the twisty turny plot and the whole ‘what could possibly go wrong next’ of this book.  There was lots of drama, plot twists and storylines that I didn’t see coming.

Here’s the Goodreads blurb:

Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he’ll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist:

Break into the notorious Ice Court
(a military stronghold that has never been breached)

Retrieve a hostage
(who could unleash magical havoc on the world)

Survive long enough to collect his reward
(and spend it)

Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done – and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable – if they don’t kill each other first.

Have you read any of Leigh Bardugo’s work?  Did you read the Grisha Series first and if so, how did it help reading the Six of Crows?