Jul 23 2015

#FirstReads #NewToYouRC Book Review of How to Develop Story Tension: 13 Techniques plus the Five Minute Magic Trick Guaranteed to Keep Your Readers Turning Pages by @amydeardon

How to Develop Story Tension: 13 Techniques plus the Five Minute Magic Trick Guaranteed to Keep Your Readers Turning PagesHow to Develop Story Tension: 13 Techniques plus the Five Minute Magic Trick Guaranteed to Keep Your Readers Turning Pages by Amy Deardon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It was informative. The book itself is much shorter than portrayed. There is “extra” content. But the titled content is straightforward and well-explained. A useful book. The 13 techniques and 5-minute magic can be learned in under an hour by most readers.



New Authors seeking New Escapes 2015 reading challenge

#NewToYouRC read something 'new' to you in 2015 and review it
#FirstReads book by an author that @JLenniDorner had not read before

Jul 17 2015

Will Indie Authors save Barnes and Noble

The always insightful Kristen Lamb wrote a post about Barnes and Noble, which you can find here:
https://warriorwriters.wordpress.com/2015/07/10/barnes-noble-dead-nooks-and-brave-new-branding/

This was my comment, packed full of my ideas:

It would be a shame if B&N shut down. I’m one of those strange people who still likes to go to an actual bookstore.
Obviously embracing the Indie author would be their salvation. Offer to host Indie book tours where six new writers (each from a different genre) would be in-store for a book signing. The indie authors that know how to use social media to get people to come out. B&N handles all the travel and expenses for the trip. Then offer monthly writing workshops. Who buys more books than writers? (Librarians maybe… but hey, I’m trying to make a point!) Get in with groups like NaNoWriMo. If B&N can figure out how to best help out authors, in turn authors will figure out how to best keep B&N alive.
The stores could hire someone full-time at each location to offer consultation on query letters, first chapters, marketing, and other author services. Perhaps a sort of deal could be worked out. B&N helps get you published, they get that first 90 days of marketing. (Yes, steal the idea from Amazon.) But here’s the thing, if the store starts causing these new indie authors to break popular best-seller lists, there would be a line out the door of authors who are interested.
Along those lines, consider the popularity of restaurants that allow customers to watch the food prep. What if B&N had an author area, complete with the author services office, and the area was behind glass? Some people enjoy watching writers write. Perhaps there could even be a critique spot, where customers could weigh in on 500-word samples. Imagine the excitement and fandom of a sporting event, mixed with writing. Yes, it’s hard to be a writer. Some days the writer’s block wins. But maybe a fan favorite writer would be getting free coffee drinks.

 

To sum up:

If B&N wants to stay in business, they should look at what they have that the competition (aka: Amazon) does not. They have physical locations. If they can make people want to be at those locations again, they have a chance.

My assistant has three grocery stores less than a mile from her home. She does most of her shopping at one that’s ten miles away. Why? Because that grocery store has a nice cafe with tables, and she meets up with her friends at those tables every week. They grab a bite together and visit. And then she gets her shopping done. That store made itself convenient.

A consumer could a book of equal price at Amazon or B&N. If the consumer happens to learn about that book while at B&N, the odds that it’ll be bought there go up. Just give the person a reason to be there. That’s what my suggestions were about.

Jul 04 2015

Reviews of Books Read in June #firstreads #NewToYouRC

As promised in my goal post, here are the three books that I read in June. Reviewed at last! All of these authors were new to me (though they are not debut authors by any standard). I also managed to cross two off my 2015 reading challenge — A popular authors first book (according to the Internet, this was John Green’s debut novel), and a book set in another country (I’m in America, and Mrs. Dalloway is set in England). And I’m proud to announce that I’ve hit the 25 mark for books this year! How about you? Read any good books this year?


50 book pledge page

Mrs. DallowayMrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is an interesting period piece. The writing is unlike that of our time. The setting is distinctly England. I have the impression that the more one knows about literature and London a century ago, the more enjoyable the book will be. I did enjoy the character Sally, though, especially where the story dives into the memory of when she and Clarissa first met.



Characters, Emotion & Viewpoint: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting Dynamic Characters and Effective ViewpointsCharacters, Emotion & Viewpoint: Techniques and Exercises for Crafting Dynamic Characters and Effective Viewpoints by Nancy Kress

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The earlier in one’s writing career this book is read, the more enjoyable it will be. While I was able to find some useful tidbits, most of this book focused on that which I already knew. This reference guide is written in textbook style.



Looking for AlaskaLooking for Alaska by John Green

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Brilliant. The characters are exceptional. This story stuck with me after I read it. I did note one part that I wished the main character would have caught on to sooner- waiting for him to think about it was driving me crazy! On the other hand, there was something another character picked up on that I had missed. (That’s rare for me, especially because it was a date, and those generally stand out in my mind like a lit road flare.) At any rate, bring your heart and mind to this book, so John Green can make mush out of them.



View all my Goodreads reviews


New Authors seeking New Escapes 2015 reading challenge

read something 'new' to you in 2015 and review it
#FirstReads book by an author that @JLenniDorner had not read before


2015 reading challenge

Jul 01 2015

I will make my own fireworks with these Goals for July

goals image


My month of June did not go as planned.

Frequent guests to this blog and my social pages might have noticed my peculiar lack of presence. This is directly related to “BIG MAIN GOAL number two- which I came far too close to failing at this month. But the fact that I’m here now means I intend to keep plucking away at it.

 

I did manage to get my votes in for #WRiTECLUB2015.

(Okay, I missed one round.) They seem to be doing well over there. I’m not sure what the rules are about discussing people who didn’t make the top forty cut. However, I know someone who entered (not me) who did not make it, but who has now (since she knows she didn’t make the contest cut) sent her short story out to someone. And it resulted in her getting hired for a ghostwriting gig. I am very proud of that person. Way to go! A Proper celebration to follow.

 

MAKING A LEPER

 

I’m not sure if I did anything, in particular, to support diverse books this month.

I believe the fantasy I’m working on writing has diversity in it (the MC is a young albino female, a large chunk of the cast has darker shades of skin, and I’ve taken both straight and LBGTQ to a whole other level).

 

But the social media news seems to have taken an anti-rape-scenes turn. Honestly, there is one, sort of, in the story. Based on the complaints I’m reading about such scenes, I don’t think I’ve crossed into what people hate about them. The MC doesn’t just survive it. The scene changes her; it forces her to embrace the life she’s always wanted, the one she was always meant to have. It gives her a real reason to become a heroine, not just the relatively cheesy one she had before. She goes from feeling like taking her place maybe isn’t right, to demanding that she has her place because now she has a cause. Plus, she kills the guy while he’s doing it.

 

I did notice that one complaint the social media news had about rape scenes is that they only happen to women. While, yes, I only ever intended there to be one actual scene, the book does imply that this isn’t only happening to women. It’s a new crime on this world, and it’s happening in several places to all sorts of genders and species.

 

The reason it’s happening on this fantasy world is that it changes those who commit the foul act. They get a new power, but it comes with a hefty price. The MC isn’t aware of any of that at the time. When she finds out, she vows to put an end to it. To hunt each and every one of them down and rid her world of this evil.

 

So yes, it’s possible that the news controversy is going to kill my book’s chance. I’ve just created the newest leper!

 

On the other hand, the book isn’t all about that. There are other events going on. Really, it’s more about the MC’s desire and demand for choices. Yes, that one choice is taken from her. But throughout the whole book we see how she reacts to choices being taken from her. So her reaction isn’t a surprise. My aim was that readers would get the idea of what’s happening in the scene and think something like…

 

Oh Hell No Meme

Chuck Norris Beat Down meme

 

 

Okay, that’s enough of my going on. Here are my current goals and review of goals from the past, in the list format to which I normally adhere.

 

The BIG MAIN GOALS:

  • Publish two decent-selling book series (speculative fiction)
  • Survive at least another 40 years

 

 

2015 Goals:

 

  • Have 5000 Twitter followers ~ currently at 4398  — up 8 from last month
  • Update / redo what-are-they.com (Done!)
  • Download the update for my blog theme, whatever that might entail
  • Support Diverse Books
  • Four Reading Challenges
  • After editing fantasy novel, get new query letter out there

 

 

Goals for July:

 

Camp Nanowrimo logo

  • Work on my fantasy novel for CAMPNANOWRIMO
  • Comment on at least 12 blogs
  • Finish reading and reviewing 2 books
  • Catch up on the 3 reviews from last month’s books
  • Vote for a 500-word story every weekday until it’s over at Write Club

writeclub2015

 

 

Review of Goals for June: Naughty List because @JLenniDorner failed to accomplish this goal

 

  • Make at least 10 stops on the A to Z Challenge Roadtrip
  • Continue work on my NaNoWriMo fantasy novel
  • Keep up with Twitter follows
  • Tweet for #WriterWednesday  #WW
  • Finish reading and reviewing 3 books
  • Vote for a 500-word story every weekday over at Write Club

 
Naughty List because @JLenniDorner failed to accomplish this goal
I managed zero stops at any blog in June. I made a few notes for the novel, and tried a new beginning. (Over at WeBook’s PAGE TO FAME, my old opening is scoring a 58%, and the new one is getting at 33%. Obviously, I need to try another approach.) I barely managed to do anything on Twitter that wasn’t pre-scheduled. There was a nice tweet that sums me up well though:


I did finish a book, and nearly finish some others, but I haven’t sat down to write a review. I got my votes in at Write club, except for ELIMINATION BOUT #3. (Whoops. Sorry.) So basically, I’ll just be taking a FAIL for the whole month. But hey, I managed to survive, and that’s one of the BIG MAIN GOALS, so it’s okay.

 

 

Jun 22 2015

171 entered, 40 made it, and 10 now face off! #WRiTECLUB2015 Reminder to #read and #vote

Check out #writeclub2015




“Over the past five weeks forty writers have stepped into the WRiTE CLUB ring and twenty emerged victorious.”





It’s down to the elimination rounds. Your votes matter.



(This is NOT a self-promotion or promotion on behalf of anyone. I am recommending visiting the site simply because it’s fun to read the stories and decide which one should go on and have a shot at the prizes. I believe that #reading and #voting matter.)

May 29 2015

Goals for June #WriteClub2015 #WW #FirstReads #NewToYouRC #NewAuthorsRC2015

goals image
 

Here are my current goals and review of goals from the past:

 

The BIG MAIN GOALS:

  • Publish two decent-selling book series (speculative fiction)
  • Survive at least another 40 years

 

 

2015 Goals:

 

  • Have 5000 Twitter followers ~ currently at 4390  — up 146 from last month!
  • Update / redo what-are-they.com Mischief Managed because @JLenniDorner accomplished this goal
  • Download the update for my blog theme, whatever that might entail
  • Support Diverse Books
  • Three Four Reading Challenges
  • After editing fantasy novel, get new query letter out there

 

 

Goals for June:

 

  • Make at least 10 stops on the A to Z Challenge Roadtrip
  • Continue work on my NaNoWriMo fantasy novel
  • Finish up the fantasy writing class
  • Keep up with Twitter follows
  • Tweet for #WriterWednesday  #WW
  • Finish reading and reviewing 3 books
  • Vote for a 500-word story every weekday over at Write Club

#WRiTECLUB2014

 

Review of Goals for May:

 

    • A to Z Challenge ReflectionsMischief Managed because @JLenniDorner accomplished this goal
    • Select a WINNER for my current giveawayMischief Managed because @JLenniDorner accomplished this goal

  • Continue work on my NaNoWriMo fantasy novelMischief Managed because @JLenniDorner accomplished this goal
  • Keep up with Twitter followsMischief Managed because @JLenniDorner accomplished this goalsomewhat
  • Tweet for #WriterWednesday  #WW Mischief Managed because @JLenniDorner accomplished this goal and  #ReaderthuRsday #RR
  • Finish reading and reviewing 5 books Mischief Managed because @JLenniDorner accomplished this goal
  • Visit and comment on 60 blogsMischief Managed because @JLenniDorner accomplished this goal
  • Survive my “weekend journey”Mischief Managed because @JLenniDorner accomplished this goal
  • Submit the next assignment for the young adult writing classMischief Managed because @JLenniDorner accomplished this goal
  • Write ClubMischief Managed because @JLenniDorner accomplished this goal

 
I have given up on #ReaderthuRsday #RR. I’m still the only one who has been doing it after a year. Obviously I can’t make praising readers a trend all by myself. The ship has sunk. Perhaps I’ll try again one day.




read something 'new' to you in 2015 and review it
#FirstReads book by an author that @JLenniDorner had not read before

Books Read and Reviewed in May:     #FirstReads #NewToYouRC #NewAuthorsRC2015

1.
Trust Me, I'm Lying (Trust Me, #1)Trust Me, I’m Lying by Mary Elizabeth Summer

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A must for Veronica Mars Marshmallows.
Trust Me, I’m Lying is a smart, witty, and exciting book. The vocabulary lends to the credibility that the main character intends to go to Yale one day. In other words, even though this book is YA, it doesn’t feel like someone “thesaurused-down” all the big words. This book is a demanding page turner. I believe every chapter ended on a cliffhanger. You think you can put it down and walk away for five minutes, and then, BANG! There was even a twist that I thought I saw coming, and it looked like I was right, but then NOPE, retwisted and turned into a moment full of “the feels.”


2.
The Easy Way to Write Fantasy That SellsThe Easy Way to Write Fantasy That Sells by Rob Parnell

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For writers who are new to the game and need a quick, basic crash course in fantasy writing, this book would be useful.

I’m not sure there are many lit agents who will be excited at the 58% mark when the book says that fantasy novels are around 200,000 words. (First-time writers— good luck pitching anything over 150,000!)

The section on plot points is clear and logical. The idea that characters are the most important part of a good story is spot on. There’s a great section focused on showing-not-telling and avoiding info-dumping. “It’s not really the artifact that’s important, it is its influence on your characters and plot that matters most.” – That is my favorite line in this book. It does preach the current modern-day importance of making stand-alone novels, especially for unknown authors.

It reads more like the transcript of a seminar than it does a book. Though it does come with some suggested writing exercises to help foster improvement and motivation.



3.
Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The book does stand alone, but I’m hoping for it to become a series. The themes presented in Red Queen are relatable. One more story of oppression, of the 1 percent lording over the 99 should be eye-rolling and dull — but this book makes it feel fresh and exciting! Another fairytale with the poor girl catching the eye of the handsome prince should be a snoozefest — but the twist and turns of Red Queen turn it into a thriller. Books are supposed to have one climax, but this book has a new climax every few chapters. There’s some beautiful foreshadowing. Poetic prose snuck in a few times and took my breath away. This book is utterly magnificent. I’ll be in line for the midnight release of the movie or the next book — hopefully both. Yes, it really is that good.



4.
The Imaginary FriendThe Imaginary Friend by Kelly Hashway

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A short read well suited for younger readers.

It’s a story that will assure children that it is okay to come out of their shell and grow-up. This seems aimed at comforting the reader in knowing that imaginary friends left behind will be all right. That they are here to do a job and will move on to do another when it’s time.



5.
Portrait of a Lone Wolf (Black Hills Wolves, #7)Portrait of a Lone Wolf by Katalina Leon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The love scene is wonderfully well done. The story is short, so it doesn’t beat around the bush for very long. In the end, most readers will root for the couple.

The editor could have done a better job. I noticed a handful of errors.




6.
Better Living Through GRAVY and Other OdditiesBetter Living Through GRAVY and Other Oddities by Isa-Lee Wolf

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Very imaginative.
There are some good jokes. (Ricky Rocky… ha! And the abs, omg.) And “drop me off on the way” is an ominous and brilliant line. Gotta watch out for that Aunty Ida! That last story– I think several writers wish for readers that dedicated to our words.
It has a great deal of dialog. There are some fun twists. It’s very fast paced (I read the whole book in half an hour.)


Reading challenge 2015 @JLenniDorner

Still seeking a book with bad reviews, and a book by someone with the initials J.D. or J.L.D. (Not J.D. Salinger)

May 27 2015

Book Review of Trust Me, I’m Lying by @mesummerbooks with a Marshmallow Alert

Marshmallow alert!



Dear fellow Marshmallows,


I have found a book for you. No, it doesn’t take place at Neptune High. But the voice in this story reminds me of Veronica Mars. (And, naturally, of iZombie. Honestly, the two voices are similar.) Someone send a copy of this book to Rob Thomas A.S.A.P.


-J



Trust Me, I’m Lying is a smart, witty, and exciting book. The vocabulary lends to the credibility that the main character intends to go to Yale one day. In other words, even though this book is YA, it doesn’t feel like someone “thesaurused-down” all the big words.


(Including one word, detritus, which an editor once told me that people wouldn’t know. Go Google a teen-girl-squeal sound effect to reflect my emotional joy.)


This book is a demanding page turner. I believe every chapter ended on a cliffhanger. You think you can put it down and walk away for five minutes, and then, BANG! There was even a twist that I thought I saw coming, and it looked like I was right, but then NOPE, retwisted and turned into a moment full of “the feels.”


(For you non-writers, “the feels” are those emotional highs when a book wields unbelievable power over a reader, causing outbursts of tears, laughter, or breathlessness. Great for calorie burning, as a case of “the feels” also ups the heartbeat.)


This book landed on my TBR list as a result of one of the book challenges I’m doing this year. It is my “a book with antonyms in the title” choice. I am so thankful that I’m doing that challenge, without which I might not have discovered this treasure. I’ll be updating the challenge checklist on Friday.



.


May 26 2015

Express Yourself #eating while #writing

Express Yourself May Meme



What I like to munch on while writing:

  • baby carrots with hummus
  • greek yogurt
  • almonds
  • cheese
  • biscotti dipped in my coffee
  • Pepperidge Farm Cheddar and Sour Cream cracker chips



  • Enjoy the hop!

    May 22 2015

    Express Yourself with my Best Friend

    Express Yourself May Meme



    My best friend has several quirks. But the one she is known for is her ability to not get ripped off.

    You might not think that’s a big deal. But she ALWAYS gets what she paid for. If there’s a scratch on her new car, she’ll not only have it buffed out, but the dealership will be apologizing and throwing in a year of free oil changes. If she orders something at a restaurant and it comes out wrong, she’ll get her meal free and have the manager begging her forgiveness. Even Walmart has bent to her will. She has the number for one of the high-up execs (I won’t say which) on her speed-dial. (This happened after the store dared to sell her baby formula that was expired by three months.)

    My best friend is determined to get people to higher standards. She’s managed a few companies, all of which went from “who?” to “stocks to watch and invest in.” She’s taken a few years off to raise her children. And when the schools around her weren’t good enough, she jumped on the Home School train. (Her kids do “cyber school” under her supervision. She makes sure they’re getting a good education in a safe environment.)

    She runs her household in a way that, if the Federal Government adopted it, all American’s would have free access to the finest healthcare, unlimited education for all, and a retirement package that would be the envy of the world. And she’d do it all without raising a single tax. Because yes, she’s THAT good. It’s a shame she isn’t interested in public office, because she’d be in the top ten of greatest leaders in history. When I write a strong female character who rules with authority, she’s my base model.





    Enjoy the hop. I’m glad it’s back after the A to Z break.

    May 18 2015

    Blood, Boobs, and Carnage blog fest featuring the novel Red Queen

    blood boobs and carnage blogfest bloghop image logo
    This is a review and discussion of Victoria Aveyard’s book Red Queen.

    As you can see from that picture, I have marked several passages that fall into the categories.
    This post will not reveal any spoilers.

     

    Perfect quote for this book:

    “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
    ― Margaret Mead


     

    This Young Adult fantasy novel takes place on (what I have reason to believe is) future Earth. The main character is tough and intelligent girl who suffers in poverty because her blood is red. Those with blood of silver rule the world, as they are gifted with great powers.


    Why your existing fandom will love this book—


    Fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent:

    Red Queen has a young female main character who has a difference that makes her special, but will also get her pitted against those who believe they are stronger and better. She’s a bit oblivious to the fact that certain guys have feelings for her. She fights for to make life better for others.

     

    Fans of The X-Men:

    Mutants rule the world. They easily identify each other because they all have silver blood. Then one girl with red blood appears and throws a wrench in the whole overlord system.

     

    Fans of fairy tales:

    It’s Beauty and the Beast, except there is more there are two beasts, and Belle turns out to be far more than just a girl from the village. (Bonus! Someone in Red Queen does have a massive book collection.)

    Library from Disney's Beauty and the Beast
     

     

    Blood, blood everywhere, and red drops mean you stink

     

    The book is based on blood. In fact, the cover image is an upside-down crown with red blood dripping off of it. Here are a few excerpts:

    • This is the true division between Silvers and Reds: the color of our blood. This simple difference somehow makes them stronger, smarter, better than us.
    • As the blood gushes from (spoiler), gasps echo across the arena. We’ve never seen so much blood here before.
    • “I’ve never heard of a blood healer before.” “You wouldn’t have, since they’re not allowed to fight in the arenas. There’s simply no point to them doing it.”
    • When I pull back, a silver blush paints his cheeks. I can feel my own blood run hot beneath my skin, pounding in my ears.
    • I push back from the murdered woman, but my hands slide through a mixture of silverblood and wine. A scream escapes me in a terrifying combination of frustration and grief. The blood clings to my hands, like it knows what I’ve done. It’s sticky and cold and everywhere, trying to drown me.
    • “The blood database. Any Red born within a hundred miles of civilization gets sampled at birth. Started out as a project to understand exactly what the difference is between us, but ended up just another way to put a collar on your people.”…

     

    Boobs, pecks, or maybe other arousing imagery

     

    The main character is a female young adult. While boobs aren’t directly mentioned, it’s assumable that she has them. Scenes for this category were difficult to find, so it’s more a selection which could be turned into “boob moments” by Hollywood. And a pecks passage. Here you go:

    • My uniform is not so lucky, barely holding together in a charred mess.
    • Unfortunately, that happens to be his chest and much-too-thin shirt.

     

    Books are boobs with one letter changed, right?

    This isn’t a category for this blog fest! Yeah, I know. But I believe book porn and beautiful prose have the same “implied spirit” as boobs. Do you agree?

    • My next instructor waits for me in a room cluttered from floor to ceiling with more books than I’ve ever seen, more books than I ever thought existed. They look old and completely priceless.
    • The door shuts behind her with a slam, shaking the framed maps in their glass prisons.

     

    Carnage implies the slaughter of many

     

    There’s plenty! On to some examples:

    • Only Silvers can fight in the arenas because only Silvers can survive the arena.
    • Dad was injured at the Choke years ago, when a bomb dropped on his unit. Now the Choke is so destroyed by decades of battle, the smoke of explosions is a constant fog and nothing can grow there. It’s dead and gray, like the future of the war.
    • Their lives are so terrible that the war is a better alternative, and they’re not even allowed to go.
    • “The south is radiated.”… “You know what it does? Radiation?” He sounds truly afraid.
    • …”I’m afraid of what happens if nothing in this world ever changes.” He turns hot under my touch, driven by an inner resolve. “That scares me more than dying.”
    • The sound of gunfire and screams and blood in the tunnels rumbles in my mind. They are dead. We are dead. It is over.

     


    Red Queen (Red Queen, #1)Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    The book does stand alone, but I’m hoping for it to become a series. The themes presented in Red Queen are relatable. One more story of oppression, of the 1 percent lording over the 99 should be eye-rolling and dull — but this book makes it feel fresh and exciting! Another fairytale with the poor girl catching the eye of the handsome prince should be a snoozefest — but the twist and turns of Red Queen turn it into a thriller. Books are supposed to have one climax, but this book has a new climax every few chapters. There’s some beautiful foreshadowing. Poetic prose snuck in a few times and took my breath away. This book is utterly magnificent. I’ll be in line for the midnight release of the movie or the next book — hopefully both. Yes, it really is that good.


    Thank you, Alex and Heather Gardner for this blog fest.


    WRiTECLUB 2015 . Rafflecopter Giveaway
    WRiTECLUB 2015 is now open!
    Vote for a 500-word story today.


    Please share this post on social media.

    May 17 2015

    Last day for #boutofbooks and I have a victory

    Bout of Books

     

    Time Devoted to Reading

    I read all week.

     

    My Goals

    • To finish three books by May 17, 2015.Mischief Managed because @JLenniDorner accomplished this goal

     

    Updates

    Sunday
    Number of books I’ve been reading today: 1
    Total number of books I’ve finished reading during the challenge: 3
    Books finished:
    . .


    Review:
    The Easy Way to Write Fantasy That SellsThe Easy Way to Write Fantasy That Sells by Rob Parnell

    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    For writers who are new to the game and need a quick, basic crash course in fantasy writing, this book would be useful.

    I’m not sure there are many lit agents who will be excited at the 58% mark when the book says that fantasy novels are around 200,000 words. (First-time writers— good luck pitching anything over 150,000!)

    The section on plot points is clear and logical. The idea that characters are the most important part of a good story is spot on. There’s a great section focused on showing-not-telling and avoiding info-dumping. “It’s not really the artifact that’s important, it is its influence on your characters and plot that matters most.” – That is my favorite line in this book. It does preach the current modern-day importance of making stand-alone novels, especially for unknown authors.

    It reads more like the transcript of a seminar than it does a book. Though it does come with some suggested writing exercises to help foster improvement and motivation.




    The #boutofbooks challenge was fun! I enjoyed having a week where reading was my most important goal. I look forward to doing it again!

    I missed the bonus Color Cover Challenge, so I’m putting that here:
    red book covers image
    Obviously, I selected covers with the color red. Funny- I read a book during the challenge with the word “red” in it, yet all three covers for the books I read had the color blue!

    My review of Red Queen will appear on Monday as part of the upcoming blog fest hop.

    blood boobs and carnage blogfest bloghop image logo


    Speaking of Monday and a love of reading:


    WriteClub2015
    Two new 500-word short stories face off every weekday. The winner comes from YOUR VOTE!
     

    If you are looking for a short and easy book to read, I have a .99 cents (US currency) ebook available on Amazon and Smashwords.

     Preparing to Write Settings that feel like Characters by J Lenni Dorner on Smashwords

    Rafflecopter Giveaway for those interested in entering to win an Amazon giftcard.

    May 16 2015

    My #boutofbooks update for day 6

    Bout of Books

     

    Time Devoted to Reading

    I will be reading all week. (Managed 1 hour so far today.)

     

    My Goals

    • To finish three books by May 17, 2015.

     

    Updates

    Saturday
    Number of books I’ve been reading today: 1
    Progress: 45%
    Book reading:





    Total number of books I’ve finished reading during the challenge: 2
    Books finished:
    .
     

    May 14 2015

    Update post for #boutofbooks

    Bout of Books

     

    Time Devoted to Reading

    I will be reading all week.

     

    My Goals

    • To finish three books by May 17, 2015.

     

    Updates

    Thursday

    Book reading: The Easy Way to Write Fantasy That Sells by Rob Parnell

    Total number of books I’ve finished reading during the challenge: 2
    Books finished:

    .
    My (partial) Review of Red Queen:

    I really loved this book. I assume that it’s fantasy set on Earth in the future.
    Here’s the main reason that I believe it to be Earth: The months.
    Yes, I’m willing to believe that (the Roman god) Janus, Mars (Roman god of war), Aphrodite (Greek goddess), Maia (might be the Greek one or the Roman one) and Juno (Roman goddess) could be worshiped and known on other worlds. But there are other months.
    The Roman festival Februa seems odd for another world. And yeah, September, that’s Latin, as “september mensis” means seventh month (it got bumped, but the name didn’t change), and is followed by “october mensis” which means eighth month in Latin, and (hang on to your lack of creativity hats, folks) “novembris mensis” is, indeed, the Latin for nineth month. Anyone care to take a stab at the next? December, also Latin.
    But, and this is the big one, July is named for Julius Caesar, the (very real) Roman who redid the calendar, and named that month for himself. Not enough? Okay, the next month is named for Augustus Caesar, who did some editing and tweeking to get the calendar just right.

    I can’t imagine why another world would use the same calendar, have the same days, and have the same month names. Therefore, I’m guessing it takes place on future Earth.
    I believe this book will become a classic.
    My reasons are:

    1. It says a great deal about society, about how people are treated and what it really takes for change to happen.
    2. It reveals several notable truths.
    3. It is beautifully written and has a page-turning climax in pretty much every chapter.

    Anyway, I really enjoyed the book. The title, by the way, is a reference to the color of the blood of the main character. More about that in my full review, which will be posted on Monday.

     

    blood boobs and carnage blogfest bloghop image logo

    May 13 2015

    Reading progress #boutofbooks Red Queen

    Bout of Books

     

    Time Devoted to Reading

    I will be reading all week. (Managed 4 hours so far today.)

     

    My Goals

    • To finish three books by May 17, 2015.

     

    Updates

    Wednesday
    Number of books I’ve been read today: 1
    Book reading:



    Total number of books I’ve finished reading during the challenge: 1
    Book finished: The Imaginary Friend by Kelly Hashway

     

    My Review:

    I’m only on Chapter 19 so far. There have been so many climaxes in this book! By chapter seven, it had already become one of my top ten favorite books of all time.

    I will finish this book this week!

    The review, however, will be saved for the upcoming blog fest hop, because it fits the bill perfectly.

    blood boobs and carnage blogfest bloghop image logo

    May 11 2015

    Bookish Survey #boutofbooks Answers

    Bout of Books

     

    The Questions: 

    1. How do you organize your shelves?


    By where the books will fit! I started off organizing by author last name, then I tried just by genre, then I tried just fiction here and non-fiction there… Yeah, it’s really just where the books will fit now. The shelves are full. (Or, as my dad said, “I don’t think they are meant to hold that many, which is why it’s warping.” LOL. Whoops.) I’ve moved on to piles. Piles I’ve read, and piles I will read next, and piles that I’ll get around to at some point.


    2. What is one of your favorite book that’s not in one of your favorite genres?


    This question assumes that I have a favorite genre.
    I’m going to answer with this book. I’m not certain what genre it is, exactly. But it was unlike any other book I’d normally read. And I enjoyed it.






    3. What is the last 5 star book you read?


    Amazon assures me that the last 5 star book I read and reviewed was Insurgent (Divergent) by Veronica Roth on April 4, 2015.


    4. What book are you most excited to read during the read-a-thon?


    I am GOING to finish The Red Queen


    5. What book do you recommend the most?


    The Other Normals by Ned Vizzini. See my review here.

    May 11 2015

    Review of The Imaginary Friend by @kellyhashway #boutofbooks #FirstReads #NewToYouRC

    Bout of Books

     

    Time Devoted to Reading

    I will be reading all week.

     

    My Goals

    • To finish three books by May 17, 2015.

     

    Updates

    Monday
    Number of books I’ve read today: 1
    Total number of books I’ve read: 1
    Books: The Imaginary Friend by Kelly Hashway

     

    My Review:

     
    The Imaginary FriendThe Imaginary Friend by Kelly Hashway

    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    A short read well suited for younger readers.

    It’s a story that will assure children that it is okay to come out of their shell and grow-up. This seems aimed at comforting the reader in knowing that imaginary friends left behind will be all right. That they are here to do a job and will move on to do another when it’s time.


    Reviewed on: Amazon, Goodreads, 50 Book Pledge, Smashwords

    #FirstReads #NewToYouRC
    This is the first time I have read a book by Kelly Hashway, making her new to me.

    First ReadsNew to You Reading Challenge

    May 04 2015

    #MayTheForthBeWithYou for this Fabulous Spring #Giveaway #lvlspringgiveaway

    Spring is here and it’s time for a big giveaway from Laughing Vixen Lounge. 11 shops have come together to create one amazing Prize Pack ($280+) full of Jewelry, Perfume, Clothing, Vintage and much more! Many of the shops offer items perfect for any book lover along with lots of other unique, handcrafted and custom designs.

    The Fabulous Spring Giveaway is open worldwide. 1 winner will win the Prize Pack. You can enter via the Rafflecopter below. Please visit the Laughing Vixen Lounge Blog and the Main Giveaway Post HERE to see the full prize list, participating shops and daily features during the giveaway.

    Since Summer is right around the corner the giveaway theme is Vacation Memories. Each of our participating shops, and many of our blog sponsors, will be sharing some of their favorite vacation photos with you.

    Giveaway runs May 4th – 18th. Laughing Vixen Lounge is responsible for all giveaway details. See full details HERE.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

     

    Ocean image by J Dorner

    This photo, taken at the Jersey Shore, was shot by my friend and assistant, Jamie. It was taken a few months before she married into my family (we’re third cousin in-laws, or something like that). We found out years later that we were both on vacation that weekend, a mere 37 miles apart. She was in Atlantic City, NJ with my distant cousin, and I was in Avalon, NJ.

    It rained most of the weekend. LOL.

    May 03 2015

    An A to Z Reflections Post for the #AtoZchallenge including #WRiTECLUB2015 and #boutofbooks mentions


    The #atozchallenge reflection post of @JLenniDorner
    To all you fiction writers out there-

    I hope I was able to inspire you to try your hand at writing settings that feel like characters.

     Preparing to Write Settings that feel like Characters by J Lenni Dorner on Smashwords

    To fiction readers-

    I hope you enjoyed the behind the scenes look at how some settings are created.

    To everyone else

    I hope you got a laugh out of the shareable memes.

    Reflection meme on the blog of @JLenniDorner says Reflecting on the 10 minutes of hard work I did today.
     

    Volunteering to be an ambassador was a fantastic experience. I never fully grasped before the number of people who sign up but do not take part, quit before the middle, or have bad urls. Judging by my own visits, I’d wager a guess that about 250 blogs were removed from the original list. Consider the work that goes in to keeping this challenge running. Thank the co-hosts.

    I’m grateful for this challenge. It means so much to me to be able to meet so many bloggers, and to be able to connect with them. The hop is about more than just planning posts alphabetically. Blogging from A to Z is about reaching out and connecting with people.

     


    Reflection meme on the blog of @JLenniDorner says Reflecting on the 10 minutes of hard work I did today.
     

    A quick note for at least 80 challenge-members: If your Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook, etc widget leads to the main site INSTEAD OF TO YOUR PAGE THERE it’s doing you no good! If you don’t know how to adjust the html, ask someone who does. (Maybe a tech-teacher out there could write a post or do a video on the A to Z blog to teach people?)

     

    Reflection meme on the blog of @JLenniDorner says I have a room filled with mirrors, it's where I go when I want to reflect.
    ABSOLUTELY I will do the challenge again next year!

    Reflection meme on the blog of @JLenniDorner says I only have roughly 20 seconds left to reflect on how stupid of an idea this was.
    Bet on me volunteering again, Arlee.

    Consider me packed for the road trip.

    Drop-out list ­­­­—

    I think there should be one for people who start but don’t finish.

    Enjoy the reflection posts.

    Follow me social media, if you’d be so kind. (Links at top of page as well.)


    @JLenniDorner on Twitter WhatAreThey on Facebook pages Author J Lenni Dorner on G+ JLenniDorner on Pinterest Connect with J Lenni Dorner on LinkedIn Author page of J Lenni Dorner on Amazon friend J Lenni Dorner on Goodreads 

    Great news! My giveaway is open until May 21, 2015 12am EST. There are special entries for A to Z participants.

    Hey, if you like giveaways, check out the May 4th post on this blog.

    I love to read. That’s why I signed up for the next round of bout of books.

    About Bout of Books image
    Just in case you didn’t know, #WRiTECLUB2015 begins May 18.

    Kick start your summer by voting for your favorite stories (under 500 words each).
    Image #WRiTECLUB2015
    Literature battle!

    Maybe the winner will become the next breakout author.

    Notorious the world over for writing fantastic books.

    Only the votes of readers like you can offer such an opportunity.

    Perhaps one day you can brag about your hand in elevating an author to fame.

    Quick! Bookmark the site of D L Hammons. And follow @DL_H on Twitter.

    Remember to vote in as many rounds as you can.


    Set a reminder in your calendar. Google calendar users can do this with a click!

    Tell a friend, or two or three.

    Utter about it in bookstores and libraries.

    Vacation from your “normal” reading genre with this variety of writing.

    While I’m thinking about it, I’d like to thank Timothy Brannan for the team spreadsheet, and Jeremy Hawkins for the challenge graphics.

    X-rated and Adult Content blogs should be labeled to protect children and those sensitive to such topics and visuals. I feel it shouldn’t be a category code though. Adult humor, adult book reviews, and adult art (etc) seem too wide to fit just in AC. I’d like to see AC as a “heads up” content label, and the category included as well. (BlogName AC BO – for example.)
    meme @JLenniDorner says Reflect upon your present blessings,of which every man has many- Not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some. #Quote by Charles Dickens
    Yippie! I am thankful for the 188 comments my blog received in April.

    Zig-zag your mouse pointer down to the “share this” icon and give a click, for which I’ll be grateful.

    April Stats @JLenniDorner blogApril Blog Views ♥

    By the way, as part of a reading challenge

    I’m looking for the following books:

    • A book written by someone under age 30.Thanks, Sabina!
    • A book with bad reviews.
    • A book by an author with the initials J. D. or J. L. D. (*Not J.D. Salinger.)

    Suggestions are needed! Thank you.

    Reflection meme on the blog of @JLenniDorner says You can't see your reflection in boiling water. Similarly, you can't see the truth of life in a state of anger.

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