Monday, July 30, 2012

Review: Whispers of Murder

Review: 2 1/2 stars (out of five)

It’s a good thing I bought Whispers of Murder for free, a promotion from the author Cheryl Bradshaw on twitter, because I wouldn’t have been happy about spending $2 on it. I was aware it was a novella when I purchased it and I had read some of the reviews. The reviews were mixed, some saying that there were bad typos and others that were singing praise. There was an author note saying that originally the wrong file was uploaded and that the problem was fixed, so I gave it the benefit of doubt. 

It wasn’t the writing that made this a poor read for me, it was the plot line. Even in a novella, I expect mysteries to be just that, mysteries. There wasn’t a whole lot of solving in this book and it had almost every cliche known to the amateur detective genre. (If this wasn’t supposed to be an amateur detective book, I’m not exactly sure what it was supposed to be.) It only left you guessing “who did it” because of the massive amount of characters shoved into the story.

The characters weren’t fantastic, they weren’t unique enough to remember and I couldn’t really care about them. Even in a novella I expect good characters, maybe I’m picky, but if you can’t make me care about the characters why should I read it? 

I read this in one sitting, which was a plus of novellas, and there wasn’t any glaring typos like some of the reviews said, but I can’t figure out how this book made it into the top 100 of Amazon’s mysteries list. A quick and easy read, somewhat enjoyable, but not highly recommended. 

Buy the book:
Find the author here.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Review: What a Boy Wants

Review: 5 (out of 5) Stars

I have to admit, I was surprised when I picked up this book. Like many people, I enjoy an easy to read young adult novel, but lately they all seem the same. What a Boy Wants by Nyrae Dawn came to my attention from a friend of a friend, perfectly priced for my budget ($0.99) I was quick to pick it up. Two days later I was stunned that this was a self published novel. Yes, I knew this before I started reading, but it read so well and it was so polished I could tell that the author put a lot of work into it.

First thing that drew me into this book was that it’s written from the boy’s point of view. Yep, that’s right, a YA from the male perspective and it’s done well. Sebastian is a very well rounded character, a high school kid who has motives behind what he does and what he believes. It was refreshing to hear from the guys’ side for once in a YA romance and not from a forlorn, helpless, female.  

Nyrae doesn’t fall into the easy trap of making a flat characters. Oh no, far from it. What I loved about the characters were that I could pin point each on as someone I knew in high school.  The reader can still relate to the characters without the tactics of the author using empty and vague characters. Even Sebastian’s mother has a story to tell. These are not your cookie cutter characters and that was a relief to find. 

I don’t want to spoil anything in the story itself, but I will say that this was well worth the dollar that I spent on it, and more. I honestly never expected a self-published book to be so polished and so professional. The story line was interesting, the characters lovable. I growled at the book, I laughed, and I was damn near crying at one scene. This one is a highly recommended book for those who like to read YA romance. 

Support an indie author and check it out!

Check out Nyrae Dawn here.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Finding Time To Write

Like most aspiring authors I have a hectic life. It's chalked full of kids, significant others, animals, school, work, bills that don’t pay themselves, doctors appointments, family gatherings and a whole slew of distractions that make it difficult to get in some uninterrupted writing time.

I swear my children must have a little device implanted in their brains that alerts them every time  mom sits down to write. As soon as I boot up Scrivener the shenanigans begin with yelling, fighting, name calling and tears. In time, you, like every other sleep deprived parent out there learn to tune those sounds out, for the most part. But even tuning out the kids, finding time to write can seem damn near impossible.

~insert long pause… two weeks later~

*points up* See, life is distracting… So here is my point, no matter how distracting life gets NEVER GIVE UP. Keep writing, even if you have put your project down and haven’t touched it in months, pick it up, dust it off and keep going. Writing just five words is five words more than you would have had if you hadn’t picked up that pencil and paper or opened that laptop.

If this is what you want to do with your life, if you want to share your stories with the world (or even just a handful of friends) you have to stop saying “I don’t have the time.” Because let’s be honest, you do have the time. Sure other things are important but if you can tap away playing Angry Birds for an hour on your iPhone (*points to self* Guilty as charged), then you obviously have a little bit of down time to write.

So this isn’t some  “10 ways to find more time to write” blog post. You will find no pointers here, only the truth as I see it. No one said you needed 5 hours a day of uninterrupted silence to write. Carve out what you can, five minutes here, thirty minutes there. For me, every little bit counts, eventually I will reach my goal. And so will you.

And here’s a little bit of tough love for any procrastinators out there like me: If it is a priority then you will find the time.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Let me first say this: not everyone's creative process is the same and not everyone draws ideas from the same places. This post is to give you an insite to where my ideas come from and how it starts off my creative process. That being said, let's begin.

Photo thanks to hang_in_there
Every story has to start somewhere, normally that is an idea. Most of the time, for me, it's with a character. A little voice starts speaking in my head coaxing me to pay attention to it, from there it tells me who it belongs to. Sometimes a scene plays in my head over and over until I can find out about the characters and why they are in this situation. Occasionally, I get it wrong and we're back to square one.

As stated in No Plot, No Problem (by Chris Baty) it's the characters that make the story, not the plot. I don't 100% agree with this, but it's a great starting point. Personally, in all genres I write I like to have a strong lead character. As a reader books that use, what I refer to as, "pants syndrome" (thank you to The Oatmeal) (i.e. Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey, I used these two as an example because 1)Twilight is the example to Oatmeal uses and 2) Both are different genres, but widely read.) bother me. Sure this writing tool can and will instantly grab most  readers. It's an easy, and lazy, way to get a reader to identify with the main character. I strive to use the tool of 'suspending disbelief' mixed with strong characters to achieve the same effect. No cardboard characters here. (I believe Mia is going to do a blog later on about character back story soon.)

So I have characters, now what?

Now it's time to work on the plot. That scene that plays over and over in my head is currently a short glimpse of a man explaining to a crowd what submission is. He has a name, the woman he's using for demonstration does not. I concentrated on that scene to figure out what this was supposed to mean. As I thought more and more on it, the scene became clearer. Once I finish getting the scene idea complete, I'll start outlining.

Yes, I am an outliner. I don't get very detailed, I just jot down what I want each scene to do and then leave it up to the characters. Once the plot is loosely down, then I will start writing. I carry around a notebook for random ideas, I have a pin board to use for timelines, series and character points that are important.

That's how my ideas come to life. Anything can trigger that little voice. Some times it's as simple as zoning and drinking coffee. Once I had an idea strike me at the movie theater while running to the restroom. (As to not miss too much of the show.) I'll run with and idea when I have one, I adapt if the characters demand that it be changed, but an idea is always my first step.