Writing Wednesday #4: Fiction Via Poll (FVP)

Hey Y’all! Do you want to know what I love?

I love polls. That’s right, polls.

Polls are amazing. You learn a lot from people by what they choose. You can change a person’s decision by showing them enough evidence. I think, sometimes, I’m even more excited when my opinion is changed by a great argument.

What can I say? I’m odd.

So, what does this have to with with this Wednesday’s Writing Wednesday? Well, next month is my birthday and I set up an open event that has to do with writing and polls! Two of my favorite things (next to cake, cookies, chocolate, Bug, Will, Books… and so much more)!

Basically, I find I can write a chapter a day. I also found out you can put documents on an event in Facebook. After chatting with a friend, I came up with the idea. I will write a chapter and the audience will vote on what happens next. It will be a writing exercise. Sure, this means that people will have chapters as I go, but this also means I’ll have Beta Readers.

That said, I’m not seeing myself finishing the story in one month anyways (or really 2 weeks because that’s all Facebook allows). But, that’s neither here nor there. This is an exercise more than anything. It’s a challenge to see what I can do as a writer and see how far my friends can push my writing. If it does go beyond that, then it will, but I’m not doing this for that.

You guys want to join on the fun?

Join Us

If you don’t want to join with the fun, that’s fine. But, if you do . . .

I’m seriously excited. Can’t wait!

Note. If this goes well . . . I’m totally going to do FVP (Fiction Via Poll) more often.

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Book #7: Emma and the Silk Thieves by Matthew S. Cox

Once again safe at home, Emma clings to the comfort of family and tries to put the fright of the Banderwigh behind her—but deeds, even good ones, often have consequences.

With a new reality of spirits and magic open to her, Emma feels a strong connection to Widowswood. She means to make good on her promise to the Spider Queen, bringing a monthly supply of silk in trade so humans cease their trespass upon the forest.

A guild of thieves infiltrates the quiet town, lured by the incredible value of spidersilk flowing so freely from the forest. At first, they don’t believe the source is a ten-year-old girl, but once they learn, they’ll do anything to control her.

Stuck between protecting her family or protecting her forest, Emma draws courage from her grandmother’s stories and makes a choice—that could cost her life.

I received this book from the author for an honest review. There was no compensation for this review. What follows is my opinion and mine alone.

It is so great to be back in Widowswood. I fell in love with the small town in Cox’s first book, Emma and the Banderwigh. In that book, we meet ten year old Emma and the magical world of Widowswood. This book is set a month after the events of the first book.

I found the first book pulled me in faster than this one. It was dark and gave me a view of a world that I instantly wanted more of. This book, Emma and the Silk Thieves, did just that. Cox expanded the world, gave us tidbits on Nan’s past, and showed us an ever growing little girl. It wasn’t as speedy as the first one, but it was a nice change of pace next to the first.

I still want more of Emma and I’m even more excited to see what other stories Nan has in store for the audience that hints about her own history. Nan is like this epic old woman and I need more about her.

I read a bit to Bug and he loved it. He was as engrossed with this book as Emma, Tam, and Kimber were to Nan’s stories. That’s a huge feat because that kid is on the go all the time. Needless to say, I definitely recommend this book for younger readers and adults.

Emma is a great role model for all children. She is smart, passionate, respectful, and responsible. All of these are qualities a person should have (I emphasize respectful and responsible to Bug).

I rated this a 4/5 stars.

Book #6: Bestseller by Christopher Knight

New York literary agent Anne Harper is spending one week in the solitude of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. A small cabin, away from the world, where she can read manuscripts, relax, and be far removed from the madness of the city for a while. It’s a refuge from high-rises and noise, a time to read and rejuvenate away from the hectic pace of New York, tucked in the wilds of the north woods, dozens of miles from the nearest small town. She is alone.

Or, so she thinks.

For in this desolate wilderness, someone is waiting for her. A monster beyond anything she’s ever read about or even imagined. Someone who has other plans for her. With her.

When Anne finds a strange manuscript on her cabin doorstep deep in the forest, she is alarmed. How did it get there? When?

The manuscript, entitled BESTSELLER, is from none other than the would-be-author Gerald Morgan. A madman. A lunatic. He’s written a story about a literary agent that is being stalked by a deranged, sadistic killer. Morgan wants her to read his work and consider representing him.

And for Anne Harper, the nightmare begins at chapter 1.

I found out about this book from a friend. A friend who is amazing because she sent me this book (Thank you!).

The first thing I noticed is that this cover isn’t on Goodreads. Which is a shame because I like this cover. It’s minimal and gives you a direct idea on what’s in store. The blurb of the book is also not on Goodreads. Again, that’s a shame. If Mr. Knight reads this, I suggest doing that. Not sure what it’ll do, but I love this cover more than the first and it should be shown off.

That said, this book was a good read. I suggest reading it fast though. When I set it aside for a day or two, I ended up losing the groove of the book. The reason for that is because it’s very internal. Anne is mostly the only character in the book and she has minimal interaction with others for the most part.

Whereas having a mostly internal book isn’t a big deal, it’s actually very creepy considering, it didn’t have the same effect for me as it would if I read the book in one setting. Which I could have, but life got in the way.

I will say this, I was pulled into the story quickly. The imagery is disturbing. I did find myself cringing during the baddie’s chapters. Serious cringe worthy. I also felt emotional over Anne’s situation. Like I said, the book does get you thinking, but you need to read it all without too many days of no reading in between. The suspense loses its effect if you do.

Totally a 4/5 stars in my opinion. And that’s with the problem I had. Imagine if I didn’t spend a day or two not reading… damn.

 

Writing Wednesday #3: OMG GUYS!

Last week, I anxiously waited on Facebook. What was I waiting for? The results of those accepted to the paranormal romance anthology I submitted to. I waited…

And waited… and then…

THAT’S RIGHT! I’m in an anthology!!

What’s even better is that it is up and ready for Pre-order.

Here on Amazon!

It officially comes out on my birthday, Feb.14. It is published through Enchanted Anthologies.  I definitely plan on submitting to more anthologies with them and other places. This is just so exciting for me.

2018 is definitely a good year so far and my big 3-0 is going to start on a great note! I can’t wait to see what else I can accomplish and show you guys what’s up.

Thank you, guys again for putting up with this blog. You guys rock!

Book #5: Managing the Bosses Boxset #1-3 by Lexy Timms

Book 1 The Boss 

From Best Selling Author, Lexy Timms, comes a billionaire romance that’ll make you swoon and fall in love all over again. 

Jamie Connors has given up on finding a man. Despite being smart, pretty, and just slightly overweight, she’s a magnet for the kind of guys that don’t stay around. 

Her sister’s wedding is at the foreground of the family’s attention. Jamie would be fine with it if her sister wasn’t pressuring her to lose weight so she’ll fit in the maid of honor dress, her mother would get off her case and her ex-boyfriend wasn’t about to become her brother-in-law. 

Determined to step out on her own, she accepts a PA position from billionaire Alex Reid. The job includes an apartment on his property and gets her out of living in her parent’s basement. 

Jamie has to balance her life and somehow figure out how to manage her billionaire boss, without falling in love with him. 

Book 2 The Boss Too 

Jamie Connors has decided a job is more important than a boyfriend. She’s landed an awesome position working as billionaire Alex Reid’s personal PA. It is not meant to be a job with benefits and yet she finds herself in Alex’ bed. Despite being smart, pretty, and slightly overweight, she doesn’t believe she’s attractive enough for a man like Alex. 

Trying to manage work and put as much time into her sister’s wedding, Jamie finds herself trying to please everyone. Her sister’s wedding is at the foreground of the family’s attention. Jamie would be fine if her sister wasn’t so bossy, if her mother would stop nagging and her awful ex-boyfriend wasn’t about to become her brother-in-law. 

Jamie has to learn to love herself again, speak up for herself and have the confidence to go after what she wants. She also needs to prove to Alex that she’s perfect for her job and for his bed. 

Book 3 Who’s the Boss Now 

How close can you get to the fire and not get burned? 

Landing the dream job, working and dating her incredibly hot boss and at the same time gaining the confidence she never had, Jamie doesn’t think live could get any better. 

She’s helping to manage a multi-billion dollar company. Her family issues seemed to be resolved and even though she and Alex have to figure out the wrinkles, it looks like they’ll be able to be professional at work and romantic after. 

Except perfect isn’t quite exactly how Jamie imagined it would be. 

I was in serious need of a quick read and steamy romances seem to be those one sitting kind of reads for me. That said, this actually took me two days, but that’s neither here nor there.

Personally, the three books could have been put together into one book (which is technically what I did), but they are available separately. The first book ended on a note that was a clear cliffhanger. It just kind of ended and you needed to read the second one to get a full idea. The third book was more like a sequel to the future stories.

Okay, so, I did like how Alex is portrayed. He is marketed as a “bad boy”, but I didn’t really see that. I saw a workaholic sweetie pie, to be honest. I love the little things he did when Jamie was concerned and it made him a decent book boyfriend. As for Jamie, I could live with less insecurity.

It makes sense to have a lead with an insecurity, but there are so many women who are insecure with their family and body. I just, would have liked a woman who was more comfortable in their skin. That said, Jamie does change. She does begin to love herself and gain a confidence that was amazing.

It did return on the third book, but I could deal with it. In all, the books were decent. They served my need for a fluffy read and I did like the characters. Do I want to read more? Not sure. Maybe.

I give this book a 3/5 star.

Writing Wednesday #2

Hey guys! Dance party!

I might just start every Writing Wednesday with a dance party, because… dancing is fun! It’s even more fun with your friends. Just look at those guys! They are having fun. So, let’s have fun with them.

A dance party also makes sense because I want to talk about background music. Or background noise in general. I’m a type of writer who likes to write in total silence or with Investigation Discovery on (I’m a true crime buff, it worries Will). It helps me think as I’m writing. I want zero distractions for the most part.

There are some writers who like the background noise of a cafe or park. My best friend, for example, likes to write in a coffeehouse. It’s kind of funny since on a regular day she prefers the silence whereas I like the bustling noises.

Anyways, that isn’t to say that I don’t use music to inspire me. Sometimes, I pause my writing and just jam to music that coincides with my writing. Other times, I make a soundtrack for the current project and listen to that before I get in the writing mood or while I’m driving, where most of my ideas pop out.

The short story I had just finished was inspired by Hozier’s “Take Me to Church”. I had that puppy on repeat so many times, just trying to envision the characters. I had no clue what I was going to write, but I knew that the emotion behind that song was the emotion I wanted in the story.

So, yeah, music is a great writing tool. Everyday noise can be a great writing tool too. It all depends on the writer though.

Writing Wednesday #1

Hello, hello! Welcome to my first Writing Wednesday!!! Time for a little jig.

Okay, this kind of post will be filled with my quirks, my thoughts, and my updates (unlike my reviews, which tend to be kind of informative vs. fun). So, this kind of post is for you to see how fun I can be. Or weird. Or both!

There may also be times where I’ll chat and gush about writers I know or love (because I can and I want to). Essentially, Writing Wednesday is all about writing or the writing process or what goes on my head during writing or writers or… yeah, you get the picture.

Now, I want to start off this Writing Wednesday about myself. Why did I go into writing? What is up with this blog? The works.

Well, I have always wanted to be a writer. It’s true, ask my mom. I wanted to write from the ripe old age of 4 where I wrote my own version of The Three Little Pigs for a preschool play. From that point, I was hooked on words.

I went through school with the intention that one day I would be in bookshelves (this was before the ebook… GASP, I know). I would do little school writing contests and only got honorable mention. I would try some online stuff and got scammed once (which sucks, but you live and learn). I eventually decided that I would go for a teaching degree in college.

Only to burst into tears while talking to mom.

Teaching is great and I love the idea of helping people out, but my life is in ink. I mean, I BLEED ink. I couldn’t keep going without at least trying. So, my major changed (which wasn’t that hard. It just went from generalized English to English with a writing concentration).

From that point, I learned a lot of things. My biggest one is that I’m more into the entertaining and subvertly getting into your head versus being some kind of “serious” writer. Don’t get me wrong, I’m serious about my writing, but I realize I won’t be taught in college courses. I don’t want to be a course in college. I want to just have a piece of my soul and give it.

Think about it. A writer is basically the same as Jesus breaking bread and saying “this is my body.” Only, a writer hands you a manuscript and says, “this is my soul.” Not saying I’m Jesus, but you never see Jesus in the same room as me….

Food for thought.

Anways, I would have to say this blog and meeting Will is what really made my writing go crazy. During the time I was with Will (that sounds wrong, I’m married to the man! I only mean when we were first living together in sin and not married), I was also going through my first NaNoWriMo. I learned so much that November and I haven’t stopped learning.

I started this blog about a year after that and it did start out as a disaster. I mean, here I am writing about my life and being a whiny bitch. Not cool, Cas, not cool.

So, I decided to branch into reviewing what I read. That’s really when the floodgates opened. It was a full on flood, baby!

I had found my corner of the world (pun intended). I’ve had authors email me requesting for reviews, I’ve started joining street teams, I’m beginning to know the ins and outs of the indie writing world. As well as learning about the publishing process as a whole.

And I’m not done yet… no, I’ve gained more great friends who love my work (not saying my other friends didn’t! I swear, you guys have kept me going to this point and I’m so thankful). I mean peeps I haven’t met face to face yet! This is huge in my book.

So, where am I in my writing? Well, I have one short story in an online small press literary journal. I also have another short story in an Indie press anthology which will be out (hopefully) this month. I have many first drafts of novellas. One first draft full length novel. And I’m writing another first draft right now. On top of another story for another anthology (fingers crossed).

So, yeah… I’m feeling good at where this is going. This year is going to be the year of writing. I know, I said that the first of January too, but it’s true. Essentially, I’m really excited to see where this goes and I’m genuinely happy about it.

Until next Wednesday… no idea what it will be, but hopefully it’ll be a fun post!

Book #4: Tales from the Underground by Various Authors

Under our feet lie countless realms of possibility. Join twelve writers as they explore those realms – discovering lands of fantasy, lands from our far future, lands of mystery. 

There are places full of wonders, full of terrors, full of visions of what could be. 

Join us, down here, in the dark.

 

 

I received a copy of this book from one of the authors for an honest review. I wasn’t compensated in any way. What follows is my opinion and mine alone.

I have read quite a few anthologies from Inklings Press. Each one had their own feel to them and worked with their own theme. The theme for this anthology is the Underground. Think caves, creatures living in caves, and anything. The choice is all the authors in what happens.

There are quite a few stories that hooked me fast and there were some that left me slightly confused. But, I feel as a whole, there is a lot going for the anthology that definitely appeals to many different reading palettes.

The first story left me wondering what really was going on in haunted caves. Others pulled me into well advanced worlds. Each story had an aspect that connects with the underground. The writing is well done and do put you in a space all its own.

I felt the anthology itself was a well made cohesive anthology. Was it my favorite from Inklings Press? Nope, but it wasn’t bad. Would I recommend? I do. There is enough of something for everyone.

Book #3: Foolish Hearts by Emma Mills

A contemporary novel about a girl whose high school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream leads her to new friends—and maybe even new love.

The day of the last party of the summer, Claudia overhears a conversation she wasn’t supposed to. Now on the wrong side of one of the meanest girls in school, Claudia doesn’t know what to expect when the two are paired up to write a paper—let alone when they’re both forced to try out for the school production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

But mandatory participation has its upsides—namely, an unexpected friendship, a boy band obsession, and a guy with the best dimpled smile Claudia’s ever seen. As Claudia’s world starts to expand, she finds that maybe there are some things worth sticking her neck out for.

Foolish Hearts is the first club read of the new year and I was determined to read it. I haven’t felt like I was doing much in club standards and I’m happy I was able to do this book. That said, I was hesitant about this book. I have been pretty lucky where contemporary is concerned, but contemporary isn’t my go to genre.

I shouldn’t have been hesitant! Emma Mills is funny, witty, and truly pulled at me. I genuinely liked Foolish Hearts. And right now, it’s a love kind of like because I’m writing after finishing the book. For one, I finished most of the book in one day. That’s big for me.

Claudia is a smartass creature with few friends and a rather stagnant life. She is my type of introvert. Very similar to me, in fact. Then there is Iris. Who is also very much a smartass. More introverted than Claudia and is a pretty prickly lady.

I loved both of them. I did. I found both young ladies to have similar personalities, but not to the point that they were the same. If anything, they were each other’s foil.

Now, there isn’t much to say about the book. It’s a pretty basic premise and I don’t want to say anything because it would spoil. But there are lines I LOVED from this book. From the very beginning to the end, I was pulled in by the language and off the wall humor placed in the book.

For instance, one character had made an inappropriate joke calling a Pediatric Rehabilitation Center as “a place where toddlers with benders go”. I busted out laughing. Why? Because I would have said this. I would have. No joke.

There are also quotes that pull at the heartstrings. They are placed in spots that don’t seem to be as thought provoking, but they are.

Example: “If you only like one version of your favorite, then they’re not your favorite.” – Iris Huang.

That line in itself needs to be on a shirt or a sticker or a magnet. I love that line.

Anyway, I genuinely loved this book. It’s a 4 star for me on Goodreads. I want to read more from Mills now. This is definitely a book that gives the nice fluffy feelings that I was apparently starving for.

Book Tour: Between the Blade and the Heart by Amanda Hocking

When the fate of the world is at stake
Loyalties will be tested

Game of Thrones meets Blade Runner in this commanding new YA fantasy inspired by Norse Mythology from New York Times bestselling author Amanda Hocking.

As one of Odin’s Valkyries, Malin’s greatest responsibility is to slay immortals and return them to the underworld. But when she unearths a secret that could unravel the balance of all she knows, Malin along with her best friend and her ex-girlfriend must decide where their loyalties lie. And if helping the blue-eyed boy Asher enact his revenge is worth the risk—to the world and her heart.

I received an ecopy of this book from the publisher for an honest review for the blog tour that this review is a part of. There was no compensation of any kind (unless you count having an awesome book by Amanda Hocking as compensation). What follows is my opinion and my opinion alone.

Okay, let me begin by saying I didn’t read the blurb before I grabbed the book. Amanda Hocking is one of my instant buy authors. I see a book by her and I grab it. I knew this book had Norse mythology in it, but that was pretty much all I knew (well and a gorgeous cover).

When I first started reading three thoughts came into my head: 1. Cyberpunk, Bladerunner esque. 2. LGBT+ M.C. THANK YOU!! 3. This may be Hocking’s best work yet.

I’m serious about #3. This is quite possibly her best work thus far. It is gritty, dark, and just when you think you might have an idea what’s going on, you get slapped in the face with something new. I could feel the pollution, see the city, the world, all of it. This is her best work thus far.

And believe me, I’m a huge Hocking fan. I’m possibly a few books short of owning everything she’s written so far.

This is a YA book that borders on the adult. There is sex and alcohol and a whole lot of killing. I mean, returning. Our main lead is a young woman named Malin. She is a Valkyrie in training, who are executioners for immortals. She is strong and yet has this piece of innocence to her. It’s more like a ‘I was raised in a hard way and don’t understand how my feelings work’ kind of innocence to her. I actually really like this kind of character and it didn’t take me long to be pulled into her world.

As if the twists, action, and the world wasn’t enough to keep you wanting more, I also love the fact that the sequel is coming out THIS APRIL! HUZZAH! I don’t have to wait long to get this duology finished. Thank, God. Thank you, Amanda Hocking. You can be sure that I have this book on its way to my house and I’m definitely getting the second.

Buy Links:

Amazon /Barnes & Noble /Books-a-Million /IndieBound /Powells

AUTHOR BIO:

Amanda Hocking is the author of over twenty young adult novels, including the New York Times bestselling Trylle Trilogy and Kanin Chronicles. Her love of pop culture and all things paranormal influence her writing. She spends her time in Minnesota, taking care of her menagerie of pets and working on her next book.

Social Links:

Author Website: http://www.worldofamandahocking.com/

Twitter: @Amanda_Hocking

Facebook: @AmandaHockingFans

Author Blog