Final Post of 2012

This has been an amazing year–full of ups and downs and full of learning about the craft of writing. I’ve met some great people both online and in real life, and I appreciate each and every one of you. Looking forward to more great times in 2013. I leave you with this quote by Deepak Chopra which I will be keeping in the forefront of my mind as 2013 begins.

“Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the future.”

 

Until next time, be real!

Review–License to Lie

License to Lie, a suspense novel by Terry Ambrose, was an exciting read with many twists and turns. Each chapter was told from the point of view of one of the two protagonists, Roxy Tanner and Skip Cosgrove. I found this to be confusing to start with until I figured out that the author had given clues as to whose point of view was contained in each chapter by the quote of a sentence from the chapter underneath the chapter heading. After that, the chapters seemed to fly by as I was driven to keep reading to find out what happened next. It was interesting to see that the other characters in the book could see the beginnings of what could be termed a mutual attraction or relationship, but the main characters could not. This was not the main focus of the novel though except in how it influenced the two of them in solving the case. I liked how the action moved quickly, but the characters were still well-developed.  I would recommend this wholeheartedly to anyone who enjoys a good suspense or mystery novel.

Disclosure: An Advance Reader Copy of this novel was provided by the publisher.

How do you find what you have lost?

It’s relatively easy to find something if it’s a physical object–that is, if you can remember where you saw it last. I know people who put down their keys or  their wallets, and it’s a great challenge to find them again because they can’t remember where they put them.

On the other hand, the passions of your youth can be almost impossible to find again unless you make an effort to go back and find them. I’ve been thinking about this recently because I found some things that had been put into storage. When I took a look, I realized it was writing notebooks from when I was in junior high and high school. There were also notebooks of writing from different family members that I had been gifted with when they had passed away. It was interesting to note that relatives on both sides of my family felt it important to write down their stories–to preserve the memories of what had happened to them for future generations. I also noted the things I had found important to write down when I was in school–the stories and the things about my life. Why did I let go of those for so long? Was it because life got in the way? I think so. Once we are adults, it somehow becomes less important to follow our passions and more important to make a living. I’m glad I have found my passion again. It took looking deep inside myself and deciding what legacy I wanted to leave and what was it that truly made me happy. The answer to all those questions is writing. May you find the passions of your youth in the upcoming year and make them your passions again.

Until next time, be real!

Review–London Eye (Toxic City Book One)

It took me awhile to read this because my 16 yo son decided he wanted to read it first which means the intended market for the book, young adult, is right on the mark. Once he was done reading it, he asked me when the second book was coming out. When he asks that, it’s a sure bet he enjoyed it.

But, on to the review. Two years previously, a disaster, which has since become known as Doomsday, was believed to have made London uninhabitable and a toxic wasteland. Jack, his sister, and their friends know differently and have been gathering evidence to prove it.  When they discover that Jack’s mother is alive, the five of them travel into London at great risk. They find things they had not expected to find–things that were exciting, but were dangerous too.

I thought the book did a good job of maintaining the focus on the teens and what they did to solve the problems they encountered. Even when they needed the help of an adult, it was brought to our attention that said adult was not entirely trustworthy. The changes that the inhabitants of London had gone through were brought into the story naturally and not in a contrived fashion. I also liked the relationship between Jack and his sister. I’m looking forward to upcoming books in this series and believe it would be interesting to adults as well as young adults.

A Review–The Case of the Cosmological Killer: Endings and Beginnings (Displaced Detective 4)

This book is the fourth in a series by Stephanie Osborn and is the conclusion to The Rendlesham Incident which came out last summer.  What can I say–I’ve thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of her books. The character interaction between Sherlock Holmes and his wife, Dr. Skye Chadwick-Holmes was superb, and we even get treated to a double dose as she also shows the interactions between their counterparts in the other continuum who slowly come to their own relationship themselves.  I also liked how the science is portrayed in this book. Whenever I have read any of her books, I have always learned something new, but it’s never put in a manner that’s preachy or all-knowing, just a natural outgrowth of the characters and the situation they’re dealing with. My older son also enjoys these books for many of the same reasons.  Any new books in this series will always be at the top of my list.

Planning and a Celebration

With the ending of our homeschool before the Christmas holidays yesterday, I am in the midst of planning what I need and what I would like to get accomplished while we are not doing school. There are the usual things–housework and homeschool record keeping. There is also the necessity of making sure everything is ready for us to celebrate the holidays. But, the most important things are the things I’m going to read and write while we are on break. Holidays and vacations are always a time for renewal for me, and this holiday will be no exception. It will also be a time when I can plan on what I want to work on during the new year. Two weeks from today will be New Year’s Day 2013–a whole new beginning, a whole new slate of days full of potential. My goal is to realize the potential in each new day.

But, first, it’s time for a celebration. Today is my older son’s 16th birthday. It’s always been a special point in the year because it’s so close to Christmas, but I have always taken pains to make sure Christmas doesn’t overshadow it. He’s grown into an amazing young man who I am very proud of and who I love dearly. He does well in school, is kind to others, takes care of himself, bowls, and plays baseball. Baseball is his favorite sport and is the only sport he likes to watch on television. I’ve never seen anyone learn so fast and display such commitment to learning everything they could about a sport. It makes me look forward to the springtime when both he and his brother will be playing.

Before I go to celebrate with my family, I leave you with these words. Treasure the people around you, and make sure they know how much you treasure them.

Until next time, be real!

Book Review – The Creative Fire

What I appreciated most about Brenda Cooper’s book The Creative Fire was the many layers of her writing. As I read each chapter, it seemed like a new secret came out, something that revealed the world of Ruby Martin and her shipmates just a little more, but not enough to reveal what the story ending was going to be. I also liked that Ruby was a multi-faceted heroine. To me, it seems that feminine characters nowadays only show one part of their psyche. Either they’re only defined by being with a man or they only want to see how they can impact the world, and there is no attention paid to any other relationships they have. I didn’t see that with this character which is why I appreciated her so much.

I also liked the complexity of the plot. At first, it was frustrating not knowing everything that was going on, but then I realized that accurately portraying everything on the ship would make the book very large and would take a lot of the suspense out of the storyline. And there would also not be very much of a story for the upcoming books in the saga which I am looking forward to.

If you are interested in science fiction, relationships, and reading a book that keeps you guessing until the very end, I can wholeheartedly recommend The Creative Fire.

 

Until next time, be real!

The Next Big Thing

This has been going around the writing community for a while, and I’ve read a number of authors’ posts about what they’re working on. They all sound wonderful. Before I start with mine, I would like to thank MarinaSofia for encouraging everyone who hasn’t done it yet to take up the challenge.

And now, the next big thing.

1) What is the working title of your book? 

Finding Your Heart — My main characters’ world is changed forever with the revelations in the first chapter and the loss of their familiar environment, but they realize they have each other through it all.

2) Where did the idea come from for the book? 

I’ve always been fascinated with the dynamic of a guy and a girl being best friends. My book explores the reasons they are best friends and what actually brings them together. (romantically)

3) What genre does your book fall under?

romantic thriller

4) What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

I have specific looks in mind for my two main characters. For Karinna, either Bella Thorne or Ariana Grande would work well. I also have recently seen the cover of a book where the character’s red hair reminded me of what I envisioned for Karinna. The book is The Creative Fire by Brenda Cooper, and the artwork was done by John Picacio. I’m just about finished reading it, and I can wholeheartedly recommend it.

For Eric, this one was tougher. Just hard to find a look I liked. I’m going to say either a younger version of Chris Pine or Robbie Amell who is more the age I’m thinking about.

5) What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? 

When Karinna and Eric are kidnapped from Karinna’s high school prom, the revelations revealed about their backgrounds rock their world to the core and send them on the adventure of a lifetime.

6) Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Once the editing is done, I would like to try the standard route of querying agents first. If I am fortunate enough to find an agent, I will have them try and sell it to a traditional publisher.

7) How long did it take you the write the first draft of the manuscript?

It took almost a year. I started it at the beginning of 2012 and got distracted with other writing projects. When NaNoWriMo came around, I decided that I really wanted to have a complete original manuscript and took November to focus on this one, and I finished it!!

8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? 

I don’t know of any other books that have all the same elements my book has—romance, science fiction, and thriller. I do enjoy reading books in all of these genres though and consider my book to be a combination of elements of several books.

9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?

My husband inspired me to write it. Ever since I began writing again, he has always encouraged me and told me to reach for the stars. Since our boys are almost done with school, I am looking towards the next phase of my life, and I’m planning on writing to be a big part of it.

10) What else about the book might be pique the reader’s interest? 

It has elements about the future and also shows the main characters hiding out on a ranch in the western United States. The suspense about what will happen to them goes all the way to the end, and it is unexpected, to say the least.

That’s all the questions. I’m not going to tag anyone specifically, but if you are a writer and haven’t done this, it’s a good way to think about your book out loud. Let me know if you decide to do so, and I will come and visit.

Until next time, be real!

Discipline Leads to Success

Being disciplined about doing something is one of the toughest things to do nowadays. There are so many distractions in our society. In fact, yesterday on my Twitter feed, someone was tweeting through a budget meeting at his place of employment. When I saw the first tweet, I was like, wow, he must really be bored. But, that’s neither here nor there. I just used that as an example of a distraction.

My level of discipline has gone up over the last several months, and it’s only because I’ve gotten up and done the same thing at the same time each day. It’s worked well for my physical fitness, and it’s working for my writing too.  Now, my title says discipline leads to success, and I believe it does, but what I’ve needed to do is define what success means for me. For physical fitness, it means that I’m healthier and able to do more than I could before. A side benefit has been that my clothes fit better, and I’ve lost inches, but that’s not the main thing I wanted. So, I’ve met my physical fitness goals.

With my writing, my main goal has been to become a better writer. I’ve accomplished this by writing something every day whether it be in this blog or for my writing course or on one of my myriad stories I’ve been working on. Of course, I would like to be eventually published, but my goal right now and what I consider to be a success is just to write.

Thinking about what’s important to you, whatever that might be, and then using discipline to move forward with accomplishing it, is the best way to be successful with anything.

Until next time, be real!

Community

I think I’m finally starting to get it–this feeling of community and being able to support one another. As I’ve said in other posts, 2012 has been a hallmark year for me in a number of ways. Before I started writing again, I was more of a quiet person, not really expressing myself unless I was absolutely sure the other person would agree with me because, let’s face it, no one wants to be condemned for what they believe.  And I’ve had people do that to me more times than I can count.

This year though I’ve had experiences in two different areas which have taught me the benefits of coming out of my shell. The first of these was in the church my family started visiting. We had not been in a church for several years because our beliefs were not as conservative as the churches we had attended and because we didn’t make a suitable amount of money. It’s hard to think that you don’t deserve the benefits of a community of faith just because you differ in some aspect of yours, but that was where my thinking was for a long time because of what happened to us.  Anyway, we started visiting a Church of Christ on the recommendation of a homeschool mom friend of mine. She said the youth group was the most welcoming place her daughter had ever experienced. This caught my attention because I have teens myself and because that is really something you don’t expect of teens. My older son and I were the first in the family to visit, and I have to tell you, it was a wonderful experience. There was no pressure about anything that you would normally expect from a church–just an attitude of being welcoming. Honestly, it was refreshing. We visited for a few months, and then my husband and younger son started coming too. One of the hallmarks of this church is that no one is superior to anyone else and that we are all a community. The church staff is very approachable, and I have felt very much at home.

The second area where I’ve had a good experience with community is in the writing community. The people who I have met in person and who I have met and interacted with online are some of the most generous people I have ever met. I have learned so much I would have never learned anywhere else, received encouragement, and formed friendships, all through my love of writing. What I’ve also found unique is that writers cheer each other’s successes whether it benefits them or not. This gives me the impression of a “We’re all in this together.” vibe which I see very rarely elsewhere.

And why is it that I don’t see or sense this kind of community elsewhere? Why are we (and I mean the general societal we) so afraid to help other people? Is it because we fear that no one will help us when we need it? Is it because we, as human beings, are selfish in general? Is it because we’re so worried about providing for our families that we don’t think we can? I think it’s all of these things, and I know for me, I don’t want to be selfish. I want to be willing to help other people with just a smile and encouraging word if I can do nothing else.  If we could all do this, I believe we could improve our corner of the world immensely.

Until next time, be real!