book reviews, Greetings My Peeps!

Book Review: Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce

Greetings my lovelies!

It’s that time again for me to dig through my bookcases and review a book for you.  This weeks review is a special one for me because the author is one of my all time favorites and one who inspire me to tell stories.

The rating system is still the same.  I rate each book/series on a coffee cup rating.  0 cups means I couldn’t finish and 5 cups means that I absolutely loved it.

DISCLAIMER:  No one pays me for my reviews…sigh…I wish they would.  Not really.  These reviews are my personal opinion and just for fun.

 

Rating: 3 cups

 

General Overview: 

This book is a back story of a character from an earlier series: Numair.  In this book we follow him (called by his birth name of Arram Draper) as his climbs through the ranks of the prestigious university in Carthak.  There we meet some other key players, Ozorne and Varice and they form the friendships lightly brought up earlier.  Right away Numair is shown to be different not just for his unique magical abilities but also for the fact that the nature gods seem to be drawn to him like moths to flames.  We see Numair pay attention to all those who are deemed lowly with such kindness that keeps in line with how we know he will grow up. This is the first in a new series by Tamora Pierce and is very much a set up.

 

My Thoughts: 

I loved Tamora Pierce from the moment that my dad handed me the first series.  I still have her other works today and re-read them often.  With that being said, I’m not sure how I feel about this book.  It’s evident that she wrote this for today’s style of books, which is fine, but it lacked a lot of the heart that made her earlier books so endearing.  But it has been a while since she’s put out anything so maybe she’ll find her stride again.

Re-readability:

I might learn to love this book when the others come out.  I didn’t like Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief but my friend urged me to keep reading the series and I fell in love.  That love carried into all the other books, even the first that I initially didn’t care for.  Time will only tell.

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Greetings My Peeps!, writing help

How to Write a Series Without Losing Your Mind

Greetings my lovelies!

 

Every now and again there comes an idea so epic, a world so badass that it can’t possibly be contained in a single book.  But just the thought of trying to tackle the daunting task of writing a series.  Writing a series takes a whole different level of dedication and discipline that can induce new levels of anxiety.  But don’t let that keep you from fully developing that idea that gripped you to being with.  I have a couple of tips to help you tackle writing a series without losing your mind.

 

Realistically look at your story as a whole.

Does your story actually need to be split up into multiple books.  Sometimes the random idea we get that fit within our story are actually smaller parts than we initially realize.  In the second book in my series Souls in the Dark, the two main conflicts are a blend of what I originally thought were going to be two separate books.  When I sat down to flesh out my ideas a little more, I realized that they weren’t enough to carry a whole book.  Do the same for your ideas.  It’s great that you have multiple conflicts, that makes for an engaging story, but not every conflict or meeting needs it own book.

 

Time

Figuring out the timing in your story can help keep track of how many books you need to effectively tell the story.  Is it year by year like in Harry Potter?  It it task by task like in the Hunger Games?  Or it it journey where each point in the story needs to be told like Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones?  Framing the time can help with the planning stages and gives you an end point for each book.  Also don’t forget about the natural flow of time.  If your story goes on for more than a few months, then the seasons will change.  For the most part, things still have to follow a natural flow.

 

Keep track of important details

I have this wall … well not right now because I just moved…but I have this wall where I stick up all the major points that I have to keep in mind for the larger scope of my story.  This can be but not limited to maps, important items like magical tools, people who show up in one book but have a major role later on.  Having these things somewhere in the fore front will help you to not forget them and keep your sanity.

 

 

 

Create a rough outline of your series in its entirety

Some writers never outline their stories.  They just sit down and get going.  I am not one of these people.  If I don’t have an outline, I will go off into god knows where and end up having to completely start over.  I live by my outlines.  That doesn’t always mean that I follow them 100%.  Sometimes while writing something will develop naturally and I usually let it.  There are a thousand ways to outline your story.  I use a combination of traditional outlining and free writing synopsis.  The free writing synopsis is just me sitting in front of my computer writing the barest bones of my story.  I don’t care about dialog, grammar, spelling; nothing.  I just get the story out.  I refer back to the synopsis when I’m ready for the outlining phase of my writing to make sure that what I’m filling in doesn’t conflict with the larger scope of the story.  You could also use a story board instead.  A story board can be done anyway that you want it.  It doesn’t even have to make sense to anyone but you.  As long as it helps you to keep your thoughts organized, it works.

 

Don’t rush

There’s always this panic to pump out as many books as you possible can.  We see our favorite authors do this and try to emulate them.  I don’t recommend it.  For the most part, all they do is write.  They have the time to plan out their books and develop their story and characters and unless you’re like them….then it’s going to murder you.  Take your time.  Plan out each book.  Make sure it’s the best book you’re putting out there.  George R.R. Martin has us still waiting 7 yrs later for Winds of Winter.  And we will keep waiting because we know how in depth he goes into his world.  Take the time that you need to make a good story.  The rest will fall into place.

 

These are only just a few ideas on how to not lose your mind when writing a series.  There are tons of other articles out there all pretty much saying the same things.  Take your time.  Plan it all out.  Keep track of details.  Good luck!

If you’ve written a series before and have any other helpful hints on how to not turn into a Gollum then please comment below.  See y’all next time!

 

 

 

Greetings My Peeps!

Special Announcement!!!!

Greetings my lovelies!

 

I have a special announcement to make.  After much deliberation and research, I’ve finally created a Patreon page.  If you haven’t heard, Patreon is a site that allows people to help sponsor artists and creators.  In exchange for help, patrons get special benefits.  Follow the link below to go to my page.  Help me to spread the word.  Thanks!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patreon Page

book reviews, Greetings My Peeps!, writing help

Book Review: The Art of War for Writers by James Scott Bell

Greetings my lovelies!

The rating system is still the same.  I rate each book/series on a coffee cup rating.  0 cups means I couldn’t finish and 5 cups means that I absolutely loved it.

DISCLAIMER:  No one pays me for my reviews…sigh…I wish they would.  Not really.  These reviews are my personal opinion and just for fun.

 

Rating: 3.5 cups

 

General Overview:

This book is intended as an aid/reference for writers.  It is split up into three sections: Reconnaissance, Tactics, and Strategy.  Each chapter within the sections is written in a style similar to the original Art of War.  The author then delves deeper into the meaning of the chapter heading with suggestions, opinions and real life examples.

 

My Thoughts: 

Overall this is a pretty good reference guide for writers of all stages as it encompasses all aspects of writing and what happens afterwards.  But be warned…this guy can be a dick.  I mean, I get it.  He’s gone to the mat for his craft.  He paid his dues and should be proud of his success.  However, that doesn’t excuse how he looks on indie authors.  Just because we didn’t go the same route as you doesn’t mean that our work is in any way inferior to you.  His self importance comes across occasionally, but he does make some good points.

As a newbie author this book does hold quite a bit of useful information.  For those who have a bit more experience under your belt, there’s still some good info.

 

Re-readability:

I highly recommend tabbing, highlighting, or marking the sections you like.  That will make it easier to find them later.  But as to just how useful this book will be for you, only you can make that decision.

 

So that’s it.  If you’ve read this book let me know in the comment section below.  Don’t agree with me…I’m always open for friendly debates.  See y’all next time.

Greetings My Peeps!, writing help

Finding Critiques: Scribolphile

Greetings my Lovelies!

 

As a writer, you will read and re-read your work a thousand times or more.  After a while everything starts to blur together and you start to hate your book with each re-read.  You know you should let someone else read your work in progress, it’s strongly recommended, but how to do you go about that?  Do you throw it to your friends and family….do you approach strangers…how do you do that!?  I know that I’ve struggled with that myself.  There was a site that I used in the very beginning of my writing career that was an offshoot of Fanfiction.net.  That unfortunately has been discontinued for a number of years now.  But luckily, I’ve found a new site: Scribolphile.

 

What is Scribolphile?

It’s a platform where writers can post their work to get feed back from other writers.  The main services are free to use although they do offer a premium account for about $9 a month.  The premium account offers a few more specialized features like putting in cool fonts or pictures in your work.  Keeping everything, because after a while you’ll have to go through and delete stuff, and offering extra karma points for your critiquers.  When you sign up there’s a checklist that leads you through the site, showing you how to navigate the site and gets you started.  From there you have to give a couple of critiques to earn enough points to publish your first piece.  They also offer forums where you can network or ask other writers questions.  There’s also an academic page where they post up articles about aspects of writing.  You can join groups with writers who are working on the same genre as you.  Basically, it’s social networking for writers with the added bonus of getting some feed back on your work.

 

Karma points?  What’s that?

It’s a point system that allows you to post or compete on the site.  Basically, if you want people to critique your work, you need to do the same for them.  It reminds me of torrent (a downloading site) where you have to give as much as you take.  You also have to give good critiques to earn points too.  Hey these are authors just like you and we’re all on this site for the same thing, some good constructive criticism.

 

Should I use this site?

I don’t see why not.  Try the free membership first to see if this is something that works for you.  You may not stay long but you could end up making some new connections and when you’re trying to get off the ground that’s always a good thing.  My only real grip about this platform is that you have to review 5 people before you can post anything. You can also only post about 3k words at a time.  You can however, post in parts but you need to have enough karma points to do it.  Yeah it sounds a little irritating, but if you make some good connections you can work directly with them.

Short answers:

Are you struggling to find impartial critiques?  Yes: use this site.   No: stick with what you got.

But hey don’t take my word for it, try it out for yourself by following the link below.  Also I should mention that in no way shape or form am I getting paid for this post.  This is just my humble opinion and for fun information.

Scribophile homepagek   

book reviews, Greetings My Peeps!

Book Review: A Dog’s Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron

Greetings my lovelies!

It’s a Monday so it’s time for another book review.  I rate each book/series on a coffee cup rating. 0 cups means I couldn’t finish and 5 cups means that I absolutely loved it.

DISCLAIMER: No one pays me for my reviews…sigh…I wish they would. Not really. These reviews are my personal opinion and just for fun.

Rating: 4 cups

I didn’t know about this book until they started to advertise the movie.  Then I saw it at the book fair.  To clarify, my day job is a teacher.  They have a small section just for the teachers.  Any who, I got this book, mainly out of curiosity and instantly fell in love.

General Overview:

This book follows the life of the  main poochie as he goes through the various incarnations of his life.  He remembers each life and ponders what lesson he has to learn from reach of them and why.  I really don’t want to say much more because I do not want to spoil anything for anyone.

My Thoughts:

I love this book.  The writing style was easy to follow and I was sucked in before I even realized it.  The hardest parts of this book was the multiple doggy deaths.  I know they were crucial but it was like Marley and Me on crack.  My poor emotions were all torn asunder by the end.  My poor puppies were so confused as to why I was clutching them tightly while crying.  All in all, it’s a great book about love and loyalty and what our purpose is in life.  It further illustrates that dogs are too good for us and we are so very lucky to have them in our lives.

Re-readability:

I don’t think this is one that I will ever read again.  It’s not that it’s a bad book, it’s just that some books are only meant for a single read.  I might read it again if I’m ever in the need for a good cry.

 

download (4)

Greetings My Peeps!, writing help

Writer’s Tool Box: A Good Thesaurus

Hello my lovelies!

Today I want to help you guys create your own writer’s tool box.  Writing is just like any other craft out there, you need the right tools for the job and what can help you tremendously is a good thesaurus…or three.   And that’s what I’m going to talk about today.  I came across these thesauruses (thesauri) when I was looking for some reference books to help me further develop my writing.  I fell in love with them.  So I’m going to tell you why each one is awesome (In my opinion) and why you should have them.

 

The Positive Trait and The Negative Trait Thesaurus

These two go hand in hand in hand with each other.  For well developed characters they need a healthy mixture of good and bad traits.  No one is solely one or the other….usually.    So each thesaurus starts off with a couple of interesting articles about how to use the traits and how to develop your characters using these traits.  I highly recommend that you read these.  As for the traits, they are listed a lot like chapters.  All you have to do is find the trait you like and turn to the page.

On the page associated with each positive trait you’ll see:

  1. the definition of the trait
  2. other attributes that are similar
  3. why a person may have the trait
  4. how would they behave if they have the trait
  5. emotions associated with the trait
  6. How they might think
  7. examples from literature
  8. traits that might conflict with
  9. negative things that come from having this trait
  10. challenging scenarios for the character with this trait

That’s a lot of info for just a single trait.  But don’t panic, each trait only has two pages of info.  You don’t have to incorporate everything but it does help give you a better idea of how to use that trait for your character.  This format is the same for both sets of traits with the only difference being that the negative trait thesaurus shows how a character might overcome that particular flaw.

 

The Emotion Thesaurus

This one is my favorite because it gives you:

  1. Physical signals for the emotions
  2. Internal sensations
  3. Mental response
  4. Cues for long term and suppressed attributes
  5. And a bonus…writing tips to help use emotions more effectivly

 

Like I said before, I highly recommend that you checkout these thesauruses (thesauri).  They have helped me tremendously and I refer to them all the time.

 

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book reviews

Book Review **Classics Edition** Pride and Prejudice

Greetings my lovelies!

It’s time for another special edition of my Book Review segments.  This time I review the classics.  The rating system is still the same.  I rate each book/series on a coffee cup rating.  0 cups means I couldn’t finish and 5 cups means that I absolutely loved it.

DISCLAIMER:  No one pays me for my reviews…sigh…I wish they would.  Not really.  These reviews are my personal opinion and just for fun.

 

Rating: 1 cup

I know I’m going to get a lot of flack for this, but I HATED this book.  I struggled to get through it from day one all the way through to the end.  This is also one of the rare incidents where I like the movie more than the book.  I know shocking, but it does happen on occasion.

 

General Overview:

In this novel written by Jane Austen there’s the lovely Benette family with too many girls and one seriously hen pecked husband.  The girls are all in a tizzy over some new rich hotties who move in down the way.  They get invited to a party where Jane Benette falls for new hottie.  However his friend, infamous Mr. Darcy, insults Liz (the sudo factor MC) and that sets the events of the rest of the book off.  There’s some scandals and some deep soul searching, not to mention TWO extremely awkward proposals.

 

My Thoughts: 

The pacing was fine and as a love story it’s pretty decent.  I did like the way the characters evolved through the course of the book.  The thing that ruined this book for me was the structure.  I didn’t know who was talking half the time because the conversations jumped around.  Another thing that got me was the multiple ways there were to reference a person.  Now I understand that this book is a product of its time.  I get that and this book just didn’t work for me.

 

Re-readability:

This one is a no go for me.  I re-read it after I watched the movie and it was a little easier since I had some good visuals to keep me on track.  But don’t let my review dissuade you from reading this classic yourself.  There are thousands of people who adore this novel in all its variations (check out Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies).  However, I would recommend checking this book out instead of spending cold hard cash just in case.

 

 

Greetings My Peeps!, writing help

Five uses of Pinterest for Writers

There’s no denying that there are thousands of resources out there today for  aspiring authors and just writers in general.  You can find blog after blog, video after video, and article after article.  Not even mentioning the website that have popped up over the last few years all geared towards independent authors.  Sometimes it becomes too much and you run away to your favorite procrastinating activity for comfort.  Mine is Pinterest.  I could, and have, spend all day on that website.  I look up just about everything under the sun.  But there is a way to turn this into a powerful tool for your writing career.  If you don’t know what Pinterest is it’s a website that allows you to make boards about specific topics.  Let’s say you like to cook healthy meals but don’t want to (or can’t) buy a million different cook books.  You can search for the recipes and save them for later.  This site is completely free which a budding writer’s favorite word.  You can make as many different boards as you like.  You are only limited by your imagination.  Here are 5 ways to use Pinterest as a writer

1. A place to find and bookmark articles on writing and the writing process.  

If you’re like me, you’re always on the prowl for help when it comes to your writing.  Or you may have a question that just popped up and you want to find out how to solve/do it.  You don’t necessarily need that information right now, but you want to have it for future reference.  Well Pinterest is a good place to store all that information.  It’s what the site was designed to be.

2. Save all those cool tips and tricks that will take your writing to the next level.

This is one of my favorite features.  One of the coolest things I found through Pinterest was the site Notebook.ai.  It has literally made world building so much easier for me.  I’ll go into that site a bit more another time but I did a brief over view of it here in a previous post.  Another nifty thing I found was this wheel of emotion that helped you find a stronger word to convey a feeling.

3. Inspirational Quotes and writer humor.

Hey we all need a laugh or a kick in the butt.  You could have a whole board dedicated to that when you start slacking off on writing.  Or you could print them off and put them up around your writing space or where ever you feel like.

4. Half assed research.

There are historical boards a plenty on Pinterest.  Sometimes you come across a interesting historical tidbit that you didn’t know but would work for a book idea later on.  Save that shit!  This will save you time later on when you come around to that idea.  Work smarter not harder my friends

5. Inspriation

This one is my favorite.  I have boards for books that I’ve written and books that I’m planning on.  I’ve also saved some cool historical people that I might like to write about later.  But when you’re scrolling through and you see a picture that is almost exactly what your MC looks like, pin it!  Found a pretty picture of a landscape real or not…pin it.  I like looking at author’s boards for their books after I’ve finished reading the book to see where the inspiration came from and to see if what I saw was the same.

 

So there you have it.  Five easy ways to use Pinterest as a writer.  Below I’ll include links to my boards so you can see what I’m talking about.  Happy pinning and don’t forget to write!

Writing Board

Lost Guardian Trilogy Inspiration

Hell Fire Inspiration

 

book reviews

Series Review: The Crescent City by Kristen Painter

Greetings fellow book lovers!

 

It’s the first of the month and that means it’s time for me to kick off a new segment: book reviews.  Each book will be rated using coffee cups because I am happily addicted to coffee.  A rating of 0 means that I could not finish the book if my life depended on it and a five means that the world could end and I wouldn’t have noticed.

DISCLAIMER: I am not paid for these reviews.  I do them for fun and because I love talking about books.  And there are simply too many out there to hear about them all.

Rating:  3 cups

Sometimes I come across a series and I gobble it up before I can review the first book.  And this series is one of those.  I stumbled across the first book while trolling around my local book store.  The cover grabbed my attention and I loved it so much that I bought it.  I am a serial judge of book covers.  Covers can be works of art in and of themselves.  I make my own covers so I really appreciate a good one.  Anyways, let’s get started.

General Overview: 

In this world, after some big ass war that changed the world; Fae, Vampires, and all other sort of supernatural creatures live out in the open.  Some cities are Havens for Fae and other creatures where they can live in peace because you know not every human is going to be happy that they’re out in the open.  The story starts off with Augustine coming home after being on the run for a while because of events from another series.  He ends up being offered the position of Guardian whose job is to protect all people living in New Orleans. Harlow is introduced not too long after that as she travels to New Orleans to ask her mother for help bailing her out of a really messed up situation. Now Harlow is fae like Augustine but she hates it and has spent her life suppressing her powers.  When she touches people she can read their emotions and she can read emotions off of objects as well.  She’s also a bad-ass hacker which is why she’s in trouble to begin with. The two meet on the Fae New Years but there is a Marid Gras flair to it because everyone is wearing masks.  They meeting and sparks fly and that’s all that I’m going to say about that.  I don’t really want to spoil anything for anyone but some shit goes down with Vampires and evil Fae and Harlow has to come to terms being Fae, while Augustine has to find the ones responsible for putting his city in danger, proving that he’s more than just a former felon.  There’s some mild plot twist but this story is more about the characters.

Re-readability:

This series does alright on the second or third reading.  Now, I can’t speak for everyone, but I tend to skip the sections of characters I could care less about.  With this series while there is a main arching story there is also a secondary villain working in the background until the third book.  I really don’t like reading those sections because I can’t stand the villain.  It’s not that the villain (Giselle a witch) is a bitch with a capital B.  She gets everything that comes her way.  And speaking of villains, the main one for the first two books (Barnzino) seems a bit underdeveloped but serves his purpose.  The main reason why I keep coming back to this series is that I love the interactions between Harlow and Augustine.  Their relationship develops naturally (to me) and I love how Harlow finds confidence in herself and her abilities without fundamentally changing who she is as a person.  That rarely happens with these types of books.

 

My thoughts: 

I like this series.  It grabbed my attention from the get go and didn’t let go until I was done.  I love the main characters and the conversations between them feels real.  The conversations can sometimes come off as odd or disjointed but that’s truly how people talk, especially when there’s more than one person talking.  There’s not much initial world building but we learn more about through the heroine Harlow’s eyes, so it works. I used to love urban fantasy books, until they became too formulaic for me.  But this series blew all that out of the water.  It’s a fresh approach on a tired topic.  Fun fact, this series is a spin off of another series by the same author.  This series doesn’t have that feeling.  It’s a great stand alone series.

sseries review

 

Have you read this series?  What did you think?  Have any recommendations; send them!  I love discovering new books!  Until next time