The Cake Book Tag

Not directly tagged, but Reading with Jessica (Check out her blog!) tagged everyone who read her Cake Book Tag post, and since I did, I will!

The images are not mine. Credit goes to NATALKA_DMITROVA@FREEPIK

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Let’s get started!

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Chocolate.jpg

Since I haven’t read a lot of dark books, my choices were limited. I’m OK with that though because this might have been my choice anyway. Those poor children.

 

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Last year, I was in a reading slump and this book got me out of it. I don’t get to read too often, but I finished this book in two or three sittings and had a lot of fun with it. Can’t wait for my next slump 😛

 

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The first sentence of my Goodreads review was this: “I’m not really sure what to say.” LOL It doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy it though. It just left me a little off balance.

 

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Cheesecake.jpg

Brandon Sanderson. Nuff said. But seriously, this whole series is extremely accessible. No matter who you are, or where you’re from, you’d have fun with this one.

 

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coffeecake.jpg

Might need to make this post double as an unpopular opinions book tag. LOL Three times. That’s how many times I tried to read this book and just couldn’t. People rave about her writing style, and it’s just not for me.

 

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carrotcake

This book ripped my heart out. I had no idea what it was going into it and I’m glad I didn’t, because I probably wouldn’t have read it if I did. It’s heavy, but it keeps you wanting more as each word, sentence, paragraph, page leads you to the next.

 

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tiramisu

What can I say? I still want more! Can’t wait for Dance of Thieves! Mary could write in this world for the rest of her life and I would and will auto-buy every one.


Tagging:

Lindsay @ LindsayLNewton.com

Monica @ Torn Pages and Roses

Ashley Rae @ Thrifty Bibliophile

Those I’ve tagged, I searched your blogs the best I could and didn’t find that you guys had done this before. If I missed it though, please post a link to your Cake Book Tag below. In fact, if anyone reading this has done or will do this tag, go ahead and post a link to it below! Consider yourself tagged!

Quick and dirty copy/paste in the comments 🙂
Chocolate Cake: A dark book you absolutely love –
Vanilla Cake: A light read –
Red Velvet Cake: A book that gave you mixed emotions –
Cheesecake: A book you would recommend to anyone –
Coffee Cake: A book you started but never finished –
Carrot Cake: A book with great writing –
Tiramisu: A book that left you wanting more –

Have fun with it! I know I did 🙂

Writing and Goals: Weekly Update

WELP! This is fantastic…
So, I’ve been going in circles with this MS, book 2 of The Seven Stars Series, and I think I finally figured out why.
There was a GIANT plot hole. Like, EPIC. The question, vaguely, was “How does this character know this thing?” And I couldn’t answer the question without breaking everything.
I think, THINK, knock on freaking wood, I finally worked through it.
The problem now? I have to scrap the last 8K words and find a new path to the ending. Or possibly a new ending entirely.
The upside? It didn’t break book 1. From Stars, Come Dragons lives to fight another day!

 

Always working toward that word count goal, but a lot of those words, this week, are going into outlining.

Still waiting on editor feedback for FSCD. Nothing to report there.

I started beta reading another author’s manuscript. I’m a little over 30% done.

Father-in-law is still in the hospital, recovering. Things are looking up.

Time to get back to work! Have a great week!

2018 Book Challenge

Thanks to Ashleigh Bekkah, I’m going to give this 2018 Book Challenge a try!

Also, you can check out Vicki’s original post about this reading challenge here!

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I’ve only read 3 books this year. Here’s what I’ve have, so far!

  1. A book published this year
  2. A book picked for you by someone else
  3. A book you can finish in a day
  4. A book you’ve already read
  5. A book borrowed from your local library
  6. A book that is a friend’s favorite
  7. A book published before you were born
  8. A book you own but have never read All three took care of this one 😛
    1. An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson
    2. The Beast is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale
    3. Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
  9. A book that is non fiction
  10. A book from your childhood
  11. A book from a bestseller list
  12. A book written in the decade you were born

I have my work cut out for me, but I think this will make choosing my reads fun. Plus, since I don’t necessarily own a book to fit every item on the list, this gives me a good excuse to go the library more often 🙂

To keep up, I’ll post an update whenever I finish a book on this list. If nothing else, I’ll add it to my monthly update post!

So, how ’bout you? What are you reading this year?

Writing: Monthly Update for January

It’s the first of the month! Time for another writing update!

Querying:

While I’m deep in the revising trenches preparing to publish, querying will be on hold.

Current WIPs:

From Stars, Come Dragons (The Seven Stars #1) – Had a great month with this. I received feedback from my content editor. Not as bad as I expected. I spent two weeks revising and handed my revisions in. This guy is is now back with my content editor and I’m waiting on my next round of feedback!

What revisions did I make?

There were some clarity issues. People in one place suddenly appearing across the room with no indication they had moved. It was a bit disorienting.

No structural changes. But I did add and change some minor world building things to allow for the development of other characters and the direction the series is going.

General clean up! It had been many months since I touched this manuscript. My writing has improved a lot in those months. There were several passages that were clunky. Descriptions that were too shallow or on the nose. Not that I went purple with my prose or anything. That’s not how I write. It just needed beefed up a bit to bring you into the scene better.

Title coming soon (The Seven Stars #2) – The beginning of January, when FSCD landed on my editor’s desk, I dove into book two of this series! I’m having a great time with it. I love where it’s going! As of this morning I’ve already written 16,752 words. It’s coming right along. My goal is to finish the rough draft by the end of February. Though, revising FSCD could push that back. Publishing comes first!

 

Reading:

Read two books in January, which means I’m on track with my 2018 reading goal!

Below, I included my reviews of the two books I read in January. TBH, I wouldn’t say I review books as much as I give my initial thoughts after closing it. Anywho, here they are!

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson51kirZzj7BL._SX328_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

Goodreads rating: 4 stars

I’m not really sure what to say. A beautiful story told even more beautifully. Yet… I was left feeling off balance. Not bad, necessarily, just… Off. A lot happened in this book for it being a little less than 300 pages and yet, I didn’t feel like anything important was missing. Then came the end and the epilogue, and I just felt like there was so much more could have been told between them.

I suppose my only complaint is the one I should have… I wanted more.

The Beast is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale

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Goodreads rating: 4 stars (I really wish they’d implement at least half stars)

4.9 really, but can’t quite bring myself to round up. This was such a fantastic journey. It was so deliciously dark. I even teared up at one point. The poor children! Truly, I loved this book. Until the last chapter. Not that I didn’t like it at that point. I was just so far on the edge of my seat throughout, I thought for sure the end would push me off. But I just felt like… is that it?

I still highly recommend it! It’s a journey worth going on. The fairytale telling. The characters. OMG the Defaiders! The use of religion… Deep breaths… I don’t know if the author was inspired by it or not, and this story is not this, but the tone, many times, reminded me of the movie The Village. I’d say if you like that movie, you’ll like this book. Just don’t expect the M. Night twist 😉

Ok that’s it. Really liked this book. Probably read it again sometime.

Beta Reading:

Unfortunately, I didn’t have time for beta reading in January. I have volunteered to read for one of my beta readers. Should see that soon and read it in February.

BLOGS:

This week I set a new goal to read more blogs! To keep myself honest, I’m also tweeting about the blogs I read. I’m doing pretty well with it so far. Here are the links to the tweets about the blogs I read this week.

S.E. Isaac

Lindsay Newton

 

Well… I think that does it. Some ups and downs, (let’s be honest, mostly ups) but all in all a great month!
How was your January?

Writing and Goals: An even minier update?

Well, I thought things would get back to normal after my son got over Influenza A, but nothing is ever that easy, is it?

Poor kid had one good day last week, then came down with the stomach flu. 😦

Fortunately, he’s come out on the other side a little tired, but functional. Ready for life to be normal again. And so am I!

It was not at all a normal week for anyone in our house, and sickness wasn’t the only reason, but I digress. And because of the abnormalities, I didn’t get any new writing done for the second week in a row.

BUT…

I did get my revision of FROM STARS, COME DRAGONS done and turned into my content editor last night. ON SCHEDULE!

Now that I’m waiting for new feedback, I can start writing again. Our lives are still a bit uprooted and we’re trying to find new footing, but I’m shooting for the moon with my goal this week to try to get myself back on track!

My word count goal this week (always available in the What’s the buzz? widget in the sidebar) is 8K words.

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And writing isn’t the only goal I have this week. I would also like to read more. And not just books. I’d really like to read more blogs. I follow so many now and I haven’t had the time to read any. And, to be honest, reading them kind of intimidates me. I can’t tell you why. I know it’s weird, but it’s true.

So, this week, I’m going to set another goal. I’m going to try to read one blog post everyday. And when I finish reading one, I’ll tweet about it! Keep me honest 😉

What are your goals this week?

Raising the Stakes has me like hmm…

Just had sort of an ah-ha moment listening to the the Writing Excuses podcast. For those of you not familiar with this cast, it’s a group of published writer, from different genres, discussing different aspects of the writing process. The episode I was listening to, that made me go hmm… was 12.41: Raising the Stakes.

So, this cast was all about what a writer should and shouldn’t do to raise the stakes in their novel to keep the reader engaged without wearing them out. It was all well and good. I was hearing a lot of things I had heard before, then Mary Anne, I believe (it’s very hard for me to put a name to a voice. Not to mention another author on this cast is named Mary) said this about a book called Hild by Nicola Griffiths…

“Mostly it’s very domestic. It’s about a little girl learning how to navigate her world,[…] but you can feel the looming disaster.”

This immediately made me examine my own work (specifically From Stars, Come Dragons,) because I have often worried it focuses too much on the domestic and not enough on the fantastic, at least at first. I raise the stakes for my main character, Henry, very slowly and I worry I will lose people looking for blood.

Then Mary chimes in after her and starts speaking to the plight of new authors and how they feel the need to throw everything at the reader right away to keep them engaged. And how that isn’t the best way to get the reader engaged either because, where do you go from there? How do you raise the stakes, when they’re already so high? But then, this is what most people who read fantasy expect. Or so it seems.

Not me. Not always, anyway.

I love fantasy. But my favorite fantasy books are the ones that burn the slowest. The most recent example I have of this is Cybele’s Secret by Juliette Marillier. Everything in this novel burns slowly. The romance, the plot, the magic, the character development, all of it. It’s now one of my favorite books. This is probably why I tend to write this way. Where the fantasy, and sometimes the plot, takes somewhat of a backseat to the characters and what they’re going through and how what they’re going through affects them achieving or not achieving their goals. But if this isn’t what fantasy readers expect, what do you do?

My answer is, do it anyway. Write what you love. Write the story that begs to be written, in the way it demands to be written. But be mindful of the consequences. Know you’re story will not appeal to everyone’s taste and hope it reaches the audience who will love it for what it is.

I’m happy with my writing. I love my book. I just worry, like I’m sure most writers do, how readers will react to the story that wouldn’t leave me alone.

Anyway, this probably wasn’t super coherent or sensible, but that podcast hit really close to home and I felt the need to spew my thoughts.

I Would love to know what you all think of this and how you handle keeping the reader engaged to the end. Or more to the point, how you deal with the worry of not being able to keep them engaged. And what keeps you engaged as a reader? Is all about the action?

So, yeah… Hit me up with a reply. I’d love to discuss!

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Writing: Monthly Update for December

It’s the first of the month! Time for another writing update!

Querying:

If you haven’t noticed already, querying went really well in December. I participated in #Pitmad on Twitter on December 7th. FaB liked on my pitches and I submitted my MS per their requirements.

On December 21st, I woke up to an email in my inbox offering me a contract to publish my book: From Stars, Come Dragons.

As you can see, I accepted the offer (after much discussion with my husband and research) and I think it was the absolute right decision. FaB has been amazing. The communication is superb and everyone is extremely nice and helpful. I know I’m in good hands!

Current WIPs:

From Stars, Come Dragons – Currently with content editor. When I get the feedback, I will start revising!

From The Vast – I’m around 3/4 of the way done with this draft. I’m hoping to finish it soon.

 

Reading:

I completed my goal of 24 books this year! I wish I could have read more, but I’m so pleased with how my writing has come along this year, I can’t complain too much. I only finished one book in December, Cybele’s Secret by Juliet Marillier. Loved it! LOVED IT! I’m currently reading An Enchantment of Ravens and loving it too!

I set my 2018 reading goal. It’s the same as 2017, but it’s not the number that matters, it’s the motivation to keep reading. I like seeing those books pile up over the year.

Beta Reading:

In December I beta read a novella for Alison Ingleby. Make sure you check her out here!

Well… I think that does it. Some ups and downs, (let’s be honest, mostly ups) but all in all a great month!
How was your December?