February Wrap Up

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Check it out, two months into the year and I am actually keeping up with my goals. Woot woot! 😉 Today is also my momma’s birthday. She is an amazing woman and I love her to bits.

This month was good in a lot of ways. Winter hasn’t been nearly as harsh as usual, thinking more positive is making a big difference in me, and I am checking off goals and adding new ones.

Writing: I finished a short story which is now in the hands of my first round of beta readers. I am getting great feedback. The biggest thing for me is that my editing skills have improved a lot. Aside from some line edits, I don’t need to make any major changes. Now I am figuring out what to work on next: a fantasy novel I started a few years back, or finish a story I started last NaNoWriMo.

Blogging:  I have been keeping up with this little corner of my world. I love popping in here. It helps to organize my thoughts, and I love chatting to those who comment. 🙂

Positive vibes: This month has had some bumps. For instance, I have hit that wall where I just want my husband to be home. It isn’t easy that he has to work away. BUT, the way I view things now has most certainly gotten me through things. I still write at least one good thing a day in a journal, and when I feel my thoughts going down a bad path, I stop myself and can usually get myself back on track. I feel really frickin’ good, peeps! 😀

The Book Pile: I am now on book four of the year! My goal is to read fifteen, which is very attainable. If and when I go beyond that, bonus! Although I did break my reading rule. Instead of reading books only out on my table, I have been switching things up. But hey, i am in the reading groove again, that’s all that matters.

Other projects: I have been doing pretty good with keeping up on my pen pal letters. I have a couple to write, but they are newer. It feels good being more regular in my snail mail. I am hoping to make my own envelopes soon, or at least creating some mail art.

I hope you have had a great month. How are your goals coming along?

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Book Review: Dance of The Gods by Nora Roberts

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I devoured book two of The Circle trilogy in less then two days. I found it was even better than book one, on a number of levels.

Blurb:

He saw where the earth was scorched, where it was trampled. He saw his own hoofprints left in the sodden earth when he’d galloped through the battle in the form of a horse. And he saw the woman who’d ridden him, slashing destruction with a flaming sword…  

Blair Murphy has always worked alone. Destined to be a demon hunter in a world that doesn’t believe in such things, she lives for the kill. But now, she finds herself the warrior in a circle of six, chosen by the goddess Morrigan to defeat the vampire Lilith and her minions.

Learning to trust the others has been hard, for Blair has never allowed herself such a luxury. But she finds herself drawn to Larkin, a man of many shapes. As a horse, he is proud and graceful; as a dragon, beautifully fierce; and as a man…well, Blair has never seen one quite so ruggedly handsome and playfully charming as this nobleman from the past.

In two months’ time, the circle of six will face Lilith and her army in Geall. To complete preparations and round up forces to fight, the circle travels through time to Larkin’s world, where Blair must choose between battling her overwhelming attraction to him—or risking everything for a love that can never be…

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I thought the writing style of this book was much improved. There was still a bit of back and forth with the PoV, but not near as bad as book one. When reading a characters point of view, we stayed in their mindset for a period of time, instead of several points of view on each page.

I loved getting to know the characters better. We finally get to see more of other characters, and I care about all of them now. I liked all of them at the end of the first book, but I love all of them now.

I loved the character growth from Blair, as well as the little queen. Moira has shown strength in a number of ways, while we see a softer side of Blair. Moira has shown strength in front of her people, both physically and emotionally. She is bound and determined to protect the people of Geall. Blair’s wall is slowly breaking down, which was put there by her father and a former fiance. It was great to see these characters grow and change.

I am also anxious for Moira and Cian to get together! I ship them so hard! They shared a brief, passionate kiss which thrilled me. So I can’t wait until book three…those two better get together! 😉

I am also anxious to know who the narrator of the story is. An old man is telling the tale to a group of children. My guess is that it is one of the three main characters, but a twist can still happen. So it will be fun to find out next book. (Although I feel like a hint was mentioned, I just haven’t put the pieces together yet).

My plan tomorrow after work is to start book three. Thank God for moms who let you borrow their books. 😉

What have you been reading?

Planning My Story Bible

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What’s a story bible? Something to help keep your universe and characters in order, especially when writing a series or epic fantasy. All your important info at your fingertips for when you need to find the name of your hero’s first cousin or how your magick system works.

I started making one for my Lily and Quinn series, but I have recently decided to start fresh. The biggest problem for me is that I am a total journal junkie, so now I have to figure out what to use for it. (Word docs or something on your comp works too! I just like having something I can hold in my hand.)

I also want to break mine down a bit more then I did originally. Is that what I should do or is that the planner/journal junkie inside of me? Hopefully it will all work out so that the series bible I make will be helpful and not one big mess. 😉

This is how I plan to break mine down. If you have made one, or plan to make one, I would love to hear what other sections you have in yours! 🙂

Characters-A) My writing buddies know I am a huge fan of visual character sketches. I am going to put a photo or two per page of what my characters look like. (I have some from magazines and those I printed). I will also make bullet point notes on physical appearance, so that if I just want to double check on my hero’s eye color, I will open to the first few ages of my notebook and find it.

Characters-B) The character sketch. Bullet points on my characters and notes.  I will be sure to leave extra space. My fictional best friends tell me something new about them on a regular basis.

Timeline- I have four short stories published with this world, and a fifth on the way. Not to mention novels I have started/written. I will have a section to timeline for linking important events, plus bullet points on what happened in each story.

Vampire/supernatural lore- One big thing I had to come up with in my stories are my vampires. What kills them, how a person turns, abilities, etc… On top of that I have other supernatural creatures and a magick system, so I need to have sections devoted to that. I almost wrote myself in a corner once with how the vampire system works in my universe. I don’t want to do that again.

The Bad Guys- Some of my villains have been killed off, while others are still (possibly) at large. Each one of them, dead or alive, will have their own page of notes. Even the dead ones might come back, since I plan to write a prequel or two.

Setting- My universe is pretty much where I live, but with changes. I need to make notes on certain places, such as where characters live, favorite places to go, etc… If my world was in a sci-fi setting or alternate universe, my notes would be way more in depth.

Maps/photos- As with my characters, I like having a visual as well as written notes to look back on for my setting. I will use my own drawn maps for some of it, as well as sections of real world maps.

Notes- A section for other story ideas and things I want to include. This will be in the back section. Sometimes when I am out, I make notes in my phone, or on scraps of paper. I need to keep my ideas together in one spot for a change, so my series bible will be the best spot for them.

Every writer has their own tools, and for me, a series bible will be a valuable tool.

 

Comic Con: Top 5 Actor Wishlist

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When I was younger, the idea of meeting a favorite actor or actress was nothing more then a dream. I didn’t think it was possible. I live in a small town, and far from any major filming action. (Aside from the rare occasion).

About ten years ago, I went to my first comic book convention. And I was hooked! I love cons for a million reasons, but one of my main reasons I love them is because I get to meet people I never thought I would.

When Mr. C and I have a few bucks to have fun with, we either add to our collection of geekery, or save for a con. And right now I am trying to save what I can for Toronto Comic Con, that is happening next month.

I have met many people over the years, including Stan Lee, Robert Englund, Norman Reedus, Lauren Cohan, Ron Perlman, Carrie Fisher, and many more.

With the con next month, I have been thinking of those actors I really want to meet, and hoping they are announced. (Manu Bennett is on that list, and he’s been announced!)

So, here are my top 5 celebs I hope to meet someday.

1-Cary Elwes

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I don’t care how old this man gets, he will always be my Westly and if I ever meet him I will probably cry like a baby. I have watched this movie hundreds of times in my life. (Including earlier today).

2-Charlie Hunnam

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The odds of meeting him are slim to none, but I also didn’t think I would ever meet Stan Lee or Patrick Stewart. I have been a fan long before he was on Sons of Anarchy, and his movie King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, is on my top of my all time fave movie list.

3-Milla Jovovich

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The Resident Evil movies are one of my favorite series, and Alice is one bad ass chick. Meeting Milla would be super cool.

4-Tommy Flanagan

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I love this Scotsman. He is an amazing actor and he played one of my favorite characters on SOA, Chibs Telford.

5-Emma Watson

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Who wouldn’t want to meet Hermione Granger? I think if I ever meet this awesome young lady, I would have to pick her mind about all things books.

So, that’s my wishlist. If given the chance, who would you meet? Who is on your top 5 list?

Book Review: Morrigan’s Cross by Nora Roberts

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I never thought I would pick up a Nora Roberts novel. I don’t know why. I just never really thought of it. I read so much J.R Ward and other such novels, that Nora Roberts never crossed my  mind. I love romance, I guess I just thought her books weren’t for me.

Until recently, I had NO clue she wrote fantasy and vampire stories.

And my mother, my sweet, almost 78 year old mother, adores The Circle Trilogy. Featuring a cast of six people fighting against vampires. How could I not read the books after my mom telling me about them, and exclaiming “They are right up your alley!”.

Book Blurb:

In the last days of high summer, with lightning striking blue in a black sky, the sorcerer stood on a high cliff overlooking the raging sea…

Belting out his grief into the storm, Hoyt Mac Cionaoith rails against the evil that has torn his twin brother from their family’s embrace. Her name is Lilith. Existing for over a thousand years, she has lured countless men to an immortal doom with her soul-stealing kiss. But now, this woman known as vampire will stop at nothing until she rules this world—and those beyond it…

Hoyt is no match for the dark siren. But his powers come from the goddess Morrigan, and it is through her that he will get his chance at vengeance. At Morrigan’s charge, he must gather five others to form a ring of power strong enough to overcome Lilith. A circle of six: himself, the witch, the warrior, the scholar, the one of many forms and the one he’s lost. And it is in this circle, hundreds of years in the future, where Hoyt will learn how strong his spirit—and his heart—have become…

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So, while the book had its flaws, I adored it! I basically devoured it over the weekend, and as soon as I see my mom, I am borrowing book two in the series.

My main annoyance with the book is the writing style. Since this book is older, the rules of writing were different than they are now.  The PoV changed back and forth quickly. Instead of a scene or chapter in one character’s point of view, there were usually a couple per page. Aside from the couple of times we seen Lilith’s PoV. When we see the evil vampire, it was for a scene, before it cut back to the main six.

I also found that not all the characters were fleshed out. My favorite was Cian, Hoyt’s twin brother who was turned vampire. I found his character had more detail and depth then the others.

I loved the mishmash of fantasy. You have an 11th century sorcerer, a witch, shape shifter, a bookworm who could give The Green Arrow a run for his money, as well as a warrior and a vampire. All prepping for a fight against the evil vampire Lilith, who wants to rule this world and other realms.

It was a fun, light read and I can’t wait to get my hands on the next book!

 

Something for Short Story Lovers

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I have been working on a short story for an anthology my writers group that my writers group is putting together. While brainstorming last night, I realized I never really touched base on my work and the anthologies I am in. (Yes, there is a little self promotion going on here too, haha).

When I was a kid, I didn’t think that having my very own story in print would happen. When three of my writing friends started Third Person Press, I worked my butt off and crossed my fingers that I would get a letter saying they liked and wanted my story.

They did!

Undercurrents Front Cover

From Third Person Press website:

A Cape Breton Anthology of Speculative Fiction (The Speculative Elements, Vol. 1)
The fourteen stories in Undercurrents ply the literary oceans of time and space, possibility and imagination. And while you may find familiar themes in these pages-love, change, greed, spirituality-you will discover that they take on a new perspective when viewed through the lens of the speculative. Inside are stories that ripple and swell with the unusual: fiddle-playing ghosts, malevolent cats, urbane vampires, and ordinary folks who have drifted into the realms of the extraordinary. Set your oars in these unusual waters and see for yourself what swirls in the undercurrents.

The urban vampires? That’s me. 😉

What I love about anthologies, are that short stories are a quick read. Also, while you may not enjoy every story, you are bound to love and like most of the book.

Third Person Press went on to publish a total of four stories in the Elements collection. (There is also Airborne, Unearthed and Flashpoint). I was lucky enough to be accepted into the rest of the books. My stories are all set in the same world, with new supernatural creatures and problems being added in the mix. I love writing the Lily and Quinn series, and have no plans to stop writing with them. (I will talk about them more in a future post).

I am pretty proud of what I have accomplished so far. When I re-read my stories, I can see where I grew as a writer, as each one went on.

They have also published a couple of other anthologies, one being Christmas themed and the other is ghost stories. And last year they published ‘Rise of the Mudmen’ by James FW Thompson. I have that on my book pile and plan to read that soon! 🙂

If you are interested adding to your short story collection, you can check out Third Person Press site and see what would be up your alley!

 

 

 

 

Book Review: Dark Beneath The Moon by Sherry D. Ramsey

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Here I am, with my first book review of the year- woot woot! I should note this is more of a lighter/mini review. A few key points I enjoyed about the story.

So yes, I spent this weekend like any good weekend should be spent: curled up with a good book and snuggled up with a cat.

We all have authors that we just have to read. That author whose books we buy as soon as a new one hits a shelf. Sherry D. Ramsey is one of those authors for me. She writes a variety of genres, and I always find myself engrossed in the worlds she creates.

When I had my reading slump, that didn’t stop me from buying books and adding to my collection. Dark Beneath The Moon was one of the books taunting me to get out of my slump.

Here is the book blurb:

Luta Paixon has plenty of trouble on the Tane Ikai, with relationships in flux and the sticky problem of two captains on one ship. But when an alien artifact, the remnant of a long-ago war, shows up on the other side of a newly-discovered wormhole, the crew also find themselves pressed into the service of the Nearspace Protectorate. The Tane Ikai‘s task: covertly deliver an alien historian to the site to decipher its meaning—and possible threat.

Jahelia Sord is a woman with a grudge against the world, and against Luta Paixon and her family in particular. She has her own secrets to guard, and an alliance with the notorious PrimeCorp—one she’ll keep only as long as it suits her own hunt for vengeance.

When a mysterious attack leaves them stranded in an uncharted new system, Luta, her crew, and Jahelia must try to put their differences aside and decide who to trust, while they uncover a shocking truth about the Chron war and what their old enemies are so afraid of…

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This novel is the second in the Nearspace series, being the sequel to One’s Aspect To The Sun, which came out a few years ago.

While I am not typically a reader of sci-fi, I found myself hooked from the start and had a very hard time putting the book down.

I love all the characters, especially Captain Luta. She is a strong, kick ass, smart woman who leads her crew with confidence. She is also very stubborn, so I often found myself grumbling at her as I read. If only characters would listen to you, right?? 😉 All the characters have their own individual voice, flaws and strengths.

As far as the plot goes, like I said, I couldn’t put the book down. There was always something going on: new aliens, a mystery illness, a character with suspicious motives, and more. There was a lot going on, but the story flowed really well and nothing was confusing. I found it very engaging. I really enjoyed the first book in the series, but I think this one is my favorite.

This book also introduced three new alien types. The Lobor ( a wolf-humanoid), the Chron and the Corvid (a crow-like being).  Each were unique in appearance, communication and technology. The Lobor is my favorite, I think, because it appeals to my supernatural side.

The third book, Beyond The Sentinel Stars, is now available.  Which is great because I so need to get my hands on it! 😉

If you like spacecrafts, aliens, adventure and unique characters, this series is for you.

What books have you read lately?