Whoa Nellie, was this a fun ride! A review of Devil and the Deep by @JAWalkerAuthor

Devil and the Deep by Julie Ann Walker (Ebook)

(Adult content warning)

This is a book two in a series. I did not read the first book, but what I needed to know was covered flawlessly so I was not lost at all. This book can stand on its own.

Plot: Maddy, an oil heiress, is snatched for ransom on a tiny island she is camping on. Luckily for her, she told her hot Navy SEAL friend where she was camping, and asked him to meet her there. Boy, are those kidnappers sorry when Bran and his buddy show up!

Whoa Nellie was this a fun ride!

It reminded me of the hey-day of action hero movies (If Bruce Willis or Arnold Schwarzenegger were turbo-hot Navy SEALS.) There was one small point where I rolled my eyes. It came when the two Navy SEALS and the heroine, Maddy, were trying to save three kidnapped girls. Maddy is very hot for ex-Navy SEAL Bran (after he apparently saved her life in the first book) and while they are in a very precarious situation, she starts making amorous advances on him. For a second, I thought this was going to be one of “those novels”, but that was the only ridiculous “overly romancy” scene. The rest is one fun thrill ride after another.

Note: This IS A ROMANCE so there is a lot of that “lovey dovey” stuff, but this is also an awesome high action thrill ride. I really loved the blend of the two, and I am interested in reading the first book in this series to find out how the characters met. I’d give this 4.5 stars, losing half a star for inserting a romantic scene where (in my opinion) it was unrealistic to have one.

Great fun!
Jennifer Eaton paper-JPG

Are there any real differences between fiction and nonfiction?

Today we have a guest spot from Eli Celata about fiction and nonfiction. Eli  is currently attending Binghamton University as a  doctoral student.


To some, it may seem as if there  is a cavernous abyss between nonfiction and fiction. The truth is simpler. Both require dedication. Long hours are spent seeking the perfect word or citation for  a fact. As a PhD student, I’ve pulled all nighters for peer-reviewed articles  just as much as fiction contracts. Time and effort aside, there are two main  areas where they differ beyond the obvious: phrasing and publishing.

Phrasing is a delicate business.

For fiction, I’d refer you to Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying. Each character’s sections have varying tempos and lengths to  their sentences. Word choice is generally less academic in fiction though some  literary fiction pushes the bounds at times. Nonfiction attempts continuous  flow. Pacing doesn’t change between scenes but is meant to guide the reader  from one conclusion to the next without leaving them harried. This is  especially important in nonfiction as books aren’t as likely to dramatically shift your career as the articles surrounding.

Shakespeare guyManuscripts (fiction and  nonfiction) go through much the same process. Nonfiction is more likely to be  presented pre-completion; however, just like fiction, a platform is necessary  for any agent or publisher to take such a proposal seriously. The real  difference comes in literary magazines versus academic journals. Peer-review is  stressed in academia. This means, instead of a professional editor, the  nonfiction article goes to professionals in the field. Your writing isn’t all  that’s under scrutiny. Everything moves outwards: How will your article alter  the field? Does it contribute to an existing problem? Does it create a new  problem? What are its broader impacts? All these questions and more precede  everything else. If any of the answers are troubling, an otherwise perfect  article will be rejected.

It can be summed to this: In  fiction, if you change the craft, you’re brilliant. In nonfiction, it’s simply another day at the office.

  Eli Celata


HighSummonsAbout High Summons:

Jon  Blythe is sick of waiting for his Yoda. After years of hiding his magic, he’s  ready to retire from his mortal life, drop out of college, and jump into the
world of demon hunters. He just didn’t really expect a bleach blond bookstore
clerk with light up toys for weapons. Unfortunately, Jordan is Jon’s only hope.


When rogue magic users come to Rochester with a malicious plan, the odd  couple strikes out to save the day. Jordan might not be what Jon expected, but  between demons and Econ homework, the demons win every time. Wild nights drag  Jon further from normal into the world where his father vanished. Maybe he’s  becoming an addict. Maybe magic just comes with a price. Either way, he’s  hooked.

 

To Purchase High  Summons:

Amazon  Kobe   Smashwords  iTunes

For more on the  author:

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The dating game in a futuristic Utopian Society – MATCHED by Ally Conde

Matched by Ally Conde (Audiobook) This book takes place in a dystopian/Utopian society where everything is chosen and planned for every citizen to make sure that they have a happy, long, fulfilling life (Until they are 80, when everyone dies). But that’s not the conflict in the story.

In MATCHED, a teenage girl goes to her matching ceremony to find out who the society chose as her perfect husband. She ends up “accidentally” matched to two people, but only she knows about it.

Now she is publicly matched to someone who she sees every day, but she is also matched to another boy, who is forbidden to her.

This is a very interesting story that will leave the reader asking a lot of questions like, “What would I do?”

It would be hard for me, I think, to do anything when so much is deemed illegal. While I did enjoy this book, I was never really completely engaged. I think I had a problem believing that a world like that could actually exist. I mean, there were only 100 songs, 100 history lessons, 100 poems, etc. Everything else was destroyed so people didn’t have to be stressed by too many choices. I had trouble believing this world could exist.

However, if you are able to suspend disbelief in the society, this is a well written and engaging story.

CLIFFHANGER ALERT: A major character’s life is left in jeopardy at the end. Even though I’d like to know what happens to that character, I don’t think I’m worried enough about it to continue with the series. I would, however, pick up another of this author’s books. The world she created was very alive and vivid. I just couldn’t make myself believe in it’s plausibility.

Jennifer Eaton paper-JPG

Some of the Things I Learned from Editing / Beta Reading Other People’s Books @KathleenLBosman

I’ve talked several times about beta readers. They are PRICELESS! But what’s even more fun sometimes, is when I get the opportunity to return the favor. There is so much to learn from reading SOMEONE ELSE’S work.

Seriously


 Yes, Seriously!

It’s a lot easier to see errors in other people’s work, and this helps you to find the errors in your own manuscript.

Here’s author Kathleen Bosman to chat up a few things she’s learned from reading other people’s work. Take it away, Kathleen!

Thanks, Jennifer! Here are four things I learned from reading other people’s books:
 .
1. The writing rules are there for a reason. Only break them if your story is so compelling that someone cannot help but read it. And how will you know that until it’s out there anyway?
 .

Unless you’re a bestselling author already, stick to the rules. And use good grammar! Don’t head hop – please stay in one point of view per scene, don’t overuse adjectives, and keep to active, not passive writing. If you don’t know the basic rules of writing a novel, do some research. There are literally hundreds of blogs or websites out there giving the basic rules.

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Sometimes a story is gripping and enjoyable but because the author hops from one POV to the next, I cannot continue. I’ve even discarded one of my favourite author’s popular series because she had too many POV’s in her book. Either stick to one or two POV’s.
PKO_0005301If you can’t follow basic grammar rules, then do a grammar course. There is nothing worse than a book that is shoddily written. An editor doesn’t mind the odd problem here and there – it’s their job to fix them. The worst is when an author can’t even keep their tenses consistent or writes many sentences that don’t even make sense. Write like English is your first language!
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2. Too many “said’s” make the writing clumsy.
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You don’t need to say, “he said” or “she said” after every speech. Use an action next to the speech instead which doesn’t jar the reader out of the conversation.
So_Who're_we_talking_to
That said, please make sure the reader knows who is talking when. If you are going to use dialogue tags, and I know you do need them sometimes, “said” is actually the best because it doesn’t take the reader out the story. If you have too many “exclaimed, mumbled, hissed, barked, groused,” you’ll get them thinking more about these words than the actual story.
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3. Make your characters real and consistent.
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Huh womanIf your characters are stupid or unrealistic or change like a chameleon, you’ve lost your readers from the beginning. If need be, get a fellow writer friend to read your book before you send it off to check that they can sympathise with the characters. I read a book recently about a woman who’d just been diagnosed with breast cancer and found out her husband was having an affair. She basically breezed through the whole situation with a smile on her face, quite keen to get the double mastectomy over with. Totally unrealistic!
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4. Don’t introduce too many characters into the story in the first scene.
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If you have ten people all talking to each other in a scene or seven characters each going through something different in the first chapter, your reader is going to get exhausted from the mental gymnastics. It’s nice to write a book about friends having fun together but keep it to no more than four. swish swivel squiggle
The Album Series
Each book is a fantasy romance about a magic album that matches up couples. Think of “The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants” meets Hollywood Romantic Comedies.
Looking for Love
Blurb:
When Ella Haviland inherits a magic antique photo album that reveals the future of potential couples, she starts a part-time matchmaking business with the help of her three best friends. It’s always been her dream to help people find love. But finding true love herself isn’t in her plans — even when her best guy friend Ross confesses he’s fallen for her. Friendship and love equals recipe for disaster in her mind.
Ross Mitchell is devastated that Ella doesn’t want more from their relationship. He withdraws … but maybe he should play along when Ella tries to matchmake him with a friend, just to make her jealous. He will do anything to make her notice him.
Through a series of adventures and happenings, Ella discovers that maybe The Album brings more than love and magic into the lives of the people it touches; it sprinkles its magic on hers. But can she find true love herself, or is there too much holding her back?

Get Album #1 free here:


 
Author Bio:

Kathy lives in South Africa, where the summers are hot, the winters cool and bugs thrive. She writes romance in many forms, most of the time with women who feel deeply, men who care strongly and characters who learn lessons along the way. Every so often, she sprinkles a little magic in her stories. When she’s not writing, she makes sure her kids work hard as they do school at home, tries not to get too distracted by dust bunnies and cooks up a storm to keep the tummies full. When she’s not hectically busy, she loves reading romance and fantasy novels, watching movies, and dabbling in different crafty things, depending on her mood.

Website and blog: http://www.kathybosman.com/

Survival of the fittest on an alien planet – A review of THESE BROKEN STARS

These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman (Ebook) First of all, COVER LOVE! This is one of only a few cover buys I’ve ever made.  Take a moment to soak in the loveliness.  All good? Then let’s continue.

This book starts on a luxury cruise ship in space. Something catastrophic happens, sending all 50,000 passengers running to the escape pods.

We follow the story of two survivors who crash land on an uncharted planet where weird things start to happen (over and above them rooting through other escape pods and ship wreckage).

This is a combination of YA romance and a survival story. The first half disappointed me a bit. It seemed all they were doing is walking forever and thinking about how much they didn’t like each other (While wishing they were not attracted to each other – Typical YA) but there is a ghosty-like theme going on throughout. Is one of them crazy? Hmmmm…

I stuck with this book because we were reading in my book club, and I’m glad I did. There is a very interesting twist at the end, and I did end up liking the book. I think this is a three star for me. It loses one star for non engaging me for the first half of the book, and another one, because the reason the female lead was mean to the male lead was very weak. I mean, seriously… If you dad is going to kill the guy just for talking to her, just TELL THE DUDE THAT. Why keep that a secret?

So, yeah, three stars. Good, but this won’t be a favorite (By the way, I think the people in my book club all liked it more than I did, and it was my month to choose. Ha!)

Jennifer Eaton paper-JPG

Rekindling the Fire Inside an Older Manuscript

In February, 2016, I handed in first round developmental edits for book three in the FIRE IN THE WOODS series.

Read-hold up PKO_0016876I figured I didn’t have much time until I saw the manuscript again, so I picked up and older 52,000 word first draft I’d finished nearly two years before and gave it a read. It was pretty good, but I knew it needed “something”. I just wasn’t sure what. So, out to the beta readers it went.

Within a few reads, I’d learned that it was solid, but I needed a few things:

  1. A new beginning.
  2. A best friend character so my MC wasn’t always alone.
  3. I needed to severely slow down the pacing

happy smileWith this information in hand, I attacked with reckless abandon. By the time I’d finished the 12th draft in June, 2016, I had added 46,000 words, nearly doubling the manuscript to 98,000 words of alien-filled goodness.

I just rounded up five more beta readers to look over this draft, and as I read through the manuscript from start to finish, I find myself grinning.

Yup, I’m pretty darn happy with what this story has become.

But, of course, I will wait for five more opinions, and edit the poop out of the story five more times. I hope that the beta readers love it as much as I do. Hopefully, I will be shopping this new novel to publishers in September.

Have you ever picked up an old , dusty story, cleaned it up, and found a little gem?

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Ashes and Fire2You can find  the Fire in the Woods series at all these awesome bookish places!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Kobo | Chapters Indigo! | iBooks | IndiBound |


Catch up with me on social media!

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I don’t remember what this book is about – but who cares? A review of THE RAVEN BOYS

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stieveter (Audiobook) I’m a little conflicted on this book. The writing was great, and the character development of the side characters as well as the main characters is outstanding. I just wish I loved the story more.

Early in the book our heroine, Blue, daughter of a psychic, sees the death of a boy called Gansy. She soon meets him, and reluctantly joins him on a search for the “layline” which is a magical road powered by spirits.

It took me a very long time to start enjoying this book. I think what kept me going was the great characters. I wanted to know more about them, and to see how things panned out for each. All the characters were very different, and I thought it was great that we got to see their side lives intermingling within the main plotline without it becoming confusing. This is the part that I enjoyed. As far as not enjoying the story as a whole, I think that is a poor match of reader to book. The subject didn’t hook me. But I think that people into paranormal ghost stories with a little bit of mystery investigation would absolutely love this.

***Ha! I forgot I’d reviewed this already, so I wrote another review for this book two weeks later – this is what I said***

– I found this book to be quite a conundrum. I really didn’t enjoy the story. In fact, I couldn’t care less what happened in the plotline… but never once did I consider not finishing the book. And, oddly enough, when I made a few statements on social media noting this, quite a few people agreed that they had the same dilemma. This made me sit and ponder this for a while. I waited about two weeks between finishing the book and writing the review, just to see how I still felt about it after finishing some more novels. I also wanted to figure out WHY I felt this way. As the plot dwindled into a blur, almost forgotten, I realized I remembered a few things about this book. What I remembered was not what happened, and why, but instead, I remembered the characters. I then realized that I was so totally engaged with these characters that I didn’t care what was going on, I still wanted to read about them. For that reason, and that reason only, would I consider picking up the next book. Taylor is a master at creating characters that we will not only remember, but also that sink into our bones and become part of us. Someone told me that her other series what much better plot-wise. I will definitely be looking into this, because it is a rare day when I am totally engaged in both the plot AND the characters. I’d give this book a solid four star, dropping one because I probably won’t remember what this story was about in another few weeks.

Jennifer Eaton paper-JPG

How to build an invincible world: Nailing the Setting with @EverlyFrost

Creating book worlds is exciting and fun but can be a complex process of imagination and discovery. Everly Frost’s debut novel is set in an alternate version of today’s Earth where everyone is invincible. While constantly assessing and reassessing the world, there are three questions Everly used to keep on track. Take it away, Everly!

What is the world?

These are the defining characteristics of the world – the essence of what the world is. Once you have a good handle on these, the foundations of the world will fall into place.

Young adult books, Fear My Mortality, Everly Frost, science fictionI found it useful to write these down and refer back to them often. In Fear My Mortality, the major characteristic of the world is that people heal at super fast rates to revive and recover if killed. They’ve had this ability since day one (it’s not an evolution).

All other characteristics will stem from these.

What isn’t in the world?

These are consequences of the world that might cause problems for readers because of real world knowledge, expectations, or perceptions.

For example, a problem with a world where people are invincible is overpopulation. As a solution, I decided that the trade-off for super healing is the inability to have children. Many people can’t and others have only one or two children. This keeps the population stable.

Another problem: are they all vegetarians? No steak dinners if animals are immortal too. This ended up being important. Allowing animals to be mortal meant people are familiar with illness, infection, and medicine, even if it only affects their pets. At one point the main character, Ava, likens herself to an animal because they can die and so can she.

Searching for the problems can be time-consuming but can be helpful too.

Is a little bit of info dump okay?

Gasp! I’m a huge believer in showing a scene and allowing the reader to deduce information from actions, dialogue, and active descriptions, not information dump. But I’ve learned that a little bit of Fear My Mortality, Everly Frost, Mortal Eternity, science fiction, young adult books,straight up information is not only okay but necessary.

Depending on the complexity of the world and its history, readers sometimes need a few informative sentences to know what’s going on. Then they can move on to the important things like … will Ava escape that drone, will she find freedom, and will she forgive Michael for what he did?

I’m still learning and I’m definitely not an expert, but I hope some of these tips and examples are helpful.


About the Author

Everly FrostEverly Frost is the author of FEAR MY MORTALITY. She wrote her first story when she was nine. She grew up in a country town, lived for a while in Japan, and worked for several years in Canberra, Australia’s capital city. Now, Everly lives in Brisbane, Australia, with her husband and two children.

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Just be glad you’re not #1! A review of I AM NUMBER FOUR

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore (Audiobook) A teenage boy is one of nine aliens, the last of their kind, hidden on Earth. There is another alien race trying to destroy them. The kids wear a charm that makes it so they can only be killed in a certain order. When one dies, a ring burns into the skin of the others.

A third ring just burned into John’s ankle, and he is number four. No pressure. Try to live your life knowing there is an army of alien soldiers looking for you!

I enjoyed this book on many levels, because it is, you know, aliens. But this isn’t anything deep to make you think. In fact, they probably don’t want you to think much at all, because there is a huge plot hole that never got plugged for me (no matter how hard they tried to explain it away.)

The “hole” was this: The bad-guy aliens invaded #4’s planet and killed almost everyone. These 9 kids got away. The bad guys now have the planet, and have almost used up all the recourses. So, my question is: why send soldiers to kill the kids? Yes, they try to explain this away, but the plausibility never cemented for me. I just didn’t buy it. But while that particular hole screamed at me in almost every chapter, I was able, for the most part, to suspend disbelief and just enjoy a nice, fun ride.

Yes, I would recommend this, but don’t expect rocket science. Just enjoy an interesting and fun story.

Jennifer Eaton paper-JPG

How to write with a baby on your lap with @anconway

Today I’m welcoming best-selling author Nicole Conway with a tricky question.

Nicole: Rumor has it that you wrote all of Traitor with a brand new baby in your lap. How’d you do that?

swish swivel squiggle

Wattpad has saved my life. Okay, too dramatic?

Basically, after my son was born, trying to find someone to entertain him long enough for me to get anything done became a job in and of itself. Productivity came to screeching and traumatic halt. And for someone like me, who has always used writing as a means of dealing with anxiety and depression, suddenly not getting to vent that nervous energy made me reach a dark place. My husband deployed when our son was only a few months old and I was left alone to be mommy 24-7 in a place where I had no family available to help. It was extremely difficult, especially when already dealing with those raging postpartum hormones. But someone suggested that I try writing on Wattpad. I could do it from my phone and just copy and paste it to a word document whenever I got the opportunity.

Eureka! It works brilliantly! I’ve already written an entire romance novella that way and am beginning the first volume of the second dragonrider series through Wattpad, as well.

 

Click here to find out more about Nicole’s mythical world. You can find all the book at the links down below. Thanks for coming to hang today, Nicole!

Buy Links:

Google Play | BAM | Chapters | Indies | Amazon | B&N | Kobo | TBD | iBooks

About the author

Nicole is the author of the children’s fantasy series, THE DRAGONRIDER CHRONICLES, about a young boy’s journey into manhood as he trains to become a dragonrider. TRAITOR is the third and final book.

Originally from a small town in North Alabama, Nicole moves frequently due to her husband’s career as a pilot for the United States Air Force. She received a B.A. in English with a concentration in Classics from Auburn University, and will soon attend graduate school.

She has previously worked as a freelance and graphic artist for promotional companies, but has now embraced writing as a full-time occupation.

Nicole enjoys hiking, camping, shopping, cooking, and spending time with her family and friends. She also loves watching children’s movies and collecting books. She lives at home with her husband, two cats, and dog.

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