Thursday, January 26, 2012

I need your help!

            I’ll give you the good news first. I finished my story!! Well sort of. The plot goes on in a second planned book. But yes, the book I’ve been working on for the better part of a year is finished.
            The bad news? It’s waaay too short. I’m the kind of reader who prefers her books to double as 5lb. free weights. As is, my manuscript wouldn’t make a good paperweight. Apparently, I’m “concise to a fault.”   Now, I know there are a few more awesome scenes that can be teased out of my tired brain, but here is my problem: I’m afraid I’m going to end up writing long paragraphs about things simply added to make a longer narrative. And I HATE it when I read those paragraphs in other books. If I read something that really has no purpose in the larger story, I feel like the author is wasting my time.  So, I need opinions: Do random side stories bother you? How important is the length of a book when you decide to read it? And finally, what is the difference between “developing a scene” and rambling? 


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

So I have this friend....

    I need opinions. Between working, running a household, and trying to take care of a(n insanely advanced) baby, the time I have to actually sit down and write is very little. But it is what I desperately want to do, so I'm making it work. Here's my problem:
         One of my few opportunities to write is during my lunch break at my "day job." Unfortunately, I share this break with a very sweet girl who believes that silence is an evil that must be banished at all costs. So she talks to me the WHOLE hour, even though my laptop is open and I rarely respond. She talks about how cool iit is that I'm writing, how much she can't wait to read my story, (never going to happen at this rate) asks for the recipe of whatever I brought for lunch, and tells me stories about her own child.
       Now, it's not that I don't like this girl, I really do. And I hope that one day she will be able to read my book. But our desks in the office are actually connected. How do I politely tell her that she can tell me her funny story when we get back, but during lunch I really really need her to shut up?
  But remember, "polite" is the key word.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Book Review: Angelina's Secret, Lisa Rogers

As a child, Angelina spent years in counseling learning that Josie, her imaginary friend, wasn't real, but it turns out her childhood friend wasn't imaginary after all.

Now Angelina has to accept she's either (A) crazy or (B) able to see ghosts. Wanting to believe in her sanity, she chooses (B) and welcomes Josie back into her life. But even Josie can't help her deal with Shelly, the spirit of a confused teenager, and things go very, very wrong.

When Angelina finds herself in a psychiatric hospital, she faces a choice: she can spend the rest of her life pretending to be someone she isn't, or she can embrace who she is and take a chance that she may never get to go home
. Goodreads.

Angelina’s Secret is a quick and fun read. I love the concept of a ghost story where the ghosts aren’t (all) scary. Instead they are quirky, fun, and mischievous.

            I found Angelina to be a very relatable character. It is refreshing to have a main character that isn’t from a massively dysfunctional family. She has a good relationship with her parents, (even though they don’t always see eye to eye) and a great relationship with her brother. She is funny and smart, and when she finally accepts her ‘gift,’ she’ll do anything to help her friends.
            However, she’s in a tie for my favorite character. I loved Josie, the resident ghost in Angelina’s house. Her dated language and attempts to be “cool” made me laugh out loud. And, although she has some serious issues, I have a soft spot for Kobi. She gets second place on my list.
            The plot of the book is fast-paced, and the reader is left guessing right up until the last chapter, which is brilliant, by the way. Although Angelina’s Secret isn’t a romance novel by any stretch of the imagination, there are multiple mini “love dramas” that we’ve all come to know and love in any high-school setting.
            You don’t really need to read the prequel to this book, “Angelina’s Friend,” to understand the story, but it does add a level of understanding, especially for Angelina’s mom. And since it is a free download from Spencer Hill Press, you might as well.

            Over-all, this was a well-crafted and entertaining book with a unique plotline. I highly recommend it and hope to see more Angelina books in the future.

Rating 5/5 stars

YA notes: none. 

Friday, January 6, 2012

Review: UnCONventional. ed. by Kate Kaynak & Trisha Wooldridge

It’s about to get weird…                                                          
Okay, weirder in here.

Alien ascensions in hotel ballrooms.
Mermaids on cruise ships.
Werewolves in dog shows.
Steampunk fairy time travelers.
A teenage superhero
Hitching a ride with a supervillain.
Comic books
That absorb their readers.
Magical filk… and much more

Disclaimer: Anthologies are very hard to review due to the many authors/styles/stories within them. I will not attempt to review each one. Instead, I am reviewing the collection as a whole.
Disclaimer part II: My own short story appears in this anthology. Since I did not trust myself to give it an unbiased review, it is not included in my review at all. In fact, after spending several minutes staring at my name on the title page, I skipped my story altogether.  Now on to my thoughts.

            I absolutely love the concept/layout of this anthology.  Each author has a convention badge, panelist bio, and appears on a schedule of events. The stories are divided into “panels,” and I’m pretty sure there isn’t an area of the fantasy/sci-fi genre that isn’t covered!     

            The stories themselves are creative and light-hearted. They were fun to read, and I loved seeing how many different takes there were on the same basic concept. UnCONventional is a must-have for any short story collection.

            Of course, I have a few personal favorites. In no particular order, they are: “Beast in Show” by Kate Kaynak, “Myrtle” by Melina Gunnett, “AlGorethm” by Randy O Green, “The Ascension” by Daniel Cohen, and “The Waltz” by Lauren Marrero. I know, that’s a lot of favorites, but there are so many great stories here its hard to narrow it down any more.

Rating:4.5/5 stars

YA notes: Some stories contain mild language, sensual/and or homosexual references.