Monday, December 11, 2017

Review Criteria: End of the Year Recap and Reflections

Book reviews can be so subjective, and whenever we read a negative one, it's natural to wonder, "was the reviewer just in a crummy mood that day," or "maybe she just really hates this person," or "maybe she hates the world." My reviews are subjective because I read these books just like any reader might read them, and I have things that I like and dislike, just like any reader does. My likes and dislikes aren't going to be the same as those of all the other unique individuals out there, but for people who share my tastes and interests, my preferences can provide a good lense to help determine whether or not a book is worth their time. Given a certain someone's fairly, um, emotional reaction to a recent review, and that we're wrapping up 2017 (thank goodness!!!) this seems like a good time to go over what I look for in books and why.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Six More Days of NaNoWriMo

It feels kind of weird to make a point of telling just about everyone in my life that I need to drop everything and just focus on NaNoWriMo (unless I'm pausing to blog about my difficulties with NaNoWriMo, of course.) That said, I'm glad I've been doing that because it is so nice to give myself permission to just clear my brain space for writing as much as I possibly can this month. I would like to reach the 50,000 word goal, but at the moment, that seems impossible. I haven't even hit 25,000 yet. I do have good reasons for where I am now though, and I still have reasons to be hopeful that the project is still far from doomed. I thought some of this might be worth sharing if you're running out of gas like me.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Finding Things to be Grateful For When Life is Shit

Actually, I know my life isn't shit. In a lot of ways, things are better now than they have been for a long time. However, getting where I am, both literally and figuratively, has come at a cost. Thanksgiving is around the corner and it's going to be very different from the Thanksgivings I've experienced for the past almost two decades of my life. I'm excited about finally having Thanksgiving with my parents since that hasn't happened since I graduated from high school--I won't even get into how long ago that was. Some of the other changes are less positive, and I've been doing some soul searching as a result.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

12 More Days of NaNoWriMo

The good news is I have over 19,000 words for my novel that I didn't have before November started. The bad news is, to be current in NaNoWriMo, I should have 30,000 today. So, that puts me about 40 pages behind and I have 12 more days of November. How did I do this to myself? According to NaNoWriMo's doohicky, if I write 2,350 words for the next 12 days, I will finish on time; that's almost 10 pages a day.

Several things seem to be going on.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

It's Day #8 of NaNoWriMo & an Open Response to Someone Who Called me "Disgusting"

I can't believe I am now 8 days into NaNoWriMo. I just passed the 10,000 word benchmark, and while I'm proud of all that progress---hey, it's 1/5 of my goal---I'm a bit disappointed that I'm not where I should be. In order to be right on track, I will need to reach 13,333 words by the end of the day today, and that's probably not going to happen. Currently, I have 10,505 words written. We'll see. Admittedly, I've been feeling a bit drained. Last week ended with a nasty email exchange and I think that in order for creative types like me to be credible, it's important to be open about the little things that can affect our craft. Life does have a way of getting in the way, especially when it's not dealt with.

During this unpleasant exchange, unprompted, this other person lashed out with the phrase "you disgust me." That's a powerful statement, don't you think? For anyone who has seen Silence of the Lambs, that sounds like the type of comment one would reserve for a guy like the one who threw semen at Agent Starling as she walked down the hall. Anyway, I have been processing this comment and here is a summary of my journey through a careless insult.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Review: The Dark Element

The Dark Element (The Elemental Saga Book 1)The Dark Element by Mason J. Torall
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Since self-publishing The Dark Element, the first installment in his Elemental Saga series, Mason J. Torall has been running aggressively on the conference circuit including participating as a panelist at MalCon (Myths and Legends Conference) Denver 2017 and KoelbelCon 2016 where he was a special guest along with his writing partner, Colleen Oakes. He’s also a member of Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and, at least up until recently, was a fairly active one at that. In short: over the past few years in addition to writing quite a long book and working on the next installment, he has been working hard on this project. Credit where credit is due: that’s no small feat.

Based on the ratings that other reviewers have given The Dark Element, I feel like I’m about to throw some ice water on the party, and that’s not what I originally set out to do here. I like to support other writers I have met in my travels, and I don’t think I can do that by damning anything they do with faint or insincere praise, so apologies if any of this is crushing, but here we go:

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Halloween Throwback: Broken Monsters

Is this what I told you was coming next? No! But it's a review of a book that is perfect for Halloween,  Lauren Beukes' Broken Monsters. Not to worry: the next post will feature my thoughts going into NaNoWriMo about both my own project, and the indie sci-fi book I am finishing up now. Not to, um, frighten anyone going into this adventure, but while it may be tempting to self-publish your oeuvre right after completion and a quick pass by a critique group, a little caution can be a good thing. That's all I'm going to say about that, for now.

Friday, October 27, 2017

1600 Words is Back

Just in time for Halloween, I'm dusting off the old book blog and jumping back into the action. This is an interesting time to do it because, as many of you know, NaNoWriMo time is almost upon us!