Tag Archives: book review

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


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Writing:

So my excitement got the better of me and I forgot to write this post – so sorry for my tardiness. I have been busy tying up loose ends, revising freelance projects and ensuring I can leave for my writing retreat tomorrow with a clear desk. On the retreat I will only focus on my writing, which will enable me to ‘complete’ two manuscripts and add to another. These are my retreat goals.

  1. Final read of Life in Slake Patch
  2. Complete revisions and read through of The Twesome Loop
  3. Continue to write my newest story, Bubble the Gruggle.
  4. Enjoy no TV, no cell service and no WiFi.
  5. Converse, share and enjoy my retreat companions company.
  6. Indulge in the most fantastic meals.
  7. Enjoy reading curled up in a cozy corner.

Books:

Her Fearful Symmentry by Audrey Niffenegger – I will most certainly finished this book this week. Just love the characters.

Symmentry

Reincarnation by Suzanne Weyn – chances are as this is more novella than novel that I will finish this book over my writing retreat as well.

2507213

Then onto new stories!

Writing Tips:

Learn from the masters:

Read works by highly successful authors to learn what earns a loyal readership.
Read works by the canonical authors so you understand what constitutes a respectable literary achievement.

Creek 2016 7Strawberry Creek

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


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Writing:

The Twesome Loop

I managed to hide away in my local library last night prior to my writers meeting and work on revisions for my reincarnation romance, The Twesome Loop. With twenty-two pages revised, 510 words added (I don’t count deleted ones!) I felt satisfied at it’s progress. Now I have found a superb cover designer I’m already thinking of a cover for this novel, the illustrated one was the NaNoWriMo proof copy. This novel is one I will be finalizing (hopefully) at the writers retreat later this month. Countdown is on to 18th May…

Our meeting was fun and I shared a part chapter of Twesome, which was well received. It always bolsters an author’s confidence when their words are liked.

My ghost writing project will have several changes made this week, although as I am accompanying my daughter to her reptile show all weekend I doubt I will get any writing done until the evenings.

Books:

The Other Life

The Other Life by Ellen Meister- I finished this book, thoroughly enjoyed it. Here is my review on Goodreads.

Love the struggle Quinn has in this story, whether to stay with her current family life or switch to a more glamorous one, she once had. There are many factors for and against in both lives and this narrative beautifully demonstrates that.
Mothering has its challenges and Quinn has to make some hard choices, so even if you are not into ‘alternative or parallel worlds’ this story will capture you.

Her Fearful Symmentry by Audrey Niffenegger. I am now absorbed by this tale, which is set in London, England on the outskirts of Highgate Cemetery of all places. Obviously this appeals to my warped sense of drama.

Symmentry

While I was at Authors for Indies on Saturday at the Sherwood Park Bookworm, I requested a book with a reincarnation theme. Luckily for me, Leanne the owner found it so it is now on my TBR pile.

Reincarnation by Suzanne Weyn      

Reincarnation

How many books do you read in connection with or research for, your current work in progress?

Writing Tips:

Keep a journal or notebook handy at all times so you can jot down all of your brilliant ideas. If you’ve got a smartphone, make sure it’s loaded with a note-taking app. A voice-recording app also comes in handy for recording notes and ideas.

Personally I keep a notebook beside my bed and one in my handbag/purse all the time – when an idea strikes it is best to write it down – later it will allude you!

Make sure you have a dictionary and thesaurus available whenever you are writing.

Do you have a favorite writing tip you would like to share?

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


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Writing:

Conference logo 2017

My conference presentation was well received and my audience engaged in the interactive segments with gusto. The theme of the conference was everything Canadian to tie in with the 150 year celebrations. My session ‘Building a Canadian Character’ included choosing a particular province and building a character from its particular landscape, economy, resources etc. With numerous handouts I managed to compile, each attendee went home with helpful resources.

When I created the individual folders I pinned a small cloth doll to each and then asked everyone to choose – this meant they went for colour or pattern unaware I had put a photo inside for another exercise. Sneaky maybe but it worked well. Then later I asked everyone to describe with as much detail as possible the person in those photos. After they read their description they shown the photo to everyone else. It was a lesson in description. 

The week was not as busy although planning for the major event in June did take up quite some time. My other project is ghost writing a book, which is progressing nicely.

I am now on countdown to the Spring Writers Retreat, which starts on 18th May through to 22nd May. Here I will immerse myself in my writing without distraction. The location is perfect with a small river, woodland and trails to refresh a tired Muse. It is a huge log cabin with an expert chef, whose meals are just so appetizing everyone wants to take her home.

strawberry-creek-lodge

Books:

The Other Life by Ellen Meister – I am enjoying the story’s theme and the tension risen by choosing one life over another.

The Other Life

My friend Karen gave me this book, as she believed the mystery would intrigue me. Looking forward to reading it.  Her Fearful Symmentry by Audrey Niffenegger 

Symmentry

Writing Tips:

Do it. Write.  Write every single day.
Read as much and as often as you can. Remember, every writer is a reader first.

 

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


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Writing:

Unfortunately my creative writing has taken a backseat this last week while I compiled a schedule, contact sheet and action requirements for the Heritage Day my Board and another organization are holding in June. In all I spent seven hours going through hundreds of emails to find contacts and actions made and needed. Having so many people involved is wonderful for the work share but a logistical nightmare. Now it is done I feel confident that everyone knows the status of what is happening, who is attending and special information.

After all that creating my writers foundation Board’s agenda for tonight’s meeting was a piece of cake!

I will use some of my long weekend to type out the personal experience notes my ghost writing client gave me and insert it into the draft book. I’ll also be putting the finishing touches to the workshop I am presenting at a writers conference on 22nd April – I want to ensure it is informative but also fun.

Conference logo 2017

Hopefully I can also take some time to continue my edit and revision of The Twesome Loop. It is tantalizingly close to the finish prior to going back to beta-readers.

Twesome Loop 002

How is your current work in progress coming along?

Books:

The Faraday Girls by Monica McInerney- I am on the last few chapters of this wonderful narrative – I will not spoil the ending for anyone wanting to read it – that’s so unfair. So will put up a Goodreads review once I’m finished which will be this long weekend for sure.

faraday

The Other Life by Ellen Meister – so excited to read this story. If you could choose a different life, one you actually knew about – would you?

The Other Life

Do you have a recommendation?

Do you want to hook up on Goodreads? Follow the link on the side bar to my account.

Writing Tips:

Join a writers’ group so you can gain support from the writing community and enjoy camaraderie in your craft.

From personal experience a writers group is invaluable for any writer as long as you receive constructive critique, your style and voice are acknowledged and respected and there is a strong sense of support and encouragement. My group: www.wfscsherwoodpark.com  encourages writers any stage, any age of their writing career. We have local and virtual members.

Be observant. The people and activities that surround you will provide you with great inspiration for characters, plots, and themes. (And people watching is so much fun!)

Use writing exercises to improve your skills, strengthen your talent, and explore different genres, styles, and techniques. My favorite ‘inspirational kick’ is finding a word or picture prompt. I create a prompt on our website every Saturday – scroll back and find one that ‘speaks’ to you – top right on the calendar www.wfscsherwoodpark.com

Happy Writing…

Image credit: http://www.mywritingblog.com

 

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


Writing:

Well what can I say but that our road trip resulted in some spectacular revisions, editing and increased word count 72,674 for The Twesome Loop. We left just after work on Friday and made our way to Red Deer, got checked in and made the room our own! This actually means setting up laptops on the table/desks, selecting beds (usually Linda has the one near the window) and then we went for supper. Delicious meal with the chef’s specialty Bulgogi, amazing flavor.

The word Bulgogi literally means fire meat in Korean, and is derived from the Pyongan dialect. It refers to marinated meat, (generally beef if used without a qualifier), cooked using traditional grilling techniques such as gridirons or perforated dome griddles that sit on braziers, unlike deep frying or boiling in water.

15073509_10207622558337301_1573629241843353787_nThe Twesome Loop

Saturday morning after a leisurely breakfast we spent the morning writing in quite companionship for the most part. Then as the sunshine was too glorious to miss, set off for a drive to enjoy the afternoon and surrounding scenery. Back for wine and salad and more writing. As we have a late check out at 1 pm we utilized the time to write after breakfast and set off on a tour of the historical sites in Red Deer. At one site where old buildings have been sited we delighted at two surprise guests – a buck & doe walked in through the gate and calmly grazed just feet away from us.

Our trip home was of course the longer route (common practice for us) and took us to Sylvan Lake, through Lacombe and Clearwater counties up to Rocky Mountain House through Wetaskiwin  and Braznea counties and to Leduc and home.

Linda (as my publisher) kindly completed the update of my fantasy romance, The Rython Kingdom with its new cover and ordered proof copies. So it will be soon. I had the idea of having slip covers made for the editions I have at home so the new cover can be attached. I am so pleased with how the new cover looks.

rythonfinaltitletext

Have you changed a book cover?

Did you write over the weekend?

Do you escape to write? Where do you go?

Books:

uninvited guests

I finished The Uninvited Guests – my Goodreads review:

What a delightful and surprising book. I had an inkling about the visitors (I will not reveal) three quarters the way through the book but it was skillfully written, wonderful prose and immersed me in Edwardian life.
Sadie has a remarkable story telling talent and I recommend you read this story. Love lost, love gained and love thwarted with touch of revenge served cold.

The beginning of The Faraday Girls gripped me from the start – a great first sentence! The story is endearing, surprising and intriguing so far.

faraday

Writing Tips:

Diana Athill: Read it aloud to yourself because that’s the only way to be sure the rhythms of the sentences are OK (prose rhythms are too complex and subtle to be thought out – they can be got right only by ear).

Margaret Atwood: If you’re using a computer, always safeguard new text with a ­memory stick. (I know this from experience after loosing over 5K in the midst of NaNoWriMo – not funny!)

What are your writing tips?

Writing Hub -Books, Writing, Tips & more…


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Writing:

With numerous activities requiring my attention, the revision of my reincarnation romance had stalled recently but I did manage a couple of hours last night prior to my writing meeting. This refreshed my enthusiasm somewhat and gave me a chance to decide on which segment to read tonight.

The meeting also resulted in a short story from a picture prompt. I think it could be expanded a little more. Although not sure where I could use it at this moment in time.

I continue to beta-read two manuscripts, which are polar opposites in genre and style but equally enjoyable. The ghost writing project is making good progress as well.

What are your writing commitments? Care to share?

Books:

beyond-the-precipice

Absolutely loved this book. The writing reflects the musical undertows of the story flowing with beautiful but precise notes from depths of sorrow to heights of passion. The characters are well rounded and I felt emotionally attached to them. Secrets and tension, blossoming love and uncertainty weave a complex and intriguing story.
With its locality of Edmonton, Alberta the reader has a sense of place and life in this city.
I thoroughly recommend this book.

I will no doubt read and finish the next novella, Outcast in no time at all and have already put a book on hold at the library.

the-outcasts

BOOKSHOP AT WATER’S END  Henry, Patti Callahan

index

What book are you currently reading?

Writing Tip:

“Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. If you have the knack of playing with exclaimers the way Tom Wolfe does, you can throw them in by the handful.” — Elmore Leonard

What’s your writing tip?

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Writing:

Creating Unforgettable Characters workshop – review.

I attended a library session hosted by the writer in residence. Although the evening was enjoyable and he relayed many personal stories to highlight how we can use our life experience to create characters, there was not much in the way of ‘practical’ tips. This was rather a disappointment to many that attended. A character sheet was handed out but it can be downloaded from the internet easily enough. It would have been a lot more instructive to actually have writing exercises and then discussion so we gained valuable feedback on our character descriptions.

Have you attended workshops that fell short or exceeded your expectations?

The Twesome Loop manuscript review.

I asked a friend, who is not a writer but a reader to give me her honest opinion on my manuscript as there are two time periods and multiple characters in the story. I wanted to know if the story was too complex and required drastic revision. Not only did she read it in record time but loved the story. This was her last comment:

“Finished 5pm local time. From p.89 today. Yay for Gerald , I was swinging punches at Brett too. P.96 love description of Rome, have visited some of those places. Your draft book was enjoyable. Had no problems with characters , followed story OK. Well done.” Doreen.

My reason for wanting this review was that a professional author thought I should cut out characters ‘as there are too many’ – however as he does not write or read historical romance, I was loathe to discard characters I thought rounded out the story. I think I will continue editing but will keep the characters. I did look at the prospect of separating some of the characters into two other novels but I think it would detract from their stories to do so.

Have you stuck to your guns on a manuscript?

Did you drastically revise a novel so characters were omitted?

A freelance client contacted me after some time away asking for more work so now I have to juggle her internet lessons, due 27th February with ghost writing a book for another client. And refining an erotic scene for a reading I am doing on 25th February – what’s that saying – when it rains, it pours! No I am not complaining.

Books:

I am 2/3 through Ava Moss by Joss Landry. After which I have Beyond the Precipice by Eva Blaskovic.

ava-mossbeyond-the-precipice

In addition I have a manuscript to review for an author friend so I have plenty to read.

What book are you reading currently? How do you like it?

Writing Tips:

“Read it aloud to yourself because that’s the only way to be sure the rhythms of the sentences are OK (prose rhythms are too complex and subtle to be thought out—they can be got right only by ear).” — Diana Athill

What’s your favorite writing tip?

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Writing:

Maybe it’s naughty but I submitted few pages of another manuscript to our current Writer in Residence over the weekend. This time it was the manuscript I am currently working on, The Twesome Loop. A romance with a touch of erotica and a reincarnation twist. It is two time periods – 2000 and 1874 so the chapters go back and forth between the two. The four main characters in each time period are linked by reincarnation and as you get to know the characters you will come to notice similarities in personality coming through.

My meeting on Sunday with Richard van Camp our current WIR was excellent. He gave me a ‘light bulb’ moment on one of the characters. This will give me a new boost in creating her in a whole different light. Now I need to find the time to revise all the scenes she is present in. An expression he used was to ‘echo’ the characters to entice the reader with the similarities between the modern day and past personalities.

I also submitted the initial draft of the book I am ghost writing to my client for her review. Fingers crossed it will meet with approval!

And – agreed to be a beta-reader for two author friends so the manuscripts are piling up!

Books:

i-can-see-you I completed this novel – here is my review: Great story with well rounded characters, especially Emma whose bravery inspires.
A story of spirit, love and overcoming fear.
The tension builds with unforeseen twists and turns.
A well written narrative by an artful author, I will certainly be seeking out her other books.

I am now reading:

ava-moss

Writing Tip:

You don’t always need an outline. Give discovery writing a try.

Do you have a writing tip to share?

What book can you recommend?

 

 

 

 

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Writing:

LifeinSlakePatch 001

As I told you all earlier, I submitted part of my speculative fiction novel, Life in Slake Patch to our current Writer in Residence – Richard van Camp. He answered with:

I’ve had a read of your intro and it seems to me that you find your rhythm in Chapter 4. I found the first three chapters to go so quickly, too quickly, that I couldn’t get a lock on any of the characters or their back stories.  Perhaps a rewrite of your intro?  My advice is slow down; take your time. Have fun with each scene. Sights, smells, etc. Give us setting; give us tone; set the mood.

Now for new or seasoned writers, critique is a double edged sword, some is favorable, some not but all should be taken as constructive rather than destructive. Several rewrites previously I took another writer in residence advice and ‘info dumped’ at the beginning of this story to ‘set the scene’.

So do I change it or not? Do I follow my gut and revise to balance the slightly conflicting advice from these two marvelous authors? Or do I rewrite a completely different introduction? This is something I will ponder and decide after careful consideration.

Have you experienced conflicting critique?

How did you resolve the matter? Did you change it or not?

Books: My review of The Sudden Appearance of Hope by Claire North

hope

The story was a neat concept but fell short, unlike Claire’s previous two books. The character was complex, the story arc well constructed but the use of numerous synonyms of words detracted from the flow of the story – taking me out of the narrative. I understand as a fellow author that these descriptions were an explanation of the main character’s inner most thoughts but they were too much of a distraction for me.

However, it will in no way put me off reading another of Claire’s books – her ability to engage a reader is wonderful in The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August & Touch.

I have just started reading – I Can See You by Joss Landry.

I was engaged from the first page!

i-can-see-you

Writing Tip: Chuck Sambuchino

Remember the Three “P’s”:  Patience, Perseverance, and maintaining your sense of Purpose.

Do you have a writing tip to share?

What book can you recommend?

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Writing:

The Industry Insiders: Making a Living as a Hybrid Author event I attended spurred me on to do something about my blog. It has been successful but I feel it requires a boost! I connected with one of the panel authors, who agreed to review my blog and give me some pointers on improving my presence on the net. I will keep you posted.

I also spent time editing Life in Slake Patch prior to submission to the Writer in Residence. Unfortunately I did not complete the manuscript revisions (life gets in the way) but hopefully during this week I will. Then it will be back to The Twesome Loop revisions prior to sending it out to beta readers.

My other project over the weekend was to review and detail a ghost writing request from a client. There was quite a lot of research involved, which was interesting but time consuming. My proposal is now in the hands of the client.

Books:

hope

I am enjoying this book but it is not as good as the previous two by this author. It seems a bit contrived. However, I am intrigued as to how the protagonist will survive and the story conclude so will continue. I am half way through at the moment.

On my TBR pile are two novels by a local author, Joss Laundry (see her interview here: https://mandyevebarnett.com/2016/12/05/joss-landry-interview-5th-december/) I’m looking forward to reading them.

Writing TipJonathan Franzen

“The reader is a friend, not an adversary, not a spectator.”

What writing project are you tackling at the moment?

Do you have a writing tip to share?

What book can you recommend?