26 May 2014

Book Spotlight: Immortality by Kevin Bohacz

Today I am happy to spotlight a pretty incredible book called Immortality by Kevin Bohacz. This sounds like something you need to put on your "to-read" list on GoodReads. Read on to find out more!










About the Book

Title: Immortality
Genre: Techno-Thriller
Author: Kevin Bohacz
Format: Paperback/Kindle

Purchase at Amazon

Without warning, something has gone terribly awry. In the remote and unnoticed places of the world, small pockets of death begin occurring. As the initially isolated extinctions spread, the world’s eyes focus on this unimaginable horror and chaos. Out of the ecological imbalance, something new and extraordinary is evolving and surviving to fill the voids left by these extinctions. Evolution is operating in ways no one could have expected and environmental damage may be the catalyst. Once discovered, this knowledge changes everything.

Visit the book's tour page to find out what the book reviewers thought of the book, visit the GoodReads virtual book club to discuss it, and better yet, purchase your copy on Amazon.com.

And Read On To Find an Excerpt from the Book:

24 May 2014

Creative Photo Inspiration on a Saturday


My mom found this photo for me this weekend and I had to share this with everyone. 

May you embrace your weirdness today. 

19 May 2014

Quirky Writing Habits - What Are Yours?



For me, I don't think any of my writing habits are all that weird, but I do have moments of slight anxiety when I step out of the routine. And I was thinking of my writing habits, superstitions, and quirks, and wondered whether anyone else had any they wanted to share.

Here's a few of mine:

1) Handwriting my first drafts.

Although I'm sort of out of the novelling game right now, I would say this habit applies to lengthier works too. It isn't like I have never typed up a first draft, but something about seeing the handwritten draft encourages me to stick with what I'm working on.  I also have better luck going back to it and editing what I've done when I get to the revising process too.

2) My notebook always comes with me during the work week.

In all honesty, I rarely have time during the day to work on a story, but my notebook faithfully gets toted back and forth during the work week. There is something pleasantly reminding about having that notebook with me and just keeping it near me inspires me to write when I get home. I end up feeling anxious on the days I forget to take it with me.

3) I track my success on my wall calendar.

This is a habit I picked up this year, but each day I make a small note on what I've done that day for writing, whether it's a simple note of "got writing done" or more elaborate notes of "finished such-and-such story." I feel very good about myself if I see notes of writing progress on almost every day of the week.

4) I use clicker pens and cheap spiral bound notebooks.

I can't stand the idea of potentially losing a cap to a pen, so that's the reason for the clicker pen. Also, with cheap notebooks, I'm more likely to sort of let my creative side loose than when I use fancy schmancy leather bound notebooks.

5) I have to finish the story.

This is a bizarre quirk I've picked up that is entirely unexpected. These days it's absolutely rare for me to not finish a short story. Now, I may not go back to the story to revise it, but when it comes to first drafts, I can't move onto the next idea until the current story is done.

And a part two of that quirk is if I am stuck on a story, I go to the last event that took place and "undo" it and see if I should take a new direction to breathe life back into the plot line that stalled on me.

See? Mine aren't too weird. And actually I've managed to make mine work towards my success and stamina to keep writing.

Do you have any writing quirks or weird habits that get you going?

07 May 2014

Of Dreams and Shadow by D.S. McKnight [Review]

Synopsis

We live.  We die.  Is there anything more?  Jenna Barton is about to find out.  After moving to the coastal North Carolina town of Parson’s Cove, Jenna has unwittingly stepped into the middle of a mystery involving a missing child.  Unfortunately, the predator is still on the loose and Jenna has become his new obsession.  With a little luck and a bit of paranormal help, Jenna might survive.

What I Thought

I thought this book was an engaging adventure. It may be more geared towards teenagers, but I was drawn into the drama going on at the high school and who liked who probably more than what was going on with the missing child that started out the story. The author really nailed the friendships in high school and the tragic way teens can treat each other sometimes. I did think there were a bit too many cliche's used within the dialogue and at times I had trouble following the time shifts throughout the book. Overall, this is an exciting read and definitely worth the try.

About the Author

D.S. McKnight has enjoyed a varied career—from working as a radio DJ on a small AM station to serving as president and co-owner of a marina, until Hurricane Ophelia took aim at the Carolina coast.  Currently, she works at an insurance agency as well as hosting her blog - Novel Notions.  

It is her love of the North Carolina coast that fueled her desire to write.  Of Dreams and Shadow: Forget Me Not (book 1) is her first novel.  

You can visit the author's website at:
http://www.dsmcknight.com.

Make sure to watch this trailer to get even more captivated by this fascinating tale!





Read what other's thought of the book by visiting the tour page and also join in the discussion over at Goodreads. Better yet, purchase a copy yourself by visiting Amazon.com!

Why I Didn't Like 'I Am Legend' (the Book or the Movie)


Warning: This post contains spoilers.

In one of my A to Z Challenge posts, I talked about how in my "to be read" stack was the book "I Am Legend" by Richard Matheson. I didn't set out to read it on purpose, but one day when I was perusing the library stacks and looking for a different Matheson book, I spotted that one. I recalled the movie and hearing how many people said the book was not only different, but better (don't we always say that?). I decided to take a chance on the book and read it over this past weekend.

Final verdict?

I didn't like it. In fact, I gave it two stars on GoodReads (read my full review here).

I know a lot of people will disagree with me and I will acknowledge that I was highly influenced by the seeing the movie first and I went into the book with very different expectations.

But the main reason I didn't like this book (and the movie):

I hate depressing endings.

Despite my enthusiasm for the paranormal and my growing interest for the apocolytpic/dystopian type novels and movies, I hate disappointing endings. Especially when I have this inner build up of rooting for the character and hoping they win.

This ending - spoiler alert - was just as depressing as the movie. He died in the book AND the movie. I hated that! In fact, I hated it worse in the book because I thought it was a total cop out. Why didn't he run away when he had the chance? He fought for so long and was suddenly afraid to keep fighting when it mattered the most? What the heck is that?

I thought in the book it just didn't make sense that he had this fighting spirit the entire book and suddenly he was afraid to leave his house to keep fighting. I just didn't get it.

And there was way too much depressing death in the book (like the dog dying, for starters), for me to feel good about this ending. Also, why did the author even bother with having this character try to find a cure, when at the very end, when this main character DID have a chance to find a cure, he didn't take the opportunity.

As far as the movie goes, it did give you hope, but I seriously don't get why Will Smith thinks zombies will listen to him when he screams that he has the cure. That was just dumb.

On the other hand, I think this book completes the disturbing mini-horror story that tends to get tossed around online:



05 May 2014

April 2014's A to Z Challenge: A Look Back



Last year, I attempted to do the April challenge when a personal struggle hit my life and I wasn't able to finish. I think I may have stopped around the letter L. This year I planned on doing the challenge and only hoped that the stress levels would be lower for me this time around so that I could actually complete it.

I am happy to say that I DID survive the challenge and I am very proud of myself.

Here's a few things that I think were successful about the challenge:

1) My blog got it's life back.

Prior to starting this challenge, this blog had undergone a major transition. I stopped doing the product reviews I (unsuccessfully) introduced to this blog over year ago and even transitioned out of doing the weekly writing prompt. I had lost a LOT of my once faithful readers over the past year and a half, so I needed something to build upon.

Taking on the "Halloween in April" theme, I feel like my blog got it's pulse back. I plan on continuing with the theme, most of all because the subject of paranormal, horror, unexplainable mysteries are what I write about in my fiction. Writing about this the whole month inspired me and gave me new ideas. In fact, I have an entire list (and even a potential novel) going and although I won't credit it entirely to this challenge, I know it had a HUGE hand in this inspiration.

2) I gained some new followers (and built up my traffic).

The last time I dared look at Google Analytics for this blog, I realized I had dropped to about 100 - 200 pageviews per month. Can everyone say OUCH with me? OUCH.

Because of this challenge I have built up to about 1300 - 1500 pageviews and I even GAINED a few new followers and a several new faithful commenters because of the challenge. I appreciated every single comment I received and felt the support of the blog community this month. And I am especially grateful to the faithful commenters who made it a point to return to my blog many times this month (I was about to list names of people who definitely made efforts to comment, but I don't want anyone to feel left out!).

3) I found some great new blogs to follow!

Because of this challenge, I found some awesome new blogs to follow and continue to look forward to reading their posts. I feel like this challenge gave me the boost I needed to feel connected to this blog - and the blog community again - and got me out of my rut.

Now, not everything was successful in this challenge, and so here are a few things that I learned:

1) Posting nearly everyday is HARD. Scheduling would probably be better.

Before the challenge started, I noticed a lot of people planning ahead and scheduling their posts. I didn't do that and had to think of a new post idea everyday on the spot. And you know? That was HARD to do and towards the last stretch of the challenge I had stopped commenting back to people and stopped seeking new blogs to comment on each day.

What I learned through this challenge is to start scheduling posts for this blog. They don't have to be a big deal but doing spontaneous posts each week without a schedule or a plan isn't a good idea. I plan on (hopefully) doing better about that in the future.

2) Commenting is very important to building an audience.

Although there were still many people who commented on my blog even when I didn't follow up on theirs, I noticed a major boost in comments when I made it a point to comment on other blogs.

The key to a successful blogging experience is to comment comment COMMENT. You must support others through their blogs in order to get the support back. It's something I have been lazy about and I need to do for this blog. Even if it's just once a week. I plan on setting a personal goal of commenting on at least one post a day or three blog posts a week. This I can do and must do if I want this blog to grow.

3) Don't post to just post something.

I'll be honest, some of my blog posts were just not good and were obviously written to complete the challenge. This reminded me that writing a blog post only because I want content up on my blog isn't a good idea. And blog posts don't have to be prolific or life altering or some big huge to do guide or do it yourself project that revolutionizes peoples lives...but you at least want people to be entertained (or for people to learn something new) and I know a few posts didn't do that.

Now, I'm sorry for making this post a novel, but a few more points to address on this reflection that the A to Z Challenge hosts want us to mention -

Will I do this challenge next year?

DEFINITELY. This challenge is sort of like preparing for a marathon. I think it's important for your blog health to gain the new attention to your blog and I think it's a great challenge to force yourself to be inventive with your content. You never know where this blog will be next year, and much like this year, I may need the boost. So, I do plan on returning.

How did the A to Z Team Do?

I think they did great. I may not have seen them on every post for this blog but they did drop by and give me words of encouragement or advice that boosted my spirits throughout the challenge. If I was to say anything they could have done differently is maybe highlight a few posts from other bloggers for each letter on the A to Z Challenge blog.

Ideally I'd love to see a daily link up for each letter on their blog posts throughout the challenge. This way I can link my own post for the day and seek out others who have posted for that letter too. The huge link up list didn't always include active participants, so something like this will save me from hunting and pecking through the huge list to find blogs to comment on.

What did you think of the challenge? Are you going to continue next year? If you didn't participate this year, why not?








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