November Wrap-Up


November Wrap Up


I read three out of the four books I planned on reading. I updated my Reading List with the books I read this month, so you can get ahead and check those out and read the reviews I wrote.

Even though I didn’t read four books this month like I planned, I reached my goal for my Goodreads 2015 Reading Challenge! I have read 52 books, one book a week. I skipped a few weeks, but I also read multiple books during other weeks. I somehow managed to hit my goal early.


I didn’t edit George Florence at all. My writer’s group meeting got cancelled because of the holidays. We won’t be regrouping until after the new year. I plan on editing that novel once again after the new year.

I did manage to write 2,000 words a day on my NaNo novel, Second Chances. I skipped an entire week, but I plan on hitting 50k later today. So I guess it was successful.


I’ve been brainstorming new ideas for 2016 and have been trying to put them in motion. There will be more information on these ideas at the beginning of January. I promise I won’t disappoint.


November was a very successful month and super busy. December is going to be just as–if not more–crazy. So I hope to hit all my goals then as well.

How was your November?

Short Story Sunday 85


SSS SC Excerpt 4

For the month of November, my Short Story Sundays will be excerpts from my NaNoWriMo novel, Second Chances. Please keep in mind that while this has been proofread for my blog, it is still first draft material.

You can also read Excerpt OneExcerpt Two, and Excerpt Three.

Ezekiel balled his hands into fists and clenched his teeth. I sighed knowing that I was making him frustrated. If he would just come out and explain everything to me straight forward then we wouldn’t be going around in circles like this.

“Hunter is being convicted of murder, Lesley. Murder! Guilty or not, his life is never going to be the same. I’m sure you’ve seen trials in the newspapers, haven’t you? Every person believes something different. Some are going to think he’s innocent, others will believe him to be guilty no matter what the jury ultimately decides.” Ezekiel ranted. “Everyone knows his name and face from the news. He’s going to walk down the street and people will either congratulate him or spit on him.”

“But it was just a car accident. It was a mistake, but it wasn’t intentional.” I defended him.

“Not everyone is going to see it that way.” Ezekiel whispered to me. “Don’t you get it?”

I drew in a breath and nodded my head. I understood what Ezekiel was saying even though I didn’t agree with it. But he was right. Not everyone was going to be satisfied with Hunter’s verdict. Things were never going to be the same for him ever again.

“That was probably why Hunter was having that dream. Deep down he knows he’ll never get that back.” Ezekiel looked at me with a soft gaze. I swallowed hard.

“Inside his house with him mother, behind the scenes and away from everyone else, it’ll be as close to normal as possible. But once he steps foot outside his house…”

“I get it.” I held up a hand to stop Ezekiel from talking further.

Ezekiel closed his mouth and continued to stare at me. He clasped his hands together in front of him and watched me as though he expected me to say something.

“What is it?” I asked with caution.

“You really have no idea, do you?” he shook his head in disgust.

I folded my arms across my chest wondering what he could possibly mean. I knew he wanted me to figure it out on my own, but he was giving me absolutely no clues. I didn’t know how I was supposed to figure it out on my own.

“Hunter didn’t tell you about the trial?” Ezekiel asked.

My eyes grew a bit bigger. “The trial?” I repeated.

Ezekiel nodded his head. “He has a court date. They’re picking jury members as we speak. They’re gathering witnesses to testify against him. This is a big deal.”

“Why didn’t you tell me this in the very beginning?” I took a step forward closer to him. I wanted to punch him in the gut, but I knew that wouldn’t solve anything.

“Hunter was supposed to tell you. He wasn’t supposed to keep that from you.” Ezekiel looked down at the ground. “This is what you need to help Hunter with. You need to help him get through this trial and help him get a non-guilty verdict.”

My jaw dropped. “How in the world am I supposed to do that? I’m not a lawyer, I’m not on the jury. I can’t talk to any of these people. How am I supposed to persuade them that Hunter is innocent?”

“You’re a witness.” Ezekiel smiled.

A Whole New World by Liz Braswell



Title: A Whole New World: A Twisted Tale
Author: Liz Braswell
Genre: Fairy-tale retellings
How I got the book: I bought it

Summary (from Amazon):

What if Aladdin had never found the lamp? This first book in the A Twisted Tale line will explore a dark and daring version of Disney’s Aladdin. When Jafar steals the Genie’s lamp, he uses his first two wishes to become sultan and the most powerful sorcerer in the world. Agrabah lives in fear, waiting for his third and final wish.To stop the power-mad ruler, Aladdin and the deposed princess Jasmine must unite the people of Agrabah in rebellion. But soon their fight for freedom threatens to tear the kingdom apart in a costly civil war. What happens next? A Street Rat becomes a leader. A princess becomes a revolutionary. And readers will never look at the story of Aladdin in the same way again.

My Review (may contain spoilers!):

I’m not entirely sure what to think of this novel. The twist was that Aladdin never got the lamp in the first place. Jafar took the lamp from Aladdin and then knocked him back into the Cave of Winders where Aladdin was trapped. Without a genie to help him get out.

Sounds interesting, right? It was. Once Aladdin made it out of the cave, he, Jasmine, and a bunch of Street Rats formed an army against the new Sultan, Jafar. It was cool to see the poor rally against the rich and powerful.

However… The first 80 or so pages of the book seemed to be word for word from the Disney movie. I can see having Jasmine and Aladdin meet the same way, but there could have been slig differences.

Also, this nit-picky of me, but there was an overkill-use of italics. Words were emphasized that didn’t need to be. The italics was overwhelming on some pages making it hard to read. It was a distraction.

The point of view wasn’t consistent, either. It was third person switching between Aladdin and Jasmine. When they were together, it was always Aladdin’s point of view. There were two random chapters that were in Jafar’s point of view, which made it confusion as well.

Overall it was a great twist on the classic fairy-tale, but it definitely could have been tweaked a bit more.

A Whole New World: A Twisted Tale by Liz Braswell gets 3 out of 5 stars.

Favorite Quote:

“Having the freedom to choose is better than having everything you want.” –Liz Braswell, A Whole New World

Be sure to check out my Goodreads to see what I’ll be reading next!

Time To Write: NaNoWriMo Style 4


If you’re participating in NaNoWriMo this month, this is just a fun challenge for your to try in your project.

If you’re not participating in NaNoWriMo, try this prompt anyway with your current WIP.


Start your next chapter with this sentence, whether a character speaks it or it’s in the narration.

With only three days left of NaNoWriMo, the end should truly be near.

If you choose to participate, post your work in the comments. I’d love to see what you come up with.

Next Friday, before revealing the next prompt, I’ll post my version of the prompt along with anyone else who participates with a link back to their blog.

Happy writing!

Bookshelf (Part Two)



This month, in the spirit of NaNoWriMo, I decided to dedicate part two of the Bookshelf series to craft books on writing.

I have a lot more books about writing than I thought I did. The books are listed in a random order.

Bookshelf Part Two

1. The Pocket Muse by Monica Wood
2. The Amazing Story Generator by Jason Sacher
3. Writer’s Market Deluxe Edition by Robert Lee Brewer (edition updates each year)
4. The Everything Baby Names Book by June Rifkin
5. The Plot Whisperer Book of Writing Prompts by Martha Alderson
6. The Plot Whisperer Workbook by Martha Alderson
7. Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Writers by Jack Canfield
8. 20 Master Plots by Ronald B. Tobias
9. Take Ten for Writers by Bonnie Neubaur
10. Writer’s Guide to Character Traits by Linda N. Edelstein
11. 642 Things to Write About by the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto
12. The Write Brain Workbook by Bonnie Neubaur
13. Blogging for Writers by Robin Houghton
14. How to Blog a Book by Nina Amir
15. Now Write! Mysteries by Sherry Ellis and Laurie Lamson
16. Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror by Laurie Lamson
17. Writing Places by Paula Mathieu, George Grattan, Tim Lindgren, and Staci Shultz
18. Reading and Writing about Literature by Janet E. Gardner
19. Writing Tools by Roy Peter Clark
20. No Plot? No Problem! by Chris Baty
21. The Art and Craft of Fiction by Michael Kardos
22. Police Procedure and Investigation by Lee Lofland
23. Forensics by D.P. Lyle
24. Book of Poisons by Serita Stevens and Anne Bannon

If there are any books you think I should add to this list, please let me know in the comments!

If you have an idea for a list I should make, feel free to Contact Me or let me know in the comments!

You can see my first list here: Disney Retellings Bookshelf.

Inspiration Station: What NaNoWriMo Taught Me


IS What NaNo Taught Me

NaNoWriMo does much more than giving you the motivation and inspiration to just sit down and write that story that has been begging to be told. It’s a great resource for writing, has an awesome community, and gets you to just do it. It’s gives you that extra push some of us need.

But NaNo teaches us other things as well that can be related writing or just everyday life.

Get in a routine, time management.

Whether it’s writing or something else, NaNo helps you discipline yourself to get in a routine. You gain time management skills to keep up with your daily routine and try to schedule things around this routine and be able to get work done each day.

Meet deadlines.

This kind of goes along with the time management. NaNo teaches you to manage your time well and figure out how much work should be done each day in order to meet your deadline. It’s also a bit competitive to some so some people strive to meet deadlines earlier which also helps.

Work under pressure.

Writing is a huge project, but that’s not the only big project you’ll ever have whether it’s school, work, a big family event, or whatever. NaNo teaches us to keep going and hit those goals and deadlines.

NaNo teaches a lot of life skills through writing. So anyone could do it.

I didn’t even touch upon the imagination and creativity.

Character Spotlight: Hunter Gray


CS Hunter Gray

Today I’m showcasing the male protagonist of my NaNo novel, Second Chances.

You can also read all about Lesley Chapman if you want.

Questions for the Author

What is your character’s name? Does he/she have a nickname?

Hunter Gray is his full name. Aside from maybe his mother, no one calls him anything else.

What color is his/her hair? What color are his/her eyes?

Hunter has blonde, fluffy hair and blue eyes.

Who are your character’s friends and family?

Hunter doesn’t have any siblings. His father has long passed away and his mother was sick for a long time. He spent most of his time taking care of his mother. He doesn’t have many friends, either. The friends he does have tend to get into a lot of trouble.

Where does your character live?

Hunter lives in a house with his mother. For the majority of the story, he “lives” in jail as he’s being tried for murder.

What is his/her biggest fear?

Hunter has many fears. He’s afraid that his mother will never get better, he’s afraid that he’ll get locked away for the rest of his life even though he feels as though he deserves it.

Has your character ever been in love and/or had a broken heart?

Yes and yes. In the beginning of the novel we see Hunter fall out of love and then get his heart broken not too long afterwards. It’s bittersweet.

What kind of clothes does he/she wear?

Hunter loves to be comfortable and casual. He enjoys jeans and sweatshirts when he’s out and about. If he’s in the house, he’ll stay in sweatpants.

What is he/she doing on his/her day off?

Hunter enjoys staying home on his days off. He takes care of his mother so he tries to keep up with the cooking and cleaning whenever he doesn’t have school or work.

What is his/her overall personality like?

He always tries to do the right thing. He cares for others, but he also cares about what they think about him. He quickly gets self-conscious thus getting himself into trouble.

Questions for the Character

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

“I was able to get a full-time to support my mother when my father died without a college degree. I know it’s better to have a degree, but I needed to work with what I had. And I had no money.”

What is it that you most dislike?

 “Fake people. I know a lot of people who are fake and only talk to you because they think they can get something out of you. It’s not fair.”

What is your greatest regret?

“Making friends with the wrong crowd. They got me into drinking and I made the biggest mistake of my life. I drank and drive and accidentally killed a person. I wish I could go back in time, but all I can do is pay the consequences.”

What is your best trait?

“I try to help a lot of people. I’ve been unfortunate with growing up without a father, a sick mother, and no money. I don’t judge anyone and put myself in their shoes whether they’re in a better situation than me or not.”

What is your worst flaw?

“I get pretty down on myself a lot. No one likes to be around someone who is always negative and doesn’t have respect for themselves.”

What is your hobby?

“I like doing jigsaw puzzles. It relaxes me and helps me look at life in a different way. Everything is jumbled up and a mess, but once everything falls into place, it will be beautiful and everything will work out.”

Who do you most admire?

“My mother. Even though she’s been sick all this time, she still manages to smile and stay positive.”

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