Posted in Uncategorized

Time To Write: Picture Prompt 4

Write a story based off the picture.

Write a story based off of the picture above.

Happy Writing!

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Posted in Author/Site Information, Blogging, NaNoWriMo, reading, Writing

April 2017 Wrap Up

April 2017 Wrap Up for Reading, Writing, and Blogging Goals

Reading

I have to say… I’ve been slacking with the reading lately. I’ve been keeping up with my book a week, but barely. I read three books (almost four) this month. I’m hoping to hop back on the reading train next month and maybe get a little ahead again.

You can check out my Reading List for an updated list of books I’ve read and reviewed.

Writing

I wanted to write my Camp NaNo novel as well as edit my mystery novel. I don’t know why I always decide to get some editing done during a NaNo month because I never follow through with it.

Needless to say, I wrote my Camp novel, Unwritten, and I absolutely love it. I think, for a first draft, it came out pretty good. I still have lots of editing to do for it, but I not only reached 50k, I also went over that and completed the overall story. Editing is the next step.

Blogging

It’s hard to do Camp and blog at the same time. I’m usually ahead with my blogging, but I wasn’t this month. And, at the time this post goes up, I’m not ahead for May either. This is going to be a busy weekend for me.

Still, I did blog every day and I kept up with blogs I follow (for the most part), so that’s good.

Overall

April wasn’t as productive as I thought it would be. Camp certainly kept me busy and even though I had a week off of work, I ended up doing other writing-related things (I’ll talk more about that on a later date).

Still, I did get some things done and I have another novel under my belt, so I’m going to be proud of that.

Posts to Remember

1. Book Review: Renaissance: The Nora White Story by Yecheilyah Ysrayl
2. April/May 2017 Writing Contests
3. Camp NaNoWriMo: How To Use The Camp Site To Your Advantage
4. Interview: Patrick Roland
5. Interview: Aditi Sharma

Check out this month’s Guest posts here!

How did the month of April treat you? Did you accomplish your goals? Let me know in the comments below!

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Posted in Blogging

Blog Round Up: April 2017

Blog Round Up April 2017

Check out these awesome blog posts that fellow WordPress buddies have posted! Enjoy!

10 Blogging Don’ts
Bo’s Cafe Life
March Reads
Lessons From A Failed Query Letter
Break The Tropes
Getting Published: Setting Achievable Goals
Author Spotlight – Wendy Unsworth
The Other Side of World Building

Do you have any blog posts you absolutely loved from April? Which one of these posts did you enjoy? Let me know in the comments below!

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Posted in NaNoWriMo

What If You Don’t Win Camp? [Camp NaNoWriMo]

On April 21, I reached 50,074 words on my Camp NaNoWriMo novel, Unwritten.

I was excited and realized that I still had more of the story to write, so I’d continue writing until the end of April and see where I am.

I wrote the final chapter on Saturday and the epilogue on Monday. Even though the story is now “complete” I know the editing is going to be quite a challenge. There’s a scene I already know that I have to take out and rework. There are also a couple scenes (or chapters) that I want to add in.

Still, the main first draft portion is complete and I have to say… It feels pretty good to get another novel under my belt.

What if you don't win Camp NaNoWriMo? [April 2017]

Throughout this month, however, I’ve received some comments on my blog and tweets on Twitter, and even some people in my cabin have all said various things that are all the same:

“I’m going to lower my word count.”

“I can’t find the time to write.”

“I’m not going to be able to reach my goal. I’m going to lose.”

At the start of every NaNo, I vow to write about 2,000 words a day as opposed to the standard 1,667 words for a 50k goal.

This is because that daily goal works for me.

I wake up two hours earlier than I have to before work each morning so I can get my writing done first thing.

This is because that time of day works for me.

Did I always write like this? No. In fact, it took me quite a few NaNo sessions (a few years) to figure this was the best way I worked.

NaNo is about finding your writing routine. It’s about finding your writing style. It’s about getting the words down on the paper to tell yourself the story before the grueling editing process begins. It’s also about getting to know other writers and making friends with people who understand you and know what you’re going through.

It’s not about winning and losing. It’s not about racing to meet your word goal so that you need to write as little as possible.

Sure, if you don’t reach your goal, you don’t get that nifty certificate. Sure, if you don’t reach your goal, you don’t get those discounts at the NaNo shop or the sponsors.

But guess what? There will be another NaNo in a few months.

If you…

  • Wrote more than what you typically write in a month
  • Wrote a little every day even if it wasn’t your daily word goal
  • Put a brand new fresh idea down on paper
  • Rambled various plot ideas, character sketches, and the like without a concrete novel, or
  • Had a wonderful time in your cabin and made lots of new friends

YOU’RE A WINNER.

NaNo isn’t easy.

April is a work month as is a school month for most. July seems easier (no school, but people still have to work). For me, I go on vacation at the end of the month so my Camp NaNo for July is three weeks as opposed to four. November… Well, there’s school, work, and not to mention the holidays.

Don’t even get me started on other life happenings that go on throughout the month that no one can see coming until it’s right in front of you. If you get my Newsletter, you should already know that I had a death in the family at the beginning of April.

Writing certainly takes the backseat when it comes to family and friends.

And that’s okay. That’s how it should be.

So, if you don’t finish your NaNo by the end of the month, there’s always next month. And while it may not be a NaNo month, you’ll still have those wonderful people you met in your cabin to keep in touch with and help you all year long.

Just remember, any writing is progress.

We’re in the final home stretch, guys. Good luck!

Have you reached your NaNo goal, or do you still have writing to do? Let me know in the comments below!

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Posted in Guest Posts

Why I Write [Guest Post]

Guests appear on my blog three times a month. If you would like to know more about this, please visit my Guest Bloggers Wanted page.

Today’s post is brought to you by Jasmine Farrell. Thanks, Jasmine!

Why I Write [Guest Post by Jasmine Farrell]

Writing poetry is the preeminent route to express myself.  Poetry is my biography. Story telling has always nudged my shoulder since I can remember. To encourage, enlighten and cause a few chuckles within people, writing is the way to go for me. My grandparents, on my mother’s side, were unintentional story tellers and hearing them merely planted a seed within me for creating stories.

When I was a little girl, I used to write stories in the language of toddler. I was so fluent, I’d sneak downstairs to my late Grandmother’s bedroom and write my eloquent scribble scrabble in her memo pads, she scolded me to stay away from.  I’d read my stories aloud to my mother and she’d nod in admiration of my words as though Langston Hughes had reached our home on 638 44th street in Bay ridge, Brooklyn. I’ve always been fond of poetry. However, when I was in the second grade, poetry pinched my heart like clothes pins to sheets on clothes lines in backyards.

I never noticed my loved for poetry until I was thirteen years old. I was over flowing with repressed emotions, lack of freedom, “Mom never understands” and crazy for a boy who didn’t care to know what my favorite SlipKnot song was. You know, the usual thirteen-year-old angst on love and coming of age. I needed an outlet to release, an outlet to share whatever was going on with me ( I still have my stack of composition notebooks filled with poems and songs). However, I didn’t choose to be a writer then. I desired to be a fashion designer. I knew how to sew, sketched countless designs and I even had a brand name in mind.

I attended Fashion Industries High School wide eyed and ready to become the next Ann Lowe with fishnet cut off gloves. However, during my fashion classes, I would find myself writing poems and stories. I would rush through my fashion assignments so I can finish a poem. I’d shove numerous poems to, the editor of My Quintessence, Andrea Lauren to read and rate. By my Junior year, I joined my high school’s literary magazine called, The Hanger. The Hanger editors took us students on a field trip to a poetry event that featured Major Jackson and that event is what hooked me in. That event grabbed my love for poetry by the collar to take writing seriously. There was something about observing the various voices, poetic devices and forms utilized on one platform that made me realize I could share my story too- via poetry.  I remember a teen reciting a poem, who obviously practiced internal rhyming faithfully, that detailed the story of gold diggers. Another student did an acrostic poem on women being called bossy for simply having leadership skills and I was floored at her use of alliteration. After that event, I knew I wanted to be a creative writer, especially a poet.  I researched various poets, poetic devices and forms. I decided to major in English once I arrived to college. I began writing short stories and Christian spoken word pieces. I joined my college’s newspaper for a few semesters and submitted a few of my poems into poetry contests.

After publishing two poetry collections, de-converting from Christianity, beginning the journey of self-discovery and performing at various venues, I realized why poetry is important to me.

I write poetry because that’s where my memoir, voice, soul and heart resides. My “When I was little” wounds reside in the crevices of allegories. My heartbreaks and love stories leap off pages with internal rhyming. My views on social justice and humanitarian issues scream free lyric and grittiness. Poetry is my biography and my introduction.

Story telling is a great form to share the lessons that life has taught us. It connects us and reminds us that we are not as alone as we think we are. Whether an oral tale or a written one, stories can become our getaway, our teacher, our paper friend and inspiration.

About Jasmine

Jasmine FarrellJasmine Farrell is a freelance writer and blogger. From Brooklyn, NY, she has a Bachelor’s in Communications and she loves red velvet cake. Writing in her Grandmother’s memo pads is included into her repertoire of writings. Creative writing is her niche. She loves reading, randomly dancing and creating off-key ballads.

Jasmine’s Book

Phoenixes Groomed as Genesis DovesPhoenixes Groomed as Genesis Doves is a collection of poetry that draws the reader into the world of personal identity, inner growth and the complexity of human relationships. Ordinary and common images, especially ones found in nature, are used to craft poems that appeal to the uncommon, the suppressed and the others. Filled with incredible grace and accessible wisdom, the poems explore a wide range of complex emotional themes. With unexpected metaphors and sparkling similes, the pieces vary in rhythm and theme making each one like a foil-wrapped candy: something to savor, enjoying each new bright color on the tongue.

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Posted in Short Story Sunday, Writing

Short Story Sunday 157: Jelly

Short Story Sunday: Jelly

            Kate stood in her kitchen making lunch for her and her three sons. She had asked what they all wanted and each of them stated they wanted peanut butter and jelly. Since she was going to be making three anyway, Kate figured she might as well have one too.

The boys were playing outside kicking a soccer ball around while Kate prepared their lunch. She took out six slices of bread—she’d make her own sandwich after she’s given the boys’ theirs—as well as the peanut butter and the grape jelly. She took out two butter knives, one for the peanut butter and one for the jelly. She hated it when the contents of the two jars got mixed up. Her husband always used the same knife to spread the peanut butter and the jelly and there was always peanut butter in the jelly.

Kate spread the peanut butter on three slices, put that knife in the sink, and then spread jelly on the other three slices. She folded each sandwich together, cutting each one in half. She picked up the three plates and put them at the kitchen table.

Next, she opened the cupboard and took out four glasses. She filled each of them with milk. She put three on the table and took a sip from the fourth one.

Kate put her glass down on the counter and opened the back door.

“Boys, lunch is ready!” she called to her sons.

Immediately, all three of them stopped what they were doing and charged for the house.

“Take off your shoes before coming in.” Kate reminded them.

They stopped short, bumping into each other, as they rushed to get to their sandwiches. They kicked off their shoes and sat down at the table in front of a sandwich.

In unison, they took a bite. One smiled while the other two made disgusted faces.

Kate took out two more slices of bread for herself when she noticed two of her sons looked unhappy. “What’s wrong?”

“Is this grape jelly?” Eddie asked.

Kate nodded.

“I don’t like grape.”

“Me neither.” Mike added.

“I love grape!” Ryan said with a grin.

Kate sighed. “Well, I’m glad someone likes the sandwich…” she took the plates away from Eddie and Mike. She put one in front of her figuring that she would eat one instead of making a new sandwich. She’d wrap the other extra up and put it in the fridge for her husband when he got home from work later that night.

When she put the wrapped sandwich in the fridge she found strawberry jelly and took that out. She made two more sandwiches and put them in front of Mike and Eddie.

She walked back over to the counter and was just about to take a bite out of her own sandwich when Mike made a disgusted sound. She rolled her eyes and turned around.

“Now what?” she asked.

“Is this strawberry?” Mike asked.

Kate nodded.

“I don’t like strawberry, remember? I like raspberry.” Mike explained.

Kate looked at Eddie. “What about you?”

“I like strawberry!” Eddie said smiling.

Ryan was already on the second half of his sandwich.

Kate groaned taking Mike’s sandwich back. She wondered why she had three different flavors of jelly in the fridge… She had three boys all the same age, how was she expected to remember who liked what? Especially on the weekend.

Kate wrapped up the strawberry sandwich and put that one in the fridge as well. Her husband was going to have lunch for the next two days. Lucky him.

She made yet another sandwich using the raspberry jelly. She placed it in front of Mike. She watched him take a bite knowing that was going to be the last sandwich she was making. If he didn’t like it, then too bad. He was going to eat it anyway.

Mike smiled after he took a bite.

“Like it?” Kate asked.

“Perfect.” Mike replied.

“Good.” She turned back around to eat her sandwich.

Ryan finished his milk and jumped down from the kitchen table. “I’m going back outside!” he put his shoes on and ran out the door.

Kate watched him leave as Eddie was eating the second half of his sandwich and Mike was still on his first. She took a bite out of the grape sandwich that Eddie didn’t like at first and made a face.

Oh, whose idea was it to make grape jelly?

Kate didn’t have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches often, so she didn’t really know which flavor of jelly she really liked. But now she knew that grape was not her favorite.

She wrapped that one up as Eddie finished his sandwich and ran back outside. She put it in the fridge with the bite taken out of it and took out the strawberry jelly sandwich. Her husband would just have to eat the two grape jelly sandwiches for lunch.

Mike said his thanks to his mother and ran out the door as soon as he finished. Kate gave him a wave and then took a bite of her strawberry sandwich. It still wasn’t that great, but she decided to eat it anyway. It was better than the grape jelly and she definitely wasn’t going to make another brand new sandwich. She went through half a loaf already!

The front door opened and Kate waited cautiously wondering who could have possibly been home. After a few moments, her husband walked into the kitchen with a smile on his face.

“Hey! My meeting let out early so I packed up my things and decided to work from home tonight.” He explained.

“Great, you’re just in time for lunch. There are two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the fridge.” Kate said.

“Why are there two and why are they in the fridge?”

“Long story,”

Her husband shrugged and took one of the sandwiches out of the fridge. He sat down at the table and took a bite from one of them; the one Kate had not eaten before. He made a face and Kate rolled her eyes.

“What is wrong with you people?” she asked.

“Is this grape?” her husband asked.

“Yes,”

“I don’t like grape. What about the other sandwich?” he stood up to go over to the fridge.

“That’s grape, too.”

“Oh… Got any strawberry?”

Kate looked down at her own sandwich. She had already eaten half. She sighed and pushed the plate towards her husband.

“Well, I don’t want to eat yours.” He shook his head.

Kate got up and walked out of the room. “Nope, I’ve lost my appetite.”

Words: 1,105

I hope you enjoyed this story! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Posted in Book Reviews, reading

Descendants by Rae Else

Descendants by Rae Else | Book Review

Title: Descendants (Arete series book 1)
Author: Rae Else
Published: 
April 12, 2017, by Smashwords
Genre: Young adult urban fantasy
How I got the book: I received a free eARC from the author in exchange for honest review

Summary:

There are lots of stories about the children of gods. But what about those cursed by the gods, and their descendants…

El, a seventeen-year-old has inherited an ancient and deadly power. She loses control of it, causing a horrific accident, and becomes the prey of a secret organisation known as the Order.

Forced from her family and home, she hides in plain sight amidst the crowds of London, and is thrust into a world that she never knew existed; one full of Arete: beings who possess extraordinary powers like hers.

Arete are beings that can trace their lineage and powers from Ancient Greece. They claim their inheritance does not come from the gods, rather legend says they are descended from cursed beings, such as Medusa.

At the heart of their world is the kerykeion, the symbol that protects them from the humans and the humans from them. El is trapped between two factions, one that has built an empire around the kerykeion and another that is determined to bring it down.

As she is drawn deeper into the conflict, the only way to find the truth is to take matters into her own hands, and the line between friend and foe becomes dangerously blurred.

My Review:

rp-first-thoughts

I was excited about this book when the author reached out to me. I love a good fantasy once in a while and the there was some talk about mythology, which was something I used to be really into. So, I decided to give it a go.

rp-plot

17-year-old El, the protagonist, is gifted with powers from her descendants. She loses control of it one day causing the death of an innocent. It’s because of that The Order is able to trace her and is out to get her.

El lives with her grandmother and has to leave to live with her estranged mother. Not having much of a choice, she goes. There, she meets a lot of people from a Rebel group as well as the son of a man from The Order. Soon, El isn’t sure which side is the “right” side or the “good” side. She’s unsure of who to trust and, because of that, the events of the book spiral out of control.

It’s an interesting concept, with a fun twist on their powers, but I felt as though I’ve seen it before. The protagonist doesn’t know who to trust and ends up flip-flopping back and forth between what’s right and what’s not.

rp-characters

I’ll be blunt: there wasn’t much character development. Individually, I enjoyed most of the characters. However, as we got to the end of the book (which is around 230-or-so pages) there was a change of heart for everyone, but I never saw it coming.

For example, El was reluctant to go with her mother, Anna, because she didn’t know her. She was given up as a baby and hadn’t seen her since. Then something happens to Anna and El acts like her and her mother were best friends and she’s defeated by it.

El didn’t seem to have a mind of her own and neither did Luke, the son of an Order member. As soon as Luke told El The Order was the good side, El immediately joined him. Then something happened (no spoilers) and she immediately went back to the Rebel side. Luke was the same way. As soon as El went back to the Rebel side and explained everything to Luke, he immediately believed her. There was no gradual change of sides, nothing to hint that they were unsure of everything that they had previously known from their entire lives.

Just about everything that happened to El in this book hurts her and I know it was meant to hurt me too. But I wasn’t bothered by most of it because I didn’t have the time to really get to know the characters and care about them.

rp-writing-style

I enjoyed the author’s writing style. I got a good sense of the overall world and I thought the flow of the words on the page was nicely done.

Following up with the characters, however, the pace was too fast. I didn’t feel as though I could sit back and enjoy the ride and I couldn’t feel tense at the parts that were meant to be tense because everything happened too fast.

rp-overall

While the plot was interesting enough and the overall writing was good, the fast pace is kind of a deal-breaker for me. It kept jolting me out of the story as characters came and went in the blink of an eye, important plot points happened quickly, and then before I knew it, the book was over.

I’m interested enough in the sequel, but the overall book was just okay for me.

Descendants (Arete book 1) by Rae Else gets…
3 Stars3 out of 5 stars

Favorite Quote:

“When she’d been younger, they’d seemed like the only world she would ever need. Now she saw the blades of grass and needles of trees for the barbed wire they were. She would be confined to this prison again, to live in its shadows.” –Rae Else, Descendants

Buy the book:

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