A Personal Reading Goal

Books have a way of creeping into our souls and staying with us for beyond our years. We learn a lot from them and they allow us to escape reality. They’re relaxing and yet we feel empowered to do anything and everything we put our minds to.

It’s no secret that I adore the Warriors series by Erin Hunter. If you follow my book reviews, you’ll notice that I’ve picked up the series yet again.

Most people love Harry Potter and read that series over and over again. I’ve only read the series once – I love it to death and have seen the movies too many times to count. However, if there’s a book series I’m going to go back to and re-read, it will always be Warriors.

A Personal Reading Goal | Reading | Books | Book Blogger | Goals | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

The very first book of the whole series came out in January 2003. This was the book that originally got me into reading in the first. I was 11-years-old. I’m 25 now and the series is still going on.

Yeah, seriously. The Warriors series as a whole is broken up into multiple mini-series of six books each. The first book of their seventh series comes out in April 2019. I actually grew up with these books and have tried my best to keep up with the series.

Of course, it’s easy to get behind. There are – currently – 36 main series books, 15 manga books, 11 standalone titles, 6 guides, and 12 novellas. I’m not even going to do that math, but I know the 36 will soon become 42 once the new series comes out in a few months.

With that said, I’ve clearly gotten behind. There are other books to be read and, with this blog, I accept review requests from authors. So, I don’t always end up “choosing” what to read next. My backlog can get pretty long.

Once in a while, when I get into a reading slump, I go back to the series. It helps me enjoy reading again and makes me feel like I want to read all the books in the world. I’m on book five out of six for the Omen of the Stars series, which is the fourth series. That means I have two other series left to read before the seventh comes out in April.

So, that’s what I’m hoping to do. I’ll be spreading the book reviews out so this doesn’t become the “Warriors” blog, but I’m determined to catch up with the whole series buy the time the next book is released at the beginning of April.

Wish me luck.

The only downside I can see to this is that once I catch up, I’m no longer going to be able to binge the series. Once the next book comes out I’ll have to wait six months for the next one just like everyone else.

Do you have a childhood book or series that you read or reread to this day? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Blog Prep For 2019

2019 is right around the corner. I have no idea where 2018 went… I don’t even know where December is going. I can’t believe we’re just about halfway through the month. It’s crazy.

December has always been a month of reflection and prep for me. Looking back of all that I’ve accomplished this year and looking ahead to see how I can improve and keep going in the following year. There’s a lot I plan to do in 2019, so this month hasn’t been any different from past Decembers.

Blog Prep for 2019 | Blogging | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.com

I’ve been brainstorming and getting things prepped for 2019 since September/October. I don’t know why, but I always get in the mood to look ahead to the new year around that time. Maybe that’s why things go so fast. I rush it without meaning to.

Anyway…

2019 will be big!

My blog posts and the type of content I publish will be slightly different next year. Nothing too drastic, but more “personal” and “real,” if you will. I’ll also be doing something a little different with the guest posts that I host on the blog as well.

I’m thinking of new marketing ideas for the blog along with other things (you know, like my book).

There will also be three new… things? Features? Whatever you want to call them. I’m still working on them and have no idea when they’ll start, but I’m hoping all of them will happen in 2019. One will be on the blog, one is for the blog but on something else, and the other is unrelated to the blog.

So, there are those three things along side regular blogging and writing. I’ve gotten a decent head start on things though, so hopefully soon!

With that said, there’s still a lot of prep work I need to do for the month of December. It’s not easy with the holidays, but I’m excited and hope you guys will enjoy the many things to come!

Are you doing any prepping for the new year for your own work? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Meet Aurora Jean Alexander, Author [Author Interview]

It’s my pleasure to welcome AJ Alexander to my blog!

Aurora Jean Alexander | Author | Writer | Creative writing | author interview | blogging | RachelPoli.com

Please tell us a little bit about yourself.

My name is Aurora Jean Alexander. I grew up in a family involved into politics and was blessed with an excellent education in several countries, holding a Bachelor’s Degree in BA. I was very lucky. I’m living by myself with three cats, working a full time job and I am a new Paranormal Romance/Fantasy author. Currently I work on a series with 13 books. My first book is close to be published.

How long have you been writing for?

I doubt I can tell you one particular time or even time frame when I started writing. I felt that’s what I wanted to do. Since I lack a talent in painting and drawing I had to do something with my creativity and decided that’s the way to do it.

What motivates you to write? How did you begin writing?

I’m not sure there ever was “a start”. I learned to write at the age of four and I remember developing little stories since I’m a Kindergarten kid. In school, when others complained about essays, mine were easily 6 – 10 pages long, I enjoyed it so much.

Do you have a writing routine? If so, what’s a typical day like for you?

I still, after all these years write my first drafts by hand. When I type them into the computer it gives me the chance to go through the story and the plot again and catch flaws and mistakes within the story, even the characters.

Since I’m working a full time job there isn’t a particular daily routine. I write whenever I have the chance to. I usually have several books in different states of “completed”, which means, I either write by hand, type into the computer or edit existing manuscripts before they go to my editor.

Have you thought about self-publishing or traditional publishing? Are you leaning towards one over the other? If so, why?

I’m definitely going with self-publishing. The process of the traditional publishing is extremely long. The submitting, the rejections, the small exclusive circles of the ones deciding whether my work is “good enough” for them is grueling and even cruel and hurtful at times. I’d like to publish my books before my retirement.

Are you currently working on anything new?

I’m working on this particular series, which needs all my time and concentration. I love working on these books. Each character is very demanding and teaches me a lot. Right now I’m working on the seventh and eighth book in the series, which I’m drafting. Book six needs to be typed in. The first book is with my copyright lawyer, my editor is working on book 2 and book three to five are waiting in my editors inbox.

If you weren’t a writer, what would your career be?

I’m as well a musician as also a Martial Arts expert. I figure I would have gone with one of these talents to build a career.

What’s one thing you learned through writing that you wish you knew before you started?

The writing is the “smallest” part, so to speak. Networking, promotion, marketing, connections, these are the parts that sell the books and need a lot of time and even money. The ones telling that self-publishing is for free are definitely wrong.

What is your favorite book, genre, or author?

One of my favorite books is one of the best books ever written: James Clavell’s Shogun. It is absolutely fascinating, bases on extensive research and has not only what a good book needs, but much more.

Other than that I’m a big fan of fantasy and paranormal romance. Not Science Fiction so much because the technical explanations in these books are straining my simple, non-technical brain cells. LOL

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?

Write your stories down. They will never see the light of the day as long as they only exist in your head. And never give up!

Is there anything else you would like to share?

Networking is one of the main things to do for new writers. Start early enough. Starting with networking a few weeks before your book is published won’t do.

Additionally keep in mind that you don’t only find ‘helpful connections’ when networking. You have the chance to find amazing writers, supportive and encouraging authors and friends! Keep them in your heart and share your success with them. Let them be part of your life and help them as much as they help you!

About AJ

I’m a new paranormal romance author working on a fantasy/paranormal romance series. I have written short stories and poetry in the past and now am intensely working on a 13-book-series of novellas and novels.

My rare free time I’m spending in extreme reading, excessive pool swimming and playing monster-monopoly. My strongest support system are my sister, most of my family, my friends and my three cats.

Facebook Author Page | Author Website | Instagram | LinkedIn | Twitter | Google+ | Pinterest | Email

Pre-order Soul Taker (The Council of Twelve 1) by A.J. Alexander

Soul Taker by AJ Alexander | Book blog | author interview | Preorder | Blogging | Creative Writing | RachelPoli.comAfter long years in the line of duty as a ‘Soul Taker’, Kate is worn out.
When she gets a new job offer from the ‘Powers Above’, she accepts her new job as a Guardian gratefully without knowing that her teacher is one of the most powerful beings in existence, the Archangel Raphael.
Along with Raphael, she takes on her new task and the connection between them grows.
Raphael helps, protects and supports Kate, but suddenly, she becomes a target for the Demons of Hell.
Raphael realizes that Kate means more to him than he expected, which causes him to fight furiously against danger. If he fails, Kate’s future will contain eternal darkness, evil, and torture.
‘Soul Taker’, 1st book of ‘The Council Of Twelve’ series is available for pre-order right now and will be published December 15, 2018.

Short Story Sunday 242: Knit

Short Story: "Knit" | Creative writing | flash fiction | blogging | RachelPoli.com

When the party was over, Devin’s family and a couple of his friends trickled out of the house. He smiled, hugged and kissed, and waved to each and every one of them in the doorway thanking them for their gifts and for coming. He was 13 now. It was a big milestone.

He closed the front door and went back into the kitchen where his mother was cleaning up.

“Do you need any help?” he asked slowly. He was hoping she’d say no, but he thought he’d be polite.

“No, dear. You got upstairs and enjoy your gifts.” His mother said smiling at him over her shoulder.

Devin let out a sigh of relief, but he was hoping she didn’t notice. “Okay, well thank you for everything today. I had a great day.”

His mother turned off the faucet and dried her hands on a towel turning around. She leaned against the counter. “I’m glad you had a good day. I still can’t believe you’re 13…”

Devin smiled sheepishly looking down.

“That was some blanket, huh?”

Devin snapped his head up. “You couldn’t tell I was…?”

“Surprised?” his mother winked.

“Sure,”

His mother smiled somberly. “You know your grandmother hasn’t been doing too well. I had to keep reminding her about your birthday. She was so excited and wanted to make something special for you. Remember she made you a baby blanket? For some reason, she had her heart set on making another blanket for you for this milestone.”

Devin nodded. This was making a lot more sense. He knew his grandmother wasn’t doing too hot in the nursing home. In fact, every day they wondered if it would be her last. It took a lot for them to get her out of the nursing home just so she could come to his party.

“I mean, it’s a nice blanket. It’s very soft.” Devin replied positively. It was true; it was soft to the touch. Due to the rainbow of colors, it might just have to stay inside his closet.

“It took her three months. Her knitting hands aren’t exactly what they used to be. But I think that was the kind of project she needed. She’s been so lonely in the nursing home.” His mother explained. “I’m proud that you didn’t make any disgusted faces… she specifically asked for those colors. I picked up the yarn for her. I tried to leave out the orange claiming I had forgotten about it, but she sent me right back to the store.”

Devin laughed. “Well, thank you for trying.”

“She means well.” His mother shrugged chuckling.

Devin frowned.

“What is it?”

“I never got a chance to thank her.”

His mother smiled. “Oh, that’s no problem. We can go to the nursing home and visit her.”

Devin nodded. “I think she’d like that.”

Words: 805

I hope you enjoyed this story! Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around. Also, check out the other Short Story Sundays I’ve done!

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Warriors: Omen Of The Stars: Fading Echoes By Erin Hunter [Book Review]

This post contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links I’ll make a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks so much for your support!

Book Review: Warriors: Fading Echoes | Omen of the stars book 2 | middle grade | fantasy | reading | book blogger | blogging | RachelPoli.com

I bought a hardcover of the book a long time ago.

Summary:


After the sharp-eyed Jay and the roaring Lion, peace will come on Dove’s gentle wing.

Three ThunderClan cats, Jayfeather, Lionblaze, and Dovepaw, are prophesied to hold the power of the stars in their paws. Now they must work together to unravel the meaning behind the ancient words of the prophecy.

As Jayfeather tackles his new responsibilities as the Clan’s sole medicine cat and Lionblaze trains his apprentice in the ways of the warrior cats, Dovepaw hones her own unique ability and tries to use it for the good of ThunderClan. But the dark shadows that have preyed on the Clan for many moons still lurk just beyond the forest. Soon a mysterious visitor will walk in one cat’s dreams, whispering promises of greatness, with results that will change the future of ThunderClan in ways that no cat could have foreseen.

My Review:

Book Cover | RachelPoli.com

As usual, the cover is simple. It showcases one cat that will be important to the story. Sometimes this is obvious to me which cat it is and other times it isn’t. Still, I like it.

First Thoughts | RachelPoli.com

Warriors is a series that I’ve been reading as a kid. This is the second book in the Omen of the Stars series, which is the fourth series of the whole thing. A lot of stuff happened in the first book and the story is getting dark, so I was certainly eager to keep reading on.

Plot | RachelPoli.com

Jayfeather, Lionblaze, and Dovepaw continue to work together to understand their powers, learn about the prophecy, and figure out what they need to do next and where they need to go. They discover Ivypaw, Dovepaw’s sister, has been training in the Dark Forest (the book’s version of Hell).

They do their best to keep moving forward but that also means keeping secrets and sneaking around, which sometimes land them into even more trouble.

I enjoyed this plot and the back and forth between Dovepaw and Ivypaw. It hurt to see the two sisters fighting so much, especially when they’re usually joint at the hip. I definitely enjoyed the dark elements of the story and this series is beginning to give me Harry Potter feels.

Characters | RachelPoli.com

I’ve always loved the characters. I have a new appreciation for Jayfeather and his snarkiness. Sometimes he could seem like just a grump, but I sympathize with everything he has to do and go through. Yellowfang plays a big part as his “mentor” in a way from StarClan (the book’s version of Heaven). She has been a character I’ve certainly missed.

Lionblaze was certainly getting arrogant but I think Cinderheart, his crush, and Dovepaw did pretty well at trying to snap him out of that.

Overall, the characters are fun to revisit in each book.

Writing Style | RachelPoli.com

This is a fast read. The book is around 300 pages, which is the typically length for these books. The chapters vary from seven pages long to 20 pages long, but each one goes fast.

Erin Hunter has a certain style of writing so that you just keep reading and going on. There are lulls here and there, but nothing too dull to get you to put down the book unless you have to.

Overall | RachelPoli.com

This was another great book to the Warriors series and I can’t wait to continue reading Omen of the Stars.

Warriors: Omen of the Stars: Fading Echoes by Erin Hunter gets…
4 out of 5 cups

Book Review Rating System | 4 Cups of Coffee | RachelPoli.com

Favorite Quote:

“He never seemed to get tired. Always first up and ready to move on. Never afraid of what lay ahead.” -Erin Hunter, Warriors: Omens of the Stars: Fading Echoes

Buy the book:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Abe Books

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and if you enjoyed this post, please share it around!

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Time To Write: Sentence Starter 41 [Creative Writing Prompt]

Last week’s writing prompt was a picture prompt.

This week’s writing prompt is:

Time To Write: Sentence Starter - "Surprise!" | Creative Writing | Writing Prompt | Blogging | Flash Fiction | Short Story | RachelPoli.com

Write a story beginning with the dialogue above.

If you use this prompt, please leave a link to your post in the comments below and I’ll share it next week. Please be sure to link back to my blog so your readers know where you got the prompt!

Happy Writing! If you want more, check out all my other Writing Prompts here!

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I Need Your Input – 2019

So… 2019 is right around the corner. How in the world did that happen?

2019 Ideas | Blogging | Creative Writing | Lifestyle | RachelPoli.com

New Features

So many new things will be coming in 2019 and I can’t wait to share them with you all, but… today is not that day.

There was no reason for me to include this section into the post.

I Need Your Input

I’m going to be doing things a little differently on the blog in 2019. The daily schedule will remain the same – I’ll still post short stories, writing prompts, and book reviews as well as guest posts, interviews, and the like.

However, I usually have a monthly “theme” that goes along with the blog. For example, last January I talked a lot about character development. Sometimes I talk about editing or the mystery genre (hence Mystery Month in May).

This has been a lot and if I’m going to be honest, I’m kind of running out of ideas.

I still plan on doing monthly themes but not all the posts will be about the specific. I’m going to do my life and personal posts and more updates on my own writing and such.

With that said, I want to know what you want to know.

  • Are there any topics you want to learn about? (Creative writing, blogging, reading, etc.)
  • Is there anything you want to know about me and my work?
  • Are there specific blog posts you have in mind? (Not necessarily a vague category such as “creative writing.”)

I enjoy doing the research and learning alongside you guys. I have my own ideas but I want to know what you guys want to see on the blog.

This doesn’t have to strictly be writing or anything either. I plan to add more life-style-type blog posts. Honestly, I think that will be a blog post in itself and I’ll explain why I’ve decided to do that. (Though that post won’t come until January.)

Let Me Know In The Comments!

I really want to hear your input! I value your opinions and am trying to make this space bigger and better. I’m looking forward to 2019!

Do you have any ideas for what you’d like to see? Are you looking forward to 2019? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around!

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December 2018 & January 2019 Writing Submissions [Writing Contests]

December 2018 & January 2019 Writing Contests | Writing Submissions | Creative Writing | Blogging | Short Story Contests | RachelPoli.com

December 2018

Genre: Nonfiction
Theme: Running for good
Website: Chicken Soup for the Soul
Deadline: December 15, 2018
Entry Fee: N/A
Prize: $200

Genre: Nonfiction
Theme: Stories about angels
Website: Chicken Soup for the Soul
Deadline: December 31, 2018
Entry Fee: N/A
Prize: $200

January 2019

Genre: Fiction
Theme: Family matters
Website: Glimmer Train
Deadline: January 2, 2019
Entry Fee: $18
Prize: First – $2,500

Genre: Fiction
Website: Literal Latte
Deadline: January 15, 2019
Entry Fee: $10
Prize: First – $1,000

Genre: Fiction
Website: The Masters Review
Deadline: January 31, 2019
Entry Fee: $20
Prize: First – $3,000

Ongoing

Genre: Stories, essays, plays, poetry, art
Website: Literal Latte
Entry Fee: $3

Genre: Various
Website: Narrative Magazine
Entry Fee: Yes, but amount is not listed

Genre: Flash fiction and short fiction
Website: CRAFT Journal
Entry Fee: N/A

Genre: Fiction or narrative nonfiction
Website: The Masters Review
Entry Fee: N/A (for New Voices – new, unpublished writers only)

Genre: Short fiction, flash fiction, memoir, or poetry
Website: Split Lip Magazine
Entry Fee: Free (only during certain months)

Genre: Short story, flash fiction, creative nonfiction, novel excerpts, poetry
Website: Rejected Manuscripts
Entry Fee: N/A
*Your piece must have been rejected for publication or failed to win a prize at a literary competition in order to qualify.

Please be sure to read through the guidelines for each submission. Information may change.

Do you know any other deadlines coming up? Are you thinking of submitting to any of these? Let me know in the comments below. Good luck! If you liked this post, please share it around!

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December 2018 [Goals]

2018 December Goals | Creative Writing | Writing | Blogging | RachelPoli.com

Reading

I’m just plugging along on my reading list. I’ll still be uploading a book review every Saturday. Honestly, I have no idea where I am in my Goodreads goal because I’ve gotten so behind keeping track of that. So, aside from reading, my goal this month is to catch up on my Goodreads and get that updated.

Writing

December is all about playing catch up. I’ve gotten behind on some writing projects and I’d like to get my head on straight with them. Though there will be a separate blog post about my writing soon.

Blogging

Again, more catch up. Well, I guess not catch up per say… there’s a lot I need to do for 2019 for the blog and something extra. So, I guess more getting my head on straight. I want to finish my December posts and get a head start on January. Plus, there’s something else that will be coming in 2019 though I don’t know when yet. I’m hoping January or February.

What are your plans for December and the end of the year? Let me know in the comments below. If you liked this post, please share it around.

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Blog Party! [December 2018]

Blog Party December 2018 | Creative Writing | Blogging | Blog Hop | Link Party | RachelPoli.com

It’s December! I’ve decided to throw another blog party for a few reasons:

  • It’s been three months since the last blog party
  • Winter is setting in
  • A new year is coming which means new beginnings and connections – let’s spread the love!

In the comments below…

  • Introduce yourself and your blog name.
  • Share one thing you love to do in the winter.
  • Link to one (1) blog post of yours – this can be your latest post, your favorite one, most popular, whatever. Just link to one and people can explore the rest of your blog from there.

After you comment…

  • Please be sure to check out blog posts from others. This is a way for all us to gain more exposure and meet new people. Please don’t just drop your link below and leave. Share the kindness and check out some other blogs.
  • Also, please feel free to respond to people in the comments and start conversations. Also, check back on the post periodically to see if anyone has responded to your own comment.
  • Share this post around especially if you know any blogging friends who could use more exposure – the more the merrier!

I’ll do my best to check out each and every one of your blogs for the day. Of course, while I’ll leave the comments open, I most likely won’t be checking blogs after this day is over (due to time and other obligations). So get them in now!

Remember… one blog post and check out other blogs from people you don’t know. This is all about connecting.

Have fun!

Happy connecting! Please share this post around for a chance for others to connect.

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