Black Ink Contests ~ Flash Fiction

While perusing the web last month, I somehow came across a Valentine’s Flash Fiction contest. On a whim, I entered. And I won!

This isn’t the type of thing I normally do.

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t even remember entering until I got an email saying I won.

Yet, this seemingly small thing has had a huge impact on my life.

Since winning, I’ve bought a small villa in Italy where I now focus on my writing full time. Was that believable? It’s not true. The prize money wasn’t quite enough for all that. But what winning did do was give me a much needed boost in my confidence as a writer. It seems like I’ve been stuck in agent search limbo for  forever (It’s only been a year – but still. I want what I want and I want it now.).

wpw2The struggle to allocate my free time between writing another novel, writing more short stories, editing, tweaking my queries and synopsis, submitting, submitting, submitting, all while trying not to stalk the agents who have requested my manuscript in bated anticipation of a positive response is EXHAUSTING! Some days, (more and more often, lately), I wonder if there isn’t a better use for my spare time than pursuing a writing career that may or may not happen.

Then this happens. I win a contest. A small victory, but a huge relief. Maybe I’m not wasting my time. Maybe I can write this thing called a story after all.

I’d like to send a HUGE thanks to Black Ink Contests for choosing my story as the winner of their 2016 Valentine’s Flash Fiction Contest. If you’re interested, the winning story can be found here.

Are you in need of a boost? Their next contest opens March 5th – what are you waiting for? Go for it! Enter here.


Big Trouble by Dave Barry ~ Fiction Book Review

wpb13I was looking for something fun when I picked up this book by Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Dave Barry, and boy did I find it! Farcical, satirical, and silly, yet surprisingly good, with a complete, well thought plot, developed characters and witty dialogue. There’s something almost Vonnegut in Barry’s style, but make no mistakes, Barry’s humor is based in reality. When different aspects of the setting, Miami, are described for the reader, part of the reason it’s so funny is because it’s true.

This hard-boiled mystery almost feels cozy because reading it was so light-hearted and fun, but it’s not. Nor is it a book you’d want a kid reading. If you’re looking for something fun, a mystery you can read while wearing a smile instead of a grimace, this is for you. If you prefer mysteries that keep you up at night with the lights on, trying something else (Mo Hayder, perhaps). Five stars and a giggle (or two).

Descent by Tim Johnston ~ Fiction Book Review

wpb12This was a good book with a compelling plot, but as a whole, it failed to draw me in and hold my attention as it should have. The characters were interesting, but I didn’t identify with or feel anything for any of them. The writing was good, at times beautiful, but was overly ornate, detracting from the story and slowing the pacing. I never felt suspense or an overwhelming need to find out what happens. The timeline skipped around and was at times hard to follow.

I don’t believe that there was anything necessarily wrong with this book – I just failed to connect with it. I enjoy elegant prose and I enjoy intense suspense and thrillers, but mixing the two together is a delicate balance that is hard to pull off. The end verdict is that it’s not for me, but it may be for you. Four stars.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green ~ Fiction Book Review

wpb11I don’t often read YA books, but I’m wondering if I should change that, because every one I read turns out to be an unexpected delight. Although I haven’t seen the movie, I heard enough about this book – both good and bad – to be familiar with the general plot. Sick girl meets sick boy, romance and tragedy ensue.

I knew I was in for a depressing ride, but it wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. Although a heavy tale, there was something light and fluffy about the wisdom I took away from this book. The writing was beautiful in its simplicity, the dialogue was catchy and engaging, and, as a whole, I thoroughly enjoyed the story.

Was it realistic? That was one of the biggest complaints that I had heard going in. No, it wasn’t entirely realistic. But neither is Harry Potter, and I’ve heard far less complaints there. The other major issue other readers (all adult) of this book have shared with me is that they couldn’t identify with the characters. As an adult who is not dying of cancer, I didn’t try. I just accept the book for what it was, and I feel like I was reward with an engaging story in return. Five stars.

Book Quote Challenge ~ Day 3 of 3

A big thanks to The River of Books Blog for nominating me for this challenge! It’s been a blast!

The rules are:

  1. Post for three consecutive days
  2. Pick three quotes per day
  3. Challenge three different bloggers per day


For my third day of the challenge, I’ve picked 3 quotes from books that have had movies made from them:

1) “It’s a very difficult era in which to be a person, just a real, actual person, instead of a collection of personality traits selected from an endless Automat of characters.”

~ Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

2)”Being smart spoils a lot of things, doesn’t it?”

~ The Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris

3) “Destroying things is much easier than making them.”

~ The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

I nominate:

  1. So Many Books
  2. Darren Sharp Writes
  3. The Caffeinated Writer