The End of An Era . . . But a New Beginning, So Hooray!

When I started this blog almost seven years ago, it was because I wanted needed to write.

I’ve always loved writing, always wanted to be a writer, but I’m also a realist, so I knew that the chances of making a living as a writer were slim. So the question was, what would make me find time to write, enable me to sharpen my skills, find my voice, and discover my direction without requiring a time commitment I couldn’t make? This blog was the answer.

Image result for pen and inkIn the beginning, I blogged about hiking, cooking, DIY projects, whatever I had going on in my life that might be of interest to someone else. I wrote non-fiction articles and queried magazines, jotted down a short story (mostly for my own amusement) when striking inspiration aligned with a few hours of spare time, and finished a manuscript I had started in my early twenties during my lunch break, alternating between sweating and freezing as I furiously typed behind the wheel of my Image result for typewritercar during the changing seasons.

I had no luck with articles, which was probably because I didn’t enjoy writing them as much as I enjoyed creating a piece of fiction. I casually sent out a few short stories (I love mystery and suspense, but my early work often took on a dark slant, leaning more towards horror). To my delight, some of my stories found homes.

Fast forward to the present . . .

Image result for writing picturesI have found my direction. I am a novelist. I have four manuscripts in various stages of editing. I’ve been going through the query process with agents, and have had a few near misses. I have learned what my work was missing. I have found and developed my voice. I’m ready to do this!

. . . But, during this time, my blog has suffered. There’s no one to blame but myself and the limited number of waking hours in a day. How can I expect others to enjoy content that I myself find uninteresting? So, this blog is getting a revamp and a new direction.

Image result for writing picturesThe content will focus on writing – dialogue, pacing, suspense, character development, basically anything and everything that has to do with developing the craft and navigating the ropes of publication. I’m open to suggestions, and hope to get some good conversations going! Consider this an open forum. I’d love to create a writing community and to connect with other scribblers. Are you excited? I’m excited. Let’s do this!

 

 

Matchmaking for Beginners by Maddie Dawson ~ #Fiction #BookReview

37561377This isn’t the type of book I would normally have chosen for myself. The description was kind of dramatic and cutesy and not at all suspenseful or mysterious, but it was one of the monthly free books offered by Amazon Prime, so I figured I’d give it a try.

To be honest, it was cutesy, but I found that I didn’t care. It was also sweet and funny and surprisingly enjoyable. It left me with a smile on my face and a desire for a friend like Blix.

The writing, characters and pacing were all good. The plot felt fresh to me, but that might be because I don’t often read this type of book. Whatever it was, this book worked for me! 5 stars!

Alice in Wonderland Collection by Lewis Carroll ~ #BookReview

29906577With as many books as I’ve read, especially growing up, it seems a bit odd that I’ve never read about Alice and her adventures. But somewhere between seeing Spot run and and three guys who were Musketeers, (and yes, a great deal of time spent in Sweet Valley), I seemed to have missed a few steps, er, books.

I might have enjoyed the books more as a kid. Or I might have hated them. It’s too late to know for sure now, but I will say that even as an adult there is much to be appreciated on the pages. As a writer, there’s also much to be learned from Lewis Carroll’s sometimes silly, awfully wonderful prose. If you haven’t read it before, keep an open mind (and a glass of wine in hand) and give it a try. 4 stars.

The Walls Around Us by Nova Ren Suma~ YA Book Review

22859565This book was strange. While the basic premise wasn’t the freshest, what the author did with it kind of was. By just adding a few oddities, the author took an old trope and made it feel new. And fun.

This story has a little bit of everything thrown into the pot. Murder. Mayhem. Ballerinas?????

Add a dash of a girl’s correctional facility and a dollop of the supernatural, and you’ve got yourself (or I’ve got myself) something I’ve never read before. With a base of good writing, pacing, and suspense, that makes this book a tasty dish to this reader. Definitely not going to suit everyone’s pallet, but I enjoyed it. 4.5 stars!

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson ~ YA Book Review

16109340There was something kind of beautiful about this book. There were some things that were pretty silly and hokey, too, but those things didn’t really diminish the beauty. And while the book is probably best described as Young Adult, I feel it speaks to a broader audience.

When you break down through the walls of drama, growing pains, teen angst, grief, and everything else going on in this story, this book is about finding yourself. And how easy it is to lose yourself. And the importance of forgiveness. It’s about the fragile line that we all walk during the course of our day to day lives, and how easily one choice or decision can spiral out of control – or makes things right. It’s both complex and simplistic; therein lies the beauty. 5 stars!

 

 

In the Waning Light by Loreth Anne White ~ Fiction Book Review

25882482Wow. I really enjoyed this book. Awesome suspense, nail breaking tension, and the stakes felt desperate and high while reading this roller coaster of a mystery. It was much better than I expected.

The writing was excellent. The characters were well developed, authentic, and relatable. The author did an excellent job with the setting, creating a moody atmosphere that envelopes the reader and draws them into the pages with fine fingers of spooky mist, leaving them lost in a fog of mystique. Then, she expertly guides them through to the other side, leaving them both satisfied and yearning for more.

Can’t wait to read more by this author. 5 stars!

Gone Again by Doug Johnstone ~ Fiction Book Review

 

18888722This fast paced, action-packed thriller was fresh and well written. Although certain parts were a little unrealistic and far fetched, I enjoyed the tension the author built as this mystery unraveled.

The first half is strong, fueled by a high octane search for the truth. The second half is a bit weaker, but the characters felt well developed and strong, the turmoil of their relationships and interactions felt genuine, and if the adventure was a bit campy at times, it was easy enough to overlook with an eye-roll and keep reading.

All in all, I enjoyed this quick read. 4 stars.

The Mutual Admiration Society by Lesley Kagen ~ Fiction Book Review

30627966This book was cute. Like, super cute. As in sugary sweet, warm and toasty hugs cute. I’m not usually big on cozy mysteries, but this one kept my attention with its feisty preteen characters and heavy dose of humor. 

The main character was extremely well developed – the author had a true sense of who this girl was, her motivations, her fears, her worries – so I wasn’t surprised to discover that this is a reoccurring character in this author’s books. Very good news for the next time I’m looking to read something quick, cute, and maybe even a bit uplifting.

4 stars and a recommendation for fans of cozies without cats!

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight ~ Fiction Book Review

17859082This book was on my kindle forever. There was no particular reason why I kept passing it up – it just never seemed like the ‘time’ to read it. Until now, that it, when the only books on my kindle are those that I keep passing over . . . and since I’m not allowed any new books until I finish the ones I already have, this book’s time finally came.

I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about it, but I ended up being pleasantly surprised. I wasn’t able to figure out the ending, and some of what I thought I knew turned out to have some nice little plot twists.

All in all, I really enjoyed the book. It had a good sense of setting, well developed characters, and an underlying bit of sinisterness that made it hard to put down. I would definitely read another book by this author! 4.5 stars!

Not a Sound by Heather Gudenkauf ~ Fiction Book Review

35890573 I’ve had mixed feelings about Heather Gudenkauf’s last few books. I love love LOVED The Weight of Silence. I quite liked a few of her following books. But as she transitions from a kind of literary fiction to a more mainstream mystery and thriller writer, I find myself underwhelmed. The books don’t really seem like they were written by the same author. Does anyone else feel this way?

I suspect that perhaps there’s been a change in editors? The writing seems a little sloppy in places. The story is good. It’s enjoyable. But there are dozens of other authors whose mysteries and thrillers are either on par or superior with a style I enjoy reading more. I wish Gudenkauf would return to her roots and write more books with substance. 4 stars.