Saturday, September 26, 2015

Fantastic Bargain on a Fabulous Novel!

Ever since I published Naked Tails, folks have been after me to write more unusual shifter stories, be they about possums, bears, or even the chipmunk/skunk medi-vac pilots from the book. I'm working on the bears now, and have marked the pilots as "one day."

That said, I've developed an affinity for lesser known shifter types, and when I chance upon the occasional story that doesn't involve wolves or big cats, I pounce. Okay, to be fair, I pounce on wolves and big cats too, but still...

Anyway, as I was saying, off-the-beaten-path shifters fascinate me, and I'm thrilled that dear friend and critique partner, literary hand-holder, etc., P.D. Singer has created a novel-length follow-up to her short romp Tail Slide. The short work is even included in the longer one.

I've been privileged enough to get a pre-read, and let me tell you, the book not only met my wildest little dreams, it passed them. Be still my shifter-loving heart!

Otter shifters! Woot! Cute, cuddly, mischievous, koi-pond-raiding OTTER SHIFTERS!


Lon Ewing snowboarded in and turned economist Corey Levigne’s life upside down, introducing him to a world he didn’t know existed. Corey’s still adjusting to a boyfriend who shifts into an otter and raids the koi pond—and now Lon says Corey’s department chair is a werewolf?

Wolves at the university, wolves in the bank—across Lon’s desk sits Professor Melvin Vadas and his hench-wolves, demanding a construction loan for the pack’s new lodge in the mountains. There’s just one little problem: the proposed building site is home to a breeding population of rare fish.

What do wolves care for stupid human rules, an otter who’d barely make a good snack, or one pesky man determined to protect the environment? Once they’re snout to snout with Corey and Lon there’s more than silverscale dace on the Endangered Species list.

Includes Tail Slide

Fresh powder snow and running water in the Colorado back country call Lon like the moon calls the wolves. Belly-sliding to a good time on the weekends makes up for a workweek at a desk, and meeting Corey adds a whole new level of fun to snowboarding.
It’s easy to slip away for time alone in the woods without raising suspicion, but how’s Lon to entertain himself when bad snow and a worse spill force them off the mountain too early?
Never give an otter a box of Cheerios.
 

***

And not only does Ms. Singer give us otter shifters, she's also made it really easy to get our paws on (pun intended). From now until the release date of October 9, get Otter Chaos for only .99 cents. That's right folks, less than a buck. But remember, the sale is only for preorder. After publication the sale is over.

Find Otter Chaos at Rocky Ridge Books and here:

 AmazonAll Romance eBooks,  and Smashwords.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Book Review: Falling Awake by Kage Alan

I don't normally review books I've critiqued prior to publications, no matter how badly I want to scream from the rooftops about an amazing story.

This time, I'm making an exception for Falling Awake by Kage Alan.


Imagine waking up in a place you can’t remember, with a face you don’t recognize, and a name that may not be your own printed on a ticket in your back pocket. And of the five people you meet during the next few hours, four of them hold clues to your past, present, and two possible futures.

The outcome of the encounter will determine your soul’s fate, and the only way out of the nightmare may be through falling awake.
 


***

I won't leave a star rating as I had the distinct pleasure of pre-reading and critiquing this work. Because of those reasons, I normally don't comment on any story I've had prior knowledge of. 

That said, why would I break habit and review this book? 

Because this story so moved me, touched me on such a profound level, that it needs to be shared. 

What it's not: 1. A typical boy meets boy romance (and yet there is a deeper love here than in many romances I've read). 2. A showcase for Mr. Alan's quirky humor and tongue-in-cheek observations. 

What it is: Amazing.

Good versus evil, cultural legends, soul connections, and an epic battle for the very existence of man caught in the middle of the struggle. And a cast of characters that each represent so much more than they appear at face value. 

Are my words cryptic? Yes, sorry, but totally in keeping with the surreal nature of this work. It's like nothing I've read before, and I stayed up way into the night, glued to each word. Thousands upon thousands of novels and novellas have I consumed in my life, so it's getting very hard to find something unique, something so different, so unpredictable. And ending the book was just the beginning. Since reading (has it really been two months ago?), I still find myself revisiting a scene or concept, discussing the book with friends, and plotting out who'll I'd buy copies for. 

How rare is it that you read fiction that affects the way you look at the world? 

Oh, darn. I'd planned to finish edits on one of my own books today, but instead I think I'll make a cup of tea and re-read this one. A day well spent. 

Read Falling Awake. 

For a short work, it packs a punch. 

Bravo, Mr. Alan.

Find it here at Amazon.com.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Making It Work - The Best Writing Advice I Can Give (Yes, I used the dreaded 'it")

In looking back on my earlier work, I have to say I'm appalled at all the "newbie" mistakes I made. Since that time I've immersed myself in learning how to be a better writer. Each bit of writing advice I grasped with both hands, screaming, "This is the greatest thing ever!"

Until the next concept came along.

In some cases, what I learned was pure gold, and enhanced my writing, in others, I had to rip out all the changes I'd just made after spending two days crying over how the story was no longer mine. All that torrential downpour of advice and ideas becomes overwhelming for a writer determined to give readers the best work she can produce.

But... post A seems like the answers to my writing prayers... until I read post B, that entirely negates post A's advice. Each poster, each "how too" author firmly believes in their methods, and others do too, to the point where the message that comes across is: "This is the ONLY correct way to do this, and if you DON'T do it exactly this way, you're wrong and your writing will suck."

Then I further muddied the waters with an editing course, and thus perpetuated my own version of "do it this way."

Yesterday something happened to me that hasn't happened in a very long time: I fell for a book based on cover and blurb, that is not something I normally read. In fact, I can't understand why I wasn't put off by the concept, as I usually am. Against my better judgement, I bought the book, fully intending it to be a DNF.

I stayed up until 3 AM reading. I don't stay up until 3 AM unless there's a medical emergency. But I did. And I woke at 7 AM to read more.

A few minutes ago I breathed a satisfied sigh when I finished the story. Know what I read?

Autonomous body parts
Invalid simultaneous action
Head hopping
Shallow POV
Lots of showing instead of telling
Telling what should have been revealed in dialog
Repeated word usage
"Looked"
"Knew"
"Felt"
Internal thoughts that were both italicized and then "she thought to herself"
Typos
Inconsistent dialect
Several "big misunderstandings"
Poorly educated prairie settlers who sounded just like the local wealthy former professor
Multiple POVs
Inconsistent pacing
Sentences ending in "it"

In short, I muddled through just about every single situation I've had grilled into me that you cannot do and have a successful story.

You know what?

I COULDN'T PUT THE BOOK DOWN!

You know why?

Because the characters were so endearing, and I became so invested in them, that none of that mattered. Then it occurred to me to check the date the book was published and cross reference other books from that period.

Guess what, folks? The books I grew up reading were pretty much all written this way. And I loved them.

Now when I write, I'm so focused on word choice, sentence structure, etc. that I'm in danger of losing the reason why I began writing in the first place: because I love books, have stories inside me, and love sharing the people living in my brain.

I myself have, with the best of intentions, offered writing advice on this blog. But the best advice I can give is this:

Follow your heart. Tell the story that's in you to tell. Continue to read the blogs that help you improve your craft, but remember that you do not have to take every bit of advice offered. Do what works for you. If we all listened to and heeded the exact same advice, we'd have 40,000 authors who all sounded the same.

Write what's in your heart. Create awesome stories about people readers can relate to, be they everyday folks or superstars. But all the writing advice in the world cannot take the place of a dedicated, passionate writer, who follows their vision.