Category Archives: books that speak

The Best of 2016 and what’s coming 2017…

2016

What a year. Carrie Fisher will be so missed. Our Princess/General Leia. (And might I recommend a viewing of The ‘Burbs?) All the music greats we had: George Michael, Prince, David Bowie. My grandmother’s passing…

Let’s skip all the bad, because we can’t be bringing in the new with all that baggage and bad karma.

The good of the year. Well, there was Captain America Civil War, aka The Avengers 3. Westworld was great. Stranger Things.

A lot of people out there fighting for what’s right and good in the world.

Personally, I wrote. A lot. Have writer’s block, for months. Completed a few stories, though most are in first draft form still. I had full requests and partials for Love, Darrows–Thankful for agents agreeing that Cupid can have a boyfriend. Rethinking the genre of that one, though. Completed NaNoWriMo with my series, Human Touch‘s book 4, Me & Johnny. Got a job working for a great company and working with some fun and diverse people.

Completed my Goodreads Reading Challenge of 100 books for this year, read and reviewed.

{the Year in Review on Goodreads: see it here.}

My favorites of 2016

Asking me to choose just one isn’t going to work. As I sit typing, I can think of the majority of books I read this year and find ones I loved so much. And most on my favorites list weren’t necessarily published in 2016. Which I am fine with since I believe all stories are timeless. Even the contemporaries.

Favorite YA

Has to go to the Cinder series by Marissa Meyer. Not only was it a great twist on the classic fairy tales, Carswell Thorn and Cress. They just won it for me. I still daydream about them, though I will not write a fanfic.

Favorite Graphic Novel

This goes to the Scott Pilgrim Series by Bryan Lee “Bread makes you fat?” O’Malley. (Because it seems in every book, Mr. O’Malley has this bread obsession. LoL) I still pull out one of the books and read a bit of it, go over the pictures. Laugh. Definitely a win for years to come.

Favorite Comic

This is sort of cheating since Marvel’s Agent Carter could also be a graphic novel. But it is one of my most favorites because of the included Cher Chez le Femme. My forever ship. Steggy. Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter together…something the MCU really never wanted to give us. No matter how much Steve loved his best girl.

Favorite LGBTQ

I don’t think I read enough of these this year. But of the ones I did, Gear Shark took it. It was one of those “coming to terms with the fact I, a guy, am in love with a guy stories,” but what this one had that most I’ve read never touched was the hatred and violence that can go along with being gay (or lesbian or trans, and more power to you all for having to deal with such an asinine hatred from people). That’s really where I had to keep reading. What were they going to do?

Favorite Book Award Winner

The Absolute True Diary of a Part-time Indian. This story stuck in my head. Not just because I knew the area and places mentioned, but because it gave an inside peek into a culture that really most of literature just doesn’t touch. It was so good. So sweet. So heartfelt. Just pure honesty on a page. Even being fictional.

Favorite Literary Fiction

Jane Two is going to be one of those stories that sit in the heart for a very long time. It was a story about love. A first love. A love of your life. A love that stays with you and never dies, though it may very well remain an unrequited love. It was truly a beautiful tale and I am so glad I never gave up on finding it. One of my highest recommends of the year.

2017

Leaving 2016 behind like dust blowing in the wind as a car speeds down a country road…

It felt like 2017 would never get here, as rough and bullying as 2016 was. The low was hit, and we can only rise from here, right? Leaving out the politics of it all [here in the US] when I say that 2017 will be a great year. For entertainment, books, the good in life.

We have a new Guardians of the Galaxy movie coming. Avengers: Infinity War parts 1 & 2 will begin filming. Another Star Wars film coming…

My writing goals for 2017?

A lot of pages. I need to get final drafts done, manuscripts out to agents. I would love to take a class or two to help with my writing to see what I’m missing or what I can fix. I have stories yelling to be told right now. Three to be exact. All starring my muse in one way or another. I’ve got to get out on social media more with my writing. Still considering a self-pub if I can get the massive amount of money I need for an editor.

SO no word totals. Just putting words on a page, handwritten, digitally, make stories into something more than thoughts in my head.

Keep doing book reviews. Keep reading. And there are some promising books coming.

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth has been on my TBR list for a while. (Only a few more weeks to that one!) Plus a new Four story from Divergent!!!! (I CAN’T WAIT!!!)

I had the fortune of reading two soon to be releases this past month or so. (Thanks to their publishers and Net Galley.) I highly recommend finding these in the new year:

This was a beautiful story. Refreshing. My first “Christian” read. Touching. Definitely makes me teary when I think about this wonderful book. Don’t let the Christian thing push you away. It was a part of the tale, but it wasn’t preachy nor did it consume the whole story.

On the opposite end of that, in a way…

I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard at a romcom before. It was amusing and funny and well done. Perfect romcom to start off the year!!! I can’t wait for the other ones, too.

And then from Paula Hawkins, who wrote Girl on the Train…which was so good I couldn’t put it down!!!…Into The Water. A whole new twisty tale. This one is right up there with Divergent’s post epilogue on my TBR list.

Those are just a very few on my lists. The closer books. Who knows what favorites will emerge as we move throughout the year?

Reading themes start tomorrow. I’ve skipped the past two months as I’ve been too busy between writing/reading and working to do them. Resolution 35: Get back to the themes. (total fake resolution number.)

Have a great New Year!!!

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All gifs found on giphy.com

book covers found through google searches. those images belong to their owners.

The Captain America image was my own screenCap (pun totally intended) from The Avengers, my own paid copy of that film.

Goodreads COngrats image was a screencap from my phone.

NaNoWriMo gave me that banner when I completed the challenge.

Thank you for reading!

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#AmEditing, #AmListening, #AmReading, #AmWatching

#AmFeelingLikeAMajorGoofOff right now.

Only two chapters edited for today, so far. But, the upside of this time’s editing process…I have yet to fall into the story! Meaning I am getting some real work done on Wings by sticking to the random chapter rule. It’s GREAT! I have no idea why I never thought of doing this before…

While #AmEditing, I #AmListening to the new Panic! at the Disco album, Death of a Bachelor. Pure Panic! at it’s best! The songs are so eclectic and different and yet so familiar and loved. Best song? IDK. Depends on my mood, though I will say a few songs are definitely stuck in my head, though.

I do not listen while #AmReading, though.

Especially with the new find…that I’m not quite sure what to make of yet. The Oddfits by Tiffany Tsao. {on Goodreads here}

I’m just over 30% complete with it (according to the bottom corner of my Kindle) and I’ve felt enraged, teary, and starving to death. Murgatroyd Floyd…something about that name…I LOVE IT, and honestly, it was something that drew me to the book to begin with. I’m so very curious to see where this story goes. Because, as of now, I don’t have a single clue.

And when I’m not editing, listening, or reading, I #AmWatching a few shows. There’s X-Files…which brings that feeling of needing to be paranoid about everything back to the forefront, Lucifer, still looking for the first half of season 6 of Pretty Little Liars, waiting for the new season of Baby Daddy (and watching reruns of the episodes I’ve just watched), and my favorite of them all right now:

AGENT CARTER.

Not because she’s related to Cap. Okay, so because she’s related to Cap, but so much more: fantastic storylines, so much humor, Easter eggs, and awesome that is not limited to Peggy herself, but she is the tops. (oh…don’t pick up 1940s lingo…don’t…) Two episodes into the sophomore season of Agent Carter and I want season three like now! I LOVE THIS SHOW SO MUCH!

I will admit, I did tear up while watching the second episode of the season. All because Peggy danced with a Jason Wilkes and I thought of Winter Soldier when Cap/Steve goes to visit a bed-ridden Peggy and says:

Even now…*tears*…If you don’t tear up at that…then I don’t know.
They never got their dance.

Ah well…*sniffle*…must get back to editing so I can enjoy some Peggy Carter awesome tonight! Hope all is well with you all!

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Thanks for reading! This post filed under: editing, music, fangirling and random blathering.

All images are mine. All gifs found on giphy.com

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Filed under book covers, books that speak, editing hell, keeping entertained, on the book shelf, random blathering, the fangirling has made it here, wings, writer's procrastination

Is fanfiction really that bad?

Really? Seriously?

In my opinion, no. But then, that’s where writing really came back into my life. I found it through reading and writing my own stories during a the hyper-Twi-fangirl moment years. I never saw it as something horrible and to only be whispered about…unless you’re reading that sort of fic…but it’s not entirely bad. It’s a way to celebrate what you love most about the characters. Take them and give them different situations and lives. There are fics for everything from Star Wars to Captain America to Dr. Who and Harry Potter. Though, honestly, I have only ventured into the realm of Twilight fanfiction…

by Alex at TheKaskProject-art

Then I saw that pic on tumblr one day last week. It’s AMAZING!
(see Alex’s blog here: {Adventures of a Shippy Mind} )
This is like two of my Happy Chris Evans worlds colliding into one great masterpiece.
And the story of Bucky Barnes meets Colin Shea exploded in my head. “Hey, 6B.” was born.

And because I am desperately trying to get away from SoS before I hate that story…because I hit a major block there, though I knew where it went wrong and what to fix, it’s not clicking still…and I want to save this next story, Wings, for NaNoWriMo this year (last year, I started Darrows far too soon), I am going to tackle a quick fic or two.

A lot of authors seem to frown on fics. I don’t know why, really. Is it not an original story? For the most part, yes. But just because there are characters that have been created by someone else, doesn’t mean the story can’t be unique and original. There are plenty of books in the bookstore that are retellings using characters we have known forever.

Each one of those stories have been written using characters of someone else’s story. Characters we all know, whether we love them or not. Each one is an independent tale of the character, intriguing and fulfilling in every way. These types of books are accepted and loved by many. Does it really make a difference if the story is commissioned to be written and sold for profit? No. Because those fiction authors and artists do it more from the standpoint of love for the character and story.

On the converse side of that, there are a few out there that started out as fanfics, but are now independent, full-fledged original stories.

Disclaimer: I have read Beutiful Bastard in both incarnations, fic and novel. I have not read Fifty Shades in any incarnation. Wallbanger I read as a fic, I own on Kindle.

And I’m not saying every story out there is literary gold. I’m not saying that every story out there is right or wrong. What I am saying is that every story out there is just as original and worthy of one’s time. Profit lines shouldn’t matter–though I know they do. It’s all supposed to be fun and enjoyment in a shared love.

And that’s how I see it. I don’t care if I lose credibility points as an author. That’s really on the person judging. I’ll be proud of this no matter. Granted, this past week, I went back and forth over writing it. I do need to keep off one story for sanity purposes. I do need to put off another story for a fun little writing competition. And this is all for fun. I’ve always wanted to combine something awesome outside of Twilight and Fright Night (still have never published that one, but I do love the story so much)… And this is what’s calling my name. I will post it to Ao3, under my “Storywrtr” moniker. I will post it on my tumblr–Storywrtr. I am thinking of posting it here.

I’m so uber exicited to be going back to where this journey began!

“Flux capacitor fluxing.”

Long live fanfiction and nostalgia!

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Bookstore observations:

Books. They line every shelf, every aisle. As far as the eye can see. Well, except the cafe. The scent of new books fills my nostrils and my heart speeds up. I’m on a hunt for something to fall in love with. Something to read and cherish and mark in and love until the pages are broken and worn. This particular hunt is for that perfect RomCom.

I’ve read other RomCom-y almost stories…

I loved this back in its fic days… The first fic I have ever read, the book series is excellent, too.

The paperback version I own was given to me from Fics 2 Flicks. If they hadn’t sent it my way, I would have NEVER discovered this lovely gem.

And they are fantastic and on my favorites shelf in GoodReads. But they’re too Eromedy for what I’m searching for. (Eromedy is a term I made up when I wrote Life Imitating Art. The author in that story called her tales Eromedies…and I use it all the time now. It’s Erotic Romance meets Romantic Comedy.) Not that there is anything wrong with these stories, but I want something sweet and endearing and not all about the sexy times.

I have a few of those. Much like the books above, I own multiple incarnations of them or the entire series or both. They sit on my shelves and on my kindle. I pull them out on occasion to read through my favorite parts that I’ve bookmarked and/or highlighted. Much like the line in What’s Your Number?, the movie, each thing brings a patter to my heart, a smile to my lips. I love these books.

A few of my Absolute Favorites:

What’s Your Number?

Originally titled: 20 Times a Lady

Both by Karen Bosnak. One is a movie tie-in cover. I own both–in paperback and kindle–because I just love the story so much!
Did you know, in the books, the main character’s name wasn’t Ally Darling? It was Delilah Darling. Anyway…

Between the Lines  series by Tammara Webber

Boomerang series by Noelle August (a collab Veronica Rossi & Lorin Oberweger)

I don’t know what I loved most about these books. The drama. The humor. The story. They just snatched my attention and I couldn’t put them down until the last word was read, at which point I refused to put them down.

These are the types books I went hunting for.

I stalked my shelves first. I tend to hoard books like a squirrel readying his nuts for the winter. I buy them based on the appeal of the cover and a quick scan of the blurb. A few of my favorite books have been discovered with that process (see, The Night Circus). I got excited when I spotted:

Jane Austen Ruined My Life

I pulled it out and went for the description first. Read, read, read, and slowing down and…bummer. This turns out to be more Chick Lit than RomCom. I’m just not in that mood.

So I took to the web. GoodReads has lists and lists and I went straight for the RomCom list. Book after book. Found one that was highly rated and was supposed to be Cinderella meets Falling Down. Just off the pitch alone, I was had. And I got Perfect Girl by Michele Gorman on my kindle and read and read…all the way to 30% when I realized: CHICK LIT! NO! The break-up was inevitable…it just wasn’t working out. It’s not the book, it’s all me. Maybe I’ll pull an Ally Darling and try again in the future, but for now…

I have sadly found, a lot of Chick Lit is lumped into the RomCom categories. I don’t want a woman empowered  because she found her life path in a life of suckage, I want ROMANCE AND COMEDY! GET ME JAKE ADAMS!

(Take that back. I want COLIN SHEA more)

Now, I got excited when I came across The Nanny Diaries on Amazon and Goodread’s RomCom Lists.

And I truly adore the movie, so I thought, why not? The book and the movie align here and there, as it should. But the book took the more Nanny approach to life where the movie went all Harvard Hottie. And I wanted so much for Harvard Hottie to be the story. It wasn’t a bad book by any means, it was just not enough in the Rom to balance out the Com in the story. *heavy, slightly saddened sigh*

It wasn’t getting any better.

A friend (hi, kiTT!) recommended:

A Nicholas Sparks novel. (Found a copy at the bookstore!) It’s on my TBR list and bookshelf, but I’m worried it’s way too DramRom (Dramatic Romance) rather than RomCom…

While I was at the store hunting down that Sparks book, I searched for more RomComs…I’ll take anything movie related, television show related, or just a great, sweet story like it never before touching the screens of the world. I found the romance section and I was thrilled and full of hope. But as I walked through the books, my heart started breaking. These books had shirtless cowboys and southern belles, guys with long hair, historical tales, a dude in a kilt going by the name Outlander. Uh…somehow I wandered into the wrong place. None of them were for me. Totally out of my league and not really my type at all. Even if the shirtless cowboys did snag a peek of my attention…I’m no longer hanging at Billy Bob’s. Time to go.

So I wander past the graphic novel aisle, stopping to consider Saga book 5 and Captain America (The Winter Soldier, Civil War, and the so very heartbreaking, The Death of Captain America…Pass. I think I’ll save my breakdown and ten boxes of tissues for the movie, thank you) and enter the generic fiction shelves. I found a ton of Chick Lit, traditional fiction, a row of Stephen King, a shelf of Gillian Flynn…and oh, look! Something Borrowed by Emily Griffin (the current read)! All I needed was Something Blue. They didn’t have that, but they did have Baby Proof on my TBR list… but that’s total Chick Lit. Ugh. Okay…There were some Sophie Kinsella novels, though the one I’m searching for:

may just have to come in Kindle form. *heavy sigh* Shelf after shelf was not even close to anything I want to read right now.

I go across the main aisle and search the YA section…because I do love me some YA reads more often than not. Twilight barely exists anymore, only occupying a third of a shelf. Sad. But that’s not even RomCom genre. Shelf after shelf. Much like fiction, I notice groupings. There is a section of dystopian love where The Hunger Games and Divergent run into The Maze Runner.  They aren’t bad, but I am sort of tired of reading about heroines who conquer all. Then there is the strong heroine in the contemporary fiction. BTDT. Random fiction, a lot of which I have read already. And much like the fiction section, I am realizing RomCom seems like an antiquated notion these days.

When did it go against the rules for a basic love story to exist? Does it really matter if a girl falls for a guy or vice versa or guy for a guy or girl for a girl? Because it seems like if a girl falls for a guy, she broke some law and the universe will come to a halt. I’m not saying have the MC be a weak little thing and give up her life for the football captain or whatever…even if I do love me some Sixteen Candles  and Jake Ryan types. I’m feeling like any fluff and fun that used to be so easy to find has just fizzled into nothing. And if the guy falls for a girl, he’s seen as weak. And if the guy falls for a guy, then it has to be about him dealing with it instead of just being in love. And same with a girl for a girl…UGH. WHERE ARE THE STORIES OF LOVE WITHOUT A LIFE-LESSON-DRAMA TO GO WITH IT?

Which truly concerns me. Because those are my stories. I love the not-life-lesson-drama and the heart and the fun. I adore the moment someone admits their feelings. I love the chase and typically the happy ending no matter the cliché. I’m a sucker for such things. I’m DYING to read a story like this. I’m on the verge of writing a story like this. Which bring me to the next concern…

If they are so out of sync with the world these days, would it get published? Would it be worth a write? That’s a major thought…one that makes me pause and think of all the sci-fi, the dystopian, the stories of strength and virtue…is a RomCom just nothing in the world of publishing now? Because I know I am hard pressed to find a good RomCom-y movie these days. (Which I can’t wait to see My Fair Dude! Wish it was a book!)

I hope I’m just overthinking again. Because something in my gut is yelling at me to write this story.

In the meantime, I did pick up one book (that hopefully fits this love story idea) since I recently acquired the companion story on my Kindle and I was desperately searching for this one:

I just hope it’s as cute as the book jacket summary reads.

And PS… I totally bought the second one just because of the cover alone. (I have a weird book/page art thing. I have a whole pinterest board dedicated to that obsession.)

So to any of my readers, followers out there…if you can recommend a GREAT ROMCOM, please do. Comments, email, twitter…tumblr…any of them. I am desperate for a new love! I can only Colin Shea for so long… (going on five years now…Who am I kidding? This will probably last for an eternity.)

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Filed under author woes, book boyfriends, book covers, books that speak, keeping entertained, love story, on the book shelf, rêveur, read, romance can't be antiquated, romcoms are my peeps, the fangirling has made it here, write, writing wishlist

69 is a test? Okay.

I was over on Epic Reads’ blog and was reading about this theory to use when you don’t know what book to choose to read. (see the post here ~~~> {Epic Reads: The 69 Test} Supposedly, 69 is where the action is at. Outside of a teenage guy’s mind, that is. Read the page, snippets or otherwise, and if it speaks to you, you might read the book.

I had never heard of that. Usually, I read the back of the book, inside of the book jacket, or online description and think… “Oh, that sounds good. I’ll read it.” or “Nah. Next.” Who knows what books I’ve missed by just doing that…I mean other than ones that didn’t excite me from the get go.

So just for fun, I’ll try it out with a few of my favorites:

“No one seemed concerned about Edward, though I explained over and over that he was the hero — how he had pulled me out of the way and had nearly been crushed, too.”

~Twilight, by Stephenie Meyer

“The finished clock is resplendent. At first glance it is simply a clock, a rather large black clock with a white face and a silver pendulum.”

~The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern

“He stares at me, and I don’t look away. He isn’t a dog, but the same rules apply. Looking away is submissive. Looking him in the eye is a challenge. It’s my choice.”

~Divergent, by Veronica Roth

So, does it work? Keeping in mind that these are just a tiny snippet of the page from the hardback copies (unsure if the digital or paperbacks are different…mostly because I’m too lazy to check right now.) I think it’s mixed.

Twilight already had a major event or two happen by this point, although I would wonder, had I not read this book a million times, what exactly did Edward do and why no one seemed to notice.

The Night Circus seems a little boring. That being said, the continuing lines go on to describe how magical this clock is as it transforms into something completely different. A night and day comparison. Honestly, though, if I hadn’t already read this book, I wouldn’t be intrigued enough to read it just from page 69 alone.

Divergent still gets me! Okay…page sixty nine begins in the middle of a sentence, so I would definitely go back to the beginning of it and start. And it would hook me as Tris, is being so snarky to Four. (This moment is at their first meal after the Choosing Day ceremony.) And it would hook me enough to want to know why Tris is being so snarky and her friend, Christina, thinks she has a death wish.

So, let me try this with a few books I haven’t read yet… Again, these are from the hardcover and the “Remastered Full-Color Edition” respectively.

“Sharp rocks dig into S.’s skin as he rests on all fours beneath a pier, coughing seawater.”

~Ship of Theseus, by V. Straka

~which is actually S., by JJ Abrams

“Of course she’s not there, but that doesn’t get me down. I’m still optimistic she’ll arrive.”

~House of Leaves, by Mark Z. Danielewski

S. is a difficult book to put to this test, because this is a book that is a story within a story. What that snippet comes from is the book by V. Straka… Not the annotations of these other characters from the JJ Abrams part of the book. And the whole story within a story has a feel of Inception to me, and that’s why I chose this book to read.

The House of Leaves is so difficult to determine from just that small piece. The page begins in the middle of a thought, but as this book is the most confusing book to read (according to the reviews on Amazon), it’s undetermined if following that sentence/thought would be helpful. Then the part where the snippet came from was in the middle of this guy’s dream and after dream experiences. It leaves one lost…so if it’s something you want to make sense of, you’ll read it. And if it’s so confusing you’ll never find your way out, you might skip it.

And lastly, I am going to try this with a few stories I’ve written…mostly out of my own curiosity to see what I’ve done and if it’s any good.

“Slow motion waves throughout the room as his hand reaches for the door knob, progressing frame by frame. Intense fear takes control immediately. The surge forces me through McClane, slamming the door shut.”

~Human Touch, a YA romance with a paranormal twist

 

“Everything I had been afraid of happening, was actually happening at that moment. I knew I couldn’t stay there. I managed to get up and stumble my way down to the gym floor. I brushed past Edward quickly as I made my escape.”

~It’s Been Ten Years, the first fanfic I wrote

“I ran my fingers through my hair as Sable came into view. Sitting with her… Well, fuck me sideways…”

~Life Imitating Art, an eromedy

I’ll be the first to admit that I am a little bias about my works. Human Touch is pure genius. I guess if I didn’t feel that way from my snippet, I’d have no business querying my story. Even if you all hate it, I love it. And I would read it. Probably pure bias on my behalf.

It’s Been Ten Years…oh, sigh. That little fic o’ mine. I look at it and love it because it got me back into writing. I look at it and cringe, because I know I can write better than that. I look at it and still think it’s mine no matter what. I own her. So, would I read it? I don’t know. Bella is running from Edward, while Jasper is holding Alice back from killing Edward. Very soapy. And, as it turns out, I do like a good sudsy drama from time to time. But off the snippet? I probably wouldn’t give it a read.

Life Imitating Art. That is the first line on page 69. The first moment my main character, an author,  sees the hottest man on the planet, even if he is her new editor that drives her mentally insane because he’s um-something years younger than her and thinks he knows it all when it comes to editing a book. Oh, something like this, to me, if I’m in that mood to read that kind of story…Yeah. Off that one line, I’d so read the pages bald. Again, I am sure there is a lot of bias in that statement.

I guess for me, I am either a make-up-my-own-story-that-I-want-to-read sort of person, or I really do prefer to judge a book by its cover–the images, colors, and synopsis. I think jumping into a page–69 or otherwise–is quite a dangerous thing. Especially for someone who hates spoilers…and what if the best thing of the book is happening on that page in that moment. It would suck to know that ahead of time.

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