Read My Books!

If I haven’t mentioned it lately, I have two books that are available on Amazon. As I’m getting closer to finishing book three, I just wanted to remind everyone that you need to read the first two before the third one is released.

The third book is going to be the ending of the series (for now). You don’t want to miss the epic conclusion!

If you are looking for adventure, my books are for you!

If you’re looking for mythical creatures and magical elements, my books are for you.

If you’re reading at a fifth grade level and up, my books are for you. (I wrote my first book at a level my daughter, who was 10 at the time, could read. Because of that, this series has inadvertently become a middle grade reader).

If you just want to see what I’m always carrying on about, my books are for you!

You get the idea…

Happy reading and writing today and every day!

Here are the links to my books, (you can even read a sample before you buy):

Update on Novel #3

This point in the year is usually when I sit down and assess how my yearly goals are going. One of my goals this year, as you might have guessed, is to finish and publish novel #3 in my YA book series.

So how is it going?

It’s actually off to a great start. At this moment, I’m a little over 50,000 words into the story, and I’m not finished with the second part yet. If you’ve read my other two books, you may have noticed that both were broken into three parts. This book is also sectioned that way.

This story is also going to be the last part of this trilogy. I may come back and write more stories in this world later, but I think I’m going to work on a different project after this. (I’m also going to work on getting published the traditional way. Wish me luck).

I don’t plan to abandon Jamie and her friends forever, but I want to work on something I’ve been brewing for a while now. When I do return to Jamie’s friends, I’m thinking about writing a story from a different character’s point of view. I think the story of Zak and how he became a unicorn hunter at such a young age would be fun. I also want to write about what went down when the two worlds collided. And then there are the Sisters of Rising Magic. (So many options…).

Anyway… back to novel #3… I’m not quite 2/3 of the way done, and this one is tying up many stories and ending with something epic (no spoilers). That being said, this book will probably be a bit longer than the other two. I want to give Jamie and her friends an ending they deserve.

When I wrote the first two books, I wrote the first 2/3 of each book in about the same amount of time it took me to write the last third. Even though I always start my book knowing how I want it to end, I work carefully and slowly on the end to make sure it makes sense how it got there. For me, the last third needs to be solid.

With that in mind, I am rereading the first two thirds right now and making sure details connect the way I want them too, and then I will write the last bit. I’m very excited about the last third (no spoilers… but it’s gonna be good).

If you haven’t read them yet, there is definitely still time before book #3 comes out… Check them out by clicking the titles below:

Unicorns Are Really Vampires

Black Market Unicorns

Happy writing and reading today and every day!

A Peculiar Peril: Book Review

I’m going to do something that I don’t do very often… review a book. I personally am not a fan of book reviews. They are either rave reviews or really hateful. You rarely find anything in between. So, as a reader and writer, I kind of ignore them. Additionally, I pretty much like something about every book I read. I rarely read something and want to give it less than three stars.

However, I’m going to review a book I recently finished. If you plan on reading A Peculiar Peril by Jeff VanderMeer, don’t read any further; there will be spoilers.

The reason I want to review this book is because I’m hoping someone can help me find some clarity after reading it. I honestly don’t know (even though I read all 600+ pages of it) whether or not I like it or not. I find it odd that after reading that many pages I can’t decide. Parts of the book confuse me.

Because I’m not sure about my feelings for this particular tome, I’m going to ask a series of questions about the book and then proceed to immediately answer them.

Question 1: Why is this book in the YA lit section?

I read a fair amount of YA lit and I just don’t think this belongs there. I think that perhaps the publishers felt that because the main characters are teens, it should be YA lit. I can also see that it has an Alice in Wonderland meets Chronicles of Narnia on speed vibe, but that’s not enough for it to be in the YA lit section. I really believe that most YA readers would start this book and then not finish it because of the style (more about that later).

I say that it has vibes from other stories, and by that I mean that it is a story about parallel worlds and in those worlds animals talk. There is also a series of magical doors involved. That, however, is where the comparison ends.

If I were asked to categorize this book, I would put it with “Weird Tales.” I love weird tales btw. It’s one of my favorite type of stories to read.

Someone asked me what is a weird tale? My answer: you know it when you read it.

That’s how I felt when I read this book. It belongs with adult lit, and with the weird tales, wherever they are.

Question 2: Was he drinking?

I’m being completely serious. The reason I ask this is because almost all of the conversations between characters in this book are impossible to follow. It reminds me of being in a room with drunk people and you’re the only one sober. There are 10 conversations going on and no one is having the same one, but they are all talking to each other anyway.

At first I thought maybe the author was trying to be silly, but it continues throughout the whole book (did I mention it’s 600+ pages)?

The stilted conversations are not the only style choice that I struggled with. There were what felt like an unnecessary amount of puns and play on words. I’m not sure what the point of most of them were. All the double meanings and trick word play and weird conversations made whole sections of the novel very hard to follow.

I think most of what I find odd about this style is simply a choice the author made. Perhaps it makes more sense if you drink while you read it? (Again, should not be in the YA lit section if it requires alcohol to understand).

Question 3: Why are there so many characters?

This is not the first author to include an astronomical number of characters (anyone heard of Charles Dickens), but some of the characters didn’t even appear until page 500 or so. Additionally, because the author likes puns, some of the characters have nick names given to them by other characters.

And then what felt like randomly a character we hadn’t heard from in 100+ pages would show up again. IDK but sometimes I felt like I was falling into a rabbit hole. And other times I started to wonder if maybe there were pages from a different book accidentally printed with mine…

Conclusion

Further investigation is needed. I have added another VanderMeer book to my TBR list because I am curious if this is his style or if this was something new for him. I am going to figure this out.

Plus, despite the length of this book, the story isn’t finished and if the next part is published, I will be reading it. I have to know where all this nonsense was going.

Ultimately, I did find the plot engaging. It’s about parallel worlds, and big baddies versus inept teenagers. There are also lots of spies and wars going on. Distilled down to it’s essential plot, it’s a great story, and I really do want to know where it’s going.

Anyway, that’s enough from me….

Happy reading and writing today!

Cover of A Peculiar Peril

Title Reveal

For those of you who read the first book… book two is almost done… it’s time for the big title reveal!

Black Market Unicorns will be available soon in paperback, e-book, and on Kindle unlimited!

Tell your friends!

Happy reading and writing everyone!

How My First Book Came to Be…

If you didn’t know, I wrote a book! It is available to purchase from Amazon.

Since I’ve finished my book and have started the second one (yippee!), several people have asked me “how” I did it. The snarky part of me wants to say I typed it on a computer and then uploaded it to Amazon, but that’s not what they’re asking. They want to know what my process was.

I am happy to share that with some people, (those who are actually listening and not just being polite).

So, here’s the process for my first book (book two has been a bit different and maybe when it’s done, I’ll write about what changed):

  1. How I started writing a book and why?
    • My book started as one of the short story of the month posts on my blog. Even as I wrote it that month, I knew I wanted to do more with it. It was just screaming for a bigger story. So, I wrote a second story, and then those led to my novel.
    • This is not the first time I’ve started writing a book. I actually have two other books that were started before Unicorns Are Really Vampires. Those two remain unfinished, but who knows, maybe one day….
    • In addition to feeling like I wanted to work on the story some more, my sister invited me to try something called NANOWRIMO (I’m sure many of you are familiar with it). Basically, the idea is that every November is National Novel Writing Month. During that month, if you participate, you are to challenge yourself to write a novel. Most people actually aim for 50,000 words (which is a bit short for a novel). The idea is to get as much writing done as you can in a single month. No editing, just keep pushing forward till you get that word count.
  2. The First Draft
    • I used that initial short story as my idea. And if you are wondering if I had an outline, the answer is no. I am not a planner; I am most definitely a panster. I won NANOWRIMO that year, which means I wrote at least 50,000 words.
    • After that, I put it aside till after the holidays, then I just kept writing a little every day until I felt like it was finished. The first draft was the hardest part but also the most fun. I was building a world, creating characters, and it felt at times that it was writing itself. I enjoyed every painful moment of it (if you have created anything, you know what I mean).
  3. Editing
    • This is the hard part. Spending so many hours creating something and then cutting and changing it is very challenging and almost impossible to do on your own. If you get anything out of my post, this is what I want you to most remember:
      • HIRE AN EDITOR
        • (By this, I mean, pay someone to edit. An unbiased opinion that is not just checking your grammar. My editor told me things about my style, overall pacing, and character development that was immeasurably helpful when I was editing.)
    • Before I sent it to the editor I hired, I did “shop” around. I sent samples to multiple editors and then compared their feedback. I went with the one who was the toughest on me. Hiring someone to edit your entire novel is expensive, and I wanted the most bang for my buck.
    • In total, my book actually went through four rounds of editing.
      • First round: me reading through and making changes. I’m pretty good at editing grammar mistakes and small things.
      • Second round: hired an editor. She suggested a lot of small and big things I didn’t see myself.
      • Third round: following making the changes the editor suggested, I did one more round of editing. (I have a list of things that I look for. For this stage, I used an online editing program called Autocrit.com. It’s only a computer program, but still very valuable as a tool).
      • Fourth round: By this point, I considered the book done. I read it out loud to the living room (my daughter set up a stuffed animal audience for me). I found small things at this point. I call this my final read through. My living room seemed to like it.
  4. Done and Done
    • At this point, all that was left was formatting and creating a book cover. I did both of these things myself. Maybe I’ll write more about this part later; it’s not super exciting.
    • And then I uploaded to Amazon the print edition and kindle version.

And that’s how it was done. All in all, it took me a little over a year and there were a couple of months in there where I didn’t work on it.

Hope this helps for anyone working on their own novel.

Happy reading and writing this month!!!

Unicorns Are Really Vampires

If you haven’t heard, my first book is out now on Amazon!

Reasons to read my book:

  1. It’s not long, so you can check one off your Goodreads yearly challenge quickly.
  2. There are unicorn / vampires in it.
  3. The second book will be out in the fall, so you need to know the first part before you read the second part.
  4. You know you’re curious how a unicorn and a vampire can be the same thing.
  5. There are other amazing creatures in it: fairies, mermaids, harpies, dragons, three-headed dogs, and more!

If that doesn’t convince you, please read the preview below, and as always, happy reading and writing today and every day!