Monday, December 31, 2012

Unhealthy relationships: a Twilight, Graceling Comparison

Should we be Worried about what Young Adults are Reading?

Romance books since the beginning of time have portrayed unhealthy relationships with submissive females succumbing to their desires with controlling men, and some are concerned as these themes make their way into young adult fiction that the impressionable minds of teens will be swayed to model their own relationships after these unhealthy ones.
Since Twilight’s release it has come under crossfire for portraying the relationship between a meek female girl and her stalkerish, controlling vampire boyfriend as a healthy relationship when there are obvious unhealthy aspects of their partnership. Another book, Graceling by Kristen Cashore, takes the opposite approach to the relationship in its story with a strong independent female lead, however I find this relationship to be just as unhealthy as the one in Stephanie Meyer's Twilight.
To be fair, Twilight and Graceling aren’t the only books with unhealthy relationships in them. Literature is full of unhealthy relationships, just look at Heathcliff and Catherine from Wuthering Heights. Their relationship was (no pun intended) the height of dysfunction, however at least Heathcliff and Catherine were equally selfish, and horrible to one another. Or look at Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Twilight has been criticized for portraying this unequivocal, undying, I can’t live without you kind of love between Bella and Edward but, this concept isn’t at all new. (Though you could argue that Romeo and Juliet did it better). Also, there is a difference between showing unhealthy relationships in books and showing unhealthy relationships as if they were healthy. In Wuthering Heights it was obvious that Heathcliff and Cathy did not have a healthy relationship, this was not as obvious in Twilight nor Graceling.

Now, I don't want to comment on writing style or anything else with these books. I just want to focus on the relationships they display. So, here's a short side by side comparison.

Main Character: Bella – clumsy, weak, overly-trusting, average,
Love Interest: Edward - mysterious, brooding, overprotective, possesive, secretive
Novel’s view on sex: absolutely wait until you’re married, even if you're only eighteen or over a hundred.
Edward has the power in his relationship with Bella. In New Moon he leaves thinking he’s trying to protect Bella, but he makes this decision completely on his own without letting Bella have any say in it. He makes a number of decisions for the both of them without taking what Bella wants into account.

Edward is physically stronger than Bella.

Edward treats Bella like she’s fragile and in need of protecting.

Edward keeps secrets from Bella about what he is. When Bella finds out what he is she instantly trusts him completely.

Main Character: Katsa – strong, agile, empowered, guarded, an outcast, hot temper
Love Interest: Po - snarky, charming, bold,
Novel’s view on sex: there’s no need to have commitment of any kind with those you sleep with.
Katsa has the power in her relationship with Po. She tells him that she might just up and leave one day, without any regard to Po’s feelings or suggestion of commitment to their relationship. She only asks if he can handle this. Katsa calls the shots in her relationship keeping herself guarded and untrusting.
Katsa is physically stronger than Po.

Katsa and Po spar together until Po is covered in bruises.
Po keeps secrets from Katsa about what he is. When Katsa discovers Po’s secret she’s so mad at him she doesn’t even want to let him explain.

In neither of these books are the characters equals with their partners, though one could argue that by the end of the Twilight saga Edward and Bella become equals, as they could with Graceling. And in truth, just because one character is physically stronger than their partner does not mean they can’t have an equal relationship. The problem with the inequality of both Bella and Edward’s relationship as well as Katsa and Po’s is that one character holds all the power in the relationship where the other has none. This is unhealthy.
In Twilight Bella would do anything for Edward, she’s willing to die for him, and he becomes the only thing of any importance in her life. This all encompassing view of Edward that she has is not healthy. But, it's not healthy to get into a relationship where you're unwilling to open up to the other person either. In Graceling Katsa has no interest in relationships what so ever. She hates the idea of marriage and thinks of it as this horrible oppressive thing that has absolutely no benefits. After a few chapters she’s so afraid of giving up her newfound freedom that she offers zero commitment to Po when the attraction starts to grow between them. In both of these cases these relationships are presented as healthy when they are not. A healthy relationship has both equality as well as commitment, these things are essential for happiness and trust.
One thing I will say is that in Twilight the negative aspects of Bella and Edward’s relationship were not glorified (despite what some may say, I truly do not think they were). The unhealthy choices made, such as Edward leaving Bella for "her own good", do not turn out well and it’s obvious later that these were bad decisions to have made, though at the time they are made they are presented as perfectly normal decisions to be making in a relationship. And, as for Graceling it does seem that by the end of the book Katsa does develop some kind of commitment to Po, though she continues to hate the idea of marriage and still refuses to see anything positive about it. (I guess I just wish Bella had given Edward a little more grief for leaving her and I wish Po hadn't been so calm about Katsa's inability to give him even an ounce of commitment)
My reason for writing this post is that Twilight has gotten a lot of backlash for portraying an unhealthy relationship, however I think Graceling shows the same level of unhealthy attitude in a relationship the difference being that the roles are switched from a man having all the power in a relationship to a woman having all the power in a relationship, but no one is talking about Graceling being unhealthy. When a man gets into a relationship with zero commitment to the woman we call him a "player" but when a woman does it she's "empowered"? The truth is the relationships in Twilight and in Graceling are both unhealthy. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a man or a woman who’s being controlling and holding all the power in a relationship, it’s wrong either way. Couples should work together to compromise and make each other feel supported.
Now, I’m not saying these are bad books. I enjoyed both of them, and I certainly loved Wuthering Heights. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with writing about a relationship that has unhealthy elements in it in a story, because let’s be honest, that’s reality. Relationships can be unhealthy sometimes. People do sometimes feel so engrossed in another person that it feels like they’d die without them, and they do build up walls to protect themselves and fear commitment. But, the young adults who are reading these books need to recognize that the unhealthy parts of these stories are not okay. And, honestly I think they will. Young adults are not going to be brainwashed into thinking that your boyfriend not allowing you to see one of your friends is okay. They’re gonna say, “Hey, that was really messed up that Bella had to sneak out to see Jacob.” Or at least, that’s what I hope.  

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Review for Opal by Jennifer Armentrout

Passion and a Great Plot

5 stars. I loved Katy and Daemon’s relationship in this book, and the development of all the characters was fabulous. Everyone has grown and changed since the last book. This is a series that hooked me from the very first book and I can’t wait for the next installment.

Opal is the third book in the Lux series by Jennifer Armentrout and it does not disappoint. This steamy alien-romance novel was nothing I expected and yet at the same time everything I hoped it would be. I loved that nothing happened too easily. I wanted Katy and Dee to make up so badly, but with what happened in Onyx the distance between them in this book is believable. It takes time for their friendship to mend, just like it takes time for Dawson to come around and to get back into the swing of things.

I was excited to start reading this knowing that Katy and Daemon were finally together, and once I got into Opal I felt like their relationship was completely natural. I liked that they still had that snarkiness between them and that they still pushed each other’s buttons. I also liked that what kept Katy and Daemon from hooking up was nothing more than the fact that they kept getting interrupted. I’ve read too many books where the main character is trying to be a good role model by waiting for marriage, but that’s not always realistic. For Katy and Daemon they don’t have sex right away, but it’s not for a lack of trying, and some of the interruptions that break them up are quite funny. Then when things finally do work out for them it feels right and is written incredibly well.

I also liked that while this book had enough sexiness to keep me smiling, it didn’t feel like the characters were ignoring the more serious issues in the plot. Onyx left a lot of loose ends that needed to be tied up and this book takes care of most of them but still leaves a few things to wonder for the next book. And, with that cliffhanger of an ending Origin is going to be completely different than I was expecting. This series has thrown one surprise after another at me and the release of Origin can’t come soon enough.

If you haven’t started this series yet, pick up Obsidian today.

Read my Review for Obsidian
Read my Review for Onyx

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Review for My Soul to Save by Rachel Vincent

A Nice Next Step in the Soul Screamer's Series

4 stars. I liked this book, just not quite as much as the first one. It had an interesting story line and I loved the characters, but the plot just didn’t draw me in like the first book did. I kind of saw the ending coming and while there were still surprises I just wasn’t as sucked in. Still it was a good story and I am still interested in reading the third book.

As with the first book I loved these characters. Kaylee and Nash’s relationship develops a little, though not as much as I would have liked. She was still worried that the only reason Nash likes her is to try and get with her, which I didn’t completely understand. After the things they’ve been to I’d like to think that she could trust him more. Tod was one of my favorite characters in this book, you get to see his softer side and it was fun watching him and Addy interact. But, I wish there had been more Emma in this book. I think she’s a wonderful character and I didn’t get to see as much of her as I would have liked. Her part in this book seemed just to be convenient to move the plot along. Also, I wish Vincent would have done a little more with Em dying and being brought back in the first book.

I still liked Kaylee and her stubbornness and concern for others, but she was a little too hard on herself about the bad things that happened to other people. She seemed to think it was her responsibility to save these girls, even though it’s not her fault that they died or chose to sell their souls. There are also a few places where some really dumb decisions made, and I couldn’t completely understand why the characters made the choices they did. For example, Kaylee gets cut by this poisonous plant but she thinks she can wait to take care of it, even though it really hurts and she knows it can kill her. I think she was being a little too selfless. Also I thought Addy could have tried harder to keep her sister from signing that contract. Why didn’t she show her her eyes?
There was some confusion with just what souls are in this book. Are we souls, or are we bodies with souls? When Addy sells her soul and has it replaced with Demon’s Breath it seems that we are bodies and souls are just things we have, but the concept of the last book and a lot of this one is that souls are important and that they are who we are. This is why it’s such a bad thing for Addy to die without one. I was just confused as to what the soul is in context of the story.

One thing I really liked about this book was the Netherworld. I was fascinated with it and the creatures that existed there. It was the one thing about this story that was really new and interesting. I felt like in the beginning of this book there was a lot of time spent re-capping what happened in the first book. I think this would have been good had I not read the first book, but since I had, and done so shortly before starting this one it got redundant for me. Also I felt like the ending was a little predictable, but I was glad that it wasn’t a happy-go-lucky, everything is find kind of ending. And, I did really like the conversation between Kaylee and Tod. That last little piece where they speak at the graveyard left me wanting to read the third book.

Read my Review for My Soul to Take, the First book in the Soul Screamer's Series

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Writing for a Setting in the Midwest

Dispelling Wisconsin Stereotypes… and corroborating a few of them

Whenever I have an idea for a new book I set up a ‘note sheet’ where I lay out my outline, write bio’s for my characters and pick a setting for my story. Then I go about research for said setting and try and learn as much as I can about it to write it accurately and believably. While I was doing this the other day I started to think that it would be so much easier to write a story that was set in Wisconsin, as this is where I’m from and still live, but the creative part of my brain is just set on traveling. Still, this got me thinking that there may be other authors out there who are looking to mentally travel to my state with their books. So, I thought I’d help everyone out with a little post about my home state.
Wisconsin has been a popular setting for TV shows, movies, and books for years. Most people will know That 70’s Show, Happy Days, and Laverne and Shirley, were all set in Wisconsin, and so was Tommy Boy, Dawn of the Dead, Wayne’s World, as well as some of my favorite books including Black House by Stephen King and Peter Straub. And, for the most part they depict Wisconsin fairly accurately, however there are still a lot of stereotypes out there, and while some of them are true others are dead wrong. So, for anyone out there thinking about writing a story set in the mid-west you might find this post helpful.

Everyone in Wisconsin is fat. I hate this one the most, because it’s so far from the truth. Yes, we love our cheese curds and cream puffs at the state fair (or at least I do), but not everyone in the state of Wisconsin is overweight, in fact Wisconsinites have a relatively healthy weight in comparison to all fifty states. The most obese state in the US is actually Mississippi. Wisconsin doesn’t even make it into the top ten most overweight states, instead were dead center at number 25.

Wisconsinites love cheese! Okay, so this one is true… kind of. It’s not like anything in my daily life has anything to do with cheese, and I don’t think I like it any more than someone from any other state, but I do like deep fried cheese curds (which I get every time I go to Culvers) and a good cheeseburger from time to time. There are a lot of little cheese shops here and there in Wisconsin. Particularly if you go to the Wisconsin Dells you’re bound to see a shop with a big ceramic cow or mouse outside. We make a lot of cheese here, and a lot of different kinds of cheese and it’s all pretty good.
Yes, we do drink that much, and we’re proud of it. I’m not saying this is a good thing, especially when I’ve seen close friends deal with drunk driving charges and go through AA, but the truth is in Wisconsin we can drink a lot and most of us would challenge to drink you under the table any day. And, in truth, we probably could. We're often considered Binge Drinkers. A standard mixed drink (for the rest of the country) is about a shot and a half. In Wisconsin, in most bars (of which each town has more than a few) you’ll most likely receive two and a half per mixer. I've even had friends go on vacation and try to compete in out of state drinking competitions and were not allowed to play simply because they were from Wisco.

Rednecks. I personally don’t own an ounce of flannel. Are there some people here who drive big trucks and chew tobacco and shoot squirrels out of the backyard, yes, but I suspect no more than most other states. But, unlike in Tommy Boy, we don’t go ‘cow tipping’ for fun.
There’s lots of bikers. Ah, Harley Davidson this is your birthplace, and yes I’ll hear the bikers revving their engines as they drive down the road a few times in the summer, but it’s not like there’s bikers around all the time. I don’t know of any biker gangs and there aren’t strange men with long beards and leather vests walking around my home town.

Friday fish fries. This one is more of a fun fact than a stereotype. Any restaurant in the state of Wisconsin on a Friday night will have some kind of all fish fry special (often all you can eat). This started as a thing for Lent which calls for abstaining from most meat products, but now you’ll find Friday fish fries year round. I didn’t even realize this was a mid-west thing until I was visiting family out west and suggested going for a Friday fish fry to have everyone stare at me with blank expressions.
It’s cold in Wisconsin. In the winter this is true. In Wisconsin it’s not cold unless it’s thirty below (which even in the winter it isn’t every day), but what most people don’t realize is that our summers are very warm. June through September we have really nice weather. Our summers get hot and our springs and falls are cozy and cool. January and February, and really a lot of March can be quite cold, but I’ve always enjoyed getting to see all the seasons.

It’s all farmland. Yes, there are a lot of farms in Wisconsin, but we’re not all rolling hills and green acres with red barns and black and white cows. Milwaukee for example is home of Summerfest (the world’s largest music festival), and Madison of course is a big college town. As you go farther North and make your way toward Oshkosh, which is another big college town, or up to Green Bay you’ll see more farms along the way, some windmills as well, but there are still cities, populated cities with malls and movie theaters and all your typical city amenities.
We love the Packers… this is true. Enough said. One thing I will say is that I don’t think anyone tailgates like Wisconsinites do. I remember going to Brewers games when I lived closer to Milwaukee and my friends and I would spend more time drinking and grilling out in the parking lot than we would actually watching the game. (Now I’ve heard they don’t let you wait around in the parking lot that long anymore, but it was what everyone did when I was younger). Also, though I’ve never been to a Packer game (I’ve only ever watched them on TV, at the bar, with a bowl of chili and a beer in my hand…) I’ve heard stories of serious tailgaters sticking it out in the cold to not only party before the game, but to sit through the cold to watch it.

Anyone out there blogging about their state? Comment below.

For more Random Posts by Lauryn April, click here

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Review for My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent

Real Characters with New and Different Paranormal Concepts

4.5 Stars. I loved these characters from the very beginning; Kaylee, Emma and Nash are all very real and I wanted to know more about them. However, I did wish there had been a little more of Emma considering she was Kaylee’s best friend, and I did feel like Kaylee’s relationship with Nash came about a little too easily. However, they had known each other for some time, even though not well, before the novel started. I also wish we had been told a little more about why Nash likes Kaylee. He falls for her rather quickly but they don’t have a lot in common, at least other than one big thing.
Kaylee has had a huge secret kept from her, her entire life and at sixteen she’s forced to face it before her father or aunt and uncle were really prepared to talk to her about it. Kaylee is a Banshee and she knows when someone around her is about to die, then she lets out a terrible scream once they pass which can suspend their soul for a short time. It’s a frightening ability but one that Kaylee is able to get a handle on, until she realizes that there’s someone out there that’s taking people before their time and Kaylee can’t stand to let girls die for no reason.

This starts out with action and there’s something going on throughout the entire book. It was an exciting read and there were surprises up through the very end. But, I didn’t completely believe that Kaylee’s aunt would make the choices she did at the end of the novel, it just didn’t feel like that ending had been set up as well as it could have been. The plot overall is exciting and different and I truly enjoyed this book. I just wished a few parts had been fleshed out a little more. Overall I enjoyed this read and will continue on with the next book in this series.

Read my Review for My Soul to Save

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Review for Shadows by Jennifer Armentrout

Prequel with a love story of its own.

4.5 Stars. This prequel to Obsidian was a great piece offering some backstory to the Lux series. It really helps you to understand all these characters that Katy meets in Obsidian, and why they react to her the way they do. I liked that this this book was written in the third person instead of seeing it through Dawson, or another character’s eyes. The rest of the books are in first person through Katy’s point of view, but by Shadows being in the third you are really able to get a feel for all of the characters, not just Dawson and Beth which I think was important.

I liked getting to know Dawson and Beth, their personalities are so different from Daemon and Katy, and so is their relationship. This book has a lot of the same elements that I loved in Obsidian, but it’s a very different story. The Lux series is about aliens, but also feeling like an outcast and fighting against what everyone else wants for you to do what makes you happy. Dawson and Beth have some similar hurdles to overcome as Katy and Daemon, but they’re very different people. Just seeing how Beth discovers that Dawson is an alien is a good example of this as well as a wonderful scene. You really feel for Beth and Dawson as the book goes on and you want them to have a happy ending, but if you’ve already read Obsidian or Onyx then you know that’s not exactly how it goes.

My only real complaint with this book is that there could have been more of it. It was a little short, but there was enough here that Armentrout could have written a full length novel. As it stands it fits perfectly into the Lux series, but Dawson and Beth could very easily have a series of their own. Overall this was a worthwhile read and if you’ve read or are thinking about reading Obsidian I would pick this one up as well.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sequels I Can't Wait to be Released

I love a good series, but waiting for the next book to come out, especially when it's release date is months or even a year or more away can drive you crazy. Here are the books I'm counting down the days until their release.

SamanthaYoung’s fourth book in the Fire Spirits series
“Darkness Kindled”
Release Date: 2013

I have to congratulate Samantha on recently being picked up by Penguin. She deserves it, but with “On Dublin Street” hitting it big “Darkness Kindled’s” release date has gotten pushed back. I am utterly devastated. This book will be the final piece to her Fire Spirits series which I have fallen in love with and am dying to find out how it ends.

What I loved about these books was that they were something I’d never read before. Samantha mixes the Jinn mythology perfectly with urban romance, and her character development is spot on. I’d never liked a love triangle more than when I read “Smokeless Fire,” and the series only gets hotter from there out. “Scorched Skies” and “Borrowed Ember” were each better than the last and because of this I have high expectations for “Darkness Kindled”.

Read my Reviews for:

Jennifer Armentrout’s third book in her Lux series
Release Date: December 18th 2012
I wasn’t expecting to love this series as much as I do, but after reading “Obsidian” Jennifer’s Lux series has quickly skyrocketed to the top of my favorites list. I didn’t put “Obsidian” down until my kindle died then proceeded to twitch nervously as it charged. Then, I read its sequel, “Onyx”, just as fast. Now I’m trying to pace myself with the Lux prequel “Shadows” to hold me over until December 18th. These books were angsty and action packed and I found them impossible to put down.

Aliens aren’t normally the first thing that comes to mind when I talk about the kind of books that I like to read, but the aliens in this book are hot. I got sucked in with the “I want you, but hate you,” romance between Katy and Daemon and with every second and every secret that was revealed I wanted more. Katy and Daemon have spent two books going back and forth fighting their attraction for one another, now I’m dying to see how they come together in “Opal”.

Read my Reviews for:

My second book in the Ivy Daniels series
"Hidden Beneath”
 Release Date: Summer 2013
Okay, so maybe I'm not going crazy waiting to read this one, but I am getting really excited about publishing it. When I started “Into the Deep” I hadn’t planned on there being a second book, but after I got into this project and started writing’s Brant’s background I knew I wanted to do another one. I still think “Into the Deep” is a great stand-alone piece, but there’s more story to be told with Ivy and Brant. In “Hidden Beneath” (Ivy Daniels 2) we get to find out where these characters are the summer after Ivy graduates high school, and they get sucked into a whole new adventure. Now that I have this book almost finished (with the first draft that is) I can say that I like it even more than the first. In the first book Ivy and Brant were just getting to know each other, but in the second book they have history, and it makes their relationship much deeper and much more complex.

In “Into the Deep” I wanted to look at judgment and the way people view one another. It was about learning to be understanding of other people and to not judge a book by its cover. In “Into the Deep” Ivy learns that people make mistakes, in “Hidden Beneath” she will have to learn how to forgive people for the mistakes they’ve made.

Read Reviews for Into the Deep on:

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Review for Onyx by Jennifer Armentrout

A Whole New Layer of Danger and Romance.

5 Stars. This was a great sequel, picking up the story shortly after where Obsidian left off, and it left me wanting to read more. In Onyx Katy learns that she has more than just Arum to worry about. The government has their eyes on the Luxen at all times, but what they’re after are not the aliens themselves. This book was a whole new layer of mystery and danger, and it was just as hot as the first.

 I loved that Katy developed powers and that she didn’t stay this weak human among aliens. She’s still the quirky, independent, and real Katy that I loved from the first book, but she does some growing up and has to learn some hard lessons. I loved that Katy pushed to be seen as an equal and not just some damsel in distress. However, this need to stand beside Daemon and not behind him did cause her to make some bad choices. There were a few times she kept secrets from Daemon that I was just screaming at her to say something. All the same, I did feel like she made believable decisions.
I didn’t mind the love triangle that was introduced, Blake was a well written character and I understood Katy’s attraction to him, he seemed so charming at the beginning, as the story went on however it was obvious that he had a lot that he was hiding. Armentrout did a wonderful job of giving him motive for his actions and making it believable.

I did wish there had been a little more Dee, though I understood why we didn’t see as much of her. She wasn’t forgotten though. Dee goes through some changes in this book and you see that she’s growing up as well. I loved that even though her relationship with Katy gets a little strained, there isn’t a second of doubt that Katy wouldn’t want to be her friend anymore.
Overall this was a wonderful book and I am eagerly awaiting the release of the third book, Opal.

Read my Review of Obsidian, the first book in this series
Read my Review of Opal, the third book in this series

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Review for Obsidian by Jennifer Armentrout

Angsty and Action Packed.

5 Stars. I loved every second of this book. Normally I’m not interested in anything alien related, but I gave this alien love story a go and I’m so glad I did. Before you let your mind dive too far into the realm of scifi you need to know that these were not ET, or Predator like aliens. Think more like Superman or I am Number Four. They were beings from another plant that were really similar to humans just really attractive and with awesome powers.
The relationships in this book were so real. You have Daemon who wants to pretty much stay away from humans to keep himself and his sister safe knowing that they have a secret that needs to be protected. Where as his sister Dee just wants to live her life and pushes to be like everyone else around her, even if they are a different species. Her want to be normal brings her and Katy together. Their friendship is easy and real and you completely understand why they quickly become best friends. Their friendship also brings Katy and Daemon closer.
The “I want you but hate you at the same time” thing that Katy and Daemon had going on was perfectly done and incredibly hot. This wasn’t an “insta-love” romance or one where I didn’t understand why they pushed each other away. It was completely believable and relatable. I also loved how much Dee was involved in the story, she’s just as much a main character as Katy or Daemon and I felt it gave the book a deeper feel. It wasn’t just a love story.
Overall this book was absolutely amazing. I felt like I could completely connect with Katy. She was confidant and gutsy, always throwing something back at Daemon when he got under her skin, but she was down to earth as well. Daemon’s little game with the bonus points was a lot of fun, and the history of what Daemon is was well developed, and there was believable buildup to finding out about his past.
I will defiantly be reading this entire series and looking into more from this author.

Read my Review for Onyx
Read my Review for Opal

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Finding Inspiration in TV's Saddest Moments

How to make viewers, or readers, cry over the death of a character:

As an author I pull my inspiration for my stories from everything around me, from friends and family to books I’m reading and movies I’m watching. I think seeing how someone else created a believable scene, or displays a believable emotion can help writers better understand people and emotions and how to write those things in their own stories in a believable way. So, to help inspire all of you in your writing here are my top ten saddest TV episodes.

10. House – episode “Wilson’s Heart” – No one really liked “Cutthroat Bitch” but after episodes of watching House piece together the tragic bus accident you couldn’t help but shed a tear for Amber and the hopelessness of her situation. House did a great job of making its viewers feel for a less liked character. Part of what made this episode so great was the buildup. The fact that House puts so much effort in to figure out what happened, only to find that there’s nothing he can do to save her is completely heartbreaking.

9. Bones – episode “The Graft in the Girl” – Anytime there’s a child or a young person facing death our hearts reach out to them, and the fact that Amy is so mature about her situation makes us feel for her that much more. It’s not so much the thought of her death that makes this episode sad, but more so the thought of all the things she’ll never be able to do. This is emphasized by Angela bringing her the virtual reality headset to give her a glimpse of places she’ll never really get to visit.

8. Supernatural – episode “Swan Song” – Who doesn’t like Kansas’s “Carry on my Wayward Son”? That song alone could bring tears to my eyes. It’s not always just what happens that makes something sad, it’s how it’s presented. Having the right music, setting the scene in the right way, is necessary to evoke emotion. Also seeing good overcome evil and the way Sam’s memories gave him strength was a powerful message making his “death” all the more meaningful.

7. Angel – episode “I Will Remember You” – How could you not cry at the end of this episode? Buffy and Angel finally had a chance to be together, and forever the martyr Angel gave it all up to keep fighting the good fight. This worked because of who Angel was; he’d devoted his whole existence to making up for his wrongdoing and protecting those who had no one else to look out for them. We could believe in his love for Buffy, but being unable to protect those that he loved meant that he couldn’t be himself, and thus he and Buffy would forever be star-crossed lovers. Sacrifice will only bring a tear to your reader’s eye if they truly believe and understand why your character gave up what he or she did.

6. Buffy – episode “Becoming Part 2” – This is another example of good music choice, Sarah McLachlan and stabbing your boyfriend and sending him to hell to save the world. This is also another example of making sacrifice believable. The world was at stake, and Buffy did what she had to, to protect it, but in the end you saw how much that took from her. But, what I think makes this episode really sad was more than just music and sacrifice, it was looking at what it means to be alone and to have no one but yourself to rely on. Angelus has Buffy cornered and says “No weapons... no friends... no hope. Take all that away and what's left?” and she responds “me.” She finds strength in herself, that strength helps her win the fight, but in the end it also means she’s alone.

5. The Closer – episode “Last Rites” – Brenda finally pay’s the price for putting her work first. I think what hit me hardest with this episode was how unexpected it was. It was just so incredibly real, and the fact that Brenda’s mom never gets the chance to tell her something just eats away at you. Building up to a sad scene can be really effective, but this episode shows that the unexpected can draw just as much emotion if done correctly.

4. Buffy – episode “The Body” – I mentioned before that music choice in episodes was helpful in getting viewers to really feel what was going on in the scene. For this episode it’s the lack of music that tugs at your heart. It’s so raw, so real, and the fact that the entire episode is without music really drives the point home. As a writer I tend to lean more toward the descriptive and using language to describe in detail a scene, but I think this episode shows that pulling back and letting the silence seep in can be just as effective.

3. Angel – episode “A Hole in the World” - Not many people can make the decision to look at the bigger picture. What made this episode so sad for me was that it wasn’t just death that Fred faced, but the complete destruction of her soul. In the Buffyverse we got used to characters being killed off and brought back, but with Fred there was no possibility of a return. The finality of her death was what hit me the hardest. And, they could have saved her, but saving her would have meant death for thousands of other people. It was sad because to protect thousands of people they didn’t know they chose to not only let Fred die but for her entire existence to wiped out. The weight of that was heavier than any other death I’d seen on the show.

2. The Ghost Whisperer – episode “Threshold” – At the end of this episode you completely believe that Melinda’s husband, who was shot and in a coma, has just pulled through and that he’s woken up, but then you realize that Melinda was really talking to his ghost - completely unknowing that he’d passed away, and the whole time you’re sitting there saying “no” this can’t be. His final words to her and that last moment they got to have together was what made this episode sad. In the Closer’s “Last Rites,” the fact that Brenda’s mom never gets to tell her something is what makes it sad. In “Threshold,” it’s getting to hear those last words and knowing that they are the last words she’ll ever hear him say that makes it sad. It’s in knowing that she has to let him go that we feel for her.

1. Buffy – episode “The Gift” – I have never cried harder than when I first watched this episode. What I think makes it so sad is that you see how Buffy’s death effects so many people. Sometimes it’s not the death itself that’s the saddest part; sometimes it’s the way that death creates a loss for everyone who was a part of that person’s life. At the end of the episode you see all Buffy’s friends gathered around and it’s like you can feel the hole she makes in their lives and in their hearts with her death. After all, “the hardest thing in this world, is to live in it.” (Buffy ep. 5.22) and what makes this episode sad is the thought of living without someone who, in so many ways, was your world.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Review for Purpose by Kristie Cook

Wanted More Dorian

3.75 Stars. This book started out strong and ended strong. It’s much more grown up than the first book and I loved the way Alexis’s character had developed between Promise and Purpose. She’s a little broken, and very real. Where I had some problems with this book was the middle. Tristan’s return is wonderful but his relationship with Alexis quickly gets lovey-dovey. I get that they needed time to reunite, but I felt like the middle of this book got a little too mushy.

This starts out years after Promise ends and I really liked that Alexis had grown as a person. She wasn’t the same girl from the first book, but she still felt like the same person. I really felt her pain, and believed that her love for Tristan combined with living with his absence and trying to hold on to hope that he was still alive would affect her exactly as it did. She was torn between not wanting to forget him and needing to be strong enough to continue on with her life. She pulls it together for her son though, and I understood that.

In Purpose Alexis is a little erratic at times, and she’s gotten much more bitchy, especially in the beginning. But, I felt for the most part that it was an honest portrayal of a girl growing older and becoming more cynical. Although at times she did seem a little too extreme. As the story went on I liked the idea of Alexis having this inner battle with good and evil. I also liked Owen a lot in this book and how complex his relationship with Alexis was. I wish that the author had explored this a little further even.

Also, I loved Alexis’s son, Dorian. He was written very well and I wished that he had been in this book more. I felt like the parts of the story that revolved around him were more real and better developed than others. For example, the over lovey dovey-ness in the middle almost felt a little out of place, it felt too easy when the author had done such a good job setting up the beginning to show the complexity of love. Then there’s all this mushy stuff and I felt like it lost its honesty and believability and in turn was romanticized too much. I wanted for Alexis and Tristan to have a wonderful reunion, and they did, but there was so much time spent on this that it almost felt like the characters had regressed some. I wanted to rush through some of the love scenes to see Tristan meet Dorian. I wanted this to happen so much sooner and would have traded some of the mushy love story in the middle for more time with Dorian.

Some of the other things that I didn’t like as much were that again, in this book Alexis was a little too naieve at times. She can just be a little oblivious and there were times when I figured something out chapters before she did.

Also, I felt the religious themes in this book were stronger than they were in the first one. I enjoyed Cook’s message and I loved that she’s written a book that holds true to her values without ignoring, or watering down the passion, but I think the author could have been less blunt and still gotten the same message across. Also there were times when I wondered if Cook was Alexis, especially when it becomes obvious that Alexis’s purpose in life was to write books to inform her readers about the evil in the world and how to protect themselves from it. Was this also maybe what Cook was trying to do by writing the book in the first place? This wasn’t something that bothered me much, just a thought.

Overall I enjoyed this read, and I did go on to read the sample of the next book wanting to know more. But, I feel at this time I’m going to take a break from this series to read something else, and maybe I’ll return to it later.

Read my review for the first book in this series Promise

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Positives about a Negative Review

For a new author a negative review can be a serious hit to one’s self-esteem. We all want people to like our work. After all, a writer’s work is a part of them and a negative opinion of their work can feel personal; especially when not all reviewers take a professional approach to writing their reviews. But, authors shouldn’t let individual reviews get them down. Instead Authors should try to look at the big picture. Bad reviews can be a good thing.

Having a few negative reviews is the best way to avoid more negative reviews, and here’s why.

I often make the decision of whether or not I will buy a book based on, not a good review, but a bad one. Often times a five star review tends to gush about how wonderful a book is and fails to tell you much information. On the flip side a one star review tends to complain about the book, but doesn’t offer much information either. Obviously a good reviewer can provide a well-rounded review for any star level, but for the majority of reviews I find the best ones to read are those that are 2, 3, and 4 stars. Those are the reviews where people actually tell you what they liked and what they didn’t. Now a four star review is still good, and even a three star review isn’t bad. It’s the two star reviews that I think can really hurt, but these are the ones that are going to help you find your target audience.

When you read a review, good or bad, you get a better sense of what the book is about. When it comes to reading a negative review you can gain insight into what may be a book’s flaws or annoyances. But, you’re not going to always agree with the person that wrote that review. Say someone gave a book a bad review because the book contained a love triangle and that reviewer is just sick of love triangles, but maybe you are crazy about them and are looking for a love triangle for your next read. Suddenly that bad review helped you purchase a book. Now, this is a really simple example, but the point is that what makes a book good or bad varies – at least to some degree- from person to person. What a bad review is going to do for you is, one give more insight into what your book is about, and two keep other people from reading it who agree with the bad review and would then in turn write you a bad review.

The goal isn’t to write a book that everyone is going to like, the goal is to write a book that you like and then to find the right audience for it. Authors need to keep in mind that everyone gets bad reviews, even bestselling authors. There’s no such thing as a perfect book, and everyone has a different opinion on what they like.

Authors should also remember that the ratings themselves are subjective as well. Even with Amazon and Goodreads giving a basis like “3 Stars = I liked it”, for us to make judgments from, we need to remember that “I liked it” still means something different from one person to the next. Two people may feel the exact same about the same book but have different concepts of their rating systems. To some 3 Stars or “I liked it” is a good rating, a book they “liked” is one they recommend. For others, like myself, 3 Stars isn’t that great of a rating. To me 3 Stars means that it may be well written, but is lacking something, or that maybe I can see why other people liked it, but it just wasn’t for me. If I liked a book I will typically give it 4 stars. I reserve 5 stars for books that completely blew me away, and 3 stars go to those books that were just alright. I rarely give a book 2 stars, and I don’t think I’ve ever given a book 1 star. Because of how I consider my ratings for me to get a 2 or 3 star review hits harder than it might for others.

Now, that doesn’t mean that authors should disregard all negative reviews. People will have different opinions on what they like in regard to content, but when it comes to quality almost everyone can agree that a well written and grammatically correct book is necessary for a good review. Authors should listen to the criticisms of their book and weigh them objectively to help improve their writing; they just shouldn’t let bad reviews get them down.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Review for Promise by Kristie Cook

Well Developed Characters and Steamy Scenes:

4.5 Stars. This book opens with a lot of action, and it really sucked me in. I did feel a little like the very first scene of this book was a little disjointed from the rest of it; but, after reading the second book in this series it makes sense how it all fits together. The whole book has a very quick pace, which I enjoyed for the most part. Although at the beginning there were a few scenes that I wouldn't have minded if they'd been slowed down a bit.

Cook has wonderfully descriptive scenes, and fun sassy dialogue. I loved her main character Alexis. She is an introverted type, partly because of all the moving around she did as a kid. She never had time to make close friends. She also at times has low self-esteem, maybe again because she never had a chance to really connect with anyone, and maybe partly because of things she went through as a teen. Alexis has been an outcast, a freak, and rejected, and I found myself completely able to relate to her. And, she's got sass too. She's introverted but also independent and she channels her feelings into her writing. I liked that she had this talent; it made her feel like a very well rounded character. Also, she's not weak; she's a strong young woman. She just prefers to keep to herself.

There were times when I found Alexis a little too naive. I just wish she had explained better why she never looked deeper into what she was. Also, there were some things that were obvious to me, but she was completely oblivious to them. So, while I liked her character I felt she wasn't the most perceptive and that her lack of perception was somewhat unbelievable.

Tristan was also a wonderful character. From the very beginning I found him fascinating. He was confidant and very forward but also down-to-earth. However, he could be a little cheesy at times. For the most part I loved his character, but some of the things he said to Alexis, like constantly following up her name with "my love" was a little too much for me. I also hated that Alexis was always referring to Tristian as "yummy" or "delicious" as if she were eying up a candy bar. Despite these little annoyances however, their relationship really felt like it clicked to me. It felt real and felt like it truly grew. I believed Alexis when she said she was drawn to him and could feel that they were truly falling in love. I also liked that their relationship took time to develop.

This was a wonderful love story, and while there were also some unique ideas being used there were also defiantly some overdone plot devices as well. I can see why some people compared this to Twilight. Both Promise and Twilight are about this unyielding, forever love that two people experience, and they both involve supernatural creatures dealing with how to control and hide their powers. Because of this there are some similar themes between the books. But, I have to say, this book as a whole was very different from Twilight.

Also, I was bothered by the fact that some people didn't think this was YA, but that's mostly because I think a lot of people have a really screwed up definition of what YA stands for. YA - young ADULT. This book is not for kids. I would give it a 17+ rating because there are some really steamy scenes, but that's still YA for me. At 17 you're a young adult. And on that note, the romance in this was hot! (My thoughts on what it means to be a Young Adult)

One thing that was odd to me about this book was that Alexis wonders if her mother and Tristan will hook up. This just seems like a strange thing to wonder about your mother. Did her mother often date much younger men? Obviously as we learn more about the nature of just what Alexis, Tristan and Sophia are this question isn't as weird, but in the beginning before Alexis knows what she is I find this to be an odd thought for her to have. Later it's also clear that she and her mom are very close, they are almost more like sisters or friends then mother and daughter, but I think at first this really threw me off.

Where I had some problems with this book was at the end. I liked the way the plot went, but the story lost me a little. I didn't feel Tristan's sacrifice, and I'm not sure I entirely understood his decision. He seemed to go off and walk right into exactly what they were avoiding. I just wish the ending had sucked me in a little more, but for whatever reason it didn't. All together though this was a great read and after finishing it I immediately picked up its sequel Purpose.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Why we Love the Supernatural

Contemporary literature and Paranormal, or Fantasy novels often look at many of the same themes; the difference between the two being whether a story contains or lacks a supernatural element. So, I thought I’d look at what makes books that include otherworldly elements so popular.

Reasons we read supernatural stories:

Sean McGrath
Escape Reality: The thing that makes paranormal or fantasy novels so interesting is that they’re extra ordinary – a step outside of the normal. In a fantasy novel you have the ability to see things that aren’t possible in real life. Imaginations can run wild in a paranormal or fantasy novel. There are endless possibilities: A world without boundaries. In our everyday lives we deal with structure and rules. Fantasy novels break out of the routine to give us surprises and spontaneity.

Belief in the Extraordinary: Many of us like to think that there’s a bit of fantasy that exists in our own world. Whether it be that you believe in ghosts, or magic, miracles, or even just intuition, paranormal books help us to believe that maybe just a little piece of them really is real. We all want to believe in something, and fantasy books help up to keep hope alive that maybe there’s a little bit of magic in our own world.

Value the Ordinary: Seeing characters deal with life or death issues puts our own problems in their place. If so and so can save the world, well then I can pass my history exam on Friday. We like to read about epic quests and heroes battling immeasurable odds, because when they come out on top it makes us feel like we can conquer anything.

Symbolic Monsters: Real life problems can be symbolized by fantasy monsters. Stephen King once said, “Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win.” We all have our own inner demons that we battle with every day. We can relate with the monsters in supernatural stories because sometimes they are the personification of the things we feel inside.

Kick ass Action: There’s nothing that can amp up a fight scene better than having characters with super powers. Fantasy stories not only have characters whose strength and agility can exceed that of the typical human, but they might also have magical powers, or an ability to heal themselves. Supernatural stories have the ability to have some truly epic action.

There are many sub-genres of the supernatural, including Fantasy which includes stories about mythical lands and creatures and epic quests, Paranormal which includes stories about things such as ghosts or vampires, and Science fiction which may deal with outer space or experiments gone wrong. But, what they all have in common is that they are more than just make-believe. They represent our inner demons, display the extent of our imaginations, and provide an escape from the monotony of our lives. For those reasons stories of the supernatural are important, and that’s why we love them.

If you liked this post check out “Why we Love Vampires

Monday, October 1, 2012

Review for Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Fascinating Idea and Scenery, but Overtly Strong Feminist Ideals

3.5 Stars. When I started reading this book, I love it. It had action, fantasy and mystery. It’s set in a medieval like setting and had a fairly original concept dealing with its “graced” characters, or characters with special enhanced abilities. But, as it went on I felt like it was two stories that got mashed together, and by the end I had lost interest and stopped caring about the characters.

In the beginning when Po came into the story he was Katsa’s match, they were both graced and both perfect for one another – equals in strength and skill. Their relationship started out so wonderful. It had spark, and snark, and chemistry. But then I felt like they became friends too quickly and that spark turned amicable, and I found this a little boring. Conflict was later introduced again, but I wish that there had been more of it between them throughout. I also loved when Po told Katsa that he’d give himself to her however she would take him, but then I was disappointed that it took so little time for them to hook up. The suspense had little time to build and then was lost completely. By the time I got halfway through this book I felt like any piece of the plot that revolved around Katsa and Po was resolved and thus there was little reason to continue on.

Part of this book is a love story between Kasta and Po, and the other part is a fantasy quest with Katsa and Bitterblue. I feel like I would have liked it better had it been one or the other, especially because the angst and sexual tension that were building between Kasta and Po at the beginning was entertaining. But, it wasn’t completely fleshed out and was resolved far too quickly. It left me wanting and feeling like the second half of the book was restarting with a new story that slowed things down because it was completely different from how it started. After the halfway point of this novel I felt like almost all of the questions I had, all of the mystery, had been resolved and then for the next 30% of the book things slowed down as you see some really awesome locations, but many of them we only get to see as Katsa is moving through them where there’s little action. It was nothing more that Cashore telling us about this awesome world she created- which it is, but I could have done without that. The second half of the book lost the story for me.

In the second half this book becomes more of a quest and the characters change, but not in a way I liked. The relationship between Katsa and Po that I felt was even matched turned into Katsa being stronger than Po. She also held all control in their relationship telling Po that she may just leave one day. I understood her need for freedom, but healthy relationships should involve compromise and commitment which this lacked. It felt just a little to radically feminist as if Cashore was trying to make the point that women are better than men.

I’m all for strong female characters and I understood why Katsa was how she was, but there were parts of her personality that I had trouble relating with. I hated that she cut her hair off. I understand that it was practical, but this just bothered me. Kasta may not be a girly girl, but her hatred of wearing dresses, cutting off her hair, dislike of marriage and really anything considered a traditional female role, made it hard to find softness in her. I can understand her not wanting to get married, but she often looked at marriage as extremely oppressive of women and in a very negative light. To her being married meant to be a possession, and it made me feel like her opinion was rather biased. I felt too much like Cashore was trying to make a point with Katsa and that her character lacked some development because of it. I will say, Katsa’s relationships with the men around her, particularly Po helped make her feel real, but I felt like they were somewhat glossed over and rushed through.

There is a definite theme of wanting to protect young girls from being forced to do something against their will. Cashore looks at power and control and how these things change who we are. This theme is repeated with the king’s daughters who Randa sends Katsa to force one of which to marry, with Katsa herself and dealing with Randa’s control, with the servant girl in the tavern, and then of course with Bitterblue and Katsa’s dealing with Leck in the end. I didn’t mind the theme, but I felt that it was a little strong.

In the end, I enjoyed Katsa and Po’s reunion but the few questions I had left such as, what did Leck want with Bitterblue, and why were there cut up animals and children dying, were still unanswered. I get that there’s another book and guess that this will be answered then, but all my other questions were answered before I was even halfway finished with this book. So, this was the only question that kept me reading, and then not having it answered left me feeling frustrated.

Overall, I think there is an audience for this book but I’m not it. If you like that stronger, feminist, ‘women are better than men’ kind of characters you will relate to Katsa, but I didn’t. Also, if you like books about quests and don’t need the suspense of romance to carry you through a novel, you might enjoy the second half of this book more than me. There is some good writing here, and a wonderful idea, but it wasn’t for me.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Self-Publishing Part 3 (For Self-Publishers)

Tips and Tricks of Publishing from Start to Finish

Read Self-Publishing Part 1 (For Readers)
Read Self-Publishing Part 2 (For Writers)

Self-publishing Marketing Procedure

Okay, here it is, from start to finish, an easy list of the steps that I think are most effective to publishing your book. When I started writing Into the Deep, I searched all over for a “how to list” or anything to give me some idea of how this process went from writing a book to publishing it. I found nothing, so I thought I’d share my own “how to list” with everyone. This model is specific for my Young Adult, Paranormal Romance, and may not fit for every book. But, I hope it will be something that new writers can take and adapt to work for them. This is also not exactly how I published Into the Deep, but follows closely with changes made to record what I think I should have done.

Daniel Kulinski

1.       Write and start blogging.
                -Getting a blog going will give you an outlet for when you have writers block and set up a stand from which you can start to gain followers from and promote your book. Also look into getting a Twitter account, Facebook, Goodreads, and Google+.

2.       Find Beta readers.
                -After you’ve finished writing, you need other eyes on your work to help you see the problems that you can’t. Read The Beauty of Beta Readers for more info.

3.       Review, re-write, review.
-Listen to the comments your Beta Readers have left you and improve your novel. This process can take months depending on how fast your Betas read and how much time you have for re-writes. Read To Kill a Cliche to help you improve your novel.

4.       Find an Editor.
                -When you feel like your book is “finished” you will need to then send it to someone who can correct all your grammatical and style mistakes. No author can professionally edit their own work; it’s too easy to gloss over our own mistakes. Read The Price of Hiringan Editor to help you find one at an affordable price.

5.       Review your edited manuscript.
                -There are two reasons to read your manuscript after it’s been edited. The first is to become aware of the mistakes you make so you can avoid them in the future and give your editor an easier time the next time around. Second, it’s always good to read your novel after some time has passed so you can get a fresh look at it and make and last minute changes that you feel necessary.

6.       Have cover art made, or make it yourself.
                -This can also be something you work on while your book is being edited.

7.       Get your book a Goodreads page.
                -You want to get the word out that there’s a new book coming out, so you’ll need to put information out where people can find it and learn more about it. Also get involved in the Goodreads community if you aren’t already. Then look into other sites like Shelfari, YABC, ect…

8.       Find reviewers in advance.
                -Look for reviewers and bloggers who’ve given 5 stars to other books with similar content to your own. Contact them and see if you can send them an ARC copy in return for a review. Set it up so when you books go live that you have reviews ready to be written.

9.       Convert files to mobi and pdf.
                -Remove deep indents, don’t forget headers and page numbers for the pdf file, and change your font to something like Century or Georgia. See this web page, or this web page for tips for Kindle. See this web page for tips for Createspace. Make sure you upload the mobi file to your own Kindle to see if the formatting looks the way you want it to.

10.      Put your book together on Createspace.
                -Createspace offers many different options for your book, and you will have to choose which is best for you. For Into the Deep I went with 5x8 dimensions and cream paper, as I felt this was most akin to how other books in its genre are printed.

11.      Put your book together on Kindle. Go with KDP.
-Being exclusive with Amazon may sound like a negative in many ways, but your KDP Free days are worth the three months that you can’t sell your book through other outlets. Check out The Pros and Cons of Amazon and KDP for more information.

12.      Set up a Goodreads giveaway.
                -You only need to do this for one or a few copies of your book, and set it to start about a week before your book is released, having it end on or around your release date. This will let hundreds of people know about your book, and you’ll see interest in it on Goodreads increase. When you’re contacted about whom won make sure to send them a book promptly.

13.      Write a Book Release.
                -Get the word out about your book being available for purchase. Let everyone know through your blog, Facebook, Twitter, ect… when your release date is.

14.      Release your book.
                -Keep in mind that it takes Amazon a few days to set up a page for your paperback book so make sure you hit ‘publish’ a few days before your release date. Also it will take Amazon 12-24 hours to get your page ready for your Kindle edition.

15.      Set up your Author’s page on Amazon.
-Go to Amazon’sAuthor’s Central.

16.      Set up KDP Free days.
                -A few weeks or a month or so after your release date when sales start to decline pick a time to use your KDP Free days. Break them up; you have 5 so maybe use 2 of them. Then, make sure to promote your free days on your blog, Goodreads, twitter, facebook, ect… The second half of my post on The Pros and Cons of Amazon and KDP talks about my first experience with my free days.

17.      Keep Promoting.
                -Continue to find bloggers who you can do interviews for, maybe run a .99cent sale, and keep track of your results so you can change your plan as you go and find what works best for your book.

18.      Start Book #2
                -You may be working on this on the side all along, but if not then at some point you need to think about it and start this process all over. The more books you have the more readers you can reach and ultimately the more money you can make.
There are no guarantees in the publishing world, and this is certainly not a guarantee of how to get a best-seller. Like I said before what works for one book may not work for another and authors will have to make changes to their publishing plan as they go. But, I hope this provides a good place to start for new authors. Good luck to all of you.

I would also like to add that if anyone has any tips on what worked in your experiences self-publishing that you would like to share, please do so in a comment below.

Indie Book Goal 2018