Saturday, October 6, 2018

Reading and Writing Wrap-Up: September

Fall is finally here and for once I'm managing to get this post out on time! The last few weeks have been busy as far as my personal life is concerned. Work has kept me busy, but I managed to get a little reading and writing done last month.




READING:

Books Reviewed in September:

I was really close to finishing Lost Wages of Sin by Rosalie Stanton, but I have a few more chapters to go. So, you will see that review this month.

Books Read in September:

I nearly finished Lost Wages of Sin by Rosalie Stanton. I like this book but it does edge into that erotica territory for me. It doesn't seem to be specifically labeled as such, and the plot and characters are solid, but there's a little more crude language than I'm used to and some seriously spicy scenes. 

Books to read in October:

I've yet to pick my next book. And while I'm super behind on my #IndieBookGoal2018 pledge I'm considering reading something mainstream. I have a few books on my shelf I've been waiting to get to including Moonlight Sins by Jennifer Armentrout.



WRITING:

Betaing for Unraveling in the Night (Book 2 in the Cereus Vampire Chronicles) has slowed a little, but I'm still moving forward with that. Other than some betaing I didn't really do much writing last month.



BLOGGING:

I've been slacking in the blogging department. Sorry about that. The  #IndieBookGoal2018 pledge page did get updated last month. So, if you're looking for an indie read this fall, check it out. I'm already making plans for #IndieBookGoal2019 and I think there will be some changes to the rules for next year. I'm hoping to get more bloggers involved. So, stay tuned for that.


PERSONAL:

I've been super busy the last few weeks with work and spending time with family, but overall things have been good.


What are you planning to read this fall?

Monday, September 24, 2018

Made-Up Word of the Month: Anticipafiction

Out of all the words I've made up for this series this is one of my favorites. In the pre-e-book days this word would have been in my vocabulary all the time, now I'd use it less often as buying my next book is just a click away. But, there's always that anticipation you feel waiting for the sequel in your current favorite series to hit the market that provides a necessity for this word to exist.


Anticipafiction

[an-tis-uh-p-fik-shuh n]
noun. 

1. the act of anticipating the acquisition of a new book. 

2. expectation or hope for a new book to be released. 


“In anticipafiction of the release of the third book in my favorite series, I’m re-reading all the previous books.”


This is that feeling you get when you're anxiously waiting for a new book by your favorite author to be released. Or, when your most recent Amazon order hasn't come in. Anticipafiction is how you feel staring out the window waiting for the Mailman to show up with your next book haul.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Reading and Writing Wrap-Up: August

Once again my monthly wrap-up post is late. But, I'm glad to say that I'm reading a little more consistently, writing more, and have even gotten through some beta critiques on Unraveling in the Night. It's still been a little slow going, but I'm working to revise some of the ways I used to do things to be more efficient.

Whether you're a writer or just a reader you know that there are times when you have to make time for the things you love, aka: books, and I think I've been doing a little better at that lately.



READING:

Books Reviewed in August:

I finished Spark of Fire by Grace Anthony. This was definitely a worthwhile read. It was fun and fast-paced and it's a YA book that I think would appeal to younger readers. This book was a part of my #IndieBookGoal2018 pledge.

Books Read in August:

I started Lost Wages of Sin by Rosalie Stanton, and I'm definitely sucked in. Definitely, an adult read, but it hasn't delved into erotica territory so I'm happy with it so far. A little more crude language than I'm used to, especially after just finishing a YA read, but the plot is solid and I'm in love with the characters.

Books to read in September:

I will be finishing Lost Wages of Sin, and despite being crazy busy I should be able to start one more before the end of the month. Not sure what I'll pick yet. Since I'm super behind on my #IndieBookGoal2018 pledge it should probably be another Indie Pledge Book.



WRITING:

Unraveling in the Night (Book 2 in the Cereus Vampire Chronicles) is finally on Scribophile and I've been getting feedback from betas!



BLOGGING:

Bah, when did blogging become so hard!? I know my posts have been fewer, farther between and less consistent. I've been considering revamping what I post about and when to get into a new routine. So, stay tuned for that.

I do have an update on the  #IndieBookGoal2018 pledge. I haven't updated the list in a few months, but will be doing so today! If any of you have pledged to read Indie Books this year, I'd love to hear about what books you've read and where you are in achieving your goal (whether you've pulled books from my list or not!). Please comment below.



PERSONAL:

I have been busting my butt in my yard trying to get some plants in the ground before summer turns into winter -- because inevitably fall will somehow end up getting skipped over. The weather here has still consistently been in the 80's and I have a feeling it will stay like that until it snows. Can't I just get a nice 70 degree day, please!


How was the end of your summer?

Monday, August 27, 2018

Made-Up Word of the Month: Readream

After barely blogging last month, and skipping July's Made-Up Word of the Month, I'm back and I'm blogging about those feelings and experiences that only book lovers can understand, by making up words to describe them. Each month, on the last Monday of the month, I'll post a new word.

1.     Readream
[ree-dreem]
noun.

1. a succession of images, thoughts, or emotions related to a book passing through the mind during sleep.

“I had the weirdest readream last night where I imagined that I was attending Hogworts.”


Sometimes when you love a book you find yourself thinking about it all the time, even in your sleep. I know I've definitely dreamed about a few of my favorite stories.

When was the last time one of your favorite books made it into your dreams? Have you ever been pulled into a fantasy world, living the story as the main character? Or maybe you've met a fictional character in your dreams? Share below! 

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Review of Spark of Fire by Grace Anthony

3.5 Stars. A Fast-Paced YA Paranormal Novel with a Solid Plot. Spark of Fire by Grace Anthony is a fun YA read about reapers and shifters. Anthony has created a mythology that is familiar and brand new at the same time. Her main characters, Ember and Liam are teenage reapers on a mission to protect fellow high school student, Billie, who has her own set of mysterious superpowers. As reapers, they are highly trained to battle against rogue shifters putting people in harm's way.

Anthony does a good job keeping the stakes high and the pace quick. I did enjoy reading this book and especially liked Anthony's well-written plot and focus on her characters who were complex and believable. This had a different perspective than I normally find in Young Adult Paranormal Romance books. There was a heavy emphasis on the relationship between Ember and her brother. Strong family relationships and the romance was more hinted at and was possibly being set up for the second book instead of being pivotal to the plot like it is in many YA PNR books.

Where this book lost a few stars for me was that it would have benefitted from a little more editing. There was a lot of passive tense and some awkward word choice. I also felt like some scenes could have been fleshed out a bit more. While there were some nice descriptions in some places, I wanted more description in others. And, the third person, multiple POV made it hard to know which character this story would focus on.

Overall, this was an interesting and suspenseful YA paranormal story with a solid plot and complex characters, but the writing itself would have benefitted from one more draft after a run through with a good beta.




Was the writing/editing solid?

3/5 - The writing was good but with a little more telling than showing and a good amount of passive tense it had room for improvement. There were some typos, though they were not a major distraction.

Did the book have a well-formed plot/subplots?

4/5 - This book really did have a solid plot and it took me on a journey.

Could you relate to the characters?

4/5 - I liked the characters and felt they were all believable and complex.

Did the story make you feel?

3/5 - This book is written in the third person and is told through multiple POV's. Because of that it took me a little while to get into and I didn't get as invested in the characters as I have with other books.

Was the book unputdownable?

4/5 - I would read large chunks at a time, but did put the book down on occasion.



Indie Book Goal 2018 Notes

This is the fourth book I've finished for #IndieBookGoal2018 where I've pledged to read at least 10 Indie books before the end of the year. 

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Reading and Writing Wrap-Up: July

So, if you follow my blog on a regular basis, I'm sure you noticed that I was MIA all of July. I kind of just fell off the map for the month. No blog posts, no activity on Twitter or any of my social media accounts. I just disappeared. No, I'm not dead. I'm perfectly fine.

I just needed a break.

Any blogger or writer out there will tell you that keeping up with making content to put out to the world can wear on you after a while -- especially if on top of your writing career you also work full-time.

So, I took a break in July, and I'll be honest. I needed it. I feel like I've been working so hard just to try and keep up this year that I've stressed myself out to the point where I'm barely reading and writing has felt forced. So, instead, I spent some time working on my house. My husband and I bought a motorcycle, and I spent a few nights vegging out to some Netflix-binging.


I'm gonna keep this post short this month. I barely read in July, though I do plan to finish  Spark of Fire by Grace Anthony soon, and I'm only now getting back into the writing groove.

I'm going to try and focus all my energy toward getting Unraveling in the Night ready to go as I'd like to publish it this fall, and that's about it for now.

You may see my blogging and social media presence continue to be a little more spaced out than it was, but I promise. I'm not going anywhere.


How was your July?


Monday, June 25, 2018

Made-Up Word of the Month: Stourism

Once again I'm blogging about those feelings and experiences that only book lovers can understand, by making up words to describe them. Each month, on the last Monday of the month, I'll post a new word.


Stourism
[stoo r-iz-uh m]
noun.

1. the activity or practice of visiting places that served as settings in books.

“Forks, Washington is a huge stourist attraction for Twilight fans.”


This is a word that combines two of my favorite things, reading and traveling. Places can sometimes be like characters themselves in books and visiting a place special to a particular novel can remind a reader of all the reasons why they loved that book. 

Have you visited any book related places? Whether you've been to Forks, Washington or Harry Potter World, leave a comment below. Or, share about the places you'd like to visit!



If you liked this word, you might like:

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Unraveling in the Night Cover Reveal!

So, I'm really excited to share this cover with everyone. I actually like it better than the cover of the first book, Unearthed After Sunset. I also have some goodies to share. Along with the cover, there's an excerpt below, summary and download link to get Unearthed After Sunset for free so you can read it before Unraveling in the Night comes out this fall.

If you haven’t read Unearthed After Sunset (Cereus Vampire Chronicles #1) Get it here for FREE.


Summary:

It’s been over a year since Archibald Gregory Erickson died. He’s shed his human life and gone on a journey of self-discovery, now Archer is back in Phoenix and finds himself quickly falling back into old habits. When danger strikes, putting Caroline in harm's way Archer decides to stick around town a little longer, especially when it looks like Santo may be planning something. But things aren’t always as they appear. Archer and Caroline work together to uncover the cause behind a mass of vampire disappearances.

Add to Goodreads:

Unraveling in the Night (Cereus Vampire Chronicles #2)

Unedited Excerpt:

Rusty mattress springs squeaked as I rolled onto my side. I lay on the floor in an abandoned building. I’d slept in. I liked getting a full eight hours rest as a human, but as a vampire, it wasn’t uncommon for me to sleep ten or even fourteen hours during the summer months. My body wanted to be awake at night, the rest of the time it seemed fine snoozing.

I headed out into the night. A few hours remained until midnight when Caroline asked me to meet her, so I decided to wander around town. Not much had changed in Phoenix since last year. It was the same eclectic metropolitan, a bustling and yet boring city filled with college students but also retirees and homeless.

I passed people of all kinds as I walked down the street. Through the window of a bar, I saw businessmen out for a drink before their ride back to the suburbs. A group of kids loitered at the street corner listening to loud music, and across the street, an old man carried a bag of groceries up his apartment stairs.

Then I saw something unusual. A block ahead, an old black van sat parked on the side of the road with the side door slid open. It waited right outside the butcher shop, and a moment later a tall man with a long face and black hair stepped outside. Dressed in a long sleeve shirt and jeans, with a complexion that hasn’t seen the sun in years, he had all the tell-tale signs of being new to town.

I slowed my pace to watch. I’d spent a lot of time as a vampire watching people, and I’d learned to notice people who were out of place. At first, I thought he was a vampire, but when he turned his head he lacked the tell-tale glow to his eyes, which also meant he wasn’t a hunter. He was human.

A bell tinkled out into the night, as the butcher shop door opened again. An unappealing meat smell drifted on the breeze. A young man in a white apron pushed a five-gallon, sealed, white bucket out on a rolling cart. He was a scrawny kid, still in his teens.

“Right in here?” The kid asked.

The man nodded. “Yeah, right in the van.”

Whatever was in that bucket must have been heavy. The young man strained to lift it. He set it in the van and the man slammed the door shut.

“Hey mister, what do you do with all this cows blood anyway?” the kid asked.

The man turned to him with a cold glare and said, “I make blood pudding.”

He was going to make blood pudding with five gallons of blood?

A moment later he drove away and I jogged up to where the kid still stood outside. He grabbed the rolling cart and pulled it back toward the door.

“Hey, what’d that guy order?” I asked before he slipped back inside. I wondered if maybe I’d heard the kid wrong. Maybe the five-gallon bucket had been filled with something else and he’d only bought a pint of cows’ blood?

“What?” His eyes were wide. “Oh, um, that guy?” He laughed. “He got five gallons of cow’s blood. Don’t ask me what he does with it, but he was here last week with the same order.”

The kid went back inside the butcher shop and I was left pondering what I’d seen. The man in the van wasn’t a vampire. I was sure of that, and even if he had been, a vampire can’t live on the blood of animals. My maker, Lila, had told me that the first night I’d turned. She’d said the blood of animals would make me sick. Then again, I’d never tested the theory myself.

I shook my thoughts free. For all I knew this had nothing to do with vampires. All sorts of people lived in Phoenix. That guy could be into weird ritual sacrifices or hell, really like the movie Carrie. One weirdo didn’t equal trouble.


Saturday, June 2, 2018

Reading and Writing Wrap-Up: May

It's only May, but Summer is here, and I've gotten a little distracted from my writing and reading by the sunshine. But, I do have some things I've been working on and some things to share. So, read on to see what I've been up to.



READING:

Books Reviewed in May:

I posted my review of Snatch Girl by LJ Kane. There were things I liked and some things I didn't. This book was a part of my #IndieBookGoal2018 pledge.

Books Read in May:
I started Spark of Fire by Grace Anthony in May. I'm not quite halfway through with this YA Fantasy read yet, but so far it has a solid plot.

Books to read in June:

I plan to take a break from the Indie Book List this month. I purchased Jennifer Armentrout's Moonlight Sins last month and I'm excited to start that.



WRITING:

I'm still working my way through editing Unraveling in the Night (Book 2 in the Cereus Vampire Chronicles). I've also been tinkering with a few other WIP's. I have a (non-superatural) psychlogical thriller that's been playing at the back of my mind for some time. With all the other things I'm working on it will probably be some time before that one sees it's way to publication, but it was fun to work on for a bit.



BLOGGING:

May was another slow month for blogging. I'm still trying to get back into my groove.


My Favorite Blog Posts in May:

Favorite Post Written: I feel like such a bad blogger this month because I didn't really write anything blog-wise. I had my standard Book reviews, Monthly re-cap, and my made up word of the month, but that's it. Sorry guys.

Favorite Post Read: Okay, so along with being a bad blogger last month I didn't really read much blog-wise either... Honestly, my internet time was consumed by the #SaveLucifer movement. If you follow me on twitter @LaurynApril you probably already know this. I LOVE that tv show and was literally devastated when it was canceled by Fox. But, I'm not giving up hope yet. Someone needs to pick it up.



PERSONAL:

We finally got some sunshine here in Wisco and I've been soaking up every minute of it. My husband and I have gotten the boat out and we've also been working on some gardening projects.

Monday, May 28, 2018

Made-Up Word of the Month: Imaginattraction

Once again I'm blogging about those feelings and experiences that only book lovers can understand, by making up words to describe them. Each month, on the last Monday of the month, I'll post a new word.


Imaginattraction
[ih-maj-uh-trak-shuh n]
noun.
1. the magnetic charm or alluring quality of an imaginary character in a book.
2. the action or power of evoking interest, pleasure, or liking for someone or something fictional

“The male lead in the book I started reading is crazy hot and I feel a strong imaginattraction toward him.”


If you like romance novels of any kind, this is a word you understand well. This is how you feel toward all your book boyfriends. It's a word to describe all those swoon-worthy moments in your favorite book.

Who's the last character you had an imaginattraction toward?


If you liked this word, you might like:
Charalamentation
Disreadspect
Fantastorize

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Reading and Writing Wrap-Up: April

We finally got some decent weather at the end of April and it did great things for my mood and the writer's block I was dealing with at the beginning of the month. After a rough month, feeling like I didn't have any time to write and suffering from writer's block, things are finally starting to look up.



READING:

Books Reviewed in April:

I finished Snatch Girl by LJ Kane. There were things I liked and some thing I didn't. This book was a part of my #IndieBookGoal2018 pledge.

Books Read in April:

After finishing up Snatch Girl I downloaded a few more sample books, but haven't started any yet. I tried cracking one open last night, but my Kindle died on me. I hate when I forget to charge it.

Books to read in May:

I plan to start another book from my Indie Book List. I have a few books in mind that I plan to look at next, but I haven't officially picked one yet.



WRITING:

I got Unraveling in the Night (Book 2 in the Cereus Vampire Chronicles) back from one of my betas already, and I've been working my way through her notes. I've also been spending time Scribophile and should start posting there soon. I wanted to get it up on there last month but didn't get around to it. So...this month. Hopefully.



BLOGGING:

April was a slow month for blogging. I was kind of in a rut all month and not really writing much at all, but I think things are starting to turn around.


My Favorite Blog Posts in April:

Favorite Post Written: Why I Feel Like Giving Up on Writing Yes, this title is a little depressing. But, writing can be a form a therapy for me and putting my thoughts and feelings into a blog post definitely helped.

Favorite Post Read: Normally I have a recent post to mention here, but this time I stumbled across something from a few years ago. The Perils (and Benefits) of Reviewing Indie Fiction is well written and honest and goes along well with my #IndieBookGoal2018 challenge.



PERSONAL:

I mentioned last month that I started a new job in April, and while I love it, there's been a lot to learn. I have a new schedule to get used to, and it's been hard to balance writing and life. But, I think I'm starting to get into the swing of things a little better. Other than that, we've had pretty crappy weather here in Wisconsin. Rain. Snow. Grossness. But, the sun has been out lately, and hopefully it stays that way.



How was your April?

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Review of Snatch Girl by LJ Kane

2 Stars. Unlikeable Love Interest. Snatch Girl is a fast-paced and intense thrill ride, but I was unable to get past the romanticized abuse that runs rampant throughout the story.

This book is very graphic, which I don’t think is inappropriate for the themes involved, as this book is about a girl who’s kidnapped and abused as she’s used for leverage. However, the addition of a romantic subplot including graphic sex was, in my opinion, inappropriate for the content of the story. I do think Snatch Girl has a good story at its core, but it would have been better, more realistic and had a better message had all romantic involvement between Ellie and one of her kidnappers, Darren, not been there. Or, if he hadn’t assaulted her himself and their relationship had moved at a slower pace.

I liked watching Ellie fight. She was tough, especially in the first half of the book. She never missed an opportunity to try and escape and I found myself rooting for her. This really was an exciting read.

However, I didn’t like Darren. At all. Yes, Braddon is a far worse person than Darren. And yes, Darren “rescues” Ellie from Braddon, but there was absolutely nothing that I liked about who he was or anything he did that made me want to root for him. He could at any time have taken Ellie to a hospital or the police and saved her from further abuse, but he continues as her kidnapper until her ransom is paid.

From the very beginning, Darren is cold, cruel and abusive. He does have a sense of humor, but it’s not enough to make me him likable. He’s physically violent with Ellie, slapping her and punching her on multiple occasions. He “rescues” her from Braddon’s sadistic sexual torment, only to keep her captive himself as they run from Braddon who wants them both dead. He knows she’s been abused, yet he’s constantly leering at her and making sexual comments. Never does he show her genuine kindness or compassion. And yet, a romantic interest develops between him and Ellie.

This story had the potential to explore some very serious issues like rape and abuse. However, Ellie often does not act in a way would be typical of a young woman who’s been repeatedly drugged, raped, tortured and traumatized. I feel like this gives a poor portrayal of what its like to go through these experiences.

(Now I just want to comment here that I have not personally suffered from sexual abuse, however, I do have a BA in Psychology. I work in social services and have worked with victims of sexual assault.)

After suffering the extensive sexual abuse that Ellie goes through she should need time to regain confidence sexually. Rape and sexual assault can leave people deeply emotionally scarred often resulting in panic attacks, anxiety, and confusion when they’re faced with intimacy in the future. Ellie, however, seems not to experience these things after her trauma. While Ellie does make a number of comments about not wanting to be touched, or not wanting to undress in front of Darren (Yes, he makes her undress in front of him), her ogling of Darren’s chest, the bulge in his pants, and general good looks felt very out of place. As did the way she generally brushed off or laughed at his sexual innuendos, let him touch her, and described how he aroused and excited her.

At one point, Braddon nearly kills and sexually assaults Ellie mere hours before she’s shown eyeing up Darren, laughing at his incredibly inappropriate sexual innuendos, and later describing how she wants him. I think it’s an incredibly poor message to have her suffer sexual assault, nearly die and then have her discussing wanting to sleep with one of her kidnappers all within a matter of hours. Oh, and she has sex with Darren that same night.

Overall, there’s some good writing here. I rarely rate books 2 Stars because usually, the writing is so bad I can’t finish them and I won’t review something I haven’t finished. Snatch Girl is interesting and well edited. But, there are two stories here. 1. A traumatic thriller where a girl overcomes rape. Which would be a great story without the romance. 2. A romantic suspense where a guy helps a girl escape a kidnapping. Which could have been great had Ellie not been raped and abused. But, Snatch Girl tries to combines these two ideas into one and in that it fails.


Was the writing/editing solid?

4/5 - This book was generally well written, edited and formatted. I did find a few typos, but nothing too distracting. However, I did feel like the beginning and end were a little rushed. There were often times I wanted more backstory.

Did the book have a well-formed plot/subplots?

2/5 - The basic structure of this book was done well, but the content was at times off-putting, to say the least, and the romance subplot was completely out of place.

Could you relate to the characters?

2/5 - I liked Ellie for the most part but I found she lacked believability regarding how she responded to the trauma she experienced, and I had a lot of issues with Darren being posed as a love interest.

Did the story make you feel?

1/5 - I was completely unable to be pulled into the romance between Ellie and Darren, and a lot of the sympathy I did have for Ellie was undermined by her lack of believability as a trauma victim.

Was the book unputdownable?

3/5 - Despite disliking much of the content, this was fast paced and did keep me on the edge of my seat. I read it pretty quickly.



Indie Book Goal 2018 Notes

This is the third book I've finished for #IndieBookGoal2018 where I've pledged to read at least 10 Indie books before the end of the year.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Made-Up Word of the Month: Charalamentation

Once again I'm blogging about those feelings and experiences that only book lovers can understand, by making up words to describe them. Each month, on the last Monday of the month, I'll post a new word.


Charalamentation
[kar-i-lam-uh n-tey-shuh n]
noun.
1. An expression of grief or sorrow over the death of a fictional character.

“I have been in a state of charalamentation for days after reading about the death of my favorite character.”


The best books make you fall in love with their characters, so it's only natural that when something terrible happens to them it feels like having your heart ripped out. I was left in a serious state of charalamentation after reading The Hunger Games. That book just left me feeling gutted, and there's been plenty of others that had me weeping by the end.

What's a book that made you cry? Share in the comments below about a character who's passing left you grieving.


If you liked this word, you might like:
Disreadspect
Fantastorize

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Why I Feel Like Giving-up on Writing

I've been a huge supporter of self-published writers for years now. I love self-publishing, I love to self-publish and I created the #IndieBookGoal2018 challenge to encourage people to read more indie and self-published books.

But it would be a lie to say that I don't occasionally get jaded by the process and lately I've been starting to feel depressed by the state of self-publishing.

The reality is, as much as I love indie books, there are too many of them. The market is flooded. There are a lot of junk indie books out there -- and not that they haven't always existed, but there's so many more now -- and while there are also still some great books, it's so much harder for them to find an audience.



For me, the hardest thing is looking at the sales of my newest release, Unearthed After Sunset. And sure, I've been selling books, I've gained some great reviews, but I put in probably twice the effort to advertise this book than I did with my debut novel Into the Deep in 2012, and have had half the response as I did with that book. This is incredibly disheartening, especially since I know how much my writing and my storytelling ability has grown over the past six years.

I used to feel like even if I never got rich writing that it was possible to make enough money to make the expenses worth it. That, if nothing else, I could reach readers. More and more I feel like writing a good book and putting in the hard work just aren't enough.

It's starting to feel like this isn't worth it.

To spend months crafting a story. Editing. Reworking. Tearing it apart and putting it back together. Creating a cover. Setting up promotions. Advertising. Countless hours of work, and love, and pain...and to have it all fall flat...

I've always felt like writing was like breathing like I could never give it up.

But, lately, low sales and being upside down in my budget has sucked all the inspiration out of me.

I don't think this is the end. Even now, feeling like I want to give up I've turned to writing about this to get me through it.

I hope this is just another bump in the road.

I hope I figure out some new tactics in this crazy publishing world. Or, hell, maybe I'll start querying agents. Or, maybe I'll just say to hell with making money and start posting all my books on Wattpad. Or, maybe this is all just crazy ramblings and I'll keep going like I always have.

I don't know. Maybe things will change, maybe they won't. But writing and being a self-published author is a crazy rollercoaster of a ride and I'm not getting off just yet.


If you liked this, you might also like Ways it's Gotten Harder to Self-Publish

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Reading and Writing Wrap-up: March

March was a rough month for me. Book sales weren't great, and I've fallen into a bit of a funk. 




READING:

Books Reviewed in March:

I finished Veiled by Stacey Rourke - 4 Stars.

I also reviewed Where Worlds Meet by Lucinda Elliot - 4.5 Stars

Both books were for my #IndieBookGoal2018 pledge

Books Read in March:

After finishing up Where Worlds Meet I downloaded a few sample books, but haven't started any yet.

Books to read in April:

I plan to start another book from my Indie Book List. I have a few books in mind that I plan to look at next, but I haven't officially picked one yet.



WRITING:

Unraveling in the Night (Book 2 in the Cereus Vampire Chronicles) has already been sent off to a few betas. I've also been busy on Scribophile, earning Karma points, to post it there for feedback as well. I plan to start posting on scrib, and hopefully hear back from a beta or two by the end of the month.



BLOGGING:

I didn't blog a ton in March other than posting a few reviews and my usual Made-up Word of the Month, but I have been posting to my Instagram account! You can now follow me on Instagram at laurynaprilwrites


My Favorite Blog Posts in March:

Favorite Post Written: Fictional Bucket List was a fun random post about all the things I wish I could do if fiction people and places were real.

Favorite Post Read: I didn't do a lot of reading last month. :(



PERSONAL:

I quit my job in March and started a new one April 2nd. Between just those two things I had a lot of transitions and was feeling a little overwhelmed. I had a lot of things to wrap up at my old job before leaving, and working with kids meant having to manage some sad goodbyes. But, that place was really burning me out so it was a good move. I love my new job, but it's still very new and I have a lot to learn. Hopefully I'll be getting back into the swing of things in April and have more time for writing.


How was your March?

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Review for Where Worlds Meet by Lucinda Elliot

4.5 Stars. Sherlock Holmes meets Dracula with Time Travel. Set a number of years after That Scoundrel Emile Dubois and the stand-alone Ravensdale, Where Worlds Meet opens with our characters from both novels living in their happily ever after. Emile has retired from his life on the road as a highwayman. And both Emile and Sophie as well as Emile's cousin Reynaud (Ravensdale) and Isabella have children now. You should read That Scoundrel Emile Dubois before reading this, but I don't think anything would be confusing if you haven't read Ravensdale.

The beginning of the book re-caps That Scoundrel Emile Dubois nicely without feeling repetitive and quickly introduces the reader to the threat our characters face. There are also lots of little jokes along the way that reference both earlier books, which was fun.

As the story continues you're pulled into a fast-paced adventure. Filled with all the excitement time-travel, vampires, and other curious monsters can provide. This gothic historical romance was like nothing I've ever read before.

I loved seeing Emile and Sophie again. But I have to say, I was probably most interested in Arthur and Elouise, at least for the first half of the book. We see a much more vulnerable side to Arthur. He’s alive and still a vampire, and while he's seeking revenge he also has a soft spot for Elouise. Sweet Elouise has been tending to him and ends up put in a position where she doesn’t want to see Emile hurt, but also wants to protect Arthur. She seeks to save Author from his half-vampire status. As the story went on I found myself rooting for them. They were the underdogs as Kenrick was still pulling some of Arthur's strings, but it was clear that he was a victim too. It was also funny seeing Longface and Guto trying to protect Eloise from Arthur.

I feel like the time-travel aspects in this novel were handled even better than they were in the first book. I understood the mechanics of this world in this book a little better, and you get to see more of those time travel aspects, which I liked.

Kenrick's monsters were a new element to the story that while new, still felt like classic gothic horror monsters. We're also introduced to other new characters like Guinevere Gwynne, who aids Kenrick with magic books in his attempts to navigate the time mazes. She also has some interesting encounters with both Emile and Reynaud. Together Gwynne and Kenrick seek to not only enter the past but alter it as well with the hope of bringing long-dead loved ones back into their lives.

Emile and Reynaud are a charismatic duo that drive this story. Filled with strong female characters, humor, love, and betrayal, Where Worlds Meet will suck you in.



Was the writing/editing solid?

5/5 - This book was well written, edited and formatted and even provided some nice reminders in the footnotes of things that had happened in the past books.

Did the book have a well-formed plot/subplots?

5/5 - Elliot did a good job merging the two stand-alone novels that came before this into a cohesive tale with plenty of twists and turns.

Could you relate to the characters?

5/5 - Since this was a sequel I already felt invested in these characters and felt like their development and growth was true to the character's I'd been introduced to in the first two books.

Did the story make you feel?

4/5 - There were plenty of parts where I truly felt for these characters and rooted them on or was scared of what might happen to them. However, Emile and Sophie are happily married now as are Reynaud and Isabel, so there wasn't that same "I hope they get together soon," feeling that the first two books had.

Was the book unputdownable?

3/5 - If you don't typically read gothic novels the language can be a little tougher and for me, I found I wasn't able to read this as fast as I've read other books, but it was definitely a worthwhile read.



Indie Book Goal 2018 Notes

This is the second book I've finished for #IndieBookGoal2018 where I've pledged to read at least 10 Indie books before the end of the year.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Made-Up Word of the Month: Fantastorize

Once again I'm blogging about those feelings and experiences that only book lovers can understand, by making up words to describe them. Each month, on the last Monday of the month, I'll post a new word.



Fantastorize
[fan-tuh-stor-ahyz]
verb.
1. to conceive fanciful or extravagant notions about what will happen next in a book.
2. to create in one's fancy, daydreams, or the like; imagine: to fantasize the actions of characters which have not (yet) occurred in a book.

“I’ve been fantastorizing about what will happen in chapter five of my book all day.”


This is something I do all the time. I've literally set a book down and gone and done something else just so I can fantastorize about what would happen next before reading it. I think in part this comes from a worry that I'm reading too fast and don't want the story to be over yet, and partly just from being so excited about a story that I can't sit still. I also often fantastorize while at work or running errands until I can get back home to read more. I will admit though, sometimes I'd disappointed when I like the scenario I've made up in my head more than what actually happens in the book - though this doesn't happen often.

Do you ever find yourself fantastorizing about the book you're reading?


If you liked this word, you might like:
Disreadspect

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Fictional Bucket List

I have lots of things on my bucket list, most of which involve wanting to do more traveling. And, hopefully, over the next sixty or so years, I'll be able to cross most of those things off my list. There are a few things, however, that I know I'll never be able to do because they involve fictional people or places. Every now and then I read a book and wish I could be a part of it somehow. Below is a list of those book-related bucket list wishes.



If Books were worlds I could jump into I wish I could...


Have tea with the Mad Hatter

Go shoe shopping with Cinderella and Dorthy

Attend a class at Hogwarts

Plant a flower in the Secret Garden

Binge watch The Selection

Learn alchemy from the vampire Myrnin

Ride a horse across the moors surrounding Wuthering Heights

Flip into the Territories

Ditch out on digging holes to eat jarred peaches

Attend a Lascivious concert and swoon over Kaidan Rowe

Join the search party to find Amy Dunne

Support the Nosferatu Presumption of Innocence Bill

Learn archery from Katniss Everdeen



What's on your fictional bucket list? Share in the comments below.





Thursday, March 8, 2018

Review for Veiled by Stacey Rourke

4 Stars. V for Vendetta meets Buffy. Veiled is a gritty crime drama with vampires that looks at the politics of a world aware of the undead deciding whether or not to allow them to integrate into society. Filled with witty dialogue and a fast-paced plot this was a fun read.

There are some really beautiful descriptions in this book and a few scenes that are downright creepy. You really get sucked into the writing. Veiled is dark and intense and the vampires felt real and scary.

What I enjoyed most about this book was how it used vampires to look at racism and make a smart commentary on how one group views another and how stereotypes form peoples' opinions. The lead character, Vincenza, or Vinx, goes through a lot of character development from the beginning of the book until the end as she seeks both vengeance and acceptance. I had a hard time connecting with Vinx in the beginning of the book. She was bitter and a little full of herself at first. It took me a little while to warm up to her, but by the end of the book, I was definitely rooting for her. Vinx is witty and a little vulgar and a truly interesting character. Her story is complicated and as you learn more about her it's hard not to relate to her.

I loved Vinx's relationships with her friend Mics, who I also thought was a solid character. However, I felt like there needed to be more backstory to Vinx's relationship with Finn and to the relationship that forms between her and Carter. There needed to be more build up to their attraction. I didn't really feel the connection between Vinx and anyone, with the exception of her friendship with Mics which I thought was really well written. Overall, Carter and Finn felt like weaker characters and I wish both of their story arcs had been fleshed out a bit more.

As for the story structure, I liked the alternating flashback chapters at first, but by the halfway point of the book, they started to make the story feel a little disjointed. The storyline definitely didn't flow as smoothly as I would have liked.

By the end, the book left me with some questions that I'd want to read the next novel in the series to know more about. However, while I found the ending satisfying overall, there were a few plot holes that took away from the believability of how things concluded. <spoiler> For example, Vinx and Carter get into a bad situation at the end where they are nearly killed. Carter escapes and saves Vinx, by pulling out his phone and filming what's going on. But, it's not clear why the bad guys don't just kill him and take his phone. </spoiler> There are a few conclusions that are jumped to and a character, <spoiler> Amber,</spoiler> who really just acts like an idiot. But, there are a few twists at the end that suggest the second book in the series will be worth reading.


Was the writing/editing solid?

5/5 - Veiled is really well written with beautiful imagery and was free of errors.

Did the book have a well-formed plot/subplots?

3/5 - The romantic subplots needed more fleshing out.

Could you relate to the characters?

4/5 - Vinx is a little hard to love at first, but she grew on me.

Did the story make you feel?

4/5 - I definitely had the feels at times but wished I could feel more of the chemistry between Vinx and Carter.

Was the book unputdownable?

4/5 - I set it down a few times, but never for real long.



Indie Book Goal 2018 Notes

This is the first book I've finished for my #IndieBookGoal2018 where I've pledged to read at least 10 Indie books before the end of the year.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Reading and Writing Wrap-Up February

I know February is a short month, but it feels like its short a week instead of just a few days. This month flew by and I definitely didn't get as much done this month as I wanted.




READING:

Books Reviewed in February:

None. :(

Books Read in February:

I'm almost done with Veiled by Stacey Rourke. So far it feels like V for Vendetta meets Buffy. 

I'm also about halfway through Where Worlds Meet by Lucinda Elliot and have been enjoying that as well.

Books to read in March:

I plan to start another book from my Indie Book List after I finish Veiled and Where Worlds Meet. I have a few books in mind that I plan to look at next, but I haven't officially picked one yet.



WRITING:

Big picture editing for Unraveling in the Night (Book 2 in the Cereus Vampire Chronicles) is officially done. I'm currently doing some "search and destroy" of my usual overused phrases and I plan to start stage one of beta reading this month. I like to get chapter by chapter feedback from betas on Scribophile, and after that, I'll be looking for a few betas to read through the book as a whole.



BLOGGING:

I didn't blog a ton in February, but I did finally create an Instagram account! You can now follow me on Instagram at laurynaprilwrites


My Favorite Blog Posts in February:

Favorite Post Written: Ways It's Gotten Harder to Self-Publish: I vent a little in this post talking about things that have changed in the self-publishing world since I published my first book almost six years ago.

Favorite Post Read: What is Magical Realism on Book Riot: This is a genre that's interested me and Book Riot does a good job explaining just what it is.



PERSONAL:

My day-job this past February was a little less crazy than it'd been in January, but I was still working a lot of overtime. The snow also started to melt and my yard has been a mud-puddle for weeks, except for those two days where everything froze solid, but that's Wisconsin for ya.


How was your February?


Indie Book Goal 2018