But Critiques are Optional–Right?

Lit World Interviews

How many of you write a novel or a short story, but you don’t know who to give it to? As writers, the most important thing to do during the journey of finishing your work is to hand a draft over for criticism. Especially if you’re starting out. I mean, you want your work to do well, right? I used to write fifty pages, then give it to my mom to see if it has the potential to be a good story. These days I try to actually finish the work before giving it to anyone. But sometimes it helps to know if the first few pages is an attention-grabber.

Handing out your work can be tricky and futile. For the most part, my mom is the main one to read my stories. I trust that she won’t throw my hard work around as her own. I trust that she…

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Dog Bone Soup #BookReviews @BetteAStevens

  • Title: Dog Bone Soup
  • Author: Bette A. Stevens
  • Print Length: 216
  • Publication Date: January 13, 2015
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • Formats:  Kindle, Paperback
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Historical Fiction

From the Author:

I love to walk and enjoy nature’s beauty, whether at home or on the go. I’m passionate about the beauty in the world around me and enjoy jotting down notes and composing short poems. The coast is one of my favorite places to relax. I’m a nature collector: everything from seashells to birds’ nests. When I was teaching, these treasures filled my classroom and provided inspiration for reading, writing, and research. It was hands-on fun and excitement and I enjoyed every moment spent learning with, from and about my students. One thing I learned is that many children don’t have an adult to read to them or listen to them read and talk about those books. Many of my blog and facebook posts will focus on how we can improve childhood literacy by reading to the children in our families and communities. My own childhood was filled with books and adults who shared and encouraged a love of reading. I’ve written some poetry and several short stories. I plan to write some adult fiction, including a coming of age story, and write reviews on some of my favorite books. I’ll be sharing some of your stories, poems and tips on reading and writing, too. Let’s have fun learning, living, sharing and loving language together.”

My Review:

Dog Bone Soup is the debut novel of Bette Stevens and a coming-of-age story about a young boy growing up in poverty and in essence doing what needs to be done in order to survive. His father is the town drunk who tended to be abusive, both physically and verbally. As the story opens up, we see that our protagonist is heading for the army. As he prepares himself for a new life, he’s reflecting back on his years growing up.

The prose was beautifully written…I felt I was living in the middle of the ‘50’s and ‘60s, watching as our main character, Shawn, grow up, fending off whatever bad things that came his way. He’s a dreamer, yearning to escape the life he’s been living for better things. He manages to do just that when he enlists in the US Army as a teen, with dreams of becoming a pilot. However, his escape does what I think many of us would do, which is reflect on the good times with his mother and siblings, in the midst of the bad with his father. It’s actually a bittersweet tale. Shawn’s story is a powerful one and you can’t do anything but praise him for the way he grows.

The novel is easily written, fast-paced, and laced with lessons for any of us, particularly the baby boomers.

I accepted this review based on the amount of five stars on Amazon and I was not at all disappointed. It was an excellent debut novel by Bette. If you haven’t already, get your copy now!

Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 stars

Biography

Bette A. StevensInspired by nature and human nature, Bette A. Stevens is an author, retired teacher, wife, mother of two and grandmother of five. Stevens lives in Central Maine with her husband on their 37-acre farmstead where she enjoys writing, reading, gardening, walking and reveling in the beauty of nature. She advocates for children and childhood literacy and for monarch butterflies, an endangered species. Stevens’s children’s activity book, THE TANGRAM ZOO and WORD PUZZLES TOO!, was first published in 1997 by Windswept House Publishing, Mt. Desert, ME; a second edition was self-published by the author in 2012. AMAZING MATILDA, Stevens’s second children’s book, self-published in 2012 won a 2013 Purple Dragonfly Book Award (Honorable Mention for Excellence in Children’s Literature – Ages 6 and older category) and also placed #9 on The 2013 Gittle List for Self-published Children’s Picture Books. Stevens has written articles for ECHOES, The Northern Maine Journal of Rural Culture based in Caribou, Maine. In 2013, the author published her first book for the YA/Adult audience: PURE TRASH: The story, a short story of a boy growing up in rural New England and prequel to DOG BONE SOUP, a debut novel released January 2015.

 

“The Murder of Manny Grimes”

Who loves a good mystery? I know I do! I love reading them, I love watching them, I love writing them! I’ve always written mysteries…most were short stories from a young girl, which you probably NEVER will read. They are tucked and locked away in a file that reads if opened, self-destruct. Just kidding…well, sort of.

Anyway, I wanted to announce the release of “The Murder of Manny Grimes” on the Amazon and Barnes and Noble websites.  Help this freshly indie author out by spreading the word. Tell your mystery-loving friends to buy!

The eBook version is only $4.99 and the paperback is $14.95. I urge you to at least get an electronic copy…it’s cheap! Now, who doesn’t like cheap?

OR, if you want a signed copy, fill out the order form below! I’ll give you a signed copy of the paperback for just $15, taxes and shipping included!

So, tell your friends! Christmas is just around the corner! It’d make an awesome Christmas gift for one of your mystery-loving friends (and family).

And I want to know what you think, so feel free to leave a review! Of course, more five stars are always welcome!

~Angela

Send me a message below that you want to order a signed copy!

Writing a Synopsis #wwwblogs #writinganovel

Alison Williams Writing

writing_humour_synopsis-scaled500 (1)jenspenden.com

I’ve worked with lots of writers who can compose the most beautiful prose, bring scenes to vivid life, make me care about their characters, keep me turning the page, but these same writers find one thing almost impossible to do – they can’t write a synopsis.

What is it about a synopsis that has so many writers struggling? It doesn’t seem to matter how great a writer you are, there’s just something about condensing your masterpiece down into one or two sides of A4 that strikes fear into a writer’s heart.

And I think that’s the issue. As authors, we spend so long on our books, every last detail is important to us. A synopsis asks us to get to the heart of the story, to strip away to the bare bones – and that can be really hard when you are so close to the world you’ve created…

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The Revelation #BookReview

  • Title: The RevelationThe Revelation by [John, Anil]
  • Author: Anil John
  • File Size: 618KB
  • Print Length: 117
  • Publication Date: July 23, 2016
  • Sold by Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B01J0050U0
  • Formats:  Kindle
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Fiction Thriller

The Revelation is a story of a boy who is fascinated by the mysteries of aliens after seeing the film ET: The Extra-Terrestrial. The curious boy persuades his father on a journey to discover and explore the possibilities of extra-terrestrial existence. The doting father embarks on a journey less traveled and his journey to the unknown, reveals the hidden answers to the most debated and controversial mystery in the history of mankind. The book decodes the mysteries of the extra-terrestrials, their presence and their purposes of visits to Earth and also discusses the next phase of human evolution.

It is short, and only took me a couple of hours to read through. Although it was fast-paced, the character development was weak, and the dialogue flimsy. The descriptions of places, on the other hand, were well thought out. The editing left a lot to be desired and I had to re-read a sentence here and there to grasp what I just read.

This short story has a lot of potential to being a great tale of father-son love, finding your place in the world, and pursuing your curiosities. Readers curious about aliens and adventure, then I’d say give this one a try.

Overall Rate: 3 out of 5 stars

Biography

Anil John

Anil John is probably the only Martian who could make it to planet Earth and is still alive.

He invented blogging, eBook Readers and was the coach to Bear Grylls before he made it to the top.

He was enthusiastically greeted by the human species on 3rd June, 1975 and the journeys since then have been nerve wrecking.

‘Very strange species with little minds and little imagination.’ he quipped after he wrote his first eBook.

His dream is to write a dozen critically acclaimed bestsellers; a team of experts are presently attempting to evaluate the possibilities and they believe that this may result in an alien invasion.

Anil John is a passionate story teller with some good stories to share – but not all of them are true, for instance those in this column and in his books.

‘The Revelation’ is his first eBook and his next ‘The Redeemer’ will be released worldwide on 23rd October 2016.

Is Facebook Still Worth It For Authors?

Allison Maruska

When I started blogging in 2012, creating a Facebook page linked to the blog was a natural move. Every blogger had one. I followed a few bloggers’ Facebook pages and even found new bloggers via Facebook shares.

facebook-box-1334045_1280As time went on, the powers that be tightened up the feeds, so to speak. Users don’t want to see dozens of posts from the possibly hundreds of pages they liked, Facebook said. They want to see more pics of your cousin’s baby and more vaguebooking from their friend’s niece and more conspiracy theory posts from Uncle Buster.

Another update recently happened, as described in this article. If you don’t want to click over, allow me to summarize: Facebook is further tightening the screws on Pages. That means page owners see an even smaller organic reach (followers who see page posts in their feeds) than they did before, and it was pretty dismal before.

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The 5 Wonders of Wisdom for Mystery Writing – Guest Blog Post by Angela Kay

My first guest blog on bestselling author Dan Alatorre’s page! I feel incredibly lucky to have been noticed by him that he actually wanted me on his blog! It’s an amazing feeling to be published, but even more amazing to be making friends with fellow authors. Thanks, Dan, for giving me this opportunity!

Dan Alatorre - AUTHOR

head shot your humble host

Meet Angela Kay as she stands on the cusp of her first novel coming out, The Murder of Manny Grimes, and lays out the important elements in writing for one of the biggest genres out there.

Mystery.

I’m looking forward to writing a mystery one day, and I know a lot of you are, too, so let’s learn a little about it from our friend.

Here’s Angela. 

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I remember a few years ago, I met a writer at a conference. Her writing consists mainly of comedy through her fiction, nonfiction, and children books. After she and I got to chatting, I informed her that my genre of interest lies primarily in mysteries. She told me that she loved reading and watching mystery/thrillers, but she wished she knew how to write them. My thought was “surely someone who has perfected the craft of writing as she…

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Curse #BookReview @readstevenjames

  • Title: Curse
  • File Size: 2355 KB
  • Print Length: 492 pages
  • Publisher: Skyscape
  • Publication Date: May 24, 2016
  • Sold by:Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B017TVZO5S
  • Formats:  Kindle, Paperback, Audible, Audio CD
  • Goodreads
  • Genres: Young adult

From the Author

When I started Curse, I had no idea it would be as intricate and complex as it became. The story developed in a way that introduced more fascinating characters who each had their own unique storyline to develop.

Watching this occur, and seeing where each character’s special interests and skills led them, deeply intrigued me and helped carry me through some of the most intense editing months of my life.

As I mention in the author biography at the end of Curse, I have never owned a turtle named Snookums or a basketball named Alfie (you’ll have to read the story to fully appreciate that). But while researching the book, I did see the synchronous fireflies. And they are quite remarkable.

Review

The Blur trilogy (Blur, Fury, and Curse) is James’ first young adult series. It is the story of Daniel Byers who has had what doctors think are hallucinations, but in truth, the dead are trying to tell him how to solve the crimes. In Curse, Daniel begins preparing to attend a basketball camp when the terrifying blurs return to haunt him. As he tries to figure out the meaning behind his most recent blurs, Daniel finds himself teamed up with two other teens that are just as extraordinary. They race against time in order to save a young woman who was abducted by a scientist with distorted views of justice.

James’ degree is known as a master storyteller, and let me tell you something:  it is no joke. The thing I love most about any of his work is that he has a way of making you feel as though you are a part of the story. Curse was no different. The images given of Daniel’s blurs were so vivid and real, it was as though I was watching it happen.

Curse was written in first-person view and in the present tense (when we’re seeing Daniel’s perspective), and also in third person view for the other characters’ perspectives. The first two novels of the series were written all in third person, so when I began reading Daniel’s point-of-view, I was thrown off track for a second, but thankfully I got used to it quickly enough.

As always, I enjoyed the roller coaster ride of twists and turns, and I had no clue how it would end. With this particular story, I was quite mad at myself that I didn’t figure it out, but proud that James managed to trick me, so to speak.

Curse was very fast-paced. I ended up loving the finality of this trilogy. James has been my favorite author ever since I picked up The Rook, book two of his Patrick Bowers FBI series. I fell in love with his writing, and will buy every book that he writes. I recommend him to friends, and I anxiously wait for a new novel to be produced. Although Curse is marketed as “young adult,” anyone would enjoy it. I highly recommend this trilogy, as well as every other novel he printed.

Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 stars

Biography

Steven James

Steven James is a national bestselling novelist whose award-winning, pulse-pounding thrillers continue to gain wide critical acclaim and a growing fan base.

Suspense Magazine, who named Steven’s book THE BISHOP their Book of the Year, says that he “sets the new standard in suspense writing.” Publishers Weekly calls him a “master storyteller at the peak of his game.” And RT Book Reviews promises, “the nail-biting suspense will rivet you.”

Equipped with a unique Master’s Degree in Storytelling, Steven has taught writing and storytelling on four continents over the past two decades, speaking more than two thousand times at events spanning the globe.

Steven’s groundbreaking book on the art of fiction writing, STORY TRUMPS STRUCTURE, won a Storytelling World award. Widely-recognized for his story crafting expertise, he has twice served as a Master CraftFest instructor at ThrillerFest, North America’s premier training event for suspense writers.

Respected by some of the top thriller writers in the world, Steven deftly weaves intense stories of psychological suspense with deep philosophical insights. As critically-acclaimed novelist Ann Tatlock put it, “Steven James gives us a captivating look at the fine line between good and evil in the human heart.”

After consulting with a former undercover FBI agent and doing extensive research on cybercrimes, Steven wrote his latest thriller, EVERY CROOKED PATH—a taut, twist-filled page turner that is available now wherever books are sold.

If you’ve never met environmental criminologist and geospatial investigator Patrick Bowers, EVERY CROOKED PATH is the perfect chance to dive into the series and find out what fans and critics everywhere are raving about.

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