Five Choices… Five Lovelies (I Need Guidance!)

Hello folks!

For this blog post, I’m asking for your help. I’m wondering if any of you knows how to choose the story you will work on for the next two or three years (or more!) when many are competing for your attention?

I have over five stories I simply adore (I call them my main stories!) and I don’t know which one to either start or continue in order to finally be published.

Here are my stories:

  • Down to Earth (Heaven’s Army pentalogy). I’ve written 100 pages of this one and I know the series’ ending, yet I’m not motivated by it anymore… But it’s the closest to my heart and the one I poured the most energy in.
  • The Nightshade series. I love it! We explore multiple worlds and I know the villain, his plan, and the relationships. However, I still need to find the ”middle” of the series… like, what happens then?
  • Arsonphobia series. The ending is already in my head and I’ve got all of the characters’ profiles done and ready. I also have a keen interest in it. But like with Nightshade, I still need the find the ”middle”.
  • Miranda Kane (a heroine series). I have the characters’ profiles, basic idea, and relationships. I do not have a plan… But what I lack in outlining here, I have in love for this story! I always adored (super)heroes’ stories and this is my very own.
  • Crown Jewel trilogy. I’m a few chapters in and I have the outline for the first volume. I need to map out the other two volumes. I have an ending in mind, but I am looking for a better one… However, I love this trilogy because it’s all about royalty, magic, and justice!

Of course, I have even more ideas for other stories as the days pass by… But those five stories have my heart, really. I can’t seem to be able to choose; I keep going back and forth between them!

I told myself I need to stop doing that for the sake of my dream, which is being published and my work read and enjoyed by readers. But they all have a special something…

Do you have tips on how to choose just one (or maximum two)?

What are the steps?

How must I think it through and how should I act upon it?

P.S.: I shall write a post about free online resources I love next week! Also, there will be an update about how I’m faring soon. Thank you for reading and helping me out!

 

 

 

 

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The Meditation Beginner’s Bible: A Review

Meditation

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Genre: Non-fiction – Religion & Spirituality

Pages: 52

I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book, through Reading Deals, so I could give an honest review.

Do you sometimes feel stressed, anxious, lonely and depressed? Are you always up in your head, constantly dwelling on the past and worrying about the future? Do you want to live a more productive, stress-free and happier life? If so, then you’ve come to the right place. With The Meditation Beginner’s Bible, you will embark on an inner journey that will take you back to the state of peace, joy and happiness you were born to inhabit. – Tai Morello

I decided to give this book a try since I do meditate (I have been doing so for a few years now) but I wanted to know more about that specific topic.

For me, the short, straight-to-the-point and informative chapters were a pleasure to read! It is also done in an easy-to-read writing and Mr. Morello uses bullet points to show us lists of facts. He made sure the reader would have no problem reading his book nor would they feel overwhelmed.

It introduces us to meditation by explaining what it is and how we can make it part of our lives and also what are the benefits we can reap from it. I liked how the author categorized the benefits: health, mental and emotional, and spiritual benefits. He includes all aspects of well-being and I think it’s a good idea. Mr. Morello makes use of motivational quotes in most chapters – it’s a nice touch. It is informational on topics such as brain waves and how different areas of the brain are positively affected by the habit of meditating.

Another point I found amusing was how the author debunked myths and misconceptions about meditation such as ‘’it takes too much time’’. Moreover, he goes over the common obstacles (perfectionism, outcome orientation, etc.) encountered by those who want to try to meditate for the first time or to implement it as a habit. Mr. Morello shows us different techniques we can use like mindfulness (one of my favorites!), candle meditation, mantra meditation, and others. There are also tips on how to have a better meditation experience and turn it into a habit.

As for the negative points, there were two major ones I could find, in my opinion. The first one being the lack of numbers and/or percentages or case studies about the effectiveness of meditation. It would greatly help build the credibility of the facts (are they truly facts…?) Mr. Morello gives us. He rarely mentions research (twice, I think?) so it’s as though there are no proofs of what he’s saying. The second thing that bothers me is that there is no author bio – not at the beginning nor at the end of the book! How are we supposed to believe his expertise on the subject? It’s like the author wanted to remain hidden… but such information that comes from research must be presented by someone with credibility. Or at least, it’s the minimum requirements of writing such a book to let us know who you are so we can decide if we will trust you and your work. What book doesn’t have an author bio nowadays?

I give it a rating of 2 out of 5 because of the two negative points that are deal-breakers for me. For all I know, Mr. Morello could have invented half of the ‘’facts’’ in The Meditation Beginner’s Bible. I give it two stars because despite it all, it was a quick and pleasant read and it looks like he did research the topic – he just forgot to prove it to us. I wouldn’t recommend this book though due to the lack of credibility.

Ex Libris: A Review

ExLibris

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Genre: Fantasy

Pages: 384

ISBN: 9781607014898

*I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

This collection of fantasy short stories explores the relationships of readers and librarians, the wonderful work librarians do, the fantastical places that libraries can be… and all of that mixed with lore.

Now, I must say this book really caught my interest when I first saw it! Stories about librarians, libraries, and lore in the same book? Count me in! Also, the Latin title got me. I think it speaks for the theme’s oldness, deep knowledge, and mystical air. The best thing about Ex Libris? It did not disappoint me – in fact, it even surprised me more than once!

Of all the book introductions I’ve read in my life, Paula Guran’s one in Ex Libris is by far the best one out there yet (at least for passionate readers and anyone who loves libraries). She tells us of the different libraries and librarians from all genres in literature while punctuating it with excerpts. Her research must have taken her a long time… but I want to say it was well worth it and beautifully done. It’s an introduction I won’t forget anytime soon. As for the reading itself, it flows – it is engrossing and lovely. It also got me quite emotionally invested in the stories, characters, and life itself (I still haven’t figured out how it managed to do that with the last one, but it’s still a neat feat!). Moreover, I had a magical read! The stories (most of them) were very funny and amusing. It reminded me of the magic libraries hold and how time flies by when I’m reading. It is an enchanting and lovely book!

All the short stories in this collection have a varying degree of importance related to books and/or libraries – you never know what to expect except that these two elements will be there in some way or another. To what extent and use is the surprise of each story. Speaking of stories, they were quite imaginative. They even manage by some mysterious force to be believable (don’t ask me how, I’m still working on understanding it)! The voices of the many narrators are clear, distinct, and strong. I would have thought some stories would lack in voice… but I was shown wrong with this collection! Woven into the texts are amusing references to real books – it’s a nice addition and at the same time a necessity regarding the library theme.

The vocabulary used in these stories is diverse, beautiful, and precise. The short stories aren’t too long – I believe their length has been well measured as it makes for captivating enough without becoming boring. Some stories are drama, others are adventures, but all have a subtle touch of humor and are engaging in their own way. One thing is for sure: together, those short stories are an eclectic mix – although it is sometimes destabilizing, it is also quite pleasant, much like refreshing parts of the same whole. Another thing I particularly enjoyed about Ex Libris is how diverse the situations and characters are! Some are people of color while others have illnesses or handicaps. A much appreciated touch that helps make those weird (it’s a compliment here) stories more realistic! There is something different I noticed about the format of these short stories: they include subtitles related to books or libraries (like the widely used Dewey decimal system), quotes, and other fun things. It’s a great idea to make their format somehow fit their main theme! I also think they were well structured, which helps the reading experience by making it easier on the eye. Finally, I loved learning about the authors in the ‘’About the Authors’’ section at the end. At first, I thought this was a collection of short stories written by emerging authors, but oh no! They are all big names like Holly Black, Ray Bradbury, and many others! It’s imposing and impressive.

You’re probably wondering where are the negative points, aren’t you? I was too, frankly… However, there are only two of those, which I am pretty sure are now fixed since the book has been released. I have found a few typos, additional and unneeded words, and sometimes forgotten conjugations. The other thing that bothered me (only slightly as the rest of the book was well worth my time spent reading it!) was how many repetitions there were. For example, in two close paragraphs the words ‘’soft’’ and ‘’softly’’ were used thrice. It happens here and there and, like in that example, it can pull you out of the story you’re reading. Those points aside, the book is pure entertainment with mysteries written in its pages.

The idea itself of a book about libraries and librarians wins numerous points with me. It hit home and I think it will do the same thing with other bookworms. In fact, it is a good fit for anyone who has a (secret) love of books and libraries and the people who help keep them in order. I give it a rating of 5 out of 5 because of the library theme, the quality of the stories, and also because I always wanted to resume reading it. I’m pretty sure all fantasy fans will find Ex Libris quite entertaining and worth their while since it has varied short stories – in other words, there is a short story for everyone in this amazing collection!

As a bonus, here’s my ranking of my favorite Ex Libris short stories:

1- In the House of the Seven Librarians by Ellen Klages

2- The Last Librarian by Edoardo Albert

3- Death and the Librarian by Esther M. Friesner

4- Special Collections by Norman Partridge

5- In Libres by Elizabeth Bear

Please note that all short stories had something unique to them and the ranking above is simply based on my personal tastes!

If you want to know more about the editor, Paula Guran, and Prime Books, the publisher, click here for the first and here for the latter.

Well, Well… Look Who’s Not Stuck Anymore!

Hello, folks!

Remember I said that whenever there were news and updates concerning my writing I would tell you? Believe it or not, there are!

I’m psyched!

You know how I’ve been stuck with my novel (first in a pentalogy) Down to Earth for months now? I have finally written myself out of that infernal corner!

YES! That means I now know where the story’s going and more importantly what to do in order to get there. I just need to sit down and do the timeline of big events and relationships, but other than that I’ve solved the big issue. Isn’t it fantastic?!

Résultats de recherche d'images pour « fantastic gif »

Also, my Nightshade series is very close to my heart and has quite a strong presence in my mind… You know where I’m getting at, of course. Because of that, I’ll try to outline and write the first book (Nightshade: The Death Stone) in that series at the same time as Down to Earth. Call me crazy… I’ll just say you’re right, but it feels so good.

Lastly, I told you a week and a half ago I had an idea for a novella. Whilst it’s still true, this ”novella” of mine seems to be expanding into either a full book or a duology or something of the like. I’m still trying to keep it at its current size, but really it’s counterattacking me to get bigger, so I’ll look at what to do with it. Moreover, I started researching (I’ve even got a notebook for that purpose!) fairies, Ireland, and the Seelie Court. I’m having much fun!

Although I don’t give myself deadlines when it comes to writing (unless it’s for a contest or a magazine), I am working hard on disciplining myself. It might seem odd coming from a woman who’s studying her bachelor’s degree in translation online (no, really!) and who needs a high level of discipline to succeed at it, but when it’s about my writing, I’m quite sporadic and spontaneous. I’m quite proud to tell you I’ve been writing every day of the last week, so it’s coming along!

And that’s all for today! Watch out for another book review this week. I’ll also keep you updated about my writing projects (those three main I just talked to you about!).

As always, thank you for being interested in what I have to say and accompanying me on my writing journey. It’s an immense pleasure to have you here with me.

Where is your writing at?

Is it hard for you to be disciplined for your writing?

 

 

Online Marketing for Busy Authors: A Review

Online Marketing for Busy Authors_Fauzia Burke

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*I received an ARC of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*

The book Online Marketing for Busy Authors by Fauzia Burke, a leader in online book marketing and consultant for authors, explores essential aspects of marketing such as personal branding, reader profiles, goals, and much more. It offers a plethora of resources, exercises and integrated worksheets.

Fauzia Burke really does the job she set out to do in this short yet immensely helpful book. Since there are several good points to it and very few negative points, I’ll start with the latter: it is indeed too short. That’s it. I loved it so much I craved for more information, examples, explanations, and resources! I was satisfied with the book when I reached the end yet disappointed because I wanted to dive even more in Miss Burke’s experience.

As for the good points, prepare to be overwhelmed (no, really, this book is fantastic for authors like me who have no idea how to market their books!). In the first pages, the author makes it clear what to expect from her book and what its structure is (three sections in order to make the best gradual use of it – a step-by-step approach). I must admit what I loved most about this book is how straightforward it is: Miss Burke’s tone is friendly yet she doesn’t kick around the bush. She gives precise and direct information with just enough detail so as not to bore the reader. Plus, the information shared by the author is highly relevant to the field and does exactly what the title of the book implies. In other words, it makes you think about YOUR own online marketing strategy and find guided solutions for you. Her examples are clear and easy to understand.

This book also includes worksheets, advice, and quotes, which are all useful and well thought to help us. There’s even space for the exercises in her book – it’s close to being interactive! It really feels like the author, Miss Burke, truly wants to help us, starting from the basics and expanding on that newly learned knowledge. Her vocabulary is inspiring and diverse; it is also laced with kindness and even sometimes a pinch of humor. Thus, the writing is quite enjoyable and conveys the intended messages. Do you want to know another fabulous point about this book? It is free of typos and mistakes of any kind! That impressed me, I must say. It made my reading flow like a river (now, don’t you just like my failed attempt at poetry here?).

Miss Burke is always professional! Her twenty years of experience really show in all the information she gives us and how she does it too. She covers a wide range of topics and gives in-depth but short explanations throughout the book. Not only does she tackle what we can get out of each marketing effort, but also the why, which professionals rarely do. There are constant reminders of your goals and marketing strategy in every chapter so you don’t lose your focus. The author also provides tips on how to best use social media and certain platforms, which she deems the best in terms of online marketing.

Her views and guidance on the different marketing efforts are realistic. Miss Burke also makes use of good questions that prepare you and make you think about your own strategy. There are also lists of things to do that cover the steps you need to go through in order to succeed at that particular marketing effort. This book demystifies marketing for authors. It makes me feel more confident about my own online marketing strategy, which I’ll now tweak a bit thanks to Miss Burke! One of the best things about Online Marketing for Busy Authors is the tools (a.k.a websites) it gives us to learn more about our niche and potential bloggers, customers. It also provides the tools for us to find help, tips, and ideas. Lastly, Miss Burke does a recap of everything learned at the end of her book, which is a useful refresher training!

Fauzia Burke, the author of Online Marketing for Busy Authors, hit the bull’s eye with her book. In my opinion, she covers all the essential points and makes it interesting, even for a marketing newbie like me. Because I found it very helpful and true to its blurb and title (and also her own experience as a leader in online book marketing), I give it a rating of 5 out of 5. There were no major bad points, only the fact that I wished her book was longer so I could learn about marketing even more. This book is perfect for fans of Joanna Penn and James Scott Bell for it gives practical tips to achieve your own online marketing with no nonsense explanations of how to do so, a particular manner that reminds me of those two great authors. If you’re an author or an aspiring one who’s lost in all the marketing you need to do, Fauzia Burke’s Online Marketing for Busy Authors simply must be on your shelf. I have the conviction it will make you even like online marketing, just as it did with me.

If you want to learn more about Fauzia Burke and her online book marketing company, you can do so here.

I’m Planning on Novelling Up

Hello, folks!

I’m here with exciting news and updates about my writing (yes, finally!) and my health. Let’s start with the latter.

As you know, I had to have my pacemaker changed, but don’t worry I’m doing fine except for the pain here and then (it’s normal, it’s only been a week!). I’m taking more time for myself through sitting still, reading, writing, and meditating.

Speaking of writing, I’ve had a perfect idea for a novella! Yes! This means that I’ll focus on structuring the idea (I’ve had the plot in general!) and writing it. It’s a YA fantasy about a young girl with quite the temper who meets with the Seelie court (or the fairy realm, if you prefer). It’s going to be fun and lovely! Of course, I shall update you regularly on how the writing of the novella goes because it has now become one of my two main projects.

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(As a proof, here is the temporary title I am using for my novella – it’s more of a practical use than a real title, but it does the job for now. I’m still brainstorming the right one while I create the outline and research fairies!)

I found two helpful articles on how to write a novella. The first is from The Lady Writer and I think it’s actually the best of the two for it even tells you what are the scenes you need in your outline and it makes use of her 8-stage plot, which I prefer over the uninspiring (in my opinion and experience) 3-act structure. The second is an article from NowNovel, a writing platform I adore, which gives you six tips on writing your novella.

As for my novel project, I don’t even know where or how to start talking about it, but I’ll try. I’ve been stuck for months, as you probably guessed it from my previous posts, but this week I had an epiphany: I’d found the main storyline! So, yesterday, I sat down to write what I thought would save the story… only to find out it was not enough. I’m angry because I can never seem to fly with this particular project. I’m close to giving it up. You see, I have many scenes in mind (others are written) and I have all the characters as well as the ending and beginning, but I cannot for the life of me find the story in it. It’s both frustrating and immensely saddening. However, I keep working hard at it, hoping for a creative breakthrough of some kind. I am making progress, but very slowly… Do you remember the turtle and the hare in the fables of Jean de La Fontaine? The hare takes a break during the race and the turtle, though going at a slow pace, reaches the finish line first, thus winning the race. I like to believe I am the turtle with my novel.

Other than that, I told you I’d give you two book reviews when I’d come back and it’s true: you can expect them in the first week of August!

As for you, do you plan on writing a novella? If so, what is it about? If not, why?

Also, if you have tips on overcoming a major issue in a story (just like with my novel project), please do share them with me!

Thank you for being with me on this crazy but amusing adventure!

Happy writing!

Absence (For a Very Good Reason)

Hello, everyone!

I’m posting this short message to inform you that I’ll be getting a new pacemaker (heart surgery) tomorrow, thus I shan’t be available for a week or two. I promise two book reviews when I come back though, yay! I’ll also implement the changes I talked about a few days ago.

Thank you and have a nice week.