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It's been a long time since I last wrote anything... a year if I'm remembering properly. However, for those of you who follow my Twitch streams, you know I've been working on a project for the past few months using 4thewords. I'm not completely ready to give a bunch of information just yet, but know that I'm in the process of getting a good summary out into the world to begin the hype for Kaeyara and the kingdom of Anaria. After all, I'm only six chapters in! 

On top of the time spent writing, I also went back to school to study animal behavior with a focus on dog training. With a busy life that includes crazy work schedules, studying for school, and the occasional "me time," it's getting harder and harder to balance all of that with the writing. It sounds like a lot, but honestly, my job is pretty laid back. If there aren't a lot of dogs, the day has a lot of quiet time that I can take hold of and write during. Sometimes, I did just that but a lot of the time, I just get super distracted. That's why I'm setting a plan for myself, some deadlines, if you will. The rest of the year for my writing has been planned out accordingly knowing full well I have the time to achieve it. 

I want to make 2019 the year I get back into writing. I used to be able to write all day and after spending a year without a drop of motivation, inspiration, or drive. So, this will be my plan for all to see! I'll even put it up on my corkboard.

  • 6/21 - edit & post the first chapter to WritersCafe / Wattpad and share to Social Media.
  • 6/24 - have a good first summary written & published for Ash, Fire & Blood
  • 7/3 - post memorable quotes/snippets from Ash, Fire & Blood.
  • 7/19 - Ash, Fire & Blood cover reveal.
  • 7/31 - finish writing Ash, Fire & Blood for Camp NaNoWriMo
  • 8/31 - start edits on Camp NaNoWriMo project.
  • 9/6 - new project announcement for NaNoWriMo.
  • 11/1 - start new project for NaNoWriMo.
  • 12/31 - have Ash, Fire, & Blood ready for querying. 

It's going to be one crazy year. 

Planning Ahead

Sunday, June 16, 2019


Writing a novel is tough. Getting started is always the first challenge an author must overcome and I, myself, struggle with this part a bit too much for my liking. However, once over that hurdle, the writing comes easily and the words fill your blank pages one by one. The next thing you know, you've completely written your first novel after days, weeks, months hard at work to bring your ideas to life. Congratulations on finishing your novel. I have some bad news though, the writing process is about as easy as it gets when you're looking to publish it. 

Whether you're looking to publish through traditional means or self-publish, there are always steps to follow before making your next move. A lot of new authors make similar mistakes and this post should help you find the right path before you go out and publish. I am, by no means, a complete expert in publishing, but this all comes from experience. Learn from the mistakes I and others have made. 

Your first draft is NOT PUBLISHABLE. "What do you mean I can't publish right away?" I'd like to take a moment to give you some clarity. Just because you finished your novel, does not mean that it's ready to be published. The first draft is by far the messiest and ugliest part of your novel. Before you even think about publishing it, your book must go through several rounds of personal and professional edits. Your personal edits should focus mainly on the story itself to make sure everything flows well while you delete scenes and write new ones or reconstruct sentences that just seem off. Of course, you can always edit your spelling and grammar too. 

Get your novel PROFESSIONALLY edited. You did a few rounds of personal edits, so it should be ready, right? NO. The story always needs a fresh pair of eyes -- professional eyes. These editors are experts in their field and can pick up on a lot of things you didn't during your own personal edits. I can't tell you how many times I would edit my own works only to go through "one last time" and find even more things that I had to fix. Fresh eyes will always help, especially when they belong to an expert. 

Market your book! Because you're new to the scene, chances are you don't have a following from an audience of people who would be interested in your book. Frankly, you should start marketing way before you finish your book, but as they say, "better late than never." Use Twitter, Facebook, and even Instagram to get your book out there. Make sure to use hashtags that are relevant to your book and its genre while providing a quality post that could hook your potential readers. Bring out that inner salesperson!

Have an EYE-CATCHING cover. Get a cover done by a professional to ensure you get a high quality and attractive book cover for your book. I know there's that whole saying "don't judge a book by its cover" and while that may be true in some cases, there are readers out there that do, indeed, judge the book by the cover. I happen to be one of those people (though there have been a book or two with simple and not-so-attractive covers that actually ended up being really good), so you bet there are other readers out there that are the same way. 


The road to publishing for a new author is tough and long, but following the advice found in these posts can really help you go a long way and set you on the path to the correct and most successful way to publish. 

If you have any questions you would like answered in a future "New Author Tips" post, please send me an e-mail with them and I will have them answered in the next post! 



[New Author Tips] You've Finished Your Novel, Now What? #1

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Happy book anniversary to Painting Sky by Rita Branches!


Painting Sky
by Rita Branches
Genre: NA Contemporary Romance
Release Date: April 25th 2016



Summary from Goodreads:
Nobody ever said life was easy...

People pleaser, Jane Skylar wants nothing more than to earn her art degree, start her life, and bask in the bliss of living with her boyfriend.

But things don't always go as planned...

Struggling with her creative side, Jane finds herself in turmoil, often confiding in her roommate - another, more talented art student, Keith Hale. Keith just so happens to be her boyfriend's older, brooding brother. After a devastating breakup, Jane turns to Keith for comfort. But when the lines blur between roommate and lover, Jane's life becomes more complicated than ever before.

When Keith's past comes back to haunt him, their lives all get turned upside down, forcing the truth to surface. Now Jane must fight for what she wants--even if it hurts everyone she loves.



Available on Amazon


About the Author
Rita Branches is the author of young adult and new adult contemporary romance. She published her debut novel in April 2016.

Rita lives in Portugal and has a degree in Landscape Architecture, although from a very young age, her love has been in books. She has a healthy obsession with books, you can always find her with her eReader. She’s been writing for years, but just ventured into the publishing world in 2016.


Author Links:


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[Book Blitz] Painting Sky

Thursday, April 25, 2019




Title: A Pack of Blood and Lies
Series: The Boulder Wolves #1
Author: Olivia Wildenstein
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Published: April 18, 2019
Source: Copy provided by NetGalley

Quicklinks: Amazon | Goodreads 


{SUMMARY}
The primal rule of winning: don’t fall in love with the contender.
 
Three months shy of her eighteenth birthday, Ness is forced to return to Colorado. Even though it’s been six years, and the wolves of her all-male pack don’t recognize her, she recognizes them. People who shun others because of their gender are hard to forget.

Especially Liam Kolane—son of Heath, the crudest and cruelest Alpha to have ruled the Boulder Pack. Liam is as handsome as he is infuriating, as kind as he is punishing, and he makes Ness’s traitorous heart race, which isn’t good. After all, he’s a Kolane. Like father like son, right?
When Heath dies, Liam vies to become the new Alpha and no one dares challenge him.
Except Ness. 
Thus begins a treacherous game. 

The rules: winner takes all…including loser’s life.

Fans of Kresley Cole and Cassandra Clare will devour A PACK OF BLOOD AND LIES

AYYYEEEEEE.

What's me without werewolf stories? Nothing. Nada. So of course when I saw this, I just HAD to get it in my library and in my noggin. Couple werewolves with a strong female lead and it was already a winner.

Ness. Strong, misunderstood female with a shitton of things to prove to an all-male pack of hard-headed, ignorant jerks and the key to my heart. With my love for her type of character, it was easy to like her steel willpower and stubbornness when it came to proving herself. She did what she needed to do to survive, but never really forgot who she was.

The plot was amazing. What's not to love about a woman who's not allowed in the pack fighting to be the alpha whilst also finding out the truth behind her past and losses? The author did a great job at keeping me guessing the answers to the questions behind what happened to her parents and the mystery going on within the pack.

Honestly, the entire time I read this, I was glued to my phone because my kindle was dead. I started reading it at about 2pm and finished it at 8pm. Four. Hours. It took me 6 hours to read the entire book. Normally, a book around this length has me finishing after about a full day of reading (with plenty of interruptions) at work. That's enough proof to show how entirely addicted to this book I was. I'm so utterly excited to continue on with the next book!

[Review] A Pack of Blood and Lies

Tuesday, March 5, 2019




Title: Sugar Spells
Series: The Spellwork Syndicate #2
Author: Lola Dodge
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Published: October 30, 2018
Source: Copy provided by NetGalley

Quicklinks: Amazon | Goodreads



{SUMMARY}
After her run-in with a jealous warlock, apprentice baker Anise Wise can’t wait to get back the kitchen where she belongs. But thanks to her brush with death, the land of the living isn’t all cupcakes and marshmallows.

Anise’s magical mojo is way out of whack and her evolving powers are stirring up trouble. As the town buzzes with news that Anise can bake deathly spells, unsavory characters start lining up for a taste. They’ll stop at nothing for the chance to use Anise and her witchcraft to further their own plots.

She plans to hole up researching magic recipes until the attention dies down, but then she discovers the horrifying terms of her bodyguard’s contract. Wynn has saved her life so many times, she can’t leave him trapped. But doing the right thing will mean risking death or worse—being cast out of her dream job.


For this witch, justice might not be as sweet as advertised.
I requested this before having read the first of the series, Deadly Sweet. I enjoyed it enough to want to read this book to see where the story would take us. 

Unlike in Deadly Sweet, it turns out Anise grew up a bit. She still made some dumb decisions because of the things she wanted, but the ones she made are mistakes I would probably make if I had been in her situation, not gonna lie. She has gained my respect.

I still don't quite like Wynn because I hate jerks, but the more time spent delving a bit into his backstory, the more I understood and that put me in a weird space. I didn't like him, but I knew why he acted the way he did. 

As for the plot, I felt more engaged in this one than in the first book. There's just something about kicking skeevy creatures' asses that makes me giddy. Things were definitely more exciting than in the first book, so I'm glad I decided to continue on with the series. Luckily, it doesn't end here and I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what's in store for Anise!  

[Review] Sugar Spells

Sunday, March 3, 2019




Title: Paper Girl

Author: Cindy R. Wilson
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Published: December 4, 2018
Source: Copy provided by NetGalley
Content Warning: Anxiety, Panic attacks

Quicklinks: Amazon | Goodreads




{SUMMARY}
I haven’t left my house in over a year. My doctor says it’s social anxiety, but I know the only things that are safe are made of paper. My room is paper. My world is paper. Everything outside is fire. All it would take is one spark for me to burst into flames. So I stay inside. Where nothing can touch me.


Then my mom hires a tutor. Jackson. This boy I had a crush on before the world became too terrifying to live in. Jackson’s life is the complete opposite of mine, and I can tell he’s got secrets of his own. But he makes me feel things. Makes me want to try again. Makes me want to be brave. I can almost taste the outside world. But so many things could go wrong, and all it takes is one spark for everything I love to disappear…
When it comes to books regarding anxiety or panic attacks, I read with caution. Some may ask, well why would you read something that could trigger you? I read things like this to see if I can find books that could help others who don't suffer from these things understand instead of romanticizing the mental illness. 

Zoe suffers from Agoraphobia, anxiety, and panic attacks, otherwise known as the paper girl. She doesn't leave the house and hasn't in about a year. Because of this, her family relationships are a bit strained. I loved Zoe and felt for her during her panic attacks, she was a nice, well-rounded character. Throughout her narration, she talks a lot about paper, calling herself a paper girl, hence the title. The thought of her love for paper on top of her issues was poetic, for sure!

Jackson, however, had me a bit dumbfounded. He would constantly make comparisons between Zoe and the girl he talks to online without actually connecting the dots until the story was ready to move forward with that. The entire time, I was wondering how a character who we are told is smart as hell, Valedictorian smart, can't put two and two together. It was just mind-boggling. 

As for the overall story, while it was beautiful, it was also extremely predictable and underwhelming. Happy endings are great and all, but it made it predictable. Is it too much to ask for a book like this to follow someone who doesn't necessarily make it there at the end, but is happy with their progress and is going to continue getting toward their end goal? Everyone got a happy ending, too. Maybe I'm a sucker for endings that are more bittersweet. I was going to give it a lower rating, but I'm adding an extra point because the book did make me cry a few times (that's a good thing). The book itself put me at borderline panic attack mode, but I did it and enjoyed the book. However, because of this, I've placed a content warning for those who suffer anxiety and panic attacks. 

[Review] Paper Girl

Saturday, March 2, 2019




Title: Deadly Sweet
Series: The Spellwork Syndicate #1
Author: Lola Dodge
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Published: January 16. 2018
Source: Bought for Kindle

Quicklinks: Amazon | Goodreads


{SUMMARY}

Anise Wise loves three things: baking, potion making, and reading her spellbooks in blissful silence. She might not be the most powerful witch, but enchantment is a rare skill, and her ability to bake with magic is even rarer. Too bad no one wants witchcraft on their campus. Anise’s dream of attending pastry school crumbles with rejection letter after rejection letter.


Desperate to escape her dead-end future, Anise contacts the long-lost relative she’s not supposed to know about. Great Aunt Agatha owns the only magic bakery in the US, and she suddenly needs a new apprentice. Anise is so excited she books it to New Mexico without thinking to ask what happened to the last girl.

The Spellwork Syndicate rules the local witches in Taos, but as “accidents” turn into full-out attacks on Anise’s life, their promises to keep her safe are less and less reassuring. Her cranky bodyguard is doing his best, but it’s hard to fight back when she has no idea who’s the enemy. Or why she became their target.

If Anise can’t find and stop whoever wants her dead, she’ll be more toasted than a crème brûlée.

Who knew baking cakes could be so life or death? 
Magic? Baking? I love baking and I love magic so of course I wanted to read this series!

The main character, Anise, was naive and too willing to fit in and it made her make a lot of ridiculous, stupid, and downright blind decisions that ended her up in more trouble than she would have been had she been smart, but she wasn't. A lot of her troubles could have been avoided if she just had common sense and I think because of how naive she was, it just made me not like her. There were definitely aspects of her that I loved, like her love for baking and the determination to learn and be the best, but it wasn't enough to nullify the adult in me that wanted her to be at least somewhat smart about her decisions. I don't want to even get into Wynn considering there was really nothing for me to go off to get an idea of his character -- too one dimensional.

The overall plot was pretty basic with the whole battle against the evil that wanted the main character for their personal vendettas. There's really not much to say that stood out for me to absolutely love the story, but in the end, I enjoyed what I did read, but not enough to warrant a higher rating. I wish it would have been a bit more mature when it came to the characters (though I do know that this is a young adult). I just feel like she was a bit too childish. Despite that, I still feel compelled to continue on with the series in hopes Anise learns from her mistakes and ends up making something of herself.

[Review] Deadly Sweet

Wednesday, February 27, 2019




Title: The Queen's Wing
Series: The Queen's Wing #1
Author: Jessica Thorne
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Published: November 21, 2018
Source: Copy provided by NetGalley

Quicklinks: Amazon | Goodreads



{SUMMARY}

'I was born to fight,’ I used to say. But now I know it isn’t true. I was born to be a pawn in the great game of royal houses, married to someone – anyone – my family deems suitable… 

Bel would do anything to spend her days alongside her best friend and childhood sweetheart Shae – training in the art of Vairian combat, hoping to some day live up to the legacy left by the mother she lost as a child. 

But when a mysterious and deadly attack on the capital lands Bel’s father unexpectedly on the throne, her life is forever changed. In order to secure her father’s new empire, Bel is forced to travel to the distant land of Anthaeus to marry its recently widowed ruler, Conleith. 

For any other young woman the chance to become royalty would be a dream come true, but for Bel, the rigidity of court life is like a prison sentence. And while Conleith is an unexpectedly intriguing – and attractive – puzzle… could she ever love him when it would mean turning her back on her feelings for Shae, her first love and last connection to home? 

Then a brutal assassination attempt nearly takes her life, and Bel learns that there’s more on the line than just her happiness. Is it the same faceless enemy who attacked her homeland and, with dangers around every corner, who in the palace can she trust? 

A heart-stoppingly magical new novel that will keep you turning the pages. Perfect for fans of The Selection, Bella Forrest and Sarah J. Maas. 

Those of you who have been following my reviews know that I'm a sucker for strong female characters and it's always refreshing to be able to find books that have such a character in the genre that I read. 

Bel is the strong female character, born of a people that I imagined to resemble that of the Amazons. Through the trials she went through and the losses, she was able to focus on the important matter at hand in the time of war instead of collapsing into a heaping pile of tears and whining. I loved her character, she was indeed a queen. 

Conleith is a good character, as well, but I didn't read enough to gather much about him except for what the summary of this book tells. 

The world was intriguing and I wish there was more time spent on detailing the world a bit more. The overall plot was extremely well done. It was engaging enough despite the steady, almost borderline slow build up, but ended with a series of actions and consequences to make you want to read the next book immediately after. I'm really looking forward to it! 

[Review] The Queen's Wing

Monday, February 25, 2019




Title: The Darkest Star
Series: Origin #1
Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Published: October 30, 2018
Source: Copy provided by NetGalley

Quicklinks: Amazon | Goodreads



{SUMMARY}

When seventeen-year-old Evie Dasher is caught up in a raid at a notorious club known as one of the few places where humans and the surviving Luxen can mingle freely, she meets Luc, an unnaturally beautiful guy she initially assumes is a Luxen...but he is in fact something much more powerful. Her growing attraction for Luc will lead her deeper and deeper into a world she'd only heard about, a world where everything she thought she knew will be turned on its head...

#1 New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout returns to the universe of the Lux in this brand new series, featuring beloved characters both new and old.
I don't normally read Science Fiction and I'm not quite sure. The thoughts of aliens and species on other worlds is unnerving for me because of the actual possibility of it being truth. I remain extremely picky when it comes to choosing the Sci-fi I read, but the summary was enough for me to request it. 

The writing was childish throughout the book, with a few spots where the writing didn't make my eyes roll into my brain. I'm not sure if it's because I'm an adult outside the knowledge of how teens act/react/talk/think, though it could be. Because of such writing, I slightly resented Evie just because of the narration. As for Luc, I hated him the moment he stepped into the picture and that hate never faltered despite the way the story unfolds. He's arrogant, pushy, and a downright asshole and I'm not sure why it still surprises me that people are still attracted to that type of person. The fact that Evie puts up with his bullshit is, well, bullshit. 

Despite the lack of... like for the characters (in the end, I somewhat liked Evie), the plot was engaging and kept me wanting to read more. The ending didn't have a massive cliffhanger (thank you), but instead, had the subtle opening for the next book. Honestly, I'm looking forward to the next book The Burning Shadow and hope that October comes quick. I was originally gonna give it a 3, but since I liked the plot, I'm giving it an extra point.



[Review] The Darkest Star

Saturday, February 23, 2019

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