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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

January's top links for writers


I read so much good stuff on the internet, I decided to start sharing a monthly link round-up.

From Edie Melson's Write Conversation, an informative guest post by DiAnn Mills: EVALUATING WRITING GOALS AT THE START OF A NEW YEAR 
Recent Facebook Changes: Breaking it down for Writers & Authors.
A guest post by Cyle Young, The Battle against Facebook Baiting.

From Ann R. Allen, a guest post by agent Laurie McLean with Publishing Predictions for 2018.

From Writer Unboxed, New Year, New Scrivener. Now you can keep better track of daily word count. Snapshots are searchable. The Search tool will bring back results with the search term in context, rather than the title of the file. There are also changes to Compile.

From Joanna Penn:
Healthy Writer Tips: Improve your writing workspace.
Publishing, Online Business and Tech Trends for 2018.

From Jane Friedman: How to Rock a free day promotion for your ebook.

From Books & Such Literary Management, I didn't sign up for this, about the aspects of the writing career that most writers find especially challenging, i.e. marketing yourself and your books.

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From Russell Moore, Should You Quit?

Using Seth Godin's book, The Dip: a little book that teaches you when to quit (and when to stick), he discusses that topic. I went ahead and bought Godin's short, 96-page book and read most of it during my grandson's wrestling match. When you're sitting on the bleachers for two hours, and grandson wrestles only once, there's a lot of free time!

By the way, grandson was AWESOME. After an unusually long, grueling battle, he pinned his opponent. And because I was reading Godin's book, I was shouting encouragement to him like never before. (Go Trent! You can do it. Give it 100% Trent. Go! Go! Go! Come on, Trent. 100%)

I found the ideas in Godin's book to be spot on, however not necessarily ideas I hadn't heard before. But you need a pep talk, read it.

Hope you enjoy the links. Did you read anything especially interesting this month?



Tuesday, January 30, 2018

When Dimple met Rishi by Sandhya Menon


  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse (May 30, 2017)
  • Publication Date: May 30, 2017

Book description
The rom-com everyone’s talking about! Eleanor & Park meets Bollywood in this hilarious and heartfelt novel about two Indian-American teens whose parents conspire to arrange their marriage.
Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right? 
Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself. 
The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not? 
Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

My thoughts:

This was a cute rom-com about an arranged marriage between two Indian-American teens. Dimple wants nothing to do with guys, and especially not the one her parents arranged for her to marry. Instead, she wants to focus on attending college and later having a big, exciting career.

Rishi, on the other hand, is a dutiful son who finds comfort in traditions, down to choosing a (safe and boring) engineering career that his family would approve of, and approving of the girl his family chose for him to marry.

After a very cute meet, they become partners in a web-development project. Not much is said about the project, which would probably be boring anyway. Instead we see plenty of fun dates where they get to know each other better and fall in love.

True to every romance, their growing love for each other causes each to risk change and become a better person. Rishi is able to let go of being quite so much the dutiful son and grab on to becoming a Manga artist, which is what he truly desires instead of being an engineer. Dimple is able to see that there could be far more to life than sitting at a computer designing websites all day every day.

Have you read this book? What did you like best about it? Anything you didn't like?

The Sweetest Dark by Shana Abe


  • Print Length: 354 pages
  • Publisher: Bantam (April 2, 2013)
  • Publication Date: April 2, 2013
  • Sold by: Random House LLC

Book description:
For fans of Lauren Kate and Libba Bray, The Sweetest Dark is filled with thrilling romance, exciting adventure, and ancient magic. Shana AbĂ© brilliantly captures the drama of post-Victorian England, while unfolding a passionate love story that defies time. “With every fiber of my being, I yearned to be normal. To glide through my days at Iverson without incident. But I’d have to face the fact that my life was about to unfold in a very, very different way than I’d ever envisioned. Normal would become forever out of reach.”  Lora Jones has always known that she’s different. On the outside, she appears to be an ordinary sixteen-year-old girl. Yet Lora’s been keeping a heartful of secrets: She hears songs that no one else can hear, dreams vividly of smoke and flight, and lives with a mysterious voice inside her that insists she’s far more than what she seems.  
England, 1915. Raised in an orphanage in a rough corner of London, Lora quickly learns to hide her unique abilities and avoid attention. Then, much to her surprise, she is selected as the new charity student at Iverson, an elite boarding school on England’s southern coast. Iverson’s eerie, gothic castle is like nothing Lora has ever seen. And the two boys she meets there will open her eyes and forever change her destiny. Jesse is the school’s groundskeeper—a beautiful boy who recognizes Lora for who and what she truly is. Armand is a darkly handsome and arrogant aristocrat who harbors a few closely guarded secrets of his own. Both hold the answers to her past. One is the key to her future. And both will aim to win her heart. 
As danger descends upon Iverson, Lora must harness the powers she’s only just begun to understand, or else lose everything she dearly loves. Filled with lush atmosphere, thrilling romance, and ancient magic, The Sweetest Dark brilliantly captures a rich historical era while unfolding an enchanting love story that defies time.
My thoughts:

As it turns out, this is BOOK ONE of a trilogy. Had I known that when I ordered it from NetGalley, I might've passed on it. It's not that it wasn't good--it was excellent. But now I need to add two more books to my topplingTBR pile.

The book takes place in England during World War I, however due to the Gothic castle and the island seclusion of the setting, I had to keep reminding myself of it. It was only near the end, when the war intruded, and Lora had to use her newfound powers to defeat the enemy, that the time period felt real to me. Added to that were plenty of timeless, fantasy elements.

The Amazon description pretty much sums up what the book is about, and far better than I'd be able to do. I will say, though, that the book moved along at a very leisurely pace, with relatively little tension, which surprised me. The slow pace thoroughly grafted me into the story. But I was also surprised at how little happened in 354 pages. I guess when you're writing a trilogy, and if the quality of your prose is incredible (as Ms. Abe's is) you can take ten pages to say what someone else might've said in four.

This book was given to me by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Did you read this book? Did you read the entire trilogy? What did you think of it?



Monday, January 29, 2018

Hope for All Seasons: Encouragement from Our Daily Bread by Julie Ackerman Link




Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Discovery House (April 20, 2017)
  • Publication Date: April 20, 2017

Book description: Although God promised to be ever-present and faithful, some situations in life can be so overwhelming that they get in the way of our faith. Combining Scripture passages with brief meditations, Hope for All Seasons helps us with fresh point of view on reasons to put our trust in God, no matter what. Each selection reminds us that God will never fail—He will follow through on His Word, and He will not allow us to be consumed by the everyday challenges of life.

My thoughts

This was a lovely devotional, with the theme of hope in every offering. Ms. Link made use of extended scriptural passages, both from the Old Testament and the New, which I find more enjoyable than devotions that focus on a single verse. They were originally written for Our Daily Bread, but have now been collected in this volume as a spiritual legacy to Ms. Link, who went to be with the Lord in 2015. 

The book is divided into parts that deal with hope and time, life events, the seasons and life's difficult challenges. As someone who loves the changing seasons, I especially enjoyed the devotions that tied seasonal change with reasons to hope. 

For example, in the devotion entitled From Bleak to Hope, Mrs. Link references Job 42:10-17. She compares the coming of spring, and the transformation of what had seemed dead, but is now springing to life--to the second half of Job's life. 

"With God, there is hope, even in the most hopeless situation," she concludes. 

This book was given to me free by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 




Friday, January 26, 2018

2018 Reading challenges



Operation Deepen Faith
Hosted by Becky at Operation Actually Read Bible. 
I hope to read and review 40-50 books of Christian nonfiction in 2018.




NetGalley and Edelweiss Reading Challenge
Hosted by Katrina @ Bookish Things
I currently need to read/review 25 books from NetGalley to get my stats to 100%. So in this challenge, I'm going for the Silver ...


Mount TBR Reading Challenge
Hosted by My Reader's Block
This is a challenge to read books from our To Be Read pile. They must be books we own, that were bought before January 1, 2018. My pile is a mile high. In a perfect world, I would read 100 books from my pile, but realistically, I'll go for the Mt. Ararat challenge level of 48 books. 



2018 Blogger Shame Challenge
Hosted by The Herd Presents
This challenge is to review books that I've already read but haven't gotten around to reviewing. The only rule is that the reviews are at least four months past due. I'm not going to set a target, as I still need to look through my kindle collections, but I know I've read masses of books that could be reviewed.

These are my reading goals for the year. Have you set any reading goals for yourself?



Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Top Ten Tuesday



Hosted by: The Artsy Reader Girl

Top Ten Tuesday is a long-running weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish which, just this week, has been taken over by Jana at Artsy Reader Girl.

Participants are numerous and I am excited to get to know some fellow book bloggers.

The question for today is: What are you hoping to accomplish in your bookish life this year?

1. I hope to get back into blogging on a regular schedule. Some tragic family circumstances, one of which is over and the other of which will be with me forever, have resulted in a general lack of direction in my personal life over the past nearly three years. This is the year to get back on track with my reading and writing goals.

2. I hope to get my NetGalley reading stats to near 100%. There's 15-20 books to read and review before that's a reality. But if I want more books from NetGalley, and I do, I need to read those books. Thankfully, nearly all still sound exciting.

3. I hope to read and review one Christian nonfiction book each week. This should be an easy goal, except in that I love reading Christian nonfiction so much, it's often difficult to turn my attention to fiction.

4. I hope to read and review one or two other books each week. Reading one young adult romance and one book of adult inspirational romance/fiction is my plan.

5. So that's about 150 books, which is a lot of reading for me. I've set the bar high, but it's always better to challenge yourself, I believe.

6. Of all of those wonderful, 100+ fiction reads, most have been on my TBR pile for up to five years. I still long to read them. So this year, that's exactly what I hope to do.

7. I also hope to contribute to, and comment on, plenty of book discussion posts, for the sake of hope #8, below:

8. I hope to get to know many other book bloggers, making new friends in the book blogosphere.

9. On Sundays, I hope to post a quote with an inspirational image. The image will also be posted on my Instagram account.

10. I hope to work some on my writing. I'm revising a YA romance that's been sitting in a bottom drawer (so to speak) for the past five years.

Those are my bookish goals for the year. What are yours?


Wednesday, January 03, 2018

IWSG: What steps have I taken to put a schedule in place for my writing and publishing?


Hosted by: Insecure Writer's Support Group
Purpose: To share and encourage. 
Posting: The first Wednesday of every month. 
Our Twitter handle is @TheIWSG and hashtag is #IWSG

This month's question: What steps have you taken or plan to take to put a schedule in place for your writing and publishing? 


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When I first read the question, I felt like I'd been doused with a bucket of ice water. It was a wake-up call. A refreshing, nay sobering, reminder that the dream of being published can actually become real for me ... if I create a viable schedule and stick with it. 

Like New Year resolutions, which I generally set but also, generally, fail to achieve (or not all of them), that's been the story of my writing, as well. I work pretty hard at it, but definitely not hard enough and definitely not consistently enough to determine the race, start strong, stay on track, reach the goal line, bust through it and win the prize. 

Confession: I get hung up at not one, but several, of the later junctures. 

Why does this happen? Apparently, it's because I do not stay in control of my thoughts. 

Apparently, we all have negative self talk. We might say such things as, "I'm not ready." "I don't feel like it." "I'm sick today." "My mind's too foggy today." "It's beyond me." "It's too hard." Etc. 

According to Eric Maisel, (Coaching the Artist Within), whenever we hear negative self-talk, we need to replace it with an affirmation: "I'm off to create." "I can handle this." "I trust my resources." "I'm ready." "One step at a time." 

The steps I am taking to put a schedule in place for my writing and publishing are as follows

  1. Map out when I want to finish my revision. That means I need to figure out how many pages need to be revised each day to finish according to plan. 
  2. Become more aware of my negative self-talk and replace it with an affirmation. 

My affirmation will be: "I will not allow distractions to keep me from reaching my daily writing goals." 

Put positively: "I will reach my daily writing goals no matter what." 

When I learn to be consistent, I will see different results. What about you? What keeps you from reaching your goals?

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