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Friday Fun! (September: Pie and Racing and Fall Colors and Did I Mention Pie?)

My first ever lemon meringue pie 100% from scratch.

My first ever lemon meringue pie 100% from scratch.

Hello my lovely readers!

September just flew right by, didn’t it?  I managed to sneak in two mini weekend getaways this month.  One to watch my man race at the track, and the other to ride through the stunning Vermont and New Hampshire fall colors up to visit my dad (very briefly, we arrived and left in less than 24 hours).  I love how much more often I’m able to get out of the city now, thanks to my bf’s willingness to drive and/or motorcycle. The track was just as much fun as last time, albeit colder! We really had to layer up in our tent, but at least we had body heat.  🙂  My bf placed third in one of his competitions, and I was really happy to get to see it!  Our first long 2up ride (when you have two people on one motorcycle) was just as much fun, although I wound up much sorer than from simply observing a race! We rode 281 miles in under 24 hours (3 hours the first day, 4 hours the second).  I loved going on the long ride together, although my hands did turn blue from the cold (in spite of wearing gloves).  But that just makes the story more awesome!

September also heralds a LOT of birthdays. I had three birthday parties to attend! I love how varied they were. One involved watching an indie superhero movie while eating Mexican food. Another involved froyo cake and geeky conversation.  The third included spinning vinyl, drinking cider, and playing Cards Against Humanity.  One of the birthday folks was my bf, and he requested a birthday pie instead of cake.  His favorite pie, naturally, is lemon meringue (aka one of the harder pies to make).  It took me 5 hours, but I think I succeeded pretty well!

In writing news, I’m still plugging away at the new cyberpunk scifi world I’m hoping to set the next novel in.  I’m pleased to report a new review of Waiting For Daybreak came in over at Zephyr Book Reviews.  For the complete listing of reviews, check out Waiting For Daybreak‘s publicity page.

In blog news, alas, I only managed to write three reviews this month, although I read four books and had one (and my first ever) did not finish (DNF).  I don’t intend to review DNF on the blog, but you can check out my DNF shelf at GoodReads if you like, where I briefly explain why I gave up on the book in question.

In more exciting blog news, I’ve decided on a new Review Policy.  The short of it is, I have decided to annually open up for review requests every November/December.  I will then select the books I will accept and commit to reading and reviewing them within the next year.  So books accepted at the end of this November/December will be read and reviewed by the end of December 2014.  Please check out my Review Policies/Contact page for the full policies.  I have also updated what genres and formats I accept.  Please note that I am very open to requests from indie authors/publishers.  And mark your calendars to start submitting to me in November!

I hope you all had lovely Septembers!

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Waiting For Daybreak Blog Tour: Author’s Wrap-up!

September 1, 2012 3 comments

Wow. It’s hard to believe my first book release blog tour is over.  Overall, this was a very wonderful experience, and I learned a lot about running a tour, which I will share with other indie authors in future posts.  This post though is about Waiting For Daybreak, my future writing, and the wonderful participating bloggers.

I of course was pleased (and relieved) to see that bloggers mostly enjoyed my first novel.  Getting so much feedback and opinions let me see what quips and qualms were personal and what were things to bare in mind for my future books.

So what things did people disagree on?  The ending was mostly loved, although a few people thought it was a bit abrupt.  The length was deemed just right by some and too short by others.  Some people found the level of information about the zombies and amount of horror content just right. Others wanted more.  These are all choices that are ultimately up to the author, and I’m still pleased with the choices I made (or rather with the direction Frieda dictated the story to go).

The one universal quip, and which I admit I have always known is a fault of mine, was a desire for stronger setting/world building.  Although the world is always 100% clear in my mind, I can sometimes struggle to be sure that it is coming through on the page.  I have come up with a few strategies to improve this in future books and appreciate the honest feedback from all the bloggers.

The fact that everyone was so honest means I can trust that the one thing that everyone loved is truly good.  That is character building.  People loved Frieda, and they loved Snuggles.  They found her three-dimensional and well-rounded.  Flawed, aggravating sometimes even, but ultimately understandable.  A few people even mentioned that they came away with more empathy for people with a mental illness.  You guys, this feedback blew me away.  My whole concept and point was to create a main character in a genre book with a mental illness as a way to fight stigma and ableism.  The fact that this worked on any level at all…. Well. It rocked my world.  I hope seeing people talk about relating to Frieda and feeling for her will be an encouragement to people dealing with mental illnesses.  Plus, on a writer’s level, it’s just good to know that I can create deeply flawed characters who are still someone readers can root for.

I couldn’t’ve asked for much more from a blog tour for a debut book.  It’s strong, solid feedback for a first novel.  I know more clearly what I do well and what to keep a closer eye on in my editing process.

In addition to the feedback, I got to get to know a bunch of book bloggers.  I’ve never interviewed an author on my own blog before, and participating in interviews made me see how much fun they can be!  They gave me the chance to explain where my idea came from, clarify some aspects of who I am and how I write, and just connect on a more personal level with my readers.  It was so much fun!  Also having the blogs host giveaways of my book brought it to a broader audience.  It was so nice for me to see who chose to enter the giveaways and why.  I also greatly appreciated the space for guest posts to talk more about my own perspective of my book.  It was all-in-all a very positive experience for me.

One thing that came up repeatedly during the tour was people wondering precisely what mental illness Frieda has.  I honestly didn’t realize people would be so curious about this!  I’ve added an author’s note explaining her mental illness to the ebook versions (although I couldn’t add a note on to the print version).  I will reproduce it here now so those with review copies, giveaway copies, or the print book can satisfy their curiosity. 🙂

Frieda has Borderline Personality Disorder, commonly known as BPD.  The Diagnostic Statistical Manual IV-TR, which psychiatrists use in diagnosing mental illnesses, requires that a person exhibit at least five of the nine symptoms associated with BPD.  Frieda has all except for number one.

The diagnostic criteria are:

“(1) frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5.

(2) a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation

(3) identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self

(4) impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating). Note: Do not include suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5.

(5) recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior

(6) affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days)

(7) chronic feelings of emptiness

(8) inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights)

(9) transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms”

MICHAEL B. FIRST, M.D., ed. 2000. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – 4th Ed. (DSM-IV-TR™, 2000). Washington, DC. American Psychiatric Association. ISBN 0-89042-024-6, ISBN 0-89042-025-4. STAT!Ref Online Electronic Medical Library. http://online.statref.com/document.aspx?fxid=37&docid=314. 8/30/2012 12:18:14 PM CDT (UTC -05:00).

For more information on BPD, please see the DSM-IV-TR cited above.

There were two other things everyone wanted to know.  1) will there be a sequel? and 2) what am I currently working on?

I didn’t write Waiting For Daybreak with the intention of it being the start of a series.  But. A few weeks after finishing it, the germ of an idea jumped into my head.  I believe that Frieda’s story is not complete.  There are still many questions, primarily about her family, but also about what she will do with winter coming on.  I do intend to write a sequel addressing these questions.  However, it will require a bit of a road trip or two for research, so it won’t be coming out for at least two years.  It also has to wait for me to finish my current work in progress.

My current work in progress is a dark fantasy.  It is set in the Lovecraft universe and follows four siblings fifteen years after the Dark Ones have taken over Boston.  It will examine many themes, but the primary ones will be sibling relationships and what makes family family.  Each of the siblings will take turns expressing themselves, and I’m very excited about the opportunity to get into four very different minds.  I’ve had a love for Cthulhu for a long time, so I am truly enjoying getting to bury myself in this world.

I think that’s about it for my wrap-up, except for the all-important huge THANK YOU to every single participating blogger!!! Thank you for being willing to accept indie books in general and mine in particular.  Thank you for your honesty in reviewing and positivity in hosting guest posts, interviews, and giveaways.  Thank you for helping my writing to reach a broader audience.  Thank you for everything you did to help make my first blog tour and novel release a success!  There wouldn’t even have been a blog tour without you all, and I look forward to hopefully working with you all again in the future.

Note: If you would like to see the reviews, interviews, and guest posts, please check out the blog tour and reviews page.  It will remain up and be updated with new reviews as they show up, even though the tour is now over.  If you are interested in more of my writing, please check out my publications page.  Thanks!

Waiting For Daybreak Blog Tour and Reviews

Waiting For Daybreak Blog Tour Official Banner

Blog Tour

The schedule for Waiting For Daybreak‘s official blog tour featuring reviews, guest posts, interviews, and giveaways!!!!  A huge thank you to every single participating blog for their support of not just myself, but indie authors in general.

July 2012
13—
Earth’s Book Nook    guest post and giveaway
14–The Chronicles of an Enamored Soul    review and giveaway
15–Tabula Rasa    review and interview
18–Nicki J. Markus    review, interview, and giveaway
22–From Me To You…    review and interview
23–The Paperback Pursuer    review
25–Kelsey’s Cluttered Bookshelf    review, interview, and giveaway
26–Bookishly Me    interview
27–Fangs for the Fantasy    review
30–Gizmo’s Book Reviews    interview

August 2012
2–Cynthia Shepp    guest post and giveaway
6–Ellie Hall    guest post
Eva’s Sanctuary    review and interview
10–Lily Element    review
11–Wickedly Bookish    interview and giveaway
13–Ellie Hall    review
1889 Labs    review
15–The Book Hoard    review and giveaway
16–Persephone’s Winged Reviews    review
17–Offbeat Vagabond    review, interview, and giveaway
18–Mervi’s Book Reviews    review
Blood, Sweat, and Books    review and interview
20–Paperless Reading    review
21–An Eclectic Bookshelf    review and interview
29–Just a Lil’ Lost…    review
Obsessions of a LibraryGurl    review
Reflections of a Book Addict    interview and giveaway
30–Obsessions of a LibraryGurl    interview
Reflections of a Book Addict    review
31–Opinions of a Wolf    author’s wrap-up!

Thank you again to all the tour participants!!

Reviews

Blogs that have accepted review copies of Waiting For Daybreak are listed below with a direct link to their review of Waiting For Daybreak and interviews/guest posts/giveaways, if applicable, in parentheses.  Accepting a review copy is just as supportive of indie authors as participating in a blog tour, so thank you very much, bloggers!

Beauty in Ruins (review)
Eastern Sunset Reads (review and guest post)
Fishmuffins of Doom (review)
Love, Literature, Art, and Reason (review and interview)
Minding Spot (review)
Nylon Admiral (review)
Pinuccia’s World of Books (review)
Reflections (review)
Zephyr Book Reviews (review)

Book Review: The Gunslinger By Stephen King

November 3, 2009 15 comments

coverthegunslingerSummary:
The first in King’s epic, Tolkien-like Dark Tower series, The Gunslinger introduces Roland who lives in a world similar to, yet different from our own.  He is the last gunslinger, a kind of wild west type warrior.  As he pursues the Man in Black across a desert in the first of many steps toward his goal of the Dark Tower, some elements of his dark past are revealed, as are some secrets of the many parallel, yet somehow linked, universes.

Review:
I admit it.  I’m not normally a Stephen King fan, but after two people I know started devouring this series, I decided I had to know just what was so exciting.

I’m shocked to discover, I like a Stephen King book.  I’m not so shocked to discover that this is an incredibly male book.  Roland’s life centers around violence, guns, a quest, the women he beds, and taking care of a boy.  It isn’t just the plot line that’s masculine though.  The writing style is decidedly male.  Roland is abrupt and to the point.  Instead of talking about his heart fluttering, he gets hard-ons.  Instead of his palms sweating with nerves, his balls retract up tightly against him.  It’s gritty, dark, and male. And I liked it.

It reminds me a lot of watching old westerns with my father.  This shouldn’t be surprising, since in the introduction King essentially says that he set out to write the American version of an epic in the style of Tolkien. What’s more American and epic than the wild west? Oh, I know, a parallel universe version of the wild west. With mutants.

It is a bit slow-moving at first.  That’s not surprising, though, given that it’s the first in a series of seven.  Think of it as the introduction chapter, only prolonged through two-thirds of the book.  It’s not a boring introduction by any means; it just takes a while to get attached to the characters and thoroughly engrossed in the over-arching story.  That’s ok though, because King provides plenty of nightmarish scenes in the mean-time to keep you reading.

I’ve always had a bit of a tendency to thoroughly enjoy more masculine stories just as much, if not more than more feminine stories.  (I was the little girl who was excited to watch the war movie marathon on Veteran’s Day.)  If you know that you enjoy this type of gritty story, definitely give The Gunslinger a shot.  You won’t be disappointed.

4 out of 5 stars

Source: Borrowed

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