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Book Review

Moonborn by Terry Maggert

The more I review books and get to know authors, the more I see how fun it is to read multiple series by the same author. This is the second series from Maggert that I’ve read. The first series I discovered, Halfway Witchy was fantastical fun filled with witches, shifters, a vampire, and waffles. (Some of my favorite things) I heard the first book in this series, Heartborn, on audio. You can read my review here.

As soon as I finished this book,

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Find Your Strong: How I changed my MIND to change my BODY and heal my HEART by Cassy Roop

 

It’s hard to open up to people who know you. It’s even harder to put yourself out there with people you don’t know. I admire people who share about their struggles in an open, loving, and compassionate way. It is obvious Roop wrote this book out of love. She believes in the power of her book and it’s message. I liked the pictures of her scattered throughout the book. It added a sense of “realness”.

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The Alpha’s Daughter by Tiffany Shand

Happy release day, Tiffany!

This author continues to rock it with her paranatural, urban-fantasy stories. This series focus on the complexities between dads and daughters. Only Shand twists this idea. This dad and daughter combo are shifters with even more going on than just the ordinary dysfunctional family trouble.

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The Six Month Novel Writing Plan by Caitlin Jans

 

I think sometimes people need to hear the same thing numerous times before it sinks into their head. I can’t say there is nothing new in this book, but what I like about it and why I would recommend it is because of the author has an awesome delivery. The tone of this book is to the point and easy to follow. She does not waste time with long explanations about why something works. It was a quick read and her ideas are very easy to follow for any writer at any level. Books like this help motivate me to “git er dun”.

 

 

 

 

Most authors have heard of National Novel Writing Month, also known as NaNoWriMo, a novel writing challenge to write a 50,000 word novel during the month of November. Many famous authors, including John Green and Rainbow Rowell, have participated.

But for many writers who work full time, writing a novel in one month is difficult, if not impossible. Before I had a child or a full-time job, I completed NaNoWriMo twice.

Both times I participated in NaNoWriMo I really enjoyed the process, but I was forced to type at such a pace that both books required a great deal of copy and content editing. I made many typos per page, regularly contradicted myself, and filled the novels with many plot holes. After November, I never managed to make it very far past the first draft because of the amount of work required in terms of editing.

Now that I have a full-time job, a child, a husband, and any number of writing projects on the go, NaNoWriMo is unfeasible. But even if I had the time to do it, I am not sure it is the right challenge for me. It generates a lot of very raw material without giving the writer any time to edit. I thought I could write a much better novel if I had more time to edit as I wrote but still had a strict “must finish by” date.
I believe one of the enemies of novel writing is not having a strict deadline.  If I spend too much time writing a novel I often forget most of the details and plot that were covered in the beginning, so the start of the novel and the end do not merge. I then have to go back and edit large swaths of writing.

I have also noticed that writers who don’t set deadlines for themselves often end up spending a lot more time working on their novels, and many never finish their novels at all. One of my friends just finished his first draft of his first novel – it took him ten years to write that first draft. Another friend has been writing for almost two decades and has yet to complete her novel.
Even if you don’t end up following my plan or making your own plan, at least take this away from this book – create a deadline for yourself! It is important to stick to deadlines. Even famous authors with established fan bases struggle with this. George R.R. Martin, the author of Game of Thrones, is infamous for announcing when his next book is coming out and then delaying it by years.

I gave myself six months to write a novel and outlined a loose schedule – which appears later in this book. I was able to complete not just a first draft of the novel but also a second draft during that time. Only after the third draft was I able to come up with a name for it, The Orphan Smugglers. In just six months, I wrote a novel from scratch that I am very happy with.

The Orphan Smugglers is 63,000 words in length, which is much closer to the length of most published novels than NaNoWriMo’s 50,000-word goal.

This book, The Six-Month Novel-Writing Plan, started out as an article, but I received a great deal of positive feedback and so many questions about it, that I have expanded it into an eBook. While the initial article was just a modified version of this introduction and a very basic version of the plan itself, this eBook gives a more detailed plan and covers all sorts of important details that will help you execute the plan, such as: what you need to do before month one, tips for modifying the plan to suit your personal needs, and many more important pieces of information.
The Six-Month Novel-Writing Plan that lead to the creation of The Orphan Smugglers has already changed my life, even though the book hasn’t been published. The experience itself was so enjoyable and so productive that I could not be more grateful for it. It enabled me to be a parent and a writer. It allowed me to complete the most polished rough draft I have ever written. I really hope The Six-Month Novel-Writing Plan changes your life as well.

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The Gypsy Thorn by Sherry Rentschler

Since the first time I met Sherry, I’ve known about these vampire characters who live inside her head. Over this last year that we’ve worked together, I’ve been able to work with her on bringing this series to life. This prequel sets the stage for the Evening Bower series starting later this year. It is a great overview and introduction of some of the characters. What I really like about this story is that the vampires are real vampires who love everything about being evil. Angst and guilt do not interfere with their true quest for power. Drahomira meets a Phoenix and an Angel of Death and learns her connection to both of them is deeper than just a passing encounter. Dra is saucy and powerful- and “hey that’s ok.” Sherry does a great job of sharing a story taking place over many generations. I also enjoyed learning some new things about this time period. I can’t wait until the rest of the series comes out.

 

When Atlantis fell into the sea, a single creature survived–a scarlet phoenix. She escaped with ancient man’s historical record, The Great Book of Forgetting. This book recorded mankind’s every legend and prophecy. Only the Archangel of Death understood man’s survival depended on the fulfillment of one particular prophecy, that of the scarlet phoenix.

Rhea is the scarlet phoenix, transmuted into human form with wings of fire. She hides The Great Book from those seeking to steal it and prevent the prophecy. The Archangel befriends and protects her as he watches her traverse time and mold history. She is the proverbial rose that blooms in a future garden.

Jean-Louis Riviere is an aristocrat who became a vampire during the American Revolution. He is haunted by an ill wind whispering strange and incredible possibilities. His family ties will lure those who wish to destroy the prophecy; however, the Archangel also knows his blood is all that will save the rose and secure the future

Drahomira is a gypsy, a bastard princess, and a vampire. The Archangel of Death chose her to protect the phoenix because she is an irreverent killer but loyal to family. She will journey across continents and be the catalyst that brings Rhea and Jean-Louis together. First, she must leave her people, her throne, and her lover, cross a continent for vengeance, die, and be reborn. Only then will she discover that she is the rose’s legendary thorn in the Evening Bower.

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Sherry Rentschler’s poetry has appeared online and in print. She’s a previous Assistant Editor, Amateur Poetry Journal (online), and a newspaper photojournalist. She lived in Italy, traveling around Europe, the Middle East, the Caribbean, Puerto Rico, and Greenland.

Sherry’s latest release is a fictional memoir entitled Breaking the Glass Slipper. This is a true story about a woman’s search for a real happy ending and examines the lessons learned through sexual exploits, marital disasters and adventures around the world. This tale will surprise, inspire, and touch you with poignancy and honesty.

Rentschler’s newest fiction release is Midnight Assassin: A Tale of Lust and Revenge. This character novella promises action and a bit of sexy teasing as Rentschler introduces us to two of her favorite vampires while delivering a high-energy drama. Look for her vampires to continue in 2016.

Paper Bones, Rentschler’s first poetry collection, is a 2014 Global Ebook Awards Gold Medalist, a 2014 National Indie Excellence Book Award (NIEA) Finalist, a Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Honorable Mention winner and a 2013 Best Cover Award Gold Medal Winner from AUTHORSdB.

By Light Betrayed is Rentschler’s is gothic poetry release and includes color photography as well as a delicious fiction excerpt of Midnight Assassin, a character novella. In this poetry collection she has a bit of fun poking at the dark side of the vampires, what gives them soul, and insights into their seductive ways.

The Book of Now is Rentschler’s final poetry collection. In this volume, Sherry rips events from the headlines covering current events in Terrorism, Politics, Abuse (domestic and international) and Nature (human and natural). Her hard-hitting insight into our reality offers a key to change which is discovered at the end of the book.

I Wish You Joy is Rentschler’s only photographic compellation and makes a lovely coffee table pictorial.

Among her hobbies are all things vampire, plus dragon collecting, photographing trees, and dancing with faeries. She loves old movies, reading urban and gothic fantasies, fine wine, and consuming rich, dark chocolate. Rentschler is a retired USAF veteran and currently resides in North Carolina with her husband, also a retired USAF veteran. They await the return of the dragons.

 

The President’s Vampire by Christopher Farnsworth

This book is the second book in this series. Check here for a review of the first book.

If you like vampires that are heartthrobs and/or glittery. This is NOT the series for you. If however, you like hardcore vampires who understand what they are and accept their evilness, this is the series for you. Book two takes place about a year after book one. Zach and Cade continue to develop some kind of a working relationship. Even though they are complete opposites (in personality and species), they work well together. I like Zach as a foil character. He is just as strong and developed as Cade. I think the author does a great job developing all his characters even the minor ones. I will admit that when I first starting listening to this story, it seemed a little too out there, but it somehow all worked together.  Bronson Pinchot narrated this story like the other one and he does a phenomenal job. None of the characters sound alike. He brings the characters to life.

 

For 140 years, vampire Nathaniel Cade has been bound to protect and serve the United States of America. When an ancient evil is resurrected, the President’s Vampire and his human handler, Zach Barrows, must track down its source. The prime suspect is a shady private defense contractor who may be dealing with powers far deadlier than any mortal weapon. So it’s up to Cade and Zach to drag the forces of darkness into the light…

 

Christopher Farnsworth is a novelist, screenwriter, and journalist. He is the author of FLASHMOB, KILLFILE, THE ETERNAL WORLD, and the President’s Vampire series, as well as the comic book 24: LEGACY — RULES OF ENGAGEMENT. His books have been translated into nine languages, published in more than a dozen countries, and optioned for film and television. His writing has also been published by the Los Angeles Times, the New York Post, The Awl, and The New Republic. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and daughters. You can find out more at www.christopherfarnsworth.com.

Crank It Out! the Surefire Way to Become a Super-Productive Writer by C.S. Larkin

Sometimes the most simple advice is the easiest to follow, but it is the hardest to remember. I cannot speak for all writers, but I need to hear things over and over before it sinks into my head. I liked the author’s straightforward manner. She is honest and  I enjoyed the personal anecdotes. I have learned from my own experiences how much my lifestyle affects my success. So many books on mechanics, but this is one that reminds all writers and any kind of artist that taking care of the body and soul is just as important as the writing.

 

Want to become a successful author? If so, you’re going to have to crank out books. And not mediocre books but high-quality ones.

Why? Because that’s what readers expect and want.

Regardless of whether you write fiction or nonfiction, if you want to get established as an author, you need to be productive. Highly productive.

You can’t just write one terrific book and call it good, expecting that singular work to carry you atop the wave of success for years to come.

Studies show readers want 3-4 books a year from their favorite authors. And to build traction and a growing audience, authors need to deliver.

But how many writers have the time to write that many books?

In today’s busy world, amid distractions and demands, it’s hard to carve out time to write even one book a year.

But plenty of super-busy people find time to crank out numerous high-quality books. And in this in-depth look on the topic, you’ll learn the strategies that help them—and will help you—be super productive.

If you want to grow your readership, you need to write the best books you can—and that means strategizing to optimize every factor that impacts your writing.

Here are some of the things you’ll learn in Crank it Out!:

  • How to dig deep into the Productivity ABCs—attitude, biology, and choices—and analyze yourself to prepare to make the needed adjustments to be super productive
  • How to spot destructive attitudes and rewire them to allow you to break through to success
  • How to determine your biological prime time and identify your peak hours to write in order to get the most out of your writing time
  • How to hack around your excuses, bad habits, and distractions that are blocking your way
  • How to alter your sleeping, eating, and other behaviors to ensure peak performance
  • How to thwart self-sabotage and perfectionism, which prevent you from becoming the super-productive writer you long to be

Plenty of people who work full-time, have heavy family responsibilities, or deal daily with chronic health issues or physical challenges find ways to crank out books. They do so because writing is important to them.

How badly do you want it?

Now’s the time to stop making excuses and start becoming proactive. Instead of complaining you have no time to write, take the challenge this book presents.

There’s a surefire way to becoming a super-productive writer, and it’s as simple as ABC.

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C. S. Lakin is an award-winning novelist, writing instructor, and professional copyeditor who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Lakin’s award-winning blog for writers, Live Write Thrive, provides deep writing instruction and posts on industry trends. Her site www.CritiqueMyManuscript.com features her critique services. She teaches workshops and critiques at writing conferences and workshops around the country.

Her seven-book fantasy series, The Gates of Heaven, is available in print and ebook, allegorical fairy tales drawing from classic tales we all read in our childhood.

She also has an award-winning historical Western romance series under the pen name Charlene Whitman.

In addition to the sixteen novels she’s written, Lakin also publishes writing craft books in the series The Writer’s Toolbox, which help novelists learn how to write great books. Get your free ebook–Strategic Planning for Writers in 4 Easy Steps–at her blog www.livewritethrive.

Follow her on Twitter: @cslakin and @livewritethrive and like her Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/C.S.Lakin.Author

 

Diary of a Single Wedding Planner by Violet Howe

If you have read my blog for long, you know that I love me a good vampire/shifter/witch story. I don’t read a lot of love or chic lit. However, it is nice to take a break from fantasy and read something with real people. This book was like a restful vacation. I loved it.  Who doesn’t love a good love story? Love is love whether the people have fangs or the ability to tan. Taylor has had a pretty rough time in the dating world. (Wait until you read about the date with the hotel guy!) The author created a non-shallow character who is able to look at her past from many angles and evaluate the options before just jumping in. I liked this. I get tired of the flaky female leads who don’t have much depth.  Now my only problem is finding the time to read the rest of the series.

 

I blame the fairy tales. When you grow up watching every love story end in happily ever after, you come into adulthood with expectations.

I never thought I’d reach twenty-five without finding The One. Of course, I’d know immediately he was The One because angels would sing, a light would shine down from the heavens, and he would be absolutely perfect in every way.
Except that hasn’t happened in real life.
It doesn’t help that being a wedding planner means I’m surrounded by romance every day. Of course, I’m also surrounded by crazy bridezillas and their outlandish demands. If those chicks can find love, then what’s wrong with me?
It’s not like I haven’t been out on dates or tried to find Mr. Right. But have you seen what’s out there?
So go ahead. Read my diary. You might laugh. You might cry. You might question my sanity more than once. Lord knows, I’ve done all that and then some. But if there’s anything I’ve learned from the fairy tales and my crazy life, a lot happens between Once Upon A Time and Happily Ever After.

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Violet Howe enjoys writing romance with humor. She lives in Florida with her husband, who is her knight in shining armor, and their two handsome sons. They share their home with three adorable but spoiled dogs. When she’s not writing, Violet is usually watching movies, reading, or planning her next travel adventure. You can follow Violet’s ramblings on her blog, The Goddess Howe.

 

 

 

 

Violet will be in Florida at  Space Coast Book Lovers