Category Archives: Writing

Book Review Dishonesty

liarI’m not going to divulge any information about the person who is the subject of this article. What I will say is that I was shocked and appalled by recent conversation with a now former friend.

Recently I was talking to a person who detailed to me that they had a job on the side to make a little extra spending money. Ever curious I asked “oh what are you doing? Is it interesting?” The answer was “it’s ok I guess, but the money is good.” What was their job? They work for an indie book publisher. What is their job? They review books.

I replied “oh that’s cool you get to read free books.” I was informed that no, they don’t read the books. All they do is receive a list of Kindle books. Then they go on Amazon.com and create 5 different identities and create five four star reviews for each book on the list. They scan the front and back of the book and the summary and then spew some bullshit like “awesome, I couldn’t put the book down, can’t wait for the next one.”

I couldn’t believe my ears. I asked “you do know that you are lying for monetary gain and swindling people???” They got pissed at me. I asked “what publisher are you working for?” But they wouldn’t tell me of course. That’s pretty much says it all right there. If they didn’t think they were doing something wrong, what’s the harm in telling the truth?

It’s pretty obvious that some review shenanigans goes on with book reviews for Kindle and other eBooks. However, it’s really weird when it’s in your face by someone you thought you knew who thinks that this is a perfectly OK thing to do for extra pocket change.

The Long and Winding Sentence

you broke my sentence

You broke my sentence!

I read an eBook a few days ago called Writing Habit Mastery: How to Write 2,000 Words a Day and Forever Cure Writer’s Block by S.J. Scott.

It was a quickie book. I finished it an about an hour. Nothing really earth shattering or new about the book, but it clicked for me. He stressed the importance of putting words on paper every day no matter what. He also pointed out that our inner critic and editor keeps us from committing our thoughts to writing. We get so caught up in correcting and rewording our thoughts that we get hung up in editing and don’t produce.

Scott also stresses the ability to touch type and says if you don’t know how then learn. There are plenty of inexpensive software programs out there for that purpose. Hunting and pecking around the keyboard gets in the way of a fast and free flow of thoughts. I can touch type and with practice I’m getting even better and have almost reached the singularity where I can type as fast as I think. The only reason I don’t now is because I let that little editor devil sitting on my shoulder interrupt my thought with stuff like, “you left a comma out back there, woman. No one is going to take you seriously if you don’t even know how to punctuate.” My goal this week is to learn how to ignore my demons and brain storm my way through my first draft. It may come out as, “tundra…squirrel…candy…murderer…UPS Truck.” So what? That what’s editing is for.  I’m going to take S.J. Scott’s advice and leave the editing until after I finish my first draft.

Another thing Scott said was that Steven King writes 2,000 words every morning and then spends the rest of his day taking care of personal business, napping or whatever. Not sure if this is true or not but it sounds believable. So I said to myself, “hey, if Steven King can produce his copious amounts of books by doing a mere 2,000 words a morning then so can I!.” This statement probably does not make any sense to anyone other than me, but who cares? All I’m after here is what works for me.

I’ve managed the 2,000 words a morning for 4 days in a row now and I feel pretty damned good. 4 days does not a good habit make, but it’s a start.  And it’s much more fun goofing off the rest of the day or taking care of 45 piddly errands when you have a sense of accomplishment under your belt.

And now the topic of editing. I don’t need to read a book about writing to know that EDITING IS IMPORTANT. Merrily skipping over this step is not OK. Mr. Husband and I have been snowed in for the past few days. I ended up using him as a sounding board because he was the only human I had access too. I could have called someone, but they wouldn’t see my arm movements or see me ripping my hair out.

As I work on my writing craft I begin to notice more exactly why a particular passage in a book annoys me instead of just a vague feeling of distaste. Yesterday I was reading a book The Atlantis Gene by A.G. Riddle. My review is that the book is incredible. Possibly the biggest block buster of the century, while at the same time being the worst book I’ve ever read. They could use it as a basis for college classes as an example of how not to construct a sentence. The grammar is so butchered that there were places where I was literally screaming though my teeth. Hubman actually tore himself away from playing Star Wars on the computer to come see if I was OK. I ended up with a huge headache, but still couldn’t put the darn book down.

That being said 5,000+ readers on Amazon rated this book 5 stars so there has to be something to it. There were 120 1 star reviews and most of them were to do with poor grammar, sentence structure and totally unbelievable plot twists, including escaping a monastery in Tibet in a hot air balloon?!? But, then this proves that if readers love a story or author they will overlook a multitude of sins. I’ll keep that in mind when I put my toe in the water. If I had to rate the book I’d say 5 stars for plot and 1 star for sentences and paragraphs that were like nails on a chalkboard.

At one point early in the book I counted the word “had” 6 times in one paragraph. It was in every sentence. The word had was in 1 of the sentences 3 times. The following  made up sentence is an example: Because he got drunk early in the day he had had to change his pants 2 times because he had forgotten to put on his underwear the first time. Perhaps a better way of putting it would be “he was so drunk he forgot to put on his underwear.” OK, maybe it’s just me. I’m no expert. But come on! Many of the common novel-writing programs, like Write it Now and Scrivener have a handy tool that analyses the number of times a particular word shows up in your manuscript. If your novel is 80,000 words and the word had shows up 15,000 times it might be a good idea to rethink sentence construction. Just a thought.

Love you all, and as always, thank you for tuning in to my rants.

A Come to Jesus Moment for a Wanna Be Writer

Never do today what you can put off until tomorrow. Anonymous

I looked myself in the mirror this morning and thought “you know what you have to do…soooo…why aren’t you doing it?” I don’t just have a book in me. I have an actual book in writing, somewhere, spread across 3 computers and my Kindle, some assembly required.

What I “should do” is get off my ass and gather up my chapters, experiments, late night ravings,  and side stories into a some semblance of a book and start editing the damn thing. No writer anywhere, regardless of their skill level, spits out a finished copy in one go. But, I have to be perfect you see. Rough draft, not in my nature. Which means of course that my nature needs some work. I’m going to have to push past this though because working on my nature will be yet another excuse to not work on my book.

Oh, but there are soooo many more important things to do, like playing World of Warcraft from morning till night 3 days in a row. Then embark on a mission to read every book Steven King has ever written, including re-reading his book called “On Writing.” Then I need to purge my file cabinet, get my nails done, and sort all the Tupperware in the garage.

After all this I need to surf the internet for 3 days looking for books on how to write a book. Of course I get side tracked into celebrity tell alls like what Angelina Jolie’s tattoos mean. Just for the record they are the geographical coordinates of the birth place of her children. Or the fact that nude photos from Kristen Stewart’s new movie got leaked. Oh yea, like that was an accident and furthermore, why do I care?

I tell you why I care, because I am a procrastinator extraordinaire. This is saying a lot coming from a woman who wrote a post last year called “Procrastination Should be Punishable by Death.” So why am I procrastinating? Because I’m scared that’s why! I’ll write a book, put it out there and it flops so hard it knocks the wind out of me. So what? I don’t understand why this is tripping me up so much. I’m starting to get pissed off at myself. It may even culminate in me bitch slapping myself. If that what it takes, well then I’m going to have a red face and finished book.

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Orgasm

lover at lastRecently I relearned a lesson that I’ve learned before and keep forgetting. Just because a book is in the New York Times bestseller list does not guarantee that I’m going to like it. It may be an excellent well written thrill ride with gut wrenching emotional twists and turns, but not my cup of tea.

The book I’m reading is billed as a continuation in a series about a Vampire Brotherhood with “the hottest collection of studs in romance.” Yea buddy, bring it ON!! The book has a glossary of terms at the beginning that I have to keep referring to, because there are a lot of unfamiliar terms flying around in this author’s world and I am delving into a book that is part of series.

I like the author’s style of writing a lot. It is razor whip sharp, edge of your seat, nail biting, can’t put it down action. And the sex, oh my God, everybody is screwing everybody. We’re talking needles behind the eyes, gotta have it NOW, thrashing around, breaking the furniture, leaving teeth marks on the headboard, climbing the walls, swinging from the rafters, non-stop action. So much of it is going on that it is probably frightening the farm animals in adjacent counties.

However about a quarter of the way through the book I figured something out. The book is sort of a Twilight Vampire World crashes into Broke Back Mountain. The two main lovers are male and the majority of the sex scenes are between 2 males. There is one scene where a vampire male is nailing a human woman in a Toyota, if that’s even possible, but he’s obviously just using her for a quick fix. There are occasional references to sex with females but it is only inferred rather than described and seems to be mainly for the purposes of procreation.

The two main lovers are male vampires who, for some reason that I haven’t figured out yet, can not “be together” openly. But, occasionally slam into each other in the biblical sense when they just can’t take being apart anymore. I assume that in this book they will figure out a way to be couple.

Although I’m enjoying the story telling in this book, it’s just not working as a romance novel for me, the main reason being that I’m heterosexual. I have no problem with anyone being with whatever gender floats their boat, however same gender love scenes do not arouse me. It’s more of a clinical interest like watching a documentary on the mating habits of the Sub-Saharan Gazelles. I’m happy for them and all but I have no interest in joining the party.

So anyway, lesson learned. When I want a good cuddle up on a cold day steamy romance book, I need to make sure it’s the brand of romance that is going to work for me.

The Drag Co-Efficiency

Question  cubeSo the Drag Co-efficiency could be reframed as how I got temporarily sick of hearing myself talk. What brought this on is that I took a commenter’s advice and decided to turn my blog into a book. And that, my friends, is what I have been doing the last few weeks.

Actually it took about 10 days. I started from the first post I ever made 3 years ago in December of 2010 and moved forward to the last post in December of 2013. I omitted a good bit of material that was stuff such as “Happy St. Patrick’s Day” or the follow-up on the thrill ride that is getting an endoscopy after puking into a trash can at the hospital ER for 6 hours while waiting to be seen by physician. Some things just don’t need to be rehashed. But, reading my entire blog in a week and a half sort of winded me. I felt like I had really run out of things to say, but fortunately this never lasts long.

So now I have this 175,000 word monstrosity that needs a little work. OK, it needs a lot of work. I need to go through and cull out about 75K words at least. Also I need to come up with a title. The Hubman suggested the title “Rantings and Ravings.” Thank you, Mr. Husband! Now I know what you REALLY think! ***mutter, mutter*** Anyway, he was kidding, or so I chose to believe. But I do need to come with something to call this collection of …of…of… “Essays Expressing My Opinion on Everything” or (EEEMOE) for short is what I’m calling it for now until I can come up with something catchy, but a bit shorter. Any ideas anyone? I’m open to suggestions.

Then there comes all the other projects after the creation of a “book.” Do I print it up and send it off to 85 publishers? Or should I self-publish? If so, what software should I use to turn my document into an E-book? Should I even do this myself or have a professional do it? So many questions. I am pretty tech savvy already with publishing software. I have converted draft chapters of the fiction book I’m working on to an E-document, sent it to my Kindle and it looked fine, formatting wise. I’ve purchased far worse on Amazon.

So what to do, what to do? Move forward is my decision. The answers will come while I’m weeding out the excess baggage from the first draft.

Toodles for now and have an absolutely lovely day!

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