August Wrap Up

Well here we are at the end of another month.

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My month seemed really long but also it strangely seemed to fly right by me. While it was happening it was an interesting month of just settling back to life after being with my family all summer. Now that it’s over I’m realizing I did nothing towards my goals.  I didn’t read a book for the British book challenge.  I didn’t work on a novel this month.

I wasn’t completely useless. Grant and I have been hard at work with our stories, and we’re getting close to the finish line. We’re hoping to have them published October 1st, but I think it will end up being later in that month.

I read a lot of books this month. I decided to take a look at NetGalley and I’ve read two ARC’s through them already and I have four more on my kindle.  It’s been really fun and I am so grateful for this opportunity.

And yes, that’s my month in a paragraph. How did you do this month?

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Short Story: Lifeblood

Abi’s Note: Thanks for reading everyone, if you want to read the original post or follow the blog that my husband and I write just follow the link here. Happy reading! 🙂 

I completed a second of my stories this week, and we are getting really excited about the progress we’re making. With several of the stories now having been sent out to beta readers (thank you all), we’re about half-way finished with our short story collection. So, here is your second sneak peek.

    You remember distinctly the very first life you ever took. At twelve years old, you participated in the traditional rite of passage into adulthood by dueling and killing a prisoner of war who had been starved enough to give you a good chance. Of course the prisoner was fighting for his life which added a serious danger to it.
But it wasn’t the battle that you remember so well. It was the feeling when the body collapsed and the blood pooled at your feet that gives you chills to this day.
It had been too easy.

    These are not the opening lines of the story, but this gives you a good taste of what the story feels like. This is actually my favorite story that I’ve written for this collection, I think. It started off as an experiment that I wasn’t sure would really work. I wrote the first draft of this story for a creative writing class in which we’re supposed to write “literary fiction”, which basically means the story is supposed to be character driven and basically a character study rather than a piece of action or plot-pumping entertainment. I wanted to know if I could write a story that was centered around action and violence and still make it character driven. It took a lot of time and a lot of revisions, but I think I have succeeded (and my professor does too).
    This story follows a viking chief named Orvar on a battlefield, trying to get vengeance for the murder of his family, but it’s a lot more than that. It’s about a father-son relationship. It’s about a chief-village relationship. It’s about manhood, and what coming of age really means. It’s about honor, responsibility, and what it means to really be a leader.
    Some other information abut this story. You may have noticed in the passage from the story that I used the 2nd person point of you saying, ‘you did this, you did that’, This was the second most experimental part of this story. I wanted the story to feel like an epic poem. I wanted it to feel like a story that is told around a campfire about a legendary hero, like the vikings would have done. And I wanted to see if the 2nd person point of view would work since I’ve always wanted to write a story like that.
    If you want to know more, stay updated here or contact me with questions, comments, or concerns. Next week, the sneak peek will be about one of my wife’s stories, Thanks for taking the time to read this and be part of our process, and let me know if you still want to beta read. It’s not too late.

Nirvana By J.R. Stewart

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Synopsis: When the real world is emptied of all that you love, how can you keep yourself from dependence on the virtual?

Larissa Kenders lives in a world where the real and the virtual intermingle daily. After the supposed death of her soulmate, Andrew, Larissa is able to find solace by escaping to Nirvana, a virtual world where anything is possible – even visits with Andrew. Although Larissa is told that these meetings are not real, she cannot shake her suspicion that Andrew is indeed alive. When she begins an investigation of Hexagon, the very institution that she has been taught to trust, Larissa uncovers much more than she ever expected and places herself in serious danger. Her biggest challenge, however, remains determining what is real – and what is virtual.

I was very excited to read this book, I loved the cover and the description of the story was very intriguing.  The first 10% of the book was good.  The setup was spot on and it seemed like a fantastic new spin on a post apocalyptic story. After awhile though it got a little bit confusing. There too many details all at once, and  I couldn’t keep time or people straight in my head.

And then things just got too easy, the stakes didn’t seem real or high enough.  Larissa is searching for her dead husband believing him to be alive still, but I never really got her character or her belief in her husband.
About 20% of the way into the book I figured out the end of the story, which was very disappointing. Once the character Terk was brought in I knew what was going to happen and it as hard for me to continue reading it.  I felt that some of the character development was missing. Terk seemed to just disappear, and Serge and the Corporal were strangely very alike and I had a hard time remembering who was who.

Also the formatting on the kindle was weird, maybe that was just because my copy was an ARC, but it would do things

like this for no obvious reason and I would loose my place in a sentence.

Overall I was disappointed in this story.  I never felt for the characters or was invested in the story.  I gave it 2 out of 5 stars on my Goodreads.

Thank you NetGalley for allowing me to read this book. 

 

 

Tag, Tag, Taggity Tag

I’m up late and writing this post, because apparently that’s the thing to do when you get tagged.  Write it when you’re almost delirious because of lack of sleep. I seem to be funnier at night, so that ought to make things interesting.  😉 But anyway, here we go. I was tagged by Anna Catherine! Thanks deary.

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Rules:
1. Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog.
2. Give your readers 11 random facts about yourself.
3. Answer the 11 questions from the person who nominated you.
4. Nominate 11 bloggers to receive this award.
5. Invent 11 questions for your nominees.

The Facts About Moi: 

  1. I wear a size 5 – 6 1/2 in women’s shoes. I know my feet are small. 😀
  2. My favorite thing to cook is a soup. I don’t know why, I just love it cooking soups and I do a damn fine job doing it. Though I do say so myself.  You can ask my husband or housemate if it’s true.
  3. My favorite fruit is a guava, because they taste like pink divinity.
  4. I play video games, right now I’m obsessed with Skyrim.
  5. Frydor Dostoevsky was the first Russian author I read and I fell in love with him and the literature of his time.
  6. I used to play the guitar, but sadly am out of practice now as I have no guitar to play.
  7. I’m a rule breaker, I was probably the most rebellious child my family has had so far. I’m telling you this because I’m going to break the rules and not tag 11 people at the end of this. Sorry guys. 😛
  8. I can not paint, or draw, or decorate or be crafty at all.  And when I say at all, I’m not trying to be modest. I mean I honestly couldn’t do it if I had a gun pointed to my head. Well I guess I could do try, but it would turn out horrible. You’d all cry when you saw what I’d tried to create. 😀
  9. My favorite book series as a kid were Anne of Green Gables and Little Women trilogy.
  10. I had an American Girl Doll when I was a kid, I had Felicity and I loved her. My sister and I played many many doll games together.
  11. I didn’t know I had allergies to cats until I got two. 😀

Answer Questions: 

1. When did you start blogging?  Oh gosh, I’m not even sure if I can remember! I’ve been blogging here at the Rambling Writer for 2 years. And before that I was on blogger for at least 2 years, but probably more. I think I was on blogger for 4 years.

2. Who is your favorite author? One? Really? Only one? Okay, okay. I change favorite authors by what mood I’m in, today I’d have to say the author of Reading Lolita in Tehran, Azar Nafasi.

3. What is your favorite state in the U.S. (besides your own)? I’m not sure if I have a favorite besides my own…Probably if Oregon wasn’t a state I wouldn’t live in the states. I guess maybe Nebraska is my second?

4. Who is your favorite musician? At the moment Melanie Martinez, she’s the bomb. Just fabulous. 😀

5. If any fictional character could be the President of the U.S.A, who would you vote for? Merica Smerica and presidents eh? Hmmmm my brain is not working right now and I’m trying to think of someone that I would actually vote for. Maybe Horatio Hornblower, from the Hornblower series. Just for kicks.

6. What is your favorite flavor of ice cream? Tillamook’s Chocolate Mudslide. It’s the god of ice creams. Seriously go stop reading this and go buy some right now.

7.What is your Myers/Briggs personality type?  INFP.

8. If you could eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?  Potatoes, because I am a lover of tatters in all shapes and sizes.

9. How many pets have you had in your life? 6 or 7. I can’t remember

10. What is your favorite Wonka brand candy? No frikin clue, I am a bad Wonka fan.

11. What are your thoughts on marshmallows? I don’t want to know how they’re made, or what they are made of, but dayuum they are tasty with chocolate and graham crackers.

Tag Peeps: 

Mah Bestie Jessica @ Introverted Randomness

Mah Sistah Ellie @ A Melody of Rohan

And please, anyone else who reads this and wants to, please feel free to tag yourself.

Interogate Said Peeps – Or not, I guess that’s not what this really is: 

  1. What’s your favorite board game?
  2. Do you have a favorite name? I guess like something you’ll name a future child?
  3. Apples or oranges?
  4. Blue or Black?
  5. What’s your shoe size?
  6. Cats or Dogs?
  7. Do you have a favorite number?
  8. Fingers or Toes?
  9. What’s your favorite music genre?
  10. Favorite scent?
  11. Do you have any odd, or unusual talents?

Thar ya go peeps! All done, dusted and copper bottom guaranteed.  I hope you all had fun reading this. 🙂

 

Immersed By Katie Hayoz

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Holy crap. Look at that cover.  I love it.

Synopsis: What if love turned you into a monster?

Forget petticoats and demure female behavior. Melusine Doré prefers armored corsets and knives and slays evil creatures for a living. The grim and gruesome don’t frighten her; she’ll take on a cyclops or a dragon and not even break a sweat. But when her rival, the charismatic Levi Cannon, comes to town, all her buried fears begin to surface. Melusine realizes she is in danger of something much more horrifying than facing blood-thirsty beasts – she’s in danger of falling in love. Because love alone has the power to reveal a secret terrible enough to completely shatter her world.

Set in the muddy streets of 1850s steampunk Chicago, Immersed by Katie Hayoz is a dark yet romantic fantastical romp. It is a stand-alone novella, but the first in a series of adventures that follow Melusine on her quest to rid the world of monsters…and her struggle to come to terms with every monstrous facet of herself.

I finished this story in a couple of hours and I enjoyed it very much.  If you like to read about mermaids, or steampunk then this book is for you. The plot was pretty good. I always have my doubts when romance is involved, but Immersed wasn’t a disappointment.  The world was fabulous.  The monsters, the steampunk, the dirt and grime of the poor places, this world has creepy monsters hanging out in the mud waiting to pull you under. How cool is that? And the mechanical servants and horses, and steam carriages!  Everything was wonderfully described and vivid in this book.   And the weapons that our main character, Mel, uses are fantastic.   The suspense people!  The question of “What’s the matter with Mel?” did have me anxious.  I just had to know what was going to happen,  I was flipping through the pages on my kindle as fast as my fingers could go.

I did have a few small complaints. Like the main character’s name, Melusine? How do I even try to pronounce that? But it is a unique name, and once I saw the nickname Mel being used I was okay.  At times I felt that Mel was too easily convinced by a certain man named Levi, but then she is in love with him.  The love story isn’t anything new, strong girl with no room for love meets cocky arrogant hottie who loves her. That doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy their romance, I actually did like it.  I mean Levi has auburn hair, it’s hard not to like that. 😉

All that said, I give it four stars. It’s entertaining, it’s fairly well written, and it has mermaids. Enough said, go read it people! And if you have read it, please let me know what you thought.

Thank you NetGalley for giving me a copy of this book. 

Short Story: Nyctophobia By Grant Pearson

So I said in my last post that I would be giving sneak peeks into the stories we’re writing for our short story collection. Here’s the first one. This is one of my stories that is the first to reach it’s almost-final draft (meaning I need a final beta reader to give me fresh insight). So here we go.

  Everyone is afraid of the dark. At least to some extent. As a kid I remember whenever I shut the light off in my room in the evenings, I would run out of my room before the monsters could eat me. Or when I’d finally go to bed, I would beg my mom to turn the nightlight on. I wouldn’t be able to sleep without that little bit of light.

  These are the opening lines of the story. This short tale surrounds a young man, age 24, as a police officer investigating a potential meth lab. He struggles severely with being afraid of the dark (hence the name of the story), as well as with the physical and mental abuse of his father and older brother from childhood.
  Themes of this story include fear of the dark, damaged relationships, madness, un-forgiveness, and confronting your fears.
  This is one of the slightly darker stories I’ve written for this collection. The story started off as a writing exercise from one of my creative writing college classes. It was about building tension in a short period of time. Eventually it turned into a story about a young man who wants to do the right thing and be a good cop, but because of the psychological scars he has from childhood, he goes a bit insane.
  Most of the stories I write are more fantastical than this, but this one was actually a lot of fun to write as I explored exactly what it would take to realistically knock this character off his rocker.
  Again, let me know if you have question, comments, or are interested in beta reading.
Note From Abi: Hey guys! Thanks for reading, love to hear from you about beta reading in the comments below. Also here’s the link to the original post just follow the link HERE.  Have a great day everyone!