Wednesday, July 1, 2020

IWSG: Changes in the Publishing Industry

The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time - and return comments. This group is all about connecting!



This month's question: There have been many industry changes in the last decade, so what are some changes you would like to see happen in the next decade?

My answer: I would really like to see an increase in the acceptance of all authors and all publishing paths. As writers, we love the process of writing, but sometimes the process of publishing causes finger pointing, raised eyebrows, and unkind comments. We all want the same thing: to share our written stories. Let's be kind about the different paths we may choose to climb that mountain and celebrate each other's successes and encourage each other through our setbacks along the way.

What are your thoughts? What changes would you like to see?


Monday, June 29, 2020

Book Review: I KILLED ZOE SPANOS by Kit Frick

When I read the praise: “The YA thriller of the summer” (Bustle), I knew I had to give this book a try. Scroll down for my complete review.


I Killed Zoe Spanos
by Kit Frick
Publication Date:: June 30, 2020
ISBN: 978-1534449701
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books (Simon & Schuster)

Description from the Publisher:
For fans of Sadie and Serial, this gripping thriller follows two teens whose lives become inextricably linked when one confesses to murder and the other becomes determined to uncover the real truth no matter the cost.

What happened to Zoe won’t stay buried…

When Anna Cicconi arrives to the small Hamptons village of Herron Mills for a summer nanny gig, she has high hopes for a fresh start. What she finds instead is a community on edge after the disappearance of Zoe Spanos, a local girl who has been missing since New Year’s Eve. Anna bears an eerie resemblance to Zoe, and her mere presence in town stirs up still-raw feelings about the unsolved case. As Anna delves deeper into the mystery, stepping further and further into Zoe’s life, she becomes increasingly convinced that she and Zoe are connected—and that she knows what happened to her.

Two months later, Zoe’s body is found in a nearby lake, and Anna is charged with manslaughter. But Anna’s confession is riddled with holes, and Martina Green, teen host of the Missing Zoe podcast, isn’t satisfied. Did Anna really kill Zoe? And if not, can Martina’s podcast uncover the truth?

Inspired by Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, Kit Frick weaves a thrilling story of psychological suspense that twists and turns until the final page.

About the Author:
Kit Frick is a novelist, poet, and MacDowell Colony fellow from Pittsburgh, PA. She studied creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College and received her MFA from Syracuse University. When she isn’t putting complicated characters in impossible situations, Kit edits poetry and literary fiction for a small press and edits for private clients. She is the author of the young adult thrillers I Killed Zoe Spanos, All Eyes on Us, and See All the Stars, all from Simon & Schuster / Margaret K. McElderry Books, as well as the poetry collection A Small Rising Up in the Lungs from New American Press. Kit is working on her next novel. Let's keep in touch! Please visit me online at www.kitfrick.com and follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest @kitfrick. For insider access to book news, events, and giveaways; a behind-the-scenes look at my writing life; and recommendations drawn from my endless fascination with psychological suspense and true crime, sign up for my monthly newsletter These Little Secrets at bit.ly/KitLetter.



My Review:

This summertime thriller by Kit Frick did not disappoint! It is the first novel I've read of Frick's, and now I am a fan! 

With terrific writing, a complex cast of characters, and a non-linear timeline, Kit Frick's I Killed Zoe Spanos dangles story questions and clues that will compel readers to keep turning pages until the satisfying end! 

The characters were well developed with full arcs, the plot was twisty, the format was engaging with podcasts, police interviews, and narratives, and Frick did an amazing overall job of storytelling.

The only issues with the story that bothered me in the slightest were: 1) The extremely large cast of characters made me struggle to keep them all straight. 2) The changing points-of-view in the midst of a non-linear timeline made me re-read sections to grasp who was telling the story and when, especially in the beginning of the book. Once I got into the rhythm, it became easier to follow. (These are not reasons to discount the book, merely reasons, for me that I had to work a little harder to immerse myself completely within the world of the story.) 

Nearing the end of the story, I read faster and faster, determined to solve the mystery before it was revealed. While I did guess a couple of elements, I was pleasantly surprised at the final reveals and resolutions. Loose ends were tied up nicely, leaving me quite content. Nicely done, Kit Frick!

I look forward to picking up another one of her books.



Some of my favorite lines from the book:

"She looks like she's been living ten seconds away from tears for months."

"The banister, once a grand thing, is dusty and coated with bird shit."

"She hurries quietly around the side of the estate, into the backyard where the weeds reach up to snag her tights like bony fingers in the moonlight."

[I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence my opinion at all.]

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

IWSG: Secrets

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time - and return comments. This group is all about connecting!



June's Question: Writers have secrets! What are one or two of yours, something readers would never know from your work?

My Answer: Huh. This one really stumps me. I am not a keeper of secrets. I pretty much wear everything right on my sleeve for the whole world to see. Well. Except maybe my pandemic hair. I'm considering letting it go gray. (YIKES) But I haven't decided for sure. It makes me feel older every time I look in the mirror. Maybe I should keep coloring it? I'll make a decision before my next official author appearance. Ha. 

How about you? Do you keep secrets?


Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Book Review: LITTLE CREEPING THINGS by Chelsea Ichaso

Little Creeping ThingsLittle Creeping Things by Chelsea Ichaso

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Such a terrific premise for a book: the main character writes down her secret fantasy for killing off her nemesis, but then someone snatches her notebook and frames her for the murder.

The hook was so great, it kept me reading clear to the end to find out who committed the murder. However, I wish the main character was easier to like. I found myself not really caring what happened to her. She was whiny and repetitive with her complaining. While the story was a compelling mystery to solve, I wanted more character development with richer, fuller arcs.

Nonetheless, if you like interesting mysteries, read LITTLE CREEPING THINGS.

Here are some of my favorites lines from the book:

"Though Maribel boasts breathtaking scenery, boredom is the leading cause of death."

"The name Brandon Alvarez sits on my tongue like a rotten bite of fruit. I want to spit it out."

"I'm dizzy. All that digging and walking and lying."

"Everyone in this town knows I'm trouble. Or troubled."

"But I let myself believe the lie ... and it shaped every decision I made. I let those little creeping things embed themselves inside my brain, inside my very core, until they ate away at who I was."




[I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Net Galley, which in no way influenced my opinion.]



View all my reviews

Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Book Review: BREATH LIKE WATER by Anna Jarzab

After recently taking swim lessons (as an adult!), I was intrigued by the description of this book. I jumped at the opportunity to read an early copy, and it was the BEST book I've read in ages! Scroll down for my complete review.


Breath Like Water
by Anna Jarzab
Publication Date: May 19, 2020
ISBN: 978-1335050236
Publisher: Inkyard Press

Description from Publisher:
Susannah Ramos has always loved the water. A swimmer whose early talent made her a world champion, Susannah was poised for greatness in a sport that demands so much of its young. But an inexplicable slowdown has put her dream in jeopardy, and Susannah is fighting to keep her career afloat when two important people enter her life: a new coach with a revolutionary training strategy, and a charming fellow swimmer named Harry Matthews. As Susannah begins her long and painful climb back to the top, her friendship with Harry blossoms into passionate and supportive love. But Harry is facing challenges of his own, and even as their bond draws them closer together, other forces work to tear them apart. As she struggles to balance her needs with those of the people who matter most to her, Susannah will learn the cost—and the beauty—of trying to achieve something extraordinary.

About the Author:
Anna Jarzab is the author of All Unquiet Things, The Opposite of Hallelujah, Tandem, Tether, Red Dirt, and Breath Like Water. She lives in New York City and works in children's book publishing. Visit her online at www.annajarzab.com and connect with her on Twitter and Instagram @ajarzab.



My Review:

Anyone who's ever dealt with an overbearing, in-your-face coach ... anyone who's ever dealt with disappointment ... anyone who's ever dealt with mental illness ... and/or anyone who's ever wanted a goal so badly every fiber of their being ached for it ... should read this book!

Breath Like Water by Anna Jarzab was simply the best book I've read in ages. The writing was terrific and easy to read. The characters were well developed. The plot was captivating. The setting was fascinating. And I was intrigued from page one.

Often times in books targeted at the young adult audience, the parents are absent from the story or neglectful in some regard (in order to let the teenager solve his/her own problems, which is a necessary story device). However, in Breath Like Water, the main character's parents were present, supportive, and realistic. And the main character, Susannah, was still able to solve her own problems. I think this is true in real life more often than we acknowledge. Part of good parenting is allowing your children to make their own decisions, and part of being a teenager is making choices regardless of what your parents may recommend.

"It's my responsibility to take care of you, and to teach you how to take care of yourself. I take it seriously."

Another huge adult influence in the lives of teens is a coach. If a teen is blessed with a great one, the benefits are limitless. If a teen is cursed with a bad one, the damage is limitless, and the belittling can cause scars that carry into other aspects of their lives and far into adulthood. Breath Like Water explores the two different types of coaches. Many times, parents are never fully aware of the harmful things coaches say to their kids. Books such as Breath Like Water will help many young adults realize it's not just them being verbally abused and bullied by their coaches. This happens to a lot of people. They're not alone, and they can rise above it.

"Dave has been my coach for nearly ten years. He knows exactly what knives cut the deepest, and he keeps them nice and sharp at all times."

My only criticism of this story: I wanted Susannah to be more inquisitive around Harry sooner. I wanted her to care enough about him to ask him questions and probe into his life. This aspect pulled me from the story, aware that the author was making me wait for the information.

Nonetheless, I loved this book so much! Jarzab's storytelling was captivating, and her writing was inspiring. She made me feel emotions deeply; I cried several times (tears of joy, relief, and sadness). She made me stand taller, feeling seen for my own abilities and struggles. We are not alone. We are strong. We are capable.

"Failure is an intersection, but even though I took a detour for a while, I ended up on a better stretch of the same road." 

Breath Like Water offers hope and encouragement to anyone, any age, striving to manage their lives, overcome their circumstances, and achieve their goals. 

For those concerned with triggers, be aware that this book deals with topics of mental illness and suicide.

Some of my favorite lines from the book:

"There's no worse struggle than the one that never begins."

"How do you even begin to mourn the death of a dream?"

"A year ago, I had no idea [Harry] existed. Now, nothing seems to have really happened until I've told him about it."

"And fighting, not for the promise of a reward but simply for one's own satisfaction is the greatest glory a person can attain."

"Failure is an intersection."

"To demonstrate the skills that I'm so proud of ... I have to open myself up to the censure of the world, which will judge me according to its standards, not mine."

"I'm starting to understand the power of individual moments. The joy that can be found when you're not too distracted by the faraway horizon to appreciate the beauty of where you're standing."

"Just because a dream won't bend to your will when it's convenient doesn't mean it's not worth pursuing."


[I received an early copy of this book from the publisher for free, via Net Galley, which in no way influenced my opinion.]

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Book Review: THIS IS HOW I LIED by Heather Gudenkauf

This was my first time reading a novel by Heather Gudenkauf, and I was not disappointed. Scroll down for my complete review.


This is How I Lied
by Heather Gudenkauf
Publication Date: May 12, 2020
ISBN: 978-0778388111
Publisher: Park Row


Description from the Publisher:
Gudenkauf proves herself the master of the smart, suspenseful small-town thriller that gets right under your skin.” —Gilly Macmillan, New York Times bestselling author of The Nanny

Everyone has a secret they’ll do anything to hide…

Twenty-five years ago, the body of sixteen-year-old Eve Knox was found in the caves near her home in small-town Grotto, Iowa—discovered by her best friend, Maggie, and her sister, Nola. There were a handful of suspects, including her boyfriend, Nick, but without sufficient evidence the case ultimately went cold.

For decades Maggie was haunted by Eve’s death and that horrible night. Now a detective in Grotto, and seven months pregnant, she is thrust back into the past when a new piece of evidence surfaces and the case is reopened. As Maggie investigates and reexamines the clues, secrets about what really happened begin to emerge. But someone in town knows more than they’re letting on, and they’ll stop at nothing to keep the truth buried deep.

About the Author:
Heather Gudenkauf is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Weight of Silence and Not a Sound.  Heather lives in Iowa with her family.


My Review:

This is How I Lied by Heather Gudenkauf kept me guessing until the final pages!

What is a secret you've kept to yourself your entire life, hoping no one would ever find out about? Interesting concept to ponder. And while Gudenkauf does a terrific job exploring this facet of the small-town Grotto society, I would not call this story a thriller. It is definitely a well-told mystery, but not a thriller. A mystery is designed with the crime at the beginning of (or before) the story and the narrative question is: Who committed this crime? A suspense or thriller novel usually has an impending crime, and the narrative question is: How can this be averted? Nonetheless, while it was promoted as a thriller, Gudenkauf's mystery was well-written and captivating.

The slow reveal of information kept me intrigued and glued to the pages to find out who the real killer was, and the final reveal was justified.

Admittedly, at the start of the novel, I wasn't certain if I was going to like it, because I felt distanced from the fifteen-year-old character, Eve, and even had to check to see if this novel was written for the young adult audience or an adult audience. (It is written for an adult audience.) I assume Gudenkauf wrote the opening the way she did to avoid revealing the gender of the killer, but it was clunky and I almost stopped reading. Throughout the novel, anytime the story was from Eve's point-of-view, I had to work to stick with the story.

I'm glad I kept reading.

The rest of the book was fascinating. The different points of view, the non-linear timeline, and the multiple formats of storytelling (utilizing transcripts from therapy sessions) kept me engaged and curious to find out what was going to happen next.

I do wish there had been a content warning, because I usually choose to avoid any books involving childhood sexual abuse of any sort. Gudenkauf dealt with it at the surface level, never delving too deeply. So I was able to handle it, but consider yourself warned. There are topics of sexual assault, domestic violence, pedophilia ... in addition to the expected violence that accompanies any mystery or thriller. 

In This is How I Lied, Gudenkauf gives the reader a well-developed cast of characters, a twisty plot, and a satisfying ending!

I look forward to reading more books by Gudenkauf!


Some of my favorite lines from the story included:

"I'm used to toting around a sidearm, not an infant."

"Plastic garbage bags stuffed with random items filled corners, their black mouths gaping open as if vomiting mildewed clothing, board games, and VCR tapes."

"The orchard fills both sides of a lush valley and I love walking the rows of apple, fir, spruce and pine trees. Each row has its unique scent--sharp, sweet, woody. I've always imagined our children playing beneath the trees trying to catch the falling delicate pink-and-while apple blossoms that cling to their hair like confetti."

"If you don't understand how things die, how can you understand how they live?"


[I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion.]

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Writing Rituals

Have you visited the Insecure Writer's Support Group website recently? Rated one of the top websites for writers, you will find tons of invaluable information there. Check it out: www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com . . . and while there, be sure to sign up and join the group.

www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-sign-up.html

May's Question: Do you have any rituals that you use when you need help getting into the ZONE?

My Answer: Yes! Music. With each manuscript, I choose at least one song that represents the mood and energy of the story. Sometimes, I create a playlist of multiple songs. I listen to it to set the right tone and focus my mind. Other times, I will listen to high energy music and dance around the room with my dog to vitalize my mind. And other times, I'll listen to instrumental music while typing to help my mind zero in on the words and flow of sentences. Music is a huge resource for me.


What about you? Do you have writing rituals?


Sunday, May 3, 2020

Book Review: THE SEVENTH POWER by Kevin Hancock

I love the topic of leadership, and as a fan of nonfiction books, I jumped at the opportunity to read THE SEVENTH POWER by Kevin Hancock. Scroll down for my complete review.


The Seventh Power
by Kevin Hancock
Publication Date: February 25, 2020
ISBN: 978-1642934069
Publisher: Post Hill Press


Description from the Publisher:
A corporate executive loses his voice and discovers a new pathway to organizational excellence built on the premise of dispersed power and shared leadership.

“Kevin Hancock’s personal journey holds universal messages for people at all levels of business and community. The Seventh Power’s new, more inclusive approach to leadership and management will give you important insights into your life, your career, and your company.” —Chip Conley, Hospitality Entrepreneur and Bestselling Author

“Many business books have discussed management, innovation, culture, and how to be great, but none grab you like Kevin Hancock's The Seventh Power: A CEO’s Journey into Shared Leadership. One has to admire what Kevin has accomplished after experiencing a serious speech impediment. Kevin takes what most of us would be an insurmountable challenge and uses it as a learning tool to make himself, those around him, and his company better. The Seventh Power is not only a good read, it's a must read for all aspiring leaders and even those of us who have been around a while. It's never too late to learn!” —Rick Holley, Chairman of the Board, Weyerhaeuser Company

“From his home in Maine to Navajo and Lakota communities in the West to Ukraine, Kevin Hancock takes the reader on a personal journey of more than 15,000 miles in which he learns to listen and empower people. The Seventh Power is an exploration of a new model of leadership in which individual voices are heard and the human spirit is celebrated. The principles that Kevin puts to work in his 171-year-old family business offer an enlightened way forward for all institutions.” —U.S. Senator Susan Collins

About the Author:
Kevin Hancock is the President of Hancock Lumber Company. Established in 1848, Hancock Lumber operates ten retail stores and three sawmills that are led by 460 employees. The company also grows trees on 12,000 acres of timberland in Southern Maine.

Hancock Lumber is a multi-year recipient of the ‘Best Places to Work in Maine’ award. The company is also a past recipient of the Maine Family Business of the Year Award, the Governor’s Award for Business Excellence, and the MITC ‘Exporter of the Year’ award.

Kevin is a past chairman of the National Lumber and Building Materials Dealers Association as well as the Bridgton Academy Board of Trustees. Kevin is a recipient of the Ed Muskie ‘Access to Justice’ Award, the Habitat For Humanity ‘Spirit of Humanity’ Award, the Boy Scouts of America ‘Distinguished Citizen’ Award, and Timber Processing Magazine’s ‘Man of the Year’ Award. Kevin also spent 20 years coaching middle school basketball for the Lake Region school district.

Kevin is a graduate of Lake Region High School and Bowdoin College. He is also a frequent visitor to the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. In 2015, Kevin published a book about his experiences with the Oglala Sioux Tribe titled, Not For Sale: Finding Center in the Land of Crazy Horse. The book won the 2015 National Indie Excellence Award, first place in leadership and runner-up in the spirituality category.

Kevin is an advocate of strengthening the voices of all individuals—within a company or a community such as Pine Ridge—through listening, empowering, and shared leadership.


My Review:

I LOVE IT!!!

In case you'd like a more in-depth review, read on . . .

Whenever I pick up a nonfiction book, I have a process: 
* I open to the Table of Contents and scan through the sections and chapter headings to determine if the book is organized and logical.
* I flip through the pages to see if the layout is easy to navigate and diagrams are easy to understand.
* Then I read the book.

The Table of Contents in The Seventh Power contain simple chapter headings, but they are thought provoking, making me curious to read more. The diagrams, also, are simple and easy to read. In addition to the diagrams, there are pictures at the back of the book that allow the reader to see the significant real-life players of the book.

The layout looks more like a novel or memoir than a leadership book, but after reading the book, I discovered that's because it is narrative nonfiction. Much of it is memoir based, taking from the author's personal search for self-actualization and interviews he conducted with various people around the country and world.

But make no mistake . . .

Kevin Hancock skillfully threads leadership lessons throughout the entire narrative of The Seventh Power.

Some leadership books allow the reader to just jump around from topic to topic, but these chapters need to be read in order to fully grasp the lessons being shared within the pages. The concepts being taught build sequentially upon each other.

Overall, while I love this book and highly recommend it to everyone, there are elements I disagree with, and there are sections that were too heavy handed and/or wordy. For example, on page 109, the value of therapists is questioned. I believe skilled therapists help people find themselves and improve their lives every day. Another example, in the beginning as well as the epilogue of the book, Hancock tries too hard to force his "spiritual" perspective on the reader. The main chapters of the book teach great leadership principles - so don't be distracted by the spiritual concepts (if that's not your cup of tea). However, part of me is glad he included those passages because I always enjoy exploring ideas "outside my lane," but they distract from the body of the book and make it feel as if there are two books/concepts forced into one. 

The Seventh Power would be a great reading selection to be discussed at a business retreat or a book club.

"The five big social institutions (family, school, place of worship, place of work, and government) are lagging behind the individual aspirations of their members. Around the globe, memberships in traditional organizations are dwindling, engagement is falling, and participants are rebelling." (page 18)

Leadership styles, goals, and guidelines need to change. 

"The new goal: create a socially transformative work culture for the 21st century in which employee engagement soars because everyone feels authentically heard." (from jacket description)

Within the opening pages, Hancock suggests that everyone is a leader, but I know people who prefer being followers. And then if to respond, Hancock writes on pages 20-21, "Following has one big advantage: you don't ever have to take full responsibility--someone else can always be held accountable if things go wrong, as they often do." Hancock continues to advocate, quite convincingly, that everyone is capable of being a leader in their area of expertise.

A few of the most valuable leadership principles within the book include these ideas:
-- Leading through listening is essential.
-- Great people are everywhere.
-- In nature, power is dispersed.
-- Organizations exist to improve the lives of the people who belong to them.

Hancock offers a lot of terrific one liners to post on your desktop and remind yourself of higher thinking. Such as:
-- "Seeking is the biggest step in finding." (page 43)
-- "Proving others wrong rarely creates progress." (page 61)
-- "Moving at nature's pace has regenerative powers." (page 72)
-- "It's respect for the diversity of thought that creates unity." (page 126)
-- "The power of princes and presidents pales in comparison to what all the world's strangers can do just by being nice to each other." (page 118)
-- "Personal growth is an act of faith followed by action. (page 254)

As I got deeper into the book, I started wondering if the ideas presented are too Utopian in nature. Is it unrealistic to have wide-spread dispersed power? With all the narcissists and misogynists and sociopaths in the world, will it ever be possible to achieve Hancock's idealistic leadership model? Or will ego and pride prevent our evolution? There's no simple switch to flip. Within the book, Hancock explores groups who've had their voices taken away but what about the groups and individuals who TAKE those voices away? What happens to the dominant and aggressive personalities in the Utopia proposed by Hancock? 

Hancock seemingly answers my questions with this repeated idea: "We change the world by working on ourselves." (page 85)

Reading The Seventh Power by Kevin Hancock is certainly a major step in "changing the world by working on ourselves."

Hancock's interviews with compelling people give readers glimpses into lives foreign to their own, broadening perspectives and deepening awareness.

The Seventh Power contains seven important lessons encapsulated in seven main chapters. These lessons include:
1. GREAT PEOPLE are everywhere.
2. CULTURE makes the difference.
3. CHANGE is created first from within.
4. LOCALIZE and shrink the center.
5. LISTEN for understanding, not judgment.
6. OVERREACHING has consequences.
7. BROADEN the mission.

I highly recommend The Seventh Power by Kevin Hancock.

A few of my favorite passages:

"The problem with a preoccupation with external enemies is the opportunity cost of internal exploration. As long as there is an adversary 'out there,' we can postpone the real work of looking inward." (page 74)

"Transcending the urge to judge, fix, solve, or transform others is what actually creates the conditions for communities (or companies) to progress. When people feel heard, not judged, they relax. When people relax, they think. When people think, they grow." (page 127)

"Making the time to listen to the stories of the other side creates a new set of possibilities. Awareness and connectivity are powerful acts." (page 206)

"The challenges faced by disenfranchised communities, in my view, are exacerbated by people staying in their lane and not engaging humanity more broadly." (page 223)


[I received a free copy of this book from FSB Associates in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion.]

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Insecure Writer's Support Group: How Are Things in Your World?

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Posting: The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Post your thoughts on your own blog. Talk about your doubts and the fears you have conquered. Discuss your struggles and triumphs. Offer a word of encouragement for others who are struggling. Visit others in the group and connect with your fellow writer - aim for a dozen new people each time - and return comments. This group is all about connecting!



April's Question: The IWSG’s focus is on our writers. Each month, from all over the globe, we are a united group sharing our insecurities, our troubles, and our pain. So, in this time when our world is in crisis with the COVID-19 pandemic, our question this month is: how are things in your world?

My Answer: Whew. Boy. What a month March 2020 was! Events canceled/postponed (including a wedding shower, a wedding, and a baby shower within my immediate family), significant loss of income, state-wide stay-at-home order, and then yesterday: a 6.5 earthquake - in Idaho! The last significant earthquake here was in the 1980s! And yet, on the immediate horizon: the birth of our first grand-baby could be any day now. I'm packing the car and getting ready for the call to hit the road. A road trip during a pandemic is not my idea of fun, but I will be there for my daughter and son-in-law, unless of course, they close the border between Idaho and Utah. Then we'll re-evaluate.

How about you? How are things in your world?

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Book Review: MALICE by Pintip Dunn

MaliceMalice by Pintip Dunn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Pintip Dunn delivers a fun, twisty, time-travel adventure in her latest novel, MALICE!

Dunn wastes no time jumping right into the story. So buckle in before you pick this one up because you'll be turning pages to find out what's going to happen next. Of course, if you're afraid of the current real-life virus spanning the globe, you may want to wash your hands and wear a mask (not really, just joking!) because this story is a mix of TIME TRAVELER'S WIFE by Audrey Niffenegger and PANDEMIC by Yvonne Ventresca.

I loved the majority of the story. The only part that rubbed me wrong was the gun handling. As a person from Idaho, where we love our guns, go target shooting, and teach safe gun handling, I felt like the characters were uneducated in the safe handling of and respect for dangerous firearms. It felt too casual, as if no training is necessary and as if taking a life is no big deal. Other than that ;) I enjoyed the book.

Dunn writes, "Because of the virus ... It was manufactured to be highly contagious ..." YIKES! And the main character says, "I refuse to think about the Voice. Because it either means I'm slowly but surely losing my grip on reality...or someone really did hack into my brain and can now force me to do anything she wants." YIKES!

So . . . as you stock up in preparation for the current real-life pandemic, be sure to add MALICE to your stack of books to read while quarantined.


[I received a free copy of MALICE from the publisher via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review. This in no way influenced my opinion.]




View all my reviews