Sunday, May 29, 2011

Sale Fail and Word Count

Let's see 33,766, is the word count currently, but I hope to add another thousand to that before the day (and naptime) is over.  The word count went pretty good, but I totally failed on Wednesday and Thursday.  I was up until very late (for me) Tuesday and just could NOT face the idea of waking up at 5:30.  Of course, my kid woke up at 6:30, but at least I got that extra hour.  And a nap.  And slept in again on Thursday, when he slept in until the unheard hour of 7:15.  Holy cow!  How did that happen?
Kicked butt on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, though.  Hoping to reach 40,000 this week.  Oh, and guess what... I think this book is going to be longer than 70,000 words.  I have been suspecting as much, as it was being written, and I'm now fairly certain that Aeris will be at LEAST 80,000 words, but I'm thinking it may get to 90,000.  I don't know.  But this is going to blow my plans for having two books written by the end of August, dammit.  It might end up being 1.5 books.
In other news, there has been quite the firestorm in the Amazon author world this week.  It all started with Gaga and her servers crashing because of that Gaga album for 99 cents.  Literally no one had sales on Tuesday and Thursday, and if they had ANY sales, it was like 18 instead of 100.  Seriously.  And people were freaking the heck out.  I mean, I don't sell 100 books a day.  EVER.  But can you imagine selling 10% of what you normally do?  Holy cow.  And this went on FOR DAYS.  Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday.... And people were flying through the forums questioning the book selling gods.  "Where did all the people go?  Did the rapture happen and only the Saints bought my books before???"
To top off Gaga, several other things went all weird.  Tags disappeared.  Also viewed percentages went missing. Also bought bars disappeared. Listmania stopped letting you vote if the list was helpful.  It also stopped telling you how many people had viewed the list previously.  Then there was the free book phenomenon.  People who downloaded tons of free books (like me) were much less likely to need anything else for a while.
And no one could tell if it was the server mess or Amazon being itself and changing things up. And because so many many things happened at the same time no one could tell what it was that threw their sales off.  It was all so confusing.
Today it is still a mess.  Half the people have sales that are back up to normal.  Half the people have not recovered one iota.  Tags have appeared and disappeared several times.  Also boughts have been flashing in and out.
I love it when the voice of reason comes out to try and help.  It's like, people are watching stuff fall from the sky and there's a person standing out in the middle of the street saying, "They aren't bombs, I swear.  It's just paper balls."  But they're so high up, that no one can tell, and they believe the worst, in their total confusion.
Anyway, that was my interesting end to the week.
Happy Reading!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wednesday and 30K!

I did it, I hit 30,000 words.  *Happy Dance*  It's not even remotely halfway in the book at this point, but it's still almost halfway to my initial word goal of 70,000 words by the end of 80 days.  My actual word count is 31,051.  Good stuff.  I think I'd like to hit the halfway point (35,000) by the next check in.  Then I can start to feel better about my end goal.  Right now, it's feeling like it might be in jeopardy, so let's hope I can make some major head way in the next 30 something days.

Sunday I did some really great outlining of where I want this book and the next book to go.  I did this in Compis and it really paid off, even when things changed (Luka's whole story!) midway through the book.  I try to be flexible in my outlining, but having a story with some spice and snap is essential for my creative process.  I'm very pleased, at this point, where all the characters are going to end up at the end of Aeris.

On a totally different topic, is anyone as disappointed as I am by the season finales this year?  I can think of only ONE that I liked, and several that made me so disgusted, I might not be returning as a viewer in the fall.

Bones: The writing in that show took a hideous toward the end of the season.  First there was the awkward confession from Booth that he'd like to try having a relationship with Bones only to be turned down flat.  Then the inevitable separation which left everyone questioning where the show could possibly continue come fall.  Well, I'll tell you how: by introducing the most contrived and unbelievable plot in the history of the show, and that includes one of their interns becoming a SERIAL KILLER.  I almost stopped watching then.  But I love Bones' character.  She is so refreshing.  So I stuck it out and as a writer, knowing that Booth would break up with Hannah from the get-go, I hoped that things would settle back into normal.  But NO.  Bones had to go and have a revelation, and be in LOVE and now we cut to this season's end, where she is PREGNANT.  Seriously, how can they possibly make this work with the storyline?  This has got to be the last season.  No question.

Grey's Anatomy:  This show lost me when George slept with Izzie.  BIGGEST MISTAKE EVER, Shonda.  Seriously, that's when I realized that Shonda Rimes was NOT a good writer.  And I should have taken that lesson and stayed away from everything else she put her hands in, but some how, I got sucked back into Grey's after Alex and Izzie broke things off.  And the show was going great, until it just sort of fell to crap at the end of this season.  Seriously.  Walking away for good this time.  You suck, Shonda.

Fairly Legal: This show started as one of my new faves for the season.  I love the main character (Sarah Shahi) from the previous show I met her in: Life.  She was fantastic on that show and again on this one, as a mediator with a life that is far from together.  I put up with her horrible relationships because I liked the interplay between her and her clients.  Then the season finale aired and I thought, OMG, change this woman's job and location, and you basically have "In Plain Sight" which I stopped watching in disgust a couple years in.    Seriously, if I wanted a season like that, I'd just reread Gone With the Wind.  Which I won't, because I HATED it.

Castle:  This show has been a secret fave of mine for a while, because I love the snappy reparte and well, I've had a crush on Nathan Fillion since Firefly.  But the "love story" between Rick and Kate has always felt FALSE to me.  They just don't do it for me, and the constant, "I love him, I don't love him," "I want her, but I'm going to pretend I don't" crap just makes me irritated.  Cut to this season's finale, where Kate gets shot in the most horrible cliche scene in the HISTORY OF TELEVISION and Castle tells her he loves her.  First of all, how can anyone actually believe she is going to die???  Seriously, I know people who are worried that she won't be coming back next season.  Uh... she's the main star.  That's just silly.  And obviously, she's not going to remember the love confession.  To which I say, THANK GOD.  Maybe they can just move on now.

I haven't seen Glee yet, but my hopes aren't high.  The shining moment for me was Community, which had an awesome spaghetti western / Star Wars homage.  It made my fan girl happiness go sky high.

Obviously, these are only my opinions, but seriously, if these season finales were books, I would have given them 2 stars apiece.

Happy Reading!  

Sunday, May 22, 2011

ROW Wrod Cnout Check-in

No, no, I spelled them wrong on purpose.  Please don't leave me a bunch of comments telling me that I'm a big dummy. :)

I'm at 27,200 words.  Argh.  I just want to hit 30,000 already!!!  Of course, by this time last book, I was almost done with the gathering and this time, it's just started.  It's kind of like the 4th Harry Potter book, where you don't even get to Hogwarts until like 200 pages in.  There is a lot of stuff I left unresolved in Compis that has to be taken up right away in Aeris.  Some of the stuff with the characters is going differently than I planned, as well. Nikka and Zyander finally get to see each other again (they're pretty much my power couple), but circumstances weren't how I planned that they would be.  And now I have two other characters who've decided to make their own storyline -soooo did not plan on that.  Such are the hazards when you write a story from three different viewpoints.  :)

This blog is usually about my reading habits and not my writing habits, so what have I been up to?  Well, nothing has really grabbed me lately.  *sigh*  I got a bunch of freebies, but besides Matchmakers 2.0, I've been having some troubles.  Which isn't to say the books suck... I'm just, listless, I guess.  Demon Girl starts out good, but it's heavy on the British slang, which I'm not used to, so it's been hard for me to read, even though the premise and the protagonist are both really interesting.  I'm also reading The Weight of Blood by David Dalglish and even though the writing is excellent —pretty much the perfect blend of prose and story— I'm not super keen on the main characters (at least the only ones I've been introduced to thus far).  I'm a mom.  It's hard for me to be on the side of a character that kills kids(that's not really a spoiler, it happens within the first few chapters).  I want to keep reading and see if things change somehow or there is another character that comes along to challenge this one, but so far, I'm going to have to recommend this book more to guys than girls.  If you're a big Terry Goodkind fan, you'll probably really enjoy this series.  It's really dark, for fantasy, although not super gory detailed, which I appreciate after reading Goodkind.

My cousin gave me a STACK of books to read, (she's 15, and so she reads a lot of the stuff I'm into) so I'll probably start in on those, along with whatever I read on my Kindle at the gym.  I guess it's true what they say, "If you want it done right, do it yourself."  My books are pretty much what I want (and like) to read.  Kick-butt girls, guys that aren't wimpy, but aren't total asshats, and a storyline that doesn't make me want to vomit.  Character growth is good, let's add a lot of that, and minor characters that are well fleshed out.  Also good. Perfect, probably not.  Everyone's cup of tea -not if you liked Shiver. hahaha

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Amazon Quality Standards & ROW80

First of all, Aeris is currently at 23,154.  Still plugging away, still making it in at least a few hundred above my word count.  If I don't get distracted (easy to do with a wireless connection) I can still pull off my nanowrimo record of 1600ish words in an hour.  Monday I wrote 1745.  Tuesday was 2385 (my son slept in!). Today was less at 1248, because I got distracted by a different story, which caught my eye in the Kindleboards.  I'm hoping to hit 25K tomorrow, if nothing catastrophic happens.  Which reminds me, I need to back up my file.
Okay, that done, I wanted to mention something that the Kindleboards are abuzz about this morning.  So one of the authors in the forum got an email message from Kindle Digital Platforms informing them of some typos in their work and advising them that they needed to make the appropriate changes.  The author was said to have hired an editor, but obviously, the editor was not as skilled at finding errors as they claimed (or the author was lying?).
This led to a 6 page firestorm on Kindleboards.  Everyone wanted to know if this was something Amazon was going to be doing.  They wanted to know if it was random sampling.  They wanted to know what qualified as a "typo".  Some felt it was unfair that indies were being "singled out" and "targeted" —sorry, that one made me laugh out loud.  Amazon is one of the biggest supporters and earners from indies in the entire online, e-reader world.  Why in the world would they TARGET their cash cow?
The author posted an excerpt of the book in question, several people made comments, it was decided the author would hire yet ANOTHER editor and re-upload, so the issue was pretty much resolved by the time I got to it.
But what a great question and philosophical debate that ensued.  Let me assure you, there was not a single author there who didn't seem to be in favor of quality standards, if Amazon was indeed enforcing them in the future.  I think most of the authors on there are committed to making sure they have a good product to sell.  Most of us(who give a crap) hire editors of one kind or another (some hire two!)  and when someone gets feedback on typos, they are quick to try and remedy the problem.  
I think MOST of us realize that it will only damage our industry and our reputations as a whole, to just throw a book together and post it online.  Unfortunately, there are outliers.  Maybe there is a great storyteller, whose books are full of grammar and typo errors.  Or maybe there is a clean book, grammatically, but the story is horrible.  Those exist in both places.  I have to say, in my reading thus far, even when I have encountered errors, there have been few of them.  I don't think I'm the worst judge of grammar, either.  
That being said, some of the most popular authors that are indies have many, many grammar issues in their books.  I won't name names, but my mom recently complained about a certain million dollar earning indie author whose books she read, where the grammar and spelling was atrocious.  So obviously these things don't bother EVERYONE, since people are still reading those books.
They bother me, though.  They do.  As a reader and a writer, I think we have a responsibility to try and hold up some kind of standard.  What is that?  I'm not sure.  Let's call it the "try really hard" standard -where if we see a problem as a reader, we let our fellow readers know.  And if we're a writer, maybe we should be hiring editors instead of just throwing books up on the web.  Just maybe.
But guess what, dear readers of books, there is something you can do!  Just like in our political system, we can let our reps know what we think of the job they're doing, at Amazon, you can let them know if there is a book that is FULL of poor formatting or typos or grammar errors.  It's located at the bottom of a book's sales page.  It looks like this:

If you read a book, ANY book, that you've seen a lot of errors in, you can report it to Amazon and they will let the author or publisher know.  Voila!  Enjoy your week, and happy reading!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Late to the Show...*Edit

First of all, I just want to say, I'm never late.  I'm not.  It's impossible for me.  Even with a toddler, I am always 10 min. early.  Late, for me is on time.

So, I meant to post this morning, but I wanted to mop my floor because I FINALLY got my seeds in the ground (just in time, as you'll soon see) and I was so excited that I forgot to take off my muddy shoes when I danced through the house in triumph.  Needless to say, I left yucky tracks everywhere.  Thank goodness we don't have carpet!  Then was church, and then, the mild storm we'd been experiencing became a massive, yucky, hail and thunder and lightning storm.  Aaaaaannnnd, the power went out.

Of course, it was disappointing not to be able to post my word count (more on that in just a sec), but the most irritating part was that I was exactly halfway done with baking my bread.

At this point in time, you might be saying, "Bread??  What the heck, are you Miss Suzy Homemaker?"  After all, I just mentioned mopping, gardening and baking in the same entry.  And it's true, I bake bread.  But it's not like I'm up to my elbows in bread dough wearing a giant ruffled apron.  It's called No Knead Bread, people and it will change your life.  Seriously.  Anyone can make this stuff.  Google it.

I mean, yes, I like to make things.  I can make jam.  Of course, I do it in the crock pot.  It's literally the easiest thing to do in the world.  Dump in a bunch of fruit and sugar and cook it in your crock pot until your house smells yummy.  You can freeze that stuff in a bag and bring it out when you feel like it.  I'm like Modern Suzy Barbie Doll over here.  :)

Anyway, onto the word count.  17,684 for Aeris.  I didn't get more than 300 words written yesterday before my kid woke up, all ready to start the day and today, well, that's supposed to be my day of REST, but I'll probably see if I can get anything written in the hour after kidlet goes to bed before I turn into preggo zombie woman.  As for my goals, well, my original goal was 875 words a day, I think.  I've been hitting almost double that every day that I've written this week, and I'm hoping to keep it up.  Good luck to everyone else!
*Holy Crap!  I just realized I'm supposed to be halfway to 70,000 words by now.  Eeep.  Gotta get going!!

I've been talking for a while now about how I was going to review RUN by Blake Crouch.  After several hangups, I now have the chance to do so.

This book is going to be hard to describe, because there are about 2 still moments in the entire thing.  It is aptly named. :)

So, Run is a really cool mix of sci-fi and thriller.  I think that is what saves it for me.  Thrillers are great, but I've heard Crouch is a bit on the graphic side, so this book was probably the only book of his that I could have read and not put aside with a wrinkled nose.
There are a lucky few authors out there who have a mix of both education and talent, and Crouch is one of them.  His story telling is superb, if jolting at times.  By starting the story with a family on the run from a strange phenomenon that has turned humanity into one big us vs. them fight, he puts the reader on one big run with them to the finish line -which we don't find out until much later.
At first, the book is all about survival, the problem is, the crazies(as I like to call them) are everywhere, they're brutal, and they WILL find you.  The main character and his wife, plus their two kids drive from here to there, never seeming to successfully find a safe haven.
I give this book 5 stars for the following reasons:
-the storyline and pacing are incredibly addictive.  I was up until late in the night finishing this sucker.  That is a good story
-the back story between the husband and wife is carefully interspersed throughout the novel and Crouch does it well.  I love it when characters are given depth over the course of a story.  Let me tell you, as a writer, that is hard to do.
-the ending draws everything up into a neat little bow, with explanation, resolution, and a firm idea of what happens in the end, to all the characters.  Thrillers can a lot of time have abrupt endings, but this didn't, and I appreciated that.
There are a few nit-picky things I do want to mention, just because it's ME.
The first is that I find it REALLY REALLY hard to believe that the crazies found this family everywhere they did.  It's like they were all professional trackers or something.  The odds of that happening are highly unlikely.  And if it's because of the phenomena, then Crouch should have made sure to include that explanation.
The constant action was a bit wearing at times.  I think it would have affected me less if it was the man and wife and their teenage daughter, but the little boy was just 7.  That was pretty harsh and left me wondering if Crouch has kids.  It's pretty tough, as a parent, to read what happens to a KID in this book.  I mean, at one point, he has them literally crossing a MOUNTAIN, after having had nothing to eat or drink for days.  Harsh.

So, if you like a fast-paced RUN (why can't I say that except in all caps??), then this is the book for you.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Some Freebies(on Amazon!) and 2 Reviews:

So, apparently Amazon is doing a super sale right now where a bunch of authors have free books.  Being the crazy, can't not download a free BOOK to save my life, I have taken advantage of this lovely sale and downloaded like... uh... 30 books.  I imagine you are going to get a lot more reviews from me in the near future. But there are something like 7,000 books for free on Kindle right now, how do you decide?  Well, first of all, for kindle lovers and owners, there is a GREAT website out there that a fellow author pointed out to me recently called: ereaderIQ.  Go there, fall in love.  :)

But there are still like 500 books to choose from, so let me help you even more.  These are books I've chosen because: I've "met" their authors online in kindleboards and they seem pretty cool, they have a good set of reviews under their belts, and they have a decent sales ranking (which tells me they sell a lot of books). I haven't read ANY of these authors before. None of them has ASKED me to promote them here. Just, FYI.

Basically, anything thing with a review average greater than 3.5 and a sales rank lower than 20,000 is a book I downloaded.  Here they are, in no particular order:

Oh, one more thing.  Matchmakers 2.0 and The Black God's War are both novellas.

Enough of that.  Onto the review.  First the good.  Matchmakers 2.0 was the first story I read from my new downloads.
It's the story of Mick, former guppy studier and current employee of —a local South Carolina company that matches up their customers based on a fancy computer algorithm.  Obviously, computers don't always work.  Which is why the company then sends the profiles to their crack team of professionals who use their wits, education and the occasional coin flip to figure out who goes with who.
This is a charming story, filled with multiple snappy comebacks and witticisms that reminded me a lot of the dialog from Gilmore Girls, without the endless drama.  The characters are interesting, the story moves along well, and the ending is perfect for a "novel nibble".  Overall, I would recommend this novella to anyone wanting a short story to get them through a long line at the DMV, etc.
There's just one thing.  Just one little thing that kept this story from being a 5 star for me. There are NO descriptions of what the characters look like.  Seriously NOT A ONE.  I get that this is a novella.  I get that any descriptions there are would be short and to the point.  But come on... not one eye color, height, weight, hair color, nose shape, mouth size, etc. to be found in the ENTIRE story.  I thought I was going crazy at first, so I went back and double checked it.  I read the whole thing again and sure enough, not one.  Cute is the best description you're gonna get, people.
I haven't read the other books of hers, but frankly, it makes me afraid to fork out the cash for a NOVEL.  I need character descriptions.  Now, I went back and read every review of Matchmakers 2.0 (there are 73 of them) and no one else commented on this issue, so I guess I'm in the minority here.  But if that kind of thing is a big deal for you, then you might want to take this novella with a grain of salt.
So Matchmakers 2.0: 4 stars.

My next review is something I've yet to do here, review a non-indie.  However, this book was so epically bad, that I just HAD to share it with you.
So, word of mouth has failed me.  This book was a recommend from a random girl at the library who told me it was her FAVORITE book in the whole entire world.  *sigh*  After reading it, I feel out of touch with the whole genre.  Maybe I'm too old to read YA fiction.  Maybe the time has come for me to give it up.
Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater did not start out well.  First of all, it was really slow.  Nothing was really drawing me into the story.  Usually, by the 4th chapter or so, there is an obvious storyline that is pulling you along, keeping you reading.  I put this book down a bunch of times, thinking, "This is not that great."  But I stuck it out, because it was someone's favorite book.
Then I got to page 63.  This chapter is told from the male protagonist's viewpoint.  "I was a leaking womb bulging with the promise of conscious thoughts..."  Um... WHAT?  Did you seriously just compare your supposedly hot main character to a woman's menstruating womb???  I've read some weird metaphors before.  I once read a book where Toni Morrison compared a woman's tongue to a wagging dog penis.  But it wasn't like she was a main character.  It wasn't like we were supposed to think she was this sexy, stunning wolf boy. I can't believe this book got through TWO editors without either of them saying, "Hey, you might not want to compare your main character to a bleeding uterus."  Shame on Abby Ranger and David Levithan.  SHAME.
This was just a perfect example for me of the author doing what she does consistently in this book which is go waaaay over the top with the descriptive language.  Now, let me clarify.  I LOVE prose.  I LOVE descriptive language.  Have you ever read a Barbara Kingsolver book?  Chock full of the stuff.  But she knows where to stop.  Comparing your main character to a bloody uterus is someone who doesn't get the fine line between prose and "purple prose".
Second thing about this book that bothered me: It had several conflicts that never really did anything much whatsoever.  Usually when you read a book, you get a conflict right away.  This book has several elements that could have been the conflict for the story.
-We have Shelby, werewolf obsessed with the main guy and dangerously crazy.  But other than one big scene involving her, she isn't really mentioned and nothing really happens with her storyline
-We have Jack, newly turned and savage.  There could have been a great story element involving his rehabilitation and introduction to the new world he lives in.  But no, again, he is barely mentioned except for a few key scenes, then fades away from the story.
-Then there is the "cure" for lycanthropy, which to me is the least well explained element in the story.  I find it hard to believe that the characters had to resort to the ends they did in the book.  There are plenty of ways to accomplish the same thing without the craziness they did.
The third and fourth things about the book that bothered me were related, so I'm combining them.  Have you ever watched a TV show with a teen protagonist and even if the parents start out being ultra cool and involved, over time the show fades them out into these sort of "half parents" who don't seem to give a crap what their kids are up to, don't seem to ever be around because they're BUSY, and generally don't parent at all?  These are those parents.  And despite the fact that many of these shows exist and are watched by millions, I find it hard to believe that even THOSE parents would be as clueless as THESE parents.  Their daughter is attacked by wolves, and they don't care.  She is off with their cars at all hours of the day and night and they don't care.  She skips school to hang out with her boyfriend and they don't care.  Her boyfriend starts LIVING IN THEIR HOUSE and somehow they have no idea???  This is just an obvious way for the author to let her characters get up to whatever business they want without having to worry about the parents getting in the way.  And it doesn't work AT ALL for the plot.
And the way Grace and Sam HANG all over each other, like RichandAmy from Zits may be highly amusing in a comic strip satire way, but only serves to drag this storyline down to adolescent in the most alarming fashion.  Love is great, really, but this is ridiculous and only a hormone filled teenage girl could take any of this seriously.
Shiver: 2 stars (bordering on 1).

I will review RUN when I post my word count on Sunday.  Happy Reading!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Another Wednesday, Another Wordcount

Things are progressing here, although never as quickly as I want them too.  I have managed to stay above my original goal this week, realizing that I forgot to take into account weekends and things like Mother's Day when I made my goal.  Mother's Day is the one day I get to sleep in, and I took it!  Which meant, no writing on Sunday.  :)
But, in the past couple of weeks, I've gotten my word count for Aeris up to 13,528, so I feel accomplished.  I'm hoping to double that by the end of the week (a pipe dream, I know, but it's good to have goals!) and really get some work done on this novel.
It just occurred to me, laying in bed last night with new baby kicking the crap out of my ribs... I'm going to be out for the count when this new kid gets here.  I will be off schedule and exhausted, probably barely keeping my head above the water.  There will be little to no time for writing.  That's why I need to get Aeris (and hopefully some of the next book after that) written out and to my beta readers before new baby gets here.
I keep telling myself that it's okay to breathe a little and let things happen.  Compis has only been out for a week, after all.  It hasn't had time to build up ANY kind of audience.  That kind of thing takes months and months.  Six Keys is just now starting to really gain readers, so I shouldn't be crazy about the quick writing.  On the other hand, I think about how my life is going to change AGAIN in 4 mths, and I get all anxious inside.
So I guess the key here is to the let anxiety work for me, and produce the kinds of word counts I want to see.
Let's hope!

I have a review of Blake Crouch's RUN, but right now, I'm too busy trying to get my garden started to worry about such things.  So I'll take a rain check until Sunday.  Happy reading!  (And writing!)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wednesday & a Review of Hollowland...*Edit

Well, let's see... since Sunday, I'm up to 6,300 words, but I expect to get another thousand or so, into Aeris today.  My biggest setbacks this week: being totally burned out after formatting on Friday, having a kid that's been waking up at 6 instead of 7, which greatly invades my writing time, and finally... creating a BIG plot problem for myself yesterday.
So I was writing along yesterday, getting to one of the points in the story I've been DYING to get to, where Nikka and Zyander see each other again after a long separation, when I realized, Nikka's timeline and Zyan's timelines are about a day apart.  And yes, it is OBVIOUS to any intelligent reader that this is the case.  How can Nikka be seeing Zyan when it is the point in time when he is still under a magically induced sleep?  Uh, I have no idea.  I stopped and mapped out my timeline, and yes, it is true, Nikka and Zyan were really about a day and a half apart in time when I was going to meet them up, so this morning I had to do some major editing.  Oopsy.
Thank GOODNESS I caught it so quickly, because this would have been a pain to fix later on.  Now I can just cut out the end of a chapter, add in another day to Nikka's timeline, and then their story goes on smoothly from there.  As for Luka, his storyline has yet to be written in yet, even though I know what I want to put for him.
I just realized how much more complicated this book is going to be than Compis, because for the second half of the last book, the characters have all been apart.  This time around, though, their characters are interacting again, and all these important timelines are intertwining.  It's becoming quite the headache to keep track of, so I think, along with writing this week, I'll have to mark out the ENTIRE timeline of the next 5 chapters, while all this stuff is going on.

Anyway, that is all the writing stuff.  Compis is doing well out of the gate.  I've gotten a few reviews and some of my Six Keys readers (you know who you are, ladies!) have already promised to post reviews when they pick up their copies.  Yesterday was a great sales day for me, thanks to

Next on the Agenda: Hollowland by Amanda Hocking  
It actually wasn't my intention to pick up another Hocking book so soon after reviewing the Trylle Trilogy, but after I finished The Forest of Hands and Teeth (review of that one on goodreads, HERE), I didn't have anything but Amanda Hocking and Carrie Ryan on my iPhone for the gym.  It was a "let's watch nothing but sports and news" day on the TVs, so I decided to take a detour from Ryan's zombies and try Hocking's out for size.
Well, let me tell you, they are a LOT more scary, since they aren't what you would call zombies per se, but more like diseased victims of a virus who have a lot of their strength, speed, and brains left when they "turn".  Towards the end of the virus' life in its host, they become more like traditional zombies, lurching, moaning, and slow.  The interesting thing about Hocking's zombies: they aren't undead, or raised from the dead.  They are people who are ALIVE and consequently can be killed by shooting them anywhere, or injuring them.
The good of this book is the main character.  Unlike the Trylle trilogy, where I spent a lot of the first book questioning the protagonist's motives and actions, for this book I was just along for the ride.  She wants to find her brother, she kicks ass, she can shoot a gun, etc.  I love strong protagonists (don't read Compis if you like wimpy girls, warning there).  I also think that one of Hocking's strong suits is her side characters.  A lot of times, writers seem to add in their other characters as though throwing them in at the last minute, and talk about cliche!  Hocking doesn't fall prey to that weakness, and I found myself liking each of the characters in turn.
The story is also compelling, though a bit vague in spots.  Remy travels north to the next quarantine that she is aware of, so she can make sure her brother is okay.  Why she is so sure he IS still alive doesn't become apparent till near the end of the book, and Hocking does a great job leading up to it.
Where the whole thing kind of collapses for ME, is toward the end of the book.  This is a great story, don't rush the end!  Hocking spent a lot of time building up the characters, and the story, then she just rushes into the rescue of Remy's brother and some of the other characters, like Tatum and Bishop fall short and suffer the loss of detail.  It also loses some believability, because she just MET Tatum.  Why would he be willing to risk everything for her???
I think that this is where some honest feedback would have been good for Hocking before publishing.  If she'd just BELIEVED in her readers and their ability to be patient and wait for the story to unfold, this could have been a knock out of the park, 5 star story.  Instead, I have to give it 4 stars.  It bums me out, because I literally could NOT put this book down yesterday.

So there is my take on Hollowland.  I'm going to tackle Run! by Blake Crouch next.  I've heard from so many people how fantastic it is, and even though he has traditional roots, this book is all indie.

*Edit: Made it to 7,600.  Yay for naptime!  See you all on Sunday.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Short Sunday and Word of Mouth (Yes, Again)

This has been a busy week for me.  Formatting took longer than I thought.  I blame Kindle.  Do you know how impossible it is to put a table of contents into a mobi doc?  Seriously, I hope they change this, because Kindle is not up to industry standards on this one.  Consequently, after many hours of swearing and copious coding, it STILL doesn't have one. I'm pissed.  Of course, if anyone buys it on B&N, it will have a table of contents.  Because that's just easy peasy.  But mobi wants a WHOLE OTHER html page, and it just will NOT link in.  I'll figure it out eventually, even if I have  to crack mobi open like an egg.

Anyway, enough bitching.  hahaha  This coming week will be a busy one for me because Compis is online and ready for people to buy it.  I think it will be awhile, because it's not even searchable on goodreads yet, meaning, there is no way for the public to know about it.  :)  But it's there.  
I forgot to share the cover with you earlier.  Here it is.  Didn't my artist do a bang-up job?

Gorgeous!  I'm so lucky!
In other news, my book Six Keys will be featured on the website on Tuesday, so that is exciting too.  They just sent me an email about it yesterday.  I'll probably comment on the results on Wed. check-in.
My goal for this weeks 80 day writing campaign: Write every day.  I've been getting up at 5:45, because with a kidlet, you don't get a lot of writing time, and I'm admittedly one of those annoying morning people.  If I try to write at night, I read it the next day and I'm like... "WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!?!?!"  So I avoid it at all costs, get up early, and go to bed early.  I still want to get my novel done in the 80 days, but 30 days have passed, and I have barely anything written.  Yes, I did write another short story in that time, but I'm anxious to get as much writing as I can done before this baby gets here.  I'm hoping I'll get two books written.  That way I can work on editing and releasing them when I'm up at 4 in the morning. hahaha

New Subject:  Word of Mouth.  
So I was in the library last week, because kidlet needed a new stack of books of his own to read (yes, we are readers in this house!) and while my son was playing on the little computers they have there, I inched over to the YA section and started looking over their "new books".  There were two girls in there, working on a homework assignment (they were trying to figure out how to spell polio, so I can only assume that's what it was).  Most of the books I had read already, but the book Shiver caught my eye and I picked it up to read the blurb on the back.
"Oh my God," said a voice behind me.  "You HAVE to read that book!"
I looked back and one of the teens was staring at me earnestly.  "This one?" I asked, holding it up.
"It's like my all time favorite book.  It's scary good!  You have to read it, you'll love it," she said, nodding her head.
"Okay, thanks," I said, and walked out with it.

My point?  I LOVE READERS.  Seriously.  I know we were in the library, but how many times have I seen someone reading a book in a coffee place or at the park and stopped to talk about it?  I feel like, as a reader, I have this wonderful community of people around me, who can't wait to tell me what they liked and didn't about a given book.  It's amazing.  Yet another reason I love goodreads.  I know I plug them all the time, but I can't help myself, they are a wonderful website.  I don't know what I'd do without them.  

Thank you, readers of books, for your recommends.  I'll be sure to pass it on!