Friday, December 2, 2016

My 2016 #NaNoWriMo Journey

The Starting Line

I've been participating in NaNoWriMo for a little over ten seasons and I've learned many things in that time.

  1. Always expect the unexpected. Sometimes the things you try to control are the ones that slip away from you the fastest.
  2. A little organization never hurt anyone. I used to relish chaos in my creativity but as I've gotten older and my writing style has changed, so has the way I have to get ready to write.
  3. I am not alone. It's always nice to be able to interact with those who have the same idea/goal as you. Unity and strength in numbers help keep the creativity flowing.
  4. 50,000 is just an ideal number to reach. Yes, it is the ultimate goal for those of us who participate in the "writing madness" but it is actually, in my mind, secondary to what I feel is the true goal of NaNoWriMo. You know what that is? To Write. At the end of the day, that is why we do it. We hope to get our projects going and set our minds free to accomplish that.
  5. Just because you don't hit the 50,000 goal, doesn't mean NaNoWriMo was a waste of time. I'm always telling potential and returning NaNo writers that they should keep in mind the true goal of getting into the groove of writing as the ultimate goal. And, that if they feel 50,000 is a bit much, that they should set their own goal and work toward it.

NaNoWriMo & My NaNo Process

I started off rather rocky this NaNo season and was WAAAAYYYYYY behind. But, once I got in gear, I stayed in gear. Even though I had an idea, sitting down and focusing was my biggest problem.

Once I let my characters take over, it was an easier journey. There were several things that helped me and I want to share them with you.

I love Yankee Candles and the one to the left I've had for several years. I was saving it for a special occasion and found that its gentle scent was rather relaxing. I burned it every single day until I had finished that day's word sprints (via my Facebook friends). I used the whole candle. Guess what  I'm buying for next year's NaNo?

Also, I have to thank my cover artist JD Hollyfield who kept after me every single day to write. In the beginning, it drove me batty because I was being such a sloth. But, once I got out of sloth mode, it was a great motivator.

Thanks also go to my friends Angela, Courtney, Jenn and my daughter, Alea (who participated and won in the Young Writers NaNo), because they all in their own way gave me encouragement.

My NaNo Finish Results

Drumroll please....

Final word count: 50,887

I feel truly accomplish and now I plan to continue building on the momentum that NaNo gave me. To all my fellow NaNo writers, I wish you success in your after-NaNo work.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Kishaz Reading Corner: Soul Song by Marjorie M. Liu

Disclaimer: I received no compensation from the author or publisher for this honest review.

About the Book

Against her will, Kitala Bell foresees the future. Now her own future is in peril. From the ocean’s depths rises an impossible blend of fantasy and danger, a creature whose voice is seduction incarnate, whose song can manipulate lives the way that Kitala herself manipulates the strings of her violin -- even to the point of breaking. He is a prince of the sea, an enigma -- a captive stretched to the limit of his endurance by a woman intent on using him for the purest evil. And when survival requires he and Kitala form a closer partnership than either has ever known, the price of their bond will threaten not just their lives, but the essence of their very souls.

Buy the Book

Here's what I'm giving it:

Rating: 4 stars

Here's why:

Secretive heroine meets even more secretive mystery man. Sounds like a recipe for intrigue and sizzling byplay while watching the two dance around each other.

It was nice to see some of the characters from other Dirk & Steele novels being used in this one. The blend of paranormal with reality is always a plus and adds spice to the Dirk & Steele universe.

I like that both MCs were flawed but that didn't keep them from growing as characters throughout the story.

Would I recommend this book? Yes, this is another good read from the Dirk & Steele series.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Kishaz Reading Corner: King of the Friend Zone by Sheralyn Pratt

Disclaimer: I received no compensation from the author or publisher for this honest review.

About the Book

Esme Taylor has an amazing fiancĂ©, a lifelong best friend, and a problem. The problem stems from the fact that her best friend is named Hunter and, well. . .he’s kind of (totally) hot. It’s hate at first sight when her fiancĂ©, Jon, and Hunter meet. Jon’s convinced that Hunter is in love with Esme, and that Hunter must be out of the picture if their upcoming marriage is to succeed.

Esme thinks Jon is paranoid.

The truth is, Jon’s not that far off. Hunter is in love with his best friend and always has been. What Jon has wrong, however, is that Hunter never had any plans of ruining Esme’s happily ever after. Hunter wants what’s best for Esme, even if that’s not him.

When Jon pushes hard to end Esme and Hunter’s friendship, opposition comes from the most unlikely of places. It’s an eccentric lady with a cookie cart who suggests a different solution to Esme’s problem: Hunter and Esme should give each other a chance.

They’ve both thought of the possibility over the years—of course they have. But with a ring already on Esme’s finger and a heap of hurt feelings and broken trust in the mix, there hasn’t been a worse time to explore the depths of their feelings for each other.

Both Esme and Hunter think it’s time to move on and leave childhood crushes in the past. The question is: Can one woman and the taste of one cookie change their minds?

Buy the Book

Here's what I'm giving it:

Rating: 5 stars

Here's why:

I hadn't realized that this novel is in the Power of the Matchmaker series. I'm going to be checking out the other books in the series.

With that being said, on to this amazing read by Ms. Pratt. I had previously reviewed another book by Ms. Pratt (which you can read here.) I was looking forward to reading more from this author and when I had the chance to read this one I took it.

I was not disappointed. Esme and Hunter remind me of some friends I've known who had the same type of relationships/issues. How they get solved various from person to person.

I was invested in the characters and spent times cheering, screaming denials, getting angry at certain individuals' foolishness (yes, I said foolishness!) and laughing at the humor that comes from such complex relationships.

I love Ms. Pratt's style and her characters who have depth and believable personalities.

Would I recommend this book? Yes! Yes! Yes! Ms. Pratt, you are amazing and I will gladly keep coming back for more.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Kishaz Reading Corner: Beneath the Thirteen Moons by Kathryne Kennedy

Disclaimer: I received no compensation from the author or publisher for this honest review.

About the Book

He's a ruler in a divided world...

In the magical, watery world of the Sea Forest, the divide between the rulers and the people is an uncrossable chasm. Handsome, arrogant prince Korl Com'nder has lived a life of luxury that is nothing more than a fantasy to the people he rules. Until the day he is accidentally kidnapped by a beautiful outlaw smuggler and is forced to open his eyes to the world outside his palace walls.

She's an outcast, but at least she has her independence...

Mahri Zin would stop at nothing to save her village, and when they needed a healer she didn't think twice about kidnapping one. But when she realizes that the healer she so impulsively stole is none other than the crown prince of the Sea Forest, Mahri knows that this is her only chance to change the fate of her people...

Buy the Book

Here's what I'm giving it:

Rating: 2 stars/DNF

Here's why:

I couldn't finish this one. I first started reading this book on June 28 and got almost halfway through before calling it quits on September 18.

I tried to like this one, I really did but I just couldn't get into it. I'm not sure it isn't any one thing over another but this book just doesn't do it for me. The main characters drove me nuts and not in a good way. Mahri I found to be kinda whiny and annoying.

Don't get me wrong, I like women who are strong but when they have to spend most of the time whining over how they have to be independent, it takes away from the strength of their behavior.

The male lead wasn't much better but I tolerated his behavior a little bit better than hers since he was raised in privilege and didn't have any real life experience.

Yeah, wanted to like but just couldn't. 

Would I recommend this book? Not really. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Kishaz Reading Corner: Not Fit for A King? by Jane Porter/Hiromi Kobayashi

Disclaimer: I received no compensation from the author or publisher for this honest review.

About the Book

No matter how much we look alike, the prince will never love me. 

Hannah, an American secretary, agrees to switch places with Princess Emmeline, just for two hours. There must be a reason that made her ask me for such a favor. Besides, it’s only for a few hours. But Emmeline doesn’t return for days, and Hannah ends up having to meet King Zale of Raguva, pretending to be the princess!

Buy the Book

Here's what I'm giving it:

Rating: 4.5 stars

Here's why:

Being helpful can sometimes lead to unexpected destinations, a fact that our leading lady, Hannah soon discovers after agreeing to help out Princess Emmeline.

Hannah and Zale were an awesome couple and I couldn't put this one down, finishing it in one sitting. I would love to read another book about the pair of them.

Would I recommend this book? Yes! Prince(ss) and the Pauper type storylines always make for a fun read.