Showing posts from November, 2013

Cephalopod Coffee House: The Thirteenth Tale

Created and managed by the Armchair Squid, the purpose of the Cephalopod Coffee House is to post on the last Friday of the month about the best book you've read over the past month, and visit other bloggers doing the same. Jump on over here for the full list.

I read 4 books over the past month, but the one I have to absolutely tell you about is The Thirteenth Tale, by Diane Setterfield. Blurb from Amazon:

The enigmatic Vida Winter has spent six decades creating various outlandish life histories for herself -- all of them inventions that have brought her fame and fortune but have kept her violent and tragic past a secret. Now old and ailing, she at last wants to tell the truth about her extraordinary life. She summons biographer Margaret Lea, a young woman for whom the secret of her own birth, hidden by those who loved her most, remains an ever-present pain. Struck by a curious parallel between Miss Winter's story and her own, Margaret takes on the commission.

As Vida disinters the life she meant to bury for good, Margaret is mesmerized. It is a tale of gothic strangeness featuring the Angelfield family, including the beautiful and willful Isabelle, the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline, a ghost, a governess, a topiary garden and a devastating fire.

I picked this one up at the local library, based off of the blurb and the fact that I was forcing myself to choose a non-genre book. I was shocked - shocked! - by how much I enjoyed this book. I was about fifty pages from the end, and very upset that I had to stop long enough to drive home from work before I could finish it.

At first I was afraid that it would be one of those wordy books that spend three pages describing the smell of old books and the mist on the moors and blah blah blah, but that wasn't the case. Written in beautiful language The Thirteenth Tale is part (fictional) memoir, part mystery with one twist I saw coming from a mile away, and a second twist that hit me out of the blue. If you like gothic novels with a contemporary twist, this is the book for you.

Free Skate

Last week, I had a list of six word stories. This week I thought I'd share where I got the idea. The science and writing website IO9 had a thing where they asked their commenters to provide their own six word stories. Here are the best of the day, and the original call for entries. Just check the comments for everyone's attempts. They're all great.

IO9 is one of my favorite sites. In addition to getting my True Blood, Game of Thrones, Sleepy Hollow, and Doctor Who recap fixes, they also occasionally have great tips for writers. Check out their 10 Types of Writers' Block (and How to Overcome Them). I've been suffering from 4 and 5 lately, but I'm trying to push through it.

Speaking of Sleepy Hollow - if you're able to follow my train of thought - I keep trying to convince people to watch this show, but I have a hard time justifying it. The best I can say is that it's a great show to watch with your brain only half working. If you think too hard about it, the whole thing falls apart. All I can say is Romantic Lead Face:

and Headless Horseman with a machine gun:

Anybody else watch this show?

Sunday Short

Four Six Word Stories
After the war, the fighting started.
I saw. I ran. I fell.
"Tastes like chicken," said the cannibal.
Copy, paste. The email was sent.

Indie Life

This is my first Indie Life post. I haven't published anything yet, but I plan on publishing my first novel early next year, so I figured I would join up.

I decided to sign up for the Indie Life blog hop so that I can meet more independent authors, learn from those who have gone before me, learn from the masters. I also hope to find out that indie authors are as neurotic as I am. (If it's anything like IWSG, I'll be in great company).

So, for those of you who might be dropping by for the first time: Hi, my name is Jennifer. I write sci-fi, paranormal, and fantasy. I wish I could say horror, but I don't think I have a keen enough understanding of the depraved human condition for that. I always liked to write, and when I was a kid I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. Then I did grow up and kind of forgot about that. About two years ago, I decided to give it a go and here I am.

I really do write better than my blog posts may suggest.

Ok. I'm off to meet some of you that I haven't met yet.

Just a quick pop up to thank everyone who responded to my call for help during IWSG. You've all helped me to put some things in perspective, and given me several leads and ideas for moving forward.

As always I'll keep you all updated on the progress. Right now I'm researching a couple of different editing options and I hope to have some idea of what my next step will be soon.

Now back to writing. I really haven't been doing what needs to be done lately, and I need to get back on track.

IWSG: A Desperate Plea for Help (and a hyperbolic post title)
I'm stealing this as a badge, cuz it's prettier than the other one.

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! Click the badge for full list of participants.

For today's IWSG, I don't have much to talk about as far as writing goes, but I do want to reach out to the wider IWSG community for help/suggestions/tips.

Background: Last month I announced that I planned to self-publish Weaver. The next day everyone in my department at work was called in to a conference room, and told that we were being laid off effective December 4th. (And then the day after that, they fed us all ice cream. This company...)

I had planned to hire an editor to comb over my novel, and to get a professional cover made. I'd even budgeted a modest amount to cover the cost. But now, with unemployment looming, I've had to rethink my plan of attack.


Anyone have any good tips, resources, and/or suggestions for self editing? Particularly, any really in depth information on grammar? I've spent the bulk of my time working on plot, characters and such structural things, but I've been known to rewrite sentences to avoid having to decide between who and whom. Don't get me started on lay/lie/laid. I know getting a professional editor is the best bet, but with estimates starting at $300 and quickly skyrocketing from there for a proofread - never mind copy or structural edits - I can't commit those kind of funds anymore. I've found some lower priced (much lower priced) editors, but I don't know that I can trust them. So I guess if anyone has worked with a really good, very...flexibly priced editor in the past, I'd appreciate a tip in the comments, or you can email me at

I think I've discovered a way around the cover situation, (Fiverr, Pre-made book covers) but if anyone knows of an artist who does quality custom covers at a low price (how low? however low you think, think lower) please let me know. I don't know how to use Photoshop or GIMP (I've tried), so anything I make myself will be directly posted to Lousy Book Covers.

Thanks in advance to anyone who responds to my plea for help.

(About the whole laid-off-need-to-pay-my-bills thing, don't worry about me. I'll survive. I've been in worse pickles. And besides, maybe now I can find a job that isn't 40 miles away.)

Inspiration Monday

This month is National Novel Writing Month. I will not be participating this month.

I did Camp NaNoWriMo this past July. While I did get about half my story written in that time, I was so worked up over the (self-imposed) goal of 50,000 words that I didn't enjoy the month very much. Unfortunately, the novel was tainted by the experience.

It took a few months, but I finally went back to what I wrote during those frantic few weeks, and found that there was a lot of good there. No ending (as usual for me), but good stuff. So this month I'm going to do UnRaNoWriMo. It's not an official thing, just something that Candilynn Fite came up with for herself and anyone who has declined to participate in the biggest writing event of the year. You know it can get kind of depressing seeing everyone gushing on about their NaNo progress, when you're just sitting there on the sidelines, feeling like you're not accomplishing anything.

UnRaNoWriMo stands for Under the Radar Novel Writing Month, and the purpose is to work on your writing, just not in a big official look-at-me-being-all-productive manner. I'm going to spend the time working on my last WIP, tentatively titled The In Between Place, which really needs to be changed, but I can't think of a better title just right now. I have to admit it's taken me a few days to get back into the feel of the novel, so last night was the first time I'd written anything more than a couple of stilted sentences, but I'm hoping to get back on track here.

Good luck to all you NaNoers out there and all you UnRaNoWriMoers, and everyone who is just taking a break this month.

Book Release: The Bashan Agenda

Today I'm proud to be one of the bloggers helping Melanie Schulz announce the release of her newest book, The Bashan Agenda, the second novel in The Newstead Trilogy:

The Newstead Trilogy is one story in three parts. The Bashan Agenda, Part Two, picks up right where The Newstead Project left off.

Nathan's truck eventually stops in the small town of Wilson, NY, and Rachel's still in it, not that she wants to be. But she figures at least in Wilson she'll be able to have a fresh start. She forgot one thing: they can be anywhere.

As Joel trains with his father, doubts begin to rise in his mind. Is he really who he claims to be - and more importantly does he have an agenda all his own? When the maps to Bashan come out, Joel realizes maybe it's not such a good idea to be putting so much trust in one man.

The Bashan Agenda is available on Amazon Kindle.

You can find Melanie on:
Her blog

Check Melanie and The Bashan Agenda out.