Posted in Uncategorized

Inside Out and the Importance of Story

Miscellany by O

When I went to see Inside Out with my husband about a month and a half ago, I didn’t really know what to expect. I’d watched the trailers, so I understood the basic premise, but the plot eluded me. This was a movie…about feelings? I didn’t get it. But Disney Pixar has never let me down, so I entered the movie theater expecting great things. And I was not disappointed.

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I waited so long to bring this movie up here because I wanted to make sure I actually liked it. All too often, I’ve been swept away by the latest animated hit, only to find myself feeling ambivalent about it weeks later once the hype died down. Usually in those cases, I didn’t actually love the movie itself, but rather the stunning artwork or the fantastic music. Both of those are essential components to any film, especially those that are…

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Posted in 5 Stars, Book Review

Review: Soulless Creatures by Katharine Grubb

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Genre: Teen & Young Adult, Coming of Age, Comedy
Publisher: Plume of Doom Publishing
Publication Date: August 15, 2015
Formats available: Paperback, Kindle

Summary:

Working-class future leader Roy Castleberry and pampered over-thinker Jonathan Campbell are 18-year-old freshmen at the University of Oklahoma who think they know everything. Roy thinks Jonathan could succeed in wooing Abby if he stopped obsessing over Walden. Jonathan thinks Roy could learn to be self-actualized if he’d stop flirting with every girl he meets. They make a wager: if Roy can prove that he has some poetic thought, some inner life, A SOUL, then Jonathan will give him the car he got for graduation. Roy takes the bet because he thinks this is the easiest game he’s ever played, and he spends the rest of the school year proving the existence of his soul, competing against Jonathan for Abby’s attention, dodging RA’s who are curious about the fake ID ring in his room, and dealing with his past. For Roy and Jonathan, college life in 1986 is richer, both experientially and financially, than either of them expected.

My Rating: 📚 📚 📚 📚 📚

When I agreed to read Soulless Creatures, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew the story was set in Oklahoma in the eighties, both of which are foreign to me, so I was a little nervous. What if I didn’t like it? But I had faith in Ms. Grubb. Her first novel, Falling For Your Madness, captivated me with a few simple pages. It’s no surprise, then, that Soulless Creatures did the same.

I have never in my life laughed out loud so much while reading a book! My husband kept asking me what I was looking at, thinking I must have found a funny picture or video. This book is absolutely hilarious, but it isn’t straight comedy. Prepare yourself for romance, introspection, and intrigue.

Three things about the composition of Soulless Creatures particularly impressed me. First, Ms. Grubb manages to immerse the reader in the culture of a very specific time and place without being heavy handed. Second, she ties up all loose ends at the story’s conclusion, which might not sound like much now, but trust me – with a story this complicated, that is an art form! Third: count the animal references. You’ll see why. 🙂

I absolutely recommend this book without reservations.

**I am acquainted by this author through social media and received a free copy in exchange for an honest review**

Click here for my interview with Katharine Grubb.

Posted in 5 Stars, Blog Tour

The MORE Trilogy by T.M. Franklin – Release Blitz!

Release Blitz

For the first time, T.M. Franklin’s action-packed MORE

Trilogy is available as ONE combined volume. And for a limited time, you can grab ALL

THREE books for only $.99!

MORE Trilogy Sale

Summary

Ava

Michaels used to think she was special.

As a child, she fantasized about having magical

powers . . . making things happen. But Ava grew up and eventually accepted the fact that

her childish dreams were just that, and maybe a normal life wasn’t so bad after

all.

Now a young college student, Ava meets Caleb

Foster, a brilliant and mysterious man who’s supposed to help her pass physics, but in

reality has another mission in mind. What he shows Ava challenges her view of the

world, shaking it to its very core.

Because Caleb isn’t quite what he seems. In fact,

he’s not entirely human, and he’s not the only one.

Together, the duo faces a threat from an ancient

race bound to protect humans, but only after protecting their own secrets–secrets they

fear Ava may expose. Fighting to survive, Ava soon learns she’s not actually normal . . .

she’s not even just special.

She’s a little bit more.

The Complete Young Adult Fantasy Adventure – For One

Low Price!

Buy It

Available in all eBook formats and

paperback.

Note: Sale is not on all platforms – check

prices before you order!

Amazon | Amazon UK | Amazon

Canada | Amazon Australia | TWCS

| Kobo | iTunes | Barnes &

Noble

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The Author

T.M. FranklinT.M.

Franklin writes stories of adventure, romance, & a little magic. A former

TV news producer, she decided making stuff up was more fun than reporting the facts.

Her first published novel, MORE, was born during National Novel Writing month, a

challenge to write a novel in thirty days. MORE was well-received, being selected as a

finalist in the 2013 Kindle Book Review Best Indie Book Awards, as well as winning the

Suspense/Thriller division of the Blogger Book Fair Reader’s Choice Awards. She’s since

written three additional novels and several best-selling short stories…and there’s always

more on the way.

Connect with T.M. Franklin

Web Site | Facebook |

Twitter | Pinterest | Amazon | Google+ | Goodreads

 

Trilogy Sale

Posted in 5 Stars, Interview

Interview with Author Katharine Grubb!

I had the great pleasure of receiving an ARC of Katharine Grubb’s upcoming release, Soulless Creatures. Let me just tell you, I absolutely loved it! A full-length review is cooking up even as I type. While it’s finishing up, I thought I would share some more information about this fantastic author. Below you’ll find information about her and all three of her books before you arrive at the main attraction: an interview she graciously allowed me to conduct! You won’t want to miss this!

The Books

51fsy4dp1oL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Falling For Your Madness

Eccentric literature professor David approaches Laura for an unconventional, intentional, rule-filled courtship filled with poetry, flowers and bottom-less cups of tea. Laura is smitten by his humor, charm and British accent. Dating David is challenging, convicting and sometimes frustrating. There is a reason why David is bound by the laws of chivalry, both body and soul and when Laura discovers what it is, she must decide. Is David worth it? Or is he completely mad? Falling For Your Madness is a romantic comedy about ladies, gentlemen, and the power of words.

Published: November 17, 2012

Click here to purchase!

51L07NjJixL__SX321_BO1,204,203,200_Write a Novel in Ten Minutes a Day

Would you like to write but have no spare time?

The Ten-Minute Novel will help you sculpt a full-length piece of creative writing in just ten minutes a day. Starting with a daily practical exercise, it will help you manage your writing schedule within this time frame and help you bring your novel to life. You will be able to clarify your vision and review your time commitments, as well as understand your own abilities. Learning to observe the world around you, write quickly and tap into your unique voice will help you to create all the elements of your story and, by the time you’ve finished all the exercises, you’ll have created something beautiful.
Published: September 29, 2015
Click here to preorder!

51C+ZA3L1NL__SX319_BO1,204,203,200_Soulless Creatures

Working-class future leader Roy Castleberry and pampered over-thinker Jonathan Campbell are 18-year-old freshmen at the University of Oklahoma who think they know everything. Roy thinks Jonathan could succeed in wooing Abby if he stopped obsessing over Walden. Jonathan thinks Roy could learn to be self-actualized if he’d stop flirting with every girl he meets. They make a wager: if Roy can prove that he has some poetic thought, some inner life, A SOUL, then Jonathan will give him the car he got for graduation. Roy takes the bet because he thinks this is the easiest game he’s ever played. Roy spends the rest of the school year proving the existence of his soul, competing against Jonathan for Abby’s attention, dodging RAs who are curious about the fake ID ring in his room and dealing with his past. For Roy and Jonathan, college life in 1986 is richer, (both experientially and financially) than either of them expected.

Click here to preorder!

The Author

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Katharine Grubb was born in northeastern Oklahoma. She was raised in the Tulsa suburbs, attended the University of Oklahoma, taught school, wrote stories and then shocked everyone by moving to Boston, Massachusetts to be with a man she had been e-mailing for nine months. She married that man, and with him had five boisterous children. Nowadays, she still lives in Massachusetts, homeschools her children, bakes bread, does a ridiculous amounts of laundry and sets her timer to write stories in ten minute increments. She believes in this so much she created a Facebook group for it (10 Minute Novelists) and she runs a website for the group: http://www.10minutenovelists.com. Her favorite type of books to read and write are quirky, imaginative tales of romance, faith and humor.

The Interview

First thing’s first: are you a plotter or a pantser?

Both. The pantsing is a critical part of the gold mining. But I would be stupid to stop there. I often stop and organize my thought, make incomplete outlines of what should happen next or what points need to be revealed in a chapter. If I didn’t have the brain spew that comes out of pantsing, then I wouldn’t have the raw material to create the outline.

What does your writing process look like?

My writing process is a big mess. I’ve found that no two stories come together the same way. I’ve also found that if you start out with an idea and say, “All I have to do is ABC and I’ll get my novel,” it doesn’t always work. (Even though I say almost the opposite in my writing book. Shh. Don’t tell.)

I do know that pantsing an idea or an impression or a characterization or an exchange of dialogue can produce GOLD! I think I wrote over 120K on Soulless Creatures before I realized it was about Jonathan proving that Roy had a soul. Once I saw that, everything changed.

How important are names to you? Do you choose character names based on meaning or sound, or do you choose names you like?

Names are important, but not in the way that you’d think. Often I just pull a name out of my head as a placeholder until I come up with something better. I don’t like symbols to be too obvious, with the exception of David Arthur Julius Bowles. If anything, I want something to sound right. If you hear the name Roy Castleberry, it sounds like he could be from a small town in Oklahoma. The short answer is, I lean toward the names I like but I play around with them until they’re perfect.

What was your inspiration for this particular story, Soulless Creatures?

I think it took me well over a year to connect all the pieces for this story. I often start with One Obnoxious Man. In this case it was Roy. I think about what kind of man he would be and why I would like to hang out with him. I play games like Roy does and I wanted to incorporate that into his character, but he had to have an organic place to play a lot of games, like a college campus. When I read Walden back in high school, I thought that to have a modern student follow in Thoreau’s footsteps would be fun, so that was Jonathan’s basis. Then I wrote what I knew: the University of Oklahoma in the ’80s. Abby was the last piece of the puzzle, and the most challenging storyline to write. I write better men than women, don’t know why exactly.

I think I played around with these characters for months before it all came together. At one point, the story was going to be a 20 year long saga about how they had grown up. I’m glad I cut it.

What’s in the works now?

I’m in the fuzzy beginning phase of a story, where I have these shiny beads and I don’t know how to string them together. I’d love to write a novel that takes place in Central Massachusetts (where I now live) and I think I’d like to have senior citizens be my focus (as opposed to college students), and I think I want a mystery, and if I could figure out a basic story, I’d like to do some crazy stuff with structure. This is not a fun place to be. I like it better when I know where I’m going.

But as for non-fiction, I have plans to write more books for writers. I’m beginning the research on good marketing. I’d love to write a practical book that explains why we should be generous and rethink our position on sales. I’m only going to write if the research backs me up and I can make it a practical, helpful kind of book.

Do you read your reviews? If so, do you respond to them, good or bad, and do you have advice on how to deal with the bad?

I DO read my reviews, but only the 4 and 5 star ones. If I see that I have a 1 or 2 star one (and I DO have them), I’ve just decided that it’s not worth ruining my day over. I don’t know if you know this, but I’m a sensitive type, and sometimes I tear up a little. It’s better for everyone around me if I just ignore the bad reviews. I know I’ve done my best and the majority of my readers love my books, and that’s all that matters. My advice to writers who can’t handle bad reviews? SIUB! That stands for SUCK IT UP, BUTTERCUP! Do not respond. Do not let it bother you. Move on.

*****

Be on the lookout for my review of Soulless Creatures in the next few days, and pick up a copy of your own on August 15. You won’t regret it!

Posted in 5 Stars, Book Review

Review: The Heartbreakers by Ali Novak

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Genre: Young Adult Romance
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: August 4, 2015
Formats availablePaperbackKindle

Summary:

“When I met Oliver Perry, I had no clue he was the lead singer for The Heartbreakers. And he had no idea that I was the only girl in the world who hated his music.”

Stella will do anything for her sick sister, Cara―even stand in line for an autographed Heartbreakers CD…for four hours. She’s totally winning best birthday gift this year. At least she met a cute boy with soft brown hair and gorgeous blue eyes while getting her caffeine fix. Too bad she’ll never see him again.

Except, Stella’s life has suddenly turned into a cheesy love song. Because Starbucks Boy is Oliver Perry – lead singer for the Heartbreakers. And even after she calls his music crap, Oliver still gives Stella his phone number. And whispers quotes from her favorite Disney movie in her ear. OMG, what is her life?

But how can Stella even think about being with Oliver ― dating and laughing and pulling pranks with the band ― when her sister could be dying of cancer?

MY RATING: 📚 📚 📚 📚 📚

They say to never judge a book by its cover, but I have a secret: I almost always do. I picked up The Heartbreakers because of the cute cover. That’s a method that has failed me several times in the past, but I’m pleased to say this was not one of them. This cute, quirky romance exceeded all my expectations and left me wanting more. I hope there is a sequel, and soon.

The story doesn’t just focus on the romantic tension between Stella and Oliver, instead giving equal if not greater attention to growing up, discovering personal passion, and the importance of family. All of the characters, even the minor ones, were very well developed, and I soon found myself attached to all of them. The dialogue was witty and realistic, the narrative introspective and charming. Ms. Novak earned one more fan tonight.

I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.