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Challenging Myself To Write A Book Review

June 12, 2021 by in category The Writing Journey by Denise Colby tagged as ,

I have found writing book reviews a little intimidating. Even though I know as a expectant published author they are important and help with book sales. I’m not one to share my opinion on something unless asked. And I tend to stress over the words I choose for explaining what I mean.  I mean, what if what I say misses the mark? Or offends someone? And I’m not as eloquent as someone else. Have you read some great reviews on a story and wish you could phrase things like that?

Yet, a book review is just that.

An opinion.

And someone might be interested to hear about it from my point of vew.

I have to remember that.

And then when I decided I would try, my kindle only lets me select a star count, not write words, so I’d have to go downstairs to my computer, log-in and find the purchase and write the review. It makes an already reluctant book review writer want to scream.

Yet, don’t I read reviews when making purchases to see if it’s something that fits my interests? I need to at least try.

So now I have a notebook on my ottomon so that when I finish a story I can practice writing a review. 

Writing a Book Review

I recently took the time to type up one of them and post it. 

I also see that sometimes people review books in blog posts, and that’s a new challenge for me.

So, in the essence of practice, I wanted to post a review in a blog post as well.

Here I go;

Sing in the Sunlight by Kathleen Denly Cover for writing a book review

Sing in the Sunlight by Kathleen Denly

This is book 2 in her Chaparral Hearts series, published by Wild Heart Books (and yes I’ve read book 1 and looking forward to book #3). The historical setting is in California, mostly in the San Diego area.

Sing in the Sunlight by Kathleen Denly is a special story of love, kindness, & patience.

I loved the characters, their interactions with each other, and the way God’s words were woven throughout the story naturally. 

The historical context was rich with details and I felt right there in the story. 

The struggles of doubt and longing and the lies we believe were very easy to identify with. 

It’s amazing what can happen when one continuously seeks God’s wisdom and stays on the path of doing what’s right. I want to be a better person after reading this. 

I wanted to disclose that I received a free copy from the author but was not required to review it. I enjoyed it so much that I wanted to share.

It’s not a large review, but it came from the heart. Maybe I will get more comfortable with this and learn to expand a bit more. 

Are you comfortable writing book reviews? For those more experienced, any words of wisdom?


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To Deadline Hell and Back or How I’m coping finishing my next Occupied Paris novel by Jina Bacarr

June 11, 2021 by in category Jina’s Book Chat, Writing tagged as , , , ,

I had every intention of writing a lovely post this month about all the cool stuff going on with my WW 2 Occupied Paris novel, The Resistance Girl. Honest I did.

Then the research on my next book shot the pants off that idea.

My deadline is right around the corner.

My book is written… mostly. Some bugs to work out. Re-read, check it over… you know the drill.

The research is overwhelming… so much so, I’ve got to cut this shorter than I like. I’m writing another book about Occupied Paris, but this time my heroine finds herself in a concentration camp. Two of them actually… emotionally, I’m drained. Mentally I’m exhausted.

My heart… broken.

I will never, never be able to understand why it happened, the horror, injustice, humiliation done to the victims of the Holocaust. But I’m determined to tell a story about a brave young woman who had a baby in a camp… and she survived. But she never knew what happened to her baby… until years later.

I’ve watched a million survivor videos… read so many books about the Holocaust… checked and double checked the timelines of the camps and what happened there down to what they ate, where the railroad tracks ended at camp, the blocks or barracks map… and I still have questions. I want to make it right.

No, I’ve got to make it right.

I owe to the those who died and those who survived.

So forgive me if I’m emotional this month.

Because.

We must never forget…

——————-

You can listen to The Resistance Girl on Spotify

Or search for Jina Bacarr and my ‘artiste’ page will pop up.

Amazon Links:

US https://amzn.to/3woj1Am

UK https://amzn.to/3bU18Qv

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TMI? I Don’t Think So by Kitty Bucholtz

June 9, 2021 by in category It's Worth It by Kitty Bucholtz, Writing tagged as , , , , ,

I’m always teasing my husband that I’d be Dr. Kitty at least once by now if I could go to school as much as I want…which is almost always. Hahaha! I love learning! I know the Internet is full of information — too much information to not get sucked into procrastination mode if you’re not careful — but focused learning is important. It’s good for your brain, and it’s good for your career.

There have been so many great topics on my podcast in the last month that I wanted to let you know so you don’t miss something that could be really helpful for you! As much as I’d love for you to subscribe and listen to every episode (!), be careful not to use “learning” as a way not to act, whether it’s writing or editing or submitting or marketing or any of the many other things we writers must do with our time. But in case you missed something that could help you where you’re at right now, here are links on YouTube to the latest episodes. You can also find them on your favorite podcast app or on the Episodes page of my website.

Episode 247 is an interview with agent Cynthia Ruchti, Are You Ready for a Literary Agent?

Episode 248 is from me asking the question, What Will It Take to Finish Your Book?

Episode 249 is a great discussion between me and writing coach, Ann Kroeker, about How to Find the Right Coach.

Episode 250 (woohoo!! 250 episodes!!) is an interview with author Jody Hedlund on Building Book Buzz.

Episode 251 is one of my Encouraging Words episodes, 5 minutes of encouragement to relax and say, This Isn’t Working For Me, when you feel things are going in a direction you’re not comfortable with.

And tomorrow’s episode, #252, will be super interesting in terms of the mind-body connection when I talk with autistic biohacker Jackie McMillan, Are Creativity and Lymphatic Movement Linked?

If you’re interested in learning more about what I do as a writing coach, you can visit the coaching page on my website, https://www.writenowworkshop.com/writingcoach/. Feel free to reach out with any questions. I love to help! And if you’re thinking of self-publishing, download my free Self-Publish Your Book Checklist, a fillable PDF that will help you organize all the information you need in order to self-publish your book.

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Teaser Tuesday: The Disposables by Greg Jolley

June 8, 2021 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Teaser Tuesday tagged as , , ,

The Obscurité de Floride Trilogy, Book 2

Suspense

Date Published: Jun 1, 2021

Publisher: Épouvantail Books, LLC

About the book

In the jungles of coastal Mexico, twelve-year-old Kazu Danser is on the run, his bloody past haunting and attempting to be his ruination. Hot on his heals is journalist Carson Staines, a deadly madman full of blood thirst and greed, determined to first chronicle Kazu’s criminal life – and then end it. Staines must nail him down, dead or alive; the boy being worth a huge payoff.

Making a perilous crossing of the border into the States, Kazu fights for his life, desperately heading east. Entering sunburnt Florida, he teams up with a gang of Floridian street urchins, known to the authorities as, “The disposables.”

With Staines not letting up on the chase, Kazu and the other youths go on the run, fighting for their lives.

Can the Disposables and Kazu survive?

What will they have to do to stop the murderous and resourceful monster mowing through them to get to his reward?

The second part of the book takes place in the shadows of Florida, where street urchins fights every day to survive, both bodily and in spirit. In contrast to the tropical beaches and teeming vacationers, the children will do anything necessary to keep their heads above the perilous deep waters.


Excerpt

Chapter One

Leaving the Hotel Or

In Mexico, there’s plenty of wet work for an innocent-looking boy with a 9mm. For the smart ones, there was a world of new clothes, game systems, and a bedroom door with a lock. For the smartest, there were bank accounts and dreams of living without blood-splattered shoes.

Kazu was on the run, his last job gone ugly, as in kicking-a-mound-of-fire-ants ugly. The twelve-year-old had escaped the Hotel Or with a policia dragnet reaching out to snag his heals.

Sitting forward in the driver’s seat so his boot toes could reach the pedals, he kept the speedometer buried past 140km per hour, racing down Federale 200, running south from Puerto Mita.

He had escaped the resort hotel with nothing more than his backpack and his life, taking advantage of the chaos by driving away at a forced, leisurely pace. In his rearview mirror, he watched a swarm of policia vehicles turn into the hotel road.

When the last policia truck with sweeping lights and siren swung into the hotel grounds, Kazu buried his boot toe on the accelerator.

The two-lane highway began its swaying turns through endless miles of green jungle and forests. Thirty kilometers along, he slowed up and rode in the draft of a six-wheel cargo truck, a gold tuna and ‘Fish de Jo y Maria’ painted on the rear steel door. Knowing he had to ditch the car, he stayed in the queue forming on the highway, a farm truck running behind.

“Run it to empty,” he decided, leaning forward, the steering wheel inches from his chin.

He had paid cash for the stolen and re-plated Buick at the Or Petrol y Restaurante adjacent to the Hotel Or.

“Get distance.” He wiped a skim of sweat from his brow and neck.

Federale 200 continued south for fifty clicks before heading eastward, away from the coast. The lush green jungle walls brushed along both sides, and over time formed tunnels of cooler but dank air of ripe rotting vegetation. He dropped all four windows, the air conditioning having died the week before.

When the fuel needle sank under the E, he drove the grass shoulder, letting the trucks and cars behind him pass. With the stretch of highway to his own, he turned the Buick from the road.

Foliage brushing the roof, the car bounced and jolted downhill. He worked the wheel as trees and rocks cracked the sides, undercarriage, and bumper. Thirty yards in, the car was invisible from the highway.

Kazu climbed out with his backpack shouldered. Hiking halfway back up the hill to a green and shaded clearing, he kneeled in the wet soil, where patchy sunlight had dried out the vegetation.

The heat and stagnant humidity were pushing down on him.

His skin was dank with sweat. Scooping up two handfuls of dirt and dust, he rubbed the front of his black t-shirt. Same with his Pirates baseball cap. He ground dirt and leaves into the front of his black shorts before standing up and looking himself over. The results had transformed him into an everyday, poor Mexican street urchin.

Pulling the cap low to shade his foreign, almond-shaped eyes, he climbed halfway back to the road through the brush and rocks.

“Steal a pair of sunglasses,” he said, looking south, knowing he would come upon a village or city eventually.

Walking in the vegetation often high overhead, he paralleled the highway, standing still with his breath clenched when trucks or local buses went by.

He walked and climbed and crossed streams for the next two long hours. Sticky green vines repeatedly tried to grab and trip him up. The afternoon sun was lowering into the trees when he stopped. The highway sign up on the shoulder told him the town of Colomo was off to the east, and he headed that way.

“Get a ride. Then a Pepsi with lots of ice,” he said, pushing through green clinging limbs and leaves. He was approaching a scatter of small and worn residences. When he came up upon the first few cinder-block houses, he took to the pavement, the heat from the crumbled pavement pressing into each step he took. He entered the first side street, seeing no one about, hearing only a dog barking and a radio blasting Mexican disco a few houses up.

His next ride was parked alongside a station wagon on the dirt patch of a front lawn. The house was still and the windows dark. After drinking from a garden hose, he circled to the passenger side of the Ford pickup resting on its dirt tires. He looked in before opening the door.

The keys were on the dash, the passenger side of the bench seat cluttered with food wrappers on top of newspapers. Before climbing in, he checked out the truck bed. A five-gallon can of petrol was bungee-strapped to the side. He gave it a shake, and it sloshed and felt heavy. Opening the toolbox behind the cab, he swiped a roll of Gorilla tape and from the clutter in the bed grabbed two cuttings from a fence post among the other scraps of wood and aluminum.

With blocks taped to the two pedals, he turned the key and dropped the transmission into reverse. A half-hour later, he was a good distance away, up Highway 54, heading north and east.

Icons and beads swung back and forth from the mirror. Mary Magdalena was glued to the dash. She had a bubble compass embedded in her belly.

“Mary, right? Nice having someone to talk to,” he said, trying the windshield fluid knob.

It was empty.

Digging through the glove box, he pushed aside papers and food wrappers, coming up with a cashew tin full of green tobacco and some tissue papers. There was nothing to eat. He took out a sun-bleached folded map.

The miles rolled by, the road taking him through the outskirts of Guadalajara. The sun was low in the western sky when he passed through Zacatecas, where he braved a sleepy gas station to fill the tank, using forty of his one hundred ten dollars of cash. The soda icebox inside the station didn’t have Pepsi, so he bought two chilled bottles of strawberry Jarritos and two bags of chips.

“Help me find a place to hide?” he asked Mary on the dash. “Somewhere with cell service and a shower?”

The bubble compass in her mid-section appeared to bob and nod encouragement.

Four hours later, he pulled off the road on the north side of Saltillo. A dusty driveway ran to a simple row motel. A large and tired man sat behind a desk in a bowling shirt, television running to his left, radio playing to the right. Before saying a word, Kazu took out fifty US dollars from his backpack and laid it out.

“Una habitación para uno, por favor,” < A room for one, please> Kazu said.

The man didn’t even pause in renting a room to a short twelve-year-old boy. The entire fifty dollars was exchanged for a room key. Minutes later, Kazu parked the truck behind the motel instead of the parking lot and entered room six.

After locking and chaining the door, he got out of his black boots, stripped off his clothing, and took a long cold shower. He left the room one time to go out to the truck to pry the Mary Magdalena compass off the dash. After a dinner of chips and the second bottle of strawberry soda, he opened his backpack on the bed. Digging through his few belongings, he took out his old and battered gray Nokia flip phone.

He placed a single call to his former employer. Hitting voicemail as expected, he left a message.

“Lamento tu mala suerte en el Hotel. Necesito un trabajo. Cerca de la frontera.” < Sorry about your bad luck at the hotel. I need a job. Near the border.> After a second cool-down shower, he took out pens, pencils, and pastels and his current image-novel. With his pad of hard bond drawing paper leaning on his raised knees, he drew and shaded until his eyes began to close involuntarily and his chin bobbed on his chest.

Waking an hour before dawn as usual, he pulled on his clothes and took a third shower since arriving, rubbing out the dirt stains. Checking his Nokia, he saw he had no new messages.

With his backpack on his shoulder, he walked up the street to a market.

In the parking lot of the local Supermercado , a combination hardware and grocery store, he watched a thin and very short man push a shopping bag into the rear basket on the back of a motorbike. As the man started the bike, Kazu studied each movement of his hands and shoes on the throttle, clutch, and gears. The man toed the shifter into second gear as he sped away up the road.

Finding shade under a dusty tree, Kazu sat and waited. An hour passed before he saw what he needed. A man rolled in on a seriously old Honda 90 trail bike, once red and white, then different hues of oil stains and dirt. The rider got off, leaving the keys, and did a cowboy walk into the market. A dust devil also spun into the parking lot, a brown whirlwind crossing right to left. Corralled by the gap between two farm trucks, it spiraled slowly to death.

Kazu stood and crossed to the spinning residue, not bothering to wipe the dust from his dirty face, eyes on the key.

After scanning the cars and trucks and the store’s doorway, he climbed onto a dirt bike for the very first time. Minutes later, he was running up the highway in the slow lane, the wind cooling his skin even as the sun blasted down.


About the Author

Greg Jolley earned a Master of Arts in Writing from the University of San Francisco and lives in the very small town of Ormond Beach, Florida. When not writing, he researches historical crime, primarily those of the 1800s. Or goes surfing.

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Other Books by Greg Jolley

THE COLLECTORS

Buy now!
THE COLLECTORS
THIEVES: Book One of the Obscurité de Floride Trilogy

THE DISPOSABLES

Buy now!
THE DISPOSABLES

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Jina Bacarr June Featured Author

June 7, 2021 by in category Apples & Oranges by Marianne H. Donley, Featured Author of the Month tagged as , , , ,

About Jina Bacarr

Jina Bacarr | A Slice of Orange

I discovered early on that I inherited the gift of the gab from my large Irish family when I penned a story about a princess who ran away to Paris with her pet turtle Lulu. I was twelve. I grew up listening to their wild, outlandish tales and it was those early years of storytelling that led to my love of history and traveling. I enjoy writing to classical music with a hot cup of java by my side. I adore dark chocolate truffles, vintage anything, the smell of bread baking and rainy days in museums. I’ve always loved walking through history—from Pompeii to Verdun to Old Paris. The voices of the past speak to me through carriages with cracked leather seats, stiff ivory-colored crinolines, and worn satin slippers. I’ve always wondered what it was like to walk in those slippers when they were new.

You can follow Jina on social media:

Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
Pinterest
Goodreads
Bookbub

Jina also has a column here on the 11th of every month: Jina’s Book Chat.

A Few of Jina’s Books

A NAUGHTY CHRISTMAS CAROL

Buy now!
A NAUGHTY CHRISTMAS CAROL

A SOLDIER’S ITALIAN CHRISTMAS

Buy now!
A SOLDIER’S ITALIAN CHRISTMAS

CHRISTMAS ONCE AGAIN

Buy now!
CHRISTMAS ONCE AGAIN

COME FLY WITH ME

Buy now!
COME FLY WITH ME

LOVE ME FOREVER

Buy now!
LOVE ME FOREVER

RESISTANCE GIRL

Buy now!
RESISTANCE GIRL

THE RUNAWAY GIRL

Buy now!
THE RUNAWAY GIRL

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