Weekly Update: May 14 through May 20

Another week has passed, and I really didn’t do a good job staying on track with my writing.  I wrote.  A lot.  Just not on anything that I would call “creative.”  I did a lot of journal writing this week, getting my ideas down on paper and organizing what I needed to do to accomplish each of them in a timely manner.  My biggest issue is that I have a lot of ideas, but I tend to flit from idea to idea without ever finishing any of them unless I have a structured plan to work from.  That is what I have been doing this week.

I will be returning to Pangaea this week, planning out the seasons and the episodes within the seasons.  I will also be finishing up the edits on “Trenches” because I did not quite finish working through those.

I’m not planning a lot for this week because I am nursing a kitten back to good health, so most of my attention will be on him.

What do you have planned for your week?

Book Review: Left Alive #1

Left Alive #1 by Jeremy Laszlo

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

First off, this book is one that is a bit outside my preferred reading. Not because of genre–I simply don’t usually read books that are written in the first person point-of-view. When I do read books written in this point-of-view, they have to be tightly written or I find myself putting them down. This one was not as tightly written as I prefer, but I did push through it simply because I’m a writer, too, and I would like to think that people will give my books the same consideration.

A few things I noticed that really made the book seem hum-drum to me was that it really needed a good, thorough editing by someone who does that type of thing for a living. In the first 38% of the book (I read it on the Kindle), the main character essentially thought the same cluster of input about his wife and two daughters about every other paragraph. I almost put the book down, and I’ll be honest, I did close it out on my Kindle and go read some short stories to give myself a break from it.

The other major issue I noticed is that all the trees and plants are dead. With all those people breathing, the world would be full of carbon dioxide pretty quickly without our natural carbon dioxide scrubbers going through photosynthesis. I’m assuming that some survived somewhere, but it would not be enough to sustain an entire planet of people, and there still seem to be a lot of people.

It had great potential for an excellent dystopian novel, and I do believe that if Laszlo had gone through a few more edits, it could have been a 5-star novel. It just needed a bit more polish.


Weekly Update: April 30 through May 6

It has been another productive week here.  I have been steadily plodding along with the Pangaea serial series.  Since my story starts out in the present day and then the group gets stranded in another time, it has taken me a while to figure out what present-day items each of them have on them and to determine how many of them actually survived the crash.  This week, I will be working through who these people are so that I can determine how they are going to handle this situation that they have been thrust into.  Are they going to be tough and resourceful, are they going to be in denial, are they going to go into a suicidal depression?  Once I figure that out for each survivor, I will start to set up the stories.  I am having a blast with this series, though, so I hope that once I get it all written, edited, and out for the world to see that you enjoy it.

Another task I have been working on this week is way to bring all of my prompt collections back together into one series.  And I have changed the way that I am offering that series.  I will be offering monthly installments of prompts for those who like to follow along throughout the year, and for those that just want the prompts for referencing when a little nudge is needed to get writing, I will be offering all the months in one book at the end of the year.  That will give me more time to get the prompts together.  I will also be offering the monthly installments in digital format and in a spiral-bound workbook format, and the full year’s worth will be offered in digital, paperback, hardback, and a spiral-bound workbook set.  I’m still working out the particulars on the non-digital formats, so that may still change or it may take a bit more time to get a particular format out for you to use.

This week, I will be plowing through my character interviews for Pangaea.  The entire week is dedicated to this because there are so many of them.  And when I need a break, I will be lining up my short stories to begin editing them next week, and I will be working on the workbook edition for the 2017 edition of The Daily Prompt.

What do you have planned for this week?

Book Review: After the Ending

After The Ending by Lindsey Fairleigh

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

For the story and it’s concept, this was a good read. Everyone is hit with a killer virus, and for those that survive, it left you a little present–it mutated you. I could get behind that. It was plausible and definitely possible because every virus and bacteria reacts to the human body differently.

What I could not get behind is that even after “The Ending,” there was still power and internet for a really, really long time. Seriously? The virus struck fast, but it did not strike that fast. All of that stuff would have been shut down for public safety reasons long before everyone died out.

And really, it just bugged the crap out of me that Dani’s love of her life is dead in the next room, and yeh, by this point, she should realize that calling an ambulance is not going to do anything for him and he would likely be sitting there for a really long time, but that’s as far as her concern truly goes. She gets a drink of water and parks her behind on the couch to email her best friend. Wait! What? The entire book is like this. They all seem so detached from what is going on around them that I could not get attached to what was happening.

Not once did I really feel scared for the characters because I knew that as soon as it was all over, they were either going to go have sex with the horndog brother of their best friend, or they were going to sit down and text each other all about it. It happened, I was there. I did not need to read a texted recap of it.

Book Review: Pawn

Pawn by Ernie Lindsey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I pulled this book off the free book list a couple of months ago, I was a bit iffy about it. It looked interesting, and I love Dystopian-style novels, but it also had an alternative fiction sound to it, and I’ve never really been able to get into that, but I tried it anyway. It was a very good read.

It takes place in the distant future in the area that is made up of Southern Virginia and, I think, the north-eastern pocket of North Carolina. I know what Warrenville used to be, but the geography was a bit hard to determine. A larger sect of one of the governments is invading this governmental group to capture “workers” to run their factories and harvest their fields.

There is a small group of people known as the Kinders that seem to be a scientific experiment that turned on their own government. It never fully explains what they are because the only information Caroline (the young narrator) has is all handed down through oral history, and it’s been distorted over the years. They are super-humans, and Caroline and her buddy, Finn, turn out to be the only two left. They have had no true training in their powers, and Caroline is not even supposed to come into her powers until her fifteenth birthday.

Two major things about this story really bother me, and both seem to be “coincidental bits of luck” that seemed to only happen because the story could not have unfolded like it did if they did not happen. However, it did not make sense that it unfolded that way.

Number one: Yes, Caroline is a great scout, and she seems to be very well-trained in surviving, but she is fourteen years old. Why would a grown man and his band of outlaws follow a 14-year-old girl who at the time is not showing that there is anything special about her?

Number two: She had been struggling with her powers the entire novella. She could not make them work when she needed them to. She does not even know what all of her powers are because Finn says that every Kinder’s powers are different. It just bugged me that in that dire moment at the end of the novella, that her powers suddenly came to their full strength (before her birthday, mind you) and that she was able to control all of them, even the ones she had never exhibited before this moment. For me, it was “convenient” and mostly unbelievable. Now, I know that there are sequels to this story, so her getting killed because one of her powers failed or because she overestimated herself was not an option, but she could have gotten hurt. That would have made it more believable for me.

All in all, though, it was a good read. I will definitely be keeping a look out for the next one.

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