December 2014 – Page 2 – Andy Peloquin

Andy Peloquin

I am an artist – words are my palette

Month: December 2014 (Page 2 of 2)

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Book Review: Mending the Heartbreak by Stephanie Comalander

It’s Book Review Wednesday–coming to you on Friday (hehe).

Today, a paranormal romance novel written by one Stephanie Comalander:

Mending the Heartbreak

Adeline Bruce is a small town girl with dreams that will take her to exotic foreign lands in search of human history and artifacts. She embarks on a journey to Scotland where she learns more of her heritage as a descendent of Robert the Bruce as well as an opportunity to study with world-famous archeologist Dr. Matthew MacStone.

Hadrian Balliol is a mysterious native Scotsman who has a destiny to fulfill. A member of the House of Balliol, he seeks out certain artifacts that will unify Scotland and make his home country finally free from English rule.

Join Hadrian and Adeline as their destinies intertwine on a journey of love, lust, danger, and mystery along the shores of Scotland.

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My Review–3 Stars

This is the first book in a multiple-part series, published just a few months ago.

From the moment I opened the book, I found a lot of spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes–the sort commonly found in self-published works. There were a few mix-ups with the Scottish brogue used in the book (for example, using “ken” as “can” rather than as “know”), which stood out to me very clearly.

The chapters seemed to stop at some odd places, and the closing sentences were sometimes odd as well. (Example: “Still, he was a sweet, old man who reminded her of her favorite uncle, Randall who died in Desert Storm when she was younger.” — end of Chapter 2)

Some of the expressions didn’t make sense to me, and there were sentences like “gazed upon her countenance softly” or “cloaked her in his warm embrace” that irked me no end. It is definitely a book written for women by a woman!

I found a bit too “Disney” for my tastes, and not always in the good way. It was almost like Beauty and the Beast set in Scotland, and the character was a sort of wishy-washy female–at one point, she even faints with all the bad news. The character reminded me way too much of the horrible female character Anastasia Steele from “50 Shades of Grey”, which was surprising given how many strong female leads there are in fiction today.

The book ABSOLUTELY failed the Bechdel test, and it has a very “fairy tale” feel to it.

That being said, once I mentioned all of this to the author, she mentioned something that TOTALLY changed my opinion of it. Of course I can’t spoil the book for you, but when the book is re-published in early 2015, the chapters she will add to the end will definitely change the rating of the book. The (soon to be added) ending will give you a reason why everything was written the way it was.

But as it stands, I have to give the book a 3-star rating. With a professional editor going over it and catching the mistakes, it could be an enjoyable read!

 

Book Excerpt:

“The fire died out.  Nothing but embers burned in the cold scottish read on hours as a frigid air drifted through the room from beneath the doors and through the thin window panes.  The chill settled across the land like a deep, dense fog blanketing all of Scotland.  Winter’s chill was upon the land.  Darkness was still draped across the sky, but colors announcing the rising sun were beginning to paint the sky.  Adeline bolted upright in her bed, awakening from a deep slumber.  She had a nightmare. 

Someone, or something, was chasing her.  As she sat in her bed, she could feel her heart race. She struggled to control the pace of her breathing.  Still, she felt the terror of her nightmare as if she were still being pursued by some manner of beast or demon. 

Just then, she heard pounding on her bedroom door.”

 

 

About the Author

Stephanie Comalander, also publishing under S.C Hutchinson and S.C Randelle, has lived in Baldwin County, Alabama all of her life with the exception of a short time spent in the United States Army which a training injury caused her to join the civilian world again.  She currently resides in Silverhill, Alabama with her family.
While sitting at the kitchen table, a conversation between two old friends was taking place.  The discussion was about writing stories.  As the subject unfolded, one friend learned something about the other that no one had really known—she loved to write and had a penchant for telling a story.  No longer would he let his friend sit idly by letting talents long ago laid to rest die out with time.  He urged her to tell her stories.  She attempted to argue, citing the fear of rejection was too great, but he would not have it.  A negative response would not be accepted.
Thus, Stephanie Comalander joined the ranks of many others in seeking to fulfill the love of writing and dreams once believed to be nothing more than a child’s hopeful heart.  As she put pen to paper, ‘The Highland Stones Trilogy’ was born.  ‘Mending the Heartbreak’ was first to arrive being published originally in July of 2014 and later re-released in August followed by ‘House of Bruce’ in September.  Soon, the final installment titled ‘Heart of the Stones’ will be born in winter of 2015.

She will also soon have the first book of her juvenile fiction series released by Page Publishing titled ‘Into the Darkness from the Light’.

Where to Find Her:

Facebook:  www.facebook.com/stephcom8133

Twitter:       @stephcom8133

Youtube:     www.youtube.com/stephcom8133

Her Website:    http://stephaniecomalande.wix.com/stephanie-comalander

LinkedIn:    www.linkedin.com/in/stephcom8133

Goodreads:  www.goodreads.com/stephcom8133

And the story itself: http://www.amazon.com/Mending-Heartbreak-Highland-Stones-Book-ebook/dp/B00N4GKZHU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1410268559&sr=8-1&keywords=mending+the+heartbreak

 

 

 

Welcome to the Cover Reveal for The Charm by Jojo Debrazza

Here’s a new book I’ve been asked to help launch. I haven’t read it yet, but it sounds quite interesting.

 

About The Charm:

Extraordinary powers come with a price.

Fifteen year old Luca has the charm, a gift he inherited from his mum. Charmers can control minds, but they abide by a code—to only use the power for good, and only with the person’s permission. Luca knows breaking the code is wrong, and his mum would kill him if he tried!

But when a rogue charmer uses the power for criminal means, the Restorative government jumps in. Luca’s mum is imprisoned and the Register for Charmers is announced. The media creates a frenzy of fear and suspicion against charmers.

Believing the family is in peril, and wishing to keep Luca’s gift a secret, Luca’s dad takes them to stay with a friend in the country. Here, Luca meets Fee, a computer genius who can hack into anything. Fee introduces Luca to an underground rebellion group of internet hackers who have their own issues with the Restoratives and their own way of protesting.

Fearful of how the Restoratives are treating his mum in prison and concerned about their motives for creating the Register of Charmers, Luca must make an impossible choice—break the rules and use his gift or stand by and watch as the power is abused. 

 

Are you ready for the cover?

The Charm cover

Book Details:

 Title: The Charm

 Author Name: Jojo Debrazza

ISBN-13: 978-1-68009-066-6

Price: $2.99

Genre: Young Adult, YA Dystopian, Urban Fantasy

Keywords/Search tags: control minds, mind power, internet hackers

Hashtags: #TheCharm

Publisher:  Musa Publishing, LLC  http://www.musapublishing.com/

 

About the Author:

Jojo Debrazza is a writer of young adult and children’s fiction. The Charm is her debut YA novella. 

 Jojo Debrazza

Jojo has a vivid imagination and likes to make up stories. Her friends call it lying but she calls it writing. She lives mainly in a dream world with her partner and a house full of small furry animals. It’s a carefree happy place where everything is bright and fluffy.

Jojo’s other passion is football (soccer). As well as playing and helping to run a club she works as a football development officer in Cambridgeshire, England.

 

Find Jojo on Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/jojodebrazza

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Writing Mistakes: Being Anti-Social

One of the biggest mistakes writers make is spending all of their time in their little bubble.

As a writer, I love it when there is nothing of the outside world to distract me from writing a great story. I put on my headphones, sip my cup of coffee, sign out from my email/social media accounts, and just dive right into my world of writing. It’s a joyous escape that serves as the outlet for my creativity.

But as a writer, if I spent all of my time in that bubble, I’d never get anywhere.

You see, the downside of being a writer is that you’re trying to sell yourself, your books, and your stories, and you can’t do that from within a bubble. Being anti-social may help you to write a great story, but it will not help you to get others interested in that story.

So, as a writer, it’s in your best interest to be a little bit less anti-social. Oh, there should still be times when you block the outside world out, and that’s when you’re writing. However, don’t retreat so far into your bubble that you fail to communicate and network.

I’ve been sending out requests for help with my upcoming book launch, reaching out to people who have helped me in the past. This is the answer I received from someone I wrote to:

Unfortunately, I am unable to help anyone at the moment with book launches, beta reads, and the like. I am in the middle of revisions on 4 books. Also, I can’t help but add that I find it extremely rude when someone, who rarely speaks to me and has never offered to help promote my work, hounds me to death when he/she needs a favor for their books. I wish you luck with your launch, and congratulations.

The truth is that I have never thought of helping any other authors launch their books, do reviews, be a beta reader, etc. I’ve been so focused in my own little world that I’ve failed to be more social and help those who are helping me.

This is why I’ve decided to start offering book reviews (see the link at the top of the page) to any and all authors. Anyone who is helping me with my upcoming book launch will be given priority, but anyone who is interested in a book review is more than welcome to submit their book/work.

As a writer, it’s in your best interest to be more social. Spend more time talking to others, helping them, answering questions, and making friends. Be a good friend by giving back to the people who are helping you, and you’re guaranteed to be far more successful as an author!

Book Review: Alternate by Ernie Fuentes

So I’m starting a new feature on my blog: Book Review Wednesdays (and the occasional Saturday–like this post). Every week, I’m going to TRY to have a new book for your reading pleasure. I may not like all the books that I read, but I will make it a point to ONLY post books that I find worth your reading time. If there’s nothing good about them, I will not post.

First up, a short story by author Ernie Fuentes:

Alternate

An assassin must travel back in time to stop a fellow assassin from altering the past and forever changing the future.

Cover:

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My Review — 4 Stars

Let me start off by saying that I’m not a huge fan of short stories, but I really felt moved by this one.

From the first line, I could definitely feel the pain the main character was suffering as he felt the loss of his daughter. Yet he didn’t wallow in it–which would have lost my interest–but immediately I was hooked by the promise of future tech.

As the story went on, the author touched on the feeling of loss a number of times, but in a way that kept it present without shoving it down the reader’s throat.

A few of the reviewers pointed out that the ending was a total surprise, but by the second act I knew exactly what was going to happen. There were also a few grammatical/punctuation errors throughout, but the story held my attention enough that I hardly noticed them.

That being said, I didn’t enjoy the ending any less. All in all, it was a satisfying story to read, and one that I would highly recommend.

 

About the Author:

Ernie Luis is a college student down in Miami studying sports and fitness. He loves drinking beers and growing beards. Hobbies include adventures and road trips with friends, obnoxiously yelling at his favorite sports teams whether they’re doing good or bad, and eating. When he’s not doing any of those, he’s probably writing and chasing his dream of telling people stories.

You can find him on:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/ernieluiswrites
Twitter: @frikkercus
His Blog: www.ernieluis.com
And his EXCELLENT short story on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00OYWMGXY/ref=mp_s_a_1_1?qid=1416428619&sr=1-1

How to Make Time to Write

Struggling to find time to write? I know it’s hard for me to fit my writing time into the middle of a busy day. Considering all that needs to get done in the day, it’s no surprise that most of us just can’t seem to get in that 1,000 words per day!

I’ve managed to make time to write through my day, but it hasn’t been easy. Perhaps the tips and tricks that work for me could work for you, so here’s what helps me to make the time:

Finishing all work first — I can’t write until I am certain my work for the day is done. My mind just won’t rest easy until work is done. So I make it a point to get all of the “necessary” stuff out of the way before a certain time of day. That way, when I sit down to write, my mind is clear of worries.

Setting a time — I may be a bit OCD, but it helps me a lot to have a set time of day to write. It also helps my wife, who knows how important it is for me to get in my time. During that 45 to 60 minutes (however long it takes me to get that 1,000 words in), she will handle the kids and their problems so I can have that time as sacred.

Setting a time limit — If I was to write for hours every day, my wife and kids would have serious issue with that. So I make it a point to set my time to just 1 HOUR–enough to get in the 1,000 words (and even a bit more), but not an endless amount of time.

Saying “No” — I’ve missed out on parties, school events, special activities, and even just time relaxing simply because I had to say “No, I need my writing time.” It sucks, but it’s a part of being a professional writer, in my opinion.

Focusing — I listen to music, chew gum, and drink something warm to get my body and mind in the mood for writing, but it’s the music that blocks out all distractions. When writing (particularly emotional scenes), distractions are the WORST thing possible.

Understanding the process — I’ve come to understand the way my mind works, and I’m okay with it. For the rough draft, it’s all about the story–so writing quality be damned. For the first draft, it’s all about the writing quality, so word count be damned. Even if I just write 500 words in that hour, as long as they are quality I can be okay with it.

Eliminating time-wasters — For that 1 hour a day, I close Facebook, sign out of my email, and basically make myself as un-contact-able as possible. It works!

This is how I manage to make the time to write, and it feels good to get stuff done.

What do you do to find the time in your busy day?

 

 

The Fear of Being a Flat Character

In all of my readings on being a writer, I came across this interesting term:

Flat character: A flat character is a minor character in a work of fiction who does not undergo substantial change or growth in the course of a story.

I found that concept highly intriguing, mainly because most of the characters in books are flat characters. The hero/heroine/villain/villainess usually does make changes or shows growth–either for the better or worse–but all books are populated with flat, two-dimensional characters who wander into the story for a single page or two before wandering their way back out.

Now, why am I talking about flat characters? Simple: I–and my main characters–have an unexplainable fear of being a flat character.

Human nature tends to decay, which means that unless we’re striving to make progress, change, and grow, we’re slowly declining and slipping down the slope that is life. But trying to always do more and be better is f***ing exhausting! It’s tiring to spend your whole life trying to be better and do more, so sometimes you need to just let things go for a while.

Which brings me back to my fear of being a flat character. Basically, if I don’t keep struggling and trying and fighting to succeed, I’m going to be one of those flat characters that wander in and out of great stories–never truly having a great story of their own.

Do I want to be one of those thugs who gets beaten up by the heroes? Do I want to be Admiral Motti to be choked by Darth Vader? Do I want to be the strumpet who makes the heroine’s life difficult and who is left to rot in the whorehouse once the prince carries away said heroine?

They say to “be the hero of your own story”, but a hero cannot be a flat character. You can’t be a hero if you don’t make progress, so does that mean we are forever doomed to struggle against what is fundamentally ourselves?

It’s almost like I’m trapped in my “flatness”. Having suppressed emotions and feelings for so many years, it’s SO difficult to try to make progress in the emotional side of things. I’m great with the physical stuff, but I feel that emotional/mental growth is the only true form of growth. After all, I can pack on the pounds of muscle, pretend to be perpetually happy, or spawn children, but unless I make progress, I can never truly be happy–an emotional and mental state, not a physical state.

Perhaps it’s that perpetual struggle that makes me the hero of my own story. I have to constantly fight my own human nature, just like the half-demon assassin in The Last Bucelarii has to fight the demonic blood running through his veins. He too struggles with the fear of being a flat character, which is appropriate considering just how much trouble I’m having with this issue.

So for now, I’m going to keep struggling with my emotional and mental issues, eternally striving for the growth and progress that takes me out of the realm of “flat character” and transforms me into the ever-flawed, supremely human “hero”.

 

 

Writing Mistakes: Using “But”

I didn’t think using the word “but” was a mistake, BUT according to my editor, it is one of the weak words that should be used as sparingly as possible.

Here’s how the word should be used [1]:

To suggest a contrast that is unexpected in light of the first clause. “Alfred is late, but Josephina is not.”

To suggest in an affirmative sense what the first part of the sentence implied in a negative way. “We never leave late, but are always early.”

To connect two ideas with the meaning of “with the exception of” (and then the second word takes over as subject). “Everyone but Alfred was late to the meeting.”

Seems simple enough, right?

Here’s my original use of the word “but” in a sentence:

Pain flared as tree branches whipped at his face, but it did little to slow him.

My editor decided that it would look better like this:

Pain flared as tree branches whipped at his face, yet it did little to slow him.

Now, in my opinion, I think the “yet” does look better in this instance, but it’s hard to know when to use “but” and when to opt for “and” or “yet”.

So how do you know when it’s better to stick with “but” or when to look for other options (“and”, “yet”, “though”, etc.?)

Writers, any ideas that can help?

 

[1] http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/conjunctions.htm

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