February 2015 – Page 2 – Andy Peloquin

Andy Peloquin

I am an artist – words are my palette

Month: February 2015 (Page 2 of 2)

Writing Has Taught Me the Value of Mistakes

Mistakes–you’ve gotta hate them! Even a small mistake (think plot holes, inconsistent characters, factual errors, etc.) can totally tank a great book. How many good books could have been great had the writer not make a small mistake?

But those mistakes are totally what help us writers to improve, and I’m glad that I’ve made so many mistakes in my short writing career!

Oprah said it best: “Learn from every mistake, because every experience, particularly your mistakes, are there to teach you and force you into being more of who you are.”

In the publication of my first book–In the Days: A Tale of the Forgotten ContinentI made the mistake of rushing. I wrote, edited, and published the book in the space of two months. Definitely not enough time to deliver a quality product AT ALL! Not only were there a few mistakes (typos, character stuff, world-building, etc.), but I rushed the launch as well. I sold way too few books.

But that’s life! Now that I’m launching my next book–The Last Bucelarii (Book 1): Blade of the DestroyerI’m going to do it right!

I avoided the mistake of typos, plot holes, and errors by having it professionally edited, going over it repeatedly myself, and giving it to beta readers.

I avoided the mistake of rushing the launch by giving myself 4 months to prepare, and I have compiled a list of nearly 200 people who will help me out. I have nearly 150 people who will read an ARC and write a review. That’s pretty epic!

Best of all, I didn’t rush into publishing the book myself, and now it has been picked up by a publisher. It sets the launch back a bit, but I now have a team behind me to ensure that the book is as professional as possible!

Mistakes suck, but boy do they teach you to get it right VERY quickly! I hope to keep learning from my mistakes as I go, and I know that my writing career will only blossom as I avoid the things that I screwed up in the past–and that I’m screwing up now. Make mistakes now, learn from them, and let them help you kick ass in your future!

 

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Book Review: Body Language Bible by C.K. Murray  

Bonus Book Review Saturday, my favorite day of the week! Today, we’re getting out of the realm of fiction and heading into the non-fiction territory…

Body Language Explained

Prepare yourself.
You are about to learn invaluable strategies for improving your life TODAY. Did you know that 93% of what we say isn’t actually said? That nonverbal communication and the language of the body are indispensable to healthy, happy living?

Whether trying to grasp body language basics, unlock body language secrets, or harness the power of the subconscious mind, nonverbal communication has the power to change your life forever.

Without a firm understanding of nonverbal cues, we will never achieve optimal success. Instead, we’ll slink through life unsure and unimpressive, never reaching our full potential and never knowing what could have been.

Is that what you want?

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My Review: 4 Stars

I found this book to be quite helpful in a few ways. As a writer, I am always looking for ways to “show” instead of “tell”. As the book explained the body language cues, it helped me to know what people do when they are lying, hiding something, telling the truth, showing interest, and so on. It actually made it a bit easier for me to write more effectively.

The writing was simple and plain, and the information is communicated in a very easy-to-understand way. You don’t have to be uber-intelligent to read this book, but it’s one anyone can pick up and comprehend easily.

There are two reasons I gave it four stars:

  1. There’s not enough depth. The information in the book is the kind of stuff you can find on ANY website, and there’s very little new in there. I could do a Google Search and find all of the data for free. It would take hours, but I could learn about body language cues without having to buy the book. There’s no “secrets” or “nifty tricks” to give this book the added value that would cause people to purchase it.
  2. There are no sources. Copywriting is all about delivering information in an interesting way, but where do you get your information from? There are no sources to back up the claims and statements made in the book, so there’s no PROOF that the book is true or not. Anyone writing non-fiction–especially of this nature–knows that providing resources, scientific studies, and published journal papers is the best way to prove that what they’re saying is true.

A good read for those who want a simple primer to body language!

 

Here’s a Taste:

Body language is everything.

Every minute of every day, our bodies are talking. When we’re finishing that last bit of work, when we’re walking around our neighborhoods, moving about our grocery stores, at sporting events and movie theatres and shopping malls and stores and interacting with a cashier at the drive-thru at McDonald’s—everywhere we go, our bodies speak. From the way we tilt our heads, blink our eyes, touch our noses and move our mouths; everything we don’t say, says something.

 

About the Author:

C.K. Murray is a health promoter, addiction and recovery counselor, motivator, and autodidact. Having worked in various fields and careers, Murray now enjoys spending free time with his girlfriend, and best friend, in the Pacific Northwest.

Born in 1959, Murray has an extensive personal knowledge of health-related issues. Beginning with drugs and alcohol abuse in his teens, Murray spent years in and out of treatment programs. He landed in outpatient and inpatient recovery, weekend interventions, 28-day rehabilitations, and a variety of transitional housing for addiction.

After a long bout with depression and the criminal justice system, Murray finally got clean. He is currently in his 8th year of sobriety and continues to this day to attend addiction and rehabilitation meetings. He is a proponent of Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), and a firm believer in the combined power of group therapy and self-help.

He continues to help numerous addicts conquer their demons and enjoy successful, meaningful lives.

You can find the book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Body-Language-Explained-Communication-Relationships-ebook/dp/B00MF0XIS4

Connect with C.K. Murray on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/writemurray

 

When It’s Hard to Keep Going, What Do You Do?

When I sit down to write these days, it feels a bit like trying to take a winter swim in an outdoor pool filled with molasses. Not easy going, let me tell you! Things at home are a bit hectic and chaotic, and life is kind of up in the air at the moment. All of this makes it quite tough to keep my mind focused on my writing!

Every writer has those times in their lives when it’s just too damn hard to write! Whether it’s a family emergency, writer’s block, or a lack of desire to write, there’s always something that tries to take us away from our writing. It’s hard to sit and hammer away at the keys because there’s so much else on our minds!

I’m the kind of guy that likes to tackle stuff head on. I’ve got a thick skull, so I’ll usually lower my head and charge. This time that I’m struggling to write, by God, I’m going to make time to write more so that I can get over this problem.

But sometimes I find the better approach is to finesse the problem. Instead of trying to force myself to keep writing when I really don’t feel it, it’s time to switch things up! For example, shifting my writing time an hour earlier has totally helped to increase my productivity during that 60 minutes that I get to write. I can’t increase my output drastically, but it’s enough that the writing seems to flow more easily, and I have fewer distractions.

It’s all about finding the right tool for the job! Sometimes it’s better just to tackle that writer’s block or distraction head-on, and treat it like an obstacle that needs to be rammed. Other times, it’s wiser to take a break, change things up, or find a new way to do the same thing. It can definitely help to deal with a problem before it gets serious!

So how do you handle these problems? When they come around, how do you face them?

 

 

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Book Review: MacGregor’s Wolf–Lessons of Time by Bill Howard

Our book of the day is a bit out of the ordinary, a metaphysical novel with a bit of just about everything…

 

MacGregor’s Wolf: Lessons of Time

Struggling to make sense of his life, Ray Barrett seeks solace in the mountains and encounters a lone wolf, a mystical creature, according to the Sioux. From that point forward, he is transported back in time and into the bodies of various persons throughout history.

The ancient wisdom of the Sioux and a spirit guide named MacGregor accompany him through a series of experiences that teach him about life and purpose. Along the way, he falls in love with an assistant to MacGregor, Alexia, who fulfills a longing that has haunted him for quite some time.

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My Review: 3.5 Stars

The book started out a bit odd, the opening sentences describing how the character is suffering and never why. It takes a LONG time for the reason to be explained, and by the time we find out why there is so much angst in the character, we’ve lost interest.

The character meets this MacGregor, who takes him on the oddest, most random “spirit trips”. The problem is that there is no indication that he is going anywhere or on any trip. He simply appears or wakes up in a new places, with little or nothing to delineate where one trip ends and where another begins. It’s almost impossible to know when the story is back in the real world or when it’s on a trip, and which trip it’s on. It is VERY disjointed and quite hard for me to follow.

I also suffered from a natural disconnection from the character. The purpose of the story is clearly to teach some sort of lesson to the reader by having the main character go through all these journeys, but I was never pulled into the story. Just when I was about to identify with the character, there would be some jump that would lose me and I’d have to force myself to stay reading to keep up with it.

That being said, the quality of the writing was quite good. No typos, few mistakes, and all in all, solid writing. The prose is flowing, and there’s a good rhythm to everything. The action scenes in the beginning leave a bit to be desired, but truth be told, I have very little complaints about the writing.

It’s just a bit too trippy for me to have enjoyed fully…

 

Here’s a Taste

Suddenly, a spear flew past his head and stuck into the chest of the man beside him. He raised his shield and the head of another spear struck it with a deafening clang . He thrust it aside and continued to advance, peering through the thin slot of his helmet. He had no idea how he had so suddenly been thrust into the midst of a pitched battle.

The instinct of the wolf and of Hoka took over and he rushed toward the enemy with sword and shield. The shock of being thrust into a sudden fight for life rapidly turned to rage. He struck out with his sword and felt its blade slice through the flesh and bones of a man. He had no time to watch him fall, but was quickly turning to run another through. He pulled his sword from the falling soldier and raised his shield in time to deflect a blow which drove him to one knee, but he recovered and thrust again with his sword; another man went down.

All about him he could hear the groans and gasps of men in the midst of a deadly struggle. He could smell sweat and blood all around him and the stench of fear and danger permeated through his senses. There was no time for thought, only action and movement . His breathing was ragged with exertion and his chest burned. His arms and legs were fatigued, but he ignored them and pressed onward. He felt himself tumbling across the ground as something hard struck him and a blade slashed past his head dangerously glancing off of his helmet.

He realized that he had been struck by the chest of a charging horse and its rider had barely missed his head. The better part of valor was to lie and wait as the cavalry charge passed him by. He was assumed dead and left alone as the horsemen cleared a swath through the middle of the ranks of his fellow fighters. A counter charge of opposing horsemen rode down upon them and there was soon a mêlée of swirling and turning horses.

He could hear their screams of pain from the horses as they were struck with swords or spears. They were rearing, falling and plunging as the men on their backs parried and thrust with swords and shields. He was on his feet again and rushing into the ranks of foot-soldiers which were rushing down upon them. It seemed like he would have to face a thousand men alone, yet he fought on. There was nowhere to run and no place to hide. His instinct told him that he must fight to survive and he fought viciously. Had he the fangs of a wolf, he would have sunk them into the throat of a man and thought nothing of it. The taste of blood was already in his mouth and the drive to live was even stronger.

 

About the Author:

Bil Howard is a native of the small ranching community, Powderhorn, in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado where he was raised on a cattle ranch. In 2013 he exchanged the Rockies for the Andes and took up residence in San Antonio de Prado, Antioquia, Colombia. He has a BA from West Texas A&M University. He studied pre-law as an undergraduate and minored in English Literature.

He continued his love of English by pursuing an MA in English and Social Studies Education. He also studied psychotherapy at the graduate level. He has been a talent scout and manager in the Latin music industry. He has experience in vocal performance as well as theatre.

Find the book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OY1LILG/

Check out his writing on his website: http://bilhoward.blogspot.com

Send him a Tweet: @BilHowardNovels

Connect with him on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bilhowardnovelist

Or Google+ https://plus.google.com/u/0/+BilHoward

Writing Has Taught Me to Dream Big

When I read books like the Wheel of Time or The Gentleman Bastards series, it’s clear that the writer has something much larger in mind for the series. While each book has its own self-contained story line, each is working toward a greater plot or ending.

It’s hard to come up with such far-reaching consequences for seemingly inconsequential actions taken by the main characters in your books. A small decision made in the opening chapter of Book 1 may come back to haunt the character in the final chapter in the last book.

Being the writer of the story, you have to make sure that you track each important detail of each story. That’s the only way you’re going to have consistency across each of the books in a longer series, but it’s also the one way to keep the story going. One book may only be one story, but it’s part of a larger story. Any writer who has written a series with more than one book knows EXACTLY what I’m talking about.

But learning how to do that with our novels helps us to do the same with our lives.

The missus and I are talking about some pretty major decisions, both for our future and for the future of our kids. We’re having to start doing small things TODAY that won’t come to fruition for at least another few years. But the only way they’re going to happen later on in life is if we take those small steps now.

What you are doing now is the first small action in the Chapter 1 of your Book 1. If you don’t do that “something”, you won’t set off the chain reaction that will lead you through Book 2, Book 3, and all the other books of your life. You’ll never get to “The End” of the series because you never took that first step.

I’ve had to dream big–both for the Last Bucelarii series, and for the life I want in the distant future. I don’t know which will come to fruition first (the goals I want to achieve in my life, or “The End” for my character), but I do know that it’s the small things I’m doing today that will help me to one day reach that “end” I’m working towards.

Start small, but keep that big dream in mind. It’s really the only way that you’re going to get anywhere in life!

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