January 2016 – Andy Peloquin

Andy Peloquin

I am an artist – words are my palette

Month: January 2016

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Book Review: Book of Daniel by Mat Ridley

It’s Book Review Wednesday, and today I’ve got a book that takes an intriguing look at the concept of “life after death”, Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory. Definitely a book to check out…

 

The Book of Daniel

Daniel Stein is having the worst day of his life. The last day of his life, in fact. And things are only going to get worse for himtomorrow.

Death is only the beginning for Dan. Waking up to find that his wife, Joanna, has also been killed is bad enough, but then Dan also finds a sword shoved into his hand, and is told that the only way he’s ever going to get to Jo—and Heaven—is if he does as God tells him and fights against the forces of Satan’s army.

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But demons are the least of Dan’s problems in the afterlife. There’s also his hatred of God to contend with.

And Dan is pretty sure that God hates him right back.

Welcome to Purgatory.

 

My Review: 4 Stars

I’d have to say that I found this book a refreshing take on the concept of Purgatory, “life after death”, Heaven, and Hell. While it didn’t stray from the common Christian concepts, it did present a new spin on things that I found fascinating.

The main character (Daniel) was a good one, albeit a bit vehement in his anger against religion and the notion of God. There was a good back-story that set up the reasons for it, but I found his stubborn “God hating despite the evidence” to be a tad over-done. However, it was necessary for the story, so it was well done.

I found the writing to be original and a lot of fun to read. The narrative has all the flavor of the main character’s personality, and despite the occasional grammatical error, passive sentence, and adverb (WAY) overuse, I enjoyed the story. I had a problem with the way the back-story was presented, but that could just be my personal preference.

It wasn’t my cup of tea (too much focus on religion/Christianity for my taste), but there was a lot to love. It’s a good book, one I’d recommend to anyone who wants an interesting story.

 

Here’s a Taste:

It began with a slight rising of the ground about twenty metres behind Thomas, but the expanse of the bulge was so large that at first none of the soldiers standing on top of it realised what was going on. Then, with a sudden burst of energy, the mound peaked upwards and exploded in a shower of dirt, the force of whatever it was that had tunnelled up from beneath flinging soldiers in all directions. Dust and soil rained down upon us, interspersed with something wetter and redder, which I suspected was blood; but the will to investigate vanished when I caught sight of what was crawling out of the ground.

To be honest, ‘crawling’ is probably the wrong word to use; flowing would be more accurate, but even that doesn’t really capture the lumpy way it poured out of the hole and assembled itself into a muddy, vaguely humanoid heap. Until a head that was composed almost entirely of teeth suddenly burst out of the thing’s mass, I couldn’t even tell for sure if this was actually the Subterranean that Harper had referred to, or merely its excrement; it certainly stank badly enough to be the latter. As the demon took shape, it shook violently, like a big, wet dog, throwing off globs of filth, or parts of its body—it was impossible to tell if there was any difference—in every direction. But the time it was taking the Subterranean to fully emerge from its tunnel gave most of the nearby Purgatorians a chance to fall back. Only a single figure was still within range of its jaws.

Incredibly, he still just stood there, apparently oblivious to the danger. Even when the Subterranean began to chomp at the air, sensing nearby prey, he didn’t respond, and I feared that perhaps he had somehow been wounded by the demon’s explosive arrival. I remembered shell-shocked soldiers stumbling around the battlefield in former times, and thinking that perhaps Thomas had been stunned, I hefted my sword and started to rush towards the Subterranean. Impulsively, I yelled out, hoping that I could distract it from its intended target. My brain refused to think about what would happen if it actually did turn towards me instead of him; I was simply acting on military instinct, trying to save my friend from what would quite literally be a fate worse than death.

I only managed to cover a fraction of the distance before it was all over. I was still unused to my armour’s strange bulk, and the Subterranean slid towards Thomas far more quickly than I could run, its legs dissolving into a shapeless, boiling mass of earth as it sped towards him. Only when the fiend reared up like a filthy cobra, its huge mouth angled downwards and ready to strike, did Thomas finally rouse himself from his prayers. He looked up into the black hole framed by those unfeasibly large jaws, raised his sword high, and calmly stood ready. For an instant, the Subterranean paused, uncertain in the face of this unexpected bravery, but its greed quickly overrode its confusion, and the gaping mouth thrust downwards towards Thomas like a pile driver.

 

Author Bio

Mat Ridley was born and bred in England, where he studied hard to become a biochemist, but then decided to jump ship and work with computers and theologians instead. In between days at the office, he enjoys journeying far and wide in his imagination, and published his debut novel, The Book of Daniel, in 2015. He looks forward to publishing many more. He still lives in England.

Find the book on Amazon: http://www.matridley.com/bookofdaniel

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

Tweet at him: https://twitter.com/mat_ridley

Awesome Resources for Creative Writing: Fiction University

Having trouble with your creative writing? We’ve got some pretty awesome resources to help you out!

Today, we’re looking at an amazing website: Fiction University.

Fiction University is really the personal blog of Janice Hardy, author of the Healing Wars trilogy. Her books are all pretty solid (average of 3.9-star rating on Goodreads), but her Fiction University blog is truly a marvel.

The website has a lot of information (all in blog post form) on just about every aspect of the creative writing process:

Planning Novels — You can find articles on story development, choosing book themes, outlining characters, creating tension, setting the stakes, creating new worlds, identifying your book’s genre, writing trilogies/series, and more.

Writing Novels — This section has a lot of articles on author’s style and voice, POV, dialogue, internal narrative, writing descriptions, proper pacing, using flashbacks and foreshadowing, setting the mood, and so on.

Common Writing Problems — We’ve all faced them at some point: showing instead of telling, adding the right amount of backstory, avoiding infodumps, using the right amount of action, conflict, and tension, making the goals clear, and keeping character motivation accurate.

Editing Novels — Every writer’s LEAST favorite part! The articles here deal with first draft, revising the novels, making serious edits, trimming word counts, finding the right words, and handling feedback and critiques.

Selling Novels — This includes sending query letters, writing a good synopsis and blurb, going through the process of submitting the novel, promoting and marketing the book, and the nitty gritty of the actual publishing and self-publishing books.

Life as a Writer — This is focused on the WRITER rather than the writing. It looks at how to motivate yourself, tips for productivity, and harsh truths about life as a writer.

There are A LOT of articles and blog posts on this site, and they will help you to navigate the often difficult world of creative writing. Everything is written in a very informal, “this is my take on things” manner, but the information is helpful and reliable, just the same!

The Simple Insane Connections

The late, great Steve Jobs said something I found fascinating:

“Creativity is just connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while. That’s because they were able to connect experiences they’ve had and synthesize new things.”

Creativity isn’t about creating something new; it’s about creating new connections between already existing things.

For an example, let’s look at an excellent book series: Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson.

The Mistborn series is all about a young girl named Vin who finds out that she has “magical powers” that come from the most unexpected source: metal. When she eats metal, it gives her (and the others in her world) certain powers depending on the type of metal she consumes.

What an awesome concept, right? And yet, it’s such a simple one! It’s taking the metals that are found in our world (steel, iron, brass, etc.), but making a new connection between “metal” and “magic”. All of a sudden, two completely unrelated things are linked in a fresh, new way.

Another example is Brandon Sanderson’s Rithmatist series. In this series, chalk drawings can come to life and kill people. Say what? How are chalk drawings dangerous? You have a brand new take on something as simple as “drawing” and “fictional monsters”.

If you examine 95% of the most popular fiction today, you’ll find that very little of it is actually completely “new”. There are very few stories that present totally new and unique concepts. Instead, these stories are taking things that we are all familiar with, and putting a fresh twist on them or making new connections.

THAT is the secret to creativity!

I will now refer (apologies) to my own work. In The Last Bucelarii series, the Hunter (the main character) has one weakness: iron. This simple connection between “iron” and “poisonous to demonkind” makes for a fresh take on something old (a hero needing to have a weakness). All of a sudden, iron becomes an incredibly important metal in the book, and just its presence can increase the tension of any given scene.

The takeaway from this post: don’t be so focused on “breaking out of the box” that you go too far out into left field. You’d be surprised how creative you can be just by forging new connections between seemingly ordinary things.

Awesome Resources for Creative Writing: Writing Tools

What do you do when you can’t figure out a word? Where do you go to find the answer to some creative writing problem that has you stumped? Check out these AMAZING writing tools, and you’re sure to find the solution:

Visuwords This amazing tool will help you not only find the meanings of words, but also their association with other words and concepts. For example, look up the word “create”, and you’ll find it linked to all sorts of concepts (creative, produce, brand, distill, multiply, etc.). It’s a simple tool that generates diagrams that look like neural nets or data visualization displays. VERY handy for uncommon word association!

One Look This is the online dictionary to rule them all! It searches over 1,000 online dictionaries, and you’ll find definitions for more than 13.5 million words. Best of all, you can find the definitions, synonyms, antonyms, and translations for the word on one page!

Merriam Webster Visual DictionaryNot sure how to describe the parts of a sword, a castle, a tire, or a gun? Hit up this visual dictionary, and you’ll find images with descriptions and breakdowns of all the parts of that image. It’s amazing for when you need to write those little details that set the scene for your story.

One Look Reverse DictionaryThis is an amazing tool to help you find words and concepts. For example, search for the word “apple”, and you’ll find results like “worm”, “mcintosh”, “icon”, and “tree”. For word association, this is an amazing tool.

Write RhymesPoet’s aren’t born; they’re made! This tool will help you to figure out the best rhyme for any word, helping you to create poems that are clever and accurate.

Word CounterDo you have a tendency to overuse words (in The Last Bucelarii (Book 1): Blade of the Destroyer, I was told I used “darkened” too many times)? If so, run your text through this tool, and it will tell you how many times you used certain words. VERY helpful for finding those mistakes in your writing!

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Which Mistakes Should You Keep?

The great Scott Adams (of Dilbert fame) said, “Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes. Art is knowing which ones to keep.”

Mistakes, as we all know, are just a part of the creative process. Few (if any) writers are able to sit down and write out a novel in a single go, without a mistake, typo, plot hole, or error in their writing. Writing is very much trial and error process. Each time we sit down to write, we learn a bit more about creating. We improve our writing skills, ideas, and creativity over the course of a lifetime, not from one day to the next. Mistakes help us to learn, grow, and do better the next time.

But which mistakes aren’t actually bad? Which are the ones that will make you better in the long run? It’s impossible to know before you make them or have them corrected, which is why they are such a vital part of the learning process.

Let me give you an example:

In writing Book 3 of The Last Bucelarii series, I made some pretty big mistakes! To name a few: the Hunter did a number of things totally out of character for him, the story spent way too much time in the second act, and there was no payout for vital plot points. All pretty serious flaws, right?

Well, these mistakes have helped me immensely! Someone whose input I respect pointed out these problems, and proceeded to give me a crash course on the basics of proper storytelling. By the time I finished the lesson, I knew A LOT more about how to structure a novel properly, how to ensure that all the plot points pay off satisfactorily, and more. The mistake turned into a learning opportunity, which will turn into improvement and growth in my craft.

I’d rather not make the same mistakes again, but part of being creative is, as Scott Adams said, allowing myself to make those mistakes. As I continue to improve in my craft, I will avoid those mistakes and go on to making different ones. Those will help me learn and grow even more, taking me further down the path to being a true artist.

Make mistakes and learn from them. Use them, and you’ll be a much better artist for it!

 

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Book Review: Reluctant Warriors by Vicki Wootton

It’s Book Review Wednesday, and our book for the day is quite an unusual one–as you’ll see by the blurb below…

 

Reluctant Warriors

The peaceful nation of Caladon has been cut of from the rest of the world for hundreds of years, but one day they are brutally attacked, and must find a way to defend themselves without betraying their ethic of non-violence.

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My Review: 4 Stars

I LOVED the world in which these characters lived. It was complex, with nations similar to many of those in our own world. Everything was bright, colorful, and highly descriptive, with explanations of the customs and cultures that gave insight into the countries visited by the characters.

It was a tad scattershot and disorganized for my linear brain. It hopped and skipped between different characters, and it was hard for me to keep the timeline straight. But that’s just me–I like a story that moves forward, with only occasional flashbacks.

One thing I noticed was that the book came across as a bit of an “ethics lesson”. The people of Caladon tended to judge the other nations for what they perceived to be different or unusual. The characters often made comments on moral or ethical issues, which sort of came across as “preachy”. Not that it affected the story in any way, but it just stood out to me. For many people, this sort of thing wouldn’t be an issue.

All in all, it was a solid story, though the writing suffered a bit.

 

Here’s a Taste:

Vend and his comrades lay still, hardly daring to breath, unable to see any way of escape or place to hide. They watched the enemy soldiers coming down the hill, prodding at the fallen bodies as they came. The Katrians ordered them to discard their weapons. Those who could walk were herded into a line. Vend turned round and looked behind him. Another group of soldiers was waiting to cut of their retreat in that direction. There was nothing to do but obey. With prods and shouts, the Katrians drove them back into the gully. They were forced to leave behind everyone incapable of getting up.

Vend seemed to be the only officer left. Searching among the Katrians, he identified their officer. “Excuse me,” he said in Katrian. “Will you allow us to take care of our wounded comrades?”

The officer turned towards Vend with a look of surprise. “You speak our language, do you?” He turned to his men. “Bring him over here. What’s your name and rank,” the officer asked.

“Vend Paritip. I’m a lieutenant. What about the wounded? They need to be treated immediately or they may not survive.”

“Don’t worry about it. We’ll take care of them.” He paused for a moment and gestured to some of his soldiers. They took this as the signal to start moving the prisoners away from the site. “How did you learn to speak Katrian?” the officer asked Vend, walking along beside him.

“I’m a language specialist at the university. What are you going to do with us?”

“These men will take you into town.” He turned to the man beside him. “Take Lieutenant—what was the name?—Paritip? Take him with the others to headquarters. We’ll finish up here and follow you down.”

The soldier pointed his gun at Vend and jerked it once in the direction he wanted him to move. Vend started to walk down the hill after the other prisoners. As he moved past the enemy soldiers, he noticed several of them removing ugly-looking knives from their belts. He kept walking, conscious of the weapon pointing at his back. Suddenly a scream rang out behind him. He turned to look, but his escort prodded his neck with the gun, forcing him to turn round and keep walking.

The soldiers escorting them seemed to be in a hurry to get them away from the hillside and urged them into a trot down the hill towards Arvin. Behind them they could still hear screams. Tears of impotent rage and grief stung Vend’s eyes. For the second time in his life, he felt the urge to kill other human beings.

When they reached the outskirts of Arvin, the prisoners were allowed to slow down a little. Vend looked back towards the hills and saw columns of smoke rising from the place where they had been captured. Now that all the prisoners were together, Vend saw there were no other officers among them. There were five women and twenty or so men. They seemed to be in shock, their eyes deadened with grief for fallen companions, cheeks streaked with tears, skin ashen. They huddled close to one another, as if the touch of another arm or hand could give them some comfort.

Vend was so overcome with shock and horror that he hardly noticed anything as they walked through the streets of Arvin. If there were any people on the streets, or if they passed damaged buildings, he wasn’t aware of it. Eventually, they reached the building complex that the invaders had taken over as their headquarters. It appeared to be the administration center of the town, around which they had thrown up a crude enclosure of wood about three meters high with coils of spiked wire along the top and bottom. After they passed through the iron gate, which was heavily guarded, they were told to sit on the ground and wait.

“They killed them all, didn’t they, Lieutenant?” one of the men asked.

“It sounded like it, but we can’t be sure.”

“What kind of inhuman monsters are they?” The woman who asked—Vend thought her name was Mari—wiped away tears with the back of her hand, leaving a dirty streak down her face. Another woman sitting next to her, put an arm around Mari’s shoulder and rested her head on it.

“What’s going to happen to us?” a man asked.

“I don’t know,” Vend replied. “We’ll probably be kept prisoners until the war’s over.”

“That won’t be very long, will it?”

“I hope not. By the way, I should remind you that the only information you are required to give is your name and rank. Having said this, and given the barbaric nature of the enemy, you aren’t expected to endure—how can I put it?—intolerable duress. If the pressure to answer their questions is unbearable, then answer them. You are not expected to suffer injury or give your life for the sake of secrecy. After all, how much harm could our limited knowledge do?”

They weren’t prepared, however, for what came next. It was never easy to anticipate the actions of this enemy. Two officers came out of one of the buildings and walked across the courtyard towards the prisoners.

“I understand there’s someone who speaks Katrian,” he said. When Vend nodded, he continued, “You’ll translate. Stand up all of you.”

Vend stood and told his comrades to do the same.

“All the women step over there.”

“But…” Vend tried to protest. Immediately, several guns pointed in his direction.

“Silence. Just do as you’re told.”

The women went to one side as they were ordered, darting anxious glances from their comrades and to the guards.

“All right, take them away.”

The five women were prodded with weapons towards a two-story building close to the fence. As the Katrians herded the women into the building, cheers and whistles erupted inside, then the door slammed shut. They heard a woman’s voice raised in protest, followed by several thuds and a scream.

 

About the Author:

Vicki was born and grew up in England, but has lived most of her adult life in North America—all three countries, at one time or another. She currently lives in British Columbia. the most beautiful part of Canada. On the way to becoming a writer, she has raised a few kids and had scores of jobs, all the way from office clerk to law office accountant–she loved that job.

Being a pacifist and a Jesusonian influences what she writes in that she is often puts forth ideas for overcoming conflict without the use of force and excessive bloodshed. Her books are mostly in the speculative fiction and fantasy genres.

Find the book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.ca/Reluctant-Warriors-Vicki-Wootton-ebook/dp/B005064ZHI/

Connect with Vicki on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100006847185155

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Awesome Resources for Creative Writing: Writing Prompts and Stimuli

For a writer, there’s nothing worse than staring at a blank sheet of paper and having no idea what to write! Creative writing can be challenging, and it takes practice to get accustomed to sitting down and starting writing.

That’s where writing prompts come in handy. Writing prompts are simple images or ideas that serve as a springboard for ideas. Just like artists do random sketches to prepare for their work, you can use these writing prompts and stimuli as a warm up to get you in the “mindset” for real writing.

Here are a few of the best places to find writing prompts and stimuli:

Pinterest — Want some weird ideas to tickle your brain? The Pinterest page Writing Stimulus has some pretty unique images that will get your mind working and give you creative writing ideas. With nearly 100 pins, there’s a lot to help you get creating!

Writer’s Digest — Without a doubt, Writer’s Digest is one of the best resources for writers! Their writing prompts page has literally HUNDREDS of prompts, both for writing prose and poetry. You’ll find prompts for just about every genre in fiction (and even a few for non-fiction), helping you to get started writing no matter how badly you’re blocked.

Reddit — The Reddit thread “Writing Prompts” has hundreds of posts of all lengths, with ideas for just about everything you could imagine (and, true to Reddit form, many you’d have never dreamed of). It’s worth scrolling down the list to see if any of the weird and unusual ideas knock something loose in your mind.

Daily Teaching Tools — This page has 180 different writing prompts, mainly questions to ask yourself. Answering these questions will get your creative writing brain working, helping you to break the writer’s block and get back to creating.

 

Meditation for Creation: How to Get Inspiration

I’ve always loved meditation as a concept, though I have the hardest time shutting my mind up enough to actually sit still and meditate. Thankfully, I have other ways of meditating, or at least clearing my mind enough to allow for creative thoughts.

I walk every day, which allows me to think while my body is occupied. Running is another form of self-hypnosis/meditation, and I love to sit by the beach and watch the waves crash. They may not sound like your classic “meditation techniques”, but they work! I find that when I engage in these activities, my mind is freed and I can come up with some pretty creative ideas. I’d estimate that 50% of my best ideas were conceived at the gym or walking to and from it.

According to a study posted on Science Daily, meditation can promote creative thinking. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never tried meditation before–it works!

This study took 40 random people and had them engage in meditative techniques before undergoing thinking tests. The meditation helped the participants to improve their thought processes in two ways:

Divergent thinking — This involved taking a common object and finding new and creative uses for it. After meditating, the subjects were able to think up more and more unique uses for the common objects.

Convergent thinking — This involves finding the single solution for a given problem. For example, the subjects were given the words “hair”, “time”, and “stretch”. They had to come up with the answer, which was “long”. After meditating, they found the answers to these problems more quickly.

These are the two basic ingredients of creativity. Every creative thought involves one of these two types of thinking (either finding new uses for common things, or finding creative ways to connect seemingly random ideas and objects).

Which meditation technique worked best? Open Monitoring, or focusing on EVERY sensation or thought that entered their mind. Instead of shutting things out and focusing on just one thing, the subjects were most creative after letting their minds wander and being open and aware of the new sensations and thoughts.

If you want to be more creative, it’s worth a try! You can do it anywhere and at any time, all you need to do is let your mind wander and examine every new thought as it enters your mind. You’ll find yourself coming up with new ideas thanks to this simple meditative technique, and you’d be surprised by how creative your mind can get when you allow it free rein.

 

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Book Review: Pokergeist by Michael Phillip Cash

It’s Book Review Wednesday (sorry it’s been a couple of weeks)! Today, we’re going to Las Vegas for a game we all love: poker, but with a ghost?

 

Pokergeist

Sometimes life, as well as death, is about second chances. Luckless Telly Martin doesn’t have a clue. An awful gambler trying to scrape by as a professional poker player, he becomes the protégé of world famous poker champion Clutch Henderson. The only catch…Clutch is a ghost.

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Telly and Clutch must navigate the seedy gambling underbelly of Las Vegas learning to trust each other in order to win the elusive International Series of Poker, repair their shattered personal relationships and find redemption in this life and the hereafter.

 

My Review: 4 Stars

I enjoyed the story overall. It was a pretty great look at the game of poker, and it involved some awesomely colorful personalities (not the least of whom is the main man Clutch himself). The book was a good read, and one I’d recommend to anyone who enjoys both paranormal fiction and the game of poker.

I had to give it a slightly lower review thanks to a few things:

Some two dimensional characters.Telly Martin’s wife doesn’t have much of a personality, and even Telly himself doesn’t do too much to surprise me until near the end. Clutch was a well-written character, but the others weren’t as well-developed.

The flow of the writing. The story was interesting, but the writing made it a tad hard to enjoy. The narrative was a bit iffy, with lots of head-hopping, adverbs, passives, and the occasional grammar mistakes. (Though this is mainly me being a perfectionist)

The “Sten” angel character in the book seems out of place, and I had no idea who he was or what his purpose was.

Despite these things, it was a pretty solid book.

 

Here’s a Taste:

Like taking candy from a baby, Clutch Henderson thought. He took a deep pull on his whiskey, allowing the burn to numb him from gullet to stomach. The room reeked of smoke, even though it was not allowed in the main ballroom during the tournament. Overhead, giant television screens focused on two players. Clutch looked up, winked, and watched the camera close in on his craggy face. I still got it. He smirked at his image. He was tall, lanky, and deeply tanned, which accentuated his silver hair and light eyes. Even though he was pushing seventy, he knew the ladies still found him attractive. They didn’t call him the Silver Fox for nothing. Clutch patted the blister pack of Viagra in the pocket of the polyester bowling shirt that he wore in homage to the Big Lebowski, the fictional kingpin legend. Gineva would be picking up a celebratory bottle of champagne right now, as soon as she clocked out at the Nugget. They wouldn’t give her the day off today—the bastards. There was a good chance he was going to make an honest woman out of her tonight…a rich, honest woman.

Clutch shifted in his seat, his hemorrhoids making their presence known. They burned his ass more than the cocky kid sitting opposite him. He looked over to his opponent who was sunk low in his seat, his face swallowed by the gray hoodie he wore. Adam “the Ant” Antonowski, boy wonder, who rose from the ranks of online card games, had beaten out a seemingly impossible one hundred sixty-five thousand players to earn a coveted seat at the International Series of Poker. His pimply face peeked out from under oversized sunglasses. Clutch sneered contemptuously at him. They let everybody play today. The kid did look bug-eyed with those enormous glasses. Adam curled his hands protectively over his cards, his bitten-down fingernails repulsive.

“Rookie,” Clutch muttered under his breath, his lips barely moving.

“Looks like Clutch Henderson is praying, folks,” Kevin Franklyn said into his mike from where he sat in a small room watching the game. He was a former champion turned seasoned sportscaster on the poker circuit, well respected, and the senior of the two anchormen. He was completely bald, his fleshy nose slightly off center on his craggy face, a victim of his youthful and unsuccessful boxing career. He’d made a mint once he turned to poker and had never looked back.

Stu James shook his head. “Clutch could be at his last prayers; this kid is the terminator.” Stu was a tall cowboy with wavy blond hair and mustache left over from his 1970s poker-playing heyday. He looked like a country singer.

“Let’s see if Clutch can exterminate the Ant,” Kevin replied.

They shared a laugh. The sportscasters wore matching light blue jackets with the Poker Channel logo on the chest.

Kevin nodded, placing his hand on his earbud, and said, “Yes, this is it, folks, in case you’ve just tuned in. A record fourteen thousand entrants, and it all comes down to this—the final moments. The rookie versus the pro: it could have been scripted by a screenwriter. David versus Goliath. Adam ‘the Ant’ Antonowski going up against the legendary Clutch Henderson.”

 

About the Author:

Michael Phillip Cash is an award winning and best-selling author of horror, paranormal, and science fiction novels. Within two years, this prolific writer has published eight novels and four screenplays.

When not writing, he loves being with his wife and two children exploring the small villages along the North Shore of Long Island.  Born and raised on Long Island, Michael has always had a fascination with horror writing and found footage films. He wanted to incorporate both with his debut novel, “Brood X”. Earning a degree in English and an MBA, he has worked various jobs before settling into being a full-time author. He currently resides on Long Island with his wife and children.

Find the book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Michael-Phillip-Cash/e/B00CEAC3VS/

Visit his website: http://www.michaelphillipcash.com/

And his official blog: http://www.michaelphillipcash-officialblog.com/

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

Tweet at him: https://twitter.com/michaelpcash

 

Awesome Resources for Creative Writing: How to Structure Your Words

It’s funny how many writers struggle with the simple act of stringing together words in a cohesive, smooth-flowing, clear sentence. The creative part of creative writing is usually the easiest; it’s the nitty gritty that proves the greatest challenge!

I’ve wrestled with far too many sentences to count, as I’m sure most writers have. It can be pretty tough to know exactly how to say what you want to say, in as few and precise words as possible. Thankfully, I’ve come across some pretty excellent resources for polishing my sentence structure:

The Elements of Style This is considered the “Holy Bible of Creative Writing” by many authors. It’s a surprisingly concise reference book with all of the rules of writing, and it is a must-have if you want to write properly. As the book says, “one must first know the rules to break them”.

Attending to Style — This is courtesy of Dartmouth University, and it’s a resource that will help you to make your writing concrete, active, concise, coherent, emphatic, beautiful, and controlled. It’s not very long, but it’s VERY helpful!

Purdue Online Writing Lab —  This is a pretty comprehensive resource, with EVERYTHING you could want to know about proper structure, syntax, and grammar. While it’s not focused on creative writing specifically, it will definitely help you to clean up your writing.

How to Make Sentences Clear and ConciseWant to boil down the rules for effective sentences? This resource gives you five simple rules to follow!

Considering Structure and Organization — Once more courtesy of Dartmouth University, this is a great resource to help you know which sentences belong in which paragraphs–something A LOT of writers get wrong (myself included). The resource is about writing a clear thesis, but it gives you the basic idea of how to write coherent paragraphs. Very handy for creative writing!

Transitional Words and Phrases — Not sure how to transition between sentences or parts of a sentence? This list of transitional words and phrases (but, yet, beyond, after, etc.) will help you get it right.

Using these resources, you can make your sentences, paragraphs, and chapters smooth and well-structured, leading to MUCH better books overall!

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