Book Reviews

Author Entrepreneur Part II

In my last post you saw how I talked about Joanna Penn’s book Business for Authors and it teaches authors how to be an author entrepreneur. I didn’t read the whole book but I got have half way through it and decided I didn’t want to do all the work it would take to run my writing career like a business. I really just want to write books and stories and share the with people.

She did get me thinking about how I wanted to do this. Did I still want to publish books and try to sell them through self promotion, or did I want to do a site like Booksie.com or inkitt.com where you can share your work with readers and its all free and you don’t get paid. I didn’t know if I wanted to do that. I just hated the idea of promoting my work. I just want to write and share my work.

But at the same time I don’t want to do it for free. Not after all the hard work I put into making a book. But then on the business side. I just think it’s way too much for me. More likely I was probably overwhelmed with the book. I think for my books to even reach readers I would have to do self promotion anyway so that’s probably what I’ll start doing.

I’ll keep you posted on my progress. Take care.

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Book Reviews

The Writer’s Complete Fantasy Reference

The Writer’s Complete Fantasy Reference, by the editors of Writer’s Digest Books is just one of the many resourceful books writers can purchase to help them plan and write the fantasy aspects of their novels.

Out of the books I have read for writers, this is so far the most complete reference for fantasy writers, covering the topics of: traditional fantasy cultures, world cultures, magic, witchcraft and pagan paths, commerce, trade and law in contemporary fantasy, fantasy races, creatures of myth and legend, dress and costume, arms, armor and armies, as well as the anatomy of a castle. Here is a more in-depth look at what the book covers:

In Chapter 1 – Traditional Fantasy Cultures, Michael J. Varhola, talks about feudalism, manorialism, Christianity, the social order, ecclesiastic titles, knighthood, political entities, peripheral cultures and terms.

In Chapter 2 – World Cultures, Michael ventures to the worlds of Africa, Asia, Mesoamerica, Other Mesoamerican cultures, North America, Oceania as well as South America. There are many intriguing pictures from these different cultures throughout this section.
In Chapter 3 – Magic, Allen Maurer and Renne Wright touch on the history of magic, principles of magic, what magic does, ritual and ceremonial magic, secret societies, divination, and building your own magical worlds.

In Chapter 4 – Witchcraft and Pagan Paths, Allen and Renne cover the topics of how to recognize a witch, classical witchcraft, gothic witchcraft, family or traditional witchcraft, new-pagan witchcraft, new age neo-pagans, language of witchcraft, dictionary of terms from witchcraft and magic.

In Chapter 5 – Commerce, Trade and Law in Contemporary Fantasy, Sherrilyn Kenyon delves into commerce, punishments and trade and barter systems.

In Chapter 6 – Fantasy Races, Andrew P. Miller and Daniel Clark bring to us the races of dwarves, elves, fairies, giants, goblins, orcs, half-lings, hybrids, merfolk, trolls, minor races, non-western races, created races as well was individualization and characterization.

In Chapter 7 – Creatures of Myth and Legend, Miller and Clark give us an alphabetical listing of such creatures such as banshee, hydra, golem, gorgons, Cyclopes, dragons and so on.
Sherrilyn Kenyon returns with Chapter 8 – Dress and Costume. Here she discusses clothing materials, colors, women’s clothing, men’s clothing, shoes, children’s clothing, clergy and chastity belts.

Michael J. Varhola returns with chapters nine and ten. In Chapter 9 – Arms, Armor and Armies, he talks about arms, armor, armies and beasts of war. In Chapter 10 – Anatomy of a Castle, he talks about castles and other fortifications, castle life and the siege.

In this book, there is everything a fantasy writer needs to know to create rich detail in their stories and characters. This book will make a great addition to any writers book shelf and will prove invaluable in the years to come.

Book Reviews

Building Believable Characters

The Writer’s Digest Sourcebook for Building Believable Characters, by Marc McCutcheon is one of the many useful resource books put out by Writer’s Digest Books.

There are many building blocks for writers when it comes to crafting the foundation for stories. Creating characters is one of the most crucial elements writers must develop. Without characters, there is no story. However, many writers are uncertain about how to go about creating characters and bring them to life on the page.

Building Believable Characters offers great advice from other writers as well as a character questionnaire. The questionnaire is in-depth and asks the writer to fill in such information on their character such as name, weight, height, age, body type, physical characteristics, race, religion, gestures, skills, occupation and so much more.

After the questionnaire, there is a chapter titled Character Thesaurus. Under this chapter there are subsequent sections touching on: Face and Body such as complexions, skin types, blemishes, eye type, shape and color, noses, hair, facial hair, body types and so on.

Personality/Identity covers personality traits, bad habits and vices, psychological/psychiatric problems, diseases, disorders, afflictions, hobbies and sports, along with a few others.

Facial expressions, body and vocal language includes anger, anxiety, fear, shock, pain, suspicion, guilt, arrogance, disgust, nausea, happiness, love, grief, drunkenness, laughs, etc.

Dress involves clothing such as dresses, skirts, pants, shirts, coats, undergarments, shoes and boots, hats, sweaters, glasses, fashion styles and others.

Dialects and Foreign Speech runs through Southern (US) Accent Pronunciation Guide, British Expressions and Pronunciations, French and Spanish vocabulary, as well as Italian, German and Russian vocabulary.

Given Names and Surnames from Around the World pulls together names from English, Scottish, Irish, French, Berman, Jewish, Dutch, Spanish, Greek, Italian, Scandinavian, Russian, Arabic, Japanese and Chinese.

The last section covers character homes such as adobes, log homes, bungalow, Cape Cod, Greek Revival, Georgian among many others.

I personally have used Building Believable Characters to create characters from my own novels and short stories. The result was having vivid characters whom I knew more intimately than I thought possible. My characters were alive on the pages and therefore generated more emotion from my readers as they followed my characters’ lives throughout the book.

Marc McCutcheon has an excellent book here and I recommend it for novice writers uncertain of where to begin with building their characters, as well as for professionals looking to juice up their characters.

Book Reviews, General Updates

Editing, Reading, Poetry, And Book Reviews

I am amazed how busy one can become without realizing it. Somehow I have attained three editing jobs, reading, writing book reviews, and I have started writing poetry again. As you can imagine this, and being a mom and housewife, take s a great  deal of my time. I wanted to write a blog post to update you, my readers, to let you know things are okay, just that I have been  so busy I am not able to write the amount of blog posts I would like to.

The books I have been reading are Outlaw Salvation by, William Tasch, which is a Christian fiction novel, Bringing up Girls, by Dr. James C. Dobson, Mastering Creative Anxiety, by Eric Maisel, and The Post Traumatic Stress Disorder  Sourcebook, by Glenn R. Schirraldi, Ph.D. A lot to read at once and normally I read a nonfiction book in the morning and a fiction at night and that is all I will allow myself to read. It’s hard when there is so much you want to read about all at once, and hence, I know have four books all started and all being read at various intervals. I am thinking I will have to pick Outlaw Salvation as my fiction book and then choose a nonfiction book for the morning read. Bringing up girls may be the one I finish first. We shall see!

You can follow me on Goodreads for any updates and reviews on these books. Reviews will also be posted on Amazon.com.

A kindle book I just finished reading to my daughter last night was Tyrannosaurus T-Rex: Amazing Photos & Fun Facts Book for Kids About T-Rex (Kids Knowledge Series), by Deutsche Don Juan. I am in the process of writing a review and will be posting it soon.

That is all I have for now, but hope to be back soon and have more regular updates for you. Have a great day! 🙂

Book Reviews

Rev. Robert E. Stoudt’s Valley of Depression, Mountain of Victory

Just a few minutes ago I finished reading, Valley of Depression, Mountain of Victory, by Rev. Robert E. Stoudt. In his book, Pastor Stoudt talks about this decent into depression, which we all know can happen in various ways, but for him, it was due to several deaths happening close together. When you read through this book you will discover how life became hard for him during his depression and panic attacks and what things he did that helped get through that valley of darkness and how God helped him back to the top of the mountain top.

This book is full of insight into the world of depression and how it can change one’s life, yes, even a Pastor’s life. No one is safe from depression and can people of all ages and of any race and in any career. Pastor Stoudt also offers several references into the Bible that support and add to his writing and show, clearly, how God is there to help you through affliction and that afflictions helps us to grow stronger and be more Christ-like, which is what we Christians strive for.

You will also find poetry and lyrics in this book that are a beautiful addition to this work.

I admit, I really felt for Pastor Stoudt in this book, knowing myself what it was like going through depression, and quite a while I was praying to God for help in my own writing because I could not figure out what to write about. When I started reading Valley of Depression, Mountain of Victory it was like BAMB! God had given me my answer. Like Pastor Bob, I too could write about what caused my depression and anxiety disorder and how my faith also helped me through to that mountain top. I could not believe through months of prayer and waiting on God for an answer of what He would like me to do, that my answer would come from reading a book. But that’s just the thing with God. He gives you answers when you least expect it and in ways you never think of. He is full of surprises and that is just one of the things I enjoy about my relationship with God. He never ceases to amaze me.

Above, I briefly wrote about Pastor Stoudt’s book, but I plan on writing a  more detailed review of his book soon. Then to follow that will be an author interview. So please check back in couple of weeks or so for those items.

The next book by an Indie author is The Spirit Keeper by Melissa Luznicky Garret. You can find out more about Melissa by visiting her blog.

I’ll be back soon! 😉