The Page Turners by Deanna Knippling

page-tunrers-coverI normally do not read novelettes, but this one intrigued me. Mention the words magic, grimoire, or sorcerer, and you have my interest. Deanna Knipplings‘ The Page Turnershas a lot packed into forty six pages. I very much enjoyed the story although I didn’t care for the second person perspective. I was lost as to which book belonged to who’s story, but this is short enough that I can easily pick it back up for a second read through. I highly recommend The Page Turners. It is a unique concept that is worth the time it takes to read forty six pages.

Sometimes a book comes out of your soul

You’re taking a train ride from Alabama to the Chinatown in San Francisco to be with your mother, who is dying of cancer. The year is sometime in the 1920s. A white man walks by, carrying a book that slips away from him. He can’t find it…it’s after midnight and the train is dark.

The book calls to you.

It says its name is Jimmy O’Toole and the man who dropped it is a sorcerer. You’re holding a grimoire…although it used to be more than that.

It used to be a person.

You know your mom should be able to work this out. She’s always been into magic.

You just have to live long enough to get the book home to her…

 

Question of the Month – #IWSG

It is that time of month when I address a question from IWSG. June sixth’s question is: What’s harder for you to come up with, book titles or character names? I can easily say that character names are harder.

Titles for my stories and books have come organically. As I write, something just triggers in my mind and there it is. This doesn’t mean I don’t go back and change it ever. Originally I titled one short story, Bob. I liked the simplicity of it, but as I was writing I found it didn’t capture the depth of it so it became, Bob, An Ordinary Man. In the final edits, I still wasn’t satisfied with it. The final? Ordinary Man. Even though the title changed with my restless dissatisfaction with it, it was never stressful. It just flowed from what I wrote.

Names for characters, on the other hand, make me crazy. In April of 2018 I wrote a blog post addressing this very issue. That particular post addressed the difficulties I had with finding character names in The Manx. For any of my characters, I agonize over them. It feels like naming my children. At least when we named them, it was only for two kids rather than the populations filling my novels.

I have links to websites that list bay/girl names, Welsh, Manx, Irish, German, Polish, and on and on. I do rely on ancestry in many cases. It is fun to discover the rainbow of names. When I’m developing a character I have a list of traits that I want to match to a name. For instance, if I have a shy, mousy, female character who is so quiet people don’t know she’s even in the room, I would resonate with a name like Anne, Chris, or Sarah. The opposite character traits bring names like Debra, Monica, or Sheryl to mind.

There are many ways I drive myself nuts coming up with a character’s name. I really need to try and not be so possessive of their names. Just let all the Franks, Marys, Ethels, and Bernieces be who they are. Not every person is defined by their name. Just like anything in writing it all can be changed or deleted.

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This post inspired by:

Every month, IWSG announces a question that we, the members, can answer in our IWSG post. These questions may prompt us to share advice, insight, a personal experience or story.

The awesome co-hosts for the June 6 posting of the IWSG are Beverly Stowe McClure,Tyrean Martinson,Tonja Drecker, and Ellen @ The Cynical Sailor!

 

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Wildmane by Todd Fahnestock

Wildmane - Cover

Wildmane; Threadweavers is a fabulous epic fantasy, with an emphasis on epic. Todd Fahnestock’s wordsmithing painted a world that I could touch and smell. I was captivated from the first page to the last.

Mirolah wants a quiet life, but the villagers in her town will kill her if they discover the truth. She is a magical threadweaver, the first to surface in three hundred years.

Long bereft of magic, the human lands are dying. Humans are devolving, and their culture is crumbling. Their legendary protector, the demigod Wildmane, has given up on them.

When a monster sent for Mirolah slays her adopted sister instead, Mirolah is pulled into a quest to bring Wildmane out of his self-imposed exile and restore magic to the lands. Undead threadweavers rise to stop her and cage Wildmane. To beat them, she must learn more about herself and threadweaving than she thought possible, more than the greatest threadweavers of a bygone age. And she must do it quickly…

There was one small exception that I had trouble with….

****Possible spoiler alert!!! STOP READING if you don’t want to know******

Wldmane is a great character. He is a man lost in black despair over losing the love of his life, but it reached a point of being too whiny. As a result I had less respect for this character through the rest of the story. Not every reader will have this hang-up, but it stayed with me and took away from the power of the book.

With that said, I still highly recommend this book. If you are an epic fantasy fan, this will definitely satisfy. Fahnestock has invented a world you will want to revisit, and when Book 2 comes out, June 19, 2018, I will be one of the first in line to purchase it.

Writer’s Block?

Imagine yourself with a clean sheet of paper in front of you. You have to write a short story about something, but no matter how long you stare at that crisp white piece of paper you have nothing. Zip. Ziltch. Not one word comes to mind.  What do you do? How do you get over the initial panic that comes with every new moment that a story won’t come to mind? You could throw your computer out the window and swear off writing, or maybe just get comfortable with yourself and do some brainstorming.

This morning, I met with several fellow writers and we talked about brainstorming and the techniques we each use to get or mojo flowing.  It was interesting that each of the five people had their own unique way to brainstorm.  Therefore, you too should look at each of these as an idea for you to mull over and in the end come up with a formula that works for you.

  • Look for intense moments from your life (or someone else’s): This can be a tough one depending on the situation. Some events in life are better left in the past, but some of them can make for a great scene, short story, or book.
  • Ask questions: Get out a sheet of paper and a pencil. I like pencils because they seem to be more connected with the paper. Plus, pens are too permanent – you can erase pencil. Getting back to your paper…. When a question pops into your mind write it down. Don’t take the time to answer it, yet. Keep writing them down until your mind feels empty of them. Now, go back and answer them.
  • Play with your attractions: What sort of things attract you? Do you love wine, bookstores, plants, hiking, rock climbing, or knitting? Any one of these are potential subjects.
  • Use pre-printed idea cards: Let’s say you are listening to the news and you hear a n odd story that you think would be interesting to write about. Jot it down on a note pad or an index card. These will become your idea cards.
  • Online themes: there are plenty of websites and social media that provide writing prompts, contests, and games. Writers Digest, Penguin Random House, and Creative Writing Prompts are just a few that I use when I’m stuck.
  • Word dumps: sit down and just write nonsense words. Keep writing them until you feel the flood gates open. Put them on index cards. This turns your word dumps into idea cards.

One of the keys to be successful in these exercises is to stay away from your computer. Handwritten words are powerful. There is a connection between your hand and your brain that isn’t present between the computer and your brain. According to an article in Time, “… creative people have greater connectivity between these brain networks that tend to work in opposition in most people. This messiness of creativity at the neurological level mirrors its real-life complexity.”

Creative minds like a little bit of disorganization. Handwriting is one way to provide it. Scribbling up the margins, scratching out mistakes, flipping the page over to write upside-down all contribute to a wonderfully, messy, creative mind. Next time you’re stumped for words, grab a piece of paper, napkin, or the palm of your hand and start writing. Your mind will do the rest.

A to Z Challenge – Reflecting Back

What a month April was for the A to Z Blog Challenge. I did write a blog post everyday during the challenge and worked out a few kinks for my book (that was a big bonus for me). You, my followers also got a peek into The Manx and learned about the Isle of Man. I hope you go visit one day; I know I will.

The challenge was also about marketing and spreading the word around about the challenge and about my blog, K.J. Scrim, Writer. Looking at my stats I did get a big bump in readership for the month. I came out with 260+ visitors during the month whereas a normal month is about 35.

The comments were a little lagging, but I enjoyed those who took the time to say something. Thank you.

I understand that the more who people interact with your blog (through comments) the higher your algorithms bump you up in status. With over two hundred participants in the challenge I was expecting more. I did blog hop to at least 5 new blogs a day, but it did get a little too much to try and comment on everyone of them so I understand why that part didn’t work out as well.

All in all, I had a great time doing the A to Z Challenge. It got me writing everyday. It got me thinking about my book and working out those lose ends. The real bonus? It introduced me to a few blogs that I would have never known about before. Will I do it again next year? I plan on it. Until then, enjoy this blog as it will be a little more active than it has been in the past.

SURVIVOR!!!!

Lavender Blue

Michelle Crystal’s debut novel is one I would recommend. You will find yourself laughing and crying as you turn page after page. It is a story of one woman’s journey from tragedy to recovery through her connection with the past. It is wonderfully written, painted with beautiful metaphors, and an easy read. Now all I need are recipes! 🙂

Lavender Blue Cover

Lavender Blue By: Michelle Crystal

From Amazon:

We’re Murdocks. We can do hard things.
Rachel Tate enjoys an idyllic life and attentive, handsome husband. Three healthy, beautiful sons, and a comfortable lifestyle, but when disaster strikes, she stands to lose it all. Rachel, a former lawyer turned stay-at-home-mom, struggles to make sense of her new life, find a path to happiness, and gain peace of mind.

Attempting to heal her familys deep emotional wounds proves more difficult than Rachel ever anticipated. Surprising repercussions follow their insurmountable tragedy, leaving Rachel drowning in grief, self-pity, and doubt.

As a favor to her mother, Rachel assists in cleaning out her ailing grandmothers home. There, she stumbles upon journals from the late 1800s, authored by her great-great-grandmother, Anna Murdock Pierce. The two women exist centuries apart, but seem to live nearly parallel lives. As Rachel grows in the knowledge of her ancestor, she begins to accept herself. But will learning about the past bring insight to Rachels presentor will the daunting trials she faces get the best of her?
Past, present, and future collide on Rachel’s journey to understanding.

 

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Full Disclosure: I read this book as it was being written. I am friends with the author and part of a writing group with her. My copy of the book was purchased (both paperback and Kindle versions).

What Season is More Productive?

I have never had this question posed to me. When do I write the most? I have never paid very much attention to my productivity in the past, but I can say that this year I have written more the first half of 2018 than any other time I can remember.

The first burst came in February for the 28 Days of Writing Challenge. It is hosted by Leap into Writing and your’s truly, me. I started this challenge about three years ago because I liked my sanity…NaNoWriMo is in November. Really? For me, this is one of the worse months of the year. I can easily say that November and December are zero-productive months so NaNo was out.

On the other hand, February is one of the most boring months of the year, and it’s short. Leap into Writing was born during the last Leap Year, along with 29 Days of Writing. (Obviously, every other year is 28 days so I renamed it the next year). This challenge is to write every day of the month. No days off allowed. Write as many words as you can and you’re golden. We also do weekly challenges (Word Wars is my favorite) to get the word counts up, along with writing prompts to get the creative juices flowing.

A second burst came in April with the A to Z Writing Challenge. This just finished up a couple of days ago, and I now have 26 blog posts more than I would have had without it. I enjoyed trying to come up with a blog subject based on a letter of the alphabet, and I hope you enjoyed reading them too.

Last, a big inspiration for this time of year is Pikes Peak Writer’s Conference. PPWC is always an inspiration and a great way to kick off the summer to write. If you are a writer, I encourage you to attend a writing conference near you (or take a vacation and travel to one far away). Here are just a few suggestions:

I’m sure there are many, many more. If there is a conference you love to go to please list them in the comments below.

For now, I am in the most productive stage of my writing career. I am excited! What about you?

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This post Inspired by:

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

Our amazing co-hosts for the May 2 posting of the IWSG are E.M.A. Timar, J. Q. Rose, C.Lee McKenzie, and Raimey Gallant!

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