Author Toolbox Blog Hop

Write for You (Author Toolbox Blog Hop)

This post is more of a motivational, encouraging pick-me-up for anyone who needs it. I wanted to share the one thing that I have learnt in my time as a self published author, and that is to write for you.

Why did you start writing? Passion, a creative outlet? Has that changed over the course of your journey and are you asking yourself ‘what is the popular genre of the moment? Do people want to read this? Should I change something I like because statistics say my target audience won’t buy it?’

I’m here to tell you that the only person you need to impress is you. Yes, it is great to get sales and amazing reviews, but at the end of the day, you need to be happy with your process and your work.

I believe that your best writing comes when you stay true to yourself, your beliefs, and your style.

I just wanted to put this thought out there today, and if you are writing today, remember to make yourself happy.


You can check out the other #authortoolboxbloghop participants and their posts here.


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Book Reviews, Books and Me

September Reads Round Up

MONTHLY READS ROUNDUP

A round up of my September reads with links to the full reviews:

Thirst for the Hunt by A.C.Wentwood

14182339_1260611360656945_2041632876_nFull Review: Thirst for the Hunt

I gave this book 2/5. I think the author read Twilight before writing this book.Character decisions were unbelievable, but I did like the weird group dynamics of the lost boys, and in particular, the highly jealous, slightly insane lost girl.

The Last Orphans by N.W.Harris

14012220_1245851038799644_1955197727_nFull Review: The Last Orphans

I gave this book 5/5. Well written, perfectly paced, and action packed. A unique take on the infection outbreak storyline. I was fully submerged into Shane’s new reality and the dynamics of the whole gang.

 

Feyland by Anthea Sharp

14269639_1264856833565731_1283666633_nFull Review: Feyland

I gave this book 2.5/5. Vivid descriptions and detailing of Feyland, but an old concept with little character development. I would have liked to have had more conclusion. This prequel felt more like a long prologue.

 

Grey by Kade Cook

14341454_1270502796334468_2041794031_nFull Review: Grey

I gave this book 3/5. Detailed world building and a vast array of unique characters. The pacing felt a little off, and there were lots of info dumps, but a good fantasy story interwoven with the present day.

Burn the Dead: Quarantine by Steven Jenkins

14328879_1269538459764235_641140964_nFull Review: Burn the Dead: Quarantine

I gave this book 4/5. Some ‘oh my god’ moments within the first few chapters, and it was refreshing to be stunned by simple narrative twists and not just by the gore.

Hollowland by Amanda Hocking

14459917_1281062005278547_317153572_nFull Review: Hollowland

I gave this book 3.5/5. Interesting plot line with some well devloped characters. Some character choices didn’t add up, but overall an enjoyable read. Will definitely be reading the next book in the series.

 

Nano Contestant #1 by Leif Sterling

14348962_1275830002468414_512785584_nFull Review: Nano Contestant

I gave this book 4/5. Fans of the Hunger Games will like this book. Brilliant concept with motivated, rounded characters. Part of a large series. There isn’t a conclusion, more of a cliffhanger to lead onto the next installment, and that is what cost it that final 5th star for me.


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Thrown to The Blue

2nd Redraft Complete

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The second and final redraft is now complete. It has taken a little over two weeks to work my way through the necessary changes. Of course, this was much easier than the first redraft and should have been completed within a week, but September has seen both myself and my hubby turn 30, so I havent been able to slog away and get it done. No matter-it is done now.

high-five

What’s Next?

It has been over a month of redrafts, so now it’s fine tooth comb time. The plan is to get a week’s worth of editing done before I send the first half of the book for proof reading. It’ll be a game of cat and mouse; I shall try to finish editing the second half of the book before the proof-reader gets back to me with the first half changes. Yeah, because plans like that always work out for me- HA! I have to try and stick to the plan that has been arranged, but there is a little wiggle room. I need it, considering I have been having one of these weeks:

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I shall not be adding any more excerpts from here on in. I think I have been pretty generous thus far. As soon as my betas have their copies, I will have more of an idea of a release date, so I will update when I know more.

Can those who have mentioned being an ARC reader leave a comment, and I’ll add you to the list and get back to you- thank you.


Content belongs to K.J.Chapman

GIFs sourced from giphy.com

Book Reviews, Books and Me

Hollowland by Amanda Hocking

Hollowland by Amanda Hocking 3.5/5

14459917_1281062005278547_317153572_n“This is the way the world ends – not with a bang or a whimper, but with zombies breaking down the back door.”

Nineteen-year-old Remy King is on a mission to get across the wasteland left of America, and nothing will stand in her way – not violent marauders, a spoiled rock star, or an army of flesh-eating zombies.

Review:

The world has fallen to Zombies, but small communities and quarantines are fighting back. Remy’s quarantine is over-run, but she escapes on a mission to track her little brother who is ‘sick’ and was evacuated before the zombies took over the quarantine. The narrative introduces a famous band idol, a cult, a gang of psychopaths, and a lion. Yep, a lion.

To kick off, I wanted to talk about characters. I loved Lazlo. The ex-super star is well rounded with healthy doses of flaws. At first he comes across as a loveable rogue, but you get to the truth of Lazlo as the story progresses. However, I couldn’t warm too Harlow. She was younger then the others and irritating. Remy, the main character, was totally kick ass, but far from my favourite. Don’t get me wrong, I understood Remy’s motives to find her brother, but some of her actions felt forced.

I enjoyed the plot line. I wanted a little more explanation as to why the others flocked after Remy. Just because she is brave enough to punch a zombie in the face, doesn’t mean people would follow her blindly and leave safe havens to go with her. Lazlo had his reasons, but Harlow and Blue left me a little stumped.

The zombies were not the usual shuffling and ambling sort, but the fast paced, hungry sort. They even start evolving- working together in packs with some kind of intellect. Intelligent zombies is just extra creepy to me.

I wanted to give this book 4*, but some narrative choices and character development held me back. That being said, it was an enjoyable read, and I want to read the next book in the series.


 

The opinions expressed here are those of K.J.Chapman and no other parties

All books reviewed on this blog have been read by K.J.Chapman

K.J.Chapman has not been paid for this review

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Tip Share, Writing and Me

Crafting Chapter Titles

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Chapters don’t always need titles, but when they do, they can be tricky to craft. My first books, EVO Nation and EVO Shift, are sci-fi and urban fantasy novels and chapter titles didn’t match the tone of the books. However, my fantasy novel, Thrown to The Blue, is split into different POVs, and each chapter is defined by the character’s name and a title. I’ve never had to craft chapter titles before, and it has been a great writing experience for me.

Here are the top five lessons I have learnt as a first time chapter titler.

Write the chapter before you title it.

You can have an idea for the title, but after writing the chapter it may not exactly fit, and you don’t want to have to tailor the chapter to the title. Once you have read the chapter, you can capture the overall tone/ message. You may even find a phrase or quote from within the chapter that works.

Not every chapter title needs to follow the same style.

I noticed this a lot in books I have read of late. The titles follow a style of some sort- perhaps just three words: For example: Sugar and Spice, Gold and Silver, Hurt and Betrayal. If this works for your novel, then roll with it, but please don’t think this is a necessity. You can have some short and sweet titles, quotes, one word titles. As long as the title sums up the chapter, then I don’t think it affects the experience of the reader if the styles are different.

If you can’t think of a suitable chapter title, leave it, and return to it later.

Sometimes a title is glaringly obvious, other times it eludes us. Do not force a chapter title, let it simmer for a bit before setting it in stone. It may even be worth not titling your chapters until your final edit. You can read through the draft with fresh eyes and the titles may jump out at you.

Sum up, but do not give too much away.

This is where it can be particularly tricky to find a suitable title. Summing up the chapter doesn’t mean highlighting the key narrative point in the title. For example: If Freddie is going to die in this chapter, it is best not to title the chapter ‘Freddie’s Demise’ or ‘The Death of Freddie’. This may seem like common sense, but I have seen it done. The impact you may try to make with a certain scene will be dulled by the reader’s knowledge from the title. Finding the balance between summing up and keeping it vague is what I found difficult.

Think outside the box.

This ties in with all the above tips. Forget what you have read in other books. Your titles should be unique to your novel. Just because particular titles or styles worked for another book, chances are they won’t work for yours too. Forget about your preconceptions on titling chapters and work with what you have written within each chapter. It is the best way to craft memorable, interesting titles that are true to your novel.


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Book Reviews, Books and Me

If you like… Cell by Stephen King

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Cell by Stephen King

Blurb: Mobile phones deliver the apocalypse to millions of unsuspecting humans by wiping their brains of any humanity, leaving only aggressive and destructive impulses behind. Those without cell phones, like illustrator Clayton Riddell and his small band of “normies,” must fight for survival, and their journey to find Clayton’s estranged wife and young son rockets the book toward resolution.

Fans that have followed King from the beginning will recognize and appreciate Cell as a departure–King’s writing has not been so pure of heart and free of hang-ups in years (wrapping up his phenomenal Dark Tower series and receiving a medal from the National Book Foundation doesn’t hurt either). “Retirement” clearly suits King, and lucky for us, having nothing left to prove frees him up to write frenzied, juiced-up horror-thrillers like Cell.

The Girl with all the Gifts by M.R.Carey

Blurb: Melanie is a very special girl. Dr. Caldwell calls her “our little genius.”

Every morning, Melanie waits in her cell to be collected for class. When they come for her, Sergeant Parks keeps his gun pointing at her while two of his people strap her into the wheelchair. She thinks they don’t like her. She jokes that she won’t bite, but they don’t laugh.

Melanie loves school. She loves learning about spelling and sums and the world outside the classroom and the children’s cells. She tells her favorite teacher all the things she’ll do when she grows up. Melanie doesn’t know why this makes Miss Justineau look sad.


Content belongs to KJ.Chapman

Blurbs and book images sourced from Goodreads.com

Thrown to The Blue

My Muse-ic of the Moment

muse-ic

My muse-ic of the moment is the song I have on repeat for the second redraft of Thrown to The Blue. The tone of this song is spot on and it is such a great tool to use to fine tune this draft. Anyone who has seen Suicide Squad will have heard this song, and although Thrown to The Blue is miles away from Suicide Squad, it still applies to my draft.

Twenty One Pilots: Heathens

These lyrics in particular ring a chord:

You’ll never know the freakshow sitting next to you
You’ll have some weird people sitting next to you
You’ll think, “How’d I get here, sitting next to you?”
But after all I’ve said
Please don’t forget.

Why’d you come, you knew you should have stayed
I tried to warn you just to stay away
And now they’re outside ready to bust
It looks like you might be one of us.

Content belongs to KJ.Chapman.

Video sourced from Youtube.com

 

Books and Me

If you like… The Lovely Bones

If you like...(1)

 The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Blurb: The Lovely Bones is the story of a family devastated by a gruesome murder — a murder recounted by the teenage victim. Upsetting, you say? Remarkably, first-time novelist Alice Sebold takes this difficult material and delivers a compelling and accomplished exploration of a fractured family’s need for peace and closure.

The details of the crime are laid out in the first few pages: from her vantage point in heaven, Susie Salmon describes how she was confronted by the murderer one December afternoon on her way home from school. Lured into an underground hiding place, she was raped and killed. But what the reader knows, her family does not. Anxiously, we keep vigil with Susie, aching for her grieving family, desperate for the killer to be found and punished.

Sebold creates a heaven that’s calm and comforting, a place whose residents can have whatever they enjoyed when they were alive — and then some. But Susie isn’t ready to release her hold on life just yet, and she intensely watches her family and friends as they struggle to cope with a reality in which she is no longer a part. To her great credit, Sebold has shaped one of the most loving and sympathetic fathers in contemporary literature.

Room by Emma Donoghue

Blurb: To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it’s where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits.

Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it’s not enough…not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son’s bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, Room is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to journey from one world to another.


Content and opinions belong to KJ.Chapman

Pictures and blurbs sourced from Goodreads.com

Book Reviews, Books and Me

Review: Grey by Kade Cook

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Grey (Covenant of Shadows #1) by Kade Cook 3/5

14341454_1270502796334468_2041794031_nAll the truths of her life were born from the promise of a lie. A lie that could change everything. Gabrian Shadwell studied hard and kept her nose to the grindstone in order to live the successful full-life most humans strive for. The problem is, she isn’t exactly human; she can see auras…and she yearns to devour them-she is comprised of the things nightmares are made of. With her eyes opened to the truth of her Borrower heritage, her chaotic journey of self-discovery takes her down a dangerous road when the tainted eyes of the self-righteous Elders in the Realm turn against her. With good and evil before her, she must choose which path she will walk upon and learn the biggest truth of her life. The only difference between a Borrower and a Vampire is hope.

Thanks goes to Rambunctious Ramblings Publishing Inc for giving me a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Review:

Gabrian was living an ordinary working life with a loyal best friend, loving parents, and a good job, but things change for Gabrian in the blink of an eye. People in her life are not who she thought they were, the world is not as it seems, and she is not the human she believed she was.

I am not usually a fan of prologues, but this one really piqued my interest. The story didn’t live up to the prologue for the first few chapters, but it did gather momentum and delve into a unique story line of Vampires, Shadow Walkers, and Mages.

I felt the pace was a little off throughout the book. As soon as I thought something was happening, and everything was stepping up a notch, it was followed by slower chapters full of info dumps. The descriptions of the realms and the different types of people and abilities were detailed and well thought through, and the concept and imaginative aspects involved were impressive, however, I would have preferred to have it shown to me in snippets rather than lengthy dialogue.

I am a fan of large character casts with distinct personalities, and this book certainly had a vast array of characters with their own back stories that interweave into Gabrian’s story arc. I can not fault Cook’s character development, or her ability to narrate well rounded relationships, considering the complex world building that takes place within the narrative. However, the book felt considerably lengthy.


 

The opinions expressed here are those of K.J.Chapman and no other parties

All books reviewed on this blog have been read by K.J.Chapman

K.J.Chapman has not been paid for this review

 

 

Book Reviews

Review: Burn the Dead: Quarantine by Steven Jenkins

book review(1)

Burn the Dead: Quarantine by Steven Jenkins 4/5

14328879_1269538459764235_641140964_nRobert Stephenson makes his living burning zombies – a job that pays the bills and plays tricks on the mind. Still, his life is routine until one day his infected wife, Anna, shows up in line for the incinerator, and Rob must cremate the love of his life.

In a race against the clock, he must find his four-year-old son Sammy, who is stranded in a newly quarantined zone, teeming with the walking dead, and crawling with the Necro-Morbus virus.

Does Rob have what it takes to fight the undead and put his broken family back together?

Or will he also end up in the incinerator – burning with the rest of the dead?

I downloaded this book for FREE from Amazon Kindle

Review:

Zombies or ‘Necs’ are a real thing and normal human life carries on around them. There are even companies that incinerate the Necs- Robert works for such a company and is what they call a ‘Burner’. Infection breakouts are common, but quickly maintained. But what happens when they cannot be quickly maintained? When human misjudgment, or empathy for their infected families, or simple idiocy, gets in the way of the greater good?

Jenkins has a knack for shock- not simply by gore, but by cleverly mastered plot twists. I had only read 10% and I already had a ‘wow, I did not see that coming’ moment. Those moments are not sparse. Throughout the book, Jenkins continually surprises the reader.

The narrative was well paced and all the characters were believable. The range of emotions that Robert goes through in his quest to find his son are honest and his character felt well rounded. His character arc developed narturally, and his fatherly instincts take over an otherwise subdued man.

Zombie novels are everywhere and are full of the usual cliche tropes. This book felt different. I can’t put my finger on exactly why it did because there are some of the expected tropes throughout, however, the narrative felt fresh.


The opinions expressed here are those of K.J.Chapman and no other parties

All books reviewed on this blog have been read by K.J.Chapman

K.J.Chapman has not been paid for this review

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