Loving a Fearful Dog

I’ve had other dogs but nothing prepared me for adopting the frightened and broken spirit that entered our home. A girl I called Raven.

She had been found wandering the rural roads of the South Shore of Nova Scotia with another dog that, unfortunately, was hit by a truck and died. A kindly stranger said that it had taken him over a week of putting food out and talking to her to be able to coax her into his home. Once he had her safely in the house, he called animal control. She smelled faintly of skunk. It was through animal control that I heard about the timid dog that probably would never get adopted because she shied away from everyone.

When I brought her home, she took up residence under a cushioned bench in one of the bedrooms. I would sit on the floor beside the bench, feeding her one handful at a time. That was how she learned her new name.

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WFNS Competition Review of My Debut YA Fantasy Novel!

I’m flying a little high right now.

I submitted my debut young adult fantasy novel to the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia for their Atlantic Writing Competition for Unpublished Manuscripts at the beginning of January. Don’t get too excited for me. I didn’t win or anything and I don’t expect to. They have announced the shortlist for all of the categories except the young adult competition (not enough applicants). The winners, including the one for the young adult category, will be announced in May. [Update: I didn’t win.]

One of the reasons I entered was because they provide an assessment of your writing based on the first 80 pages of your work.

The person who assessed my writing found plenty of things that I need to fix, which were not a surprise since I’ve had similar comments from my critiquers on Scribophile. (You can read about my amazing experience on that site here.) So I’ve been working on fixing those things the reviewer mentioned since I submitted my manuscript in January.

But I wanted to share the reason that I am flying high. The reviewers are only required to read the first 80 pages of the novel. Here is what my reviewer wrote at the end of the assessment:

The story hangs together well and is a fun adventure to read. I couldn’t stop reading it, and really enjoyed the twists and turns. I can see a series of these stories – Reviewer for the Atlantic Writing Competition for Unpublished Manuscripts

Did you see that?  THE REVIEWER COULDN’T STOP READING IT!

Woohoo! I am doing something right!  The other beautiful things the reviewer said:

A well-plotted and involving adventure story, with endearing and well-drawn characters and an exciting story arc.

*I drop the mike and walk off the stage*

29 AAAAWWWWWWsome Photos…

Heartwarming, funny and amazing photos!

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

My Thanks to author, Tina Frisco for sending me these:

How in the world do they get these photos!

Their patience must be incredible.

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Conversations Regarding a Gallbladder Surgery – A True Story

Surgeon: You have a stone of three centimeters in your gallbladder.

Me: The size of a golf ball? Well, I’ve always been an overachiever.


Me: How are you going to get a golf ball through my belly button? You’ll disfigure me!

Surgeon: I’ll have to crush the stone to make it fit.

Me: Crush it? But my friends want to see it. One of them calls it my ‘pearl’.

Surgeon: They don’t allow people to take the stones home anymore.

Me: Well, that’s a shame. I was thinking of making mine into a pendant.


Me: So are you a general surgeon?

Surgeon: Yes.

Me: Like Meredith Grey?

Surgeon: I’ve heard of her. She’s on some show?

Me: Yeah, she’s a rock star surgeon.

Surgeon: I bet she does more than fix hernias and remove gallbladders.

Me: Yeah, once she removed something from a guy that turned out to be his twin. He had absorbed it while they were in the womb. It was really gross.


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Living Planet Index Report in Pictures

Beautiful pictures. Heartbreaking statistics.

ALK3R

Global wildlife populations will decline by 67% by 2020 unless urgent action is taken to reduce human impact on species and ecosystems, warns the biennial Living Planet Index report from WWF (World Wide Fund for Nature) and ZSL (Zoological Society of London). From elephants to eels, here are some of the wildlife populations most affected by human activity.

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The Makings of a Great Young Adult Fantasy Novel | Learning from ‘Six of Crows’

Author Leigh Bardugo

This post is spoiler free.

Bardugo’s writing is original and fresh with fast paced plots, sharp dialogue, dynamic characters and an abundance of conflict. Boy, can she can write! By studying her work, I can only hope that my writing will improve. Even if it doesn’t, I’ve still found an awesome fantasy author.

Genre – Young Adult Fantasy

Back of the Book Quote

SIX DANGEROUS OUTCASTS
ONE IMPOSSIBLE HEIST

The Ice Court had been built to withstand an onslaught of armies, assassins, Grisha, and spies. When Inej said as much to Kaz, he simply replied, “But it hasn’t been built to keep us out.”

His confidence unnerved her, “What makes you think we can do this? There will be other teams out there, trained soldiers and spies, people with years of experience.”

“This isn’t a job for trained soldiers and spies. It’s a job for thugs and thieves.”

This selection sets the tone for the book. You are told that the protagonists are up against impossible odds, and have the added disadvantage of belonging to the underbelly of society. But Kaz is the type of guy who can use these perceived deficits to their advantage by having the attitude, the right skills, and the element of surprise to succeed. Continue reading

Learning From the Book Blurb and First Chapter of ‘Cinder: The Lunar Chronicles’

Author Marissa Meyer

The role of the book blurb is to get the reader interested enough to want to read the book. Book blurbs can be a challenge for writers since they often contain spoilers that the author would rather be revealed as the story progresses. However, the spoilers are usually what makes the book interesting in the first place. If you cannot get the reader interested in the book enough to read it, the spoilers will never be revealed so it is best to give it up in the blurb.

Genre – Young Adult Science Fiction, Dystopian

I love the cover, very eye-catching and beautiful. The red heel is striking, while the mechanical parts, shown under the skin, alludes to science fiction. Next, most potential readers will go to the book blurb.

Book Blurb

EVEN IN THE FUTURE, THE STORY BEGINS WITH ONCE UPON A TIME…

Cinder Book Cover

Humans and androids crowded the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl…

Sixteen-year old Cinder, gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second class citizen with a mysterious past and is reviled by her stepmother. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future. Because there is something unusual about Cinder, something that others would kill for…

The first paragraph of the blurb does a great job of describing the precariousness of life in the future city of New Beijing: ‘raucous streets’, ‘plague ravages’ and ‘ruthless lunar people watch, waiting’. The people of Earth are weakened and on the brink of war. This future Earth sounds like a very scary place and the short sentences accentuate it.

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Rebuttal In Defense of Generation Y

This is so true. Gen Y is the first generation ever that will be worse off than their parents.  Love their sarcasm.

Reblogged on WordPress.com

Source: Rebuttal In Defense of Generation Y

Creating Scary Antagonists and the Anti-Hero | Learning from ‘Neverwhere’

Author Neil Gaiman

This post does not contain any spoilers.

Genre – Dark, urban fantasy

This book was written while Gaiman was writing for a BBC television show of the same name and was first published in 1997. This edition is his ‘preferred text’ and is the first Neil Gaiman book I have read.

Book Blurb

…Slipping through the cracks of reality, Richard lands in the Neverwhere–a London of shadows and darkness, monsters and saints, murderers and angels that exists entirely in a subterranean labyrinth…

Although, the blurb is much longer than what I included above, I found this line gives the gist of the book. This was Gaiman’s first novel and it is the first of ten successful fantasy books that he wrote for adults. He’s also written books for ‘all ages’ as well.

 First Line

Prologue: The night before he went to London, Richard Mayhew was not enjoying himself.

Chapter 1: She had been running for days now, a harum-scarum tumbling flight through passages and tunnels.

The first sentence of the short prologue sets Richard up as the antihero. He is a man who is not someone to take charge or take risks. He reminds me of Arthur Dent in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, a blank protagonist. Is this a British thing? He also refuses to see the facts in front of him because of their implausibility. In fact, one of the best lines of the book displayed Richard’s stubbornness–or more likely, his ineptitude. One of the characters says this to Richard:

What a refreshing mind you have, young man… There really is nothing like total ignorance is there?

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Steps to Writing & Self-Publishing a Book

This is an update to a post I wrote on January 17 called On Step 4 of a Stairway to Heaven… or Space. A strange title for a post, yes. The reason I named it that was because I am not sure of my final destination. I know I am traveling, but who knows where I am going?

Steps in old town

Image via Andrew Griffith Flickr Creative Commons

I am hoping heaven. This would mean my book will be published, marketed well enough that more than just my family and friends buy it, and hopefully people love it–or at least don’t want to throw it out the window and run over it with a lawnmower.

The other destination could be some black hole where none of the aforementioned awesomeness happens.

I’ve made some progress in the ‘heaven’ direction–yay for me–I no longer feel like I am climbing the wrong staircase and will end up lost in space. (I’ve read The Martian by Andy Weir, and I tell you, being lost in space sounds worse than sitting through a small town theater production of Hamlet–the extended version. Ok, so some of you probably love Hamlet and/or small town theater, but I really, really don’t… so it would be very painful for me.)

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What Readers Look for when Buying a Book

Informative post! I had to share.

Tara Sparling recently wrote a couple of blog posts about  self-publishing; namely, What makes people buy self-published books, and What Puts Readers Off Self-Published Books. I loved them both, an…

Source: What Readers Look for when Buying a Book