Book Review: Wild Concept By C.S. Boyack

Craig Boyack is one of those engaging people you just love to have around. He has a blog where he talks about real-life things like pruning peach trees and perusing county fairs for pumpkin beer as well as his fiction writing process. His muses stay in his writing cabin which he welcomes us into from time to time. Most of his muses are characters from his books, which he has for free over the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of December; Wild Concept, Panama, and Arson, respectively. I started with his first published: Wild Concept .

Book Review:

X2 is a prototype robot created by a company that makes automations, but X2 is so much more than the typical robot. With the capacity to have human emotions and life-like qualities, X2 becomes Lisa Burton. Lisa has more compassion and common sense than your average human. Lisa is extraordinary in every way. Both a sci-fi and a crime novel, with her unique capabilities and the understanding she is gaining about human behavior, she is sent to join the local P.D. and sets about with her partner to catch a serial killer.

Lisa is an excellent sleuth, but she is also one of the most colorful and endearing characters you will find in a fiction novel. In her effort to be a capable companion, as well as a top-notch robot, Lisa develops the sort of deep and meaningful friendships meant to last a lifetime, and Bunny makes me want to get a cute little rabbit of my very own.

Boyack has a character that has no backstory. There is no history to Lisa Burton, but Boyack takes this thing and breathes a fascinating life into it. Lisa has style, many of them actually, and the fashions she picks for herself echo her adaptive abilities. The supporting characters are as equally well-developed and seem as real as people you would know in real-life, each with their unique personalities and behaviors.

Either Boyack is brilliant or he has done his research…perhaps both, he has Lisa Burton engaged in some complex situations she works diligently to resolve. The novel has a few grammatical errors and a couple of typos, but nothing that impedes the read. The writing is reasonably tight with respect to the story line, but lack of scene breaks make it read more like a stream of consciousness novel style. This was a fun read and exciting adventure. It also offers some room for deep reflection on prejudice and what it means to be different. If you are looking for an entertaining read that will make you think about mankind’s journey beyond the natural, make you smile and make you cry, this is a neat little story to pick up.

4 of 5 Stars

Don’t feel bad, I want you to download my free book

sknicholls:

Another free book!

Originally posted on Suffolk Scribblings:

2ndchance

I don’t know about you, but whenever I see an author running a free promotion I find myself in a dilemma. If I’m aware of a book promotion then the chances are I know of the author, or somebody I respect knows and likes the author’s work. And that’s where things get a little awkward.

On the one hand I would like to download the book. If I’ve heard of the book then it may well be a work I’m curious about but for whatever reason has never made it onto my reading list. It may be I’ve only just met the author and it’s on my wish list but below a number of other authors I’ve met earlier. It may even be a genre or style of book that I don’t usually read but I enjoy the author’s blog. Either way, I’m interested.

But

On the other hand, I’m a big supporter of my…

View original 720 more words

Get ‘em while they’re FREE

sknicholls:

Free Books!

Originally posted on Entertaining Stories:

I rummaged through the basement at the writing cabin until I found my soapbox. I texted Lisa* as I climbed upstairs, “Almost ready?”

“I’m all set. Iris** is on the easel so she can flip my cards. I’ll be down in a moment.”

I placed the soapbox in the main lobby, just right of the easel.

Iris walked toward me along the top rail of her easel. “Do you think this is going work?”

“Giveaways always work in varying degrees. Lisa’s first one went absolutely crazy. Maybe it’ll jar some sales for your book, The Cock of the South.” I walked behind Lisa’s desk and tested the spotlight. Everything was ready, so I dimmed the overhead lights.

Lisa entered, wrapped in a bathrobe. She sat in one of the other chairs and put on her white stilettos. She dropped off her robe and stepped onto the soapbox. She wore a…

View original 774 more words

“Beats” and Attribution

It has been a while since I wrote about my writing. I put Naked Alliances in a drawer after my last edits following my beta reads. I wanted to give the MS time to breathe and come back and do a reread to get a fresh perspective on what else it might need.

One of my beta readers is a professional editor. He did a most thorough edit and made some invaluable suggestions on how to improve the manuscript. I have always had a handle on doing realistic dialogue well, but I have struggled with attribution tags and how to avoid them except in the most necessary of situations where more than one person is speaking. Unnecessary speaker attributions slow down your flow. Unless the speaker would be uncertain, giving no attributions makes for a faster exchange.

He suggested what he refers to as “beats” showing the speakers action at that moment. Eg. Rather than, “I think it’s time we left,” he concluded. Try, “I think it’s time we left.” His brow furrowed, his worry obvious.

There is a chapter where I felt the use of dialogue tags was necessary because there are four women talking and I did not want anyone to feel lost in the conversation. Here is a brief excerpt between two or three of the characters that demonstrates how the tags seriously slow down the read. I wanted it contemplative, yet needed something to indicate which of the four are engaged in conversation:

“So sad about Maria,” Patty said with a sigh.

“Not so sure what she saw in that politician,” Sabrina stated.

“I know what she saw and you do, too.”

“Well he’s hot for you now,” Sabrina reminded.

“He’s just a good time for me. I don’t plan to fall in love with him.”

“Maria sure did. Do you think he loved her, too?” asked Sabrina

“Hard to say. His relationship with her was politically motivated. But I don’t think Maria loved him either,” answered Patty.

“You don’t?”

“She lied to him,” Gail interjected. “She put on the act of devoted housewife and mother for his constituency. She partied with us on the sly every chance she got. I feel sorry for Tim and his loss. More than that, I feel sorry for him that she misled him so.”

 

Here is the exchange cleaned up. It starts with a couple of “beat” sentences and that’s all that is needed until another person joins the conversation and a “beat” is required.

“So sad about Maria.” Patty sighed.

“Not so sure what she saw in that politician.” Sabrina arched her overdone brows.

“I know what she saw and you do, too.”

“Well he’s hot for you now.”

“He’s just a good time for me. I don’t plan to fall in love with him.”

“Maria sure did. Do you think he loved her, too?”

“Hard to say. His relationship with her was politically motivated. But I don’t think Maria loved him either.”

“You don’t?”

“She lied to him.” Gail slammed the photo album closed and pushed it aside. “She put on the act of devoted housewife and mother for his constituency. She partied with us on the sly every chance she got. I feel sorry for Tim and his loss. More than that, I feel sorry for him that she misled him so.”

 

More examples of “beats” added to the MS:

“Jason Pauly, you don’t run,” Richard said while standing.

“Jason Pauly, you don’t run.” Richard was now on his feet.

 

“How long do you do it? A year, five, ten?” Sabrina asked.

“How long do you do it? A year, five, ten?” Sabrina’s voice was venomous.

 

“A lot of folk think bikers are bonkers,” Brandi said.

“A lot of folk think bikers are bonkers.” Brandi laughed and leaned in closer.

 

While best to have no attribution tags, when required, “beat” sentences show an action identifying the speaker when there are more than two and carry the story forward with momentum.

This is where I am today with my progress on Naked Alliances. I have cleaned up most of the attribution tags. I have a few places where I am tightening up the manuscript and minimizing exposition. Then, it’s done.

I would be out on the boat today if the weather was better, but it’s overcast and windy. Not good for boating.

What are you up to this weekend?

Any time for reading, outlining, writing, editing?

Path of a Bullet – hits the mark!!

sknicholls:

The rocket scientist and I are big fans of Ike. This book of short stories will be out just in time for Christmas!

Originally posted on Books: Publishing, Reading, Writing:

You never hear the bullet that kills you … but you can read it!

1452425_789538051092528_2852094718039647750_n

Path of a Bullet, A Collection of Short Stories Featuring Ike by Tim Baker will be released after Nov. 24 in both eBook and print!

I have contributed a story to this book, along with Becky Heishman, Becky Meyer Pourchot, Lockie Young, Ann Marie Vancas, and Gigi Arena. S.K. Nicholls has written the introduction, and Seumas Gallacher provided a promotion blurb for the back cover.

This is going to be a great book, folks! Available just in time for holiday gift-giving, too!

View original

Final day for the Occasional Soulmates 99 cent countdown deal!

sknicholls:

Last chance for the 99 cent deal on Occasional Soulmates!

Originally posted on WHAT THE HELL:

Blue gorilla

That’s right. If you’ve been fence-sitting on this thing, today’s the day you have to act. Occasional Soulmates is 99 cents until midnight PST.

It’s been a successful promotion, but only thanks to EReader News Today. On its own, a Kindle Countdown Deal doesn’t attract much attention, it seems to me; you need an outside push to ensure that lots of eyeballs see it. Luckily ENT isn’t terribly expensive, like a lot of them, but it’s effective.

To ignite one last flash of interest, I’m reposting here Cinthia Ritchie’s interview with me earlier this week on her blog. Hope you like it. Tell your friends. And, as always, thanks for your support on social media throughout this promotion.

—–

Q: How did you come up with the idea for Occasional Soulmates? Did it pop inside your head suddenly or was it a slow tease?

A: It was a pretty…

View original 1,447 more words

Read Tuesday will Launch with Thunder

sknicholls:

Time to add your books if you are an author and get ready to support and browse if you are a reader!

Originally posted on ReadTuesday:

Lightning

SPREADING THE NEWS

Read Tuesday is a Black Friday type of event just for book lovers on December 9, 2014.

Authors can participate for free. Signing up and participating is easy.

Readers and gift-givers just need to browse the Read Tuesday catalog in early December. Find the books you like here, but buy them at Amazon or Smashwords like normal. Except for saving big, of course.

To help spread the news, we have a ThunderClap promotion scheduled for the morning of December 9.

Our ThunderClap currently has a social reach of over 300,000 through 100 supporters (thank you, everyone), with 18 days left to improve these numbers. We have our sights set on a million, and we’re nearly one-third the way there.

What the ThunderClap does is announce the big Read Tuesday sale by synchronizing posts on Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr. It’s easy to add your support (see below).

View original 475 more words

The Subject of Book Reviews

sknicholls:

Luanne at the Writer Site posts frequently about memoirs. She read and reviewed Red Clay and Roses as it is a fictionalized true story akin to a memoir or biography. Here is her lovely review.

Originally posted on Writer Site:

In September, S.K. Nicholls wrote a post on here about the similarities between a novel like her Red Clay and Roses and a memoir. I enjoyed her book so much and eventually wrote a review for it that I posted on Amazon. While I have no memoir review today, here is a copy of my Amazon review for S.K.’s book.

Once I started reading S.K. Nicholls’ roman à clef Red Clay and Roses, I had to be pried away from the book for work and sleep. Her masterful storytelling is ideal for this southern story that, like Faulkner’s, covers generations of customs and politics and changes. She explores the tragedies of racism and gender inequality with a firm hand and a warm heart.

We hear the story through different voices. The nurse who learns the secrets and mysteries of the past tells us the story of the present—what’s “become” of…

View original 203 more words

Book Review: All Hallows at Eyre Hall by Luccia Gray

Coming of age at the Ethel Harpst Home, an orphanage in the North Georgia Mountains, when I first read Jane Eyre at fourteen, my primary focus on that book by Charlotte Bronte was Jane Eyre’s life. Her trials and tribulations facing loss and the strengths she relied on to see her through.

In April of this year, at age fifty-three, I chanced to read it again. I was visiting the cabin in North Carolina. It was raining all week, damp and cold in the mountains. I kept a big fire in the huge stone fireplace in the central room of the cabin and I planted myself in front of the hearth all week and read the book again.

My second reading of Jane Eyre was much different than my first. I saw the relationships between the characters having been through so many life changes myself. The rich and lofty descriptions of time and place were still there, but the characters took on greater depth and their actions were accompanied by deep emotional feelings that were not present with my first reading.

Book Review:

It takes a huge amount of courage and dedication to take on writing a sequel to a beloved classic. To do it well, the author must know, without any doubt, the characters and their motives. Luccia Gray knows Jane Eyre and the people in her life as if she were living among them.

I always saw Jane Eyre as a girl who suffered through a cold, hard life but managed to find advantages in her circumstances that permitted her to succeed. I did not see her at all as a spineless jellyfish, but a young woman who braved each new situation with resolve and resilience.  Her decisions and commitments were born out of a desire to improve herself and to love with complete abandon. Her relationship with Mr. Rochester provided for both. As an orphan myself, Jane Eyre is a character dear to my heart.

In Jane Eyre I had issue with Mr. Rochester’s past when he first took on his relationship with Jane. The way he frolicked with the Ingram girl, others, and the deplorable manner in which he managed his first wife caused me much disrespect for the man. I have often felt those who suffered mental illness in eras past had the cruelest existence imaginable. In All Hallows at Eyre Hall, Ms. Gray empathized through Jane all of my feelings about Bertha, her life, and what I had supposed about her. My suspicions about Mr. Rochester were brought out of the shadows and into the light with each word and I felt Jane Eyre had been somewhat venerated.

With Rochester on his deathbed, Jane assumes a leadership role with real decisiveness and strength of character. Strong and clever enough to manage a huge estate, yet merciful and compassionate enough to find forgiveness, Jane does not wrongfully hold others responsible for Rochester’s misdeeds. Jane’s recent past comes to life with all of its joy and sorrow. The relationships she develops are true to her original character and I believe Charlotte Bronte would enjoy this book. The emotions expressed are nearly tangible, as always, love is blind. Luccia Gray also managed to capture a perfect sense of place and time on the moors of old England and in the sprawling manor home, in the clothes and behaviors of the cast.

Initially the first person multiple points of view threw me, but Gray makes it easy to note who is doing the thinking and talking by her distinct voices for each character and a quick reference with each change. I enjoyed this book immensely and am eager to read the next book in the planned trilogy. There are new people and anticipated new places in Jane Eyre’s life. While All Hallows at Eyre Hall answered many questions that remained with the reading of Jane Eyre, the author also leaves us sitting on the edge of our seats anxiously waiting the unfolding of the rest of the story.

5 of 5 Stars
22035815

Amazon.com

Amazon.co.uk

Amazon.ca