WWW Wednesday – What I Wish I Didn’t Read This Week

WWW Wednesday – What I’m Reading this Week

The list this week includes new sci-fi world, a satisfying conclusion, a big disappointment, and a ‘sexy’ fun read that wasn’t sexy at all. Read on!

This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. A similar meme, This Week in Books is hosted by Lipsyy Lost and Found.

Why not join in? Just answer the following three questions about what you’re reading in a post and then put a link to that post in the Comments over at Taking on a World of Words.

The questions are:

  1. WHAT I’M READING

  2. WHAT I FINISHED READING

  3. WHAT WILL I READ NEXT

What I’m Reading…

Blurb – In a galaxy powered by the current, everyone has a gift.

Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra’s currentgift gives her pain and power — something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows.

Akos is the son of a farmer and an oracle from the frozen nation-planet of Thuvhe. Protected by his unusual currentgift, Akos is generous in spirit, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get this brother out alive — no matter what the cost.
The Akos is thrust into Cyra’s world, and the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. Will they help each other to survive, or will they destroy one another?
Carve the Mark is Veronica Roth’s stunning portrayal of the power of friendship — and love — in a galaxy filled with unexpected gifts.

My Thoughts – I wasn’t too sure about this one until I remembered how quickly I devoured Divergent the first time I read it. Maybe I’m not as hungry for Veronica Roth this time, because Mark is moving a lot slower. The different worlds and people and languages and currentgifts are a bit confusing, but I’m muddling through. Maybe it would be better if I stopped thinking of the ‘current that run through the world’ like the Force!

What I Finished Reading…

Something new in YA fantasy?

Blurb – Remember, it’s only a game…

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away.

No. Just no. I’m regretting the trip to bookstore than led me to this.

My Thoughts – This is the big disappointment. Huge. And I am blaming myself for part of it. There was so much hype when this book was released; I kept seeing it on all these blogs, so much that I thought this was going to be the next big thing. I remember discovering Hunger Games just before the rest of the world did, and being so proud of being one of the first (in my world anyway!) to fall in love with the series. I thought Caraval would be like that – the next awesome YA series.

Wrong!The premise is great – magic, a cool game, sisterly love but the writing just isn’t there. And again, this is my fault, as well. I’m so immersed in the revisions in Coming Home, that I have my crit partner’s voice in my head – ‘Show, don’t tell.’ Stephanie Garber needs a Nita because she’s ‘told’ the whole story instead of showing us, using pretty,

The premise is great – magic, a cool game, sisterly love but the writing just isn’t there. And again, this is my fault, as well. I’m so immersed in the revisions in Coming Home, that I have my crit partner’s voice in my head – ‘Show, don’t tell.’ Stephanie Garber needs a Nita because she’s ‘told’ the whole story instead of showing us, using pretty, colourful prose that doesn’t do much. I gave this 2 stars on Goodreads, so disappointed that I didn’t leave a review. I will not be reading the second in the series because, frankly, I don’t give a damn about the characters. I wouldn’t have finished the book, but I was so pissed off that I actually went out and bought it, that I made myself. Never again will I fall victim to the buzz of an untried author!

Sexy fun from good NA author?

Blurb – When Grace Sheridan returns to Los Angeles to become a working actress, it’s a second shot at a life-long dream. With some help from her best-friend agent, will that dream become a reality—or at thirty-three, has Grace missed her chance at the big time? And when an unexpected sizzling romance with Jack Hamilton, the entertainment industry’s newest “it” boy, threatens to shine an uncomfortable spotlight on her life, how will that affect her career…and his?

Funny, borderline neurotic Grace is perfect in her imperfections, and the sexual chemistry between her and charming yet blissfully unaware Jack is off the charts. With laugh-out-loud dialogue and a super-steamy romance that will get your heart racing, sneaking around in L.A. and dodging the paparazzi has never been so fun.

Eh. Just eh.

I needed something light and fluffy between deep, dark fantasy reads. I like Alice Clayton…there’s a but here, and I’m not sure what it is. I didn’t love this one, won’t be dipping into the series. Older woman, younger man – you’d think it would be a no-brainer, but there was something about it that I didn’t love. Oh, well. Lots of other books out there.

Conclusion to an epic read?

Darrow would have lived in peace, but his enemies brought him war. The Gold overlords demanded his obedience, hanged his wife, and enslaved his people. But Darrow is determined to fight back. Risking everything to transform himself and breach Gold society, Darrow has battled to survive the cutthroat rivalries that breed Society’s mightiest warriors, climbed the ranks, and waited patiently to unleash the revolution that will tear the hierarchy apart from within.

Finally, the time has come.

But devotion to honor and hunger for vengeance run deep on both sides. Darrow and his comrades-in-arms face powerful enemies without scruple or mercy. Among them are some Darrow once considered friends. To win, Darrow will need to inspire those shackled in darkness to break their chains, unmake the world their cruel masters have built, and claim a destiny too long denied—and too glorious to surrender.

Yes!

Nothing can compare to Red Rising, the first book in the trilogy, but this one comes close. I didn’t love Golden Son, but then I’m often disappointed by second books in the series. But I was happy how this ended and I’ll be looking for more books from Pierce Brown. My only suggestion is that if you haven’t started the series, read the books close together! Much less confusing that way!

What I’m Reading Next…

I’ll need something light and fluffy again after Carve the Mark, and then I’ll dive into the pile of historical fiction on my shelf.

Happy Reading!

 

 

 

Beauty and the Beast

A Beauty and the Beast March Break

Today is a good day!  Not only is it the first day of spring – coming to you in about one minute now! – but my kids are back to school after March break. #amwriting all day today!

I call it a Beauty and the Beast break; not only did we watch the movie (more in a minute) but while it’s lovely being able to spend time with my kids, at times it can be a bit beastly. Two teenagers plus one who wants to do everything they can, no vacation planned, frigid cold snap keeping us inside, and a mother getting twitchy because she isn’t writing – things got a little beastly at times!  But for the most part, it was a beautiful week off.

We started off the week with a bang at iFly Toronto. If you’ve ever thought about skydiving but not sure if you can make the jump, give iFly a try. So much fun! It was the second time for me but first for kids. And hubby did it too!

Beauty and the Beast – the Movie

Little S and I have been eagerly waiting for Beauty and the Beast to hit theaters on Friday. And we were so happy that it did not disappoint!

I’ve never been a huge fan of Beauty and the Beast. Not sure why – the feisty fearlessness of Belle should have been a draw for me. For some reason, Little Mermaid has always been my favourite. But watching Emma Watson as Belle has me converted! In my mind, no one else could have played the part. Like Hermoine Granger in the Harry Potter series, Belle was the perfect role for her.

The other characters were amazing as well, especially Luke Evans’ Gaston. He was almost likable until he wasn’t. Le Fou was a perfect sidekick.

If you haven’t seen it yet, make a point to go. And it’s not just for women – my thirteen-year-old son tagged along and he didn’t hate it!

Watching Spring Springing

I know winter isn’t over, and I know there will be another dump of snow, but I feel so hopeful that spring is on its way! I’ve noticed a few crocus popping up in the gardens and there’ll be more before the week is out. We sat on the porch last night, so I’m pretty optimistic good weather is right around the corner. But maybe I’m just happy that the kids are going back to school! It’s been a good week with them, but today I am writing, all alone in the house! Coming Home is out April 11 (Pre-order now!) and The Best Worst First Date has been calling to me for weeks. But I wanted to show a little love to my blog first, and wish you all a Happy Spring!

 

 

 

 

Happy Women’s Day

I’m forgoing WWW Wednesday in favour of a few quotes about the awesomeness of women!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And finally from my favourite creator of strong women, Joss Whedon….

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Women’s Day and spend the day celebrating being the best woman you can be!

 

Interviewed by The Phantom Writer today

I only know the persona of The Phantom Writer. This is the second time I’ve been interviewed by them and it was as enjoyable as ever!! Here’s what we discussed:

The Phantom Writer 

Holly Kerr

Holly is a full-time writer, devoted wife and loving mother to three gorgeous children. She’s a huge Harry Potter, Star Wars and Marvel fan and a wine lover. She is a fan of historical fiction.  She is not, however, a fan of chocolate. Weird.

 

INTERVIEW

1. What are you working on right now?

Right now I have 3 projects on the go – I’m getting ready to re-release my novelComing Home, which was first published in 2013. I’m changing publishers and so the book will be getting a new cover and a few changes inside. It’ll be out April 11.

Oops, I think I just announced the release date here before my website!

I’m also working on a sequel to The Secret Life of Charlotte Dodd called The Best, Worst First Date. It’s chick lit with a side of action adventure. I guess we can call Charlotte an action chick, and in the sequel our heroine Tenley Scott gets caught up in Charlotte’s adventures, which are a little out of her comfort zone. It will be available June 2017.

My third project is pretty close to my heart. I have 3 kids and they keep telling me they want to read one of my books. Because my books aren’t exactly kid-friendly, I wrote them their own novel, The Dragon Under the Mountain. Now they want a sequel! I was hoping to have it finished for them by last Christmas but the way things are going, maybe I should aim for December 2017!

2. Can you tell us a little something about it? 

I’ll tell you something about Coming Home, because I’m pretty excited about it.  It’s a story about sisters and small-towns and how even though you may love them, it’s not always easy to like your family.

3. What inspired you to write it? 

It was inspired by my own relationship with my sister. Like Brenna and Cat, we’re from a small town, and like them, we did not get along. (Although there was no cake batter thrown by us, there has been mashed potatoes seen flying across the table) After we both left home, any relationship between us disintegrated, until my sister’s divorce some years ago. It was like I got my sister back, as well as a good friend.

 4. What advice would you give to aspiring writers? 

Advice to aspiring writers –Write. Keep writing. Write every day. It’s the only way you’ll improve. And don’t rush it. And don’t disregard self-publishing. Things have changed and traditional publishing isn’t always the end game.

5. If you weren’t an author, what do you think you’d be doing instead?

If I wasn’t a writer, I think I would be working in a book store. Reading other people’s books!

6. If you could have written any book, which book would you have written and why?  

If I could have written any book…that’s a tough one. I would want to write a book whose characters jumped off the page and into your heart, with a world a reader would want to escape to, over and over again, full of history and romance and excitement.

The Harry Potter series is too obvious, so let’s say Outlander, by Diana Gabaldon.It has all of that and more.

7. If you were asked to write a book in another genre to the one you currently write in, which would you choose? Why? 

If I could write in another genre, I’d pick historical fiction. It’s my favourite genre to read, and I love learning about history but as for writing it, I think I’m daunted by the amount of research I’d have to do!

8. To me there’s nothing like a good paperback, the smell of the pages as I read, turning them, that new book smell. But now e-books are growing ever popular. Do you think paperbacks and hardbacks will soon be a thing of the past and something we’ll all miss, or are you a fan of the modern way of publishing and reading books? 

I personally, will do everything I can to make sure actual paper books stay around forever! I publish ebooks, but every one of them (except the prequel to Charlotte Dodd) is also in paperback and I have a copy sitting on my shelf. I agree, there is nothing like the smell, taste (maybe not taste!) and touch of a book. I find I don’t read the books I have on my Kindle! I forget about them. I’d rather see a tidy stack of books waiting for me to pick up rather than scrolling through an ereader, trying to decide what to read next.

9. Who is your favourite fictional character from literacy?

I can’t pick just one favourite fictional character, and I did my best not to pick the usual suspects. (For me that would be Elizabeth Bennett and Hermoine Granger!)

I limited myself to 3, all surprisingly from books with a bit of a sci-fi slant!

* Stuart Redman, from The Stand

* Mark Watney from The Martian

* William, the alien from V

10. If you were trapped on a desert island, what three things or people would you want with you? 

If I were trapped on a deserted island…I should say I would want my family with me, but right at this moment, I might want to be intentionally trapped on an island just to escape from the chaos!! So let’s leave them out of my answer!

Three things I would want, providing I’m not concerned with rescue or survival, but just simple enjoyment:

* A library supply of books

* A never-ending stack of notebooks and pens

* A healthy stock of wine

 

To follow and her work, please follow the links below:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HollyKerrAuthor

Website:  http://hollykerr.ca/

Amazon Author page: http://amzn.to/2l8Qx8f
It was a pleasure to interview this wonderful writer again, I’ve previously interviewed her under her other name. She certainly talented and ambitious. Thanks for taking the time to sit down with me Holly 🙂
Don’t forget to keep a look out for the re-release of Holly’s novel Coming Home, available on April 11th.

Fantastic Fonts

Who knew Fonts could be so Fascinating?

The end is near for my revisions of Coming Home, and yes, I’m getting a bit bored with it. This is a project I thought I could whip together in less than a month. The book was written – heck, it was published! How hard could it be to get the rights back, get a new cover, and get it back out there under the Three Birds Press imprint? Sure, I was going to have a quick run-through, make a few minor changes…

Let’s let one of my critique partners look at it.

Letting Nita loose with it has been both a blessing and…well just a blessing. But this is why it’s taking so much longer.

And will be so much better than the original.

I’ve changed the point of view from first person to third. There was quite a bit of telling with the original story – now I’m showing you how it is, coming home to your sisters. The story is the same, as well as the characters (although I’ve done some name changes) but looking back, I think I’ve re-written most of the book.

This is a good thing. But it’s taken a lot longer than expected.

But that’s not why I’m posting today.

Today is all about Fonts

And if you’re not a writer, especially independent authors, this post will have no meaning for you.

I was happily doing a last check of Coming Home before I send a chunk out to specially selected people for one last look through when I decided to add an email to the story. Adding email or text, anything interrupting the body of text is always fun – what spacings to use, what font, size…

That was sarcasm. It’s not fun.

Sidenote: All of my frustrations and hair-pulling could be avoided by hiring someone to professionally format my books. But that’s an extra cost that could be used somewhere else, and I’ve done a good job with my books so far.

Because I’ve been neck-deep in revisions for…a while…decided to check with the gods of google to see what the best font would be for this email.

There are SO many different fonts available!

I had no idea. Not being a designer, or having any inclination to design, I’ve never considered the variety available. I have my list of fonts on Windows; there are some fun ones I like on Canva.

And there are some fonts better for publishing than others.

Within a few moments, I learned that a serif is the little tags on the edge of letters. Sans serif fonts are best for titles and chapter headings; serifs work well for the body of text.The little tags, or legs on the letters help the letters flow together and improves readability.

I had no idea about that!

In case you’re interested, some of the best, most popular fonts for publishing are

  • Garamond (for thrillers)
  • Minion
  • Caslon (non-fiction)
  • Sabon (romantic fiction)
  • Utopia
  • Georgia
  • Helvetica

For titles and chapter headings, these work well

  • New Gothic
  • Steelfish
  • Aargh
  • Baskerville

Well, that changes things! I had already gone through and selected my chapter fonts – a mixture of Wide Latin and Century Gothic. The body of my book was in Constantia, which if you notice, isn’t anywhere on the list.

After some careful research and a lot of playing around with the fonts on my PC, I just finished changing the font of the book, from Constantia to Georgia. Garamond was nice but didn’t do it for me. I would have liked Sabon, but downloading a new font seemed complicated for a day that was supposed to be spent finishing revisions. If you’ve done it and it’s not that bad, please let me know!

I also changed the chapter headings to Baskerville Old Face, and Candara, which is tag-free and looks nice.

WordPress doesn’t have those fonts available for my blog, so you’ll have be patient until I post the first chapter to check it out for yourself. I hope you do that – I’ll have the cover, first chapter and pre-sale info available on Friday!!

Like everything in my life as an independent author, this morning has been a learning experience, something new to add to my arsenal of what I need to know to self-publish. Now, when I read a book I’ll be paying special attention to the font. And I subscribed to the newsletter for InDesign Skills, for info and special tips needed to make my books look just right. What will tomorrow bring?

Can you tell I’m procrastinating? I just wrote a blog post on fonts! Now, off I go to finish the revisions for the day!!

 

 

WWW Wednesday – What I’m Reading…

WWW Wednesday – What I’m Reading

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted this. I’ve been neglecting my blog in my rush to get Coming Home ready for re-release, but this reading this is getting too long to hold off another week!

I’ve been hauling in the books lately, thanks to gift cards and Christmas presents, but I thought I’d share that 5 out of the 6 books I’ve read were borrowed either from the library or from friends! Sharing is caring!!

This meme is hosted by Sam over at Taking on a World of Words. A similar meme, This Week in Books is hosted by Lipsyy Lost and Found.

Why not join in? Just answer the following three questions about what you’re reading in a post and then put a link to that post in the Comments over at Taking on a World of Words.

The questions are:

  1. WHAT I’M READING

  2. WHAT I FINISHED READING

  3. WHAT WILL I READ NEXT

What I’m Reading…

 Just so you know, I’m not jumping on the Carrie FisherBoba Fett and Princess Leia bandwagon because of her death – I’ve been firmly on board since I first saw Star Wars. I was one of the many fans devastated by her untimely death.

Saying that, yes, I bought this book because it details her affair with Harrison Ford during the making of Star Wars. I would have gotten it anyway because I have her other books, but maybe not so quick after release! C’mon – Leia and Han? IRL?!

What I’ve Read…

Here’s my list, because it’s been a while!

New Futuristic Thrillers with Eve and Roarke!

I should really put J.D Robb on the list of my favourite authors. she never disappoints. The futuristic catch-the-bad-guy books are always entertaining, full of non-stop action and sexy bits with Lt. Eve Dallas and her hubby, ruler of the world, Roarke.

Sci-fi, Romance, insane AI, plague zombies, planet invasions all in one!

Blurb – This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

This was a very cool read. I should use better adjectives, but it is what it is – a very cool book. I’ve never read anything like it and already have the second in the series waiting impatiently for me to pick it up!

Kids threatening world politics, lost princesses – only so-so

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I borrowed the YA Embassy Row series by Ally Carter. I won’t go into many details because I was kind of disappointed. The premise behind the series was great but the writing – the trilogy could have easily be a single book if half of the inane “Are you, okay Grace?” ‘Gracie, are you okay?” comments were cut, as well as all the running going on. Grace never ran anywhere in particular and I suspect the author was trying to imply Grace was running from her problems. I don’t think it was necessary.

Anyway, an easy, fast read. 3 stars for the series. Maybe 2.5

What I’ll Read Next…

Here’s my choices!  Please help me pick one to start!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One last reminder!!! If you’re in the Toronto area, drop in and say hi tonight!!

Happy Valentine’s Day!! Meet Me Tomorrow and a Giveaway!

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!!!

I can’t wait to meet some of my favourite people tomorrow – my readers!!!  If you’re in the Toronto area, join me at the Humber Bay Library tomorrow night!

I’m giving away books!!

And don’t forget, today is the last day for the Rom-Com/chick lit giveaway! Here’s your chance to find your favourite new author!

InstaFreebie Giveaway! 

 

 

 

Going back to Coming Home

Coming Home has come home to Holly

Picking a Favourite

For writers, books are like children – it’s impossible to have a favourite.

When my kids ask who my favourite child is, I always tell them I love them equally and for different reasons.

I feel the same way about the books I’ve written. I love Unexpecting because it was my first published and because of the secondary characters, Cooper and Emma and Brit. I love Absinthe because of the friendship of the women, and the twist at the end (which was fun to write!) I love Charlotte because I found I love writing action sequences, and I love Dragon for my kids.

 

 

I love Coming Home because…

And there lies the problem. Coming Home is the black sheep of my book family. I love it but…

…it has issues.

The History

Coming Home was published in 2013, by Etopia Press. The first time one of my books had been sold to a publisher, which helped validate my new attempt at a writing career. I loved the story – five sisters who grew up in a tiny little town in Northern Ontario; two of which loved each other but really never got along.

I still love the story. I love the characters and the interactions and the fight scene between… (oops, spoiler!)

I dedicated the book to my sister, because after she left a tumultuous marriage, I felt like I was getting my sister back in my life. Not only getting my sister back, but finding a new friend. Coming Home has a lot of personal meaning for me and I was ecstatic when I sold it to Etopia.

Last year, I starting working on finding my brand and all those fun marketing things that authors now need to deal with. I had covers re-did, changed some things around; I’m an independent author/publisher now, so I can do that! 🙂 I looked at Coming Home.

I couldn’t do a thing with it. I couldn’t change the description on-line, drop the price for a sale, change the cover (which doesn’t really fit with my others). My hands were tied, which wasn’t a nice feeling after doing everything myself for the last 4 years! So I started wondering what I could do. Coming Home never really sold well for Etopia. It’s mainly a romance publisher, and my book isn’t a romance. Plus, there was the edit problem when it first came out…

I’m not about to trash Etopia because they are lovely people. But let’s just say I was never really happy with the final version of the book. 

And now…

Long story short, I got the rights for Coming Home back from the publisher! And I’m about to re-release it into the world, under my Three Birds Press imprint.

New cover – same title

Same story – complete overhaul

I wrote Coming Home at the beginning of my career and I have to admit, I’m a MUCH better writer now! I’m almost finished the revisions – I’ve changed the POV from first person, to third, which is a bit of an undertaking. With critique partners now. Sending it to the editor next week. Cover reveal next week, and pre-order date.

I can’t say how much I’M IN LOVE WITH THIS BOOK!

It’s like the first time, all over again. It’s getting excited about a scene or a line of dialogue in the middle of the night, rushing to wake up to begin working on it. I can’t wait for people to read it! I’ll have to do a giveaway. In fact, I’m so happy with my changes that I want to offer a copy (paperback or ebook) to anyone who read the other version, just so they can see how much better it is! (Corinne, are you out there?)

So that’s what I’ve been up to lately. This is why my blog has been neglected. This is why I had to push off any thoughts of a book tour for The Best Worst First Date because it’s not ready! This is why my daughter is mad at me because I won’t work on her Dragon book! Coming Home has consumed me. I planned for a week of quick edits, a read-through by one of my crit partners which has now turned into two months and counting of daily re-writes of chapters. Cutting – I’ve cut so much! But it’s so much better for it.

I hope I’ve gotten you excited about it, too. Because you’ll be able to read it soon! 🙂