Posted in tests, who why where how

Me and Oprah!

I_Am_So_Me-logo

As I may have mentioned before, I have a curious need to keep testing myself in a variety of on-line quizzes, polls and the like.

Last week I did Carl Jung’s Personality test, the results of which implied I might ‘grow up’ to be a writer or a counsellor. It uncovered a desire to seek justice, by whatever means and to stand up for my beliefs. These traits have – strangely enough – manifested themselves in the main character of my WIP.  I say strangely enough, as  the main character is very much based on my own life – in parts (I haven’t poisoned anyone, or even been regressed – but there are many similarities) Which leads me to believe that there may be some subliminal underbelly of truth attached to these tests.

This week, I came upon another test – by Dr Phil – designed to show how other people actually perceive you. He did the test with Oprah and she scored 38 points. So, you can assume from the title of the article that my connection with Oprah is just a tenuous as that – yep, I scored 38 too.

The results speak for themselves, and once again seem to be fairly accurate (if I say so myself!)

38 points

Who knows what I might discover next time?

In the meantime, try the test for yourself, leave a comment to say how you scored. Does it ring true for you?

Posted in books, cover reveal

Cover Reveal: The Earth Bleeds Red by Jackson Baer

Exciting times ahead for Jackson Baer as his first novel,

The Earth Bleeds Red

is due to be published in October 2013 with Pandamoon Publishing.

Today he is revealing the cover of his book, and offering other authors the chance to win prizes at the Pandamoon party on Facebook.

For more info check out his site: Jackson Baer

The Earth Bleeds Red Cover

Blurb:

Scott and Jessie are a couple in love. Ashley, their only daughter, is 17-years old and has vanished; leaving behind nothing but a pool of blood. Her strange disappearance is quickly thought to be a homicide. Her cozy, northwest town is stunned when police find the body of another girl at the bottom of the Willamette River. The eerie signature found on the girl links to a monster dubbed the Hail Mary Killer. While Scott searches for Ashley, the FBI feels convinced that she is the killer’s latest victim.

For lovers of literary suspense, then go take a look, join the party and tell your friends.

Best Wishes Jackson, and lots of luck with your book!
Posted in NaNo, Why write, writing

Is writing in my DNA?

Does our genetic make-up determine whether a person will be a good writer or not? Is there any scientific proof to explain why some people write whilst others paint, sing or dance?bio_dna

As a late bloomer in the writing world, I always thought I could write a book, (doesn’t everyone?)  but never really thought that I would. Left to my own devices, I probably would still be day-dreaming about it, rather than actually doing it.  If I hadn’t seen the NaNo challenge last year – to write 50,000 words in 30 days – I doubt I would have even contemplated the idea of really writing something.

But 10 months on , those 30 days are long since gone …and I am still writing (or should I  say learning to write?) NaNo opened a huge can of worms for me, setting my imagination free, letting me just make stuff up, toss absurd ideas around and then throw them altogether into a weird, wonderful story.

I still struggle with the idea of being a writer, as yet my only publications are articles written for others. My own NaNo book is written and I hope to publish it early next year. Maybe then I’ll feel more confident in calling myself a proper writer, or should that be author?

I can definitely call myself a rambler though, having just wandered off course massively! Anyway, back to my original question – Is writing in my DNA?

I recently took the Jung Typology test (just out of curiosity, of course, plus I liked taking tests….yeah, I know – weird!!)  The results were pretty accurate, much to my surprise.

“Beneath the quiet exterior, you hold deep convictions about the weightier matters of life.  You gravitate toward a role for the cause, not for personal glory or political power.

You are a champion of the oppressed and downtrodden. You may fantasise about getting revenge on those who victimise the defenceless. The concept of ‘poetic justice’ is appealing to you.

You are accurately suspicious about others’ motives, and are not easily led. Though affable and sympathetic to most, you are selective about your friends. Such a friendship is a symbiotic bond that transcends mere words.

You have a knack for fluency in language and facility in communication. 

Writing, counselling and even politics are areas where you will frequently find your niche.”

My NaNo book, which I started last November is the story of revenge against brutality and corruption, where poetic justice is most definitely on the cards.  My main character seeks retribution against a ‘friend’ who has betrayed and lied to her and others.  When the legal system fails them, she exacts revenge in order to get justice. Her reward is not personal glory, merely that wrongs are put right and the victims are vindicated. (Sounds familiar eh?)

When I am not writing, my ‘day’ job is as a translator and teacher of Spanish. (rings a bell too)

Is this all pure poppycock? Or is there really some solid foundation here?

Was I meant to write this story?  Is this my destiny?

Who knows….is there another test to answer that?

A polygraph maybe in twelve month’s time?

Posted in books, review

A mind-altering read…

Remnant truths

William D. Colella

remnant truths

Another book review, but this time more than just a story, this book is an education all by itself – LOVED IT!

Rating 4,5

Genre: Thriller/Sci-Fi

Summary:

On the heels of a breakup with her fiance, pharmacology graduate student Candice Lamont discovers an ancient process to reveal hidden truths and facilitate the sharing of human memories, a process that utilizes remnant traces of fossilized medicinal flora found only in select areas of the southwestern desert. The visions she’s had as a result reveal things about her former fiance, a prior boyfriend named Justin, and her best friend, Brenda, who is a journalist working the political beat for a newspaper in Los Angeles. Candice sets out to acquire more evidence about the process of revealing hidden truths, a journey which takes her to the northern reaches of the Sonoran Desert and a small town built near a mysterious fossil excavation site. Candice soon learns more than she ever wanted to know about her friend, former lovers, corporate corruption, and the unsettling changes she must make in her own life to grow and succeed.

Setting:

In a town that doesn’t exist on the GPS, where all communication to the rest of the country is monitored and controlled, a scientific research facility works on techniques to read the memories of others, without their permission, under the guise of helping psychologically damaged individuals. Linking the worlds of paleontology and pharmacology with psychology , this story is, at times, heavy on terminology, but it is so well described that you can follow the plot effortlessly. Admittedly, you can learn a thing or two here, but the overwhelming desire is to work out the mystery that is causing all of the inhabitants to fall sick.

Writing:

There are some long paragraphs in this story, and the level of detail is incredible, leaving the reader breathless in more ways than one.  The characters are well-defined and believable. Although at the outset it is sometimes difficult to empathize with the characters, as the story develops so do their personalities. The style of writing is very effective, lurching from witty to sad and frequently to threatening and tense. The pace picks up speed in the second half and left me racing to the end.

My thoughts:

I totally enjoyed this book, the revelation of what was actually happening in this town was a slow-burner, the author drip-feeds several hints to cause doubt and confusion. When the truth is made known, the reality is all too believable, and therefore scary. A good tale, when the bad guys get a taste of their own evil brand of medicine, yet it still leaves me with a sense of foreboding that somewhere in the world, these thought-readings skills are being developed, for all of the wrong reasons.

I would definitely recommend this to anyone who loves psychological mysteries. But you knew I was going to say that, didn’t you?

Posted in books, criticism, critique, learning, review

Being critiqued is not for the faint-hearted.

Ever had that dream where your teeth fall out?

criticism

Where you open your mouth to talk only for all of your teeth to tumble out, leaving you spluttering  in shock and hiding your face in your hands in disbelief.

It’s said to be a sign of anxiety or stress, generally during a time of transition and radical change in a person’s life.

Could it be a sign that changes are afoot? Who knows?

My most recent bout of anxiety came about this weekend, as I finally uploaded a few chapters of my book for critique.  Being the first time that anyone – and I mean anyone – has seen my written efforts, you can imagine the extent of my anguish.  (well, I can talk the talk, but now it was time to walk the walk!)

Thoughts of self-doubt rose to the fore as soon as I hit the ‘go live’ button. What if no-one sees it? Or worse still, what if they really slate it?

I am using the authonomyTM site –  “a brand new writing community site for writers, readers and publishers, conceived and developed by book editors at HarperCollins.”  I’ve read a few of the books on the site already and am really impressed at the standards. Some even get picked up by traditional publishers and many others are Indie authors using the self-publishing route.

My intention was to just upload a couple of chapters and see how they fared. Depending on the feedback, I then had two options:

Plan A – assuming the worst, I would simply disappear off the face of this virtual world. Change my name by deed poll and abandon all thoughts of writing. Maybe take up painting or pottery! Get dentures!

Plan B – looking on the positive side, accept all criticism with grace, work on improving  my writing and persevere.

A few hours later, I got a message telling me that someone had left a comment for me. Now it was time to face the truth. So, what did I do? I went to bed and buried my head under the duvet! (In all fairness it was 11.30pm!) I totally bottled it, and spent the next few hours tossing and turning, convinced that my writing career (!!!) was over before it had even begun.

I am a skilled procrastinator, although I see it as preparing myself for any eventuality. Even when I got up this morning, did I check my messages? Oh, no, not me! I went for a walk with the dogs, a longer one than usual (after checking all of my teeth were still intact, of course). I don’t like bad news, I don’t handle criticism well, but it is a necessary evil and something I need to accept and manage better.

I eventually plucked up the courage to read the comments left.

“A most unusual story which has shades of Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls in terms of the Spanish War hook, and a general sense of time travel excitement when the main character, Suzy Kendall becomes transported back to medieval Spain via the Nasrid Charm. The plot flows smoothly and with ease and it is easy to become empathetic to both Suzy and a menagerie of her friends and relations. Should do well on Authonomy. High stars and Watch-Listed. Possible bookshelf candidate when complete.”

Why oh why didn’t I read that before I went to bed? I could have saved myself from that darn dream and a restless night!

Looks like the dentures are on hold for the time being. Plan B wins the day (for now!)

Posted in Author, Spanish, Spotlight

Author Spotlight: Cinta García de la Rosa (ft. Little Nani)

If you’re looking for a great children’s book, then look no further!

The funny adventures of Little Nani

Cover with seal

Cinta García de la Rosa

Blurb:

Little Nani is a little girl who likes helping people. However, when she helps people the results can be a bit unexpected. Why is that? Little Nani is a witch! Or at least she wants to be a witch. With her magic wand, she will try to cast different spells to help her friends, but she won’t be successful all the time.

Follow Little Nani in her funny adventures and meet her extraordinary friends. Funny ostriches, horses that love reading, super-fast turtles, grumpy zombies… Little Nani has lots of friends! You can also draw your own characters!

Little Nani is willing to become a good witch. Will she manage to do it? Who knows? Read the stories and discover what happens next!

Available here:

Amazon US      Amazon UK     Createspace    Smashwords

About the Author:

CintaAuthor

Cinta García de la Rosa is a Spanish writer who has loved the written word since he discovered she was able to read books at age 5.

Since then, she has become a bookworm and reads around 100 books every year.

She also writes, every day, compulsively, even in the middle of the night. You cannot control when inspiration hits you, can you?

She writes in English because she is convinced that in a previous life she was British, so writing in English feels more natural to her than writing in her native language.

Yes, she is crazy like that. Cinta García is the author of “The Funny Adventures of Little Nani”, a collection of short stories for children, and “A Foreigner in London”, a short story published on Smashwords.

Catch up with Cinta here:

Twitter      Facebook     Goodreads      Amazon       Smashwords      Website     Blog      Pinterest      Tumblr

And the last word goes to ……Cinta!

Hello, everyone!

Since I published my book “The Funny Adventures of Little Nani” almost one year ago, I couldn’t imagine that my book was going to suffer so many changes. First, one day I decided that I didn’t like the cover any more; it was boring and I wanted it to be eye-catching so it could make children feel attracted to it. So my boyfriend, who is an amazing illustrator and writer, Mark Stone, designed a new cover for my book. So I had a lovely new cover for my book. Yay!ibdbadge

However, once I had the new cover, I also thought that maybe the inside of the book should also suffer some renovations. So I made it go through a new round of edits and I changed a bit the design of the pages. I will just say that the first edition of my book had empty boxes so children could draw their own illustrations. In the second edition I deleted those boxes, but I added new things. I won’t tell them here… You should buy a copy and discover them by yourself *winks*

Once I was completely happy with my book, I started presenting it to the world, and I also started getting new reviews. And that’s how I got the seal that my book sports now on its cover: the amazing site Readers’ Favorite reviewed my book and rated it as a 5-Stars Read, and they gave me the seal. Almost on the same week, my book was chosen Indie Book of the Day by the site of the same name.

All those are happy news that I wanted to share with all of you. Please, consider reading my book and leaving a review. Even if it is a 1-star review, it will be useful, because it will let me know how to improve in future books. Thanks!

Posted in books, fun, review

Once more unto the breach, dear friends

You may have guessed already that this post is another book review. There are only so many times I can write that as the title, so this time I thought I’d plagiarise Shakespeare! (Aim high, dear friends!)

Murder Strikes a Pose

Tracy Weber

Rating: 4

Due for publication: Jan 2014

murder strikes a pose

Summary:

Kate Davidson is a struggling yoga instructor, her business needs a boost and her personal life is under constant attack from her best friend’s hopeless attempts at matchmaking. When a homeless guy pitches up outside her studio to sell newspapers, his oversized German Shepherd, Bella, soon becomes a nuisance and sees Kate’s customers drift away. To resolve matters, Kate befriends the man, George, and is intrigued by his lifestyle choice. Soon after, Kate finds George dead, in the car park near her studio and takes Bella in until his family are informed. She assumes they will accept Bella with open arms, but is sadly mistaken. Kate also begins to question the police investigation, convinced that George was not just the victim of a drunken fight. With the best of intentions she decides to both solve the mystery of George’s death and find a new home for Bella, who has now developed a hatred for men with beards.

Writing:

This is a well-paced read, the story flows along well and there is plenty of humour and wit in the plot and dialogue. Interspersed with yoga references and Zen-like aspirations, this is an easy book to read and would appeal to a wide audience. The attention to detail – regarding yoga and Bella’s disease – is just right and not at all overwhelming. Some characters are slightly two-dimensional, leaving the reader to create their own back story, but given that this is a fun book, then that works fine.

My thoughts:

As a dog lover, this was already a winner before I began reading it. My heartstrings were pulled in all the right places as Kate endeavoured to control Bella and was left to clear up the havoc that she created everywhere. I learnt a few things from this book: firstly that yoga is really self-inflicted torture with bells attached and secondly, that the dog will win every time! A very enjoyable read.