Rapid Fire Audiobook Mini-Reviews


grave

First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones: I hadn’t heard of Darynda Jones before this book. She’s basically a Janet Evanovich clone with slightly naughtier scenes mixed in. And her writing quality might be slightly better Evanovich. This series is very Stephanie Plum.

Charley Davidson is a private investigator with supernatural abilities. She solves mysteries with the aid of ghosts. She’s got a mystery man hopping into her dreams. Excellent book junk food if you’re after entertainment. Nice and saucy.

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Brighter

Brighter than the Sun by Darynda Jones: a much shorter companion to First Grave on the Right told from the perspective of Charley Davidson’s male love interest.

This one is pretty brutal, but the story is decent. I don’t want to give away too much, but it tells the story of Reyes, who was raised by an abusive man. It runs through many of the events from First Grave on the Right as well as parts of Reyes’ life that didn’t involve Charley.

Do not read or listen to this before First Grave on the Right.

Oh, and the audiobooks are narrated by Lorelei King, the lady that narrates Evanovich books. She always does a great job with characters.

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mcguire

Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire

This one is for 2 books in the Wayward Children series. The wayward children are kids that traveled into fantasy worlds and were subsequently booted from those worlds. They return to the normal world with a lot of damage.

Every Heart a Doorway follows a girl named Nancy as she adjusts to life at the home for wayward children. A murder mystery ensues. As the new arrival, she is first on everyone’s suspect list.

Down Among the Sticks and Bones is the story of twin girls named Jack and Jill. They enter their fantasy world through a trunk and find themselves in a world filled with danger.

Every Heart a Doorway is technically the first book. I listened to Down Among the Sticks and Bones before it, and I’m glad I did. The events of the 2nd book actually happen before the first, and I think the 1st book makes more sense when you have information from the 2nd.

I love McGuire’s writing style. It has this rhythmic fairytale quality that fits the subject matter of the books perfectly. The stories for both are both beautiful and violent. I did find the pacing a tad slow but not intolerable. The books are very short and definitely worth the read or listen.

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The Oddities and Curiosities Expo

Sup, y’all! I have some interesting (I think) things to show you on this fine day.

If you know me well, you probably know that I have a small collection of dead things, mostly bones and fossils. I won’t run through all the fossils, but I will mention the bones: deer skull, bear skull, racoon skull, small jar of mouse skulls/bones, red-tailed hawk skull (which I have not yet cleaned), and a mummified flying squirrel that I’m terrified to try and process.

So when I saw that the Oddities and Curiosities expo was coming, I was in. For the record, I also like weird stuff. I didn’t just go to the expo for the bones.

I took some pictures. Want to see them? Of course, you do. Otherwise, you would’ve stopped reading by now.

So this was the first thing the children and I saw when we walked in.

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Aw, yeah, baby. That’s my scene. #gothgirl4ever As you can see, this fantastic display was for a brewing company.

This next masterpiece was the 2nd thing we saw.

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CAN you feel the magnificence of this, fam-squad? We have a very cool steampunk-style blimp. Let’s get a closer look at the…uh…bottom part? I don’t know what that’s called, but let’s look at it.

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O.M.G. Those are tiny skeletons. Most of them looked like rodents, but if I remember correctly there was at least one that looked like a small bird as well. I wish I had gotten a better picture, but it was a very hectic environment. The place was mad crowded.

Here are a few random shots.

rando 1rando 2rando 3

monkey 2

 

Good times.

We caught a few seconds of a magic show, but it was very crowded.

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We saw many, many dead things, horror-themed art, dolls, jewelry, fake eyeballs on forks. This Stranger Things Ouija Board!!!!!

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If I were a less responsible human, I would’ve come home with this beauty

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or possibly the one caribou skull I saw.

The only thing that really bugged me was the incredible number of dead things. Finding a single skull in an antique store is one thing, but these legions of creatures couldn’t have all been ethically-sourced. I thought about that a lot as I walked around. The number of bats really got to me. So. Many Bats.

I did end up buying a couple of things. I got this sweet mounted cicada.

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I’m not overly fond of the frame. I might switch that out or paint it or something eventually. The children also bought insects. The boy got a wet grasshopper specimen, and the girl bought a magnificent bell jar display with moths and a skull.

I also scored a cool palmistry poster, which I have not yet framed.

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Below is a link to the website for the expo. I will warn you that if you decide to watch the video, you will see a lady hanging by hooks through her leg skin. Me no likey.

https://odditiesandcuriositiesexpo.com/

 

Coupla Updates

Greetings! How are we doing? Well I hope. I am super excited because today I finished the last of the rough drafts for season 2 of my upcoming short fiction series. Including the box sets, I now have 8 months of releases. Pretty cool!

I’m not sure how well the Authors Read Podcast is going to do this year. I’m having trouble finding guests. I don’t really want to invest in advertising because it’s not a profit thing. I do have a good relationship with a book publicist, who sends some people my way, but I’m not sure it’s going to be enough.

I’ve been on a couple of message boards, etc. The requests just aren’t coming in. I have no plans to shut it down, but if I don’t have content, I don’t have content. Soooooo, if you are an author or you know an author who’s looking for a free to publicize their book, here is a link.

BUT even if it stagnates a bit, I will still have podcast content in the form of a second podcast for the short fiction series. I’ll have full control over that beast.

That’s all I’ve got for the moment. Catch you on the flip side.

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Trello for Writing Projects

Hey-o! What a fantastic Tuesday. I’ve been super productive the last several days. I’m back in the recording booth. I took an ever-so-slight…um…4-month(?) break, but it is officially game back on. I’m 16 chapters in and that number will continue to climb. I solemnly swear that I will also get back to my mastering responsibilities, probably this weekend.

BUT that isn’t really what I’m writing about today. Today, I’m sharing a free app that I really like. I should add a disclaimer that the way I use this app probably isn’t the intended use, and there are other apps that are more specific to my purpose, but this is the one I like.

It’s called Trello. It’s actually a team project management app. I do use it for projects, but I don’t have an official team and my projects are stories.

Here’s a sample of what it looks like.

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What you get when you first open the app is a list of your boards. The above picture is a board I created just for you! I can’t put my real ones up because they’ve got titles and character names and stuff, and it’s my super secret clubhouse.

The boxes on the board are cards. Basically they’re fancy lists that you can name and move around and add information to. Below is a screenshot of a card with a little note that I added.

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As you can see, there are some options under the note. I don’t really use those but I can see how they might be helpful.

You can also add pictures and stuff, but I haven’t had a use for that function yet. Here’s a pic of just how jazzy it can be.

trello

I was previously keeping track of all my writing bits and pieces in a document file, which can get kind of long and annoying if I want to check something quickly like a character traits or name or whatever. Trello makes for a nice quick reference.

I did find a similar app called Novelist that’s geared more toward story plotting, but when I tried it, it didn’t feel as free-form as Trello. It kinda had this forced organization vibe that I did not dig as much.

Plus, I can put pretty backgrounds on my Trello boards and that is, apparently, very important to me.

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So, it’s a fun time if you have a hundred projects going on and need to keep them straight. I highly recommend it.

Nuckelavee the Demon

Greetings, internet fam-squad! How are things? Things here are COLD, like literally all the outdoor things. I’m coming to you live from within the polar vortex.

I grabbed a fun snippet from the Indy Star yesterday. These are places that were warmer than Indy on Wednesday.

places

Fun, right? I’ve been hiding in my house since Tuesday evening, which is okay with me. One of my favorite activities is not leaving my house for days on end.

Anyway, today, we have one of THE weirdest demons I have ever stumbled across…in writing, not real life. I really never want to stumble across any demon in real life.

The Nuckelavee originated Scotland’s northern islands, specifically the islands of Orkney and Shetland, with bits and pieces possibly inspired Norse mythology. The Nuckelavee is a pretty baby, described thus: “a head and torso in the shape of a man but with a huge head and a large mouth protruding out like that of a pig. The creature had one single red eye that burned like fire. It had a man’s torso attached to a horse’s back but with long arms that could reach the ground. To add to the horror of his appearance the creature is without hair and skin. A raw body where his black blood could be seen coursing through his veins. Every pulsating muscle on show.” description courtesy of Transceltic.com

Want a visual? Of course, you do! Who doesn’t?

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Image Source

His superpowers included super-bad/poisonous breath capable of poisoning livestock and crops, and he could bring on storms and droughts. Basically whatever bad stuff happened to island people could be blamed on him.

Fortunately for the island dwellers, he wasn’t active all the time. The “Mither of the Sea” was said to keep the Nuckelavee confined during the summer months, so apparently, he can’t just run amok at all times.

One last piece of very important information. If you’re ever faced with one, it is recommended that you cross a river or a stream because the Nuckelavee cannot enter freshwater.

Nuckelavee on Wikipedia

 

 

 

 

New Cover

Hey-o! I have a brand-spanking new cover! This is the first cover that created almost entirely in Krita. I recently switched over from Fireworks and Photoshop because the versions I had weren’t compatible with my replacement computer.

big grace cover with gradient text

The font is called Prida 01, and I’m completely in love with it. I did have a bit of a time getting the gradient text together because I couldn’t find a tutorial. It took me several evenings to figure out. I’m actually thinking of putting together a short blog post about it in case someone else needs it.

Beneath Oceans of Sky is a middle-grade fantasy and is available on Amazon.

 

 

Enneagrams for Character Development

Greetings, internetizens! Soooooo today I have some writing stuff.

In the past, I’ve used worksheets for character development. Basically, you lay out your character traits: name, appearance, stuff they like, stuff they don’t like, tidbits about their past and their family, etc.

Lately, I’ve been looking at personality enneagrams. They give a good idea of how certain personality traits can work together in real life humans, kind of like gears in a machine. There are 9 personality traits according to this system. Here’s a quick peek, courtesy of The Enneagram Institute.

The Nine Enneagram Type Descriptions

1 THE REFORMER
The Rational, Idealistic Type: Principled, Purposeful, Self-Controlled, and Perfectionistic

2 THE HELPER
The Caring, Interpersonal Type: Demonstrative, Generous, People-Pleasing, and Possessive

3 THE ACHIEVER
The Success-Oriented, Pragmatic Type: Adaptive, Excelling, Driven, and Image-Conscious

4 THE INDIVIDUALIST
The Sensitive, Withdrawn Type: Expressive, Dramatic, Self-Absorbed, and Temperamental

5 THE INVESTIGATOR
The Intense, Cerebral Type: Perceptive, Innovative, Secretive, and Isolated

6 THE LOYALIST
The Committed, Security-Oriented Type: Engaging, Responsible, Anxious, and Suspicious

7 THE ENTHUSIAST
The Busy, Fun-Loving Type: Spontaneous, Versatile, Distractible, and Scattered

8 THE CHALLENGER
The Powerful, Dominating Type: Self-Confident, Decisive, Willful, and Confrontational

9 THE PEACEMAKER
The Easygoing, Self-Effacing Type: Receptive, Reassuring, Agreeable, and Complacent

You may notice that not every one of the personality traits is good. That is an excellent thing for writers because that makes it easier to construct a balanced character. Nobody wants to read about Mr. or Ms. Perfect. That’s boring.

A similar option for this kind of info is the Myers Briggs Types. That one offers more types, maybe more in-depth information. Personally, I prefer the relative simplicity of the enneagrams.

If you’d like to read more about the enneagrams, here’s a link to the Enneagram Institute.

For the Myers Briggs Types, here’s a link to The Myers Briggs Foundation.

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