Ramblings of a Young Aussie Writer

A writer lost in her own imagination

The First Chapter — February 17, 2017

The First Chapter

Kindle and Apple ibooks have free eBook samples of many books and personally, I think it’s a fantastic idea. From a reader’s perspective, this is a great way to see if a book appeals to your interest before buying it. From an author’s perspective, I’d say this would put a lot more pressure on them to write a first chapter that will ensnare the reader into the story you’ve created.

For those who have had books traditionally published, they’ve already had to impress the publishing company to get their book published. The problem with that, is impressing a few people is a whole world different to impressing millions of people worldwide.

Without these free first chapter samples, the most important part was writing a blurb that would entice people to buy your book, especially on the eBook front. With these free exerts, the first chapter needs to be almost as good as the blurb but no pressure or anything.

On a positive note for authors, at least if someone reads the sample and decides the book is unappealing to them, they won’t be leaving a one star review.

Naturally, a fantastic first chapter doesn’t ensure a great storyline but hey, at least the first chapter was great.

Of course when it comes to print books, well, if the cover is great then at the very worst it will look good on your bookshelf.

 

 

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Glimmerglass – Jenna Black 3.5 Star Review — March 29, 2015

Glimmerglass – Jenna Black 3.5 Star Review

Glimmerglass (Faeriewalker #1)

Jenna Black

3.5 Star Review

I picked this book up because it rated well on Goodreads and the blurb looked interesting. It didn’t quite live up to that rating for me, unfortunately.

Glimmerglass - Jenna Black Cover

Positives I believe first impressions count and the cover of this book was certainly beautiful and intriguing. The storyline started off well and it was easy to empathise with Dana as she battled through teenage life with the extra burden of her mother constantly being drunk. I liked Dana’s character although I felt the reader wasn’t given enough of a description of appearance. She seemed like a responsible teenager whose motives were mostly plausible which made for a nice change from many other protagonists. Ethan was also a cool character and his sister Kimber was freshly honest. The story certainly had potential and I did enjoy reading it but the ending was its biggest downfall.

NegativesThere were a lot of things that weren’t explained and I felt it was assumed that the reader understood many concepts without any explanation at all. With a few of the characters, their motives didn’t quite fit or were hard to grasp. The ending was fairly rushed and anticlimactic. For all the build-up, I honestly expected more.

Overall The book was a nice length and had hardly any unnecessary scenes. I did enjoy reading about most of the main characters and the storyline had potential. Unfortunately it didn’t quite eventuate into anything fantastic but for a quick read it was entertaining. I gave this book 3.5 stars as I enjoyed it but it didn’t really impress me and certainly didn’t have any kind of impact on me. When I finish a book, I want to be left feeling like ‘wow’ but it wasn’t the case with this book. I’m considering reading the second book to see if Jenna Black has harnessed that potential and turned it into a great second book.

BLURB – (From Goodreads)

It’s all she’s ever wanted to be, but it couldn’t be further from her grasp…

Dana Hathaway doesn’t know it yet, but she’s in big trouble. When her alcoholic mom shows up at her voice recital drunk, again, Dana decides she’s had enough and runs away to find her mysterious father in Avalon: the only place on Earth where the regular, everyday world and the captivating, magical world of Faerie intersect. But from the moment Dana sets foot in Avalon, everything goes wrong, for it turns out she isn’t just an ordinary teenage girl, she’s a Faeriewalker, a rare individual who can travel between both worlds, and the only person who can bring magic into the human world and technology into Faerie.

Dana finds herself tangled up in a cutthroat game of Fae politics. Someone’s trying to kill her, and everyone seems to want something from her, from her new-found friends and family to Ethan, the hot Fae guy Dana figures she’ll never have a chance with… until she does. Caught between two worlds, Dana isn’t sure where she’ll ever fit in and who can be trusted, not to mention if her world will ever be normal again.

An Author Quote That Sums Up ‘Post-Book Hangovers’ Perfectly — March 11, 2015
Addicted To Reading — March 1, 2015

Addicted To Reading

I swear that people know when I stay up till the early hours of the morning reading because all of a sudden everyone needs me. If I went to bed at 8pm like a good girl I bet no-one would need me for days. Ughh, I’m so tired but I REGRET NOTHING haha. Now to go on autopilot until I can sleep again or read, most probably I’ll just read rather than sleep because heaven forbid I sleep when I haven’t finished my book yet!

Stayed up Reading

Many years after the hype I’ve actually decided to read the Twilight Saga and now I’m addicted. Totally worth the lack of sleep!

The Confusing Etiquette Of Being A Female — February 25, 2015

The Confusing Etiquette Of Being A Female

I work in an INCREDIBLY male dominated industry and because of that I find myself regularly checking to make sure I still use the correct etiquette for a lady. I am a huge believer in the proper manners, respect and of course etiquette. The very biggest issue is something I have only just thought about lately. Surprisingly it’s the handshake. Yep, it doesn’t seem like something you’d think twice about but your handshake can say a lot about you. A simple gesture that lasts merely seconds can convey a lot about you to another person.

There are many, many things that are appropriate and very inappropriate for a women even in this day and age. I’m all for feminism but I endeavour to always act like a lady. This handshake realisation came over me when I was telling my husband how some people shake your hand limply and I felt it was weird. He proceeded to tell me that women usually don’t have even a remotely strong handshake and that’s probably why some men shake hands with a women gently. I suddenly became hyper aware of my handshake. What if I shake hands like a man? As stupid as it sounds, I was horrified to think I had a ‘bloke’ handshake. I can’t rationalise my feelings on this but it got me thinking.

There are a million contradicting actions involved in acting correctly in public if you’re a female. It is exhausting trying to remember to every single appropriate action in public. From a gentle handshake (which I assume portrays how feminine your are?) to walking anywhere with soft steps, hands gently by your side, shoulders back, head held high and delicate paces. It’s exhausting just thinking about it.

I’m inclined to actually google the correct way for a woman to shake hands with someone – yes I think I have gone crazy. It is these moments in my life that inspires the actions of my characters in my writing. From every situation in life we can take away something that will inspire our thoughts because after all, the best books are those that capture the essence of real life in their pages.

I added a funny photo just for those men out there that need some handshake tips 😉

Handshake Manliness

The Raven Boys – Maggie Stiefvater 3.5 Star Review — February 2, 2015

The Raven Boys – Maggie Stiefvater 3.5 Star Review

The Raven Boys

Maggie Stiefvater

3.5 Star Review

The Raven Boys Maggie Stiefvater

This book had some great reviews which was the main reason I picked it up. Not at all what I had expected and didn’t really meet my high expectations of it.

PositivesThe first thing that stuck out for me was Maggie Stiefvater’s writing style. I couldn’t believe it had gone through the editing process and had still come out like that. It was strange, disjointed, awkwardly put together yet I ended up enjoying it. The storyline was complicated and rather confusing. She has gone against the traditional male protagonist/lover and that made it interesting. Adam and Gansey both fit into that role but somehow didn’t. It seems to be a trend in the books I’ve read lately that rags to riches or the poor girl unexpectedly falls for the rich male, is a big drawcard. I must admit I do enjoy that sometimes. Of all the character’s Gansey was definitely my favourite, although I suspect that that’s what Maggie Stiefvater wanted.

NegativesI really felt stupid and confused during many scenes in this book. Was I not intelligent enough to understand the strange idea of Ley lines or Glendower? It took a long time to explain both things but I was still left scratching my head. I understand that in a series each book needs to end with a cliff-hanger but I feel like I don’t have any idea where she wanted to point the readers toward at the end. There was ample action and excitement but then the ending seemed to be squashed into a few short chapters. I felt cheated by the ending when the beginning held the promise of an interesting conundrum for Blue but it ended without any kind of hint of an answer. For a book that contained many, MANY unnecessary sentences and descriptions it just sort of flat lined at the end.

Overall For this book I’ll round up to a 4 stars out of 5 (probably because I just loved Gansey). The characters were great, I ended up enjoying the strange writing style and am actually interested to see where this story goes. Instead of gaining answers throughout the book though, it just snowballed into an endless amount of confusing questions. I’m hoping that book two (Dream Thieves) will accentuate the best parts of book one.

BLURB “There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

From Maggie Stiefvater, the bestselling and acclaimed author of the Shiver trilogy and The Scorpio Races, comes a spellbinding new series where the inevitability of death and the nature of love lead us to a place we’ve never been before

To Grow Something From Nothing — January 27, 2015

To Grow Something From Nothing

growing strawberries

Recently I’ve started growing (or at least trying to grow) my own plants. I have always been a horrible gardener and giving me a plant meant giving that plant a death sentence. BUT I guess with practice and some research I have slowly become better at it. My growing capabilities are still very limited and the plants I can grow must be hardy but I’m proud to announce that I have my own little garden now.

Recently whilst deciding what I should plant next I realised something that is really a fantastic metaphor for many things in life. As the title implies – To grow something out of nothing. Buying a well-established strong plant can make the success rate of that plant becoming full-grown is much higher which is the goal right? Well it’s not exactly like that for me. To buy seeds, plant them, care for them and watch them grow from basically nothing into a strong plant is a wonderful achievement for me. I stare proudly at my strawberry plant believing that it must be much stronger than if I had bought an established plant instead of seeds. *I’m most proud of my strawberries but don’t tell the other plants*

I believe that growing something from nothing is a million times better in so many ways than buying your way through the tough times to ensure your success rate is almost guaranteed. You also get the satisfaction of knowing it is because of your dedication that you have your own beautiful strawberries to eat.

I’m glad I’ve started out from a ‘seed’ and eventually I hope to make my way to become a beautiful, strong plant just like those in my garden.

Happy Gardening my friends xo

Seed plants Growinf

**Please note these are not photos of my plants as mine are nowhere near as spectacular but who doesn’t like a pretty photo of strawberries.**

Nanowrimo Distractions — November 6, 2014

Nanowrimo Distractions

nanoprep

Its the 6th day of NaNoWriMo and I’m ‘almost’ on track with my word count. It’s my first time doing NaNoWriMo and I’m loving it. The strict time constraint really gives you the push to write, REALLY write until your story is told. Honestly I was very naive going into this and didn’t realise how crazy it would be staying on track. Over 1600 words per day didn’t seem too bad until I started to work out that one or two days missed writing meant I had to write at least 3200+ words the next day to keep up which felt like an insurmountable goal for just one busy day. It’s been awhile since I’ve been at school and I had forgotten the repercussions of not doing your ‘homework.’ Difficult as it may be, I’m enjoying using it as a great excuse to actually sit down and write. I’ve been taking it very seriously and I won’t allow the thought that I won’t finish, cross my mind.

Unfortunately though I’m a professional procrastinator and little things easily distract me, like for example – blogging and tweeting. Then there’s the bad habit of facebooking for 20mins+ every day without fail…. The worst part about NaNoWriMo is I don’t have the time to read 😦 I’m sure it’ll be worth the sacrifice in the end.

Procrastinating

What is the worst distraction from writing especially when trying to compete in NaNoWriMo?

Happy writing everyone!