Guest posts

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Host The Host by Stephenie Meyer published in 2008

The Earth has been taken over by parasitic creatures whose species goes from planet to planet, inhabiting different life forms. When one of the more experienced aliens is inserted into a human, she finds that this one isn’t about to be taken over without a fight. The host body, Melanie, is desperate to get back to her hunky boyfriend and her younger brother, and she soon convinces the alien, named the Wanderer, to leave life with her own species and take off on a life threatening journey to find the few surviving humans.

After getting lost in the desert for days, and then finally being found by Melanie’s uncle and reuniting with Melanie’s lost love, the alien must find a way to convince the humans that she has truly left her wayward, invading species behind and wants learn to function as part of the human community.

I found this first part of this book  very hard to stick with - the alien is too easily convinced to throw away her entire life and alienate (no pun intended) herself from her species. And, since most of the human males she meets have a tendency to beat her up, threaten to kill her, and starve her, it’s hard to understand why she doesn’t take off again.  If I had been able to access another book, I don’t think I would have stuck with this - but I was camping and had nothing else to read so I kept reading and I’m glad  I did.

The first person narrative is engaging and works well for this plot. Myers is a skilled writer who kept me reading once I decided to just “ride along” with the shaky early set up. The Wanderer talks about the other life forms she has invaded/inhabited and for all of us who enjoy alien lit, these are fascinating and fun. The love story is a bit complicated but also fun and the end finishes this story and also leaves enough for a sequel.

The last two thirds of the book are worth reading and it’s worth spending your time with this book. 

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Am I a reviewer or am I a bitchy whiner...?

I know that's an odd title for a blog post, but it is what I'm asking myself today. I just finished reading Fragile by Lisa Unger. She's a top selling mystery writer and, sure enough, she can keep you turning the pages. This book begins with a missing teen who may have run away or who may have been abducted. This sets the town on edge and brings up the past for several of it's long time residents, all of whom have fought their own memories of a teen who went missing, and was found dead, during adolescent years. The heroine of the story is a psychologist, the mom of the missing teens boyfriend - and that's where I lose it with this book.

You see, I'm a therapist, with a successful practice for almost 3 decades. And, this leading character, Maggie, is just not okay in that role. The author claims to have interviewed and relied on a therapist, but I can't imagine what his or her credentials were, or how he or she felt about the consulting after reading the book. The author has Maggie breaking boundaries, or having none at all (she's pleased she has a cell phone so her clients can call her day or night, weekday or weekend - I don't think so honey), and she refers to one of her clients as "the neurotic" - aside from being insulting -it's also not a diagnosis nor the way any therapist would think of a client. And, when it comes to trauma treatment, Maggie has all the therapeutic skills of my 9 year old daughter.

Yes, I know this is a fiction and we all take liberties to support the narrative and move the story along- but an accurate portrayal of a therapeutic practitioner would have allowed for the same thing - and it wouldn't have been so, so wrong. As a therapist I was annoyed that the writer didn't respect my profession enough to get it even halfway right. And, I'm sure there are few police out there who are equally irritated because even I could see that the liberties with that profession were rife.

So  - who has the problem - me or Lisa Unger? Am I just being bitchy to want to have my profession portrayed within the boundaries of reality? Or am I right in believing an author should respect her readers by ensuring at least some degree of accuracy in how he or she portrays the professions of the characters? Will I read another of her books - I don't know. There are lots of good mystery writers out there and most others do a better job of presenting their character's professions - I'll likely go with them.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Reading influences...

On one of the writers' pages I participate in (yes, I get how bad that grammar is) - the question was asked - do you read books that are in the same genre in which you write? For me, the answer is no - I write in several genres - YA, fantasy, mystery, short story, and non fiction. What I read is normally dictated by what is available at the airport because the only time I have to read is on business trips and I buy something to get me through the trip. I know some people fear plane travel because they worry they might crash - not me, I fear plane travel because I worry I'll trapped on a plane for several hours with a book I don't like. 

I know that if I planned ahead then the books I bought would be very different - it seems that all the books at the airports I frequent are in the top 20  best sellers and are either about vampires or serial killers. I don't really like either, but since I can only choose one, I go for the serial killers. If I planned ahead and bought a book at real book store, it would more likely be something historical - more likely set in Asia or in WW2.

I devored Amy Tan's early books and I recently read the fictionalized account of Pearl Buck's early life in China by Anchee Chin and loved that. Of course, my all time favorite book is The Book Thief by Markus Zuzak - I don't expect to ever again read anything that innovative and well written. I also recently read Drood by Dan Simmons. That stunned me because I hadn't realized that a writer could take such bizarre liberties when writing a fiction about a person who actually lived. I don't like what Simmons did, but it was a good read and again, very innovative. 

I expect to start reviewing books very soon and I'll be using a Kindle for that. The Kindle will free me from airport book store choices and it will be interesting (to me) to see what tweaks my interest. 

Do you read in your genre?

Monday, August 15, 2011

An interview with Jacob Jones...

Synopsis of The Septavalent Stone by Jacob Jones 

When did you first feel the urge to write?

 I don't really remember at what age but I know I had the urge to write after I first read Prince Caspian in the Narnia series.
What finally got you started in actually writing a book?

 I was bored, and a little depressed. I find that my best ideas comes when I am feeling a strong emotion, doesn't always have to be a good one though.
What do you bring from your life that adds to your writing?

 Not much. My medical life maybe as is evidenced in my book since my characters go to a medicomagical school.
Do you use external supports in writing? such as a writing program or an ongoing editor?

 I use an ongoing editor yes. I read a lot of blogs on writing. Chuck sambuchino's blog is Blogbible.
Is there a theme that runs through your writing?

 I think that we all have a choice, family is more important and that at times lying can be justified.

What writers have influenced you?

 Steve Barlow and Steve skidmore authors of the TALES OF THE DARK FOREST SERIES, Chimaamanda Adichie, a Nigerian writer of Half Of A Yellow Sun and The Thing Around Your Neck, and Jk Rowlin. I think of all the books I've read, these writers have that ability to write in an easy and readable way, a quality that I always try to copy, don't know if I have achieved that yet, my readers would decide that.

How has your writing evolved over time?

A lot. Before my writing used to be choppy, and discontinuous, I think it has gotten way matured and it's getting better. In fact I practice daily on my blog, I am currently writing a funny fiction about a girl, AVGUSTA VLADIMIROVNA THE TEENAGE WEREBITCH in which a girl tells her story of how she became a female werewolf. It's interesting because she reveals her love relationships with popular characters of other authors. Currently in my last post she is looking for an excuse to break up with Harry Potter just so she can go out with Percy Jackson because she thinks gods are hotter than wizards, but Percy on the other hand is kind of interested in Katniss of the HUNGER GAMES series.
So yeah, a few years ago I wouldn't have tried this, so I think this counts as evolution.

How do you promote your books?

 I promote it on my blog, with my funny fan fiction writing above, and by doing guest posts. I have a fan page, a twitter and a blog.

How do you promote your web site?  
I try to visit other websites, comment and ask for intervviews and all. I try to be available as always.

The title of my new release is THE SEPTAVALENT STONE. I am going to give you a list of fictional and real reasons why you should go and buy this book: But first, a few insight into the book…
The Septavalent stone is a young adult novel set in two countries, Nigeria and Ukraine. It's about a boy called Andrew, who has a mother who is paranoid about almost everything including her brother Uncle Jeffery, and who is also not as normal as other mothers can be. Andrew gains admission into a medical school in Ukraine, but on getting there, he discovers it's not just a medical school, it's actually a school where apart from human beings, ghosts are treated, magical beasts and a couple of other paranormals stuffs. As the story unfolds, Andrew discovers new secrets about his family and himself, he also discovers a cousin he never knew existed, ad realizes that his mother is not all about cooking utensils and aprons but that in fact there is more to her paranoia and lies than meets the eyes.

I am going to end this post by listing several fictional and real reasons why you should get this book:

You should get a copy of THE SEPTAVALENT STONE because it was given an excellent review by HEATHER'S OPINION ON ALL THINGS BOOK RELATED'S blog.

You should get a copy of THE SEPTAVALENT STONE because it'll keep you busy and preoccupied until the highly anticipated (by me) UNWANTEDS novel by Lisa Mcmann becomes available on the 30th of August.

You should get a copy of THE SEPTAVALENT STONE because JK Rowlin read it and offered me the HARRY POTTER franchise in exchange for it but I was too drunk and stupid to accept it, but when I was sober a few days later, she was no longer interested. Infact when I pleaded with her that I was foolish and stupid she hauled a complete Harry Potter box set at me, and I have the big lump to prove it.

You should get a copy of THE SEPTAVALENT STONE because several times, Stephanie Meyer has asked me to give Edward Cullen, Jacob Black and Alice something, special and preferential treatment whenever they come to my medicomagical school for check up and treatment. I cannot release their medical report, what I can say however is that Edward suffers from a disease called dis-bling-bling-ism. Apparently he is losing his sparkle. While Alice has Bling-bling-itis she is becoming too sparkly, even at night and Jacob is becoming too fat even in his werewolf state.


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My life changing blog ...or not...

I read the book that I've got advertized on my side panel - the one by John Locke -  how he sold millions of books in mere days. I put it there as a resource for others, not to make my own million through affiliate sales. Anyway, one of the things he says to do is to write a blog that will change your life - and attract tons of attention. He did this by writing a blog about how he was influenced by a major sports guy he had never met and I've never heard of, and he wrote another about Michael J Fox. Really, the blogs weren't all that inspiring to me, but I guess they were to others because they attracted thousands to his blog and to his twitter account and these readers started buying his books by the gazillions.

Okay, that's a great idea, except, if I could think of a life changing blog that would sell my books by the millions I would have already written it!! How can I know ahead of time what is going to be life changing? I can't even write a blog that is moment changing - let alone one that results in my becoming a top selling author. So far I don't even think I've been inspiring to others and no one is buying my books because of anything I've written.

I've thought about writing a blog that is about how some famous person has inspired me, like John did.. But I tend to have aytpical inspirations, such as Mustafa Ataturk and Edith Cavell. Trust me, when I put their names in my tags section they are not going to set the twitter world afire!

Okay, I guess I'll just have to hope that I can indeed make my own millions through the coat tail affiliate sales of John Locke. In the meantime, I'll try to find inspiration in someone more popular and twitter worthy. Paris Hilton? Pippa Middleton?

Have your best day possible.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Seasonal challenges...

Summer is not my creative season. Too many of my children around and too much to do in the garden,not too mention a full caseload and no time off. I find that I get anxious and tense when the days pass by and nothing gets written. So, I'm trying to find ways to utilize my *off* season by working out plot problems in the sequel I'm writing to Cleah.

My writing style is to simply write each word and scene in sequence - and then re-write the following day (or month) and add more. I start with knowing the main characters and the over all plot - but I don't do the outline or lay out the chapters - my mind just doesn't work that way. I wrote my thesis and my dissertation the same way. I know, too, how the book will end, but my goodness, that leaves a whole lot in between.

Right now I'm trying to figure out what the evil doer in my Cleah sequel looks like. I know it's something black and not fully solid - but my mind goes blank after that. I also don't know how I'm going to kill it - I guess that will come after I determine what it's made of and what it looks like.  So, I drive my car or fill in my insomniac nights with thoughts of evil black things. No wonder I don't sleep!

Well, I hope your writing days are flowing smoothly - have your best day possible.