Posts Tagged With: yolo

Book Review: The Deadly Mark by Katherine Nader

In our latest self-published author spotlight, I present to you: The Deadly Mark, by Katherine Nader.

The Book

“The Deadly Mark”

The Genre

Historical Fiction

The Author

Katherine Nader was raised in Lebanon, then moved to Canada in 2004. She is currently studying Biology, English, and Professional Writing at the University of Toronto.

The Plot

Threatened by the desires of dangerous men who see her as nothing more than a pawn in their games of power, Princess Kathleen finds herself coveted by a cruel prince who is determined to marry her at all costs. Her only ally is Eden, a man hired by her father to keep her safe. But how can Eden protect her, when the person who wants to harm her most is Kathleen herself?

The Review

If you put all the politics and courtly intrigue aside, The Deadly Mark is basically the story of a tormented princess who turns to suicide in order to escape the machinations of the various overbearing males trying to control her life. I enjoyed following Kathleen’s story, because her self-destructive nature, coupled with her questionable decision-making skills, gets her into all sorts of sticky situations. Kathleen is a very empathetic character, and it’s easy to sympathize with this girl who is manipulated by everyone around her. I also enjoyed the character of Eden, the loyal guardsman, because he truly has his work cut out for him keeping Kathleen from offing herself at every available opportunity.

My two main issues with this novel were the length, and the point of view. The book is fast-paced, which is good, but it moves so quickly, and the setting descriptions are so sparse, that I had trouble keeping track of where the characters were, and why they were doing what they were doing. So I would have definitely liked to see more description—Kathleen is a princess, after all! A few mentions of “soaring archways”, or “golden chandelliers”, or whatever would have definitely helped immerse me in the world. The other problem I had was with the POV. The Deadly Mark is written in omniscient third person, which means that you can see into every character’s head. This takes a lot of the mystery away, because you already know what everyone is thinking.

These issues aside, I did enjoy reading The Deadly Mark, mostly because Kathleen and all her foibles greatly amused me. It’s pretty good for a debut novel, and I have high hopes for the author in her future writing endeavours.

The Rating

4 out of 5 stars

Random Link of the Day:

Check out Cracked.com’s latest photoplasty slideshow: 23 Small Changes That Make Adorable Things Terrifying

Click here to view the slideshow.

Awesome Video of the Day:

The Old Spice guy gets even more awesome:

Categories: Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Filming Your Novel — Crazy Idea … or AWESOME?

So as my book nears publication (don’t get too excited, I’m *still* cutting the darn thing down to size), I’ve been trying to come up with an idea for a book trailer. I just watched Candace Knoebel’s book trailer for her novel Born in Flames, and it seems like a really cool idea.

My main concern is that I don’t want the trailer to look too amateur-ish (or “n00b-ish”, if you prefer). My friend has offered to do a trailer, but her vision is more of an author interview rather than an actual trailer with photos, music, etc. And that sounds like a great idea–I’ll definitely be taking her up on her offer.

So I’ve got the interview planned–now I need an actual trailer. I was considering starting to browse through stock photography websites to track down appropriate images. Then my brother suggested a different trailer concept. Ready? Steady? GO!

Film a scene from your book

As in, take a scene, find some actors willing to work for free, get a camera, and make a mini-movie. I think it’s a great idea! The big issues to overcome, as I see it, are:

  1. I’ll need to find actors willing to work for free. I live near a university, though, so I’m sure I can round up some drama students.
  2. I’ll need to pick a scene from the book that is a good representation of the story, as well as being something I could actually film.

#2 seems to be the bigger challenge, mainly because Imminent Danger (my book) is hardcore sci-fi. As in, it takes place in outer space with aliens and spaceships and laser guns. So I’ll probably have to choose one of the very few scenes on Earth, in order to ensure the video doesn’t look one of the movies those robots make fun of on MST3K.

Crazy idea … or awesome?

Has this been done before? Make a low-budget film of a scene from a book for promotion purposes? Most book trailers seem to provide a summary of the book, complete with dramatic voice-over. Is such a thing even feasible? Would it look unbearably bad?

The last home movie I made was in grade eleven. It was called “The Spanish Guide”, and featured my cardboard cutout of Legolas as the lead character. He led my friend and I up a volcano–I don’t remember why–and the whole movie was spoken in really abysmal Spanish (it was for Spanish class). The best part was when my friend complained about her stomach hurting, and then we cut to a can of pea soup spilling on the ground to represent her throwing up.

It was really bad.

Anyway, assuming I’ve become moderately more competent since then (or, at least, acquired friends who don’t fail at everything film-related), I think this could be a really cool idea. And all my blog friends are welcome to steal this idea, if it tickles your fancy. I really don’t know how realistic it is.

Oh yeah, and if you do know of something like this being done before, please link it in the comments!

Unrelated photo of the day: THE HOBBIT dwarves

Fili and Kili from the Hobbit. Is it just me, or the one on the right kind of cute?
source: http://hobbit-trailer.blogspot.ca/

Pop Culture Resource of the Day: DUBSTEP

So my brother’s been trying to explain dubstep to me, especially the concept of “dropping the bass”. At first I thought he meant the musicians were literally dropping their bass guitars. This, it turns out, is incorrect.

Then I found this video. It features one hour and twenty-eight minutes of “dropping the bass”, and I now have a much better understanding of the so-called “Dubstep” phenomenon. Give it a listen (you can stop after 30 seconds if you want), if only to educate yourself on the current music trend that is sweeping the globe. Also, please don’t sue me if your speakers/ears/brains explode.

Categories: Random, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

The problem with having an obsessive personality …

I admit it. I have an obsessive personality.

What does this mean? I’m not talking drugs, or alcohol, or gambling. I’m talking being a nerd. In high school, it was Harry Potter fanfiction. I’m not saying it consumed my whole life, but I *loved* me some HP fanfics. I used to print them out and read them on the bus, or stay up waaaaay past my bedtime because I couldn’t stop reading.

Then came university, and World of Warcraft. Free time between classes? Well, I could either do my reading … or play some WoW. Guess who won that battle?

There have been dozens of other obsessions along the way, all of which consumed my life for a period of time, be it a few days or upwards of three years. All of them I now look back on nostalgically … except nostalgia is the most dangerous emotion of all, because it threatens to suck me back into the obsessions of my past.

Right now, it’s Naruto. That would be the ninja anime that has about 6 bazillion episodes, and counting. Despite the fact that the plot moves like molasses, and I can’t stand about half the story arcs, I just can’t seem to stop watching this show. I went through a Naruto phase back in university, and four years later, it has struck me again. In case you were wondering why I haven’t been posting as frequently as usual, Naruto would be why.

Every obsession is different, and has to be treated differently. For most, like my current obsession, I just let them run their course. Naruto has like 500 episodes, and I highly doubt I’ll have the patience to get through all of those. So I probably won’t have to take action against my poor self-control, because my limited attention span should do the trick for me.

Other obsessions are more dangerous. The new World of Warcraft expansion, Mists of Pandaria, comes out in September. WoW is an awesome game, and I played it for several years. I devoted many hours and many dollars to that game, and I just know that if I let myself anywhere near the expansion, I won’t be able to stop. The only thing that saved me from the previous expansion is that my computer broke and I literally couldn’t play the game.

I make all this sound worse than it is, obviously. I do have self control. I don’t get so obsessed that I forget to turn off the stove and burn the house down (although I did once set a cupcake on fire in a toaster oven). But I have many things I want to accomplish in my leisure time, and when my obsessive personality latches onto one thing for too long, all my leisure time becomes devoted to it. And for a writer, that’s no good, because it’s kind of hard to write if I’m spending all my time gaming/reading/watching TV.

Does anyone else have this problem? I dare you to tell me the silliest obsession you’ve ever had. No judging here. And if you have tips for overcoming an obsessive personality, please feel free to share! The WoW expansion is on the horizon, and I’ll need every tool available to stop from being sucked back in.

Unrelated pic of the day:

Categories: Random | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 52 Comments

Q and A with Voldemort

I got this idea from From Under a Rock‘s post, in which he shares a Character Questionnaire he got from Tumblr. I’m stressed out from cutting down my manuscript (although it’s actually going really well — now at 109k words! Woo!), so I decided to have some fun today.

Thus, without further ado: Q&A with Voldemort

Disclaimer: I don’t own Voldemort. JK Rowling, and possibly Warner Bros, owns everything Harry Potter-related. This is just for fun. Please don’t sue!

Hi, Voldemort, welcome to the blog. How are you feeling today?

Insolent muggle! What am I doing here? How did you break through my defences and transport me here without my knowledge? I will kill you for this!

Chill, V-man. I just want to ask you a few questions. Cool?

My body temperature is irrelevant to the current situation. Ask your questions quickly, that I might all the sooner have Nagini feed on your corpse.

Alrighty. So these questions are taken from the Character Questionnaire mentioned above. Ready?

Surely there can be no worse hell than this.

What would you do if a friend turned on you?

I do not have friends. I have only enemies, and minions.

Right, but if you *had* a friend, and they turned on you, what would you do?

Hmm. First I would have Bellatrix torture them with the Cruciatus curse for a few days, to extract information on why they would dare to betray me. Then I would kill them.

What would you do if your enemy started being nice to you?

I would have Bellatrix torture them with the Cruciatus curse for a few days, to extract information on why they are acting so strangely. Then I would kill them.

I’m starting to sense a pattern here.

Foolish muggle! How dare you attempt to comprehend the full extent of my brilliance!

My bad. Okay: what would you do if you were permanently crippled?

De-cripple myself. I am a Dark Lord of ungodly magical might. Re-attaching limbs to stumps is child’s play.

Fair enough. How about if you became president?

I would exterminate all the muggle and half bloods, and re-make the world in my image. I would devise a spell to give all snakes human-level intelligence, and they would be my lieutenants of evil. Also, Fridays would be made part of the weekend.

If you had a stand-up comedy routine, what would be your opening joke?

Avada Kedavra.

What would you do if music you didn’t like was playing?

I would destroy the source of the music. If the source was a person, I would have Bellatrix torture them with the–

Got it. What would you do if a stranger kissed you?

Avada Kedavra.

You’re a sad, lonely man, aren’t you?

My parents abandoned me in an orphanage as a small child. You do the math.

Isn’t “math” a muggle concept? Don’t you mean “arithmancy”?

Ask the next question, ingrate!

Yeah, yeah. Okay. What would you do if you heard a nearby scream?

Did I directly or indirectly cause the scream to happen?

No.

Then I would ignore it. Unless I recognized it as belonging to one of my Death Eaters, in which case I would investigate the possible intrusion into my evil lair.

That’s unexpectedly thoughtful of you, going to your minion’s aide.

Allow me to clarify: I would destroy the intruder, and then teach my incompetent, screaming Death Eater a lesson by having Bellatrix tor–

I retract my observation. All right. If you saw someone getting mugged–

I would ignore them.

If you found a wallet on the ground?

I would destroy it. Wizards do not carry wallets, thereby making it muggle, and all things muggle must be purged.

I’m pretty sure wizards have wallets. Where would they carry their galleons?

The affairs of lesser beings are none of my concern.

Okay. Here’s one that’s out of the box. If you went to a convention, and found someone dressed up as you, what would you do?

I do not know what a “convention” is. However, if I were to find a look-a-like of myself, I would assume they had taken Polyjuice Potion. I would also be extremely suspicious as to how they had acquired a piece of my genetic material. I would have Bellatrix torture every Death Eater in my employ until the traitor was discovered, and then–

Don’t tell me — have your snake eat them alive?

… Yes. How did you know?

I can read your mind. Moving on. What would you do if a baby in a basket was placed on your doorstep?

Is the baby Harry Potter?

No.

Does it look like it has the potential to become an incredibly powerful dark wizard, if I were to raise the child as my own and teach it everything I know?

Sure.

Then I would kill it. I intend to live forever, and I don’t want a rival to my throne.

Okay, last question. What would you do if a stranger complimented you on your looks?

WHAT ARE YOU IMPLYING?

I didn’t imply any–

YOU DARE TO INSULT MY APPEARANCE? PERHAPS BY MUGGLE STANDARDS, MY “SNAKE NOSE” AND PALE GREY SKIN MIGHT NOT BE CONSIDERED THE HEIGHT OF CURRENT BEAUTY STANDARDS, BUT I’LL HAVE YOU KNOW THAT BELLATRIX PREFERS THE NEW ME, SHE SAID SO HERSELF, AND SHE WOULD NEVER LIE TO ME BECAUSE SHE KNOWS I WOULD KILL HER OTHERWISE!

Well, that sounds like a healthy relationship.

YOU MOCK ME FOR THE LAST TIME! AVADA KED–

BLAM.

W-what? What just happened? Why is there a piece of metal lodged in my chest? Why am I leaking blood? Why do I feel faint?

I’m a muggle. I get to use guns.

… Curses.

Categories: Random | Tags: , , , , , | 14 Comments

Learn Latin 101 — Verb Basics

I was going through my bookshelf last night, looking for a new book to read (I ended up reading Naruto fanfiction on my tablet — don’t judge me!!!), and I discovered:

Well, technically mine is the 6th edition, but it’s basically the same thing. Right? Right???

This has inspired me to start a series of posts about Latin — aka learning how to write/read the Romans’ unnecessarily complicated language. And we’re talking unnecessary. I took Latin for two years in university, and despite forgetting pretty much everything I learned, I still remember that it was a bloody difficult subject. Also, I appear to have turned British.

So without further ado, I present to you:

Learn Latin 101 — Verb Basics

So in Latin, you have to conjugate verbs. This is true for most languages. Today we’re doing basic present tense. Observe:

                                    Singular            Plural

1st person                   -o                      -mus

2nd person                 -s                       -tis

3rd person                  -t                       -nt

Right. Those were verb endings, by the way. If you walk around saying “o! t! mus!”, people will think you’re crazy.

So, let’s apply this to a verb. The verb “to love” is amare (pronounced ah-mah-ray). First, we chop off the ending (the “re”). That leaves us with “ama”. Now, we stick on the conjugated endings. This gives us:

amo = I love (not ama-o, because that sounds stupid)

amas = You love

amat = He/she loves

amamus = We love

amatis = They love

amant = You (plural) love

Confused yet? Don’t be! This is literally the easiest part of Latin! Now, I feel the best way to learn a new language is to use it in my daily speech. Therefore, whenever you speak from now on and mention loving something, I suggest you use the Latin word instead. Examples:

Oh my god! Those shoes are adorable! Amo!

Amas me, dontcha? DONTCHA??!

Amatis cheese. They are fools.

Etcetera. In our next Learn Latin 101 post, we will learn why 90% of what I just taught you is horribly incorrect. (Spoiler alert: Latin verbs go at the end of a sentence, not the beginning).

For teh lulz:

Categories: Random | Tags: , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Book Review: 2 Novellas by Keri M. Peardon

In this latest self-published book review, we turn our attention to fellow blogger Keri M. Peardon, who has written two delightful little novellas–The Last Golden Dragon, and The Widow.

The Novella

The Last Golden Dragon

The Genre

Fantasy/Romance

The Author

Keri Peardon graduated from Hollins University in Roanoke, VA in 2001 with a B.A. in History and a strong background in creative writing. She is a life-long resident of Tennessee and is currently employed as a legal assistant to a private-practice attorney. In addition to writing, she is active in medieval re-enacting and does too many handicrafts.

The Plot

Aine, a young Irish peasant girl, is looking for the last golden dragon. Whilst wandering about the mountains, she meets a handsome man named Eammon, who offers to take her to the dragon’s lair.

The Review

I thought this was a quick, sweet little love story. And the ending was adorable! I had great fun following Aine into the dragon’s cave and experiencing the adventure with her. Eammon was delightfully enigmatic, and his banter with Aine was quite funny. My one issue with this novella is that I saw the big plot reveal coming from literally the first page. Maybe I’ve just read too many fantasy stories, so I knew what was going to happen long before it did. Regardless, I definitely enjoyed The Last Golden Dragon, and recommend it to anyone looking for a light, romantic read.

The Rating

4 out of 5 stars

The Novella

The Widow

The Genre

Romantic Drama

The Plot

Ever since her husband died, Carol has been cooped up in her house. Her best friend solves this problem by signing her up for creative writing classes at the local community college. After her first class, Carol runs into a handsome local artist named Daniel, who offers her both coffee and sympathy. They begin to meet every week after her writing class, and eventually Daniel asks Carol to model for his next painting.  She accepts, and he proves to be the perfect balm for her wounded heart.

The Review

I loved this story. Unlike most romances, this one actually had a legitimate plot that kept me flipping the virtual pages to find out what happened next. I loved the author’s descriptions of the painting/modelling scenes. I could easily imagine Carol there in Daniel’s studio, posing silently as he brought her to life on the canvas with each brush stroke. Their romance is gradual, believable, and just wonderful to read.

The Rating

5 stars out of 5

Congratulations to Keri for writing such awesome novellas! Head over to her Smashwords page for more information.

Random tip of the day:

Forgot to lock your car, and don’t want to walk back? Car too far away for the remote to work? Try pressing the remote against your skull and pushing the Lock key. It gives your remote extra range, and I have no idea why.

Categories: Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Musings on dialogue tags

Floccinaucinihilipilificate: to describe or regard something as worthless.

Today’s topic is dialogue tags. In case you haven’t heard this phrase before, a dialogue tag is the “he said” or “she screamed” that goes after a line of dialogue. For example:

“I love you,” she said.

“But our love will never be,” he said.

“How do you know that?” she demanded. “We’re made for each other!”

“No, we aren’t!” he cried. “You’re a human being, and I’m chocolate pudding! The only thing you’re meant for is to eat me!”

“But I don’t even like chocolate!” she wailed.

Etcetera, etcetera. Now, here’s the dilemma. Using only “he said” and “she said” is boring, because they aren’t always just speaking in their normal voices. Sometimes the character needs to bellow, or mutter, or exclaim–it’s like reading an essay otherwise. For example:

“Please don’t kill me!” she said.

“I will consume your flesh and then make love to your extended family,” he said.

“You monster!” she said.

“Oh, you’re one to talk,” he said. “You’re a Lady Gaga fan.”

On the other hand, when a story is riddled down in fancy verbs, the writing gets bogged down. For example:

“Uncle Fred passed away last night,” she bemoaned.

“I had no idea!” he exploded. “How are you?”

“As well as can be, considering,” she ruminated. “Did Dad mention anything?”

“Of course my Dad didn’t say anything,” he belittled. “He’s dead. I’m your cousin, remember?”

I guess the trick is finding a balance between the two. But what’s the right percentage? 60% said, 40% fancy verbs? 30/70? 90/20, if you have poor math skills?

Imminent Danger (my book) is probably about 50/50. My characters get into a lot of emotional situations, so they need emotional dialogue tags. And short of sticking adverbs onto my “he said”s and “she said”s, the only way I can really see to do that is by using fancy verbs.

What’s your fancy verb/said percentage? Extra points if you use poor math skills.

Silly video of the day:

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

116,237 words and counting …

Goose Apocalypse

I’ve fallen super far behind on my work this week, so I only have time for a quick post. Remember how I mentioned that I had to cut 20k words from my manuscript? Well, I’m on Chapter 8 (out of 44), and I’ve cut 5,070 thus far. Huzzah!

Now, when I say “I cut”, I really mean “my mother and I” cut. She’s my editor/manager, and she’s been working on the book for so long that it’s basically hers as well. Not that I’m giving her any of the royalties!!! Muahahaha. I did, however, promise to buy her a boat once I’m rich and famous. Although I’m worried about actually doing that, as she gets sea-sick very easily. I don’t want to gift her with something that will make her ill on a regular basis.

Our basic cutting process (that sounds weird) is for mother to go through a chapter or two of the manuscript and scribble all over it. Then she gives it to me, and we go through the suggested changes together via her laptop-hooked-up-to-the-TV-via-HDMI-cable.

It’s incredibly slow going, but 5k words over 8 chapters is pretty fantastic. I have no idea where all those words came from, although it’s becoming clear to me that I ramble at length when I write.

Our goal is to have the cutting process finished by mid-August, because then we need to get it copy-edited (still haven’t decided by who). Fingers crossed, the edits will be done by the end of August, and then the actual publication process can begin in September. Which, again crossing our fingers, will put the book out sometime mid-October. Just in time for Christmas! Woo!

In other news …

The entire world probably knows this already, but in case you don’t, Snoop Dogg is a recently-converted Rastafarian, has changed his name to Snoop Lion, and will now make reggae music instead of rap.

Thus, for your viewing pleasure, awesome Snoop Lion memes:

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Help! How should I title my chapters?

Jedi Armen, my teddy bear protector, bearer of the One Ring of Power. He’s very fierce.

Since I’m apparently incapable of making up my own mind, I pose this question to you: how should I title my chapters?

Here are the options:

Option #1

Chapter 27

Option #2

27

Option #3

Chapter Twenty-Seven

Recall that Imminent Danger is a YA sci-fi/romance book. I don’t know if that’s relevant. I’m personally leaning towards Option #2 (just the number), because I spend most of my life these days shortening my manuscript so I’m going through a minimalist phase.

But my book stopped being a dictatorship a long time ago, so time for democracy to get its say:

Feeling multicultural? Check out this ridiculous K-Pop video:

That’s all she wrote. Have a kick-bottom Wednesday, amigos.

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments

“Poetry of a Madman” Book Review

So I was scrolling through my “Blogs I Follow” page yesterday, and I found this post by Jason Alan. In the post, he mentions that he’s had his book of poetry, Poetry of a Madman, up on Amazon for over a year with no reviews. And I thought to myself, “I can review things”. Hence this post. Oh, and check out that link, because he’s offering the kindle edition for free (for a limited time), so snap up a copy before it’s too late!

The Book

Poetry of a Madman

The Genre

Poetry

The Author

I don’t know much about Jason, so instead I will quote the blurb on his WordPress blog: “Short stories, rants, poetry, unfinished novels, and look! Cows!”

The Plot

It’s a book of poetry. It doesn’t have a plot. Sheesh.

Basically, it’s a collection of poems, most of them by Jason, with the first section devoted to guest poets.

The Review

Poetry of a Madman was a very interesting read. My experience with poetry is mostly limited to what I read in English class, so I didn’t have any expectations going in. And I was quite impressed with what I found.

Many of the poems are about serious topics — current issues, the human state, etc. — but there are also a selection of more light-hearted pieces that really drew me in. One of my favourite poems was “i am, part one”, which Jason wrote years ago, lost, and is now trying to recreate. I loved the cadence of the poem and the imagery he used — when I read it, I found myself kind of singing along in my head. I think this poem would make an excellent song.

Another favourite was “digital heartache”. I don’t want to give away too much, but to give you a taste of the awesome:

“my farmville crop is sprouting weeds

these angry birds have too many needs

my mafia family has ceased to get paid

and my warcraft warrior never gets laid”

The book has a lovely blend of poetry. There are sad poems, happy poems, quirky poems, funny poems, and thought-provoking poems. I’m a bubbly person by nature, so I enjoyed the funny/quirky ones the most. But overall I thought Poetry of a Madman was a great poetry collection, and I definitely recommend it to all you poetry lovers out there.

The Rating

4 out of 5 stars

Click here to purchase a copy of Jason Alan’s Poetry of a Madman.

Categories: Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

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