Book Review: No Heroes by Jon Mayo

***I voluntarily received a free copy to give a honest book review***

The Locke twins possess a peculiar power: they can pass pain and injuries to one another. Despite this flaw, Aries Locke dreams of becoming a superhero one day, to the chagrin of his twin, Ezra. But after performing a heroic deed they soon learn why there are no heroes in the world.

With the help of their mother, they run away from the shadow of The Purity Project–an organization devoted in controlling and regulating superhumans.

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I loved this book that was divided into three parts. Part One showed Aries and Ezra living with their mom, Gracie. She turned out to be more than a pill-popping, sad person. She had been hiding a secret forever. Part Two showed the twins as teens, growing up with their foster sister, Caylee. She had a secret of her own. Part Three focused on Barry and Theo of The Purity Project–the villains.

My favorite lines: 1) It looked painful, but he knew that all origin stories began with trauma. Aries just got his. 2) “Suffering is part of life. It is what makes us strong.” 3) It was a murder scene without a corpse. 4) There was a chill that crawled up Aries’ back. 5) One bullet shattered his breastbone. Another popped his right eye open like a squeezed tomato.

I loved Aries and Ezra, and I was really rooting for them throughout the book. It was a wicked scene when Ezra fell from the tree but Aries’s arm got broken instead. I also really enjoyed when Aries saved a cat from a fire. After that, it was nothing but drama. The author did a wonderful job of showing how crappy their life was, always on the run with their mom. I was sad about what happened to Gracie.

I thought it was a cute moment when the twins met Caylee for the first time. I’ll admit in Part two I was asking myself: is this book a super hero origins story or a romance? But, the devastating scene Ezra and his loved one faced broke my heart. This section of the book made sense at the end. Readers needed to feel Ezra’s pain to understand why Aries was gung ho on becoming superheroes.

I really enjoyed the ending, but Part One was definitely my favorite section of the book. It was cool that the book ended on a cliffhanger.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

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#IWSG Blog Hop–My Self-Doubt Hitting Me Like a Mack Truck Unexpectedly

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It’s that time again. IWSG hosts a blog hop the first Wednesday of every month. Writers get to discuss their doubts and fears they’ve conquered, their struggles and triumphs. Even though writing is a lonely activity, it doesn’t mean you can’t surround yourself with people who understand what you’re going through.

Showing vulnerability makes you strong. If you’d like to read more from bloggers who shared their personal experiences, then please click IWSG sign-up sheet.

March’s question–How do you celebrate when you achieve a writing goal/finish a story?

When I achieve a writing goal or finish a story, I do a happy dance. Then I sit down to catch my breath and pat myself on the back. Me, the biggest procrastinator ever, actually finished something! No just talking about it. No just stalling by doing loads and loads of research on my story topic. No just keeping it in my head but not putting it down on paper. I actually FINISHED!

After the excitement wears off, I always treat myself to a notebook or sketchbook at Books-A-Million. I used to treat myself to a chocolate muffin or a brownie, but I’m not allowed to have chocolate anymore because of the caffeine in it. So, now I treat myself to blueberry muffins or cinnamon buns.

I would love to say I’m one of those writers who loves the craft so much that I only write for the pleasure. If I said that, I’d be lying. I totally need incentives to finish a writing goal. An incentive can be getting to watch TV or Netflix after so many words written for the day. Or taking a road trip over the weekend if I write 3 or 4 days in a row.

Back in December, I was so excited for 2018. I just knew I’d create a better writing schedule for myself, making me more productive. I’ve failed miserably so far. Still being artsy, I’ve been sketching and outlining a comic instead. Doing that won’t help me publish more novellas though. I feel disappointed like I’ll never get out of this ‘publish only 1 book a year’ rut if I don’t focus on fiction writing. Unfortunately, I don’t really know how to get out of this rut…

I thought I had conquered my fear, but it’s definitely haunting me again. I’ve allowed my fear to cause self-doubt and totally mess with my self-confidence. I guess it started when my new release, Six Plus One, didn’t have a good debut. Now, I’m back to thinking my writing sucks even if that may not be true…it just seems like the advice of ‘when you produce more books, you get more sales’ isn’t holding true for me. Every book had a decent release except Six Plus One. I often wonder: what if I have bad luck–where for each new book I publish, I’ll keep getting lower sales?

I’ll get out of this rut, I promise…

That really felt good to share. Letting it all out may very well be the first step in getting my productivity back 🙂

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Book Review: Merry Murder by Angel Gelique #WomenInHorrorMonth

It seems like only yesterday I was celebrating Women’s Horror Month last year with blog posts. With a blink of an eye, it’s a year later and February has arrived again! Celebrating Women’s Horror Month, my first blog post is dedicated to one of my favorite horror author’s, Angel Gelique. I was lucky enough to win her book Merry Murder in a Twitter contest. Loving the book so much, I ended up buying it on Amazon too. I’m not lying when I say I’m a strong believer in writers supporting other writers 🙂

Poor Paul McKenna. He just wants to enjoy the holidays. But with an obstinate teen-aged daughter, Heather, and an unreasonable wife who enables her, Paul is anything but jolly. Heather has her heart set on getting the latest cell phone for Christmas. The only problem is Paul can’t find one within the acceptable price range. He simply refuses to fall victim to holiday price-gouging. He has every intention of buying the phone weeks after Christmas when it’s half the price. Surely, Heather will understand…right?

In this tale of vengeance, a well-intentioned father will find that sometimes it’s better to appease an incorrigible teen daughter–no matter the cost–rather than incur her wrath. 

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I loved this pretty intense book! The story was told in Paul’s first person point-of-view. I felt so bad for him. He was surrounded by–excuse my french–straight up bitches. Oh my goodness, I hated Heather and his wife Maeve with a passion. The author did a wonderful job making those two ladies enormous bullies. They were the perfect villains. I was happy for Paul when his son visited for the holidays. Finally a peace of mind, even if short-lived before Heather’s extreme temper tantrum ruined everything.

I loved getting inside Paul’s head. He knew something was wrong, but there was nothing he could really do about it since his wife kept taking their daughter’s side. I wanted to punch Heather in the face; that’s how great Angel Gelique made that character a bad guy. As a reader, I was also quite scared of Heather. She was a narcissist to the core–a psychopath too. Who could have ever thought what would happen because of a cell phone? The story blew my mind (in a good way)!

My favorite line:  Though to be fair, she’s only grown grossly intolerable over the past couple of months since her last cell phone began showing signs of electronic Alzheimer’s. I truly loved the ending. Does Paul’s wife have a change of heart? Does Heather still make your skin crawl? You’ll have to read the book to find out.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

***I hope you enjoyed the book review. If you know of anyone who wants to celebrate Women’s Horror Month, please let me know. They can write guest posts for me, and I’d love to reblog from other wonderful writers. Let’s celebrate Women’s Horror Month in style!

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

 

 

My Favorite Story Type #DIYMFA

What’s Your Favorite Story Type?

Tell us which story type you love and why. Are you using it in your current work-in-progress?

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My favorite story type is my characters using their wits to outsmart a killer stalking the group. Since I’m twisted, the killers usually end up winning 🙂 I don’t think I’ve ever written a happy ending…Survivor plots interest me because of the suspense. It’s fun scaring yourself. My stories are always full of betrayal. If I’m not writing horror or suspense, then I’ve been known to write a drama of a character dealing with inner-struggles. My short stories are usually tragedies. No matter what, obsession and death are major themes in my books. My favorite horror movies are the Scream trilogy. It’s where I get inspiration for my stories.

I’m definitely using the survivor plot in my current work-in-progress.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

My Supporting Characters #DIYMFA

“The five main types of supporting characters–Villain, Love Interest, BFF, Mentor, and Fool. Keep in mind that not every story needs to include all of these archetypes. Sometimes you might omit several of these archetypes; other times you can have one character filling multiple archetypal roles.”–Gabriela Pereira

What’s Your Favorite Supporting Character Archetype, and Why?

Which archetypes resonate with you the most? Which ones do you sometimes overlook? Most importantly, how can you rethink these supporting characters to make your overall story more compelling?

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With supporting characters, I love writing the villains and fools. I’m a horror and suspense author. Of course, I love writing bad guys haha. Psychology fascinates me. Why do people do the things they do? Exploring this concept, I love getting inside my villain’s head. I read somewhere that every villain is just a misunderstood protagonist. According to Gabriela, “the [f]ool’s purpose is to ‘tell it like it is,’ to set the protagonist straight and debunk any myths or misconceptions that the protagonist buys into.” Being an INTJ, I’m all about asking the question: why? The fool character allows me to keep asking questions, to get the other characters to think, to keep them on their toes. In the real world if I wasn’t the main character in my life, then I’d totally be the fool supporting character.

I often overlook the mentor. Sometimes the BFF is mentioned in passing but the friendship hardly shows on the pages. These characters bring peace to a story. I guess I enjoy writing conflict too much 🙂

I can definitely rethink how I use these supporting characters in my stories, so I can make my books more compelling. Instead of using each archetype and having too many characters, I can have one or two share these different traits. The fools have been my favorite characters to write. In One By One, Brady was my favorite. And, in Something’s Amiss, Bradley was my favorite. Some readers hated those guys. Maybe I can learn to write the fool in a more likable way. Just because they question the main character every step of the way doesn’t mean they have to be a pain in the ass to the readers.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Resistance As My Compass

“You have a project that you really want to work on, but for some reason every time you  sit down to write it you feel…stuck. This is not writer’s block. When you are actively trying to write but nothing comes out, it’s called resistance and that is a totally different beast. Resistance comes from fear, and fear has a purpose.”–Gabriela Pereira

Share a story about a time when resistance was your compass.

Share an example of when resistance has pointed you toward a writing project that was juicy and high-stakes…and maybe even a little bit scary. Did you face that fear head-on and overcome your resistance? What was the result of pursuing (or not pursuing) that project?

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Plot and dialogue are my favorite parts of a scene. If you ever read any of my books, you’ll see that it’s dialogue-heavy. Always. Characters interacting with each other is interesting to me. To see the relationship dynamics, to see personality through body language or how they speak, to see how smoothly they lie or manipulate.

Years ago, I took a break from writing fiction to pursue writing screenplays. My writing buddy and I studied the ins and outs of scripts, even printing a few so we could read popular movies and tv shows. I bought Save the Cat and researched, researched, researched. Even though I don’t ever see myself in Los Angeles, I’m not brain dead. If I ever got a staff writing position for a tv show, then I know I’d have to move out there.

Being nervous, being fearful, being anxious, I used that energy to co-write a screenplay with my writing buddy. We got to the end of our indie drama, then decided to try our hands on a teleplay. Wouldn’t it be awesome to pitch a tv show idea to Netflix and they actually pick it up!!! Especially a dark comedy 🙂 We taught ourselves how to create loglines, pitch an idea. We even researched production companies.

I put my heart and soul into our projects. I often wonder what would have happened if we kept pursuing it…Now, I keep writing short films because that’s possible to put something together and share on YouTube. Since I live in West Virginia, my best bet is producing something on a budget and hoping I get discovered that way.

So many writing interests, so little time…

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

A “Best Practice” That Didn’t Work for Me

“It took me years to realize that someone else’s “best practices” were useless if I didn’t test them out and adjust them to my own style. Now I know better.”–Gabriela Pereira

Share a “best practice” that didn’t work for you.

Have you ever tried one of these “best practices”? How did it go? Did you make adjustments so the advice would suit your style? Most important: What did you learn about yourself as a writer from this process?

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A writing “best practice” I once read was: write every day. No matter what. Put your butt in the chair and type/write your book. I was NOT GOOD with this practice. If I wasn’t in the mood, I couldn’t force myself. I didn’t want writing to feel like a chore. It should be fun. Being productive is fun, right? That “best practice” doesn’t really factor in personal lives. What if you’re sick? What if you have an unexpected visitor all week? What if you’re depressed? What if you’re tired from your full-time job?

Instead of thinking I have to write every day because an expert told me so, I dabble in my stories. To adjust, I write at least 15 minutes a day. It can be my actual story or notes for a story. This way there’s no pressure. I have good days where I can write at least 2,500 words, and there are some bad days where I don’t even break 100 words. My mindset–there’s always tomorrow.

I learned a lot about myself as a writer, regarding how I dealt with this “best practice.” I’m starting to think maybe I should step back as writing for a business and go back to writing as a hobby. I was probably much happier…

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby