Book Review: Heart Blossom By Colin Lalley

Browsing on AbsoluteWrite Forums, I noticed a member announce that he had written a short story in the spirit of Halloween, making it spooky. Since I love to scare myself in October, I decided to give the book a chance–didn’t hurt that for that day only the book was free hee hee. Heart Blossom is book #21 for my reading challenge. Here’s my thoughts:

Nathan has one chance to rescue the woman he loves–the fabled heart blossom. He must brave the witches and swamp men who prowl the bog and take one life to save another. But is he willing to pay the price for that sacrifice?

I enjoyed this no chapter book. The author was great with setting. He explained everything in a vivid manner to the point that I could picture everything in my head. He especially did great with Groux (the swamp man) and Greenteeth (the witch) descriptions. I could picture it as a Chiller movie.

My favorite line was “A veil of vines hung in front of it from a low branch, obscuring the stump almost as if to warn Nathan he wasn’t welcome but revealing enough to still tempt him forward.” Nathan didn’t believe in fairytales, opting to be grounded and realistic. But did he get his happy-ever-after ending anyway? You’ll have to read the story to find out.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

I Ain’t Afraid Of No Ghosts…Well Maybe I Am

Has something frightening ever happened to you that you can’t explain? That when you tell people, they don’t believe you? Well, an incident happened when I was a little girl. Most people don’t believe me, but I swear it’s true. They think my imagination played tricks on me. However, I know better…

I was waiting by the front door, which had a full length mirror beside it. My dad was getting ready to take me to grandma’s, so I could walk to my elementary school. I stared into the mirror, maybe admiring myself (I am a Leo after all hee hee). Shortly after, my reflection vanished and the glass turned gray. Too scared to move, I just kept staring. Fog appeared at the bottom of the glass, then a man stood in the mirror. He was gray; he wore a cool looking 40’s hat, a suit, and fancy shoes. Even wore a tie. His hands never left his side. We made eye contact and nothing more. Wide-eyed, I was too scared to move, but I yelled “Daddy! Daddy!”

He ran down the hallway to see what was wrong. I was a very quiet child, so yelling wasn’t my typical behavior. I pointed at the mirror. By the time he reached it, the man and fog disappeared. We both stared at our reflections and the objects in the background. I explained what happened. Of course, he didn’t believe me. Frustrated, I didn’t try to convince him any further, but you can best believe I never viewed that mirror the same way again. In fact, I avoided it at all costs. I would leave out the back door from then on.

Later (I don’t remember if it was weeks or months later), I took pictures of everything in my room. I got them developed and guess who was in one of them. The picture was a part of my red bunk bed with a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle poster framed on the wall beside it. The same man from the mirror stood right beside the poster in the same position as before. His hands by his side and a serious facial expression. He didn’t look happy; he didn’t look mean. He was just there, even wearing his same outfit. My wall, bed, and poster was in color. The ghost was gray.

With proof, I showed mom my picture and explained the mirror incident. She didn’t believe me either! She claimed that the person at the store messed up the photos, accidentally merging two photos together from different customer’s stacks of photos. No way. What would be the odds of that?!

I couldn’t tell you if the man was Casper the friendly ghost or a vengeful ghost because he never said anything. I never saw him again after that. Who knows if he had mistaken me for someone else? If he needed something solved so his soul could be at rest? I was scared of being left alone at home though. Thankfully at the age of fifteen, we moved to a new house in the next town over.

So what do you guys think? Was the man real? Was it just my imagination? Was he really a ghost? Or was everything just a coincidence?

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

One Lovely Blog Award

Thanks Paige Addams for nominating me for the One Lovely Blog Award. I appreciate that you enjoy my blog so much to give me two awards simultaneously.

RULES:

1.  Include blog award logo in your post

2.  Thank person who nominated you and link back to them in your post

3.  Share 7 things about yourself (keep in mind that children may read this)

4.  Nominate 7 bloggers you absolutely relish

5.  Leave a comment on each of these blogs letting them know they’ve been nominated

7 THINGS ABOUT MYSELF

  1. I’m a thinker, not a feeler. Sometimes I over-compensate with emotions through my characters, wishing I was that expressive. Instead, I’m very rational. Sometimes my critique partners in the past have asked me “Where’s the emotion?” so I’ve had to go back and tweak certain scenes. Things that wouldn’t be a deal breaker for me would certainly bother some people.
  2. I’m an observer. I tend to look people up and down to get a clear picture of their appearance and body movements. Most of the time it’s for jotting down potential characters in my book of observations. It’s pretty funny because sometimes this has landed me in hot water with the opposite sex. If a guy thinks I was checking him out, he could get upset if I don’t respond in the way he likes. That’s happened at least twice.
  3. I’m a huge procrastinator. I hate when people try and rush me; I like to work on my own time, preferably when it’s close to the deadline. I work best under pressure. My freshmen year in college I took Native American Literature. A 10 page paper was due; we knew about the assignment mid semester. It was supposed to analyze 3 short stories we read during class. I didn’t start the paper until the night before it was due. Talk about a panic attack if something happened to the computer or printer! Anyway, I received an “A” on it. My senior year in college for my accounting class, in a group we had to do an extensive project, regarding financial records as though we were a business. Our company name was Last Minute, and my partner and I didn’t begin the project until 3 days before it was due (had the majority of the semester to work on it). We received an “A” on it.
  4. I googled ‘how to detect flirty body language’ as research for my latest 90 day novel challenge. For the women side, I don’t do half of what they say constitutes flirting. No wonder a guy can never tell LOL. However, some of the things pointed out, I tend to do that to everyone, whether female or male, so if a guy ever went by that list, they’d probably get the wrong impression. For example, I’m always smiling and engaging in prolonged eye contact with anyone who’s speaking with me. And I always remember little details of someone because I’m a good listener.
  5. Even though I’m a loner, I love meeting new people and hearing their personal stories. I’ve noticed though that I tend to have seasonal relationships (anyone who’s familiar with the Reason, Season, Lifetime poem will know what I’m talking about). Once I make a friendship, it’s great at the beginning. But it only lasts for a while then it’s a mutual split. I hardly ever make any deep connections with anyone, so when we grow apart, it doesn’t hurt my feelings. I don’t dwell on it; I just move on to the next person when he or she comes along.
  6. I’m always giving myself social experiments or projects to work on. I love collecting data and analyzing things. I’m an INTJ personality type, so I’m always finding ways to improve myself. For the next 2 weeks, my social experiment is to say hello to strangers and engage in a conversation with them, something more than small talk (oh how I hate small talk). Instead of staying quiet observing everyone, I’ll actually participate in the conversation.
  7. I’m always thinking ‘what if this happened’ or ‘what if that happened.’ I’ve noticed in my writing, my characters tend to be skeptical of their surroundings as well. Going through some of my old stories, I’ve noticed a lot of questions in the narration. I guess that’s a part of my personality that gets intertwined into my writing style.

MY NOMINATIONS (SORRY IF YOU ALREADY WON; I DIDN’T KNOW)

  1. Kellie Larsen Murphy
  2. Sharon C. Cooper
  3. Shannon A. Thompson
  4. Samuel Snoek-Brown
  5. Poppy Writes A Book
  6. Isabella Louise Anderson
  7. Nerd Redefined

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

The “Look” Challenge Award

I’d like to thank Paige Addams for nominating me for the “Look” Challenge. It’s an awesome award that allows writers to showcase their work.

RULES:

1.  Search your manuscript for the word “look” and then copy the surrounding paragraphs into a post. Either the writer posts a couple of paragraphs from a couple different parts of their manuscript, or the writer posts one larger section of their story that contained the word.

2.  Give a little background on the scene if you’d like.

3.  Tag 5 other writers who are working on, or who have completed a manuscript.

—-

Part of this scene focuses on a group of friends who take a road trip to visit a cabin for the weekend. Along the way, Marissa picks up a stranger. The group is hanging out in the parking lot of a convenience store before reaching their destination. The girls don’t have a problem with the stranger, but the guys are skeptical. This story went through 2 beta-readers–the third one never responded back with his suggestions.

EXCERPT FROM “ONE BY ONE”

Girls were gullible, so Adam thought it’d be a good idea to scare them. With a serious facial expression, he said, “Marissa should have done a background check on me before inviting me with you guys.”

“Why?” Naomi asked, wide-eyed.

He gave a sinister smile. “Because I’m crazy.”

The girls shared a look of oh-no-he-didn’t. Marissa chuckled, hitting Adam on the arm. “Stop playing like that. Don’t be a douche.”

“I’m not being a douche. I’m being myself.”

“No you aren’t.”

Adam smirked. “How would you know, Marissa? You’ve known me for less than three hours.” He wagged his finger in front of her face, causing her to slap it away. “Didn’t your mom ever teach you not to talk–let alone pick up–strangers?”

Marissa rolled her eyes and folded her arms across her chest. Oh yeah, she was into him. She was turned on right now. Adam never understood women. Why did they want jerks when they could have  a nice guy?

Before he could tell them he was joking, Brady walked over. He looked skeptical. The guys must have sent him over to be their spokesperson. Like clockwork, Brady went into third degree questioning. “Where you from, Adam?”

“Florida,” he lied, quickly thinking on his feet. He could handle this putz.

“Last I checked, people are from cities within a state. Like, I’m from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. So…you…are…from?”

“The…Ever…glades…Florida.” Maybe if these hillbillies thought Adam was a country fellow, then they’d cut him some slack.

“Ever been to a swamp tour?” Rae asked.

“A couple of times. My uncle actually organizes tours down on the swamp.” Might as well go all out with the lie.

Brady cracked his knuckles. “How old are you?”

“Thirty,” he fibbed again.

“Congratulations Marissa, you snagged an older man.” Naomi grabbed her friend’s hand, raising it in mock triumph. She gave Rae a spiteful look then left.

THE END

MY NOMINATIONS (SORRY IF YOU ALREADY WON; I DIDN’T KNOW)

  1. Simone Young
  2. Poppy Writes A Book
  3. No Wasted Ink
  4. Ryan Murphy
  5. Tracking the Words: A Yearly Cycle

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Happy To Announce I Joined “The Indie View” As A Book Reviewer

Anyone who visits my blog knows how much I love doing book reviews. I don’t care how the book is published as long as it can be downloaded onto my kindle. I like to find interesting stories myself, but it’s always a plus when an author requests I do a book review for them through my email. It makes me feel special 🙂

Indie authors know how hard it is to be taken seriously when trying to get their book noticed through the book review circuit. The Indie View caters to indie authors needs by: 1) providing a list of bloggers who review indie published books and how to contact them 2) allowing the reviewers to post on its site 3) popular website among search engines.

For anyone out there who’s having a hard time finding someone to review their book, you should consider checking out this website. It also lists what genre each book reviewer prefers.

When writing book reviews, I share on my blog, Amazon, and Goodreads. Now, if its an indie published book, I’ll also add to The Indie View, hopefully helping you get more publicity.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Is It Possible To Find An Affordable Editor?

No matter what, before authors publish their books, someone has to look over it to edit. If they hire an agent or get signed to a publishing house, then they don’t have to worry about editing costs. If they decide to self-publish, then it’s up to them to pay for everything.

My novel is almost finished with revisions, so I’m at the stage where I need to start looking for an editor. I actually started looking yesterday. I don’t know about you, but I’m not rich. I can’t afford to pay thousands of dollars, which seems like the norm for editing costs. My options: 1) cut my novel’s word count down drastically, making it a short story or novella 2) save up money for years and years 3) give up on my dream (not even a possibility) 4) by a miracle, find an affordable editor.

I like the 4th option the best. I know there’s a number of writers who take the self-publishing route who share those same concerns as me. We should have a support group or something; I’d definitely join.

There’s 4 stages of editing:

  1. Self-editing. The author revises his own work and polishes it to the best of his abilities before sending it to an editor or querying to agents. **Free.
  2. Line-editing or Structural-editing. The editor focuses on the story element issues like characterization, plot. They focus on the big picture making sure pacing and structure of story is on point. A book can go through many rounds of this type of editing. The editor will give a list of suggested changes to the author, who gets the option of declining or accepting the changes. It’s helpful if the author declines, she should come up with an alternative solution. The author will make changes. Then continue with how many more rounds are necessary. **I imagine this is the most expensive editing to purchase.
  3. Copy-editing. The editor finds smaller mistakes like misused punctuation, typos, spelling mistakes, grammatical errors. They also make sure that all factual information within the story is correct; for example, if a character writes with his left hand in Chapter 3, then he continues to be left handed throughout the rest of the book. **I imagine this is still expensive, but less than a line-edit.
  4. Proofreading. The editor looks over every single word in the document to make sure there are no mistakes. Typically involves typesetting (looking over the pages that will actually be going onto an e-reader or a printed book). It’s also recommended that when the author gets the package back, he should look over the document to make sure everything is correct. Sometimes it takes more than one set of eyes. **I imagine this is the least expensive of any editing package, but I could be wrong.

A resourceful tool is beta-readers. They basically do a structural-editing and/or copy-editing for free. Beta-readers are people who love to read and are willing to help a writer by looking over their entire story and making suggestions of improvements and commenting on what worked in the story. Am I naive in thinking if I have enough beta-readers for a rounded evaluation, then I can skip a structural editing (something I couldn’t afford anyway) from a professional editor? Wouldn’t copy-editing or a proofreader be enough?

If there’s any authors out there who’d like to share their experiences with how they found an editor, then please let me know. I’d love to have a guest post from someone who can share their journey of how long the process took, if the relationship between author and editor was good or bad, what are recommendations for making the process run smoothly. My email is Author.Yawatta.Hosby(AT)aol(DOT)com if anyone’s interested.

Lurking on Absolute Write Forums under ‘Ask an Editor’ section and Googling the topic, I found some ways to find an affordable editor. If anyone would like to add to the list, please do. I need all the help I can get 🙂

  • Barter for editing services. If you can’t afford a fee, then offer something helpful you can do for the editor. I can see this approach working for writers helping other writers, or for college students needing favors. For example, for someone editing your story, you can offer to cover design for their book or something like that. Babysitting, pet-sitting, cleaning house, washing a car, etc. etc. Don’t be too proud to beg hee hee.
  • Ask a newspaper editor. They could probably use the extra cash and wouldn’t charge a lot.
  • Check the Kindleboards yellow  pages. There’s a high demand for editors on there. Maybe someone gives a good recommendation too.
  • Put flyer up at a college or university near the English Department asking for an editor
  • If Google, search under freelance editing. You’ll have a better chance at finding an affordable editor that way.
  • Elance and Guru allows an author to set a price within their budget, and editors can bid if they accept the offer.
  • Ask for an editor on Absolute Write. Its a writing community full of writers, authors, editors, etc. willing to help each other out. Just make sure you do it under the ‘Ask an editor’ section.

Please understand, you get what you pay for. If you find someone really cheap because they’re inexperienced, then that would be just as bad as not hiring an editor at all. Please check credentials and set standards for what you’re looking for in an editor. Last but not least, make sure to ask for a sample edit to see if you like their critique style.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Poppy’s NaNoWriMo Survival Guide – My Top 9 Tips for Success!

Poppy gives a great list of tips on succeeding with the NaNoWriMo challenge that everyone should look at for November if participating.

Poppy Writes A Book

It’s that time of year again!

It’s almost November, which means it’s time for National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo. Flush with victory from last years NaNo, I’m going to share with you the top 9 things that helped me to write 50,000 words in  less than a month!

Click Here if you’re like “What the heck’s a NaNoWriMo?” For the rest of you here we go…

1. Scrivener Writing Software

Available for both Mac and PC,  Scrivener changed the way I write. I consider it the best writing software on the market. It’s full of  so many great features and I encourage you to check it out. During NaNo they offer a Special NaNo Trial  that allows you to download the software to use during the month of November for FREE. The trial lasts through December 7th, and if you “win” NaNo you get…

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