Patting Myself On the Back. I Acted Like A Professional Writer Today

Lately, I’ve been submitting short stories to magazines and anthologies. Lars’s Muse is one of my favorites. I’ve been submitting this flash fiction piece off and on since 2015 after it didn’t become a finalist for the contest The Cult of Me.

This month, I submitted Lars’s Muse to Horror Tree’s Trembling With Fear. Horror Tree is a great resource for writers looking for dark-themed places to submit to. Recently, the founder Stuart Conover decided to open up submissions to create a reading section for the site. New short stories are posted every Sunday.

Luckily, I heard from Stuart a couple days ago. Who knew a rejection could be rewarding? No sarcasm, I promise. I appreciated that he took the time to offer me suggestions to improve my story. Not only that but he gave me a chance to resubmit Lars’s Muse!

So instead of sulking over a rejection, I embraced it. I revised my story and resubmitted to Trembling With Fear. I’m very proud of myself for showing vulnerability by sharing my work and acting like a professional by listening to constructive criticism.

Maybe the 4th time will be Lars’s Muse lucky charm? I hope so. If not, then I’ll look for another place to send it.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

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Book Review: Defenestration by Matthew W. McFarland

***I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review***

Defenestration

Noun

the act of throwing a thing, or especially a person out of a window

All it takes is one random deviation from the run of things to send a life spiraling out of control; An underachiever from the retail sector with a degree in geography and a taste for younger women. An attractive pharmacist with addiction issues. An enigmatic taxi driver with a penchant for theology. All three are brought together when Adam is thrown from the twelfth storey of an apartment complex in mysterious circumstances. As he falls towards almost certain death, he contemplates his fate, killer whales, flying cats, and the untapped potential of the human mind.

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I loved this contemporary novella. It was written in Adam’s first person point-of-view, and switched into third person when showing how other characters fit the puzzle. The author did a brilliant job with characterization; every character was given a backstory, a personality, and they shined in whatever scene they were in.  Most importantly, the author did a great job of setting up the reveal of who could have possibly shoved Adam out of the window!

After he was pushed from the window, Adam met Gabriel and Michael. They helped him piece together the mystery of what had happened that night at the party. I really enjoyed reading about the anti-heroes of the story. Life had dealt them a terrible hand. By their own fault or bad luck?  You’ll have to read the story to find out.

Reading this novella reminded me of a Judd Apatow movie. I could picture Seth Rogen and James Franco as starring roles. The sarcasm really made me laugh.

My favorite lines: 1) When a week went by without any contact, she knew his laziness had overcome his libido. 2) “As I was falling, I looked back up, and there were two faces. We found one, so who was the other?”

I REOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

 

Are You Too Fearful, Shocked, or Disgusted to Celebrate Horror With Me?

What does horror mean to you? The dictionary defines horror as “an intense feeling of fear, shock, or disgust.” Therefore, the horror genre plays on the fears of readers to startle, frighten, or disgust them. Sometimes horror fiction can evoke society’s fear, if you want to think about the big picture.

Do you like horror? I think it’s absolutely fun to scare myself. That’s why I go on ghost tours, watch scary movies nonstop, and read lots and lots of horror fiction. Not everyone feels the same way, but life would be boring if we all acted and felt the same.

I remember one day meeting an uptight lady and a laidback guy. It was around three months after publishing my first book, One By One. The guy was asking me about my book (we shared mutual friends even though it was the first time meeting him), but before I could answer, the lady chimed in about how she felt Stephen King wasn’t right in the head for the disgusting stuff he wrote. That he was truly sick and needed to be locked up. I don’t have a poker face, so who knew what type of faces I was making. I hate judgemental people. After her long winded rant, she congratulated me on being an author, then she asked me what genre I wrote. In my most deadpan expression, I answered, “I write like Stephen King.” Cheeks flushed red, she walked away. I smiled inside, knowing I would’ve made Daria proud.

February is Women’s Horror Month. I can’t wait! For twenty-eight days, I’ll be talking nothing but horror. I’ll add suspense too because obsession, stalkers, killers, and creeps are my biggest fears. I hope you stick around for my blog event. Help me celebrate female horror writers.

What’s your biggest fear? Do you like the horror genre, or are you too afraid or too disgusted to read it? Please share your thoughts below.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Weekend Writing Warriors Excerpt #31

I’m back! The Weekend Writing Warriors is an awesome site that allows writers to share their 8 to 10 sentence excerpts, published or unpublished, to the blogosphere. If you’d like to join or would like to read wonderful talent, please visit the WeWriWa website on Sunday, 1/8: http://wewriwa.com.

This week I’ll be sharing my WIP of my sequel Six Plus One. Alta and her friends leave Voy on a road trip to Green Bank, West Virginia. They plan to film footage for their popular alien-centric web series. What should be a get-in and get-out situation turns into a deadly nightmare.

Here’s my excerpt:

“We didn’t forget the wireless mics, right?” Alta’s cell phone rang. She picked it up on the second ring. “Hey, dad, what’s up?”

“Wanted to make sure everything’s okay. Kendrick’s following the speed limit, correct? You guys aren’t bringing attention to yourselves, right?”

“We’re going to isolated woods to contact aliens. What could go wrong?”

“I’m serious, Alta…”

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Book Review: Chronicles of Drenyon: The Golden Sword by NLJ

Mystery. Romance. Adventure. Suspense.                
 
 The Chronicles of Drenyon series has the power to show you worlds you have never known. It will whisk you away to adventures that will thrill readers of all ages. Join the journey of a tyrant king, an enchanted tree, a captivating maiden, and a pair of mystical twins as they fight for their one and only home.
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***I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review***

Fantasy isn’t a typical genre I read, but I decided to give this book a try. I’m happy I did. The author did a great job with setting and description. The scenes were quite interesting, showing a lot of action and a lot of interaction between the characters. I loved all the tension between everyone; they all had secrets, and some had a shady past.

Anya was the main character. As a reader, I respected her strong nature. She was one of the heroes in the story, not weak having to always wait for the man to save her. I felt sorry for Anya since she seemed to only have her mom Elina and the tree man at the beginning.

Drenyon didn’t have a king because their king had died violently in war many years ago. Drenyon had twelve years of peace until…an enemy unleashed something horrible. The regular townfolk were turning into monsters.

With the help of the tree man, Anya had to find a way to save her country. My favorite scenes where when they found the young boy in the prison. He and the tree man fought for Anya’s attention, plus they found a set of powerful twins. I loved all the disharmony among the ranks.

My favorite lines: 1) What a lovely tale, she thought. Yet, she was curious…2) Today, there was an unspoken sadness between them. 3) Mother’s smiles were forgotten. 4) “Don’t recite, my love. Dream.” 5) “True goodness comes from unexpected sources.” 6) “Red sparks along the sides of the moon,” she remembered aloud, “and untamed chaos.”

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

Book Review: A Portrait for Shy by Justin Kenneth

Fans of We Were Liars will devour this psychological supernova.

At seventeen, Jared Sedgwick wanted to share his artwork with the world, marry his first love, and get the hell out of Vermont. But he put down the brush when his relationship fell to pieces, and his cracked phone still says it’s another cold day in Bennington.

He only opens up to his best friend Stan, the one who’s there for him when he feels suicidal, who listens to every word and sits through every heartbreaking detail just waiting for some cat food; Stan never offers much advice. But that’s okay now because Jared’s got a new story, and her name is Eloise. She’s a cat-loving bookworm with a passion for starting over, new in town from California, and she’s making him forget that he ever had a past.

It’s a fresh romance for both until she questions the whereabouts of his ex-girlfriend, soon to discover an awful truth much worse than cheating.

A PORTRAIT FOR SHY is a twist-riddled narration of undying love in the wake of tragedy, an upper-YA/crossover contemporary *Mature content novel.

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***I received a free copy in exchange for an honest review***

The opening line, There’s this game I play with Stan called Scratch-me-if-you-can, where I tap behind his paws until he tears apart my hand, caught my attention right away. The story was told in Jared’s first person point of view, and Stan was his cat. I loved this story because Jared’s quirky personality kept my full attention. Picture this book as an indie quirky drama or a quirky romance movie. Something you’d see on Sundance or the IFC Channel.

Jared, Jared, Jared. From the beginning, it was clear he wasn’t all sane, but that made him endearing. I felt bad that he couldn’t let go of the past. He was in a love triangle with  his high school sweetheart Shy, and his new neighbor Eloise. I loved that everyone’s backstory was twist after twist. I’m all about mystery.

Even though my favorite scenes where of Jared bonding with Eloise and Shy, I wish there would’ve been a little more interaction with other people. They lived in Vermont, so I pictured a small town, which the author did a great job capturing Vermont’s beautiful landscape. I wanted to get a feel if his neighborhood found him odd or if he just faded in the background. I was happy that he became less lonely when Eloise arrived into town.

Eloise’s dialogue used alot of exclamation points. That made me think she was eccentric or youthful. My favorite line was There was a pause that swallowed. But I closed my eyes, and then I heard her voice. As a reader, I usually have a clear cut couple I’m shipping if there’s a love triangle. However, I really liked Shy and Eloise, both for different reasons.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

IWSG Blog Hop–Writing Rule I Wish I’d Never Heard

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Last month I joined the Insecure Writer’s Support Group on Facebook after reconnecting with my writing buddy Meka. 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.

IWSG also has a website, which 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.

I’ve always joked that writers need a support group, and if I ever found one, then I’d join. Even though I’m a published author, I have fears and doubts and insecurities. After reading the Insecure Writer’s Support Group purpose on their website, I was hooked.

Their purpose–“to share and encourage writers. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds.”

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

Okay, here goes…

January’s question–What writing rule do you wish you’d never heard?

The writing rule I wish I’d never heard is don’t write in passive voice. Only use active voice. For example, it’s bad to say “the tree got chomped dwn by an axe.” The rule says you should use “the axe chomped down the tree.” I swear I don’t mind grammar. English was one of my favorite subjects in school, but man, always having to use active voice is intimidating. What if your character doesn’t speak like that? Isn’t it better to stay true to your character’s voice?

Unfortunately, I tend to speak and write in passive voice. If you read my blog posts, I’m sure passive sentences are used everywhere. I know it’s a bad habit, but I don’t know how to stop. How much do readers really mind passive voice? Writing a first draft, my main goal is to just get my words on paper. Editing comes later…but I stall tremendously. I think it’s all the pressure of every sentence, every word has to be perfect or you’ll lose the reader. I struggle with the revision stage, which is why I probably only publish one book a year. I wish I could just hire an editor to completely fix my manuscripts in the grammar sense.

Since it’s hard for me to follow the rule of ‘don’t use passive voice,’ I often think my writing sucks. If someone leaves me a good review or if a critique partner says I did a god job, I think they’re just being nice. Equivalent to a loved one being supportive just because they care about you.

I know this fear is something I’ll have to get over. I can’t keep losing confidence when I’m around other writers who know what they’re talking about, grammar wise. I need to tell myself that a story isn’t about perfect sentence structure, it’s about following the guidelines of your particular genre. I write horror and suspense. I have plot twists nailed haha. I need to learn how to take a compliment without thinking there’s a hidden meaning.

Thanks for listening.

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby