Week by numbers.

Another week in the grind.  I’m in a state where I (desperately) feel/hope all this work I’m doing will pay off.  Because if not, what is the point of continuing to do it?

  • 160, total bloggers contacted for reviews (and that doesn’t include the number I’ve messaged for Joe, which I’m also trying to hustle a bit)
  • 154, pages edited on the sequel.  Not my most inspired effort, but I’m hoping for a productive 2 days ahead.
  • 1, new review on the Queen (there’s hope)!
  • 1, awesome book I have to read this weekend (I love Sarah Maas, do you?)
  • 3, solo nights I have ahead of me (Hubs is on a last minute business trip)
  • All, the laundry I plan to do — so exciting!

How did your week go?

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On validation.

So, I’ve been struggling (obviously) with the release of the Queen and last night figured out why I don’t feel 100% settled with the book.  Thus far, my lovely friends and family have been the reviewers and certainly, they have been generous in their comments (thank you, fam).  With both Joe and 702, I’ve had a fair number of reviews (both good and bad) from unrelated people who simply read my books.  It’s not that I value the opinions of my friends and family any less (or that I could do this without their support) it’s just I’ve been waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop for some time.

Basically, I want a stranger to read my book and give an honest opinion.  I’ve been waiting nearly a month and it hasn’t happened yet.  Yes, I know I should stand proudly by what I’ve produced, but I would love to know if the book resonates with anyone.  After all, I wrote the Queen, like all my novels, to be read and enjoyed.  So, call it validation or whatever you like, but I think it’s what is stopping me from moving on to a larger marketing push, etc.

If you need me, I’ll be obsessively refreshing the Amazon page to my book…

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Book Review: The Other Life.

It feels good to start the process of ‘percolating’ a book (read more about my process here).  As I prepare to start the rough draft of a manuscript, I generally try and focus most of my reading on the topic I’m writing about.  So, while I still have a fair amount of steampunk on my Kindle, with A.U. (that’s Alternate Universe, the working title of a book I hope to start at some point in 2017), it’s finally time to get into my research.

I honestly can’t remember how The Other Life by came onto my radar, but I’m certainly glad it did.  In it — no spoilers, really — the protagonist has the ability to go between two different timelines (this is important, because my protagonist will have the same ability, albeit in a different way).  I found a number of passages quite helpful in my approach to handling two separate timelines, and hopefully will be able to transfer some of the ideas in an original way into my own book.

So, did I like the book?

For the most part yes.  I thought Ms. Meister did an excellent job of telling a story for a character that existed in two overlapping timelines.  Doing this in a straightforward and concise manner is one of the things I’m most worried about as I think about starting my novel.  The degree in which the ‘magic’ is handled makes sense within the world of the book.  It’s a concept that readers can understand, accept, and move on to focus on the story, without having to think too much about the supernatural elements.

Did I like the main character?  Honestly, Quinn was a bit of a struggle to connect with, which is why I liked this book, but didn’t truly enjoy it.  I did want to care what decision she made, but a super rushed final act didn’t make it easy.  I realize my own as yet unnamed main character might be similarly off putting.  Struggling between two timelines, will readers like her only half the time?  Will they care about both versions of her life?  Or will one be inherently more interesting than the other?  In The Other Life, I also found some out of character moments for the protagonist (no matter which life she was in) that were jarring.  The choice for Quinn to keep her ability a secret is also a struggle my main character is going to have to overcome (and really, how does that conversation even go with someone?).

Did I like the supporting characters?  They were okay.  Husband Lewis is a bit ‘meh’ all around, not as developed as the love interest on the other side of the portal.  Of all the characters in the book, I think I liked the nosy neighbor Georgette the most, mainly because she seemed the best developed (and that includes the lead).

How did I feel about the ending?  Ms. Meister takes a route I’m considering, which is a bit open ended.  As of now, I’ve spoken to a few people about where I think A.U. is going to end, with some definite feedback (mainly that my idea of a ‘midpoint’ probably isn’t going to go over very well… I guess that’s what you get for killing off fictional children).  Anyway, back to this book, I think it was the right choice, and one that would be fun to discuss with a book club.

So, would I recommend the book?  Reviews are consistently okay, and I think I would agree.  Currently priced at an eye watering $12.99 for Kindle, I can tell you that the publisher is out of their mind.  This book is worth the $2.99 or less that I paid for it and not a penny more.

Have you read The Other Life?  What did you think?

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Week by Numbers.

Er, not as productive a week as I would’ve hoped:

  • 135, total places contacted for reviews… I’m getting polite no’s mostly, but now and then someone is helpful — there is hope!
  • 115, pages edited of the Queen #2 (out of 223).  I’m being a bit more brutal these days and trying to cut down on extra words, phrases, and general exposition.  I’d really hoped to get further, but here’s looking at next week!
  • 1, dream spa visited (a friend hooked me up with a review at Armani Spa, which has been on my bucket list for years).
  • 1, trip to Abu Dhabi to film an episode of What’s Cooking UAE – my first solo episode!
  • 0, new reviews.
  • Limited, books sold.
  • 1, new piece of fan fiction I wrote.
  • 1, excellent book I’m getting into that’s really giving me some ideas for my next book, A.U.

How was your week/August?

Week by Numbers.

The week sort of got away from me, but such is life:

  • 90, pages I’ve edited on the Queen 2 (no, I didn’t start at 0).
  • 73,332, current word count of Queen 2, which I expect to go up.
  • 2, additional reviews for the Queen 1 (yay!)
  • A few, more copies sold (not exactly enough to make me feel like a colossal failure, but more reviews and coverage should be coming soon)
  • 1, pair of dream shoes I tried on today, for the low cost of…
  • EUR645 (sobs)
  • 2, number of spin classes I went to this week which included…
  • 1, new personal best!
  • Some, movement on a project that I thought had died.  Excited to see what happens in September!