This Tuesday, Treasure Seekers, I am shining a Spotlight on Book Reviews. As an Author, it is something that is a good practice to get into, reviewing books. It helps your peers, to get reviews on their work. It helps your followers to decide what book they might or might not want to read next, in their free time. It does take time away from writing, to read other books and review them, so I am not going to be writing them constantly. Once I get enough purchases registered on Amazon.ca, and I switch my profile on Goodreads to reflect my pen name as the Author I am, then I will be reviewing more books there. This is my first book review since I have become an Author. I am still writing my first book, with plans for 5 more. I hope that I will be so lucky as to have people enjoy my books enough to write some kind words about them someday.
I am going to review two books today. They are both completely different, with a common…noodle of thought. The title of the first book will explain that comment a little better.
Sarah Tyley started writing her debut novel, Spaghetti Head in 2006. I understand what she describes when she says that she started writing it, and then she stopped. I have started writing my own first novel, and it is in progress. I am working hard to find the time to work on my own book. Classified on amazon.co.uk as a Contemporary Fiction novel, Spaghetti Head is currently for sale as an ebook for Kindle. When I looked into the future publication plans that Sarah has shared on her social media, she will be launching the paperback version in June.
With a name like Spaghetti Head, I didn’t quite know what to expect. This novel has many twists and turns, much like a bowl of spaghetti. Add in a few solid meatballs, like Granma, Sally and Ty to support the main character Nell; and you have some great personalities to write a story about. The complications arise when Nell Greene, the main character, is presented with a major life choice. In the world that Sarah has created, there are population issues, and Nell is nominated for an Award. It is not your typical award for journalism, her chosen career, but rather to receive it she must become a Mother. This comes with its own form of spicy complications. The sauce of the story lies in the inner voice that Nell has been listening to for years. This voice has its own personality, and name. You will have to read the book to learn more about that.
You can’t have a good bowl of spaghetti without sprinkling on a bit of cheese. Enter Alice and Shilly, the robotic companions of Nell and Ty, respectively. They provide distraction, advice and laughter throughout the novel. Just a hint of something extra, to enhance the flavour of the book.
Being a fan of randomness myself, and fighting with my own internal gremlins, I do understand how the title suits the book since I have finished reading it. One of the things that Nell decides to do to help her make her decision to accept the award or not is to go to therapy. Here is the noodle I referred to earlier. There are techniques used in this book and the second book to be reviewed here that are to help move the characters in this book, and the readers in the second book, beyond what is holding them back. As I am writing this to encourage people to read the books, I am not going to give away the secrets, but I did find it interesting to read two completely different books, and find tools being used both in the world of Nell in Spaghetti Head, that I found also while reading …
The Path to Courage by Debbie Burns. If you are a regular here on my website, you may recognize this author’s name. If not, you might be more familiar with me writing about Facebook Groups. I happened to find Creative Central, a Facebook group that is founded by Debbie Burns. It is one of many projects that this amazing woman has on the go. Not only is this group free, but it has other writers like myself, finding their way to becoming authors, one word at a time. To be in a welcoming, positive safe group with my peers is absolutely priceless. Enough about who Debbie is, time to tell you what I thought of her book.
When Debbie announced that she was having an online launch party for this book, I had to make sure I made it to at least a part of it. I happened to be home that day, so I was there for the start. I downloaded my copy, and read the book, cover to cover, the same day it was launched.
The common noodle is in this book also. There are things people can do to help themselves, and both books reinforce this, in completely different ways. In Spaghetti Head, Nell uses the tools in the book to help her solve her own issues. In The Path to Courage outlines some of the same tools, but in a practical guide for the reader.
Reading The Path to Courage was like having a conversation with Debbie, where she imparts her own wisdom of how to find courage inside of the reader. It is full of joy and personal stories. She describes what happened in her life that brought her to need to write this book, and how she has overcome all of the things in her life that tried to stop her in her remarkable journey. She calls herself the Head Unicorn, she has fabulous pink hair to help support that claim. She writes about glitter and fireflies and how to change the way you think with simple tools, that like I have written before, you will have to read the book to discover.
Spaghetti Head was a wonderful story thought up by Sarah Tyley, and I am a fan. She is currently writing her second book and I will be waiting to read what she has to tell in her next story.
The Path to Courage is an insightful book that helps the reader find their own way. Full of spunk and anecdotes, it is a book that I will likely read more than once, as there are exercises inside that I want to test to help me find my own Path to Courage.
There you have it. A spotlight on book reviews makes its first appearance in Treasure Seeker Tuesday. It is a topic that I see growing into this category and will help me to find other Treasures to seek and share with you here, on the Blog. I hope that you check these books out, and if you do, please let me know what you thought of them. Myself, I enjoyed them both, each for their own unique style and story.
After attempting to write this Treasure Seeker Tuesday once already this week, and being 700 words into it, my fingers took it out. I had it saved and typed it right out of existence. Sometimes, things don’t work out the way you plan them to. This was a perfect chance for a rewrite. It’s too bad my eyes were the only ones that saw my first crack at this story. It was pretty good. Now I have the challenge to make it better. When opportunity knocks, you should really answer that door.
Part of being an adult is knowing when to admit when you are wrong, and more importantly, apologizing. I was recently invited to be a featured creative in a brand new E-Zine, called Creatives Rising. In my excitement to help spread the good news, I approached it incorrectly. It was a bit awkward, and I had to delete the initial post to write it again. That wasn’t the hardest part. I then had to apologize.
The publishers were very gracious. I was honest and upfront about not trying to do the wrong thing. They understood that I wanted to learn how to do things properly, and provided instructions on how to correct the posts. It crossed my mind to just bail, but that would not have been a way to learn how to work with people. I held my breath and when the dust settled, I submitted my article.
Then I had to wait. Patience is tough when you try something new and get off to a bumpy start. It is even harder to wait when it is something that is really important to you. I worked hard on that article. I put a lot of thought into writing generally, but when you are writing for someone else, it feels like it is really important, and you want to put your best effort into it. I was given the Topic Creative Highlight and the subject was Peace. It was a challenge, but I worked on it, then sent it in. I didn’t know how it was going to be received, or what to expect, really. This was my first time submitting an article for an E-Zine, and I was really nervous. I didn’t know if what I wrote would be up to the standards that were expected.
Miscommunications and misunderstandings happen to everyone. The trick is to learn and grow from the experience, instead of letting it hold you back. I learned this a long time ago, back when I started dating my husband. He would say things, I would not understand what he meant, I would get upset and cry. Then we would talk, and he would explain what he meant. Back then I think we might have spoken different languages, even though we are both very fluent in English. He is bilingual, with French also, but I am not. We also had a bumpy start. I have to tell you, I have no regrets, our communication with each other has grown and matured with our relationship. I do not back down from him, I question him if I don’t understand what he means. We have been together 25 years and married for almost 8 of them. We had a lot of time to learn about each other, and practice our communication skills.
See what I did there? I made you wait too.
When I got the draft back, there were suggested edits, and they wanted to drop a paragraph. I thought it was reasonable, so I revised the draft and sent it back in. With one sentence needing finalization after the second round, the article was complete. Then I waited with everyone for the launch of the Creatives Rising E-Zine Spring 2018 Issue. It’s an online publication FOR Creatives, BY Creatives in affiliation with @CreativesRising and @CreativeEnergyGoddess #CreativesRising2018#CRZine#amwriting#HappyWriting
I am very proud to be a Featured Creative in this publication and am so honoured that I was invited to participate. It is available through an online subscription. The file is large, and your computer will advise you of this. It is so worth downloading, and not just because of the article I wrote for it.
If you do subscribe, let me know in the comments, so that I can thank you. I would also be interested in reading any thoughts you have on my article and the whole Creatives Rising E-Zine. I am really glad that I pushed my own boundaries to take a step forward in my own writing goals. I plan to keep writing. Who knows what opportunity is going to come knocking next? I am ready.
#TreasureSeekerTuesday (On a Friday morning…because of circumstances and a finger trip)
In Weeknd Warrior #53: Multitasking for the Win, this weekend was busy and not. All at the same time. I had baking to do Friday night, for a bake sale on Saturday. I participated in some writing sprints. So I wrote for an hour, then made Macaroons. Then after I got them in the fridge, I entered into the second hour of writing. In that time of writing, Friday, in both sessions, I started a new fictional story about the cats in my book. It will have a time and a place for release. It was fun to write a what if story about them. It is going to be something special when I am ready to share it.
Saturday I got ready and picked up some bottles at work for the Bottle Drive. The event that I was baking for Friday night was a three part event. It was for Boston Terrier Rescue Canada, and I am a volunteer with them, so I pitch in when and where I can. This event was made up of the bottle drive, a bake sale, and a local grooming business was offering nail trims for donations as well. I had the job of watching the Bake Sale Table when I arrived.
I thought about bringing my laptop to use wi-fi while I was there. It was going to be a few hours, and I debated the idea. I decided to print out the partial manuscript of my book and work on the editing while I was between customers at the bake sale. It worked out well. I was able to convince another volunteer to take a picture of my multitasking at the event.
Volunteering for Boston Terrier Rescue Canada while editing my first book. Multitasking win!
I wrote some more of that story I was working on Saturday. I didn’t make the earlier session but I managed to get to the second one. I spent the day writing and napping Sunday. I tried something different Sunday morning, and it was tough to write, and I don’t know if I will ever do anything with it. It was really personal, and it made me cry. Sometimes writing is just for the Author. Other times it gets to be shared with the world. I actually went back to the other story in the morning today and finished it. For the last hour of writing this weekend, I started writing my second book. I want to finish the editing on my first book before continuing to write it. I am worried that I am going to be repeating myself, and then I will have more work to do. So that is what I was up to this weekend. Volunteer work and writing. Not a lot done around the house, but a productive weekend, in other areas. Time to get ready for Monday.
Treasure Seeker Tuesday #20 Dealing with criticism and learning something new is what is on my mind this week. If you are following this category, then you know I am sharing parts of my creative journey here, to let you know a little more about me, and maybe even to inspire you to chase your own dreams. That is what I have been doing for the last 15 months, now.
At the start, I didn’t know what my dreams were planning for me. I have kept working, and I am still not sure where the path is going to lead me next. I am confident that I am on the right path, though, because it has plenty of twists and turns.
I have been working towards designing my own book cover. I might have it almost done, I have worked really hard at figuring out what I want it to look like. So as I have been doing all along, I shared it for people to help me figure out which one is best. I have had more people voice their opinions, and they weren’t all nice. I can’t please everyone, that is the impossible dream. However, I had to take a step back and try to digest the latest round of constructive criticism.
In the midst of all this, I had a new friend offer to help. So I am waiting to see what they can suggest. Maybe a collaboration will be the answer I need. Maybe it will be the way to get the balance of what I envision to be more translatable to the general public. Maybe I will stick to my own designs and keep going in the same direction that I am heading in already. We are chatting online, and I am open to new ideas. Spoiler Alert: I may be starting the cover all over again, or not as close to being done as I thought it was. This would be the second time I start over if that is what I decide to do.
I do understand the point of what the critics are saying. They are trying to make me think about the cover of my first book as the art section. I am the writer. I will need an editor, so to some people, it would be logical to also need a cover designer. I am not ready to let go of that responsibility. Not yet. I may have to go back to the theoretical drawing board and accept help, but I am not ready to let it go. I have time to make it. I am still writing the book.
Then I reached out to a publisher friend that I really seem to get some genuine support from. This is the online chat that had me working through my frustrated, misunderstood creativity tears. Criticism is hard to take sometimes, especially when it is about something that is right from your heart. I can bottle things up, and this round made me upset. It snuck out when I was sharing my experience with my friend. Then she explained something to me.
My cover doesn’t have to be a mainstream cover. I am not writing a mainstream book. My book is personal, funny and touching. It is being written in honour of someone that was very much on my mind when I was inspired to write it. Why does this all matter? It matters because my friend explained to me that this is a special type of book. A type of book that I never thought I would write. She said my book is a Memoir. She said that because it is different, it may be the best formula for me to keep going in my own direction. In a strange way, this makes sense to me. I am in my own lane with this book, alongside others in this genre. I don’t want it to fit in. I want it to stand out.
So, to keep the common thread of me going my own way, and forging my own path, I will continue. That doesn’t mean I can’t change my mind, or accept help to point me in the right direction. When I need help, I will decide when and who to ask. Until then, I am going to keep working on my book writing goals, and growing new friendships in the writing community. Some people get me, and what I am trying to do. Those are the people that I am going to trust when it is time to ask for help. Those are the people that I want in my corner, cheering me on, and letting me know when I can return the favour.
Weekend Warrior readers, a weekend of fun just happened. It was a mellow sort of fun, with friends. We kept things low key. I didn’t do anything this weekend that wasn’t supposed to be fun. Except for sleeping, which is necessary.
Saturday started slow. I slept in both days, but today was a little different. I am getting ahead of myself, though. Saturday started in the mid-afternoon with errands. If you follow me on Facebook, on my personal page, you would have seen that in my video. I review coffee and wine in my live videos, mixed in amongst other things.
We went to a craft supplies store. Okay, I did. Roy went to the pet store for plant food. All the plants in his fish tank are live, and he keeps them all happy. I found some supplies for the Cat Tales Jewellery Collection. That made me very happy. I need to start designing this as I gear up to finish the book writing.
We also came home, had supper and headed out for a game night. We played Firefly, with 7 expansions and a map. I do not have any pictures, as the guys didn’t seem keen on the idea. I lost. I enjoyed a bottle of wine. I was happy to get out of the house and go play board games. I decided to just do something fun, and that carried over into today.
Today I woke up fairly early, grabbed my laptop and started working on an upcoming submission for an ezine. I am on a deadline, with a topic and a focus. I took an hour this morning to get it started. I am hoping that the first draft and self-edit is all that it needs. I want to get it as polished as I can before the first deadline, in the hopes that I won’t need to work on it after I submit it for review. This is where it all starts new for me, and I am up for the challenge.
We went to see the new Black Panther Movie. I had a gift voucher, so we got in for less money than if we had to buy the tickets, for sure. It was long. It was good, I enjoyed it. The guys I went with were not as impressed. They found it generic and predictable. I enjoyed the music, the traditional music.
I am continuing the book cover design quest. I am getting feedback, and people are encouraging me to work with a book cover designer. I don’t know what to think about that, yet. I know I will need an actual editor, once I do the self-editing. I don’t want them to do the easy work, the typos and things I can pick out myself. The internet is full of people with opinions, and I have to be selective on what ones I choose to agree with. Constructive criticism is fine, but sometimes hard to take. We will see what another week brings.
This weekend, I won, but totally on the having a legit weekend with no chores tackled. I am hoping that I can get that back on the plate next weekend.