NaNo prep course

I got a cool facebook post and an email from NaNoWriMo. They are partnering with Coursera and Weslynn College for a NaNo prep course. Wow! The course is based up of 5 classes starting August 21. First 4 are preparing you for the acutal writing. The last class is the really awesome part, the focus is on editing and peer reviews of your NaNo project. 

All in all this course is a huge committment to your writing and for $29 is a worthwhile investment in yourself. If you ever wanted to write or thought about taking part of NaNoWriMo but felt shaky on your writing skills. This course and this price is a great place to start. 

Food for thought this summer evening, james

Practice

“Hit me.” The dealer looked at her and drew the next card on the deck. It lay face down on the felt, she pulled it to her. Breathing a silent prayer she flipped the ace over. The queen of hearts and the king of clubs laid beside it.

“21” She yelled. The dealer pushed her winnings towards her. The other player scowled she sobered when she caught his gaze. She collected her chips and handed the dealer a chip. A tingle started between her shoulders and she could only guess it was the scowling man. 

“Yes ma’am how may I assist you?” 

“I would like to cash out please.” 

“Of course. Wait here.” The cashier took the chips and stepped into the back. “Here you are, $1,275 dollars. I just need you signature on the receipt.” 

She signed the paper and took the money hugging it to her chest. Twelve hundred dollars, a fortune and she had a new beginning. Carefully she tucked the money away. She walked out of the casio and a line of taxis and limos stretched along the curb. 

She turned away from them and headed down the street. The night calling to her with lightly scented honey dew and night blooming jasmine. 

Smashwords and Indie publishing

This is a topic I don’t think I have ever mentioned in this blog and that is publishing, tradional or self publishing. A bit of background, after I got my Nook I spent a lot of time reading the free books, usually they were self published on Smashwords and the first book of a series. There were quite a few gems, JD Nixon and both of her series, Heller and Little Big Town. And then there were some books that were good, however I didn’t continue the series. Then there was one book that I loved and I bought the second book and the author started strong like the first book, but then character names and other important details started getting tangled up. This book wasn’t ready for public consumption, it needed a thorough editing and proofreading. I never finished the book much less the series. It wasn’t the only time I got burned by an author trying to push a book too fast, but it was one of the more disappointing. I felt a strong connection to the story and the characters. 

So the question becomes when do you know your baby is ready to be published? I rarely think this far since my own writing is still firmly in the first draft stage. However in my more busy writing times I can feel it whisper in my head. “Now? Is it time yet?” and I have to pull on the reins, not yet. 

In those moments when I do think about my stories the tradional publishing scene doesn’t really appeal to me. Maybe I am more of a control freak than I care to admit, but turning my babies loose in the hands of the major publishers gives me chills. I like the way Smashwords works, as an author have complete control over my books from setting the format to the price. I haven’t thoroughly delved into how they make their money and that is okay for right now. 

I am still working thru about 4 first draft projects. Crazy I know but when the idea hits you strike while the iron is hot. Each project has different strengths and weaknesses. I feel what I learn working on one story applies when I work on the other ones. 
Cheers, james

Libby the app

My local library offers a library app called Libby. It is connected to libraries around the US. It is both a reading app and an audiobook app. I use an Android phone so I don’t know if there is an Apple version out there. Download from the Google Play store, find you local library or libraries you have library cards for, add your library card and viola. You may now download library ebooks and audiobooks. I haven’t listened to any audiobooks yet, although the two samples I tried were clear and sounded really good. 

I left a review of The Bone Witch, one of the first books I downloaded. Browsing is very easy, you can search directly or by genre, books and or audiobooks. All in all a great little reading app.

Cheers, james

Book Review: Nevernight by Jay Kristoff

O’night where to start? Nevernight is the title, however it also functions as a phenomon that occurs in this world. There are three suns that never truly set except once ever 3 or so years. Hence it is never night there. Our main character is the oldest child of a well connected family only dear old dad is hung for treason and mom and baby brother are shipped off to a horriffic nightmare of a prison. While Mia is taken on the condition she would be safe except she is to be drowned instead. Doublecrosses, and even triplecrosses are a theme throughout the book.

This where things get really interesting, you have two seperate yet linked together scenes going on when we meet Mia. She is remebering her first time with a lover and her first time killing.  Okay I was torn between huh and wtf. Things then start to smooth out and I stayed with it. We get to live through Mia’s story as she transforms from a scared little girl to a trained badass assassin for the Lady of Blessed Murder.

And I will leave you there in my description, this book is not Young Adult suitable for the sex and the violence. However it is very suitable for someone that enjoys fantasy. Mr. Kristoff is a wordsmith that makes you take another look at language and story telling. It is a deep and chewy filling satisfying read and I am looking forward to the next book in the series. 

Cheers, james