Posted in Book Review

Book Review: News Of The World by Paulette Jiles

“This is writing.  This is printing.  This tells us of all the things we ought to know in the world.  And also that we ought to want to know.” ~Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd (in Paulette Jiles’ novel News of the World)

Hi Ho, Dear Bloggites.  This book review is on January’s Books & Broads Book Club choice.  In January, the book club read News of the World by Paulette Jiles.  The setting and premise of the book was interesting.  The book was set in 1870 North Texas.  Of course, I was immediately intrigued because that is the part of Texas where I live.

News of the World by Paulette JilesThe book was about Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd, an elderly man who travels through Northern Texas and stops in towns reading the latest news from papers he picks up along the way.  In Wichita Falls, Captain Kidd is approached to take a young orphan, Johanna, who had been kidnapped four years earlier by Kiowa raiders after killing her parents, back to her relatives in San Antonio.  The journey was a 400-mile trek through rough terrain, but Captain Kidd agreed to return Johanna to her family.

Pretty good premise, yes?  Sadly, I did not like this book.  Many, many times I found myself wondering what the purpose was of the author, Paulette Jiles, when she decided to write this story.  Not only was it boring, but there seemed to be no core purpose in the storyline aside from traveling 400-miles.  I know fiction does not have to have a purpose, but it does have to make sense and this book did not make sense to me with how it was formatted.

When it seemed like some action was going to happen, I was disappointed to see nothing happen, and the minimal moments when there was action it was underwhelming.  The characters were not as developed as I like and there were moments of humor and moments of emotion, but not enough to keep me engaged as much as I could have been.

There was great imagery and some clever sentences in the book, but it did not help this book capture my attention like so many other books have.  Throughout the book you followed Captain Kidd and Johanna as they travel on the road and he tries to reteach her the English language while learning what certain Kiowa words meant.  I know the author really tried to engage the audience, it was almost palpable during many scenes, but she just could not take it the rest of the way through.  Kudos to the author for writing a passion project, because that is the only thing that makes sense to me after reading this book.

I give News Of The World by Paulette Jiles 2 out of 5 Bookmarks.  Happy Reading!

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Writer Musings

Self-Help Books For Writers

Hello, Dear Bloggites!  I am pleased to say the Women in Publishing Summit ended with a bang! 🙂  I have many new things and thoughts to take in and formulate understanding in my brain from what I thought I knew and what is the reality when it comes to writing books.

I was taught the different lengths of written work determines the “name” assigned to them: i.e. short story, poem, novella, novel, epic novel, chap books, etc.  However, during this Summit, I have learned that there are such a wide variety of book types between the genres and sub-genres.  Did you know that there is a sub-genre for “Books you can read in 45-minutes or less”?  BLEW MY MIND!!!!

While I continue to take in this new information I learned, there were several books the guest authors shared or wrote for writers and entrepreneurs alike.  Really, any person who owns their own business, no matter what it is, can dub themselves entrepreneurs.  So many people stick with “Small Business Owner” but really, you have an entrepreneur’s heart for business.  No matter what you call yourself, as long as you stay true to yourself and your beliefs, you are golden. 🙂

Okay, back to the authors and their books.  While, I want to purchase many more, there were three that I immediately had to have.  Below are the three books and what they are about, as well as, a brief reason why I wanted that specific book:

  1. The Four Types of Dogs Every Business Needs by Bella Vasta

The Four Types of Dogs Every Business Needs by Bella VastaDescription: Building a business was never meant to be done alone.  There are certain key players that every business needs in order to grow their business and have a balanced life.  Without the right team, business owners risk suffocating in their own efforts and ultimately throwing their entire life out of balance.  While using the metaphor of some of the most popular breeds, learn what dogs every business must have on their team so they can all play together having an enjoyable time in the dog eat dog world of business.

The reason I bought this book is two-fold: I love dogs (especially terriers, as you know, because I own one) and being a small business owner, I am constantly burning the candle at both ends and always wonder how these other business owners find the people to allow them the freedom of enjoying their hard work.  I have read this book, but for continuity, I will wait to give any reviews until I have read all three. 🙂

2.  The Artful Edit by Susan Bell

The Artful Edit by Susan BellDescription: The Artful Edit explores the many-faceted and often misunderstood-or simply overlooked-art of editing.  Brimming with examples, strategic tips, exercises, and a series of remarkable interviews with such writers as Michael Ondaatje and Ann Patchett, Susan Bell’s vigorous investigation into the history and meaning of the edit reminds us that editing is much more than a computer spell-check-it is an art.  Like The Elements of Style, The Artful Edit is a must-have companion for every writer.

The reason I bought this book is obvious: I need to learn to edit my written works smartly so that when it is sent to an editor or published, it will not have any errors (hopefully).  I own The Elements of Style and am very excited to read what this book has to say.

3. Mindset Switch! by Tonya Rineer

Mindset Switch of Tonya RineerDescription: Mindset Switch is the solution for anyone who wants more than average success, yet finds themselves stuck in a loop of negative self-talk, limiting beliefs, and self-doubt.  This book does what no other book on mindset does.  It highlights the holistic interplay between how thoughts and feelings become ingrained in us as disempowering beliefs, and how that cycle repeats itself, sabotaging us over and over again.  Citing existing mindset research, along with the Laws of Attraction and Vibration and introducing her own tried and true system for identifying triggers, Tonya’s book is for those who are new to mindset and personal development work as well as those who are already familiar with the basic concepts and are looking to advance their practice.

This book will help you ditch your limiting beliefs so you can, take control of what you want and create a life that, before now, you could barely imagine was possible.

The reason I bought this book is because, like most people, I live with constant self-doubt when it comes to things I am passionate about, such as writing.  We all live with that negative voice in our heads that sub-consciously set us up for failure before we even begin.  This book covers the triggers and gives advice on how to beat them before they do any damage plus change your negative mindset into a positive one.

Well, that is it for now.  I will be back with a review on all three books once I have read them all.  Also, look for first book review of the year in a little bit.  It is still a passion of mine to help all writers by providing reviews, so that is something I will always do on this blog.  Smooches!!!

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Writer Musings

Remember When…

Let’s turn back time to 2017.  Remember when I posted New Year, New Start 2017 on January 1, 2017?  Don’t remember, Dear Bloggites, click the link, take a moment to read the post, I can wait right here for you.  Let me know when you are back.

Okay, now that you are back, I had grand plans with those three key words: Change, Passion, and Luck.  Today, I was flipping through my notebook of the different scribbles I make, some on new written works, some on classes, some on random thoughts to do something with, on this flipping excursion, I came across this:

Goals 2017

Now, if you look real close, you will see the graph I made on adding one new thing each month.  January just had ‘Skin Regiment’ which I started (thus the check over it); February added ‘Get Dressed’, odd goal but those of you who work from home will understand the ease it is to just stay in the PJs all day; March added ‘Workout’ to the other two items.  Now, as you already have noticed, I did not check off ‘Get Dressed’ or ‘Workout’ and the ensuing months, I added nothing, nada, the big fat 0!

All those goals and plans withered away and died as life began demanding all my time.  Also, the items and sub-items for Change, Passion, and Luck, did not happen.  A synopsis of the goals and if it happened or not:

Change 1: I will find myself on my own again with my son, the dog, and the guinea pig with no roommate for the first time in, geez, years – Did not happen and we lost my son’s guinea pig earlier this year.  Still hoping the roommate moves out but until he can find sustainable money coming in, I don’t see it happening too soon. 😦

Change 2: I have been paying for a gym membership for the past year and have not utilized it…going to utilize this gym membership to change my health for the better and reach the weight I am happiest at once again – Did not happen, however, I did let that gym membership close and now I paid for an entire year at another gym closer to my house, maybe this year…

Change 3: My current business is surviving this lull in the industry and seems to finally have bounced back…continue to find ways to build income from this business – My current business is still struggling and my co-worker is looking for another job because there is not enough work for two people to do (if you have not figured it out, my roommate is my co-worker).

Change 4: I am going to take advantage of the social invites I get and start actually going – Didn’t happen, I am getting better, but not where I wanted to be.

Passion 1: I have a wordsmith business…I plan on growing this business up, one client at a time and look forward to the new relationships I shall make along the way – While I have had some clients, it is nowhere near where I wanted to be at this time now.

Passion 2: I am now looking at taking myself seriously as a writer and growing this part of me on a personal level…My goal is to sign up for some form of writing class each month to build my talent as a writer and start opening doors to the publishing world to promote myself as a writer – I did good with the classes for the first three months, as well as, writing, but then life scattered the classes and writing to the wind.

Luck 1: I know with every situation I face, I will need a little luck in finding my way – Luck is still my friend but decided to work in the background and not allowing all the doors and opportunities to be opened.

Luck 2: Waking up every morning…just start finding things to fill my time outside work – Did not happen.  Waking up did, but nothing outside work.

As, you can all see, my goals and plans were dust in the wind rather quickly.  Now that a new year is here and pretty much at the same point when last year’s goals petered out, I am ramping up my determination and going to push through everything to obtain these goals this year.

I hope you travel on this journey with me, Dear Bloggites, because it is lonely sometimes and encouragement and especially accountability go a long way.  If you do not see me posting for a while, shoot me a comment here and give me the proverbial “Kick in the Ass” to get me going again.

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Writer Musings

The Struggle Is Real, People!

Hey, All!  It’s me again.  I know, SHOCKING, two blogs back-to-back, and even more shocking, they are not on book reviews!  I am still doing my reviews as I read, but as you can see, with the lack of review posts, that I have not been reading (Bad, P, Goofy JugglingBad!!!).

We all start the new year with grand goals and plans for our life and most of us see those grand goals and plans fizzle as the months go on, well guess what, mine fizzled as soon as it was out of the proverbial gate at the beginning of the year.  I love to write, I love to read, I love books, as you know, Dear Bloggites, and I make plans to do this, and this, and this, and then life says, “Deal with THIS!” and all my plans get scattered to the wind.

Last year, 2017, I promised myself that I would get back to writing my novel I started before my Dad’s Cancer spread and was put on hold for me to take care of him and his needs.  I was blessed to have those last months with my Dad, but I promised myself after he passed that I was going to focus on my writing.  So, Dad passed in August of 2016, and I miss him every freaking day, he was my best friend and my sound board, and I flounder now when I am struggling with things.

I promised myself 2017 would be the year my writing career took off, and I was doing well for the first month and the second month: I was taking writing classes, signing up for writing retreats, writing daily on my novel, etc. and in the third month, my business got busy, so writing was put off due to long days of working my business.  That busyness carried into the fourth month with writing classes going by the wayside along with the writing because my brain was fried from the demands of work.

The fifth month rolls around and I found myself in the hospital with my sister who almost died.  We spent two months in the hospital, her fighting for life, and me fighting for her rights while she could not.  Praise God, the fight won and Four of Seven (my name for her in the Familial Roll Call) came back to us.  She struggled for many months, but she was alive and had all her faculties.

By the time all this took place, I found myself facing the last few months of the 2017 with minimal progress on my writing and all my plans and goals shot to hell and resting where all writing projects go to die.  So, I rallied.  I promised myself that 2018 was going to be the year my writing career took off (sounds like a bad case of ground hog’s day, the movie) and I was going to change my work hours to accommodate my time to allow focus on writing.  I was going to blog regularly, book reviews and writing progress and whatever I want to share, and I was going to start on the classes again and try and give the writing retreat another shot.

Then January 1, 2018 was here, and I was laid up with a severe case of the Flu.  For the first two weeks, I was in bed, barely working, and wishing I was dead just to make the terrible feeling go away.  I recovered from that only to find that my body has decided it wants to start causing me issues with more intense pain aside from my chronic pain I live with from the car accident I had in 2005.  It hurt to move a finger, and I am still struggling with this factor as of today.  But, once again, my plans and goals for my writing career were blown out of the water.

But guess what?  I came prepared with a rope to pull it back in.  Well, sort of.  I am doing writing classes and I am getting so stoked and encouraged that I am feeling the tingle in my fingers and the yearning in my brain to put pen to paper (or finger to keystroke).  Something I honestly have not felt since before my Dad got sick.

See, I can make all these plans and set all these goals, but if the desire and passion are not there, the plans and goals are easy to disregard.  Without passion, any activity or goal becomes work, or for me, just another job after hectic days with my business.

I did not get it until I started listening to all the different authors who were interviewed in the Women In Publishing Summit offered by Alexa Bigwarfe and sponsored by Vivante.  This is not a plug for anyone, however, I do want to thank Alexa for bringing the passion back for the writing mojo I love.  Alexa’s book, Ditch The Fear-Just Write It!, had the greatest statement that spoke to me.  The statement was, “Warning.  This is no ordinary plan.  It is the ass-kicker you need when you want to give up.”

This statement may not mean anything to you, but OH MY GOODNESS, it was like I was slammed in the head with a resounding, “DUH!!!!”  That passionate writing mojo said, “Oh, yeah!  Now we got it!”  I literally heard these two thoughts (heard thoughts…whaaat?) in my head as soon as I read that statement in Alexa’s book.

There will never been the perfect time to have my “writing career take off” – Life Happens.  Life will ALWAYS happen.  I will always have road blocks being thrown up at me when it comes to writing.  Why, you ask?  Because in order to achieve something worthwhile, you will always have challenges testing you and your determination to obtain that achievement.

With this new thought process, I am now embracing my passionate writing mojo and I am just going to do it, no matter what.  Even if I am waking up at 4:30am wide awake after falling asleep only 30-minutes to an hour before, I will write.  I have thrown out the plans and goals and I am just going to write.  It doesn’t matter what I write or even how well I write, as long as I write, I will be organically working those plans and reaching those goals.

Goofy SurprisedIt is so refreshing and freeing to think this way.  I love it!  So, you and I will be having almost daily chats, Dear Bloggite, because I want to share my Journey with you and maybe you will decide to share your journey, no matter what it is, with me, I would love to be there for you and support you in this Journey we call Life.

My challenge to you today: Think about your life.  Is there something you always have an intent to do but somehow never get around to doing it?  What can you do, to make that intent happen?  Are you going to need to throw out the plans and goals, like I had to do or are you going to have to tweak your life a little bit to make it happen?  Let me know down below in the comments. 🙂

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Writer Musings

Here’s What I know; Here’s What I Believe

Here is what I know: People Suck

We as a human race are so self-centered and self-focused on what “I want” and what’s “In it for me?” and what “I am entitled to” and on and on and on.

GET OVER YOURSELF!!!

The “I, I, I” and “Me, Me, Me” mentality is so over the top!  And I grew up in the 80s – the most materialistic era of “Beautiful People”!

Here is what I believe: People are Amazing

Every individual is amazingly unique and provides something worth knowing – no matter how small.

EMBRACE YOUR UNIQUENESS!!!

I believe every person out there has a desire to spread happiness and/or joyful encouragement.  I mean, Everyone really wants World Peace! 🙂

I love to meet people where they are in their life journey and then continue with them onto the next level of self together.

Here is what I live: Rule #32 – Appreciate the Little Things in Life

I live each day with a purpose and one thought in mind when I wake up – make a difference for just one person.

DO YOU, BABY!!!

I wake up every morning believing I make a difference no matter what.  Each action, each word, each gesture I make has an impact.  Even if all I do in a day is to organize the haphazard shopping carts in the cart zone, I believe that random act made a difference for the employee responsible for collecting all the carts because I helped them for a moment in their life on the job.

Here is what I find: It Is Not Easy

I suffer from chronic pain daily and many times I wake up to a rebellious broken body that the thought of simply moving is the last thing I want to do.

I HAVE TO CHOOSE!!!

I choose to make a point of making a difference, especially on those pain filled days, I especially need to intentionally follow Rule #32 because I believe that when a simple act is done, it creates a ripple – as if a single rain drop lands on a still pond – that ripple spreads.  As it spreads, I know it will return back to me in such an amazing way that for a moment, I forget People Suck and I remember Each Person is Unique and they provide something worth knowing – no matter how small.

My Challenge to you, Dear Bloggites, is this: Take today and intentionally do a random act of kindness, no matter how small, because it is how we all can Appreciate the Little Things in Life #Rule32. 🙂

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: The Moment She Left by Susan Lewis

This is it!  I have finally finished the last book the Books & Broads Book Club agreed to read for this year.  The November Book chosen by the book club was The Moment She Left by Susan Lewis.  Let me tell you, Dear Bloggites, I made a huge sigh of relief finishing this one because I finally feel “caught up” to the other ladies in the club…LOL  On to the review:

The Moment She Left by Susan LewisI was unsure if I would like this book only because I was told the majority of the ladies in the book club did not like this book.  So, I figured it was going to be one of two things for me: 1. I hate it or 2. I love it.  The answer is 2!  I loved this book!  I was already intrigued simply because it was a mystery AND a fiction book AND not about Hitler or WWII or any other war there is! 🙂  The story line for The Moment She Left was about a young girl who disappears one day without a trace.  This young lady had everything going for her and her life was perfect, then she disappeared.  Two years after the disappearance without a single clue what happened, the father, Blake, asked an ex-detective, Andee Lawrence, to revisit the case.

Andee, as a favor for a friend of hers, agrees to revisit the case even though she was sure the police did everything they could to find her and yet could not find any leads.  Andee is a woman newly separated from her husband and is trying to find her way for herself outside her husband and children even though she is getting a lot of grief from everyone in the family.  Taking on this case is a good distraction for Andee and as she starts digging in, finds that there is an area that was missed by the police.  Once this area was discovered, a whole world of secrets are exposed for almost the entire town and one way or another, the key players are all tied to this disappearance.

No more story giveaway, on to the review.  Susan Lewis did an amazing job and building out each character in this story while adding to the overall plot.  The characters were well rounded and while this story was a mystery, there were funny characters that lightened and endeared the readers that much more to the town and people.  This story is the first in a series on Andee Lawrence and I do plan on buying the others in the series because I really liked this character.  Andee’s struggles with balancing life and work are struggles any one can relate to and the author wrote so well that you felt the emotions each character was feeling at the moment they had those feelings.

The only thing I did not like was that two-thirds of the way through the book, the end result of who did what to whom was apparent and so there was no surprise ending.  That was a bit of a disappointment for me because I like those stories that keep me guessing until the very end.  Even though the end became predictable, I still enjoyed the book and liked how each character was tied into the disappearance and how they were tied into the incident.  Overall, I loved this book and recommend you go get it if you enjoy a good mystery that does not confuse you.

I give The Moment She Left by Susan Lewis 4 out of 5 Bookmarks.  If you like a mystery, go out and give it a read.

~4-Ever, P

Posted in Book Review

Book Review: The Boys In The Boat by Daniel James Brown

Life wins again, Dear Bloggites. :-/  I finished this book in October when it was the actual Books & Broads Book Club monthly choice, but am just now able to write this review.  The October Book Club book choice was The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown.

The Boys in the Boat by Daniel James BrownI must admit, I was leery about reading this one because it was yet another book set in WWII and has Hitler as a feature due to the 1936 Berlin Olympics.  Fortunately, I rallied on and found that I loved this book!  My goodness, I was so surprised at what I read in this book because most of the Book Club members did not like this book and a few did not read it (yet).  I did go into this book thinking of it as a story about relationships through hard times thanks to the lovely Alice who enjoyed this book (I believe it was Alice, if not, please do not flog me friends).

Going into the story with the focus on relationships, I had the proper eyes to read this book and see all the amazing things about this story.  Daniel James Brown shared this amazing non-fiction story told from the eyes of one of the key members of the rowing team that fought their way to the Olympics against all odds.  While the author does go into a lot of technical elements of rowing and how the boats are built, I enjoyed reading the information because I am always loving to learn new things about the world around me.

The story focuses on nine young American college boys who joined the college rowing team.  All the boys are from many different walks of life and on different journeys in their lives, but managed to form a bond so tight that it dissolved the differences between them and forged the similarities that affected them throughout their lives.  These young men worked hard to obtain the right to go represent America in the 1936 Berlin Olympics and once there, won the gold medal against Hitler’s massive rowing team.

Throughout the novel, you are taken on an emotional journey of love, fear, joy, hate, and insurmountable dedication to achieve the dreams of these young men – a better life and a gold medal from the Olympics.  The relationships that the author highlighted throughout the novel between the boys and their family and friends, gave an intimate insight into life in the 1930s and how Americans lived during the depression and WWII.

The only fault I found in this book was that there were times that the technical repetition of how to row a boat throughout the book became a little daunting, but I believe it served a purpose to get the reader in the minds of the boys while rowing the boat as a team.  Overall, I loved this book and recommend it to those who love a real life, feel good story.

I give The Boys In The Boat by Daniel James Brown 4 out of 5 Bookmarks! 🙂  Happy Reading, Dear Bloggites!  Smooches!

~4-Ever, P