The Call of the Herald by Brian Rathbone

“The majestic grove that had drawn them was no more. Not even one of the greatoaks remained standing. They were strewn about the plateau as if felled by a mighty hand. Some were almost whole but has been torn from the soil and apparently flung about. Others had been twisted then sheared off, leaving fingers of wood sticking out from stumps like splinters of bone protruding from grisly wounds.”

Admittedly, I first snagged this book because it was free (and still is) for the kindle. And I don’t regret doing it! In fact, I also have the second book (also free) waiting for me to dig into. But enough of that…lets get to the review.

Catrin has no idea about the ancient powers that she controls. In fact, once she accidentally uses them on a schoolmate it frightens her 6513600and the people of her town (who ridicule her). While Catrin is dealing with that headache there’s battleships sailing from the mainland with the intent of capturing her. I wont spoil anything for you, but the rest of the book involves Catrin hiding in the forest and eventually using her powers to protect her friends.

I found this story to be an entertaining read! It was interesting to see Catrin turn from a vulnerable young woman to…well the Herald. Once she finally realized that there was no going back to her old life she immediately got with the program.

Also there’s an intricate backstory for Godsland. In fact, Catrin’s teacher spent pages explaining the history of Godsland to his class. I’m not a fan of excessive info dumping (which happens a lot in the story) but I was able to forgive it since it allowed me to further understand the story.

If you’re someone who enjoys soft fantasy stories, then you’ll definitely like this book.

 

What type of books do you like to read?

Preparing for the Evils of Camp NaNoWriMO

Hand grenades?

Check.

Squadron of elven archers?

Oh, didn’t see you there.

I don’t know about you, but writer’s block has a tendency to ambush me in gorilla warfare fashion. I can’t afford any surprise attacks during Camp NaNoWriMo. Afterall, camp is suppose to be fun! So I prepared a list of evasive maneuvers that’ll keep me on my writerly toes.

 

  • Read Before Writing

When I first participated in NaNoWriMo I had fun during the first few days. Then after a week I started to slow down and procrastinate. In order to keep myself excited about writing I read for fifteen minutes before committing words to my manuscript. It worked like a charm.

  • Read After Writing

People usually stretch when they’re done exercising. The same should go for writing! I read for an extra fifteen minutes after a writing sessions just to cool down my imaginative muscle.

  • Write Without Restrictions

Having no restrictions on your imagination is easier said then done. But once you write without worrying about the way something sounds you’ll end up surprising yourself.

  • Outlines Aren’t Set in Stone

Don’t waste your energy struggling to keep close to your outline. It’s okay to veer away from it. Welcoming new ideas is a good thing not a bad thing.

  • Absolutely NO Editing

You can always do this after you’re done writing something. But doing it at the same time is a recipe for disaster. Ignore that inner critic, you can do it!

  • Freewrite Often

Freewriting or flash fiction is the equivalent of a warm up before a jog. I just sit back and write down whatever comes to mind. Once I’ve gotten in my creative groove, I jump into my manuscript.

  • Keep A Notebook Handy

I often tell people that I write even when I’m not in front of a computer. It’s true! I’m always—always—thinking up new ideas, themes, scenes, or whatever. But I can’t keep up with every thought. So I keep a notebook (or some device) around to log my flash thoughts into.

 

Do you have any writer’s block surviving tips?

*Picture Credit

5 Books That Have Influenced Me

Before National Reading Month officially closes next week, I wanted to talk about five influential books.

You grumble.

Hey, hey, hey…these five books got me further invested into writing (other than this incident). You may even find them interesting. Show a little bit of enthusiasm! Sheesh…

1. The City of Towers By Keith Baker

In elementary, I never liked fantasy because I thought it was…unrealistic. That all changed on my fourteenth birthday where I received this book as a gift. Suddenly, I became obsessed with the idea of magic, elves, dragons or whatever else fantasy writers and authors could think up. Baker opened up my mind to other genres and writing styles.

2. Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn

I remember the day I found this book. I was browsing the shelves in my middle school library looking for something to sink my teeth into. My fingertips brushing across the spines of assorted books until finally stopping at Nightingale. I flipped open to the first page and was transported into imaginary world. Its theme: feudral japan. I actually attempted to write this story out word for word and claim it as my own…then someone explained to me what plagiarism is. After that big let-down I decided to get serious about writing and made it a goal to pen my own manuscript(s).

3. Demon in My View by Amelia Atwater Rhodes

By high school, the only vampire book that I read was Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Demon in My View was my first paranormal romance book that I ever read. I enjoyed every word of it though it was the author that fascinated me. Why? Well Rhodes published her first book when she was 13! To me, that’s awesome.

4. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton

So, we all know how it feels to be assigned a book to read. You start skipping to the last page, letting your mind wander while you’re reading, and so forth. That wasn’t the case for me with The Outsiders. Something about Darry, Sodapop, and Ponyboy really drew me in. Maybe it was the silly names, the friendships and convincing sibling rivalry? I think it was more the author that captured my attention. In the back flap I remember it saying that Hinton needed encouragement to write this book. The fact that she did write and publish it, was also an encouragement to me too.

5. Cry the Beloved Country by Alan Paton

This was the second assigned book that struck a chord with me. I actually read a couple of days ahead of schedule because I was so enthralled with the conflict. I wanted to know what happened to the preacher’s son in the end and if anything could be done to keep him (the preacher’s son) from facing the death penalty. I hadn’t read a book that had so much emotional value before. I interpreted Paton’s novel as a lesson of endurance in the face of strife (for example, in writing terms, rejection slips or writer’s block).

There you have it. Five books that have influenced and encouraged me to write over the years.

If you could choose five books that have had an influence on you, what would they be?

Looking Forward to Camp NaNoWriMo?

Shrieks!

Camp NaNoWriMo is next month!? I swear time moves faster than a heavily caffeinated radioactive squirrel (in case you didn’t know those move pretty darn fast).

Not familiar with NaNoWriMo or Camp NaNoWriMo?

NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, and it usually happens every November where you challenge yourself to write 50,000 words in a month. Camp NaNoWriMo happens in April and its a virtual creative retreat where you work on whatever project you want. For example, I’ve noticed that other bloggers are talking about writing poetry everyday, others are going to pen new first draft(s) for the month, and others are going to spend the month editing old NaNo projects. But it’s not limited to writing, you could do whatever you want this month. I know someone who’s going to scrapbook April away.

As for me, I’m going to try my hand at penning a new novel as well as finishing the first draft to Restitution (if I don’t finish it in the next week).

So what’s your creative goal for April?

*Picture Credit

Book Review: The Cleaner by Mark Dawson

“Milton did not pause to think. His reaction was hard-wired, a response that had been drilled into him across ten years so that now it was automatic, an expression of muscle memory without conscience, sudden and terribly deadly. He swung the rifle around and squeezed the trigger for a longer burst. The car was peppered with bullets, half a dozen slamming into the radiator and bonnet, another handful into the windscreen. The officer was struck in the face and chest, stumbling backwards and then dropping onto his back where he lay for a moment, twitching horribly. Milton walked towards him, the gun cradled low, and put a final bullet into his head. Finally, the man lay still.”

 

Does that get your attention or what? I got goosebumps when I read that scene for the first time. Right then, I knew I was hooked! There was no going back–I had to finish this novel.

Anyway, here’s a brief (non-spoiler) description of the story:

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Milton is the deadliest assassin of Group Twelve. But he wants to change. He feels guilty of his past crimes and “quits” being an assassin. His world is flipped upside down when he saves Sharon Warrener from her suicide attempt. He devotes the rest of his time trying to help her with her rebellious son Elijah as a way of trying to redeem himself. Though at the same time, his past is lingering in the shadows, ready to jump out at any moment.

The Cleaner was the ultimate page-turner! I’ve lost countless hours of sleep trying to figure out if Milton was going to pull through or if Elijah would finally go down the straight and narrow. It’s a story about family, love, trust, and redemption with a slight hint of James Bond, Jason Bourne, and Jack Reacher mixed in. If you’re like me and like to be thrilled at each turn of the page, dazzled with smooth descriptions, or just like to sink your teeth into a juicy story than you’ll love this.

 

What do you think of The Cleaner? Sound interesting?

An Update and A Big Thankyou to Followers!

Within only three weeks of opening up Inky Tavern, its managed to gather a lofty amount of patrons. It is a great pleasure to be able to do this blog (which I never expected to become this awesome) and to able to have you guys. Thanks a-billion!

Alright, now for the post.

College is getting to the point where it can induce headaches that puts heart attacks to shame. Yep, it’s midterms. With so much studying going on it’s a wonder how I am still able to even write this post. To be honest, I think I’ve started reciting the Declaration of Independence in my sleep!

Not that I’m complaining. Hardwork is apart of life.

Legend_Marie_Lu_Book_cover

Over the weekend I bought Legend by Marie Lu. I’m anxious to start reading it but…sadly…it’ll have to wait until after midterms.

I also worked on Restitution (my current WIP). I am dangerously close to finishing up my draft (it’s coming along very slowly). I can’t wait to revise, send it off to an editor, and then publish.

Crosses fingers, jumping up and down.

Breathes.

Baby steps, Desiree, baby steps…

Well that’s what my week has been like.

 

How’s yours? Also, how was the revision process for you (assuming you’ve written something)?

Fill Your Monday In Words

You push open the swinging doors and walk into the Inky Tavern. Immediately you stop and raise an eyebrow at the scene.

The tavern is filled with a mixture of patrons from aliens to orcs to galactic mercenaries and wizards. Though everyone’s eyes are glossed over and droopy. In fact, you actually have to step over a frosty bearded time traveler laying incongruously on the floor. You notice that there’s a snot bubble peeking out of the time traveler’s nose each time he exhales.

The atmosphere is filled with music from an out of sync band on the stage. Their lead singer is a monkey dressed in a pink dress trimmed in tulle.

You start to walk out. But all of a sudden the monkey lets out an agitated screech that wakes up everyone. It picks up the microphone and starts to bang it onto the stage similar to the way toddlers shake a rattle. You stand still as you watch all hell break loose. A food fight happening to your right, poker chips being thrown to your left and the time traveler is running through tavern screaming: “The British are coming! The British are coming!”.

Hey, glad you can stop by. Why don’t you come take a seat?

You look all around you, and notice that your way out is blocked by a crowd of brawling dwarves. Much to your chagrin, you realize you have no other choice.

I glance around at the bar to find BoBo, my earth elemental bouncer, and gestures at the monkey. Bobo grumbles and wades his way through the crowd.

Yep, it’s definitely Monday. Always lethargic and slow.

You glance around at the rowdy tavern then back at me.

You know what I mean.

I snatch an odd green looking bottle of soda off the back shelf.

Pig breath? Sounds tasty.

Pours us both a glass.

I don’t know about you but Mondays are one of the hardest days to write. I mean… after trudging through [insert a responsible adult task here] only to have to redo it again—and write!? Bleh!

But then I remember something.

Writing is a place where I can be…well me. Which is why I’m here to tell you to fill your Monday with words (either by reading or writing). Do something different and let your imagination go crazy! Release the dogs! Fire the canons! Do this and your Monday will suddenly look like Saturday (that is…if you don’t [insert annoying adult task here] on Saturdays).

The rampaging monkey shrieks loudly as BoBo tackles it.

I raise my glass of pig breath into the air.

Cheers!

Drinks it, than spits it out.

Yuck! Who makes this stuff?

 

So, what do you like about writing? (post in comments or on your own personal space)

*Picture Credit