My Inner Editor vs. My Ability to Review

 

I have recently decided to do more book reviewing. Now, I have reviewed books before. Even on this blog site. And I reviewed books for class assignments in school. But as I grow as a writer and as a self-editor, I have learned that it can affect my ability to review another author’s work.

The Inner Editor

I have honed these editing skills so very carefully over these last few years. And I treasure them. They aid me in my writing and they are invaluable to me.

BUT….

They have been crafted to suit my voice as a writer, my style. These things are not universal. Sure, there will be other writers that align somewhat with my style, but no one will write with my unique voice. And, yes, there are things that are universal about the craft of writing that are part of what sets off alarm bells for this inner editor, but more than you think is tied to voice and style.

The Reviewer

In order to give an appropriate review of another author’s work, I must be willing to set aside this inner editor, turn it off, if you will, and sit with an open mind. Especially if the author’s work is in a totally different genre than I write in. Then I can let myself become immersed in the story, follow the characters along the plot, and decide the merits of the book based on those things (character development, plot elements, etc.).

And, if I’m not careful, I might discover that I have become lost in a world not of my own making, but of a tale woven and spun by another authors words. If I can just flip that switch and shut down that editor.

There is a journey to be had.

“The Lady and The Hussites” COVER REVEAL!!!

It is that time. Later this year, The Lady Bornekova will receive it’s long overdue sequel, The Lady and The Hussites. I have thrown myself into this book, laboring over these precious characters, their continuing stories, and the research that creates the backdrop. And now it is time to let you see the cover.

The Cover. I worked with Cora Graphics once again. I do so enjoy working with her. She is both extremely talented and so easy to work with. I can not say enough good things about her. She has done most of my covers.

The Story. ***WARNING!!! This blurb may include spoilers for The Lady Bornekova****

Their story continues as the Hussite Wars rage on…

Karin and Pavel arrive safely at his parents’ home in southern Bohemia, but things are not as they seem. There are secrets between them. A wall goes up. And then Pavel is called into battle.

Radek and Zdenek are pulled into the conflict of the Hussite Wars despite their best efforts to remain neutral, while Stepan finds himself ready for bloodshed. With tensions mounting within their circle and throughout their country, what will become of Pavel and Karin? Can they find their way back to each other?

Can Karin and Pavel hold onto each other amidst the hardships of war?

The Collaboration. This novel is another venture with the Clean Reads company. It really is a blessing to belong to such a collection of authors. They are so supportive and encouraging. As well the staff (including owner, Stephanie) are everything you could want for them to be: helpful, knowledgeable, professional, yet still personable. I am so fortunate to be able to work such fine people.

Here it is…and so, I have rambled on about all these things. Now, I present to you the unveiling of this cover:

Anyone want a FREE Novella?

That’s right, Readers! The novella I have put together for my newsletter is finished and ready for delivery to your e-mail boxes! This little read is up for grabs today. My monthly newsletter has gone out to those who are currently signed up, bearing this precious package for download. And anyone who signs up for my newsletter in the future will be able to nab their own copy.

If you are a print person, it will become available in the near future on Amazon.

Here is a peek into the novella’s makings:

Disillusioned by war and prejudice, can this southern belle trust in love?

Claire Crawford is nothing she should be. Put off by the War between the States and her own experience with the slaves on her father’s plantation, she longs for something more. Under the control of her parents, there is not much room for anything but submission. Still, she dares to defy them and reach out to a sharecropper’s family on her father’s land.

The war changed Henry Garrett. And he has plans of going beyond his father’s humble farm. He will do whatever it takes to make those dreams come true. Nothing will stand in his way. Until he meets her. Drawn to the southern belle he would rather despise, he is soon caught up in a situation not of his own making. How much is too much for the one he loves? Dare he sacrifice his dream?

I wrote this as a gift to my readers. You are what keeps me going. Yes, I love writing and honing my craft. But you, my readers, are the reason I keep chugging through difficult scenes and the reason I dial up the tension, hoping to give you an experience that is unique, the experience you are seeking when you pick up a book–an exciting story with twists and turns, characters you can relate to, a plot that is interesting, and something different.

Here’s the link to sign up and get that novella: Sara’s Desk List

And, so, with that, I wish you happy reading.

FEATURED GUEST: Author Kadee Carder and Her New Release!!!

Hey, all! Today I have a returning guest–author Kadee Carder. She has a new release. Just premiered May 9th actually. It is in the same series as the book she spotlighted several weeks ago when she was on my blog. Now, you all know I love my Historical Fiction/Romance, but there is a special place in my heart for Science Fiction…it was one of my first loves as I got into reading. So, I am just as eager to hear about the continuation of this series as anyone else. So, without further ado, I’ll turn it over to Kadee…

A Guest Post by Kadee Carder

Many sunsets ago, while Texas trees blossomed in the crisp spring air, my dad stood in our garage, drilling a hole through a softball. He threaded a yellow cord through the hole and tied it in a firm knot, then strung it up on a wide, horizontal branch from a big shade tree in our grassy back yard. “This will help you fix your aim,” he’d said. “Grip the bat, line up your knuckles, and swing away.” I spent hours in the sunshine and wind, smacking my Louisville slugger against that softball, as the ball flung itself up and around the branch. The harder I hit, the faster that ball flew.

See, I’m left handed. And while I adored the sport of softball, which I’d played since first or second grade, as a young teen I still struggled to hit strongly and consistently. Throughout the hours, I tired of the line up, grip, wind up, swing, follow through, wait for iiiiiiit, unwrap, and begin again of the practice. So as my creative mind wandered, I thought, what if this thing were ON FIRE and it was about to KILL ME?! You’d want to smack that sucker right into infinity, yeah? Me too. And that’s one element of how I created the idea of the “oxinal,” the killer artificially intelligent sentinels in my Insurrection trilogy.

My process of writing usually begins with a character, too. Often, that character has some element of myself that I like or dislike, and I make that bigger. What would I want to be? What do I not want to be? Let’s inflate that and go from there. Characters drive stories, and I hope my readers fall in love with my characters and root for them as they deal with the consequences of their decisions. These characters must accomplish some important task, and I’ll put them through the wringer to get through it. Because…well, life’s like that. Can a hero be a hero if he never has to help anybody? Heroes get to rise above the ashes, and that’s the real adventure.

Once I have a great couple of characters and I know what they need to do, I go to my husband and give him the plot, the tasks involved, the world, and the goal, and he helps me make it ultra cool. Because when I wrote the first draft of Insurrection, I gave my flying fiery creatures an awesome name. Are you ready for it? Fireballs. Yeah. That’s right. Let’s just say, hey, I was thirteen when I came up with the idea. So he laughed a LOT about that and said, “You cannot call them that! So lame!” Placing two fists on my hips and pursing my lips, I giggled, “Okay, then what should they be called?” He then asked me how they worked. Well, we talked through the process that a nanocomputer would use, how an inventor would make said creature fly (utilizing pulsing oxygen, in combination with fuel, and propulsion), I drew a sketch on a piece of paper, and he came up with the term, “oxinal.”

Ever since, it’s been a similar process. I’ll give a scenario, he’ll come up with a way to improve the idea because he has been watching Star Trek and Star Wars and basically every other sci-fi or action movie since he was born, and then we shape it up to make the idea shiny and fresh and just plain awesome. I’d definitely want to use all of the tech and gadgetry in the Insurrection series and I think readers will too.

To top it off, I like to put all of it in a hopeful world. I think humans are pretty incredible and can do so much more than they imagine, if they put in the work and get their imaginations get in gear. So I like to set my fiction in the future. Plus, setting the characters in the future gives some wiggle room for realistic purposes. I’m so impressed with people who can write historical fiction because you have to have all of your details correct. Instead of learning real facts, I like to create my own. (Ha! Just kidding, somewhat. You should see my notebooks and folders packed with information about military facilities, military process, tech ideas, and Australian slang terminology! Whew!)

Originally I had set the series in the 1980’s because the tech would have been mostly ahead of the times at that point, but as I tried to research I got absorbed in the era, found the tech wasn’t that outstanding within that setting, and then raised the stakes and switched gears to the future. Solar flares are an increasing risk that we deal with, and countries around the globe are currently creating emergency strategies in the event that a global disaster occurs where an electromagnetic flare wipes out our tech/electricity/power sources. Imagine what we’d do if all of our devices were suddenly useless? Imagine what we’d do if someone knew a huge flare was coming and stockpiled tech, data, and gold in a mountain? Who has the power (literally) in that brave new world? Ooh, aah! Raise the stakes!

Once all of these elements get charted out on my whiteboard, I get lost in the thrilling world of these exciting characters and their struggles. This is what’s worked best for me and my four novels so far. And then as I write, if anything starts to feel strained or slow, here’s my last tip: When in doubt, blow something up. Since we get to create these experiences, let’s make them an adventure, and build heroes the readers admire.

Indelible

We humans have to be stronger than we ever imagine, love ourselves in the process, and dig in when the ground seems to sink. We not only relish adventures, we create them. That’s the basis of Saylor’s story in Kadee Carder’s young adult science fiction trilogy, Insurrection. Volume One, Insurrection, and Volume Two, Incomplete, is now available on iTunes, Amazon Kindle, and Barnes & Noble Nook, and Volume Three, Indelible, will be available May 9th! Scintillating gadgetry, crackling romance, and endless riddles fill the pages of this trilogy, in a fresh adventure for the restless reader.

Beneath the façade of covert laboratories and military exploits, Saylor’s story twists further in this thrilling final installment of the Insurrection trilogy. Concealed identities. Puzzling truths. Cryptic alliances. Amid hasty exits and curious arrivals, Saylor pursues the answers haunting her conscience.

Dealing with the consequences of her decisions, will Saylor find herself invincible, or drawn even closer to Breame’s conniving promises? And with humanity’s existence at stake, will Saylor advance toward the brimming war, or succumb to the battle bubbling in her blood?

Saylor must decide.

Humanity will always be worth fighting for.

Enjoy an Excerpt

“Look.” I squared off, planting my boots, shoving my fists in the pockets of my pink jacket. “Many of you were sent to Isla Barina, or joined Alliance, thinking your last stop would be the Caribbean. Now you’ve gotten a taste of home. I know the risks ahead outweigh common sense. Breame equipped me to take on this project on my own. I am stable, but to a certain extent, I’m extremely dangerous. I can’t promise—”

“What are you saying, Mack?” Annoyed, Logan scuffed one boot in the dirt.

“You can all jump ship if you want. No judging. It’s not even jumping ship. It’s getting out of the sinking ship and reclaiming dry land. This is the last stop before it’s too late. I’ll be fine on my own. I’ll get a plane and make it overseas and take this on. If I fail, I fail, and nobody’s worse the wiser.”

“Are you kidding?”

“Not at all. I don’t want to take anybody else down with me.”

“That’s not your call,” Logan argued.

“I feel a little insulted right now,” Micah said, whipping her head toward me. “Who says you get all the fun?”

“What?” I asked.

“And the glory,” Logan added.

“No, I’m trying to give you an out here.”

“No, thanks. I love swimming.” Logan leaned back on his heels. “And besides, it’s not up to you.”

“Fine!” I rolled my eyes. “You each get to decide. Your contracts with Alliance are being reviewed, I’m guessing?”

Logan exhaled, before a slight nod. “Possibly. The chips are still settling. Contracts have yet to be renegotiated.”

“Well, then.”

“As far as I’m concerned,” O’Leary jumped in, “I made ECB because I wanted to. And I’ve stuck around this far, so I might as well finish this war.”

Chisholm nodded. “Too many hours of training to give up right when we get the upper hand.”

“But guys,” I tried to wave them off.

“You have no argument.” Canaan radiated enthusiasm.

“We’re the team. You’re stuck with us. Plus, you need someone to run the coms. So, I’m in.”

“There’s no guarantee about this,” I reminded. “We don’t have — we may not—”

“Never had a guarantee,” O’Leary stated. “Except that we’d face dangerous circumstances. That’s why I signed up. You don’t get to kick me out the second it gets rough. Rough is my playground.”

“Yeah!” Other voices agreed, rallying.

Eight faces shifted, eyes shining, reflecting those immense stories.

“Alright, then.” I accepted, my team lining up to face the field and our Commander. “Play ball.”

Buy Links

Purchase Insurrection, Incomplete, or Indelible for only $4.99 each

Insurrection (Book 1) on Amazon 

Incomplete (Book 2) on Amazon

Indelible (Book 3) on Amazon

Barnes&Noble (Nook)

iTunes

More About the Author

Deep in the heart of Texas, Kadee Carder resides with her husband and daughters. Carder earned a BA in Public Relations at Howard Payne University and an MFA in Creative Writing from National University. She teaches English courses on the university level and plans her schedule around coffee availability. When she’s not dancing around the living room with her daughters, she helps at church activities, creates encouraging blogs, and orders pizza like a boss.

Connect with Kadee and Her Books

Website: kadeecarder.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kadeecarderink/

Instagram: kadeecarderink

Twitter: @kadeecarderink

And please feel free to subscribe for encouraging blogs! Kadeecarder.com

FROM KADEE: I am giving away a free, empowering e-book to those who subscribe to my email list at kadeecarder.com. The book is called Ignite and offers a serving of inspiration, a dash of hope, and a cup of grace to help you get kickin’ on those challenging tasks you’ve got to do!

CREATING MEMES: Walking You Through My Process

Hello! Sorry I’ve been absent. Life has been crazy! And I have struggled with what to post. Then I thought perhaps I should turn my posts into more practical how-to’s for a time and give you a step by step process on how I do some of the things I do in the writing/marketing world. So, here is the first one: MEMES.

Now, I am not saying that I’m an expert at creating memes, but I have become quite learned on how to do this. And I am here to share what knowledge I do have of the process.

What is a MEME?

I found a dictionary that defines it as “a humorous image, video, piece of text, etc., that is copied (often with slight variations) and spread rapidly by Internet users”. There are other definitions of memes having to do with sociology and cultures, but this is the definition I am talking about. So, the pictures floating around of that same white bearded guy saying “I don’t always (whatever), but when I do, I (whatever, but makes the statement humorous).”

In the writing/marketing world, we construct memes that relate to our books in some way.

Why do we need MEMES?

Memes are a wonderful, creative, and appealing way to promote your work. If your social media posts are just verbiage about your book and a link, that gets boring. Throw in a meme, and it gets more interesting. Research indicates that photos (memes included) get more interaction on social media platforms.

How do I make one?

You can use any image building platform (like canva or picmonkey). I have fallen in love with canva, so that’s what I’m going to use. Canva.com has a free version and even a free trial month. I am not as familiar with PicMonkey’s system.

So, here’s what you want to do…

I recommend that in general, you have several short excerpts selected from your novel(s) and about 8-10 tweet length statements about the book. If you have reviews, you should also have some snippets/quotes from reviews to utilize.

Today, we’ll be creating a meme for my book coming out in June called “A Convenient Risk”. I don’t currently have reviews to use, and I like excerpts better anyways, so I will pick a short excerpt from the book:

“Oh?” Why would she bait him? She did not know. But the utterance was beyond her lips before she could stop it. Amanda tightened her mouth to keep anything else from coming forth.

“Yes. As was I.” His voice was thick.

His confession stirred something high in her chest. Something that spindled and twisted. Something pleasant. It was but a taste, and she wanted more. But how?

Your excerpt should not give away big pieces of information (some is okay), but it should be enticing and intriguing.

Okay. So, let’s go to Canva.com and log in. Then we need to select what size our graphic will be. I usually go with Facebook post. Then we need to find a picture that goes well with this excerpt. I looked through some of the photos of blonde women (like my character) and decided on going with a fleur de leur kind of feel to the background.

So I searched for “design” and scrolled through until I found a design I liked. I set it in the picture, then changed the color of the design to go better with my cover. Then I copied it to add it to the top of the frame as well (just to add dimension). Then I grabbed my cover from the section UPLOADS. You can also upload photos into this section if needed.

I set my cover into the design. Then I decided it needed a frame. There is a section that says “frames”, but I didn’t like the way those worked. So, I searched for “frame” and found one I liked better, set it in place, and changed the color to better suit the design.

Next I went to BACKGROUND and chose a background and…you guessed it, changed the color again, to make it lighter so the excerpt will be more visible when I set it in place.

Now, it’s time to put in the excerpt. Select TEXT, choose one of the three text samples there. Put in your text in place of the text that pops onto your design. Then adjust the font and size as you wish. And the color even.

It’s very important that you add one more set of TEXT. In one corner, you need to include the following:

Author Name, Name of the Book, and Your Website

This way, no matter who shares your meme, it will always connect back to your website.

And voila! We have a meme!

Be sure to name it (I name it after the book and number it – e.g. ACR1 for “A Convenient Risk”, first meme) Then download it. I usually do it as a PNG.

Now, where do I put that?

You can share these memes on your Facebook page, your Facebook author page, your Pinterest pages, Twitter, and in Facebook groups that you are a part of (I recommend that you join Facebook book groups associated with your genre).

So, I’ll take the meme, and I’ll post it. But I’ll also type one of those tweet-length statements and a link to the book’s page on my website. Like so:

A marriage of convenience, a ranch at risk, and one of America’s most famous outlaws… Read more about “A Convenient Risk” at: http://saraturnquist.com/convenient-risk

And there you have it!