Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Books I've Read: Only A Breath Apart




While I enjoyed this book on some levels, there wasn't really anything particularly unique or different about it. The characters felt a little flat and in some cases cartoonish in their broad-stroke execution (except for the psychic, Glory) and the plot followed a predictable path. I never really believed in Jesse's curse or the attachment he had to the land he was so desperate to own, despite the number of times he stated the connection.

And Scarlett's situation didn't ring true to me either.  If her father really was as controlling as he seemed to be, I don't believe she would risk breaking his rules so often.  Sure, that kind of control can stifle, but if being caught results in violence against the people you care about, I don't believe that's something she would risk.

And finally, if Scarlett really does have even a glimmer of psychic ability, wouldn't she be able to predict when breaking the rules is a bad idea and choose not to?  Even if she wasn't entirely aware why she felt that way, a gut feeling, or a little voice in her head might alert her to the fact doing what she is doing will not end well for her.

And don't even get me started on romances that begin as intense childhood friendships.  I know they do happen, but in most cases, as people grow up, they change.  Their interests and ideas diverge and a friendship that once felt inseparable, just drifts apart as people find new friends who better fit the person they have become. 

It was not a difficult read, and certainly filled a long ferry ride adequately, but it doesn't make the top of my list of favorite romances. Thanks to Net Galley for the chance to read in advance.

But don't just listen to me.  Here's the blurb:

Jesse Lachlin is cursed.

So the town folklore says, but while Jesse’s had his fair share of tragedy, the only curse he believes is in his grandmother’s will: in order to inherit his family farm he must win the approval of his childhood best friend, the girl he froze out his freshman year, Scarlett Copeland.

Scarlett Copeland is psychic.

Glory Gardner tells Scarlett she has hidden psychic abilities, but Scarlett thinks Glory is delusional. What is real is Scarlett’s father’s irrational fears, controlling attitude, and the dark secrets at home. Scarlett may have a way to escape, but there’s a hitch: she’ll have to rely on the one person she used to trust, the same boy who broke her heart, Jesse Lachlin.

Each midnight meeting pushes Jesse and Scarlett to confront their secrets and their feelings for each other. But as love blooms, the curse rears its ugly head…

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Weekly Goals 14-1-19

I'm back from the beach!

We had perfect weather the entire time we were away and I swam in the sea every day.  It was surprisingly warm for this time of year, as was the weather which got above 34 degrees a couple of times - almost too hot!

But like all good things, the holidays must come to an end, and now it's time to get back to work.

While I was away I received ARCs of The Sidewalk's Regrets so the next couple of weeks is all about  sending out review copies in the hope of getting some reviews on or around the release date (1 February).  So if you are interested in reviewing, just let me know!  I made a start on sending requests to reviewers before I left for holiday, and have had a few responses so far, but need to do much, much more.

Which of course means that writing and editing is on the back burner until at least mid-February because the time I would have spent writing will be taken up doing marketing and publicity.  But it's important, so I will do it, and then get back to my pre-holiday projects again.

What are your goals this week?

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Away!

And...  I'm on holiday.

Heading to the sunny (hopefully) beach house where we only get internet if we walk down to the campsite near the sea, or go into town.

So I will not be blogging until I get back.

Until then, be good to each other.  Have a very happy New Year and may 2019 be the year all your dreams come true.

And here you go.  My annual photograph of the beautiful place we go on holiday...


Monday, December 31, 2018

Yearly Goals

Each year I write myself a letter outlining my goals for the year ahead.  Then sometime around the middle and at the end, I check in to see how I'm doing on achieving those goals.  So here we go for 2019.

Dear Me,

2018 was a crazy year and while I somehow managed to achieve most of what I set out to do, it feels like it was more by accident than by design.  So my first goal for 2019 is to plan ahead more.  Think about what might be coming up before committing to things and set aside time for the things I really want to do.

I have a book releasing on 1 February and I really want it to sell better than the last one.  So my first goal for the year is to figure out the best way to market this new book, and the other ones, to generate sales.  The subject matter for this one is less controversial than in Stumped, so hopefully that will help with sales, but getting reviews and getting them in the right places is crucial.

I would like to publish another book in 2019.  I have three that are very close to being ready to go, so I will endeavor to get at least one of these polished and ready to go out into the world.  And send it out.  If I'm lucky, I may even have all three ready to go out at some point during the year.

I also have three or four manuscripts in various stages of completion that I would like to go back to and finish.  I'm not sure any of them are actually much good, but going back and re-reading them will let me know if there is anything worth salvaging in any of them.  And if there is, I will work to finish any of these I feel are worth the effort.

At the moment I don't have any burning ideas for a new book, which is probably a good thing considering how many unfinished projects I have lying around.  But should something come up during the year, I will jump on that idea before it squirrels away again.  And I will write the hell out of that idea.

I was pretty good with my exercising in 2018, so I want to keep that up.  And my weekday intermittent fasting too.  I even plan to buy some scales in the new year so I can keep track of my weight, rather than relying on how my clothes fit to tell me if I've gained or lost weight.  The goal is to lose at least 5kg by Easter.

And my final goal is to read more.  I'm not going to get my Goodreads reading goal in 2018, which tells me I'm not reading enough.  So I need to get on top of that.

What are your goals for 2019?

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Checking in on 2018 Goals

Each year I write myself a letter outlining the goals I have for the year ahead.  Then, around the middle of the year, and again at the end, I check in to see where I'm at in terms of achieving them.

So before I head into my 2019 goals, let's take a quick look at last year's, to see how I got on...

So, 2018. What do I want to achieve?

I have a few more books that are ready to go out, so I hope to publish at least one book in 2018, if not two. I like working with my publisher, despite their rather limited distribution. Doing the publicity and promotion is challenging, but I’m learning more each time, so I hope to have figured out the best things to do for the least money as I keep publishing. I also hope to begin developing a fan base, something you can’t really do when you only have one book available.

Sort of...  I published a novella as part of an anthology, and The Sidewalk's Regrets was initially supposed to come out before the end of 2018.  We just pushed it back to February to give me more time for publicity and getting advance reviews.  So we'll say this one is achieved.

I plan to revise SHOOK to take the various agents’ feedback into account. And I’d like to finish one or both the books I started during 2017’s NaNo. I may even revisit my 2016 NaNo book to see if I actually like anything about it anymore.

Still working on SHOOK, if you can believe it.  After rewriting as a single POV, it still felt wrong so now I'm trying it in third person to see if it works.  And I didn't touch any of those NaNo books. I did write about two thirds of a new one though.  But I will need to finish it and do a bit of tightening up because I wrote it using prompts and at a certain point, the prompts stopped being helpful and sent the book on tangents that didn't really drive the plot forward.

I would like to complete at least one new title in 2018. It feels like over the last couple of years I’ve started a lot of books, but somehow haven’t managed to finish anything. 2018 is the year I actually finish something. Maybe even two or three somethings… But let’s not be too ambitious.

I started and finished that novella that was published, so that counts right?

In other, non-writing areas, I plan to exercise more. This year I’ve made it to the gym once a week most weeks, which is hopeless. I am determined that in 2018 I will make it to the gym at least twice a week in my lunchbreak as well as my usual Saturday morning class.

That has happened too.  At least for the most part.  There were only a few times I had meetings over my lunchtime and had to skip the gym.

With both the kids growing up rapidly, I would also like to try and do something with my partner at least once a week. Something other than doing the weekly grocery shop which has become our date night since we moved to the new house.

Well, a few times.  But now my oldest is 14 and can babysit, I hope it will happen more often.

And finally, I want to be more social on social media again. When I first used Twitter I made friends with lots of people and enjoyed really engaging with them. Since starting my new job three years ago, my time for non-work-related social media has been much more limited and I miss the connections I used to have with people. I plan to use my commuting time much more productively this year and socialize on social media more.

Not so much...  Some days are better than others.  I just find there is so little time, I'd rather use it for something I enjoy more.  But the intention is good.

How did you go with your goals for 2018?  Have you started thinking about your goals for the new year yet?

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Celebrate the Small Things 29-12-18



This post is part of Lexa Cain's bloghop, Celebrate the Small Things. Head on over there to join up!

What am I celebrating this week?

Relaxation mostly.  Although I haven't been a relaxed as I really wanted to be.  There's been a little too much cleaning and a too little reading going on.  Something to be addressed over the next couple of days...

Christmas was good.  Lots of food and family, but we made it through without any dramas (for a change - the last few times we've had Christmas at my parents' there's been a major plumbing malfunction).

Since then, I've been getting the house in order, going to the gym (you would not believe how sore my muscles are right now after two days' of weight-lifting classes), editing my book and reading.  We also went out to my aunt's house up the coast on Boxing Day and caught up with more cousins and other relatives.

It's been awesome!

What are you celebrating this week?