Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Books I've Read: Cloud and Wallfish

I picked this up from the YA shelves at the library, but it's really more a middle-grade book than YA.  Which is not to say I didn't enjoy it because I did.  It's the second book I've read recently set behind the Berlin Wall, yet was quite different to the last.

It's 1989 and Noah doesn't know what to think when his folks pick him up after school one day in a rental car and explain that they're leaving for Germany.  What's more, he now has a new name, a new birthday and a whole past that has been inveted for him.  There are also a new set of rules the family have to live by.

The family move to East Berlin, a gray city that smells of coal smoke and paranoia.  Noah (now called Jonah) discovers there are secrets piled on secrets, even within his own family.  Lonely and isolated, Noah/Jonah gravitates toward the equally lonely girl who lives in the apartment below him.  Between them they try to figure out ways to understand the strangeness of the city they live in, and what it might be like beyond the Wall.

But when Cloud's parents are killed in a car crash, something about the story doesn't ring true and Cloud and Noah suddenly have yet more secrets to unravel.  And all around them, there are rumblings of change in the air.

I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would.  The setting is compelling, especially since 1989 was when the Eastern Bloc started to come apart.  The book ends, in fact, on the night the Wall fell in Berlin.  Most books about this period in history focus on people from the Eastern side trying desperately to get to the West.  This one is different because the Keller family go from the West  - form the USA, in fact - to the East.

In between the chapters about Noah and his family and Cloud are interspersed 'secret files' in which the author gives background on aspects of East German life and history.  These generally realate to something that has happened in the chapter, so there is context for them being there.  In many ways, I enjoyed reading these secret files more than the story!

So if you like middle grade books, and have an interest in modern history, this one is probably for you.

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

Noah Keller has a pretty normal life, until one wild afternoon when his parents pick him up from school and head straight for the airport, telling him on the ride that his name isn’t really Noah and he didn’t really just turn eleven in March. And he can’t even ask them why — not because of his Astonishing Stutter, but because asking questions is against the newly instated rules. (Rule Number Two: Don’t talk about serious things indoors, because Rule Number One: They will always be listening).

As Noah—now "Jonah Brown"—and his parents head behind the Iron Curtain into East Berlin, the rules and secrets begin to pile up so quickly that he can hardly keep track of the questions bubbling up inside him: Who, exactly, is listening — and why? When did his mother become fluent in so many languages? And what really happened to the parents of his only friend, Cloud-Claudia, the lonely girl who lives downstairs?

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Weekly Goals 30-7-18

I'm going to be stupidly busy the next two weeks.  The film festival is on and I have tickets to at least one film each day, and sometimes two.  Plus, my boss is on holiday and we're already two people down in my team.

So it feels like setting any real goals this week might be foolish.

I will endeavour to add new chapters to my book whenever I can, but I'm not going to beat myself up if I don't get much done.  There will be time for that when the festival is over.

I have been asked to write a guest blog post, so I need to get that done this week.  I started it last night, and it seems to be going well.  I thought I might need two posts to cover my subject matter, but it looks like I might be able to fit everything in one.  But we shall see...

And finally, my goal this week is to make sure I get to the gym a few times.  If I'm going to be sitting on my ass at the movies for hours each day, I need to make sure I get some exercise in somewhere.

What are your goals this week?

Friday, July 27, 2018

Celebrate the Small Things 27-7-18

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?

It's the Film Festival!  Yes, two weeks in which to devour and savor the very best films from around the world.  I have tickets to 20 or so films over the next fortnight, with the potential to pick up a few more if need be.  It's among my favourite two weeks of the year and a time where I pick up so many ideas and themes for my stories.  So while I don't expect to get much, if any, writing done, I don't consider it time wasted in any way, shape or form.

As for writing, I have done a bit this week, and my wordcount for the book is now sitting at around 21K.  And in terms of hitting plot turning points, I feel like I'm on track.  We've reached the turning point where things start to go sour.  So the next few chapters will be fun to write as my MC's life starts sliding downhill fast.  Fingers crossed the prompts continue to help drive the story forward.  At least, the prompts on the days I find time to write.

What are you celebrating this week?

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Tempting Friendship and a visit from Patricia Josephine

Today I'm lucky to have my friend Patricia Josephine visiting me on the blog.  Patricia has a new book out called Tempting Friendship, and I was lucky enough to get an interview with her.
Welcome, Patricia!

If you could swap places with one of your fictional characters for 24 hours, who would you choose to be?

That's a tough one given I like to put my characters through hell (sometimes literally.) Maybe Rose because she likes to dye her hair like me, but unlike me, isn't afraid to speak her mind.

Why? And what would you do that day?

I guess I answered this first part already. I'd wing it. Planning is too tedious and it's annoying when things get in the way.

In what way is your story unique compared to other books in this genre?

Well, the two main characters don't have sex, for one. Or even kiss. I thought a kiss would happen at the end, but Quinn had other ideas (mainly a video game.)

What part of the story was the most fun to write? The most challenging?

Keane's bantering with Quinn. It was fun to make them bicker or have inside jokes with each other. The scene at the farmhouse. I could see it in my head, but I struggled to put it into words.

Which of your characters is most like you?

None, really. I'm a boring person. You so don't want me as a character in a story.

If you could have one superpower, what would it be and how would you use it?

I was always fond of the ability to fly. For traveling duh! ;) I just hope that wouldn't get me motion sick like every other form of travel.

If you could reenact a scene from any book (not necessarily your own), what would it be? Who would you choose for your scene partner(s)?

I'd go with something from Harry Potter probably and rope my two besties into doing it with me. They're fans too, so they wouldn't have a problem. It's probably devolve into something inappropriate, too.

Tell us something we’d be surprised to learn about you.

When I was in elementary school, I decided to write a story about a wolf in the style of Jane Eyre. I was about a paragraph in when a classmate stopped and read it out loud and I felt so stupid that I scratched the idea then and there.

What other interests do you have outside of writing?

I like to knit, make jewelry, and have recently gotten back into painting. In fact, I was painting just before answering these questions. And I didn't get paint on my keyboard.

Do you have a nervous habit when writing? A guilty pleasure when writing? (example: chew a pen to death or have a stack of Hershey’s kisses while you write)

I'm not sure and I don't write much around hubby so he can't tell me if I do or not. No, but I do reward myself as motivation to write.

Thanks so much for taking the time to come by and answer these questions, Patricia.  I wish you all the best with your new release.

At first, Quinn isn’t impressed by Keane. He’s cocky and has sex on the brain. The polar opposite of her. Despite their differences, something blossoms between the two.

Never one to take things seriously, Keane is an incubus coasting through life without a care. When he meets Quinn, her lack of reaction to him piques his interest. No human has ever been able to resist him.

As Keane and Quinn struggle to understand what is going on between them, something sinister rocks their world. Young incubi are vanishing, and Keane's friends go missing. Someone is after his kind. When Quinn is kidnapped, Keane must uncover who is behind the abductions and get to her before it's too late.

Buy on

About the Author
Patricia never set out to become a writer, and in fact, she never considered it an option during high school and college. She was more of an art and band geek. Some stories are meant to be told, and now she can't stop writing.

She writes New Adult under the name Patricia Josephine and Young Adult under the name Patricia Lynne.

Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo, and has a fondness for dyeing her hair the colors of the rainbow.

Social Media Links: 

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Weekly Goals 23-7-18

My main goal this week is to get over the 20K mark with the new book.  I'm very close, but the film festival starts on Thursday, and I know I won't get much, if any, writing done over the two weeks that runs.

Other than that, I had a great week in terms of excercise last week  - I made it to the gym 4 times!  So my goal is to continue this trend and make it to the gym at least 3 times, if not 4.

What are your goals this week?

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Celebrate the Small Things 20-7-18

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?

Kissed releases today.  It's an anthology I have a novella in, and the theme is kissing - every story starts and ends with one.  To celebrate, the Kissed authors are doing a live Facebook thing throughout the day tomorrow.  You can check it out here.  I will be doing an hour from 2pm -3pm EST.    If you have anything you've always wanted to ask me, here's an opportunity.  You'll have to excuse me if I'm dopey... It'll be 6am here.

It's the last day of the school holidays!  After two weeks of doing very little, the kids are heading back to school on Monday.  So today I've taken the day off to spend with them and do something fun.  I think bowling and movies might be on the cards.

I'm still making progress on my book being written using prompts. I'm just over 16K in, and things are beginning to take shape.  I'm looking forward to editing this one because I can already see where things will need tightening and where I will need to expand things.  But this is proving to be an interesting experiment, and one I'm finding very useful.  I will just have to try and get to the end of the story at around the 40K mark so I have the space to add 20K or so in edits.

What are you celebrating this week?