Book Review: Impulse Control [Talent Chronicles 0.5]

 

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Title: Impulse Control [Talent Chronicles 0.5]

Author: Susan Bischoff

Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult, Short Story

Rating: 3 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

In the world of the Talent Chronicles, kids born with supernatural powers are taken from their families and forced into government research facilities called State Schools. At one such school, a dangerous experiment has killed two young inmates and threatens others. Ethan, a shape-shifter, is reluctantly recruited by his best friend Karen, a telepath, and Elle, the unique Talent he has a crush on, to thwart the faculty’s plans. If they’re caught they face Detention, and Detention at a State School has a whole different meaning.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

I was extremely hesitant jumping into this novella. For those of you who regularly read my reviews, you’ll know that I greatly dislike short fiction. I like to sink myself into a story for several hours at a time and not come up for air, so shorter novellas often leave me frustrated. I find them to be rushed most of the time. This was no exception.

Being a YA fiction short story, Impulse Control was written in a very straight-forward, plain narrative that made it easy to sink into. Unfortunately, it also read a little below my usual grade level. To be honest, it felt like I was reading a middle-grade story that just happened to have YA characters. The elements of the story were a little too dramatic to be believable and the characters seemed to skim through outrageously dangerous situations with little consequence. It was hard to believe that the constant danger I was being forewarned about was as dangerous as the author kept telling me when no one seemed to get hurt or even came close to being caught.

The story was riddled with what I like to consider storytelling potholes. The children in the story were being held in a facility where their every daily tasks were monitored and the penalty for acting out was a quick ticket to a lab where the kids knew they would be experimented on and possibly even killed. However, when the children decided to sneak around the facility it was conspicuously void of guards, CCTV’s, or any sort of alarm system. The few obstacles they had to get through (like keypads) were easy to circumnavigate (despite the fact that the security in this place should have been prepared for supernatural teens)… it just wasn’t believable.

At one point, the kids are even attacked, and then joined by another teen who had shown previously that he was at least somewhat evil, but as soon as he joined the team in trying to shut the facility down, he became friendly and no one seemed to have a problem with him. It was frustrating to see the author present information (like the kid being evil, or the facility being dangerous) only to have the narrative then tell us that it wasn’t true.

The one big thumbs up for this story was the plot itself. It was intriguing. Here are these supernatural power-wielding kids stuck in a secret government facility being trained to become operatives (against their will), paired up with a darker, more sinister side where the kids lives are very much in danger. It should have been a very compelling read, and it would have been had the author stuck to their guns and made the narrative consistent.

Overall it was an okay read. It wasn’t spectacular, but it wasn’t awful either. I’d really like to see this written out into a full length story, or at the very least cleaned up and made consistent, but it was interesting, and I’m glad I read it. If you like middle-grade or YA fiction, you might like this. Adults may have a hard time getting through it because of the narrative potholes, but it’d make a cute afternoon read.

Book Review: Stranded, Stalked, and Finally Sated

 

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Title: Stranded, Stalked and Finally Sated [License To Love 1]

Author: Amelia Rose

Genre: Novella, Romance, Thriller

Rating: 4 Stars

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Description/Synopsis:

Clara Roberts has found herself forced to flee across country, pursued by a madman who seems to have access to every aspect of her life. Consequently, she is off the grid and under the radar when her truck breaks down in a small corner of Southwestern, Oklahoma, and she finds herself at the mercy of a local cowboy. While she knows that she will eventually have to keep running to stay one step ahead of her stalker, she begins to find herself drawn to this man. With his support she decides that her life is something worth fighting for.

Shad Brandt wasn’t sure what to expect when he pulled over to help out the girl on the side of the road, but it isn’t long before he realizes that she was a lot more than he bargained for. He knows that she is running from something, but he can’t quite place his finger on what it is. However, he cannot turn his back on this woman in need and when he opens his home and his heart to her he finds something else entirely. So when danger comes to lay claim to Clara, he finds that he is willing to sacrifice everything to make sure she stays safe.

WARNING – SPOILERS MAY ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW

This was an exceedingly quick read (15-20 minutes), which I’ll admit, I wasn’t prepared for. I won a copy of this book from a Goodreads giveaway back in April, and then picked up a free digital copy just a few days ago when it got discounted on Amazon. Not realizing this was a novella, I jumped in. By now, most of my review followers should be aware that I don’t particularly care for Novellas. I tend to prefer longer reads because as a whole, Novellas tend to feel rushed (understandably so—there’s a lot of information being packed into a spectacularly short word count).

As Novellas go, this was actually surprisingly well written. As far as the technical side is concerned: the grammar was spot-on. Word’s weren’t misspelled or redundant. Punctuation was correct, and the narrative moved at a quick jaunt. There was tension, and excellently written dialogue…overall, this was a well-written Novella.

Unfortunately, as with all Novellas, the story was a bit rushed—but even then, I must admit, the author managed to construct the story in such a way that the rushed bits didn’t feel disjointed or skipped over. I’ve found over the years that most Novella’s tend to have really rushed narrative. There’s a lot of “telling” as the characters skip through the story at light speed, sometimes forgoing scenes all together. In this story that isn’t the case. Scenes are played out naturally as if from a longer book. There are a fair share of time jumps; the story takes place over a period of about three days—but the important scenes are all present.

My biggest gripe is probably that the romance seems a bit fake. The characters are making out in the first 24 hours (okay it can happen) and having sex within the first 48 (again, it can happen, but we’re pushing it) by the end of the third day, they’re moving in together permanently (okay, you’d have to be insane to allow this…). It certainly stretches my ability to believe in the story, but considering the short length of the story, I feel I can suspend my disbelief a little.

Overall, the story is cute. It’s well written, and if you can get around the time frame, it’s a good story. There’s a steamy sex scene, and a (somewhat rushed) fight with a stalker—I will say that I wasn’t a huge fan of the stalker. He was creepy and adamant on pursuing the main female lead…but I’m not entirely sure why he was doing it.

Would I recommend this Novella? Yes. If you like steamy romances and have 20 minutes to pick up a book, this wouldn’t be a bad choice. Would I read it again? Sure. Why not? I’m not a huge fan of Novella’s, but this one was good.

I committed mass murder. Goodbye my darlings.

For those of you who are unaware, I’ve been working on and off for awhile now on a novel of mine (as of yet unnamed) that I sometimes lovingly refer to as “Khet” (after the MC). I started the story some time ago after a particularly interesting thought popped into my head (while watching National Geographic), and since then, I’ve been scrambling to piece it together.  It started off as a pantster attempt to write as much as I could in as little time as I could, and that was fine. It worked. I got the first dozen or so chapters done in a relatively short period of time.

The problem was, that version of the story wasn’t very stable. I didn’t have the foggiest clue as to where the story was going, and so most of it was spent bumbling around in random directions. (It was crap.) So, intent on improving the story, I sat down a few months ago and decided to work on an outline for the chapters. That went fine for awhile, until I realized that there was this niggling little bit in one of the chapters I hadn’t quite fleshed out yet. Everything came to a stand still. It was something seemingly small: I needed a reason for the two brothers in my story to quarrel. Little did I know how important that detail would become.

Several days ago I once again picked up my notebook and a pen and began trying to sort out the past history between the brothers. It was a small thing. I just needed a reason for them to hate each other, and then my story would be complete. An idea sparked: a relatively innocuous fight over a woman (which then became a half-sister, a breach of law, and the battle for a throne)… and it changed the entire basis of what I thought I knew about Khet.  Dozens of characters were erased from history, another dozen sprung up in their place, and an entire species of creatures popped into being. Laws were made, and genetics were mapped out. I ran out of ink in two pens, and went through an entire brand-new spiral notebook, furiously writing for three days to get the new plot outline down on paper (which right now isn’t detailed, but still massive). I spent the better part of the day trying to set royal bloodlines and arrange inbreeding to get the family relations/genetics/and story outcomes I wanted out of 33 people.

I look back now and shake my head at myself. I should have known better. Sometimes, the smallest detail can change everything in a story. I’ve read enough books that I should know that by now. As Hemingway once said, “Murder your darlings!” and I did. I threw out my entire story and all but a handful of characters, and rewrote (my version of) Earth’s History. We’ll see how many survive the next cut when I start arranging the scenes and setting up the intricate events and dialogues. I have a feeling my characters are huddled in a dark corner of my story right now, shivering. MUHAHAHA.

… This has all been a really long explanation for why I missed Free Fiction Friday last week. I actually forgot because I had my nose in a notebook, cackling gleefully as I wiped out 7 children characters. ❤  I hope everyone had a great weekend.

Nightmares & Hauntings: PART 4 (Story Time!)

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My current house is 70+ years old, going on 80. It’s old. Really old—and also falling apart. It was built as part of a housing unit for the Chinese labor camps that used to live in this town when they were installing the railroad through this part of Texas. It’s cramped, shoddy, and has a history. The first day I moved into this house I lugged some boxes into my computer room (Where I’m sitting as I type this) and into the closet. The attic entrance is in the closet. It’s a drop-panel entrance. To be blunt, I nearly peed myself that day when I opened up the closet door and the attic’s drop-panel flung open and away into the darkness.

It was the air pressure between the rooms. This house sucks. Needless to say, I’ve never actually been up into this attic. I still look up at the panel every time I open the closet—just to make sure it’s still closed and not open an inch.. or six. When it gets windy, the panel bangs around in the closet, but do I open the closet to look? Nope. Never going to happen. My house is not haunted. I’m just creeped out by attics at this point. Even as I’ve sat here for the past two hours typing out these Story Time articles, I’ve glanced back at that closet about 20 times. Just to make sure it’s closed. Why? Because the other night I went to bed, and when I woke up in the morning, the closet door was open. I –always- keep that door closed.

Now maybe you understand what that door being open means to me, and why I’m currently a little freaked out. To top it off, I’ve been watching a Ghost Hunters marathon for the past three days (this was after that door was found open) so forgive me if I’m a little paranoid.

At this point, you may be wondering where Nightmares fit into all of this. I’m getting to that.

I’ve lived in this house for about 8 years. In that time I’ve had a reoccurring nightmare that I’ve just moved into a severely haunted house. I spend my nights going room to room through this haunted mansion of a house trying to discover its secrets and deal with the creatures that live in it. I say creatures because I’m fairly certain not all of them are human.

The weird part is, every time I have this dream, I remember that I’ve had it before. I know that I’m dreaming, and I remember all the previous dreams (even though I sometimes forget them when I wake up). Last week I had the 20-something version of this dream, and in that dream I was standing in my computer room, putting boxes away into the closet. At the top/back of the closet was a cubbyhole that lead into a crawlspace. I remember hearing the crawlspace open, and laughing it off as air pressure. I then went to get another box, and when I came back, an arm was reaching out of the cubbyhole beckoning me to follow it into the attic.

The creepiest part about that dream was that I remember wanting to go into the attic. I was literally trying to force the other people in the dream with me to go into the attic even though I knew what kind of malevolent creatures lived up there. Why the heck would I do that?!

Flash forward to today.

Once again, I dreamed I was back in the haunted house. Only this time, I’d gone back in time about 20 years. It was long before I moved in and the residents several decades ahead of me were painting the house, ready to put it up on the market. They’d invited dozens of people over to view the place. It was odd because as I walked into the house I recognized some of the people there (though I still can’t place where I know them from) and they were surprised when I addressed them by name. I kept hinting to them that they really didn’t want to buy this house. The house was meant for me. I knew I was going to be the last owner that ever lived there.

For once, I wasn’t freaked out by the paranormal activity. Yah, there were creepy things in the house, but they were my creepy things, and I was sort of annoyed that all these people were even considering buying the house.

I remember at one point in the dream I walked into the kitchen and a group of men and women were sipping alcoholic drinks and talking about a man who’d reportedly hanged himself in the kitchen. I laughed at them and told them he’d hanged himself here, but not in the kitchen.

Don’t even ask me how I knew that.

After getting some pretty strange looks from the group in the kitchen, I wandered into the living room just in time to hear this massive inhuman growl. The room went silent (despite being full of people) and a chair went flying across the room (with a very startled person sitting in it). I marched angrily into the room and in the loudest voice I’ve probably ever uttered (dream or not) I shouted “STOP IT! Do you think I don’t remember what you are?” I remember getting the impression that whatever it was in that house.. and however many there were (we’re talking in the dozens), they all turned towards me, zeroing in, and… they recognized me. For a moment I and the creatures living in that house were both aware that we’d been in this dream before. They remembered who I was, and knew that I’d recognized them too.

Then, I woke up.

It was so real—so intense. I still feel like I’m in that house in my dreams, and I’m still standing in that room surrounded by those things… and we’re all just staring back at each other, acknowledging the other’s presence. It feels like I’m back in the basement of my second house. It feels… Wrong.


The incidents in this article have all been 100% true as far as I can remember them. Oddly I now have the strange urge to write them into a horror story… and somehow that thought terrifies me—maybe because the dream still feels all too real.

Nightmares & Hauntings: PART 3 (Story Time!)

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(Continued from PART 2)

After high school there was a summer where I stayed in that second house. I was 17, not yet old enough to move out, and my parents had decided to go on a trip to Vegas for 2 weeks, leaving me home alone. My sister had started college (I couldn’t afford to go), and I’d asked my two best friends to spend the two weeks with me. (There was no way I was going to stay in that house alone for two weeks.) During the day my two friends went to work, and jobless, I stayed home.

It was on this particular day that I was in the middle of a phone call with my best friend (planning a grocery shopping trip that evening) and I walked down the 3rd floor staircase onto the second floor. Now, the way our house was set up, the third and basement floor staircases both emptied into the living room,  right next to each other. Across from the staircases sat our large screen TV (which was off). As I stepped onto the second floor, I happened to glance up, and caught an image of a little girl standing on the staircase that lead down into the basement, beside me. She was reflected in the darkened TV screen.

Freaked out, I spun around to look at the steps, and standing there plain-as-day was a girl. She was maybe 6-8 years old, had long dark brown hair, and wore a little dress. She had a headband in her hair, and no shoes. I can’t remember what her face looked like, or even if she looked at me, but I have never run so fast in my life.

Phone-in-hand, and with me screaming at my poor best friend, I raced through the living room, into the dining room, and out the back door onto our deck. The door slammed shut behind me, and I ended up standing at the far side of the yard, shaking, and staring at the house like it was going to eat me. I’ve never been so terrified in my life – and that’s counting the time I was forced to hide in an outhouse for 45 minutes while a black bear and her cub tried to get in. (true story)

I just remember jabbering into the phone to my friend, telling her what I’d seen, and her telling me she was on her way back to my house. I took a few minutes to calm down, and finally decided I needed to go back into the house. I didn’t have shoes on, and the phone needed to be re-charged (cordless kitchen telephone). Problem was, when I tried to open the back door, it wouldn’t budge. Now what you have to realize is, this door was one of those that only locked from the inside with a key. You couldn’t just turn a latch and lock it, and you couldn’t open the door from either side while it was locked. I hadn’t locked the door, and I didn’t have a key on me.

I ended up having to circle the house to a basement window in that back bedroom I mentioned earlier (that felt wrong) because we usually left it unlocked for emergencies, and I crawled into the basement, and walked the length of it, up the stairs I’d seen the girl standing on, and into the 2nd floor again. I’d never seen her before that day, and I’ve never seen her since, but I got the general gist of what she wanted that day. It felt like I was being put in my place. It was her house. I moved out at the end of summer.

Still, no one believes me when I tell them what I saw that day – except maybe my best friend who heard the panic in my voice over the phone.

Every place I’ve lived after that house hasn’t been haunted. (although I had an apartment were the ceiling started to turn black and part of it peeled away…. I was just waiting for a corpse to fall out of my attic at that point… it was right after the Grudge came out.. and it turned out to be toxic mold and a burst pipe) I’ve never had that feeling again where it felt wrong to enter a room. I haven’t heard footsteps or voices. Nothing. However, my experiences as a child did fuel my love of the supernatural. Take all of this into consideration as I get into the next part of my story, because the context is important.

(Continued in PART 4)

Nightmares & Hauntings: PART 2 (Story Time!)

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(Continued from PART 1)

Our second house was a three-story monstrosity that had been built by a carpenter for him and his handful of sons. It had a first floor that was half underground, a second floor, and a third floor that was split in two. You had to cross the entire house to get between the two halves of the third floor via the second and a set of stairs. It also had a multitude of crawlspaces and several (yes, several) enclosed attics that were separate from each other and required separate entrances. My father even found a closed-off room behind one of the walls that seemed to have no entrance except through a hole in one of the attics.

We’re talking the stuff of nightmares here.

When we moved in, I purposefully picked a room that had no attic entrance and had a lock on the door. I was planning ahead you see. Oddly, and though we wouldn’t remember this until years later, the first day we moved into this new house, my sister and I went to our rooms, sat in the middle of the floors (to get a feel for our new space), and when we came out, turned to each other and exclaimed “A little girl used to live in my room!” “A guy used to live in mine!” It was just a feeling we had – a bit of silliness between sisters, and we didn’t think of it again for quite awhile.

I’m not exactly sure when strange things started to happen in that house. It’s a bit hazy to me—but I do remember sitting in our computer room one day (which was next to my bedroom and across the hall from the bathroom on our half of the third floor) and I started staring off into space towards the bathroom. There was the briefest flash of an imagine in my mind of a man sitting on the edge of the bathtub, watching us in the other room… like a brief glimpse of an idea or a memory, and when my sister asked me what I was staring at—even before I could think about a reply—I turned back to the computer and said as if it were the most natural thing in the world: “Joe.” and continued on with whatever it was I was doing. My sister didn’t question it. It was just something we both knew.

Now, I would never call myself sensitive or a medium. I think those labels are silly and make you sound somewhat insane—but it is widely believed that identical twins have a connection that science just can’t seem to understand. We know what the other is thinking, and often finish each other’s sentences. I’d like to attribute some of what I know and sensed in that house to that connection…whatever that means.

Even before the footsteps started and things started moving around the house on their own, we also knew just as we had about “Joe”, the man who inhabited the third floor with us, that there was something terribly wrong with the basement (1st floor). Walking down those stairs (which were right next to the stairs to the third floor) was like walking into a dark hole—even though there were windows. It felt wrong down there, and even during the day I would catch myself running up the stairs as if I were being chased. At night I wouldn’t even look down the stairwell unless I knew a family member was down there.

A few times we heard giggling, whispers, and a child’s voice from down those stairs, particularly around the room that sat under the stairs, and a bedroom at the far end. We believed there was a malevolent child ghost in that basement, though I couldn’t tell you why, and we nicknamed her Isabella. (I have no idea what her real name might have been or why she was there). I only know that she gave off this feeling that sent a chill up your spine, and she never ventured up out of the first floor. Joe on the other hand, didn’t scare us. We treated him as a guardian of sorts, and he almost always stuck to the third floor. I can’t say why we felt that way, but our general impression was that the two didn’t like each other.

Now I realize I’m starting to sound a bit crazy, but hang in there with me. These stories have a purpose: context.

One night, after raving about our haunted house to our friends for well over a year, we had a slumber party, and we invited all our friends to spend the night in the basement with us. We told ghost stories, recounted true stories about our previous hauntings, and unfortunately, we played with a Ouija Board. I won’t get into the details, but after that night, we never played with our Ouija Board again, and my friends vowed never to sleep over in our basement again. Everyone felt the wrongness of that place.

Part-way through the night, as we were telling stories, we heard a THUNK! from upstairs (the third floor where our bedrooms were). Curious, we all raced up stairs to the second floor, turned the corner to race up the stairs to the third floor, and discovered that there, sitting at the top of the stairs as if it had been gently placed there (and totally facing down the stairs) was my Kindergarten Diploma. What you have to understand, is that the Diploma (in it’s picture frame) had previously been sitting atop of a tall computer desk (one of those HUGE ones that’s over 6 feet tall) behind a lamp and a dollhouse, and also behind a partially closed door. (it was open maybe 6-12 inches).

Somehow, it had ended up at the top of the stairs (out in the hall and 8 feet from it’s previous spot) without having knocked anything down, been broken, and past the still mostly-closed computer room door. We had no explanation for it, but from that point on, my friends believed me when I said my house was haunted.

Unfortunately, that was not the end of it. I will never forget the moment it was at it’s worst in that house. Mirrors and TV reflections still make me nervous.

(Story Time will continue in Part 3)

Nightmares & Hauntings – PART 1 (Story Time!)

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Have you ever had a dream or a nightmare that was so real that even after you woke up, you had this sense of unease as if you were still dreaming? Have you ever had one of those uneasy dreams reoccur night after night for years on end? I have.

This is going to be a bit of a story, so bear with me. The recounting in this series of articles are 100% true as far as I am aware.

When I was a little girl my family lived in a little house along the bay in an old fishing/logging town. We lived in a section of the area called Empire, which was a bit like the ghetto of an already insignificant place. The entire area’s population was under 6,000. We didn’t have a Wal-Mart or a mall, or even our own hospital. What we did have, was history.

The house I grew up in once belonged to an old sea captain (or so I was once told), and though I don’t know the exact dates of the house, I know that when my mother first moved into it, it was the only house on the block. I remember once when I was little my father tore down a wall to expand a room and discovered the beams were made out of driftwood and old ship-timbers covered in barnacles.

I don’t know if anyone ever died in the house before we moved in, but I can tell you that someone died in it after, and I can assure you that it was haunted.

When I was little I used to share a room with my identical twin sister. We used to go to bed at night pretending we were on a Star Trek ship in our individual quarters, and we would jabber on about nonsense well into the night. Eventually, my sister would fall asleep, and I would be left wide-awake. I had what doctors refer to as 4th degree insomnia. I had trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, and going back to sleep once I was awake. Usually this meant I lived off about 2 hours of sleep a night taken in 20-minute bursts until I was well into adulthood.

Now don’t get me wrong, I was a very nervous kid. Our home wasn’t the happiest and I was on practically constant alert to be verbally attacked or hit. I’m an anxious person by nature to this day, but I will still swear to you that as a child, I didn’t sleep because once the lights went out and the house grew quiet, other things besides my sister and I came out to play.

I still remember laying in my bed, covers pulled up over my nose, watching small shadows move about my room like little dark goblins investigating my toys. I know my sister saw them too because she used to refer to them as the Darklings, and later by other names when she started drawing them into comics and writing about them in novels. I also remember waking up one night to see a man walk through our dining room (which my bedroom was adjoined to) and thinking it was my father—only when I asked him the next morning, my father had never gotten up out of bed.

By far my most disturbing memory however, was about the attic. You see, the attic in our house had only one entrance, and that entrance was in my room. It sat not a foot inside the doorway to my room, and it had one of those drop-panels as a door that sunk in between two ceiling beams. The only way to open it was to push the panel up and over out of the way. Attics still give me the creeps because of that house. Every night before bed I would make sure the attic was closed and the panel was in place, and every night I would lay in bed and listen to footsteps and skittering above me and listen to the attic door slowly dragging open. Now, being an irrational kid, I thought a gorilla or aliens lived in my attic. I was a kid after all, but that doesn’t change the fact that I spent every night scared out of my mind as I watched that attic door slide open.

I would wake up each morning to find the attic door slightly open. Sometimes it was only an inch, sometimes it was 6, sometimes the door was nearly entirely removed. My parents told me that wind gusts in the attic had moved it, but I knew better. They hadn’t heard or seen the things I had. Finally, one day, my sister moved into her own room, and my parents let me choose a new color to paint my brand new i-have-to-be-here-alone-OMG room. The trouble was, when they took down the attic panel to paint it as well, they discovered it was covered in three-fingered child-sized handprints. They had to paint over it 3 times before the prints stopped showing up through the paint. A few years later my mother died in that house, and we moved a few months later.

Trouble was, our new house was haunted too.

(Story Time will continue in Part 2)

I will defeat you Khet *shakes fist*

I did not end this day the way I expected to. I started off this morning intending to do… nothing, basically. It’s Sunday and Sunday in my family is the one day of the week when everyone gets together for a family meal that lasts practically from breakfast till dinner. In years past this has been a non-negotiable event that takes the majority of the day. I’ve been able to weasel my way slowly out of it over the last couple years, and now it’s my day to sit undisturbed and spend some time to myself. Usually I use this time to catch up on laundry and dishes or to read a book. *thumbs up*. Today, I did nothing of the sort.

Instead, I got up this morning and said “Cary, that’s enough of that bull-crap. You said you were going to get a book published this year, and you are woefully behind. Get to work!” So, I set aside my TBR list (which is huge by the way) for a day and sat down to do something I literally haven’t done in years: An outline. You see, I’m severely OCD. I’m not talking about being obsessed with organizing (though I am) We’re talking about a person who when she was little used to turn doorknobs, flip light switches, and blink a certain amount of times in order to balance the world out. Yah, that sort of crazy. I’m not as bad as when I was little anymore, most of my OCD shows itself in the way I’m obsessed with shredding random things into miniscule pieces on my desk, my inability to sit still, my obsession with organizing and being thorough, and an infrequent need to repeat words containing the “ih” sound. Yah, I’m still weird. Moving along.

When I was a teenager I used to spend weeks outlining stories. The problem was, I’d get so incredibly obsessed with “getting it right” (thank you OCD!) that I could never actually get to the writing part. So, to avoid my OCD, I became a pantster. It was great. It really was. For once I could get dozens of chapters done in a week without looking back. I made a ton of progress and all was right in the world.

Until I ran into a part of my story where I wasn’t sure how to proceed. Without an outline  I’d really only half-figured out my story, and when I got to the point where I didn’t know what came next… I stalled. I started to review what I had, and started to nitpick and go a little crazy about perfecting what I had.

So, this morning when I decided to get to work, I said “Screw you OCD. I’m 29, and you will not keep me from writing this story.” and got to work. I looked up some story formula’s, plotting advice and outlining methods and started to really work out what my story was about.  I’m still only partway into figuring the whole mess out, but my story has drastically changed (for the better) and for once I think I have an idea of how this is going to go. So watch out Khet, you’re about to get a makeover! At least I  feel like I got something accomplished today.

PS: writing with OCD is like being a gerbil on a wheel. You run in circles, the same circles… over and over in an attempt to make each circle better than the last. Sometimes I wish I could just jump off the wheel and dismantle it with a crowbar. Anyone else out there writing with OCD? How on earth do you stop obsessing over the details and perfection? It makes my brain hurt.

Authors & Reviewers: Free books in exchange for Feedback

This is my “I’m too lazy to post a real article today” article (’cause I haven’t finished reading any books in a few days). In case any of you authors or reviewers out there in blog-land have somehow missed these, I thought I’d share some links today…

The following are links to various websites where authors/publishers can post e-books in exchange for honest reviews from hundreds of different reviewers.  Reviewers-you can snag some free books in exchange for a little of your time and review (who doesn’t love free books? especially when all you need to do is share your opinion on them!) So be sure to check these out! 

Reviews are great for marketing books, and a helpful way to get feedback from a wide array of people. It’d be silly not to use these opportunities to your advantage.

That’s all for today folks. *salutes* I need to get back to organizing that horrendous e-library of mine. 3,000 down, 5,500 to go! I may be a bit addicted to reading. *pinches fingers together* just a bit.