bookcover: 
Live to Write Another Day: A Survival Guide for Screenwriters and Creative Storytellers
Author: 
Dean Orion
Publisher: 
Sky Father Media
Non-fiction_: 
Rating: 
8
ISBN/ASIN: 

9780989059312

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Review: 

While the best, meatiest screenwriter's survival guide that I've read is Max Adams Screenwriter's Survival Guide and the New Screenwriter's Survival Guide or Guerrilla Meeting Tactics & Other Acts of War, Dean Orion's Live to Write Another Day: A Survival Guide for Screenwriters and Creative Storytellers provides a different guide—not how to navigate the Hollywood trenches, but the trenches of the page.

Live to Write Another Day details Orion's evolving writing process, including research, note-taking, outlining, drafting, handling critique, revising and completing the screenplay.

Probably my favorite (or for me that would be the most useful) would be the section at the ends of his chapters. I am a big list-user and study-questioner, probably because I feel like I am accomplishing something as I check items off the list. I found this more of a quick, fun read than a real survival guide. It may well be his survival guide. I found the anecdotes entertaining, and relatable. It would probably be helpful to a beginning writer/screenwriter. It came across, however, as more of a memoir than a writing resource. It is quite short, so if you're looking for a big, extensive writing resource, you may be looking in the wrong place. But for a quick read when you need a little pick-me-up, it might do the trick.

bookcover: 
Mort
Author: 
Terry Pratchett
Series: 
Diskworld
Publisher: 
HarperCollins e-books; Reissue edition
Genre: 
SpeculativeFiction: 
Rating: 
10
ISBN/ASIN: 

0062225715

Description of Sales Url: 
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Review: 

Mort is my first forey into the Discworld domain of fantasy author Terry Pratchett, and I found it fascinating. Perhaps it is fate when the teenaged boy, Mort, fails to get a job on his visit to the hiring fair in Sheepridge, and in the dark long after everyone else has gone home, is apprenticed to Death. The book is written in third person, and Death speaks in capital letters without the need for speech.

Death in Discworld is the familiar figure we know, and yet he is not. Because this Death has built a family, now comprised of our protagonist Mort, Death's daughter Ysabell (of the silver hair and eyes and a figure reflecting too many chocolates) and his manservant named Albert (stick-thin, raw-nosed and some two thousand years old.) This family lives in a non-reality outside of time and space "known to the few astrophysicists who have taken really bad acid" in which Death has carved a domain where his human family exists. Death's home contains myriad parts, including a stable where live the finest of Death's live horses, a black garden, a library where resides the books into which each soul is written; a kitchen where Albert cooks meals for Mort and Ysabell.

Before Death begins to teach Mort how he performs his office, and of course, it all goes awry, Mort agrees he wishes to "learn the uttermost secrets of time and space," and is sent on his first job to clean the stable, where he meets Death's horse, Binky.

I can see why Pratchett's books are so popular. Mort is everyman (or perhaps Everyboy) and Death is a surprisingly sympathetic character; one can certainly understand why he would wish to have a vacation. Pratchett's blend of myth and humor is charming like a fairy tale, humorous in a personal way, compassionate, and quirky. I can see why his books are so popular.

bookcover: 
Madam Tulip
Author: 
David Ahern
Series: 
Madam Tulip Mysteries
Publisher: 
Malin Press
Action-Adventure: 
Rating: 
8
ISBN/ASIN: 

B01DPY6FLA

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Review: 

Madam Tulip by David Ahern is a cozy mystery about an out-of-work actress with her father's psychic gift. When her best friend suggests making money with her psychic gift, Derry creates the role of her life - a fortune teller for the rich and famous. But her first gig as her alter ego, Madam Tulip, is disrupted by murder.

With her best friend framed for the murder, and the life of a super model in jeopardy, Derry must solve the case before it destroys her friends, family, and herself.

I adored Derry, her father Jacko, and her friend Bruce the most. Derry's borage tea addiction, Jacko's dramatic flare, and Bruce's unwavering loyalty kept me going back for more.

Ahern weaves an intriguing tale of murder and mayhem, with quirky heroes and dastardly villains. Madam Tulip is a fun exciting read and I look forward to the next book!

bookcover: 
Doubt and Desire
Author: 
Pamela Loewy
Publisher: 
Pamela Loewy
Rating: 
6
ISBN/ASIN: 

B01B1Y7GDC

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Review: 

This is my fist book by Pamela Loewy, so I didn’t know what to expect. The story begins as most thrillers would... Interspersed with subterfuge, lies, deceit, all the usual hallmarks of a good thriller, and then comes the romance, unexpected, and all the more surprising. Sarah and Sterling weren’t looking for love, but it finds them, and they had to figure out whether it's real or not. To follow them on this roller coaster ride is both exhilarating and nerve racking, “You look like Zeus preparing to pitch a thunderbolt.” Lovers of thriller and romance will have a bit of both, in Sterling and Sarah’s story, as they struggle to come to grips with their unique situation.

bookcover: 
Author: 
Rue
Series: 
The Chronicles of Hawthorn, Book 1
Publisher: 
Sittin’ On A Goldmine Productions LLC
Genre: 
Fiction: 
Juvenile_: 
Rating: 
10
ISBN/ASIN: 

9780997311891

Description of Sales Url: 
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Review: 

This is my second review of the book An Average Curse, Book One. I was alerted that extensive editing had been done, and could I re-read it to see if it improved. Boy has it ever. This book is something you will find yourself living in. A rare treat to find these days. You will feel the mist of New Zealand and ride the Moa Bird as you follow the learnings and mishaps of Flynn and her dearest friend Hazel. The Ninth daughter of the Ninth daughter, she was expected to be one of the most powerful Witches and help save the land from darkness. But from the time of her toddler days to her first class as an a spell caster in training, not even the most simple of spells could be done by her. She was quickly rumored to be nothing more than a Watcher. A person who can see others do their spells, but never herself. To help, her friend Hazel tries to cover up her folly by doing magic enough for two. Then they meet Po a young man, who was very clumsy except with his carvings and haphazard ways of doing things. Can the three of them get though their first sessions of learning spells and rescue their home from the beginnings of evil magic.

I rarely give out 10’s for stories, but if I could, I would give this a 20, its that good.
Nancy Louise
May 20, 2016


By Katherine MK Mitchell

Does cursing have value in the world of literature or in life? Is there “good cursing” and “bad cursing”?

The use of language has beauty and purpose. If you’re angry, you curse, you scream, you punch.

bookcover: 
The Hill bookcover
Author: 
Karen Bass
Publisher: 
Pajama Press
Genre: 
Action-Adventure: 
Fiction: 
SpeculativeFiction: 
Rating: 
9
ISBN/ASIN: 

978-1-77278-002-4

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Review: 

In Karen Bass's The Hill,When the private plane Jared insisted on riding crashes, he is rescued by Kyle, a Cree boy who ought to be wearing a cape, given the circumstances. Jared is an unlikable spoiled rich kid flying from unlikable parent A to unlikable parent B. Jared is a city boy, completely unfamiliar with nature. Luckily for them both, Kyle is his polar opposite. Jared's refusal to listen to Kyle's advice forces them to climb the hill, a place forbidden by Kyle's Kokum (grandmother) and cross into the terrifying territory of legend, where they are stalked by the relentless Wihtiko, a virulently carnivorous creature out of the Cree spirit world.

All I can say is that this story works on many levels, and even if it is speculative fiction, has a ring of truth. Jared's journey occurs because he is forced out of his insular rich kid kingdom to a strange wild place where he must confront evil. He must rise to the challenge. If he gives in, he and Kyle will both die. We share his experience as he pushes past his boundaries, and struggles to survive.

I especially like how Karen Bass captures the voice and personalities of two boys who are polar opposites. Not only does the story show how they come together, it also shows how, in many ways, the boys are not as dissimilar as they believe. Jared has both of his parents, though he is essentially so apart from them he might as well be an orphan; and while Kyle has only his grandparents, he is so deeply steeped in his culture, he knows his place in the universe in a way few people do. The setting is rustic; the boys' relationship is dynamic; and the monstrosity hunting them is quite as terrifying as any creature out of a horror movie. Gripping story.

I have known for a long, long time (because I’m very, very old) that children are a lot smarter than many give them credit for. I believe they see things below the surface that cannot be seen by the “mature” mind of an adult. They “cut to the chase” and strip away the fabric to understand the individual stitch. In other words, they simplify the complex to get to the heart of things.

bookcover: 
End Time book cover
Author: 
Daniel Greene
Publisher: 
Rune Publishing LLC
Genre: 
Anthology_: 
Rating: 
8
ISBN/ASIN: 

0692489266

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Review: 

End Time by Daniel Greene is a zombie packed horror story full of death, violence, duty and love. I am a fan of horror and action so when I read the summary for End Time I was excited to dive into the story.

It starts in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Dr. Joseph Jackowksi is studying a disease outbreak in the area. But when the infected in the hospital tent start to eat the staff, they flee to the US Embassy for protection. The outbreak erupts into a violent war between the living and undead, and nowhere is safe.

A team of counter terrorist agents is dispatched to the country to bring the Embassy staff back home. But the agents must fight through hordes of walking dead to complete their mission.

End Time is a fun and fast-paced read. It follows the main characters and several supporting ones through their struggles against the death that threatens them at every turn. The tension is high, the deaths are violent and gruesome and I could not put the book down.

Personally, I feel it could use an additional edit. I find some sentences challenging to read due to the overuse of names and the flow of words. Despite that, I enjoyed the book and I’m looking forward to the next one.

bookcover: 
An Average Curse
Author: 
Rue
Series: 
The Chronicles of Hawthorn, Book 1
Publisher: 
Sittin' On A Goldmine Productions LLC
Genre: 
Action-Adventure: 
Fiction: 
Rating: 
9
ISBN/ASIN: 

9780997311891

Sales Url: 
Description of Sales Url: 
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Review: 

Most of our magical stories tend to have their roots going back to the great Black Forest that now resides in Germany, or the Misty Isles of the United Kingdom and even some from the Icy Scandinavia of Northern Europe to the Southern Isles of Greece and Italy. There is however in this book, a new land largely ignored or rarely studied enough to include the ingenious people outside of colonial history and imposed languages. I introduce to you, the Maori people. Long unknown by English speaking people in terms of their indigenous cultures. In this story you will find many of the standard magic and myths among the mist. From there An Average Curse, Book 1 of The Chronicles of Hawthorn

A child, the ninth daughter of the ninth daughter is brought up in the prophesy of being the one who would heal the riff between their two great nations on the small Island that is cut off from the rest of the world by a mist. The Riff is great enough that one says these nations are not brought together, will foretell and cause the end off all. This is a great deal to put on the shoulders of a young girl who from birth has been unable to show even the skills of the most simple spells. As if her magic was totally mute. But is it? As things move along and the time comes for her to pass magic test to advance in her learning, things are not all what they seem.

Fantasy has been growing to include ingenious people and their language to give more authentic texture to the stories an the root of all magic which is in the people, the land, and the sacred names by the people who have long live in its mist. The only reason I have given it less than ten, is some more editing is needed to correct some typos and sentence structures.

Nancy Louise
April 8, 2016

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