Wednesday, 4 December 2019

#bookreview: Dear Author: Letters from a Bookish Fangirl | Laura A. Grace

Dear Author: Letters from a Bookish FangirlDear Author: Letters from a Bookish Fangirl by Laura A. Grace
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you've ever had a down day, wondering whether anything you've ever written is worth the paper it's printed on (or the screen it's... pixeled on...?), Laura's "Dear Author" is sure to put a smile on your face--or some tears on your cheeks.

Accompanied by extremely cute illustrations, this book is a welcome pick-me-up for beleaguered authors everywhere.


Note: I received an e-ARC of this book from the author. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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Monday, 18 November 2019

#guestpost: 5 Exercises to Help You Craft Compelling Fictional Characters

It can be difficult to create a believable and relatable character, but I have a few tips and tricks that you can use to help you create a unique and memorable character.

1. Make a mini-biography

The easiest way to create a compelling fictional character is to match their life details. Whether it's fantasy adventure or teen fiction books for girls, if you've noticed in literary works, the main characters are well established with small nuances that make them more credible. To do this, you will have to write for each character a kind of biography. You don't have to say their life; it's enough to have a clear cheat sheet of the character's major points. You can add more detail to the character sheet as you progress in writing the story or use it as a guide.

2. Do an interview

This is a fun exercise that you can do to help you create a concrete and engaging character. You can reconstruct your character's interview, ask them big and small questions, and answer them in a way that the character might. What would help if you were to list your questions, about 10 or 15 so that you would be better prepared to answer them?
You can ask questions such as: 
  • What's your happiest memory?
  • What's the place you'd most like to visit?
  • What are your life's greatest regrets?
  • What's a hobby that you really like to try?
To help determine the personality of the character, you can mix general questions with very specific ones. Also, you can include questions that will help you imagine the plot of the story you write.

3. Dating profile

There may seem to be a little bit of this tip, but hear me out. If you've ever tried to create a dating profile for yourself or a friend, you'll know that creating one that's respectable and appealing requires a lot of introspection and self-analysis. So why not apply the technique to your story to create a character? There are many dating sites that you can use as a reference. Make sure you include any information that is included in your profile by a real person. Start with basics such as age, place, occupation, and definition of physics. Then you can also create a short bio about the character you are looking for and the type of partner.

4. Character speech

Writing a talk is a great way to find the voice of your character. Knowing their tone, their inflection, or even their specific use of words. It will bring a more thorough and vibrant personality to your character. When you're writing fiction, say girls' teen fiction books, each character needs a compelling backstory and a unique voice tone that translates into words. Remember the character and what they'd be talking about. The educated character may speak differently from a little educated character. The adult will also have a voice distinct from a child's sound. Sometimes, remember where the characters come from and the accent they could use. For example, London accents are different from a New York accent.

5. Do the unexpected

Human beings are very resistant to change—something Big and unique must happen to them for a character to experience a personal journey that fundamentally changes them. This incident does not have to be in your story, but once you can recognize the shortcomings of your character you can decide what changes are required in the structure of your character.

At the end of A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge is a miser. Even for his poor policeman, Bob Cratchit, who can hardly feed his own children, he is isolated from those around him and lacks empathy. Scrooge, however, has been resurrected as an animated character at the end of the novel. What was the incident in his life that inspired the whole eighty? The experience of past, present and future dreams and the first-hand knowledge of how not only his actions influenced him negatively, but also his own personality.

Wrapping It Up

Even the quickest, action-driven novels need to attract readers with compelling characters. Of course, if the writers do not understand fully who they are and what drives them first, readers will never get to know a character.

The character creation exercises are a good way to better understand the person you build with stylus and paper (or more likely "fingers and keyboards"). You can also build tools you can draw from during the process of writing.

Only after you have gained a thorough knowledge of your protagonist will there shine a robust, realistic character. In the field of reading, however, there is confusion about what knowledge a writer knows about a character is important or does not apply. While we agree that a writer probably does not need it, we feel you can never know enough about your character, too. We know the number of hairs on his head. What is important is to decide the knowledge that is important to your current story.

“Plot is no more than footprints left in the snow after your characters have run by on their way to incredible destinations," Ray Bradbury wrote at Zen in the art of writing.

Author Bio:

Eliza Brooks is a passionate blogger who loves to write about travel, books, personality development, lifestyle, productivity, and more. She spends her spare time hiking, camping and reading adventure, fantasy, mystery stories, and young adult fiction books. Everything she talks about ends in books.

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

#bookreview: Tess of the Road | Rachel Hartman

Tess of the Road (Tess of the Road, #1)Tess of the Road by Rachel Hartman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This took me a very, very long time to get into and I nearly stopped reading at about the 30% mark. Actually, I did stop reading and then go on to read other more exciting things, and then I ran out of books in my luggage except for one I didn't really want to read, so I went back to this one and then I finished it off and it wasn't so bad.

...I think it was just a matter of the wrong book at the wrong time. It deals with weighty, important matters, like how your past shouldn't define your future, and rape and coercion, and the fact that we are always forgiving of dashing young pirates, if they are male, but not confused young maidens who are no longer virgins.

This makes it a very hard, but impactful, book to read--and maybe even a little troublesome, especially if you're one to always defend the Church and its preachers. Well, it's obvious it isn't the Church, but it is, isn't it?

I received a copy of the book via NetGalley as part of the Hugo voting packet.

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Wednesday, 6 November 2019

#bookreview: Harvest & Resistance - Stories of Singularity | Susan Kaye Quinn

Quinn is back with more Stories of Singularity! While I'm waiting for that final novel to drop, here are the last two short stories she's sent out.

Harvest (Stories of Singularity #5)Harvest by Susan Kaye Quinn
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This one didn't capture me as much as the rest of Quinn's Singularity stories normally do.
It's probably because I struggle with reading from the perspective of a machine. It's still a nice, short story with a robot that has learnt to care about legacy humans... I mean, malfunctioned.

RĂ©sistance (Stories of Singularity #7)RĂ©sistance by Susan Kaye Quinn
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you've always wondered about Kamali's past, here's the short story (novelette?) that will answer your questions. In Resistance, Quinn delves into Kamali's bitterness and the reason why she keeps defying the ascender, and explores the dynamics at play around her recruitment into the Resistance.

It's a perfect short read that eases you back into the world of the Singularity.

I received complimentary copies from the author. Opinions expressed in these reviews are completely my own.

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Monday, 4 November 2019

#coverreveal: Dear Author: Letters from a Bookish Fangirl | Laura A. Grace


Dear Author: Letters from a Bookish Fangirl 
Genres: Self-Help, Motivational 
Publication date: December 3, 2019

About the Book
Think your words might not matter? Think again.

Words have the power to change lives, especially when they are used to create meaningful stories. In this collection of letters, bookish fangirl Laura A. Grace addresses topics related to every writer’s journey. From “character conversations,” to embracing one’s unique writing style, to celebrating a release day—there is a letter for every author no matter where they may be in sharing their story with others.

“Dear Author” includes six illustrations by Hannah S.J. Williams.

Signed PaperbackAmazonBarnes & Noble — Book Depository (Coming soon!) Pre-Order Goodies Form




About the Author

Laura A. Grace had a lifelong dream of getting to know authors behind the covers of her favorite reads. Little did she know that one day she would become an author too! Now an avid book blogger at Unicorn Quester and writer of clean, Christian manga, Laura creatively balances her passions of supporting indie authors and feeding her readers new stories. In between, she wields plastic lightsabers with her children and binge-watches anime with her husband. Join her quest to find wandering unicorns for your favorite authors at unicornquester.com!

Wednesday, 30 October 2019

#bookreview: Deeplight | Frances Hardinge

DeeplightDeeplight by Frances Hardinge
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I WOULD HAVE READ IT FASTER IF I WAS NOT TRAVELLING.

...which is a strange way to start a review, but it's truth. Deeplight is one of those books that demands you devour it in one, or at the most two, sitting and I feel that I have done it a disservice by reading it so slowly. lol.

In premise, at least, Deeplight pings a little bit of Pratchett's Nation--the gods are dead, what do humans do now? Well, the humans in Hardinge's island chain of Myriad are making profits out of it by diving into the seas and collecting godware for sale. What Hark does best is tell stories, a skill that often helps get him out of trouble--and scam continental tourists for easy money. When a job goes wrong, Hark's life changes in many ways, and not always for the better.

Deeplight feels in many ways like an exploration of the various friendships that a troubled young person may have in their life and how it impacts them. There's Quest, the ex-priest, who trades stories for stories in a bid to understand Hark and offer advice. There's Kly, the Sanctuary supervisor, who has a soft spot for Hark and offers him leeway and understanding even when he messes up. There's also Dr Vyne, the one who bought his indenture, who offers him a second chance and a brand of tough love that keeps Hark on the safe and narrow--for now.

And then there's Jelt. The childhood friend and protector who has saved him many times--from the exact same trouble he caused. Hark's friendship with Jelt is a clear case of abuse and gaslighting. It sat uncomfortably with me in the beginning, seeing the way Hark question his own decisions and push aside his worries just because he feels like he owes Jelt something, that Jelt--being bigger, stronger, better--may be right about his cowardice and disloyalty. I wanted him to break away from Jelt, to stay clear of that obviously toxic relationship, but in a novel, things have to happen so again and again, Hark gets sucked into Jelt's downward spiral, drowning in deeper and deeper waters even as he tries to stay clear of the heavy hand of the law.

But Hark has resilience and Hark also has good, wise friends in Quest and Kly and Selphin who together try to save the world from ending.

Note: I received a complimentary copy of this book from Pan Macmillan via Netgalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

A Kind of Death: Tales of Love, Loss, and Transformation releases today!

People, people!

A Kind of Death: Tales of Love, Loss and Transformation releases today! 


Which means you can finally read my new short story, Takpe. If you've already preordered a kindle copy, it should be dropping into your kindle soon. If not... what are you waiting for? Go get your copy now!



A princess who makes dangerous bargains with the afterlife. A man desperate to save his wife, no matter the cost. An uber driver for the undead.
Death, whether real or metaphorical, comes for us all. Yet it is not always the end. And in the depths of grieving can be the promise of hope and redemption.

The tales and poems in this anthology explore the depths of love, loss, and transformation. Whether in a reimagined folktale or a modern urban fantasy, A Kind of Death features a fine balance of tragedy and comedy, but always with a hint of wonder and hope.

As this anthology concerns matters of loss (all handled tastefully and without graphic depiction), certain stories might prove challenging for sensitive readers. Recommend reading with a hot beverage and/or a packet of tissues.


Uncommon Universes Press is a traditional publishing company featuring fresh science fiction and fantasy stories with wonder, adventure, and sacrifice. Check out the links below to learn more!


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