Books, great reads, indie author, Reviews, scifi

The Unspoken Agreement

I have always felt there was an unspoken agreement between an author and us readers when we purchase a book and frankly lately I think the rules have been out the window. So I’m curious, is it just me that feels this way, having these expectations of my writers? Do I need to adjust to a new way of writing? Or are some books just not playing by the rules? Allow me to explain.

When I buy a book it’s like the author and I have made a contract. A simple one, I will give money to your seller and you will deliver a story. I don’t have to like it but it must follow the guidelines of all stories. Sound simple? Apparently not. This is how I view a story: A beginning, if it’s the first time we are meeting everyone with character and world building when appropriate. Then a middle, this is where your plot comes to life, the climax of the story as it is, whether it’s bad guys seemingly defeating good guys, or a big fight, big reveals, this is when we get the meat of the story. The all important end, the big finish, where you frankly actually finish the book. No cliffhangers (I will discuss this), no unrelated twists, just bring it home. Make it complete.

What I feel like has been a trend in some writing lately…

The Cliffhanger. Why do authors do this? Especially with book one? I have yet to meet a reader that loves this, so why do it? Is it because you just couldn’t think of an ending? Is it because you want me to be forced to buy your next book (doesn’t work with me, you cliff hang I abandon)? Or is it because you knew from the beginning that you would write three books so it doesn’t matter to you? Well that sucks. Let me tell you there are many extremely successful series out there that have 8,10,20 books and you know what, no cliffhangers! Every book is a complete story by itself. We feel satisfied when we read it, like an episode on tv.

The Plot. Ever read the back of a book, then read the book and the blurb has nothing to do with the story? I bought the book because this is what you told me the story is about. Can’t always blame the publisher, indies are also committing this crime, it’s kind of like false advertising. See this whale??? Sorry we are sending you home with a guppy. I might have been interested in your original story, I like guppies, but it’s just not going to sit right with me the whole time cause all I can think about is that whale. Blurbs should match the story and the plot should follow that. Having a plot is good too, some now don’t even have a plot.

The beginning. World and character building are paramount. In fact too often characters are left with no personality, shallow as it were, and books can fall very flat. But some authors swing too far the other way making whole books out of world and character building. That’s great if I already have book 2 and 3 but if this is all I have, then I don’t have a story, just a really long resume. And 200 pages of that gets boring. I know a lot of authors say they are setting up the next book, but I’m not buying, you got to sell this book to me, not the next one.

So the big question is, are my expectations to great?

Books, great reads, Reviews

Fugly by Mimi Jean Pamfiloff

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First off the blurb:

My name is Lily Snow. I am twenty-five years old, and despite being born with an unattractive face, I have never doubted who I am: smart, driven, and beautiful on the inside.

Until I met Maxwell Cole.

He’s handsome, excessively wealthy, and the owner of Cole Cosmetics. It’s been my dream to work for this man for as long as I can remember. The good news is he wants to hire me. The bad news is he wants me for all the wrong reasons. Ugly reasons. In exchange, he’s offered me my dreams on a silver platter. The job. The title. A beautiful future. But this man is as messed up and ugly as they come on the inside. I’m not sure anyone can help him, and he just might take my heart down with him.

My Review:

After reading this book, I feel like I couldn’t possibly do it justice. This is an amazing story, that will make you confront yourself when your done. During the book you are laughing and engaged. I didn’t want to put it down. Mimi Jean Pamfiloff is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. She has this way of keeping you wrapped in a story, and focusing on the character’s issues until the end. Then you stop and reflect on what you just read and what you are supposed to take from it. Then it hits you like a ton of bricks  No one is completely happy with themselves, but why? My flaws help make me who I am. My little quirks are part of me and I love them. I love being unique, as should everyone else. We aren’t meant to be the same. Whether you feel like your not beautiful on the outside, someone else does. I find that when someone is a great person, their beauty comes from what I see there. Some people are ugly because they are ugly on the inside.

Lily is by society’s standards ugly on the outside. She is however, driven, intelligent and witty. Max is gorgeous on the outside, but has issues and can be an ugly person on the inside. She wants to work for him, he wants something else. It becomes a roller coaster of witty banter, emotional highs and lows, sex, crazy awesome family members. Max is a huge douchebag, which we all know that means I love him. I love the dynamics of Lily’s family. It seems like something my brothers and I would do to each other. I love this story. I know I will be reading it again.

This book brings to the light how cruel people can be. While I believe no one deserves pity (I despise feeling pitied). Everyone deserves the chance to show people who they are before being judged. Here is a saying I like, “When dealing with people remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures bristling with prejudice and motivated by pride and envy” by Dale Carnegie, and another one I love is by Voltaire, he said “We are rarely proud when we are alone”. I believe when we are alone is when, what we view as our flaws scream the loudest in our heads.

Never the less, Mimi has captured me yet again. I am so very excited to see what she will do next. I am proud to be a part of the blog book tour for this book.

Get the book. Read it. Love it. I hope you enjoy the excerpt from the book, that Mimi was very gracious to share with us. Also, don’t forget to check out the interview with Mimi.

Interview with Mimi Jean Pamfiloff

Remy Pamfiloff

Where do you do most of your writing?

I mostly write in my office at home. It’s a separate studio with its own entrance, so it has everything I need (super comfy!) with a view of my palm tree. The only downside is that I have to vacate when we have guests. If I’m not writing there, I’m in my backyard since we have great weather in California most of the year.

What rituals help you get into “writing mode”?

Drinking coffee. Or wine if I’m writing sex scenes (LOL). But I don’t have any real rituals other than getting a very basic outline figured out (which I end up chucking away). Maybe the chucking part is my ritual. Hmmm…

Are you an early-bird or a night owl?

Early bird 98% of the time since my kids get me up early anyway. By the end of the day, I’m toast.

What career other than your own would you most like to try for a year, if anything was possible?

Nothing else. I had a corporate career for 15 years, and now I’m doing exactly what I love. Even if I won the lottery, I’d still do this!

Do you do lots of outlining when you write, do you wing it?

I do a little outlining, but then I let the creative process flow. It is SO much fun, and it’s so exciting to know we’ve got to go from point A to point B in a story, but not how the characters will get there. Surprises always pop up along the way that are much better than anything I could pre-plan. I’ve found that detailed outlining takes the fun out of writing—I need to feel some suspense along the way since every story is like watching a movie someone else has written. I’m just trying to capture everything I see. Sounds strange, but it’s true.

Who is your favorite character to write and why?

Any and all Alpha males. I just love, love, love trying to capture that inner male strength that can make any guy the sexiest thing alive and that turns us ladies into putty, yet also pisses us off!

What’s your weirdest writing habit?

I don’t think it’s weird, really, but when I’m in the middle of writing story, I don’t stop to add much detail or look things up. It breaks my flow. Instead, I insert a note to “ADD here” so I can go back at the very end and add whatever. Usually it’s clothing, setting related, or more detail about the scene. But I plow right through like a freight train until that dang plot is hammered out.

What’s the most common question fans ask you?

“When’s the XYZ book coming out?”

What book have you read that somehow changed your life and how?

The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle is a book I always come back to because it speaks to one truth: you can’t live in the past because it’s over, and you can’t live in the future, because it hasn’t happened yet. So all you’ve got is the present. Make it count.

For me, that book really changed my life because it helped me to let go of things I can’t change and to stop worrying about things that haven’t yet happened. It’s very freeing to just live in the moment. Of course, that doesn’t mean I don’t learn from my mistakes or plan for the future, but I focus on what I can do in this moment versus always being somewhere else that doesn’t exist.

TMI…I know!

Who is your favorite author?

Me!!! Just kidding…Umm…I don’t really have a favorite anymore, but my top two are Anne Rice and Charlaine Harris. I think both were instrumental in shaping who I am as a writer.

Do you have any books you re-read over and over?

Reading? What is reading? I don’t think I know that word. I eat, sleep, write, and raise two kids. Nope. No reading happening here.

What one piece of advice would you give to aspiring writers?

You CANNOT- and I really mean this- you CANNOT write for anyone but yourself. This doesn’t mean you can’t take advice or learn or improve. What it means is that it must be a self thing for you and you alone, an act of pure joy and fun for your entertainment. The moment you start writing for someone else, you’ll get lost and you’ll feel like crap because you can’t make everyone happy. Even if your book doesn’t sell, you’ll have created something you love.

What’s your favorite thing about being an author? Least favorite thing?

My favorite “thing” are my readers. I love their emails, messages, mail, Tweets, reviews, whatever. I just feel so damned grateful every time one of my stories lands in someone’s hands and it makes them happy for a few days or hours. What do I hate? The mean people. Yeah, you know who they are. They get sick joy and a sense of importance out of telling other people how much they suck. The honest truth is that those people add no value to this world, and I think they know it. I feel sorry for them.

Excerpt from the book:

“What the hell are you doing here?” I stopped with my hands on my waist and felt the beads of sweat running like a little river down my spine.

His eyes moved over my body, almost reaching the top before they made another sweep, lingering an extra moment on my breasts. He still hadn’t uttered a word.

“What did you expect? Scales on my legs and a uni-breast?” I couldn’t believe I’d said that, but pretending to be civil to this horrible man felt like a lie.

His eyes reluctantly settled on my face, his revulsion immediate. “Not the uni-breast.” He cracked a dimpled smile. Totally forced.

I hissed out an unappreciative breath and marched straight to my door, pushing past him. I dug my key from the little pocket of my waistband while he just stood there staring at the view down the front of my panties.

Asshole. I shot him a look and released the elastic waistband with a snap. As I turned the key in the lock, I decided I’d be slamming the door in his face before he had the chance to say a single word. My guess was he feared I’d tell his little secret or sue him or something.

Let the man stew.

But the moment I pushed open the door, he said something that made me think twice. “Invite me in.”

Okay, it wasn’t so much what he said, but the way he’d said it: a demand. It gave me the urge to do far worse than shut a door and leave him on the other side.

I turned and looked up at him, shooting my own breed of disgust his way. I hated the gorgeous bastard. I hated every perfect hair on his perfect head, and I wanted him to know it. “Why the fuck would I do that, asshole?”

“You have a dirty mouth.” A subtle smile, laced with a hint of sadistic delight, twitched across his lips. That time his smile was real.

“You bring out the ugly bitch in me. Why are you here?”

“I want to talk. Invite me in,” he demanded again with that deep authoritative voice.

I laughed at his attempt to boss me around. “If you’re worried I’m going to tell anyone the truth about you, don’t. I’d actually have to give a crap about you.” The only thing I cared about was getting on the road to starting my own company as quickly as possible so I could build a company where women like me were genuinely valued.

“Miss Snow, stop being such a hostile bitch and invite me in.”

My knee twitched with the urge to salute his balls.

“I’ve got a job proposal for you,” he added, “the opportunity of a lifetime.”

This sonofabitch wanted to offer me a job? After everything he’d said? Hell yeah, I’ll invite him in. Just to tell him to go fuck himself.

I stepped aside and replied with a noxious sweetness, “Why…won’t you come in, Mr. Cole?”

He dipped his head of thick dark-brown hair. “Why, thank you, Miss Snow.”

“Oh, please. Call me Lily. I insist.”

Books, great reads, Reviews, scifi

Pale Moon Walking by Paula Altenburg

I received a free copy of this book from netgalley and lately my reads from there have not been great, this was the gift in the group.

Summary: Basically you have aliens, the wild west, a guy that the government has been experimenting on (with alien blood) and a chick sheriff. Yeah and a little chemistry to keep things interesting.  I know it sound awesome right? It was!

I’d like to point out that first this book is well written. You start to appreciate that when you get a couple of books in a row that aren’t. Second the concept, see above, was actually fulfilled. Sam, one of the main characters, was interesting and likable, plus the whole alien blood making him manifest his new talents was pretty cool. Then you have Libby, she does the whole tough girl stay away from us thing well, but I still liked her as well. Even though the aliens were called Sky People (yikes!) I found the story building rich and was caught up before I knew it.

A romance with a scifi twist, well worth the read, enjoy!

Out of the Box Blogs

The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow

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This book is set hundreds of years in the future where AI’s dominate and human rulers give up they children as hostages to keep peace. I know it’s a short blurb but this book had so much potential, it was different and fascinating to me, so much so that I skipping it ahead in my TBR list so I could read it, only to be disappointed. Here is why.

You basically are following a girl Greta, one of the hostage children as she lives her obedient and annoying life. She’s just so boring! Surprise, I didn’t like her. Telling me she’s going to wake up and do something and her actually doing it, two different things. Sorry she just seemed so flat! By the time some action did occur I was going through the motions, no longer engaged in the story, Nothing about it really got interesting it just stayed bland for me. Even reviewing this book I feel kind of meh, like why bother.

Concept? Amazing. Executing? Terrible. I would not recommend this read.