Tag Archives: fiction

We have our winners of Shadows in the Stone!

We have our winners of Shadows in the Stone!

01dlmcgyver-shadows-in-the-stone-small

Tonight my husband drew two names out of the basket.  Betty and Darlene will each be receiving an email from Diane with the coupon for them to obtain their copy of Shadows in the Stone.

Congratulations, ladies!  :)

 

 

Please watch for more book reviews, interviews, and the occasional book giveaway.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

 

 

About these ads

Book Giveaway tonight! Did you enter the draw?

01dlmcgyver-shadows-in-the-stone-smallDid you enter the draw for your chance to win a copy of Shadows in the Stone by Diane Lynn McGyver? You have until 6:00 PM EST tonight, February 4!

Read my review here.

Read my interview with author Diane Lynn McGyver here. Be sure to enter the draw while there.

 

Thanks for reading, and .. Creative Musings! :)

 

Book Review: Shadows in the Stone: Book 1, The Castle Keepers – by Diane Lynn McGyver

01dlmcgyver-shadows-in-the-stone-smallBook: Shadows in the Stone: Book 1, The Castle Keepers
Author: Diane Lynn McGyver
Publisher: Quarter Castle Publishing
Date: September 2012
Genre: fantasy
Pages: 368
Price: on Amazon – paper, $15.91 CDN; for Kindle $5.31
My rating: A memorable fantasy world with characters that will stay on your mind.
 

I had the privilege of reading this book, Shadows in the Stone, before its release. It had to brew in my brain awhile, as some stories do, so it has taken me a long time to write my review, for which I apologize to the author – but here it is! 

Fantasy is one of my favourite genres to read. This story took me to a different place and even yet some things have stayed with me. Diane Lynn McGyver created a whole new world, with characters the reader quickly cares about, and suspense, drama and mystery to keep the pages turning.

Having said that, I would not recommend Shadows in the Stone to young readers as some battle scenes may be disturbing, and there are very descriptive scenes of relationship intensity and some violent scenes.

The main character, Corporal Bronwyn Darrow, made up his mind to never love again after being deeply hurt by a woman he trusted. That is, until he meets the enchantress Alaura of Niamh. Bronwyn tries to keep his focus on his duty as he wants to move up in the ranks of the castle guard but he is very distracted by this troubled mysterious woman. She needs his help, though, and he cannot resist the challenge, being an honourable man. 

What nagged at me the most may not even be an issue for another reader. Bronwyn constantly runs through his emotions and thoughts regarding Alaura,  for whom he soon cares deeply. There were places I felt should be left to the reader to ‘get’ the first or second time and know from there without the constant repetition. Even so, the author built characters of dimension and heart.

There are warriors, royalty, peasants, villains, secrets, betrayal, danger, heroism, love, passion, suspense, exciting moments that are magical, and more, all leading to a satisfaction for the reader in the way events unfold. The author describes scenes and situations very well, weaving pictures in the reader’s mind. Where the author ended this story leaves the reader waiting for more. There are several unanswered questions relating to Alaura, the castle, the child Alaura cares for, and more mysteries. Fortunately, this is the first in a series, so we have more books to watch for in which we can anticipate those answers.

All in all, this is a good read fantasy lovers will find captivating and fascinating.

Come back for my interview with Diane Lynn McGyver, the Canadian author of Shadows in the Stone, here on January 30’14. She has two copies of her book to give away to visitors who leave a comment after the interview! Don’t miss out!

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

 
 

Book Review: Dracula – by Bram Stoker

Dracula, a mystery by Bram Stoker (1897)
 
Book: Dracula, a mystery story
Author: Bram Stoker
Original Publisher: Archibald Constable and Company (UK)
Original Date: May 26, 1897
Genre: horror, gothic, mystery
Pages: 408
Price: Kindle currently $0.00 on Amazon; paper $10.51 (sale)
My Rating: WOW! Read this book! Captivating, exciting, spooky.
 

For some time I had considered reading Dracula, but not being interested in the modern vampire and zombie movies and television programs I avoided it until a year ago.  I decided to read some of the classics and chose this one because I had seen the Dracula movie long ago and wanted to be able to say I had read the book. I found it on YouTube and began by listening to it, but then found it for free on Kindle so finished it that way – which was better for me.

This story so captivated me I had to keep reading. Bram Stoker’s writing style and beautiful use of language is thrilling to read, and the characters he created made for such a good story. The only problem was that I had to put the book down when it got late into the evening. It freaked me out a little! Not that I believe Dracula to be real but Stoker’s brilliant writing and settings really spooked me! I couldn’t read it after dark. Now that is good writing. I am so glad I read this book.

The story is written like a diary but with each person writing from their own perspective. If that sounds boring or as if it would be hard to follow, it isn’t at all. It makes it very interesting. The reader wants to keep reading to know what is going on since last hearing from each character, where is Dracula in his plotting, who else is going to meet with trouble at his design, how are they going to defeat him.

Points of interest:

  • Other titles Stoker had for this book were The Dead Un-Dead, and The Un-dead, before deciding on Dracula
  • His main character was called Count Wampyr until Stoker came across the name Dracula while researching for the book
  • Dracula is an old story, but not quite the original vampire story since Stoker borrowed some details from a couple of previous authors, but he built on that and made it better.

Vampire stories told now could not be what they are without Bram Stoker’s Dracula. If you think you know about vampires from what is currently written, do yourself a favour and read Dracula for the ‘real’ story, even though it’s fiction. :)  I don’t believe you will be disappointed.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

Ideas that sometimes work

Not much to tell today.

I have not been feeling well this week (since Sunday), but today I’m better than I have been. It’s my week at Dad’s and I’ve been keeping my distance as much as possible, very grateful for the help we have coming in here.

*sigh*  Even though all the above is true, I can’t use that as an excuse for not writing. It’s a shame, too, because I can really build on that! I actually have quite an active imagination. Well, I have been writing, just not anything worth mentioning on my novel – only a few words. I did add a third idea for yesterday and one today for PiBoIdMo. That gives me 29 ideas by day 20. Yay! A few of them might even be good enough to work into manuscripts. There’s one I particularly like about gum. (Remember, this is for picture books. :) )

I have all kinds of ideas, really. My mind seems to be working all the time, it’s just that I don’t always pay attention to what is going on in there. You know … I see but I don’t observe, I hear but I don’t listen, I go about my day filtering out way too much. I have to focus on taking in more little things that can add up to big things, little things that usually go unnoticed, such as the sound and appearance of water dripping, how snow flurries swirl around in the wind, what the little birds are pecking at or where the squirrel is hiding the peanuts. Things that we see but don’t pay much attention to can work into stories that fascinate a child. By the middle of PiBoIdMo (Note #35 on my blog list) I am thinking more that way again.  (Thanks, Tara!)

piboidmo2013-lightbulb-happy-200x254

Have you noticed something that you had not paid attention to before, something that grew into a big idea for a story of some kind?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!

Are you stuck somewhere in your NaNo Novel? Need some help?

It is no secret I’ve been stuck in my Nano novel for most of this month … stuck in that I have not written to bring my story to a satisfactory end. I stopped last November at a place where the reader should be eager to turn the page to see what comes next. My sister was when she read my very rough unedited first draft after the last NaNoWriMo ended. In fact, she told me she was perplexed and wondering where is the rest of it! She thought I had skipped a page in my binder — I write longhand — but no, it just wasn’t there. I had purposely stopped there, unsure how the story would proceed, anyway, but I had run out of November and had to lay down my pen to finalize my word count.  I left off where a mystery box had been discovered. “Laurice took the key, put it into the keyhole, and turned. It clicked.”  You see why she was perplexed? There was such a tension build-up to this point, and then … nothing more to read. Mean me. ;)

piboidmo2013-lightbulb-unsure-200x254

Now, here I am with less than two weeks to go in NaNo 2013 and I still don’t know how to end this story, or how to move from the cliffhanger and on toward the solved mystery and sensible end. I’m sure it is there waiting to be found, I just have to LISTEN and write what I hear and see.

I tend to be a very visual person; I often see words as they are spoken, and when I write I see what I hear in my mind – not only in words but in scenes. Sometimes I see it and then have to listen for the words to go with it. Is that bizarre?

I thought maybe someone else might be in the same predicament – stuck in their NaNo novel (or any writing they’re trying to work through) – so on the odd chance one of my readers fits that category I am posting here something that might help you. I’m even testing it out right now.

Are you a writer who likes background noise or do you prefer absolute quiet? Do you like the murmur of voices or it is music that helps you write? I have, during the past NaNos, usually preferred QUIET but sometimes low instrumental music or some other nice calming music. Nature sounds come to mind. Somewhere, was it on the NaNoWriMo website? I can’t recall, I found Coffitivity – a free link for people who would like to do their writing in coffee shops or cafes but can have the same background ‘noise’ without going there. What you get is the sound of people talking and laughing but you don’t ever catch what they’re saying, so there is no distraction of conversation. It’s a constant hum and rise and fall of voices along with the occasional clink of a cup or spoon or the clatter of dishes being cleared. Interesting, but it has been proven to actually help people in their creative thought. It seems there is a level of such sound that doesn’t hinder but helps people think better. Of course it doesn’t work that way for everyone, but if you are stuck give it a try!

This morning two of my girls were chatting about their cats, comparing notes and cutesy things they do, which gave me Idea #25 for PiBoIdMo! Yeah! Just now something happened here at Dad’s regarding a chiming clock and my daughter taking a picture of it, and her tale of woe regarding a mouse … ideas #26 and #27! Gosh! I’m on a roll~ Maybe this link works! or my daughters inspire me.   Yeah, that. :)

And now my post for NaBloPoMo is done. On to NaNoWriMo with the hope I can break through the block and help my characters find the resolution to their dilemmas. And mine!

piboidmo2013-lightbulb-laugh-200x254

If you try Coffitivity, please let me know does it work for you? What tricks do you use to help you write?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)

I’m participating in NaNoWriMo and PiBoIdMo 2013!

November is again a busy writing month for me. I signed up for National Novel Writing Month for my fourth year, and Picture Book Idea Month for my third year – having passed on it in 2012. I am going to make an honest attempt to do both again even though my life situation (caregiving) has not changed.

3886950-fountain-pen-writing-paper-with-black-inkAfter midnight last night a thought came into my mind, then an idea was taking shape, then the thought became the title, and before I went to bed I had a rough ‘rough draft’ of a story for a picture book. Day one accomplished for PiBoIdMo!

Not so for NaNoWriMo, I regret to say, as I have not written a word there yet. I am still writing the novel I began in NaNo 2010, since I’ve worked on it only during the last three Novembers. My word count is a combined total of 123,900 – give or take a few words. When I stopped near midnight of November 30’12 it was at a place one would call a “cliffhanger”, and was a bit exasperating to my sister who read it all after NaNo had ended last year. ;)  She was not happy with where I stopped and told me emphatically I had to finish the story! Even I am not sure what is going to happen next, but my characters will gradually let me know when I get into it again … which should have been today, but that’s not happening!

If you are asking, ” What is she talking about?!” I will briefly explain.

NaNoWriMo – or National Novel Writing Month – is the worldwide challenge to write a novel (really a novella) of 50,000 words in 30 days. You have to start with a fresh idea to ‘win’, but there are many who are NaNo Rebels, which is perfectly fine, too. I won (reached the goal of 50k) the first year but the next two years I participated as a Rebel in order to add to the novel I had begun and want to finish. This year I am doing the same.

If you are interested in checking out NaNoWriMo, click here. If you are taking part in it this year, let me know if you want a buddy.

PiBoIdMo – or Picture Book Idea Month – is the brainchild of Tara Lazar which she started in 2009. It is quickly becoming the widely known challenge to write a picture book idea a day during the 30 days of November. It’s for those writers who don’t want to take on creating a novel but would enjoy participating in a book writing challenge. Some of us do both. :) Each day you write something … anything … a title, the name of a character, an idea for a story, or even a whole draft if it works out for you, so at the end you should have at least 30 ideas for picture books! Cool, huh? I think so! Oh, and there are super guest posts, lots of writing genius shared, and even prizes! I love that I end up with so many ideas for PB’s, even if I ‘win’ nothing. It is sort of like a conference but with so much added.

If you are interested in signing up for – or checking out – PiBoIdMo, click here. Registration closes SOON, so hurry!

Now I must create a new page for my NaNo updates so if you want to keep track of what I am managing to do you can read it there. Click on the NaNoWriMo updates (2013) link at the top of the page. Besides, if you want to cheer me on, Heaven knows I need it! :) It may be crazy for me to be taking this on since I am behind in reading, reviewing, interviewing, but sometimes I need a change of pace to get refreshed and inspired anew. At least, I hope that’s what will happen! :)

Are you participating in either of the above challenges?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  :)