It’s Not Monday! But Still… Eve: The Awakening, Eats, Shoots & Leaves

I know, I know. I’m a terrible human being because I’m late again. Can I play the “But I’m an artist.” card? No? Worth a try.

Actually, this time my tardiness this time is by design. You see, I was closing in on finishing the book and I really wanted to be able to give a full review instead of a partial one. Anyway here goes.

Eve: The Awakening by Jenna Moreci

415Vh64vDoL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_After much frustration at being constantly interrupted while I was trying to finish this book, I finally managed to get to the end. Overall, I loved it. The action scenes were very well written if you can get past a couple of realism issues I’ll get to in a minute. I thought that the main characters were very well written. Even the human antagonists, while being very stereotypical “mean girls” were believable to me as I’ve known plenty of girls (and guys) just like them. I particularly liked Percy. as he was great for breaking the tension with his humor. Maybe it’s because I spent my share of time as an outcast in my youth before I learned to embrace it, I really identified with Eve’s character.

Now for the bad.

First of all, and this is one thing that might bother me more than most. The book does an awful lot of “head hopping”. That is, changing point of view from one character to another without any sort of indication or warning. Sometimes, this POV change was fairly obvious, while other times, it took me several paragraphs to realize we were no longer in Eve’s head. I realize that sometimes this sort of thing is necessary, but it really makes things confusing and should at least have some indication that it’s happened.

As I said, the action scenes were great barring a few realism issues. But first, a spoiler warning. While I don’t feel like the spoilers I’m about to give are that huge, you still might want to look away if you’re sensitive to such things.

So here goes. First, there are the diamond bullets. While an interesting idea, the bullets, as I understand them in the book, are ones they’ve specially made out of unbreakable synthetic diamonds. As I read it, it sounded like the bullets were made of solid diamond. Apologies to the author if I misunderstood. Solid diamond bullets simply would not work in a firearm. The bullet needs a jacket of lead, copper, or some other soft metal to engage the rifling of the barrel which gives it the necessary spin to make it accurate. At best, a solid diamond bullet would tear up you barrel and tumble in every direction other than the one you want it to. At worst, it would jam in the barrel and your gun would explode on the next trigger pull.

Also, the book suffers from the old Hollywood unlimited ammo trope. When in the heat of battle, the characters seem to have a near inexhaustible supply of ammo even though it’s specifically mentioned when the bullets are revealed that there is a very finite supply of them. There is no real mention of them carrying extra ammo, but they always seem to have enough bullets, no matter how many enemies they face. It’s only toward the very end that there’s even a mention of a magazine change. Also, ammo is heavy. Even if the book had mentioned carrying extra, they would have needed a lot of extra ammo. More than they could realistically carry.

Finally, this is the one that had me screaming in my head at the book. In just about every fight scene with the interlopers, either the main character or her boyfriend find themselves somehow pinned to the floor or otherwise incapacitated with their weapon or some other important object just out of reach. Now I understand. This sort of thing raises tension, the problem is, both Eve and her boyfriend Jason are chimeras. This means they have the power of telekinesis. Neither of them thinks anything of using this power to pick up their enemies and slam them against the wall repeatedly, but not once does either of them use this gift to draw their weapon or object to their hand. I would call this the book’s most glaring problem, especially since that particular trope is used repeatedly.

Still, if you can get past those problems, I would highly recommend this book. I found it very entertaining, and I have nothing but respect for Jenna Moreci, the author. I watch her YouTube videos on writing religiously.

Eats, Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss

41ra3JnfuJL._SX345_BO1,204,203,200_Not to toot my own horn, but I’m pretty damned good when it comes to spelling and general grammar. That being said, punctuation is my weakness. Obviously I know the basics, but even my comma placement is done more by feel than actual knowledge. I have a vague idea of what a semicolon is for, but beyond that, I’m lost. I have several editions of Strunk & White and other style guides, but quite frankly, they’re typically so dry that my mind wanders and I couldn’t tell you what I just read. Blame it on undiagnosed ADD. I’m hoping the humor in this book can help with that.

One caveat I’ve heard from other writers. The author is British, so there are a few things that may not be appropriate in America. Still, I’m just looking for a basic overview to point me in the right direction.

Anyway, that’s it for today. I should see you tomorrow with an on-time What’s Up Wednesday. I’ll see you then.

As always, don’t forget to stalk me online.

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What’s Up Wednesday: Where I Was Last Week.

So, some of you may have noticed, I didn’t post a blog last Wednesday or Friday. What’s that? You didn’t notice? That’s okay. I guess. Feel guilty yet?

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Anyway. I was at the eighth annual Day of Excellence here in Rapid City. The day of excellence is an event where sponsors bring in four motivational speakers. I can tell you, I was in some serious need of motivation. Unfortunately, it being an all day event, I had to seriously screw up my sleeping schedule. I took the day before off so I wouldn’t be a zombie through the whole thing. Long story short, it just messed up my schedule so I wasn’t able to get much writing done, much less blogging. Still, it was a great event and I look forward to it every year. I like that they do it in the spring. It really helps with that fresh start feeling.

First up was Mack Dryden. Mack is a two time cancer survivor, a blackbelt in karate, and quite possibly the most flexible man of his age I’ve ever seen. He gave a great speech on achieving your goals and kept us all laughing the whole time, even if many of his jokes were straight from the internet. Still, his speech inspired me, as did his flexibility from re-earning his blackbelt at an age where most men have trouble tying their own shoes.

Next up was Matt Guthmiller. I hate to say this, but it seems that every year there’s one dud in the group. Nothing against the kid, He has an amazing story to tell, he just needs to learn how to tell it. At the age of nineteen, he became the youngest person to fly solo around the world. You’d think this would be an exciting story, but it kind of had the feel of a high-schooler giving a “What I did on my summer vacation report.” I don’t know if he’s just getting tired of telling the story or what, but it was mostly just a litany of where he went, how long it took to refuel, and getting back in the cockpit and how boring the flying part actually was. It was pretty much monotone the whole way through and I found myself nodding off. After talking to several other people, I found out I wasn’t the only one. Matt is a very smart kid. He’s currently attending MIT. I just hope he learns to tell his story with excitement and passion. It’s hard for us to be excited about what you’ve done when you’re not. I will say, even as the dud, he was better than last year’s dud who spent his entire hour trying to sell everyone on his paid seminar which cost several hundred dollars.

After the lunch break, Juli Burney took the stage. Juli was hilarious. I found myself grateful that I’d decided to skip lunch in favor of a more substantial meal afterwards. I’m afraid I wouldn’t have been able to handle the amount of laughter on a full stomach. Juli is a very positive person and her message of basically not worrying about the little things and trying to turn a crabby person around with humor was very inspiring. She told several stories where she could have taken offense at something, but instead chose to see the humor in the situation. By the end of her hour I felt truly inspired and more than a little guilty for how I handle things sometimes.

Finally came the headliner, Judson Laipply. What can I say? This is the star of one of the first viral videos. The evolution of dance. We even got a live rendition which was amazing. While that was cool, it was his speech that was truly inspiring. He spoke on evolving yourself. His message is that everything changes. You have to change with it. He also spent a good deal of time on evolving in the right ways. For instance, not letting things that don’t matter ruin your day. I have a big problem with this. As you may know, I currently work the night shift at the desk of a motel. This gives me all the writing time I need if I could just learn to use it more wisely. Unfortunately, it only takes one bad guest to completely throw me off for the night. If one person starts yelling at me, I spend the rest of the night brooding on the situation and get nothing done when the truth of the matter is, I’m probably never going to see this person again. So why do I let it ruin my night? I plan on keeping his advice in mind next time.

As I said, as motivating as the day was, it really threw off my sleep schedule for the whole week. Even worse, as a swap for the day I took off, I had to start this week a day early so I’ve been off by a day all week. In addition, I haven’t been feeling my best health wise. I think I’ve been fighting something for a while now. Or it could just be allergies. Let’s hope for that. Disrupting my sleep schedule didn’t help, but it was still completely worth it.

The good news is, the sequel to Blood Moon is well underway and should be out quite soon. I’m looking at hiring a professional cover designer to redo the cover for Blood Moon and to do one for Daughters of the Flame. Blood moon especially needs a new one since I’ve come up with a name for the overall series.

Anyway, that’s it for today. I’ll see you on Friday with a new piece of flash fiction.

As always, don’t forget to stalk me online.

www.justinmkelly.com

Check me out on Facebook

On Twitter @JustinMKelly1

My Amazon page, in case you want to read more

And on Goodreads

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I also post a copy of this blog on Tumblr

 

It’s Monday! Eve: The Awakening

Okay guys, this is going to be a really short one. The reason is, Gasp, I’ve only been reading one book this past week. The truth is, it just hasn’t been a good reading week. Things have been crazy. I haven’t been feeling great and all I really want to do is sleep. I missed posting two blogs last week and didn’t shoot a video either. I wish I could say I’ve spent all the time I haven’t been doing those things writing, but that would be a lie. I’ll talk more about the week on Wednesday’s blog. Let’s get on with it, shall we?

Eve: The Awakening by Jenna Moreci

415Vh64vDoL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_First of all, make no mistake. The reason I haven’t done much reading this week has nothing to do with my enjoyment of it. So far I’m loving this book. I get frustrated every time I’m forced to put it down because I want to know what’s next. Unfortunately, as an adult, I can’t always just hide under the covers with a flashlight and read.

Without giving too much away, Eve, the heroine, is a humanovus. A new form of human. Human 2.0 if you will. They are better than normal humans in every way. Needless to say, they are hated and feared by normal humans who have dubbed them Chimeras. To make matters worse, the arrival of the chimeras has brought on another arrival. That of a  demonlike alien species known as the interlopers. The interlopers seem to have no interest in normal humans. They are after the chimeras.

Eve, having accidentally outed herself as a chimera when she was only eight years old, can’t try to blend in with humans like most chimeras do. She has longed to go away to college for the simple chance to be normal for once. Unfortunately, when she gets to her new school, things don’t go to plan. I won’t say any more. I already feel like I’ve given away too much.

As a side note, Jenna, the author, runs a great YouTube channel on writing. Her channel is, in part, what prompted me to start my own. Please check out both of our channels and subscribe.

Anyway, that’s it for now. As I said, I’ll fill you in on more details about why I’ve been MIA for the last week then.

As always, don’t forget to stalk me online.

www.justinmkelly.com

Check me out on Facebook

On Twitter @JustinMKelly1

My Amazon page, in case you want to read more

And on Goodreads

And YouTube

I also post a copy of this blog on Tumblr

It’s Monday! Enders, The Man In The High Castle, Eve: The Awakening, You Are A Writer

Enders, by Lissa Price

51J+favcB4L._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_I loved both of the books in this series. They were very creative and entertaining. I must admit, through both of them I had a fear that the masked villain would turn out to be a certain character. It would have not only ruined the entire series, but it would have been incredibly cliche. Thankfully, the author chose not to go that direction. I really liked the way she wrapped up everything neatly by the end of the book but still left it open for a sequel. When I met her, she hinted that there might be at least one more on the way and I’m really hoping it’s true.

 

 

The Man In The High Castle, by Philip K. Dick2016-12-19-1482180717-9274817-themaninthehighcastlepaperback

I know I said I wouldn’t talk about this one until I’d finished it. Well, I finally forced myself to sit down and do just that and I have to say, the ending was just as underwhelming as the rest of the book.

Spoilers Below.

If you don’t already know, The Man in the High Castle takes place in a world where the axis powers won world war two. It basically chronicles the lives of several people living in this world. It deals with a lot of the politics of a German/Japanese occupied America. In this world, there is a book written by a reclusive author that describes a world in which America had won the war (How meta). One of the characters is on a quest to find this author so she can ask him questions about it. When she finally reaches him, he reveals that GASP America actually did win the war, Unfortunately, it’s just left at that. No explanation of how Germany convinced everyone that they had actually won or whether it’s actually a parallel dimension or what.

End of spoilers.

Again, I hate to disparage such a legendary sci-fi writer, but this one just didn’t do it for me. At least I can say I’ve read it.

Eve: The Awakening by Jenna Moreci

415Vh64vDoL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_I’ve been wanting to read this one for a while. I follow Jenna on YouTube. She’s full of great advice on the writing craft and just living life as a writer. She’s one of the people who inspired me to start my own channel.

I’ve just started reading this one so I wish I could tell you more about it, bu I know this much. Eve lives in a futuristic California and is what’s known as a Chimera. Not like the greek myth, but a new stage in human evolution. From what I can see so far, she has the power of telekinesis. I can’t wait to get further into it. So far, it’s as amazing as its author,

 

 

 

You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One) by Jeff Goins41Qa4s+C1LL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_

What can I say? The title of this book speaks for itself. Full disclosure, I’ve read this one before, but I had to re-read it after a brief bout of self-doubt. Jeff’s book always makes me feel more confident in myself as a writer. I highly recommend it. Especially if you find yourself getting sidetracked with all the other little things that come with being a writer.

 

 

 

 

 

I’ll see you all again on Wednesday.

As always, don’t forget to stalk me online.

www.justinmkelly.com

Check me out on Facebook

On Twitter @JustinMKelly1

My Amazon page, in case you want to read more

And on Goodreads

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I also post a copy of this blog on Tumblr

Flash Fiction Friday Number 5: Jungleworld

It’s your favorite time of the week again. And not just because it’s almost the weekend. It’s also Flash Fiction Friday. Your weekly snippet of fiction from yours truly. I hope you’ve been looking forward to it all week. I know I have.

I like to call this one;

Jungleworld

He felt like the plants were watching him. They way they seemed to turn as he passed them gave him an uneasy feeling. The wind rustling their leaves sounded almost like some strange language he couldn’t possibly understand. Yet at the same time, it seemed they were whispering to him as much as to each other.

Up ahead, the path he was following through the thick jungle was coming to an end. Did he dare attempt to bushwhack through this strange foliage? Just when he thought he was going to have to make his own path whether he wanted to or not, the wind shifted and the path opened before him. To his exhausted brain, it looked almost as if the plants moved aside to let him through.

He had been flying past the planet scanning for signs of life. While there was plenty of plant life, he could find nothing with a heartbeat. He’d just marked the planet as possibly viable for colonization when he noticed an anomaly. While the planet was almost completely covered with vegetation, he’d spotted a barren patch roughly two square miles wide. Normally, this wouldn’t have bothered him, but from his vantage point, it appeared to be littered with dozens, maybe even hundreds of wrecked spacecraft. He’d just begun to make a note of it in his book when something struck his ship.

When he woke up, his ship was just another wreck in the graveyard. He was grateful that the abundance of plant life produced breathable air because the visor on his helmet was shattered. Luckily, other than for a few small scratches on his face from the broken plexiglass, he seemed to be uninjured.

He knew the smart thing to do would be to stay with his ship, but he felt an overwhelming compulsion to explore the jungle. Besides, all the strange wrecked vessels creeped him out. At least he hadn’t seen any remains of their pilots. Maybe rescue wasn’t out of the question.

It seemed he’d been walking for days. All he wanted to do was find a soft spot to stop and take a nap. Still, something told him he had to keep moving. That was the important thing. Just put one foot in front of the other and hope the plants would keep letting him pass. A vine reached out to him and wrapped around his wrist. He barely noticed as he kept moving through the thick foliage. The path before him shifted this way and that, as if the plants themselves were guiding him somewhere.

He found himself in a large clearing with a massive purple flower standing in the very center. The flower’s petals looked like purple velvet blankets surrounding a pillow of gold. He couldn’t see a path exiting the clearing. He turned around to go back the way he’d come, but that path had closed to him as well. The vines whipped back and forth almost menacingly. The air was suddenly thick with the sweet scent of the flower.

He felt a calm wash over him as he breathed in the perfume and felt silly for seeing the vines as menacing just a moment before.

I’m clearly exhausted, he thought to himself. I just need a little nap.

Without another thought, he climbed onto the humongous purple flower. The center of the flower was every bit as soft as it had looked. He laughed as puffs of pollen jetted into the air with his every movement. As he drifted off, he realized he could understand the whispering of the plants after all. It was just that there were so many voices, he could only understand them now that they were all saying the same thing.

“Join us.” The voices chanted in unison.

Soon he was slumbering deeply. He never even felt the petals enfold him as they began to digest his body.

.     .     .

Well. That turned out darker than I’d intended. I don’t know why so much of what I post here has such a dark ending. I honestly don’t plan these things. I just sit down and start writing whatever comes into my head. Maybe I need therapy.

Anyway, that’s it for this week.

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Your questions and comments are always welcome. If there’s a topic you’d like to see me address in my blog or my vlog, send me a message at any of these sites.

www.justinmkelly.com

Check me out on Facebook

On Twitter @JustinMKelly1

My Amazon page, in case you want to read more

And on Goodreads

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I also post a copy of this blog on Tumblr

Don’t forget, I post Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Monday’s are a rundown of what I’m reading. Wednesday’s are my general writing blog, and of course, there’s Flash Fiction Friday.

Desperate People

I recently came across a quote by Charles Bukowski.

“Writers are desperate people and when they stop being desperate they stop being writers”.

It got me thinking, perhaps I’ve grown too comfortable. Maybe that’s why I get stuck so often. Have I grown so comfortable in my life that I no longer have anything important to say? Is that why even when the words are flowing reasonably well I sometimes feel like I’m just going through the motions?

Or perhaps I am still desperate after all. Perhaps the very fact that I’m so neurotic about the quality of my writing proves how desperate I am. Desperate for approval, desperate to leave something that will live on long after I’m gone. Most importantly, desperate to write something people want to read. I am realizing that these aren’t the ways a writer should be desperate.

I know that if I try to make my writing perfect I will never write a word. It’s the reason I get so frustrated and give up. The words sound so perfect in my head but when I try to put them on paper they all come out wrong. The beautiful thought I had is garbled and unrecognizable.

Maybe it’s time I started taking steps to make myself a little less comfortable. Comfort equals safety. Maybe it’s time to stop being so damned safe about everything I do. It’s time to take a risk or two. Even if I start small it will still give me that taste of fear I’m so desperately craving. Maybe it’s time to be daring and stop caring so damned much about what other people think.

The time has come to start pushing my babies out of the nest to see if they fly.

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