My unproductive weekend

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I had high hoped for this past weekend I was going to hunker down and knock out each of my items on my to do list. But then it happened. The flu hit me! And what was going to be a very productive weekend turned into a bust. I accomplished absolutely nothing.

Unfortunately I am still feeling under the weather, so finishing everything on my to do list before this Sunday is going to be really tough. I am just going to do the best I can. I am still on target to start my first read through on February 1, though. I just might not have everything figured out first.

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Book Review – Bittersweet: A Novel

18339743Copyright Year: 2014
Genre(s): Mystery, Contemporary
ISBN: 0804138567
Series: None
Rating: 1.5 out of 5 stars
Amazon
Summary via Goodreads: Suspenseful and cinematic, Bittersweet exposes the gothic underbelly of an idyllic world of privilege and an outsider’s hunger to belong. On scholarship at a prestigious East Coast college, ordinary Mabel Dagmar is surprised to befriend her roommate, the beautiful, wild, blue-blooded Genevra Winslow. Ev invites Mabel to spend the summer at Bittersweet, her cottage on the Vermont estate where her family has been holding court for more than a century; it’s the kind of place where children twirl sparklers across the lawn during cocktail hour. Mabel falls in love with midnight skinny-dipping, the wet dog smell that lingers near the yachts, and the moneyed laughter that carries across the still lake while fireworks burst overhead. Before she knows it, she has everything she’s ever wanted: friendship, a boyfriend, access to wealth, and, most of all, for the first time in her life, the sense that she belongs. But as Mabel becomes an insider, a terrible discovery leads to shocking violence and reveals what the Winslows may have done to keep their power intact – and what they might do to anyone who threatens them. Mabel must choose: either expose the ugliness surrounding her and face expulsion from paradise, or keep the family’s dark secrets and make Ev’s world her own.

. . . . . . . . . .
My Review: I really wanted to like this book. I really did. The premise is right up my alley: a mystery set at a wealthy family estate. I’m not sure why, but I was thinking it would be like the movie, April Fools Day meets Nancy Drew. Unfortunately, it was more like a bad version of a V.C. Andrews book.

There are characters you love to hate, but these characters I just hated. They were rude, spoiled, and plain awful. When you get to the middle of the book and can care less what happens to the characters you know something is wrong. The story dragged in parts, as well. I often found myself skipping quite a bit of pages at a time. I am also not a fan of dirty books. The foul language and gratuitous sex really turned me off.

Now for the positive: I LOVE the cover. The picture of the house on the lake was one of the main reasons why I picked up this book, the other being the book summary. It was also a very well written book. I especially enjoyed the descriptive scenes of the lake and cabin.

I’m going to have to give this book 1.5 stars (the extra half for the cover and premise). I guess I had completely different expectations for this book. Unfortunately, it wasn’t at all what I had hoped it would be. This book just was not my cup of tea.

Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this book as part of Blogging for Books. You can read my review on the Blogging for Books site, here.

1 star1/2

Weekly Goals – Weeks 2, 3 & 4

Proofreading its error

I am a few days behind on this week’s post. Last week was CRAZY! But since we only have two more weeks in January I am going to go ahead and make goals for the next 2 weeks. I’ll tick them off as they are completed and post updates on Fridays. I did finish two of my goals from last week: Start a new Scrivener template for first read through and Gather materials for story board. That is something.

I have switched gears and am working on prep work for the next two weeks instead of rewriting. I have ordered a really interesting book, The 90-Day Rewrite by Alan Watt, that I hope will get me all edited and ready for Beta Readers by the beginning of May. I’ll be starting the first edit read through on February 1!

Weekly Goals for Weeks 2, 3 & 4:

Characters

  • Finalize all character profiles, including secondary & minor characters (approx. 25)
  • Research male MC’s occupation and background
  • Finalize female MC playlist
  • Decide on the fate of two characters

Settings

  • Write descriptions for all of the settings (5 or 6)
  • Research mental institutions
  • Map out murder scene

Miscellaneous

  • Organize a new Scrivener template with folders for characters, settings, chapters, and research
  • Finish reading Writing the Fiction Series

It might not look like a lot, but I really do have quite a bit to accomplish in the next two weeks. Yikes! I am putting everything else on the back burner, like organizing my Twitter followers until after the editing process is done. I really need to focus on getting this book ready to be read in May.

I have also been researching covers, cover art, and book designers. Stay tuned for a post about what I have found. And I am trying to narrow down my book release date. I should have the date chosen soon!

Whew! That is all for now.

Finding Inspiration

Woman sitting on bench

This morning, as I was driving to work, I came up with a brand new character and series. Completely out of the blue, or so I thought. It really came from the songs and artists on my ’80s playlist.

It always amazes me when I come up with a new idea. Where exactly did that story idea come from? Most of the time it comes from something I hear, see, or read. Take yesterday, for example. I came across a story about people being poisoned by crocodile bile. Did you read this totally bizarre story? The first thing I thought of was who could I kill in my series with crocodile bile. Yep! That is how my mind works.

I just recently started a folder with stories that I find on the web, in magazines, or newspapers. I used to keep them all as bookmarks on my computer, but sometimes the websites are removed and the stories disappear. So, I now print out anything that I could someday use in one of my stories, including yesterday’s story!

I also tend to find a lot of my inspiration from song lyrics or the artists themselves. The main character in the new series I came up with this morning is named after an ’80s singer. And even though she is a teen now, she is drawn to the ’80s. She feels like she is growing up in the wrong decade. It will be interesting to see where this book/series goes.

Where do you find your story ideas and inspiration for your novels?