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Friday, October 31, 2014

NaNoWriMo

By Kelly Bridgewater

 Tomorrow is the start of November. A couple of things happen in this eleventh month of the year. Thanksgiving. My birthday. Veteran's Day. Black Friday. NaNoWriMo.

NaNoWriMoWhat is NaNoWriMo you might be asking? If you don't know, then let me explain. NaNoWriMo stands for "National Novel Writing Month." The participants have to write 50,000 words in thirty days, which is really hard during the month of November because of preparing for the upcoming holidays. You know, baking for Thanksgiving and decorating for Christmas while shopping at unGodly hours on Black Friday or is it Black Thursday now? I'm not one of those shoppers who shop on Thanksgiving. I have the mind set that if the gift isn't there when I go shopping after 8am on Friday, then it isn't meant to me. I haven't been disappointed yet. Every year, I still find the specials that people have sacrificed their Thanksgiving for around nine in the morning on Friday.

Off my shopping rant and back to NaNoWriMo. This is my second year participating. Last year, I wrote a 80,000 word novel titled Missing in the 30 day time span. This year, I hope to finish my first book in my three part series titled Face of Admiration.

It is a lot of work trying to write a complete novel in thirty days. You have to shut off your internal editor and just type at the computer, allowing the words and the plot to flow. I actually enjoyed it last year. I felt more creative, even though I did start with an outline of how I thought the book would have went, but as I sat and wrote, I kept discovering new aspects to the plot that I needed to include before I jumped to the next chapter. It was thrilling. I can't wait to punch away the hours at the keyboard again.

Have you ever participated in NaNoWriMo? I would love to know any advice anyone has to give me. I know this will be fun and hectic all at the same time.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Katherine Reay: Lizzy and Jane



By K. L. Bridgewater

Newly published writer, Katherine Reay, finished her second novel, Lizzy and Jane. The story comes after her highly anticipated book, Dear Mr. Knightley, which is a remake of Daddy Long-Legs by Jean Webster. There are many similarities and differences between the two plots, but I’m going to stick to three of them to strengthen my review of Lizzy and Jane

1.)    Organization:
Dear Mr. Knightley was written in letter form like Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis or Pamela by Samuel Richardson. The story flowed from the writings of Sam, the protagonist as she used a scholarship from a mysterious supporter. The only stipulation was that she has to continue writing Mr. Knightley, so he could watch her progress at this graduate school of journalism.  On the other hand, Lizzy and Jane was told in a straight narrative. We watch the action as it occurs, not later. Lizzy left her restaurant to help her sister, Jane, who battles cancer. Lizzy tries to forgive her sister and make her comfortable by cooking food her sister might be able to eat.

2.)    Character Names:
In Dear Mr. Knightley, Sam quoted Jane Eyre and a multitude of Jane Austen when she was nervous or wanted to make a point about something. Jane Austen made an appearance throughout the book. However, in Lizzy and Jane, Lizzy was named after Elizabeth Bennett in Austen’s most popular book, Pride and Prejudice, while Jane is named after Jane in the same book. Lizzy tries to think of food that Jane Austen’s characters would have eaten, which she uses to help her sister eat.

3.)    Path in Life:
Both of the protagonist, Sam and Lizzy, have no direction in life. Sam believes she wants to be a journalist because she has been told she writes well, however, when attending her first graduate newspaper classes with Professor Johnson, she doubts her chosen profession. In comparison, Lizzy has the desire and mind of a great chef, but Paul, who gave her the money to buy the restaurant, hired another chef for color and to attract more customers. Both girls, by the end of their respective books, have found their paths for their life and the men to share in their journey.

Lizzy & Jane  -     By: Katherine Reay
I truly enjoyed Reay’s first book, Dear Mr. Knightley, but the second book, Lizzy and Jane was not as entertaining. The character of Lizzy seems to only think about cooking in order to move along with her sister. Yes, she does try to think of ways to help her sister eat, but she does not confront her sister until toward the end of the book. Being that close to your sister who hurt you, I believe she would have said something earlier, even if it was a snide remark in passing.

The plot moved very, very slowly. Lizzy took tons of trips to the grocery stores, and as a reader, we got tons of description of the food she bought. I understand she was a chef, but come on already, is that all we need to know about her. We learn nothing about Lizzy as a character, just a chef.

I personally did not like Lizzy and Jane as much as Dear Mr. Knightley. I couldn’t wait to turn the pages in Dear Mr. Knightley as I watched Sam struggle through her life, but Lizzy in Lizzy and Jane was not a sympathetic character. I was bored by her. She was too one-dimensional with no personality.

I received a free digital copy of this book from Thomas Nelson, and the opinions stated are all my own.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Patricia Bradley: A Promise to Protect



By K. L. Bridgewater

Mystery. Suspense. Those are the genre of books I devour, and I write. When Revell publishing offered me a chance to read and review A Promise to Protect by Patricia Bradley, I jumped at the chance to read another romantic suspense author that I was unfamiliar with. A Promise to Protect is the second book in the Logan Point series. The first book, Shadows of the Past, features the story of Taylor Martin, a psychology professor and criminal profiler, and Nick Sinclair, an author.  

The second book, A Promise to Protect, features Leigh Somerall and Acting Sheriff Ben Logan. The story begins with a gunshot to Tony Somerall’s head in a hotel room minutes before Ben Logan shows up, supposedly to meet Tony. From that moment on, Bradley keeps the reader on her toes with houses blowing up, cars blowing up, a house ransacked, among a number of high intensity moments written to keep you turning the pages.

What would a story be without a past? Leigh and Ben dated about ten years ago and went their separate ways with no explanation. Leigh and Ben fell into temptation and parted ways not long after. Much to Ben’s dismay, he didn’t know it was his father, Tom Logan, who told Leigh to keep her distance because he believed she wasn’t good enough for his son. So of course, there is a little bit of shakiness around the two as they try to figure out who wants Leigh and her nine-year-old son, TJ, dead.

A Promise to Protect, Logan Point Series #2   -     By: Patricia Bradley
The story is filled with twists and turn at every corner. Bradley creates a compelling story that grips you from the first chapter and holds you breathless to the end. Acting sheriff Ben Logan was a type of hero that you would want to investigate any crime that affected your life. He’s smart, handsome, and quick on his feet. On the other hand, Leigh has too much of an independent streak in her. Now don’t get me wrong. That isn’t a bad thing for her character because she needs to be independent to raise her son, but she fears getting hurt by Logan again, so she doesn’t want him to be around to help her.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who reads or writes suspense books. It kept me on my toes, even though I pretty much guessed who the antagonist is before the end of the book.

I received a free copy of A Promise to Protect from Revell publishing and all my opinions are my own.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Write What You Read

By K. L. Bridgewater

I have heard this told to me a lot of times by a number of different published and unpublished writers. It is good sound advice. If you had read a lot in that genre, then you probably understand how the genre works the best. You have subconsciously woven in your brain where the inciting incident occurs, how many bad things have to happen to make your character squirm, and how satisfying the ending has to be.

As a young girl, I enjoyed reading The Baby-sitters Club and Sweet Valley series, but I gravitated toward their mystery series, which is why I probably spent one summer reading all fifty something Nancy Drew books by Carolyn Keene.  Yes, in one summer. I couldn't wait to return to the library and check out another one. Even if the library was a two hour bike ride, one way, from my childhood home. It was worth it.


One of my favorite books is The Count of Monte Cristo. I was assigned to read that book during my freshman year. I signed up for a senior level creative writing class, where I couldn't wait to write stories and get graded for it. The teacher passed out a copy of the book to everyone in the class. We would have weekly quizzes on certain chapters, but we were suppose to have the book done by the end of the semester. That night, I went home and after all my other homework was done, I pulled out Alexandre Dumas' masterpiece and started reading. I finished the 1000+ page book in one week. I truly enjoyed it. Revenge. Escape from prison. Sword fights. Buried treasure. Betrayal. Romance. It was great. Today, I return to the hollow pages of that book every winter.

Recently, I found Sherlock Holmes. Great books. I love how Arthur Conan Doyle wrote the books over one hundred and twenty-five years ago, but you would never know that by his verbal skills. It flows like a modern day novel. Mystery. Action. On the hunt following clues. I always try to find out who did the mystery before Sherlock Holmes does.

Trust me, I took a class in graduate school on the beginning of the novel from the eighteenth and early nineteenth century, and I hated the way some of those authors wrote. Way too much description and interior monologue. I really don't care what the characters are wearing. Maybe that is why I can't stand Jane Austen. Too boring! Don't throw stones at me. The girls I went to graduate school already gave me the riot act because I won't read Jane Austen. 

Another one of my favorite authors is J.K. Rowling, C. S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien. I don't read a lot of fantasy. I have tried, but I get bored. But these three authors have created entire worlds with their writing, that I love getting lost in. I love walking through the halls of Hogwarts, rummaging through the wardrobe to Narnia, or traveling the countryside to Mortar or the Misty Mountain. Also, books I like to read in the winter.

Because of these great authors, I try to write suspense that will be lasting and stick with the writer for the rest of their lives. I would love, in the future, someone told me they would pick up my book and read it every winter because they enjoyed my writing.

What authors influences your writing? What book do you keep returning to every year, wanting to learn more and experience that rush of happiness?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Meet Chloe Walker: My Heroine

By K. L. Bridgewater


Nine weeks ago, I mentioned how I find my story ideas by discovering the ending first. Then, I moved on to talk about my problems with knowing my characters enough for the audience to fall in love with them. Well, for the past two months, I have been reading and highlighting Characters, Emotions, and Viewpoints by Nancy Kress, in between reading fiction books to review here. It has been a wonderful help. Last week on October 7, I introduced you to my hero, Devin Sanders. Today, I want to introduce you to my heroine Chloe Walker. I attached an image of Topanga Lawrence aka Danielle Fishel from Boy Meets World, who fits the  description of my heroine.

26 years old    
Academic Honors Diploma
BA in English
MA in Writing

-Middle child of five. Always felt pushed into a corner. Never good enough to please her parents. Both parents are now divorced who called it quits weeks after the youngest, Kaleb, graduated from high school.
Biggest goal: To write a suspense novel.
Biggest fear: Afraid of water. She believes she will die by drowning in a car that has driven into the bottom of a river or a lake.
Biggest lie: Not good enough.
Preferences:
-Perfectionist
-loves Coffee
-Pizza (Pepperoni, Mushroom, and Black Olives)
-Rock Music (Metallica, Skid Row, Wolves at the Gate, Close Your Eyes, Thousand Foot Krutch, etc.)
-Clothes:   Stylish, yet comfy. Jeans with a hoodie. Sweaters. Shorts. Tank tops.
-Hair: Spends a lot of time making sure it looks just right.
-Chloe doesn’t like the way she looks. She feels fat, but when she works out, no results so she gives up.
-Introvert
-Organized
-Biggest Pet Peeve: A dirty bathroom (who would want you to use a bathroom that is dirty? Really?!)
-Cautious
-Afraid to let anyone in because they probably will find something wrong with her.

Character’s abilities: She can argue her way intelligently whenever she needs to prove a point. Knows a good book or movie and recommends them.

How do you handle frustration? I usually blow up when no one is around and mumble to myself about the injustice. Sometimes I will throw things to make me feel better. I really never let anyone see me get angry or know that something is bothering me.

What stands in the way of your happiness right now? On the outside, I seem like a happy person, but on the inside, I’m complaining to God on a daily basis. Why don’t I have my dream job? (Being an editor at a book publishing company) Why don’t I have a book published? (I have been doing this writing thing for ten years) Why don’t I have my log cabin in the woods?

If you could change one thing about your past, what would it be? I would have kept dating Devin Sanders.

Have you ever done this for a character? Are there any suggestions I should include to fully develop more heroine more realistic for my characters?  Here are the ultimate questions: Do you like or dislike Chloe Walker? Could you see yourself spending time with her in a three part book?

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Irene Hannon: Deceived



By K. L. Bridgewater

I picked up Irene Hannon’s book, Against All Odds, because of the cover’s design and the book genre. The cover featured two people, a male and a female, above the fold of the title with a SUV traveling up a driveway to a house. The book fits in the romantic suspense genre, which as we all know, I love. So I slipped the back under the crook of my arm and purchased it at the checkout.

Ever since that day a couple of years ago, I have read every single one of Irene Hannon’s book, including her contemporary romance books. No disappointment. She is a great writer with a great eye for detail.

Deceived, Private Justice Series #3   -     By: Irene Hannon
When Revell publishing sent me the link for the books I could review for October, I took a deep breath as I saw Deceived on the list of books. I own the first two books in the series, Vanished and Trapped, which I love.

Irene Hannon does a great job at creating characters with real life flaws. They are not picture perfect with steady wealthy incomes and flashy cars. Her characters live in condos and usually work ten plus hours a day.  I loved how Hannon created Conner as the hero. He was mentioned in the first two books, but I couldn’t wait for this book to flush him out as a character. Conner was sweet, patient, and willing to even clean up Kate’s throw-up. He knew right from their first encounter that he wanted to push their relationship. Kate even felt something toward Conner, which she has not felt since the death of her husband. I don’t disagree with her. Conner was a great guy.  Hannon made him believable, and a true hero worth pining after.

The characters run into each other because of some strange incident which draws the suspense and intrigue of the plot. Hannon does a good job at keeping me on the edge of my seat. I couldn’t wait to see why Greg Sanders took “Kevin” from his parents. I wanted to know how “Kevin” survived the attack on his father. The twists in the plot were woven together by a master storyteller. I finished the entire four hundred page book in two days and can’t wait to read her next book, Buried Secrets, coming out in Spring 2015.

Another great book by an extremely talented writer!

I received a free copy from Revell publishing in exchange for my honest opinion.