It’s Been Too, Too Long…GIVEAWAY!

SOOOO much!

Long story short…I have missed keeping up with everyone in cyberspace for the last 2 months or so.  My regular day job as a full time writer high school counseling coordinator pretty much goes full blast for the last month or so of school.  Thank you for your patience.

I have been gone so long in fact that when I went to the site today it was all screwed up!  Apparently Blogger has changed their formatting specs.  So…consider this an introduction to my new blog layout:-)  Little more simple…I hope you like it.

And what better way to celebrate a site overhaul than to do a giveaway?!?!

WOO-HOO!!!  One $20 gift card to BN or Amazon.com…your choice!  Just a small way to say thank you for your continued support (and patience).  Look for more Sentence to Story posts, reviews of what I’m reading and updates on ‘MAIDEN’ – yes, I swear I am working on a novel titled ‘MAIDEN’ and yes one day you will be able to hold the proof in your hand!

Feel free to share the giveaway with whoever you want;-)

Divergent by Veronica Roth (Through the Shelf Thursday #11)

Title: Divergent
Author: Veronica Roth
Genre: YA Dystopian/Science Fiction
Description from Goodreads:

In Beatrice Prior’s dystopian Chicago world, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue–Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is–she can’t have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself.

During the highly competitive initiation that follows, Beatrice renames herself Tris and struggles alongside her fellow initiates to live out the choice they have made. Together they must undergo extreme physical tests of endurance and intense psychological simulations, some with devastating consequences. As initiation transforms them all, Tris must determine who her friends really are–and where, exactly, a romance with a sometimes fascinating, sometimes exasperating boy fits into the life she’s chosen. But Tris also has a secret, one she’s kept hidden from everyone because she’s been warned it can mean death. And as she discovers unrest and growing conflict that threaten to unravel her seemingly perfect society, she also learns that her secret might help her save those she loves . . . or it might destroy her.

Date I Finished Reading: March 16, 2013

My Rating: 4 of 5

My Review: (also on GoodreadsAmazon):

I finally read this book.  Everyone said I needed to; people in my critique group, everyone on Goodreads, and even my wife (who loved it).

What I enjoyed most…

The story certainly kept me turning the pages.  It was fast paced action and the plot kept moving forward.  I also enjoyed Tris (for the most part) and thought her actions and motivations were realistic.  I felt for her and wanted her to succeed.

I also enjoyed the writing style and it pulled me in.  I usually don’t enjoy 1st person – at least not 1st person in the last 10 years or so.  There is something about the constant inner focus that I have a hard time with.  It’s supposed to help me become more connected to the character, but usually it just pushes me away.  However, I enjoyed the flow and style that Roth employed…it did not turn me away.  She was able to focus on Tris, without being completely overwhelming.

What I thought was okay…

I thought the author did a good job with the love interest – Four – and the relationship built with Tris.  It was semi-believable for me and I thought it progressed naturally.  However, Four seemed a little too withdrawn at times.

Also with the book, especially after the reviews I had read/heard, I was expecting more substance.  It’s certainly more plot driven than character driven (at least for me).  I didn’t get connected to the characters as much as I would have liked to.

There is a twist with Tris’ mom that plays a very key role and it was okay, but I wanted more.  There wasn’t a lot of relationship building or emotional moments with Tris and her parents.

What I thoroughly disliked about the book…

I cannot say enough about the world building…which was almost non-existent.  I wanted to get so lost in this world, but I couldn’t, because it wasn’t there.  I don’t remember enjoying a book so much where I didn’t have a clue what anything looked like.

I also had a hard time with Eric, the main baddy in the book.  He is a great character and a pretty mean guy in the first half of the book, but by the second half he has calmed down slightly and is more reserved…almost like a different person.  The only problem is there was no explanation for the shift.

Do I agree with everyone who heaps praise saying ‘this is the best book/series since Hunger Games’?  Well, I don’t know, since I still haven’t read hunger games;-)  So while it was good, I don’t think I can put it into the ‘awesome’ category…not yet anyway.   In my heart I wanted to give the book a 3.5, but because it kept me involved and entertained, I bumped it up to a 4.

Have you read ‘Divergent’?  What did you think?

I Promise…I’m Not Dead!

I just realized it’s been well over 2 weeks since I posted anything…shame on me.  I have been very, very deep into revising and trying to get the manuscript for MAIDEN ready for submission.   Circumstances presented themselves recently to allow me extra time to focus on my manuscript, and I took it.

So for those who have emailed me, wondering if I am still alive, I apologize for the absence of any short short stories or writing posts as of late.  I’m not dead…yet.

But I have no fear, I will be back.  Thank you for your continued love and support!!!

Sentence to Story – Week #6: Time to Vote!

Here are the sentences for the week.  Vote for the one you think would make the BEST starting sentence to a story.

If you want to submit a sentence to be considered for next week’s voting…by all means, enter it in the comment below.  The more the merrier!

The 2 sentences with the most votes will be my prompts for next week.  Voting ends on Friday!

Sentence to Start #6 – Top 5 Submissions (Oct 29 – Nov 2, 2012)

Changes to ‘Sentence to Start’

It’s been almost 2 months since my blog went live and I can’t believe how positive it has been.  The clicks, the feedback, the positive interaction…it’s been wonderful and I have learned a TON!

One of my main reasons for starting the blog was to be more interactive, and one of the main ways to do that was the idea behind ‘Sentence to Start’ – involve other readers/writers in my daily writing process.  It has been extremely fun, but it was a big learning curve for me and it’s time for some changes.

1) ‘Sentence to Start’ is now ‘Sentence to Story’.  I think the new name helps better communicate the point.

2) I got lots of feedback that having to vote on 10 sentences was too many, so now readers will only vote on 5 sentences.

3) I found that I was overbooking myself with working on my novel, regular work, and everyday life.  With three stories a week, along with the other posts, the site was getting away from me, and the quality was going down (not a good thing).  So after readers vote on the 5 sentences, I will write stories on the top 2 (Monday and Wednesday).

So nothing major, just some corrective action to keep things moving forward, trying to keep the quality of the stories and content high, and (hopefully) keeping you guys coming back for interaction and discussion.

I hope you enjoy the stories, please continue to submit sentences, and above all, feel free to let me know other ways that I can improve the overall quality of the site!


PS – I will be taking this week off from any stories to collect new sentences and get my bearings.  

Winner of ‘Sentence to Start’ – Week #4

Congratulations to Trey G. for submitting the sentence that received the most votes this week!

Great job, Trey G.  A $5 ecard to Amazon is on it’s way.

Here is the sentence:

“When I was young, I thought I truly had it all figured out.”

Didn’t we all?!  Trey’s sentence will be turned into a story for this coming Monday’s edition.

The sentences getting 2nd and 3rd place votes will be featured on Wednesday’s and Friday’s edition.  Be sure to check back!

Second most votes:

“You are the worst teacher ever,” came a voice from the back of the room.  (Submitted by Jim B.)

Third most votes:

She could feel his presence all around her and wished she could hear his voice just one more time assuring her that everything was going to be okay.  (Submitted by Cathy S.)