Lola

9780451496102The novel Lola is about a drug gang in south Los Angeles. The Crenshaw Six is a small operation ran covertly by a chick, Lola, under the pretense that her boyfriend, Garcia, is the leader. Lola is petite, street-smart, and a scrapper. Pimped out by her mother at a young age, she’s grown up in the world of drugs. Her mother is still a junkie, slipping away for days on end, and Lola begrudgingly looks after her. Lola and Garcia are living comfortably in a run-down neighborhood hiding their loot in the floor to avoid the wagging tongues of neighborhood gossip-mongers. When the cartel approaches the Crenshaw Six to intervene in a drug trade among their rivals, things go sour. The drop is a bust. They don’t get the $2 million in cash (because it’s just paper disguised as money) and the $2 million in drugs are snatched up by the rival. So now the Crenshaw Six is in deep to the cartel and it’s Lola’s neck that is on the line. When the rival gang kidnaps her mother, Lola fights with her lack of empathy.

Lola is Melissa Scrivner Love’s debut novel. It will take you deep into the grit of the wrong side of town and the guts it takes to survive. I received this book from Random House for my review.

Patrick Flanery Scores with I Am No One

9781101905876Jeremy O’Keefe is a professor trying to find his place in this world after a failed marriage. He moves abroad for a fresh start but never quite fits in. When he moves back to New York, after a decade of being away, he finds that he doesn’t fit in there either.

I Am No One is a thriller in which the reader can relate to the main character, his attempts to be happy just continually fall short of being realized. Then it begins, voluminous amounts of his own personal information are being dropped off anonymously at Jeremy’s apartment. Boxes. Jeremy has to figure out what he has done to warrant such intense scrutiny before it’s too late.

This book will make you rethink everything about your privacy and just how little you truly have. It will give you a mental workout as you try to decide who Jeremy has crossed to become the subject of such a detailed probe into his everyday life.

Patrick Flanery is also the author of Absolution and Fallen Land. I received this book from Random House for my review.

Writing Voice

writing voice WDI really like to read. Not only fiction, but all things on writing. Ask anyone, especially fellow writer, Delilah Jones Brown. I have nearly every book on writing! I’m a junkie! Some books are okay, some basic, some are outstanding. I just read one of the latter ones. Writing Voice: The Complete Guide to Creating a Presence on the Page and Engaging Readers (Creative Writing Essentials) by Writer’s Digest. I read another book in the series, Creating Characters: The Complete Guide to Populating Your Fiction (Creative Writing Essentials), and have previously posted on it. I thought that book was a winner as well. The thing I really like about both these books is that the chapters are written by different authors. Everyone learns differently and having all these writers explain writing voice is enjoyable! Some chapters are good, some are amazing! As mentioned several times in this book, understanding voice is elusive. This book really helps you to understand what it is that you are trying to achieve. It’s not as hard as it seems!

It’s more than just voice though, the book also covers POV, tone, style and genres. It explains narrator voice thoroughly. It covers your character’s inner voice: what he thinks is different than what he says. We all have a public face and a private face. So do your characters. There are so many facets to writing effectively. There are plenty of exercises in this book to let you practice what you’re learning too! I have highlighted nearly the whole book and have notes in the margins as I see how these tips relate to certain characters in my own novel.

So you tell me, did you like this post more than prior ones? Did you feel like you knew me as an author a little bit better for it? I followed one of the repeated rules in the book: write fast so your inner voice comes through, not the sterilized, overwritten draft! This book needs to be on your to-read list!

#amwriting, #delilah-jones-brown, #writers-digest, #writing-voice

Herman Koch’s The Dinner is delicious!

The Dinner is the best-selling novel by Herman Koch. The novel is set in a high-end restaurant where two brothers and their wives have gathered to talk about something their teenage boys have done. Something that will set both families off course and into disgrace. The meeting is intense as the whole truth gradually unfolds from the perspective of one of the brothers, Paul Lohman. 

As the five-course meal progresses, complete with complex descriptions of each plate, the layers of secrets are peeled back. There are flash backs as Paul puts together what is happening to his family. He discovers his happiness teeters on a tightrope. He is desperate to save his family and the clock is ticking. Literally.

The Dinner is a fast-paced, complex book that will make you rethink what you thought you knew about yourself. It’s dark, it’s relatable. It’s downright heart-wrenching.

The Dutch novel has been translated into 21 languages. The movie adaption will be released this year starring Richard Gere. Herman Koch is the author of 40 books. I received this book from Random House for this review.

#best-seller, #book-review, #herman-koch, #the-dinner

A Review of the New Scrivener iOS Software

I have a Mac so I was thrilled when Literature & Latte came out with software for the iPad. Being able to keep my novel in my purse all the time makes it easy to write wherever I am.

I’ve had the software for a couple of months. There is a learning curve, after all, it’s set up for a tablet and it needs to be different in order to be legible and friendly on the smaller screen. You can basically do all the same things on the iOS version but the overall look is different.

The binder is still on the left side and is a pop-up screen. You can color the chapters, add icons, labels, and see your notes. You can still drag and drop to rearrange your chapters. The binder disappears when you start writing so the editor is full screen. You can work in portrait view or landscape view.

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[Image borrowed from Literature and Latte website]
The inspector is no longer on the right hand side but pops up in the center of the screen when you choose the inspector icon from the header. It is actually the same pop-up screen you get in the binder when you hold your finger down on a chapter. There you can see your synopsis, notes, and the things mentioned above.

This next image gives you a direct comparison between the desktop software and the iPad and iPhone. I have not tried the iPhone software but seems like it would be difficult to write on a phone unless you were voice texting and I need that nano-second between my brain and fingertips to figure out what I want to say.

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[Image borrowed from Literature and Latte website]

I have a bluetooth keyboard for my iPad but Scrivener has a convenient toolbar on the pop-up keyboard which includes handy things including strikethrough and comments.

One thing I couldn’t find was the total word count. You can get that by clicking on Inspector and choosing Compile. It will give you a total count that way. There may be other ways of going about it. You still can see the word count at the bottom of the page for individual chapters.

I sync my project with Dropbox and that’s a love/hate relationship. I find it a pain to set up and this is not my first time using Dropbox. The most important thing is to get in the habit of closing your projects after you sync or you’ll end up with conflicts. Unfortunately, you can’t see the two versions side by side to know which one to save. Whether you use Dropbox or another product, you do need your novel saved somewhere besides your computer.

I had the regular version of Scrivener on a Windows tablet once but it was just too difficult to see. It needed to be different for tablet size and L&L did a great job with this software. I give the new iOS software a solid 5 stars.

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Scrivener iOS is on sale right now for $11.99! Use this link to get your copy!

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If you want to share your thoughts on the iOS software, have tips, tricks, or want to share information on Dropbox or other programs, please leave your comments!

#dropbox, #how-to-use-scrivener, #scrivener, #scrivener-for-ipad, #scrivener-ios, #writing-software, #writing-software-review

Finding Your Novel’s Point of View

The point of view of a story can change the tone entirely. First person is intimate. The reader is reading the story as if it was written to them but it is limited to that character’s POV only. Third person is not as intimate and can offer multiple POVs. But for sake of argument and to keep this article on target, let’s say we are just writing from a single POV.

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I’m going to use this big cat to demonstrate the importance of POV. A tale told from his POV would likely be one of cunning, stealth, wisdom, and strength. He is king of his domain. The same story told from the POV of his prey, say a rabbit, would be one perhaps of alertness, fear, and camouflage. The rabbit would always be wary of the big cat, always on the run. The leopard basks in the sun without worry. Where you are on the food chain influences how you see the world.

There’s yet another POV: The bird that sits in the tree day in and day out, observing the dance between the two animals. That POV offers yet a different tone. The bird obviously doesn’t know what the leopard or the rabbit are thinking and can only surmise. That POV takes us further away from the thoughts of the two characters. We become spectators instead of participants in the cat and rabbit game.

There may be challenges the big cat is facing- starvation, injury, exile from his pride. The rabbit could be suffering the same. Each may have something they need to prove to themselves or others. Every character in your book has goals, problems, and challenges. Everything is not as it appears.

Are you telling your story from the right POV? Are you getting the most bang? Are you close enough to the key issues in your story and able to unlock the intimacy of the plot to keep your reader on the edge of the chair? If you’re not sure, try writing it from another character’s POV to see how it changes the tone of your story and your message to your reader. Exercising your authorial right to put certain characters center stage and in the reader’s mind and heart is key to good storytelling. You may find pleasant surprises when you explore all characters for your lead.

For more information on choosing the right POV for your story, check out K.M. Weiland’s blog post How to Choose the Right POV.