Reading · Reviews

Book Review: The Loneliest Girl in the Universe

I’ve been reading a lot of science fiction lately after not touching any for a year or two and I’m loving this step back into the genre. One of my latest reads was The Loneliest Girl in the Universe by Lauren James. It’s a young adult book and perfect for teen readers looking to get into something lighter on the science side with an emphasis on the human experience instead.  This was a 4 star book out of 5 for me and I found the overall premise fresh. It was also a quick read, which I appreciated since so many books in the genre tend to be on the long side.

The book follows Romy Silvers, a teenaged girl stuck alone on a space ship after her parents died. The mission is to colonize a new planet, but Romy struggles to cope with being alone. Then she finds out a second ship is on the way and will soon catch up with her. Her excitement fades to horror as she realizes there are worse things than being alone. Now if you read the blurb for the book, you might expect a romance, but this isn’t a romance and it isn’t a book I’d recommend for anyone looking for a sci-fi romance. Continue reading “Book Review: The Loneliest Girl in the Universe”

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querying

Batch Querying

Batch querying is sending out batches of queries to agents, usually 5 to 10 queries a session. Then an author waits on responses to see if the query and pages are hooking agents or not. If they aren’t, or perhaps if they got feedback, the author revises and sends the next batch. This is the querying method I see recommended all the time, but recently while reading agent interviews I noticed an agent who shall remained unnamed complain about this method. However, I disagree with the agent’s complaints as a writer and as someone trying to break into agenting.

The perks of batch querying means an author has  a chance to revise and follow any feedback (which admittedly is rare to get from agents) before querying other agents. Plus let’s face it, querying agents takes a lot of time and authors can query anywhere from a few dozen to over a hundred for any given book. Batch querying helps authors break those large amounts up into a smaller, more manageable amount. For those with busy schedules, it would be impossible to find enough time to query every agent on their list in one setting. Continue reading “Batch Querying”

self publishing · Writing

The Bias Against Self-publishing

Once upon a time self-publishing was seen as the option for the uniformed and writers who well, weren’t very good. These days self-publishing has become a much more viable option thanks to the internet, but the bias still lingers and drives writers away from it. Some traditionalists still hold that traditional publishing is the only path that has any merit, while some self-publishers think taking control of your writing is the best way to go. And let’s not forget about the growing numbers of hybrid authors who have published both ways. A lot of people on the traditional side seem to avoid discussing the topic, but I work with clients on both ends of the industry and I’ve personally worked with some great self-published authors.

Self-publishing wasn’t always as easy as it is today. While self-publishing used to be associated with scams in which houses forced authors to pay to be published, these days self-publishing often entails authors handling the publishing of the book themselves. While the publishing landscape has evolved, old biases still linger. With more authors self-publishing than ever before there have been heated debates on the topic of traditional publishing versus self-publishing. Continue reading “The Bias Against Self-publishing”

Reading · Reviews

Book Review: Ivory and Bone

Ivory and Bone is a young adult novel set during the Ice Age. It’s the first of a series with the next book in the series, Obsidian and Stars, already out. Overall I give this book 4 stars out of 5. I’ve been craving books set during the Ice Age and I wish there were more of them, but I admit I had a few hangups with this book while reading. However I still look forward to reading Obsidian and Stars.

Ivory and Bone is about a teenager named Kol who is searching for a bride while finding his clan caught up in a war between two other clans. First off this book does a great job of bringing to light some of the struggles teenagers during the Ice Age would have dealt with, like the main character Kol searching for a bride amongst other clans because there aren’t enough girls in his clan. This book also tackles the issue of the number of mammoths dwindling, making survival a struggle for those who relied on them. The setting of this book is what made the story was the books biggest strength in my opinion. Continue reading “Book Review: Ivory and Bone”

Editing · First Chapters · Reading · Writing

First Chapter Pet Peeves

As an editor and a literary agency reader I read a lot of first chapters. Like A LOT. I’ve blogged about types of openings to avoid before. There are a few openings and issues I spot in first chapters all the time that instantly turn me off a book because I see them so often and they simply don’t grab my attention.  I’m going to tell you some of my first chapter pet peeves and exactly why they don’t work for me.

Starting a story with a character waking up. I see this way, way too often. Usually when I see it the character is waking from a dream or their phone wakes them up in the middle of the night. This opening doesn’t work for me because A) I’ve seen it so often it has become cliche, and B) it doesn’t grab my attention. I want to get to know your characters right away.  Start me with something more unique to them and their story and not something that could be used for any character. Similar to this beginning is starting with a character’s daily routine. It isn’t attention grabbing. Continue reading “First Chapter Pet Peeves”

Reading · Reviews

Book Review: Semiosis

Recently I’ve gone on a science fiction kick in my reading and can’t get enough of it. Semiosis is unlike any other book I’ve ever read. Sometimes I have a habit of zooming right through books, but every few chapters I found myself putting this book down to turn the story over in my mind. This is very much a character-driven book, and I usually prefer plot driven, but I loved this book and it is high on my list of favorite sci-fi reads and the title is perfect for this book. This one gets five stars from me.

Semiosis is about a group of people aiming to colonize a new planet. The story follows the struggles of the colonists, giving readers a deep look at the growing pains the colony has to get through to survive and how they handle living alongside intelligent plants. Semiosis takes place over seven generations of colonists, with a new narrator for each generation, starting with the very first generation to land. Each generation has a new problem to deal with as the colony grows and makes progress alongside the intelligent plants on the planet. This book focuses more on the relationship between characters and the human aspect instead of the science and technology aspect, although enough science is explored to help the story feel grounded. Continue reading “Book Review: Semiosis”

Food

Gluten Free in the Outer Banks

I’m taking a break from talking about books to talk about another topic dear to my heart: food! Specifically gluten free food due to me being celiac. Recently I took a vacation to the Outer Banks and found a list of gluten free restaurants on places like Tripadvisor, but couldn’t find any personal reviews outside of a quick “The food was good.” I was unsure of where it would be safe for me to eat as a celiac. I was pleasantly surprised by how many places had gluten free options and I’m going to discuss every place I personally ate at. The list is as follows: Donutz on a Stick, Barefoot Bernie’s, The Outer Bean, and Coastal Cravings. None of these places gave me contamination. I wish I would have thought to grab pictures, but I was on vacation and too busy enjoying myself.

Donutz on a Stick:

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Gluten Free Tuxedo Donuts from their Facebook.

Everyone kept going to Duck Donuts who unfortunately do not offer gluten free donuts. The alternative? Donutz on a Stick in Duck. The only caveat is you have to order your gluten free donuts ahead of time, you can’t just walk in and get some. I suggest ordering the day before by phone or in store to make sure you get to try the gluten free donuts. Ours were available at 9:15 the next morning. I had a tuxedo donut, German chocolate, and one with strawberry glaze with sprinkles and they were all delicious. The donuts were on the smaller size like gluten free ones tend to be at bakeries. Continue reading “Gluten Free in the Outer Banks”