Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Spring Break...

Trying to read, write, and compose a clear business plan for my publishing endeavors and network. Oh, and I must add entertaining my niece and nephew while they visit for spring break. I am not sure how to balance things so I am flying by the seat of my pants! I am ecstatic they are visiting and am going to hate see them leave. The deadline I set for myself with the business plan was April 1, 2010. I am not sure if I will get it done. It is almost finished. I have an editor selected but am having difficulty deciding which publishing company to go with. I’ve narrowed it down to a few great ones. It is all in the presentation and I need a company that creates a great finished product.

I have come across a few books where I loved the content but the presentation was below par. It is very important to me that my cover looks as good as what I’ve written. People do judge a book by a cover. I know I do. If I pick up a book and the cover is shoddy, I immediately put it back down. I don’t want anyone doing that to me… so I am looking at the book quality as much as I am looking at the price. It doesn’t matter how much I pay the first time if I have to publish it twice. I want to get it right the first time.

My next review will be done in the beginning of next week. I am reading “The Past and Future King,” by Warren M. Mueller. It is a fantastical saga. The story is filled with mythical creatures and is a fast paced enjoyable book. I can’t wait to finish reading it.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tenderfoot book review...

Mary E. Trimble
Publisher: Treble Heart Books
Published: 2010
ISBN: 978196127092
Pages: 289

Tenderfoot is a romantic story full of suspense about writer, Corrie Stephens and her quest to find out all she can about ranching. In the midst of her quest to start life anew, she sells her home and ventures off to start a new life in Washington, settling into a small cottage on the land of rancher, J McClure. Corrie spends her time writing, ranching and meeting new people. She is living her life to the fullest since her divorce and is trying her best to stay out of J’s way. Against love after her husband cheated on her, she refuses to fall for J McClure. Corrie interacts with other townspeople trying to distract her emotions.

This story is a love story that takes place in 1980 when Mount St. Helens erupted. Corrie and her new friends, venture to camp out near the volcano thinking that an eruption won’t affect them. Despite the wishes of the authorities, scientists and especially J, they settle down a few days before the volcano erupted. Despite their efforts to not fall in love, J and Corrie’s feelings erupt as the volcano does. The book was quite vivid allowing the reader to experience a range of emotions—anxiety, fear, pain, joy and excitement—as Corrie travelled throughout her new life.

I must admit I was angry that Corrie would go up to the mountain and spend the night with two men that she didn’t know. But I became more angered that she would spend the weekend with them on this same mountain when the volcano was getting ready to erupt. I wanted to believe she was smarter than that but found out differently. In order to spite J and love, she put her life at risk. I enjoy books the most that I can get lost in and that is exactly what happen with this book. I felt the pain from the ash and had clear images of the ash as it fell.

I couldn’t put this book down finishing it in one day. I’m not into romance novels but with the story based around the eruption of Mount St. Helens, I almost forgot it was truly a love story. Ms. Trimble is a great storyteller which is easily reflected in her ability to tie a non-fiction event so closely together with fiction. Well done and I highly recommend this book to anyone looking to get lost in a love story filled with mystery and excitement… I promise you won’t be able to put it down!

Monday, March 22, 2010

NI'IL The Awakening Review...

NI’IL The Awakening
By James Boyle
Publisher: iUniverse
Published: 2008
ISBN: 978144018679
Pages: 201

This debut novel by James Boyle was a thrilling work of fiction about a small town in Placerton, Oregon. The story follows the life of a widower, Dan Connor, who is the police chief left with the task of finding out who or what has killed several residents of his town. He doesn’t clearly agree with the others that it is a rogue bear or cougar out killing people. There is no evidence left at the scenes and he has witnessed some strange things going on around him—an old Native American man at each scene who disappears once approached, a beautiful young Native American woman that disappears as well and a large possum mocking him—and each death or disappearance is related to him. The "thing" in the woods is taunting him.

As soon as I thought I knew what was going to happen, there was another twist and turn in the story. I spent my time guessing what would happen next. In addition to the murders, missing dogs and people, there is a storm that rages through the town destroying all that is in its path. A large gray cloud hovers over this town for a period of time—the storm and the “thing” in the woods—setting the town on edge. People are left without electricity, food and shelter in some cases forced to seek comfort at an emergency shelter.

I felt a range of emotions with each page that I turned eagerly trying to find out what was going on in this town. I couldn’t put the book down until I reached the end. When Stephanie was kidnapped along with Dan’s dog, Maggie, I became angered. I thought he was too smart to allow her to go off alone to risk being harmed. As the search for them ensued I quietly wished for their safety. In the midst of all of this, Dan Connor realizes that he has powers that will allow him to defeat the “thing” that is killing people if he combines his powers with those of Stephanie, his secretary and new love interest. Together they set out to accomplish that by any means necessary.

I wholeheartedly enjoyed this book and recommend it to anyone who enjoys well written, action packed, thrillers. The detailed descriptions of the Oregon countryside and the mystical aspects of the Native American lore is an added touch to the story. Each character and scene is extremely vivid allowing the reader to become a part of the story. I feel it touches on the power of the human spirit reflected in the ability of Dan and Stephanie to defeat this “thing” that has come to town to harm the residents and find love in the process. This book definitely doesn’t read like a debut novel. I anxiously await the arrival of Mr. Boyle’s next book.

Friday, March 19, 2010

My try at Spoken Word...

One day I was home watching teens in an international Spoken Word competition. I had never heard a competition but as the chills rolled down my arms listening to the poems they had composed, I was mesmerized. Immediately thinking, that I would love to be able to do what they were doing. I've written poetry for as long as I can remember but I had never done something as moving as this. I wanted to be a part of it but placed this thought somewhere in the back of my mind.

One morning I was up writing and some words pursed my lips begging me to pay attention to them. I did and what followed was my chance to express what I truly felt inside. My chance at Spoken Word...

I always respond to the ignorance of others and become angry when I'm not judge as an individual. Being a female and black are components of who I am which make up my whole being. However, I am not exactly the same as any other woman, black woman or black person. I am an individual and want to be judge by what I do, not by the actions of another. Remember it flows like spoken word which is why there are commas and such in certain spots. I want you to feel what I am saying. Don't judge me by the actions of my brother...

Don't Judge Me...

Don’t judge me by the actions of my brother
There’s no guarantee we even have the same mother,
Our skin may be the same shade or even a little lighter,
Just ‘cause it’s a shade of brown, don’t make him mine.

I’m a visionary, a dreamer, an aspiring writer
Don’t judge me by the actions of my brother.
He’s never worked or even paused once to care
Pants below his waistline coupled with unkempt hair
His dress designed without an ounce of flair.
Me, myself, I spend hours in front of a mirror
Preparing for a crisp presentation
He has never seen his own discarded reflection.
Never cared enough to peek
What is it exactly that he seeks?

Don’t judge me by the actions of my brother
We may not even have the same mother
He shines a wide grin trying to render you clueless
Strategic planning bringing you closer to him,
Figuring out exactly when your hurt shall begin.
No two words aligned in truth as he looks through you
Making every effort to lessen your value.

I walk the streets composed and erect in a straight line
Him, he has never taken a stride similar to mine.
I may know him personally or as a distant observer
I just know, that he ain’t hardly my brother.
He may be a lighter shade of brown
Or a darker hue than you,
Which, doesn’t make him my brother
Anymore than it makes him kin to you.

I stress and beg you one last time
As if hopelessly stuck on rewind--
Don’t judge me by the actions of my brother
I don’t know him and desire no introduction
I’m much more intellectual and free, than he.
When you see me judge me by my whisper,
Not his loud ferocious roar—
Spewing obscenities and profanity
His words not mine by choice.
Honesty and truth, isn’t that how you want me
To judge you?

My character and willingness to be real
Is more than you expected me to feel
Not giving me a clear cut chance
Judging me by his dreadful circumstance.
Before you form an opinion of another
But please, don’t judge me by the actions of my brother
I can guarantee we don’t have the same mother.

What we share is similar visual characteristics—
But our inner being is less common than you’ve assumed
Your ignorance like an old death should be exhumed
Removed from my existence modify your thinking.
When you judge me, open your eyes looking beyond my complexion—
And by chance you will glance into who I am and for the first time… see me.
Don’t judge me by the actions of my brother
I am not him but a separate being, please, look into my eyes--
It is only then that I can actually be seen.

©2010 by Stacey L. Pierce
©2010 by 2sistaspublishing

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Busy, busy, busy...

I haven’t blogged in a few days because I am busy, busy, busy-- that’s a good thing, right? I went into work yesterday to cover for someone and had quite a busy shift. I had planned on getting off early but was asked to stay a little later. I’m also going in today to cover for someone as well. It won’t be an entire shift so I should be back on track tonight when I get off. I look forward to working on my young adult fiction novel. It is on my list to finish next which would complete the projects that I would like to publish for 2010.

I am currently reading Ni’il, the Awakening by James Boyle. This dark thriller is filled with mystery and romance. I am enjoying the book and look forward to writing a review on it. I have four more books to review and should have them all completed before the end of this month. Today I plan on reading a bit, and possibly doing some writing before I go off to work. And then, I’ll be burning the midnight oil…

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Graphic novel thriller...

Bone Chiller
By R. M. Heske
Publisher: Heske Horror
Published: 2009
ISBN: 978-1427635259
Pages: 140

This book is like nothing I have ever read before. It is a graphic novel collection of short stories that grabbed my attention from the very first page. It was suspenseful with twist and turns making it impossible for me to stop reading it once I opened it.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this thriller which gave me a glimpse into the minds of dark individuals who could very well be a neighbor or co-worker. The stories are quick reads with various topics-- child abuse, rape, murder and serial killers—and are easy to follow along. Some of the subjects are difficult to digest and may make some readers uncomfortable or frightened. This may be because the stories and characters are so very real. Each story can stand alone but they blend very well together. I am not used to reading books written in this form so I must admit I did have to reread some parts of the stories. However, that is not a reflection on Mr. Heske’s talented storytelling ability.

The art work is simply amazing and coupled with Mr. Heske’s storytelling ability, makes for an incredible read. If you are a fan of horror books, this is the book for you. After reading this book, I look forward to reading another one.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Non-fiction that reads like fiction...

Why Me, Oh Lord, Why Me?
By Jane with Rebecca
Publisher: Outskirts Press
IBSN: 9781432741464
Pages: 208

This compelling non-fiction story reads like fiction. Jane’s journey has the reader at times feeling breathless as she endures so many things. The stories are so vivid and allow you to see the stress and strain she is under just trying to function in this world. Yet, victory is hers in the end as she has the last demon cast out freeing her. It is as if she lived fifty years in darkness and turmoil and then is awakened once the demon was cast out. With Janet gone, Jane can live.

A friend of mine was diagnosed with MS and he was asked how he felt about this diagnosis and the changes that will come to his life. His response to that question was, Why not me? Who am I? Like Jane, we all are faced with this question—Why me, Lord? This happens when we are given blessings and as we face challenges. And in sharing her story, Jane will help others who have experienced similar things or will do so in the future. Her faith abounds despite how many times it is battered—with Janet taking over, death, and tragedy—she bent as far as she could and was never broken.

The support of others in her life guided her steps as well. Her husband was a quiet but extremely supportive soul as were her friends, pastors and various people she met along her journey. Jane’s life was full of turmoil and she managed to stand on God’s grace. This story is heart wrenching and as each event is depicted, you feel Jane’s pain, sadness, anger, and anxiety. When she prevails, all those feelings are replaced with joy and excitement that this tormented soul walks erect saved by her faith in the Lord.

The fact that the book is written in Jane’s own words allows the reader to understand the depth of her turmoil without the psychiatric terms taking the “individual” out of it. I have worked with people with schizophrenia before and I have seen some of what Jane has described. However, her account allowed me to acquire a clearer understanding of the illness. My heart goes out to Jane while at the same time my hand is extended--thanking her for allowing us to enter her mind, body and soul—knowing that she has done exactly what she set out to do by sharing her story; promote understanding while showing what faith in God can do. I will never forget Jane…

Highly recommended!

Monday, March 8, 2010

The next book up for review...

Why Me, Oh Lord, Why Me? is my next book up for review. It is a moving true story of Jane, a Christian widow and mother of five children. Some might think it is a controversial account of Jane's life- demonic spirits, voices, a second personality-which she feels stemmed from a "generational curse." Jane lives through a number of tragedies and heartaches. Jane persevered despite dealing with mental illness and recurrent thoughts of suicide. The book discusses her struggles and reflects her faith in God which pulled her through each event in her life providing a foundation for her survival.

I'm not far from the end of the book and have enjoyed it thus far. It is an eye opening account of the power of the human spirit. It makes the reader question if they could survive experiences such as this with the same fervor that Jane did. It is a compelling story and I'm eager to continue with Jane on her spiritual journey. The story was written by Jane with help from her sister Rebecca.

I have five more books up for review and I'm looking forward to reading all of them. The genres vary but they are all debut novels. I hope to have them completed by the end of the month. I try to give each book a week or so to complete because I put myself in the author's shoes. I don’t want them to wait because I would be sitting waiting anxiously for my review. So, I do my best to get them done quickly.

Today is a beautiful sunny day in Bucks County, PA and although I want to spend my day off outside, I am going to do my best to be productive. I have set goals that I need to stick with but spring days have always been a challenge for me. I am not truly an outdoor person but I just feel like I need to feel the breeze and enjoy the brightness of the day. Again I say to myself… focus!!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

From Beer to Maternity book review...

From Beer to Maternity
By Maggie Lamond Simone
Publisher: Brodman Publishing
Published: 2009
ISBN: 97861529922
Pages: 260

This book is a fast paced, quirky, hysterical account of adulthood and parenting. As I read this book I consistently laughed out loud at Ms. Simone’s portrayal of these sometimes stressful moments in our lives. Ms. Simone’s story begins where she feels her life began—in sobriety. Ms. Simone doesn’t remember most of her youth as it was clouded by alcoholism. Simple things that we take for granted—laundry, cooking and cleaning—were challenges for Ms. Simone as she never had done them before.

Ms. Simone allows us a peek at her life as she “grows up,” becomes a responsible adult, wife, and mother. After not recognizing the world she passively lived in for many years she discusses a range of emotions—fear, anxiety, and excitement—as she participates in her new experiences. Once she moves out on her own, things work out for her successfully. Her biggest fear prior to sobriety was that she wouldn’t be funny anymore; I can attest that did not happen. Ms. Simone is a talented storyteller which is evidenced by her humorous accounts of the events that occur in her life.

Throughout the book, there are lists or tips provided in regard to different topics—marriage, aging, parenting—coupled with vivid stories related to each event or topic. Each story is more vivid than the other—potty training her daughter who urinates on the carpet, her housecleaning difficulties, her son playing her discipline rants on the tape recorder, and Ms. Simone doing the jig when both kids board the school bus spending full days at school for the first time—allowing the reader to smell the dirty carpet, see the dishes overflowing in the sink, see her son standing with a smile on his face playing the recorder, and her jubilation dancing the jig.

I’m not married, nor do I have kids but this book allows me to see the humor in these types of relationships. I highly recommend this book for any adult whether they are married, engaged, in a relationship or partnership, as this book gives a lighter account of adulthood and life experiences. It may allow the reader to look at the events in their lives in a humorous way changing their attitude toward the events promoting a better outcome. Go get your copy now, you won’t regret it!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Putting a better plan in place...

Sometimes I wonder if I'm the only one that feels as if there aren’t enough hours in a day to get it all done. I'm sure that I am not. I wake up each morning with a plan but I don’t always get everything done. I work hard but sometimes I feel like I just need a few more hours to bring each project to a close. Life is difficult to balance when there a so many things waiting to be completed. What to do?

I think the answer might be better time management. My plan when I get home from work today is to compose a better list with a target date of completion for each project. My goal list doesn’t include a target date of completion and this will probably allow my focus to change. I am focused but have about three books I need to complete in order to feel that I can devote more time to other things. Of course there is also song writing and researching the business. Sometimes when I try to accomplish a task, lyrics rear their head into what I am doing forcing me to write down a few sentences or sometimes an entire song. Although it’s exciting, at times it’s also distracting.

My plan for today is to use each hour doing something productive. If work is tranquil today, I plan on using those hours to get some things done. I travel with mini notebooks and a one subject notebook at all times so I am going to put them to use today. It will all work itself out. I can’t get any extra hours added to my day no matter how hard I plead. So, I have to modify my goal list and schedule to improve my production and completion of projects. I don’t want to have too many things hanging in the wind waiting for my completion. If an opportunity presents itself, I want to be ready.

I am not complaining about the creativity that God has placed at my fingertips. For that, I am forever grateful. There is a fire inside of me that is raging and it comes in the form of a script, books, and lyrics. I just want to get it all done and that means I need to modify the way I am doing things. Plan for today… modify and focus!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Fast paced story... highly recommended!

Mozart in the Future
By:Tania Maria Rodrigues-Peters
99 Pages

I took a break from reading the book I planned on reviewing next and opened “Mozart in the Future,” written by Tania Maria Rodrigues-Peters. Before I knew it, I had finished the book. This book is a wonderful story to share with children who are working hard to achieve their dreams—athletically, musically or academically—because it will motivate them to see it through.

This fun fast paced story discusses a childhood friendship between young Mozart and an equally talented young musician named Max. They both long to be “normal” little boys outside playing with friends but aren’t allowed to have any fun. Mozart’s dad prevents him from playing with the other boys as does Max’s mother forcing them to only focus on playing the piano. Although he is not allowed to play, Mozart holds his love for music getting lost in his desires as he plays each key. Max on the other hand, starts to dislike music and becomes physically ill from the stress his mother has him under. These talented young men never met outside of their nightly dreams when one day, seeing Max’s love for music lessen, the Spirit of Music intervenes bringing these boys together in reality.

The boys meet and Max introduces Mozart to a new world—the 21st Century. Mozart in return gives Max more than he could ever give him—he gives him back his love for music. These boys, two worlds apart, needed each other to get where they needed to go in order for their futures to occur. This is a great story in that a lot of us get lost on our journey forgetting the purpose of what we initially set out to do. This book will encourage children and teens to stay focused and continue on their course. Ms. Rodrigues-Peters achieved what she set out to do in this story—to encourage young hearts to dream and believe.

I highly recommend this book to all school aged children. It will give them permission to dream...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Just one of those days...

I am surprised that I had "one of those days." I am surprised because it has been a few years, despite the circumstances, that I have had one of them. I woke up yesterday morning with a plan in sight, made a phone call for clarification of those plans, and to my dismay-- my mood changed -- when things didn't go as planned. I own my feelings and the fact that I allowed "something" to steal my joy. I am a little disappointed in myself but stopped to remember two things. One, I am only human and two, these feelings were only allowed to last for a few hours. I made every effort to write and do other things but the negative feelings took hold. So, I wasn't as productive as I wanted to be.

Earlier I watched my recording of Oprah. It was about Roger Ebert. He is no longer able to talk after facing thyroid cancer and numerous surgeries. The tears rolled down my eyes as I saw the light shining in his eyes although he lacked the ability to speak. Here I had allowed a perfectly beautiful day to get away from me forgetting that things would be better tomorrow. Things always get better. If not, I would make it through anyway as I always did until things did finally turn around. I watched the love in Mr. Ebert's eyes-- for his wife, his life, the movies, his computerized voice, Oprah-- and although he couldn't speak, I clearly heard his voice verbalized through that love. His voice is gone but his spirit has remained.

I watched Mr. Ebert in awe who self-reportedly "loved to eat and talk." He has lost those two abilities but has managed to keep on living-- really live not just exist. I allowed myself yesterday to feel whatever it was that I was feeling. But today I'll make it a brighter day even through the rain. Take what you have been given in this life and make it better... that's my plan... don't give up because something or someone has let you down. It is quite simple: keep the faith.

Monday, March 1, 2010

My next book review...

I am currently reading a humorous book called “From Beer to Maternity,” written by Maggie Lamond Simone. Ms. Simone is a witty, quirky writer who takes you on a journey from when she feels her life started which was the day after she stopped drinking. Ms. Simone felt that she wouldn’t be funny anymore once she stopped drinking and although I haven’t finished the book yet, I must attest that she is incorrect. While reading this book I find myself laughing out loud. I can’t wait to finish it.

I had to work a lot last week so I haven’t been able to blog but I did have time periodically to jot down some lyrics and record them. I didn’t record them professionally but after I write them I like to see how they sound. So, I record them on my cell phone. Throughout this process, I have learned a few things about my PC that I find quite interesting.

I know how to navigate my computer somewhat but am amazed at what it can actually do. I had no idea if I recorded a song on my cell phone that I could email it and play it on my computer. This may not be exciting to some but it’s amazing to me. I emailed the song to myself first and sat in awe as it played through the computer speakers. In awe because I was able to play the song through the computer. I still wasn't too sure about the song so I emailed it to my brother. I sent it to my brother to see what he thought and he liked it. So, I sent him another one and he said, “I could actually hear someone like Toni Braxton singing this song.” I don’t think I’ve ever smiled so wide about something I had done.

I like involving my siblings because I know I’ll get an honest opinion but I didn’t expect the response he gave. My siblings and I don’t lead each other astray. If we don’t feel something is up to par we encourage each other to tweak it rather than lie allowing each other to fall on our faces. Honesty doesn’t frighten me as much as being embarrassed by something that is below standard. My best critics will always be my partner and my siblings and at the same time, they’ll always be my greatest supporters!

So, today my goal is to catch up with my reading, writing--trying to finish a young adult novel--and of course, writing one song. My desire to achieve my goals I have set for this year is so alive and with each new day, that desire increases… that’s a good thing, right?