Confession: Book Grudge

As a book lover, I am ashamed to admit it, but I am guilty of having some pretty intense grudges against certain books. I am talking about long term grudges that result in a boycott of other books by that author.

First, let me be clear. Neither the books or the authors are bad. In both cases, these authors write best sellers and have huge fan bases. I loved prior books by these authors. I am not going to point out the authors or books in this post but you can watch the video  to get the low down.

I have a 7 year book grudge that has kept me from reading books from an author I loved

I have a book grudge.

So why the grudge?

I took the time to examine that question before making the video and writing about this.  It boils down to one thing. Not plot, character, or even writing style but expectations.  My expectations of the books and their respective authors were extremely high. This led to an intense emotional downfall when the books did not live up to my expectations. The end result is that I have no desire to read any more books by these authors because I don’t want to risk having another emotional disappointment.

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My expectations of these books and their respective authors were extremely high. This led to an intense emotional downfall when the books did not live up to my expectations. The end result is that I have no desire to read any more books by these authors because I don’t want to risk having another emotional disappointment.

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On an intellectual level, I know this is ridiculous. Disliking one book so much that I don’t read another one by that author for over 7 years is extreme. As an author, I know that I should not judge an entire collection of works based one or two books that let me down. I have a passion for books. I read over 100 books a year. In most cases, I can dislike a book without having a book grudge.

 

So, why are the stakes so high for certain books and not others? Again, it is all about my personal expectations and my emotional response to the book not furfilling my needs.  All three of these book grudges were birthed because the plot didn’t sustain me and the ending failed to connect with my expecations. I kept reading and waiting for something to happen but I did not get the emotional impact I desired.

So, tell me. Do you have book grudges? Do you take it to the extreem like me and stop reading books by that author? I would like to know!

 

 

 

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Need writing motivation? Love kittens?

I found a fun website that combines writing motivation and kittens. I couldn’t resist filming a quick video to share it with you.  I came across the website, written kitten while searching for tangible writing rewards to help writers stay motivated.

Watch the video here

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I admit this isn’t exactly what I was looking for but it served its purpose. It motivated me to write. The moment I stumbled onto it  I jumped in and started writing and earned myself a couple of cute kittens.

Of course, they weren’t real kittens but the next best thing, adorable kitten photos! The website is simple to use.  Just set a word writing goal for yourself, type into the provided text box, and get rewarded with kitten photos when you hit your goal. You can select 100, 200, 500, or 1000 word goals.  The kitten photos are pulled from flicker.

Write words and get kittens!

Need writing motivation? Love Kittens?

Not a kitten fan? No worries, you can select puppies or bunnies for your reward.  Yes, this is a simple concept but if it helps you write it is certainly worth its weight in kittens. The best part? This is completely free. You write words, get kittens, and make progress on your writing.

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My Experience:

When I was finished earning kittens, I simply cut, copied, and pasted my writing into my Scrivener file. Unfortunately, you can’t take the kittens with you but you can come back anytime and write for more kittens.  I recommend this website if you enjoy baby animal photos and enjoy setting small goals with instant rewards.  I doubt I will be using this daily but it is a fun way to mix up your writing routine and rewards.

So, how about you? Do you love kittens, bunnies, or puppies? Have you tried written kitten? Did it work for you? Do you have any writing motivation tips to share? Let me know!

Book Love Review: The Sandcastle Empire.

This amazing book was the June Owlcrate selection.  Armed with a field guide to a mysterious island and a vial of her father’s blood and teeth Eden attempts to escape her war-torn world to find refuge and answers on the island.

Watch my video review

 

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What I loved about this book:

* It was a quick easy read.
* That it takes place on a mysterious jungle island that is more than it seems.
* The writing style is engaging and detailed without slowing the pace.

*  Chapters alternate between regular length and 1-2 pages.

*  Chapters alternate between regular length and 1-2 pages.
* The overall plot is interesting and it has a lot of neat world-building aspects.
* Excellent 1st chapter that grabs you and keeps you reading.

* Some details will stick with me forever. The Vial of blood and teeth. The beetles.

I rated this four stars instead of five for a few reasons that are a bit hard to pinpoint. There was nothing I disliked about this book but here a few reasons I didn’t rate it 5 stars.

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My Opinion:

* The world, although fascinating, didn’t work for me at first. After I started thinking of island in the terms of the tv series LOST instead of  I think of when I think of a Dystopian world it felt a little more realistic to me.
* The plot seemed to fall into place to EASY. There are many excellent setbacks and twists but something about it just felt off.  I never felt that the character was in grave danger even when she was in the midst of it but it was still interesting enough to keep me reading. Honestly, I think my expectations of what I thought the book was going to be was what caused me not to rate it five stars.  It was more sci-fi than I was anticipating.
* The end. I hope this is a series because the end left me hanging and not in a good way. I needed a little more resolution even if it is a series.

Want Owlcrate? Get it here.

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Overall, this is a fantastic book that is easy to dive into and get lost in. It has a lot of tech and sci-fi elements, suspense and  I can see this series blooming into something addictive.

Motivation Monday: 5 Tips to help you get and stay motivated.

Are you struggling to stay motivated? Procrastinating? You are in good company. I have been having those issues that last two weeks. It was beyond frustrating. It seemed that the more I focused on the problem the bigger it got.

I am the sort of person who likes to get to the root of the problem and fix it. I did some research, soul searching, and then came up with a plan to put into action. I wanted to share some of what I learned with you.

Watch my 5 Tips for Motivation Video

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What was causing my lag in motivation?

Summer. That’s my excuse and I am sticking to it. I adore summer. Hot weather, swimming, and not having to take the kids to school are all things that make me smile. I made the mistake of trying to do too many work related things. I felt like I was missing the summer fun and suddenly writing became a chore.

The next issue was that I did not have dedicated end time for my work day. I  was spending a lot of my evening time writing and working. All of that caught up with me and I found myself procrastinating about writing and then feeling guilty. On my research quest about I discovered a profound truth.

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Are you getting a bigger reward from NOT DOING the task than you are from finishing it?

Think about it. While procrastinating about writing I was doing things I enjoy. Reading, taking photos, playing around online, and swimming. I was rewarding myself for not doing the task. Even though I felt guilty about not writing I was still getting enjoyment from the things I was doing instead of writing.  The trick is to flip this. Reward yourself for finishing the task not putting it off.

5 Tips To Get & Stay Motivated:

  1. Make a list of Instant Gratification Rewards: Make a list of small but enjoyable things that you can reward yourself with immediately after finishing the task. Example: Write 30 minutes and then reward yourself by watching a funny video, reading a few pages, or having a treat.
  2. Use your rewards: Remember the key is that instant gratification. You want the rewards to keep you motivated. If you cheat yourself out of the reward you may find yourself lagging in motivation and rewarding yourself by procrastinating.
  3. Make a detailed schedule: Have a clear start and end time for the task. Don’t just plan to write 30 minutes today. Plan to write 30 minutes between blank time and blank time. Give yourself a deadline.
  4. Flexibility: Allow yourself some flexibility when things you can not control derail your plan. Don’t beat yourself up or feel guilty. This will only set you up for procrastination.
  5. Remove Distractions: When you have specific deadline and time set for the task set yourself up to succeed by removing all distractions.

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This week is already off to a great start. I took 3 days off from writing to research and enjoy life.  On Saturday morning I wrote 3000 words for Camp NaNoWriMo and it was amazing because my motivation was back.

What helps you stay motivated? What rewards to you rely on to stay motivated?

 

 

Writer Tool Kit: Is Skillshare worth it?

Is Skillshare worth the cost? Let’s take a look the pro’s, con’s, and my personal experience.

Writers Took Kit: Skillshare Video

Skillshare is an online learning community where anyone can discover, take, or even teach a class. They have over 15000 classes, 2 million students and payout over 5 million to teachers. The classes are presented in video format. In most cases,  the instructor provides optional assignments. You can post your work and communicate with the teacher. They have  free classes and premium classes that you pay a monthly (auto debit) fee for and are able take as many classes as you can cram into your schedule

 

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My experience:

  I was instantly intrigued by Skilshare. I love suck up knowledge. On my first search  I didn’t find any free classes that appealed to me. So,  I decided to activate the free trial for access to a wider variety of classes. I wasn’t in the mood to enter my credit/debit card information at the time. I intended to do it later.

And I forgot about it.

When a fellow writer recommended it, I decided to give it another try.  I am glad that I did. I have been a premium (paid) member for two months. One month was a free trial. I have taken at least 15 classes and for me it is worth the cost. The knowledge gained has been immediately helpful to me. The classes I selected were focused on marketing, promotion, and building an audience. I have not taken any of the writing classes that they offer.

The Pros:

  • Wide variety of classes and instructors to choose from.
  • You can take as many classes as you like.
  • Work at your own pace.
  • Skip head in a lesson or go back.
  • You can retake the same class if you wish.
  • Community learning environment
  • New classes are constantly being added.

The Cons:

  • Sifting through the many classes to find the best one can be time consuming.
  • The quality of the videos and instruction varies from class to class. Most are well done but I have found a few that were not worth my time.
  • The monthly billing.  They will not forget but you might! Not only the impending charge but that you have a multitude of classes at your disposal.

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Skill Share might be worth it for you if

  • You enjoy video based classes.
  • You like the flexibility of working at your own pace.
  • You love learning enough to fully utilize the classes that are available. In other words, are you just going to sign up, take a class or two and then forget about it? If so, the free trial might be perfect for you, as long as you don’t forget to cancel it.
  • If you can remember to cancel your subscription if you are not using it enough to justify the cost.

 

Free 60 day trial

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Tips for using Skillshare

  • Watch the intro video to each class. It can be tempting to skip but this will give you a good idea if the instructor and content is worth your time.
  • Do the assignments. Yes, they are optional, but you will get more out of it if you put more into it.
  • Decide what you want to learn before browsing the classes. This will help you stay focused on taking classes that fit your personal goals instead of being tempted by other classes.

What are your thoughts on Skillshare? Have you used it? Do you have a favorite class or instructor?

Cup of Inspiration Tips: Relax, Refuel, & Recharge

Do you feel guilty about taking time for yourself? Do you find it difficult to find time to relax or to actually relax when you do find time? If so, today’s post and accompanying video is for you.

Video Link to the related video

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Let’s deal with the guilt issue and get it out of the way.  This is something I have dealt with since becoming a parent. It is built from an unrealistic expectation of myself that I need to be focused on everyone’s needs before my own.

The truth is that taking time for yourself is a benefit to others as well as yourself. It took me years to figure out that if I am in a good place it is easier to handle the needs of others. The opposite is also very true. If I have not taken time for myself I much more likely to be frustrated, rushed, and emotional. This is not good for me or anyone in my path.

No time to relax? We live in a society that praises busyness. We are often torn between so many obligations that we can’t catch our breath. It might surprise you to learn that you may have more time available than you think .

I recommend tracking your time for an entire week and charting it so that you can see exactly where your time is going. If you find wasted time you find a way to schedule in time for yourself in that spot.

If you don’t find a lot of gaps of time in your day or week it may be time to reevaluate some of your choices and commitments. I found  The Best Yes, By Lysa Turkeurst to be a great resourse for my own busy issues.  It focuses on helping you say yes to the best things and no to the things that work against the best things – even if they are good things.

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Make a list of what is relaxing to you. This is different for everyone. I love a hot bubble bath with book, candles and wine. Grabbing a good book, a glass of ice tea and heading outside to read is another way I relax. A great massage, lunch with friends, and yoga are other great options for me.  It is nice to have a list of what works for you in the event you end up with unexpected free time.

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Schedule it. That is right. Schedule that me time  into your life. I find it best to schedule my me time after I have completed the most pressing tasks. This allows me relax without feeling pressured by those tasks.

Can’t Relax?   Multitasking while you “relax” could be the culprit. If you are checking emails while you watch T.V., checking social media while your read, or answering phone calls during your massage you are not fully relaxed or focused.

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Multitasking can be a good thing but it doesnt promote relaxation. Make sure you are fully present in your me time. Take note of the things that tempt you to distraction and remove them. Silence your phone. Turn off the wi-fi. Put on some headphones. Do whatever it takes to remove the distractions. You will be better equipped to do all those tasks after you.

Do you have any relaxation or time management tips to share? What is your perfect idea of relaxation? I would love to hear your thoughts and comments.

Check out the video – same topic but not the same content!

Book Love Review: The Sun Is Also A Star

This is my favorite YA contemporary EVER. And yes, I liked it better than EVERYTHING EVERYTHING. This was an audiobook selection and I highly recommend the audio version of this.

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What I loved about this book:

* Natasha. This girl is facts, science, and action. She is doing everything she can to avoid being deported. I love how we see another side of her character she falls for Daniel and her backstory is revealed. I feel like Natasha would have been a romantic dreamer if she had not been so heavily influenced by her father’s failures.

*Daniel: This boy is a romantic dreamer who is still trying to be person his family expects. He is so opposite of Natasha that they shouldn’t fall in love but they do. Falling in love with Natasha changes him but it also helps him embrace who he is and let go of some of the things he is planning to do to please his parents.

 

*The Insight into secondary characters: I love that reading this book you get an inside look at what is going on with the secondary characters that at first glance don’t seem to have much to do with the story. However, all of the stories tie together and so many lives are affected in ways that the main characters don’t see. Daniel’s father doesn’t go as far as to tell Daniel why he has the expectations for Daniel that he does but as the reader we are privy to that information. I can’t help but wonder how their relationship could have changed, if his father had simply shared that with him. I won’t say more about the secondary stories because I don’t want to give away a big spoiler. I will just stay, things come together in the end.

* Diversity: I loved the way you two different people from two different cultures are brought together. I think the cultural portrayals of Daniel, Natasha, and their families are beautifully and realistically done. I found myself pulling for them but at the same time understanding some of the reasons that there parents are against them because of the parents own cultural backstories.

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Overall, I adore this book. Yes, it is a bit of an Insta romance, but it works in this novel because it is about how two people with very different outlooks on life can fall in love and are changed by the romance, even if it doesn’t turn out the way they want. It is so much more than a romance because so many people are affected by characters and their choices.

You Should Read this if:

  • You are a romantic at heart.
  • You enjoy movies and books about seemingly unconnected people being connected. Think Love Actually or other movies that follow multi stories that are loosely related.
  • You enjoyed EVERYTHING EVERYTHING. The author’s style flows in both books.

This book gave me a ALL the feels. I laughed, I cried, and for a brief moment I wanted to throw the book at the wall. I was fully invested in these characters and it held my attention from start to finish.