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365 Challenge: Day 332 – Rumours

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Rumours: title of a book written by a good friend currently in need of a few beta readers

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As an author, I totally know how important it is to find a solid group of beta readers who can provide feedback on your work. I’ve been lucky enough to connect with a few in the last year, and one of them is Claire, blogger extraordinaire… but Claire is also a writer and published author. She completed a novel last year that I beta read a few times (she packs a lot of emotion, lust and power into her work), and it’s now with an editor and being shopped through various literary agencies and publishers. She’s completed a draft of a second novel that is a sorta spin-off of the first in the use of a few common characters. I haven’t read it yet because I’ve been focused on my own work, but I plan to read it sometime in the next 2 to 5 weeks. Claire mentioned that she was looking to add a few more folks to the early-read team. I thought it might be fun to beta read it at the same time as someone else I chat with on the blog… so that’s the point of today’s post. Rumour has it she’s got another winner… and I like spelling this the British way! I feel like sharing (with her permission of course) this next beta read… who’s interested?  Details below… feel free to private message me if you wanna know more about how this process works. Or you can message Claire directly through the site link below. We can line up our schedules and partner on providing feedback and input. Who’s with us?

*** Message from Claire @ BrizzleLass Books, Author ***

I have finished draft one and am just tidying a few bits and pieces up so that the book is ready to be read. It will be sent out by Friday 16 February at the latest and I would like responses by 30 March giving 6 weeks to complete the readthrough and feedback.

As this is the first draft I’m not looking for detailed analysis of grammatical issues. This is about the story and characters. I need to know:

  • Does the story flow?
  • Are there areas where it feels clunky? That something is missing? That something within the story doesn’t make sense? Etc
  • Are the characters believable?
  • What emotions do the characters pull from you? You don’t have to like them but they should affect you
  • Does the dialogue work? Is there too much, not enough, is it in the right places? And does it work with the narrative?

Hopefully this gives you an idea what I am looking for. So a bit about Rumours.

It is an Adult Contemporary Romance…there are some hot steamy sex scenes, so please don’t take this gig if this is something that may offend you!

This Bio is a rough draft and hasn’t been finalised in any way but I wanted to give you a taste of what the book is about…

Mark is a professional cellist, he’s also a semi-professional player. He has never settled with any girl for any length of time, but since his best friend found the love of his life, he’s realised there is something missing in his life. Wedding Photographer, Blair had her heart ripped from her chest just weeks before her wedding when she found out her fiancé hadn’t just cheated on her but had a family with the other woman. She has avoided relationships for the years since, terrified of losing her heart and feeling that betrayal again. When the two are introduced by a mutual friend sparks fly, but can two people with such broken pasts build any kind of future together?

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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Book Review: The Resurrection of Joan Ashby by Cherise Wolas

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Why This Book 
The publisher of The Resurrection of Joan Ashby, written in 2017 by Cherise Wolas, emailed me late last year to see if I’d be interested in reading the novel. I accepted the challenge and put it on my TBR, agreeing to read within the next few months. As I was cleaning out my TBR, I noticed this was still sitting in my queue, hence it became one of my first reads in 2018.

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Plot, Characters & Setting 
Joan Ashby as a young girl wanted to be a writer. She wrote all the time, publishing her first book by 23 to rave reviews. She even had a list of things to do, which included never to fall in love or have a family. Writing was all she ever wanted until she met a man, fell in love, married and had a child. Then a second. Even though she and her husband had agreed – no children! The book chronicles her life from about 23 to 53, covering the growth and maturity of herself and her two children, including the ups and downs of her relationship with the husband. Set in various cities between the US and India, Joan raises her family, writes and travels, all trying to find herself and be the best woman she can be. She meets many influential women who help organize her life and path, deals with devastating actions from each of her family members, and learns how to deal with something always stepping in the way of her success. It’s literary fiction — a true novel that will make you think about personal choices, giving up things for others and understanding when it’s okay to be selfish.

Approach & Style 
I read a physical copy of this ~550 page book over the course of 4 days, a majority of it on two 2-hour train rides near NYC where I live. There are ~50 chapters, each between 10 and 15 pages long, telling the story in third person POV. This is not your typical novel in that it only follows around the main characters; instead, it is two different books within one novel. Approximately 2/3 of the novel, ~ 350 pages, are the story of Joan Ashby’s life, but the other ~200 pages are short stories or sections of various novels that the author Joan Ashby has written throughout her career; these stories provide deeper layers into her thoughts and relationships, as she often tells the story of her own life through other characters. To be honest, while some of the stories were helpful, having ~200 pages of this book dedicated to that style was way too much. I found myself skimming those sections all too often, understanding I might have missed a few key points of the overall novel, but happier to focus on one drama at a time!

Strengths 
The story is simple, yet full of complexity and intensity. Joan’s approach to life, her internal thoughts and what she actually says and does, vary distinctly and vastly. This is the greatest strength of the novel — a woman readers will identify with, but also get angry with. Choices are presented in a light and casual manner, yet all the ramifications are immense.

Her sons are painted with a beautiful set of images and words. They are real, but they feel so far away. You want to hug them one moment, then cover their heads with a pillow case and smother them the next. BTW… it’s an expression — I’m not advocating this as a method to handle people you don’t particularly like at any given moment. And for the sake of irony, I’m writing this as if I were thinking exactly like Joan. It is my life/review to do what I will. LOL

On a more serious note, it’s spectacular when it’s spectacular, which is at least 50% of the book. The story pulls you in. The characters are diverse and basic, yet charming and frustrating. It’s a fine balance, and Wolas impeccably draws a wide array of issues and reactions that keep you thinking and page-turning to guess what Joan may say or do next. Just reading about Joan’s daily routine was vivid and exciting, even when it was merely running errands around town.

Concerns 
As mentioned earlier, the stories within the story were just too plentiful. A few were touching and provided some much needed balance to the overall narrative of Joan’s life story. Some went on for twenty pages and truly felt like a roadblock to a successful read of the book. Perhaps as a separate collection of shorts, I might have enjoyed them more. Instead, I found myself eager to get back to the main plot, feeling a bit overwhelmed, and in need of a red pen to edit!

I struggled a bit in the beginning with Joan’s attitude towards a few things in her life. She eagerly tells us how and why she treats her two sons differently, but everything else about her is balanced and fair. She chose to keep the pregnancies, despite not wanting children. She never seemed like someone who would treat them differently, but it was a key aspect of the novel, so I suspended a bit of disbelief and kept on moving… in the end, it’s important to the overall perspective of her behavior, but I think it needed another round of analysis on why Joan behaved the way she did in certain circumstances. Too little left out in some areas, too much included in others.

Summary & Next Steps 
Undoubtedly, Wolas is an amazing writer. Some of the passages were lyrical, intense and magnificent. I could never write like she does, I vividly recall thinking at a few moments. If Wolas can produce a novel like that, without all the additional superfluous or extraneous, I’ll be the first in line to buy it. But if it’s another like this, I would TBR it, but not rush for it. I would like to meet her — she seems quite brilliant, but in need of a push in more defined direction. I’m not saying I’d be the one to push her… just curious to see how she thinks in person on the fly, as opposed to a cultivated piece of writing. All-in-all, I’m glad I read this book and I really enjoyed large portions of it. If you can accept the things I noted as concerns, you’ll find some wonderful beauty in her writing style and choice of focus and perspective.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon. I write A LOT. I read A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.
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365 Challenge: Day 292 – Crash (Author Alert: Lina Langley)

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Crash: (a) collision, (b) name of a company in a cool book, or (c) 365 Daily Challenge word for today’s author alert — Lina Langley

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If you are new to the ThisIsMyTruthNow blog, the 365 Daily Challenge, or the Author Alert segment, check out the About Site section from the main menu. Below are some key things to know about this author, but at the end of this post, you’ll see the permanent page I’ve added to my blog. You can return to check out more on who (s)he is, what (s)he is writing and how to buy any future work. 

I am pleased to present the very talented Lina Langley. Lina and I met about one year ago when we were reading each other’s draft work. She was helpful with feedback and suggestions on very early versions of my debut novel, which I will always be grateful for. I’ve read one of her more recent novels and can’t wait to jump into more in 2018. You’ll find my review of Welcome to Crash here.

Lina’s novels bring dynamic characters and interesting conflicts to the forefront of the story. You immediately connect with them, but you’re not sure how/where you want it to end up. It’s increased my interest in reading other genres with surprising elements I didn’t know I’d enjoy — I won’t say much as I don’t want to give away the plot or the cleverness within the story. It wasn’t at the forefront of the book I read, but it touches the surface in a way you find yourself drawn in… wanting more. It’s a different kind of read – a good one – something that will push your boundaries and offer a great surprise and connection.

Without any delay, let’s hear from Lina…

———-

Welcome to Crash isn’t a romance.

I can see how it would be easy to expect a romance. I half-expected it to be a romance myself, when I first started writing it. And don’t get me wrong, I love a good romance. I love writing romance. It’s one of my favourite genres!

So I set out to write a poly m/m/m with one of my all-time favourite tropes. But that wasn’t what Welcome To Crash became at all—the relationships are important and romance is a huge part of the story, but the story isn’t about the romances.

The story is just about Damien. He’s 20-year-old visual arts student with epilepsy, and things are changing rapidly for him.

But regardless of what happens around him, or to him, the story is about Damien. Who Damien is as a person, from the beginning to the end, the decisions he makes, the person he chooses. It never becomes about anything else, not even when everything around Damien begins to change.

Damien is an oblivious character,  which is necessary, in some ways, for the plot. But he’s oblivious in other ways too, in ways that don’t immediately make sense. His obliviousness is something of a defense mechanism. Damien is both extremely vulnerable and detached.

In a way, the story is about bringing these two parts of his personality together to make him whole, and how he’s trying to do that.

So if you decide to read the book, don’t expect a romance. What you should expect is a real mess.

A relatable, young, sweet mess, who is totally trying his best. Even though sometimes it doesn’t feel like it, not even to himself.

 

Links To Learn More About This Great Author

http://linalangley.com/

https://www.subscribepage.com/langleyreader

 

To see more about Lina Langley on ThisIsMyTruthNow, check out the author’s dedicated page where future content and books will added as (s)he publishes them and I review them. Thanks for stopping by this edition of the Author Alert.


 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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365 Challenge: Day 286 – Break

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Break: interruption (in continuity, sequence, or course) — as ‘Father Figure’ was sent to beta readers

break

 

I submitted the second draft of ‘Father Figure’ to the beta reader team last night. I asked for feedback in three (3) weeks by January 11, 2018, which gives me a break from writing and editing. It is much needed, as my head is a pile of goo right now. I plan to take the week off between the holidays, only to write the 365 Daily Challenge posts, and to read a few books. I will start drafting the 2018 marketing plan for Watching Glass Shatter right after the new year, then dive into the short story collection, beginning with Ethan.

I’ve updated the draft/tentative book summary for Father Figure below. My second novel has ~115K words (20% longer than Glass) and stands at 318 pages, which is funny, as that’s my birth date. It’s broken into 32 chapters with two primary characters and timelines. It’s contemporary fiction, centered around family drama, with a few elements of romance, mystery and suspense. It also has a relatively sizable diversity theme, and potentially geared towards young adults, but that’s not the primary focus. I’m still deciding how I feel about it… some moments, I think it’s 90% done and just requires a bit of input on a few open items. Other times, I am curious if it should be two separate books with more intensity added to separate the two story-lines. I look forward to the break and hearing all the beta reader thoughts. Hopefully it sounds intriguing! Many thanks to the team reading this draft.

Summary of Father Figure (UPDATED)

  • Amalia Graeme, sheltered and abused for most her life in Mississippi, longs to escape her difficult family and small hometown in 1984. When her older brother returns with his best friend by his side, Amalia is tempted to have her first experience with a boy that summer. As they head off to college for her first year and his senior year, she begins to learn about life and love, battling her loss of innocence with a new attraction she’s developed to an older professor. After she suffers a few personal tragedies, Amalia is forced to head back home, uncertain how to handle the permanent impacts on her life and future. No matter where she turns, someone or something always takes away the possibility of her hope to find happiness and to escape.
  • Brianna Porter is a typical angst-ridden teenager living in New York City in 2004, struggling to choose a college, build confidence in herself and interpret intimidating and growing feelings for her best friend. But for Brianna, these paralytic decisions all stem from desperately needing to meet the father whom her mother refuses to discuss, before she can accept her own identity and determine her life purpose. When her best friend suggests hiring a detective, and they stumble upon her mother’s old journal, Brianna learns a shocking secret about her father, rocked by a truth that could completely change both their futures. It may be too late to deal with the impacts of unleashing a history that was meant to stay buried for many reasons. When it leads to someone’s death, Brianna must come to terms with the choices she’s made and what is left of her own future.

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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365 Challenge: Day 284 – Polish

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Polish: to make something shiny and smooth, like a final manuscript

polish

I’ve been writing my posts the night before they are published for the last few days, which made my mornings much easier and quicker. Last night, W and I went out for a celebration dinner for our 6th anniversary, so there was no post writing time. I went to bed much later than usual and therefore didn’t get up as early as normal today. I needed a quick word, as today is the final day before I send Father Figure back out to beta readers. One person tried to distract me this morning with multiple voice messages — teasing me about the many typo issues in my texts last night while I was possibly slightly just a tad little wee bit intoxicated… I blame the cab ride bouncing me all over the place while trying to type. But another person suggested the word ‘polish.’ I quickly went to find a definition and graphic, but it took ten minutes. Google kept thinking I meant “Polish,” as in the nationality of people from Poland. It was quite a laugh and struggle to find something usable; thank you to Claire @ BrizzleLass Books for the 365 Daily Challenge word today. To the one who tried to distract me, you will be punished! 😛

Today I will do a final read-thru of my manuscript before I send it tomorrow to 6 beta readers who will have a few weeks to provide feedback before the editor get is for proofreading. I’ll have a separate post this weekend about the current state, but for now, I’m off to polish the manuscript. I shall see you tomorrow with a very exciting Author Alert on Cathleen Townsend!

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My debut novel, Watching Glass Shatter, can be purchased on Amazon @ http://mybook.to/WGS. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.

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Watching Glass Shatter: Blog Tour BONUS News & Winners

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The Watching Glass Shatter book blog tour came to an end yesterday. It was an amazing 16-Day blogging phenomena, and I’m grateful to everyone who participated. A few updates from this week to announce:

Favorite Character Poll

Blog Tour Posts

Giveaway Winner

  • Jina @ Author Inspirations hosted a GIVEAWAY for a free e-copy of the book on 11/20. The winner is Ann Marie Palladino. Both Jina and I have sent her a copy of the book. Congratulations and thank you to everyone for entering.

Book Club Mom Interview

Bonus Blog Tour Special Post

  • Rae from Powerful Women Readers was our bonus stop on the blog tour. Check out one of my favorite person’s thoughts on the book, then spend some time on her site to see all the great content she and a group of fantastic ladies have posted.
  • WATCHING GLASS SHATTER by James J. Cudney: A Review

Watching Glass Shatter: Blog Tour Day 16b – Two Posts & Bonus Surprise

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As the blog tour comes to an end this week, we have today’s final scheduled post from Brina @ 5171 Mile Book Club — thank you to her for taking a chance on me and reading the book. I appreciate her joining the blog tour team. Go check out her site!

We also have a fun Q&A about the book launch with a wonderful author, Cathleen Townsend. You should all check out her site below (first link) and see her books. I’ll be doing a review on one of them in the next few weeks. It sounds great. 🙂

SPECIAL SURPRISE: Tomorrow is a fellow blogger’s birthday and she will be releasing her own book review / post on Watching Glass Shatter. She and I have been chatting since the beginning of my blog, and she wanted to do a BONUS final post to end the blog tour. I’m so excited and can’t wait to see it. Stay tuned tomorrow 11/21 for the conclusion of the tour!

via Watching Glass Shatter by James J. Cudney–Book Review and Author Interview

via Watching Glass Shatter – Review / Blog Tour