story

Book Review: A Smidge of Crazy by Barbara Venkataraman

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I’m a fan of Barbara Venkataraman‘s writing style, stories and characters. She’s written several humorous essays and the Jamie Quinn mystery series. In her latest release, another fun essay, A Smidge of Crazy, a short-n-quick read, Venkataraman gets a little personal covering some hysterical memoirs and happenings thus far in her life. Perhaps some are true, perhaps some are just ways to entertain us. Either case, they make you laugh from start to finish. From the thought of buying Depends undergarments to how many different people could possibly be related in her family, she brings a great wit and head shake to each story in the collection. Some are just a few paragraphs, others are two to three pages, but each has an insight that will make you go “oh, I’ve said/done/thought THAT before.” Maybe we’re not all that different in the end, right? Great mini-release to get me through until her next Jamie Quinn book… thank you!

smidge

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. 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. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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Book Review: Where the Moose Slept by Atwood Cutting

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Book Review: ‘Where the Moose Slept’ by Atwood Cutting (fellow blogger!)

desksdssd

Why This Book 
I met a wonderful blogger about three months ago who I began exchanging emails with each week, chatting about books, life, and many other topics. After a while, she casually mentioned her book, which of course led me to reading a little more about it and her. I recently started a new segment on my blog called ‘Author Alert,’ where new authors can share a message with my friends and followers – Atwood Cutting, author of Where the Moose Slept: An Account of Two Late-20th Century Pioneers Who “Saw the Elephant” on the Last Frontier, is today’s (Fri 12/15) latest author. But first I had to finish reading her book this week and write this review…

Approach & Style 
I read this ~300 page book via Kindle Reader on my iPad in 4 hours over three days. It is a cross between fiction and non-fiction, as it is a true account, almost a journal, of a woman and her family’s experiences; however, a few things were changed around in how the story was told so that it reads more like a story. Atwood tells accounts of her life through letters home to her mother, in episodes focused on their trek around Alaska, and via pictures from the entire time period.

Plot, Characters & Setting 
Kate and Tim Peters were recently married, making the trek up to Alaska for the oil boom during the mid-1970s, several years after college. Picture frontier life in a more modern world (still didn’t have electricity in the beginning, tho!) and learning how to adapt to life in the wilderness where animals — and people — attack. Through building a home, getting to know their neighbors, learning how to adapt to married life, finding ways to earn money and survive, they meet some potentially life-long friends (I only read the first book… not sure of the ending even though I know and chat with the author) in this beautiful backdrop where the moose sleep – in search of seeing the elephant (you’ll have to read the book to know what that means).

Key Thoughts 
Atwood’s voice is the best part of the book. Writing an account of your life, understanding what to include about the mundane versus existing parts of your life, is critical. Through the characters, Kate and Tim, she achieves a charismatic and earthy combination of humanity. Life for many of us who live in a city or the suburbs seems difficult, but you don’t know difficult until you truly rough it on land that’s never been lived on before. Seeing (the pictures are fantastic) and reading about their lives gives you a bit of the goosebumps, worried for their safety and mental health. It can be lonely and cold; it can be dangerous and boring. But through trust and a strong relationships, two people can achieve a lot of success — success which is measured differently when you go through a non-traditional path (building your own house in frigid temperatures with practically no neighbors around in a place you’ve never been and no knowledge of how to make it all work!), but in the end, you still experience that wonderful amazement of knowing you did it all with your own two hands.

This is the kind of book you want to read when you are bored with mysteries or general fiction, when you need something inspirational without being pedantic. It’s a light yet heavy account of a really different side of life, one we should all experience for ourselves at some point. But if you’re not the kind of person who will rush off to Siberia or Alaska, then dive into this book for an intense picture of what it might be like. You’ll enjoy some of the sentimental moments and many humorous conversations between Kate and Tim. I won’t spoil them here, so go read it.

Summary 
I’m normally a fiction reader, who will throw in 5 to 10 non-fiction books each year. When I do, they’re usually based on a famous figure in history or a remarkable informational piece. When I chose Atwood’s book, I knew it would be a different kind of read because it was a personal journey with an incredibly charming voice — that alone makes it worth the read. But once I started it, the story became so much more. I look forward to reading more from this author and will keep on chatting with her to see how everything turns out in her life.

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.
Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

My Novel: Father Figure (Week 5 – Friday, August 4th, 2017)

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Shock accompanied my mouth as it dropped to the floor today when realizing it was Friday and another week had passed since our last Father Figure update. Are we seriously finishing the fifth week since I began writing this new novel? It must be true or I wouldn’t be writing up this post, so here we go with the weekly status:

writer

Status:  Friday, August 5, 2017 – Week #5

  • Research
    • I unfortunately avoided this again because I was heavily involved in editing and writing. It’s being pushed out another week. No real impact to the overall schedule.
  • Chapters 1 thru 3
    • I edited these chapters, cleaning up grammatical issues, passive voice, repetitions and missing dialogue tags.
    • It reads well, but I am not ready to share with with any beta readers at this point. I believe some of it might move to a later chapter and/or be pulled as background simply for me to know while writing future content.
    • Contains 23K words on 70 pages (way too long)
  • Chapters 4 thru 6
    • I wrote all 3 chapters this week, as per the plan and the outline.
    • I edited all three chapters on Friday afternoon similarly to the first few chapters, as noted above. They are in decent condition, but I’m not thoroughly happy with where they ended up. It needs a few days to idle before I re-read them and decide on the appropriate alterations.
    • Contains 13K words on 45 pages (about right)

 

 Next Steps: Plan for Week #6

  • Complete the research for setting locations and character personalities to incorporate very specific facts into the detailed descriptions and scenes
  • Write chapters 7 thru 9 with a target to end up in total at ~ 135 pages & 36K words
    • At this point, I’ll be 1/3 complete with a first draft
    • At that rate, with 7 more weeks to finish the remaining 2/3, a first draft will be ready by early October. I’m thinking I might have to pull this forward as I leave mid-September for a two-week vacation. I’d like a full draft completed beforehand, which means I need to start writing 4 chapters per week.
  • Edit Chapter 4 thru 6 to match tone and voice of earlier chapters

 

What’s on the author’s mind?

  • Who will beta read the first 3 chapters in late August? I’m searching for 4 people, as I have someone who beta read the first book and is formidable when calling me out for less than stellar writing.
  • Chapters 1 thru 3 are too long for the story I am telling. It’s important to capture readers’ attention by getting to the conflict and drama by ~ 15% into the book. My outline planned for that to happen in Chapter 5 and 6, which I’ve just completed; however, at this rate, the book would be 25% longer than planned due to my extra-wordiness. I’ve got a few options to mull over, but I think it will require a little bit of each of these items:
    • Do nothing except increase the planned total page and word count
    • Determine what needs to be cut as it was only initially included to help me flush out characters and relationships
    • Move a few small scenes and content to later chapters as I write future conflicts
  • I love these characters more than I had last week. Amalia has so much more depth than I had originally felt inspired to create within her. I Brianna has a wicked charm and sass about her, but I think it will resonate with those who enjoy the tone in my 365 posts.
  • I’m still a child, as whenever I reread the intimate scenes, I giggle. I can’t help it when I say certain words that don’t ordinarily come up in conversation. I might not make it through this exercise if I have to talk about cleavage anymore…

Not that I am the smartest, but the clip was too funny!

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Summary of Father Figure (only read if you’re new to the book)

  • 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, 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 the 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 her possibility of hope.
  • Brianna Porter is desperate to discover the purpose of her life, develop confidence in who she is, accept the consequences of who she has fallen in love with, and discover her father’s identity. Set twenty years in the future in New York City, there’s a connection between these two women’s stories that is about to be discovered. As Brianna stumbles upon her mother’s old journal, she learns a shocking secret about her father, rocked by a truth that could completely change the future. 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
I am a writer. I am currently searching for an agent and looking at independent publishing options for my first book, Watching a Glass Shatter. To see more, please check out the website for this novel where you will find the first 3 chapters, character bios and sample quotes.

I am writing my second novel, Father Figure, with plans to finish it in December, 2017. As part of the process to engage with my fans and followers, I am publishing a weekly status on the progress of this second book. For a description of this book, check out the post where my friends and followers voted for this book as my second novel.

Beyond these two books, I have a number of short stories, poems and other novels in various shapes and forms. I also read 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 also find TV & Film reviews, Tags, Awards, Age/Genre/Book Reads and Author Spotlights, as well as the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge.

You can also access 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. Vote in the poll and ratings. 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.

My Novel: Father Figure (Week 4 – Friday, July 28th, 2017)

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Last time we chatted, I’d just finished week #3’s update for Father Figure, the new novel I began writing earlier this month. For a summary of the novel, scroll to the bottom of the post. We have now arrived at the end of week #4 – and I cannot believe almost an entire month has occurred since I began this book; status follows below:

writer

Status:  Friday, July 28, 2017 – Week #4

  • Research Noted Last Week
    • Epic Fail! But that’s OK. I researched a few facts to keep myself pacing properly in the first few chapters, but I put off the remainder until next week because…
  • Writing Chapters 1 thru 3
    • Actually happened… well, 1 thru 2.75. I’m debating the end of the chapter.
    • 17K words, 53 pages
    • It’s too long, there’s a bit of fluff, and some will probably move to another chapter. But I expected 3500 words on average per chapter, which means I should have ended up at roughly 10K words this week. I’m 7k words ahead, which makes up for missing the research portions.

 

 

Next Steps: Plan for Week #5

  • Complete the research for the setting locations and character personalities to incorporate very specific facts into the detailed descriptions and scenes
  • Write chapters 4 thru 6 with a target to end up at about 85 pages and 25K words.
  • Edit Chapter 1 thru 3 to determine what stays, what goes and what moves to another chapter

 

 

What’s on the author’s mind?

  • In the last book, and a few other short stories, I included a few brief romantic scenes. Nothing too extensive, as it was mostly just closing out a chapter or an arc, referencing how someone met, etc. In this book, both the main characters have multiple love interests and there’s a critical story arc about the different men with whom the mother had a relationship and whom could be the girl’s father. I have to create very different seductive, romantic and passionate scenes and connections within each distinct relationship. That’s a challenge for me, as I haven’t done a lot of that type of writing previously.
    • I wrote two of them so far, one brief and one extensive. I have some editing to do, but I think I need to share those with a few people to see if hit the right balance between hot-n-bothered and falling-in-love; or not getting to R-rated!
    • I got all squirmy re-reading it, thinking to myself… “oh man, I’m like a voyeur right now in a dark room giggling at those two…”

  • I’m debating how ‘bad’ to make a certain character. (S)he is definitely not likable, but I’m experimenting with a range of “readers will want to kill her” versus “she’ll cause a few expletives from time to time, but otherwise, she’s typical for her role.” I can’t say much as I don’t want to reveal the story, but there’s something to be said for both angles… more thought needed here. For now, (s)he’s as bad as can be.
  • Who will beta read the first 3 chapters in late August? I’m searching for 4 people, as I have someone who beta read the first book and is formidable when calling me out for less than stellar writing.

 

 

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Summary of Father Figure (only read if you’re new to the book)

  • 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, 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 the 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 her possibility of hope.
  • Brianna Porter is desperate to discover the purpose of her life, develop confidence in who she is, accept the consequences of who she has fallen in love with, and discover her father’s identity. Set twenty years in the future in New York City, there’s a connection between these two women’s stories that is about to be discovered. As Brianna stumbles upon her mother’s old journal, she learns a shocking secret about her father, rocked by a truth that could completely change the future. 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
I am a writer. I am currently searching for an agent and looking at independent publishing options for my first book, Watching a Glass Shatter. To see more, please check out the website for this novel where you will find the first 3 chapters, character bios and sample quotes.

I am writing my second novel, Father Figure, with plans to finish it in December, 2017. As part of the process to engage with my fans and followers, I am publishing a weekly status on the progress of this second book. For a description of this book, check out the post where my friends and followers voted for this book as my second novel.

Beyond these two books, I have a number of short stories, poems and other novels in various shapes and forms. I also read 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 also find TV & Film reviews, Tags, Awards, Age/Genre/Book Reads and Author Spotlights, as well as the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge.

You can also access 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. Vote in the poll and ratings. 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.

Book Review: Lies She Told by Cate Holahan

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3+ out of 5 stars to Lies She Told, a thriller set to be released on September 12th by Cate Holahan. I enjoyed reading the book and look forward to sharing this review with you.

lies.jpg

Why This Book 
Many thanks to Crooked Lane Books, the publisher, for sending me this copy to read and review in advance as an ARC. They found me on Goodreads based on my reading tastes, reviews and ratings, suggesting this as a potential book I might find engaging. And they were right. I had it sitting on the shelf for a few weeks as I got through other books, but as all my NetGalley reads aren’t due until September, I had some time to squeeze this one in.

Plot, Characters & Setting 
Welcome to the concept of a book within a book… The primary story revolves around Liza Cole, an author living in the NYC metro area who’s had some good books and some not so good books. She’s been given a deadline to get the next one written since she won’t first draft an outline, which prompts her to dive head first into her own thrilling plot. While she’s writing the book, readers learn Liza’s trying to conceive a baby with her husband, David, but they’ve been unsuccessful due to a few issues she’s had in the past with uterine damage. David’s best friend, Nick, is presumed missing, which is setting off a few alarm bells. David starts worrying when they can’t find Nick and he’s being suspected of causing the disappearance. Eventually, his body is found in the East River, dying in a very similar way to the character in Liza’s book. Liza’s supported by her mother, agent Trevor and best friend, Chris.

In Liza’s story, her primary character, Beth, is a new stay-at-home mom who suspects her husband, Jake, is cheating on her. When she secretly monitors his behavior, Beth learns he has been spending a lot of time with a cop named Colleen. When she accuses her husband, he forces her to go to therapy, where Beth meets Tyler, a therapist who attempts to get her to realize she needs to end the marriage. Unfortunately, Beth isn’t ready and soon finds herself stalking Colleen. Next thing she knows, she’s killing Colleen and dumping her body in the East River, then sleeping with Tyler.

As the two stories begin weaving in and out, readers learn there are common things occurring in both, leaving us to question which one is real and which one is a story. Or perhaps… it’s all the same story happening from different perspectives. You don’t really know until the last few chapters when the random clues begin fitting together, revealing what has actually been happening along the path.

Approach & Style 
I read the paperback version sent to me by the publisher. It’s just under 300 pages, broken into three sections and alternating back and forth between the two story lines. There are 19 chapters, each dividing into two sub-chapters: (1) Liza and (2) Beth. As a result, chapters are relatively short, usually under 8 pages each. Both stories are told with first-person narration from the main female character’s point of view, and both are told in the present tense. I read the book over 3 days, about 100 pages each day.

Strengths 
The concept of the book is great. I love trying to solve not only the mystery within the novel, but also determining how the two stories would eventually link together and which was fake. I enjoy seeing parallels between the two lead characters and their families. The emotional aspects of the characters are strong and offer readers an easy connection. You can understand the pain and feel the impact of the actions happening around them. It’s full of suspense, some very descriptive scenes and lots of potential suspects and angles.

Concerns 
It was a hard read, and I’m normally good at keeping story lines separated. A few things that could have worked differently, which would have helped readers retain which characters belong in which section, as well as distinct from one another. Character names were too similar: Beth and Liza. I know this is supposed to help with the parallels, but it left you a tad confused at times. Jake and David. Sound a bit similar. Go with two very different options to help us keep it straighter. Something long, something short. I had to stop and start a lot. I don’t like to re-read the same thing over and over again. But I was OK here as it was a complex story, plotted out in a good way.

The ending came a bit from out of left field. You can guess the connection between reality and the made-up story, but why it happened was very unexpected. There were a few clues, but we needed more to not be fully surprised. I would have liked to be reading it and go “oh, now I understand how it ties all together.” Instead I went “Hmm… there were no clues of this before…” It wasn’t too much of a distraction, but it was enough to make me think the book needed another round of editing before its release. Add in a few more connected pieces of history. Make me impressed with the things I missed along the way.

Author & Other Similar Books 
The author has two other books prior to this one. I might give them a chance, depending on the plot and setting. I’ve read another book in the last few years like this one, but I can’t recall the title. It’s not a common story where there is 1 real story and 1 fake story an author is writing, which makes it a different type of read. You’re sure to be excited and thrilled at parts, but you will also be confused at some parts.

Questions & Final Thoughts 
The author can certainly write. She has a good eye for characters, setting and details. I’m glad the publisher sent this one to me, as I definitely found myself wanting to read it each night. But it was also one where I stopped a lot to check if the story had an error or if it was being written in a vague way on purpose. Overall, good book… lots of complexity in the details… good supporting characters and a treasure of relationship drama that you find quite engaging. Put it through another round of beta readers or editing and it would have been an easy 4 from me.

About Me 
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write 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 also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can 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. Vote in the poll and ratings. 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.

My Novel: Father Figure (Week 3 – Friday, July 21st, 2017)

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Last time we chatted, I’d just finished week #2’s update for Father Figure, the new novel I began writing earlier this month. For a summary of the novel, scroll to the bottom of the post. We have arrived at the end of week #3, which has been another productive one; status follows below:

writer

Status:  Friday, July 21, 2017 – Week #3

  • 30-page outline has been completed, containing:
    • Overview
    • Character biographies
      • Physical descriptions
      • Relationships
      • Key emotions
      • Voice and perspective
    • Setting/Location descriptions
    • Timeline
      • By year and month
      • Major events for all characters included
      • Includes before the book starts / takes place so references to history exist
    • Chapter descriptions
      • List of scenes and locations
      • Minimum five bullets per scene
      • Goal specified for each chapter
  • High-Level Writing Timeline
    • Prepared approximate page count by chapter (based on goals and scenes)
    • Noted expected # of writing and editing days by chapter
    • Estimated 12 weeks of solid writing and first round editing with beta reader feedback included

Outline Complete!

 

Next Steps: Plan for Week #4

  • Research the setting locations and character personalities to incorporate very specific facts into the detailed descriptions and scenes
  • Write chapters 1 thru 3 (Note: I am prepared one whole week earlier than targeted!)

 

What’s on the author’s mind?

  • It was a productive week as far as outlining a lot of the details going into this book. I am very clear on the motivations of both primary characters, but I know it’s not complete. I will adjust as I go, but I have a good enough focus to start writing.
  • Diversity will be very important in this story. It’s not a story about the struggles of people who come from a diverse background, but a story of two women who handle situations in very different manners. And, oh yeah, they just happened to come from a diverse background. The central theme is discovering who you are, how you achieve your goals and where you draw your strength from.
  • I need to begin thinking about how to publish this novel. Will I look towards a traditional publisher through a literary agent? Will I consider self-publishing through Amazon or Lulu.com? Or is there an ideal in-between method?
  • When do I want to create a website for the book and start drumming up some hype?
  • Who will beta read the first 3 chapters in mid to late August?

 

Summary of Father Figure (only read if you’re new to the book)

  • 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, 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 the 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 her possibility of hope.
  • Brianna Porter is desperate to discover the purpose of her life, develop confidence in who she is, accept the consequences of who she has fallen in love with, and discover her father’s identity. Set twenty years in the future in New York City, there’s a connection between these two women’s stories that is about to be discovered. As Brianna stumbles upon her mother’s old journal, she learns a shocking secret about her father, rocked by a truth that could completely change the future. 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
I am a writer. I am currently searching for an agent and looking at independent publishing options for my first book, Watching a Glass Shatter. To see more, please check out the website for this novel where you will find the first 3 chapters, character bios and sample quotes.

I am writing my second novel, Father Figure, with plans to finish it in December, 2017. As part of the process to engage with my fans and followers, I am publishing a weekly status on the progress of this second book. For a description of this book, check out the post where my friends and followers voted for this book as my second novel.

Beyond these two books, I have a number of short stories, poems and other novels in various shapes and forms. I also read 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 also find TV & Film reviews, Tags, Awards, Age/Genre/Book Reads and Author Spotlights, as well as the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge.

You can also access 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. Vote in the poll and ratings. 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.

365 Challenge: Day 109 – Momentary

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Momentary: lasting for a very short time; brief

My left eyelid fluttered open a moment before my right, then promptly closed in protection from the blaring stare of the sun searing towards its core. The warmth of the air dancing on my skin comforted me until the gentle breeze alerted the entirety of my surroundings. The dirt was firm yet it felt soft against the tips of my fingers and the curve of my neck, as I realized I lay flat on my back. I looked all around, breathing in the lustrous scent of a familiar flower and listening to the faint and unremarkable hum of an insect’s life beating somewhere nearby. Two questions immediately plagued my semi-conscious mind: Where was I and what was I doing on the ground?

groumd.jpg


At some point today, preferably during the light of day, find five (5) minutes where you can be alone and uninterrupted. While five (5) minutes is a lot of time to ask, it’s really not compared to the vast number of minutes remaining in your life. And though it can be difficult with our jobs and families around, it is important to embrace these moments of solitude to allow any chance of success in this experiment. Close your eyes. Forget everything going on and every person in your life. Let your mind relax. Ignore anything trying to penetrate its borders. And in these five (5) minutes, do five (5) things if you can:

  • Open your eyes and focus on something living and breathing — other than a fellow human being.
  • Attune your ears to a sound made in nature — not produced by humankind.
  • Inhale a deep breath through your nose and contemplate where it came from.
  • Taste a piece of gum or mint, your lunch or run your tongue against the back of your teeth and gums.
  • Touch something nearby that appeals to you, or even gently run your fingertips against one another and think about that sensation.

How do you feel? What are you thinking about during each of these five (5) moments?

senses


Have you ever truly taken a moment to think about the fact that you are real? Not contemplating life and death. Not being thankful you are alive. Not grateful you have time to pursue the things you want to do in life. I mean that you are a living organism… a sentient being with abilities and functions that maintain your ability to see, smell, hear, taste and touch? Recognize what’s happening without you knowing your body took several steps to make that action happen.

That’s what I thought about this morning when I woke up. I imagined a dying person laying in their bed, knowing that they have less than ten breaths left before their days are over. I thought about my own life, sensing my chest’s slight move upward and downward, the air conditioner’s constant mechanical breathing, noticing the appearance of my bedroom and began wondering… everything around us is happening without an acute sense of awareness truly understanding it. And in those moments, I realized how little I know about life. How do my eyes choose what to see? What alerts my ears and nose to recognizing something I like and dislike? Does the texture of something feel the same to me as it does to someone else?

It’s moments like these ones where you realize and accept how small what you are thinking is in comparison to the vastness surrounding you. But it also means you have so much opportunity to learn and grow. I got out of bed and followed my normal early morning routine, then sat down on the couch with my coffee and started this post. But I started just writing whatever was in my mind… and that’s where the first paragraph came from. A moment. That’s all it takes for something to quickly change from bad to good, or good to bad. And these things happen around us, often without our control or knowledge of it even occurring.

No special point today. I’m not saying “Live life to the fullest.” I’m not realizing “It could all end in a moment’s notice.” I’m not suggesting we all make some sort of change. Just saying I took a moment… five moments… to use my senses to understand what was happening inside and outside of me. And this is where I ended up. Where will you end up?

 

About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. 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.