Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Great Review and the Happiest Win!

First the bad news. I'm not writing as much as I planned this month. There are lots of "excuses" but I think the real reason is I'm letting my head hold onto the pressure. All my friends keep asking, "So when will the next book be available?" My mom, "You've got to write the next one faster so I can read it." And so on.

The good  news? I know what I need to do to fix my head problem.

LOL, no, but really. I need to forget that anyone ever read the first book. Forget that some of them are anxiously awaiting another book. Forget the things I found "lacking" in that first book as well as the fact that something important got edited out of the ending. My 15 year old pointed it out when she finished reading. The conversation went like this.

15--"Mom, I loved the book, but it was a bit confusing at the end. You never said what they were going to do. You hinted they were going to do something, but then you just dropped it."
Me--"Maybe you missed it. They're going to Jaron's planet, it's there right before they return to Joharadin for the coronation."
15--"No, you just say," flipping through the book to find the page, "blah, blah blah...."
Me--*head to the wall* I can't believe I missed that!

Now one of the reviews makes perfect sense.

Wait, wait! Okay, I was going to say how I'm going to get my writing groove back on.

1. Concentrate on the positive
There have been some wonderful reviews. I'm taking Carrie Butler's advice from Alex Cavanaugh's Friday post and starting an ADF (Anti Depression Folder) where I keep all the great reviews. Ones like I'm going to post at the bottom.

2. Forget You
Not you the blog or my lovely followers. But forget that other people are going to read this book. It's keeping me from writing that crappy first draft. I need to write it for me in all it's wordy, passive, detailed and often full of backstory glory. Then I can come back and make it readable for other people.

*sigh* I feel better already.

Now, for the WIN moment of last week. 

My 13 year old came home from school, walked into the kitchen giddy.
13--"Mom, I finished your book today! It was SO good. Surprisingly so."
Me--"You did? What was your favorite part?"
13--"I don't know."
Several hours later...it's 10 PM and I'm walking into her room to tell her to turn off her light and go to sleep. She's snuggled up in bed with my book.
Me--"What are you doing?"
13--"Just re-reading my favorite parts."
Me--"Oh? You figured out what it was? What was it?"
13--"When they're on the tram, and then the cave, and when they're running from the Dragumon, and ...."
Me--"So basically the last half of the book?"
Me--"And you just re-read the last half of the book?"
Big grins from 13--"Yep"
Me, now dumbfounded and giddy, walks away with nothing else to say.

How awesome is that??

And finally. Here's the kind of review I want to write for now on. It's specific about what she liked.

I am not a science fiction fan.  I am not a fantasy fan.  But I am a fan of this book. This book is the perfect blend of sci-fi-fantasy-romance.  The story is captivating and the characters are engaging.  You want to root for them to find happiness and to save the world from the first meeting.  There are several things about this book that I want to address as I review it.

- Strong Female Character:  Bless you Charity for creating a strong, smart, independent female lead for this book.  Seriously.  The world owes you a favor.  The world needs more Talia Zaryn and less Bella Swan.  She had deep loss early in her life but instead of wallowing in that, she set off to make the world a better place.  And the best part of all… She did it by getting an education and becoming a scholar.  Awesome!  That you for this example for my daughters to read.  Not kidding… Don’t get me wrong, I love a good love story where the soulmates complete each other. Too many times the characters in a love story come to each other and rescue each other in ways that are not healthy.  I loved the pair in this book.  Both of them came to the relationship with 100% and because of that, they were able to create amazing things and be even better.

- Nature:  I don’t read a lot of fantasy books (see above), so forgive me for these thoughts.  I loved the role that the woods and the sun played in the book.  I don’t want to give too much away about the story but I experience my own recharging when I am in the sun and the trees.  When I am outside and in nature, I feel a grounding to my life that I don’t feel any other place.  Nature is healing to me.  I loved that theme in the book.

- Spiritual Themes:  Throughout the book is a common thread of a common spirit and a divine influence.  (It is very Jungian- collective consciousness.)  There is a place in the beginning of the book where a character wrestles in his mind with a demon.  The description of this internal battle was so beautifully written.  I think that everyone can relate to a struggle with a demon in the mind.  We all have things that we struggle with.  I loved how the demon was fed from the emotions of the host.  Isn’t that the way it is for us too?  Our strongest emotions overpower our will at times and we do things in those impulses that we regret.  Anger and Sadness and Fatigue overcome our will to do right or to achieve our potential.  The amazing part of this concept comes in how it is overcome.  I believe that our will is the greatest gift we have been given from the divine.  We sacrifice our will in His name.  How amazing is it that it is the use of will is used to tame the demon in ones mind and gives us strength in trial and difficulty?  I loved the spiritual tones of this book and I am excited to see where the sequels go in realizing the role of the divine.

- Emotional Growth Themes:  Last one… I promise.  There is a part at the end of the book where a character takes on too much responsibility and becomes weak and broken.  How many times do we do this?  I do.  Sometimes the act of ‘saving the world’ in our families and communities becomes a burden that breaks us.  I know that I do this all the time.  I take on the act of doing everything myself to spare someone else the burden.  And then I become weak.  When I am giving all and someone else in my life is taking all, I get to a point where I am curled up in a ball in my mind and don’t want to come out.  I TOTALLY understood this.  I love that this was a point made in the book.

Now for the disclaimer– The author is one of my best friends in this world. I know her well and we have discussed a lot of things over lunch and heart to heart.  She is talented and I was amazed to see so much of her in the pages of this book. It oozes with her ideas and soul. Even though she is one of my best friends, I say this with as little bias as possible… This is a great book.  It is original and exciting and a great read.

Go get it and read it.