Top Ten Book Dedications

Hi Everyone!

Although I realize that I’ve been MIA over the last little while, I’d like to assure you that I’m still very much alive and well. Life got in the way as it so easily does and I had to shelf the blog for a little bit. That being said, I will do my best to post more regularly (pinkie promise, as my children would say).

Since I’m currently trying to word the dedication for my third novel (easier said than done), I’ve decided to feature my top ten book dedications.

 

  1. Austenland, by Shannon Hale

 

For Colin Firth

You’re a really great guy, but I’m married, so I think we should just be friends.

 

  1. Anansi Boys, by Neil Gaiman

You know how it is. You pick up a book, flip to the dedication, and find that, once again, the author has dedicated a book to someone else and not to you. Not this time. Because we haven’t yet met/have only a glancing acquaintance/are just crazy about each other/haven’t seen each other in much too long/are in some way related/will never meet, but will, I trust, despite that, always think fondly of each other! This one’s for you. With you know what, and you probably know why.

 

  1. East of Eden, by John Steinbeck

Dear Pat, You came upon me carving some kind of little figure out of wood and you said, “Why don’t you make something for me?” I asked you what you wanted, and you said, “A box.” “What for?” “To put things in.” “What kind of things?” “Whatever you have,” you said. Well, here’s your box. Nearly everything I have is in it, and it is not full. Pain and excitement are in it, and feeling good or bad and evil thoughts and good thoughts- the pleasure of design and some despair and the indescribable joy of creation. And on top of these are all the gratitude and love I have for you. And still the box is not full. JOHN

 

  1. The Little Prince, by Antoine De Saint Exupery

To Leon Werth I ask the indulgence of the children who may read this book for dedicating it to a grown-up. I have a serious reason: he is the best friend I have in the world. I have another reason: this grown-up understands everything, even books about children. I have a third reason: he lives in France where he is hungry and cold. He needs cheering up. If all these reasons are not enough, I will dedicate the book to the child from whom this grown-up grew. All grown-ups were once children—although few of them remember it. And so I correct my dedication:

To Leon Werth, When he was a little boy

 

6. Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, by Jenny Lawson

 

I want to thank everyone who helped me create this book, except for that guy who yelled at me in Kmart when I was eight because he thought I was being “too rowdy.”

You’re an asshole, sir.

 

5. The House of Hades, by Rick Riordan

 

To my wonderful readers: Sorry about that last cliff-hanger. Well, no, not really. HAHAHAHA. But seriously, I love you guys.

 

4. Don’t Panic: Douglas Adams & The Hitchhicker’s Guide to the Galaxy, by Neil Gaiman

 

Because she’s threatened me with consequences too dreadful to consider if I don’t dedicate a book to her…

And because she’s taken to starting every transatlantic conversation with “Have you dedicated a book to me yet?”…

I would like to dedicate this book to intelligent life forms everywhere.

And to my sister, Claire.

 

3. The Land of Stories, by Chris Colfer

 

To Grandma,

For being my first editor and giving me the best writing advice I’ve ever received: “Christopher, I think you should wait until you’re done with elementary school before worrying about being a failed writer.”

 

2. The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis
To Lucy Barfield

My Dear Lucy,

I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. You can then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it. I shall probably be too deaf to hear, and too old to understand, a word you say, but I shall still be your affectionate Godfather,

C.S. Lewis

 

1. A Series of Unfortunate Events(books 1–13), by Lemony Snicket
To Beatrice– darling, dearest, dead. (The Bad Beginning: Book The First)

 

For Beatrice– My love for you shall live forever. You, however, did not. (The Reptile Room: Book The Second)

 

For Beatrice– I would much prefer it if you were alive and well. (The Wide Window: Book The Third)

 

To Beatrice– My love flew like a butterfly Until death swooped down like a bat As the poet Emma Montana McElroy said: “That’s the end of that.” (The Miserable Mill: Book The Fourth) 

 

For Beatrice– You will always be in my heart, In my mind, And in your grave. (The Austere Academy: Book The Fifth)

 

For Beatrice– When we met my life began, Soon afterward, yours ended. (The Ersatz Elevator: Book The Sixth)

 

For Beatrice– When we were together I felt breathless. Now you are. (The Vile Village: Book The Seventh)

 

For Beatrice– Summer without you is as cold as winter. Winter without you is even colder. (The Hostile Hospital: Book The Eighth)

 

For Beatrice– Our love broke my heart, and stopped yours. (The Carnivorous Carnival: Book The Ninth)

 

For Beatrice– When we first met, you were pretty, and I was lonely. Now I am pretty lonely. (The Slippery Slope: Book The Tenth)

 

For Beatrice– Dead women tell no tales. Sad men write them down. (The Grim Grotto: Book The Eleventh)

 

For Beatrice— No one could extinguish my love, or your house. (The Penultimate Peril: Book The Twelfth)

 

For Beatrice— I cherished, you perished. The world’s been nightmarished. (The End: Book The Thirteenth)

Guest Post – Author Andrew Joyce

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My name is Andrew Joyce and I write books for a living. J.D. has been kind enough to allow me a little space on her blog to promote my new novel RESOLUTION: Huck Finn’s Greatest Adventure. I think it’s a good book, but what do I know? Anyway, I’m kinda shy about tooting my own horn. So I think I’ll turn things over to my dog, Danny. He always has an attitude and usually does not speak highly of me. But please understand that we co-exist as the old Soviet Union and the United States once co-existed. We tolerate each other. So without further ado, here’s Danny the Dog.

Andrew took me away from one of my favorite pastimes—barking at dogs that have the temerity to walk down my street—to help him out here. For a person that works with words for a living, he has very little to say in real life. He wants me to tout his book for him, but I don’t think I will. Instead, I think I’ll tell you about my latest adventure. I’m always having adventures, and I like to write about them. And what I write about is usually 100% true. For those of you who are for the first time being graced by my literary genius, I am Danny, dog extraordinaire. My fans know me as Danny the Dog and I live on a boat with my human, Andrew. Now it’s time for another one of my fur-raising adventures and in this one I shine. I am the hero.

It was a dark and stormy night (not really). Andrew was fast asleep in our boat. I was on the dock patrolling the perimeter. When I’m on guard duty, I am always vigilant and on my toes.

They came out of the darkness. There were at least thirty of ’em, and they were all armed to the teeth. But they didn’t scare me, no sir! I stood up to them, and for every blow I took, I bit three. And when the fur stopped flying, there were bodies strewn everywhere. And those not lying on the dock were in full retreat.

Okay . . . okay already! Andrew is giving me the evil eye. He’s always telling me that I can’t tell lies when relating one of my adventures. Well, he said barefaced lies. Whatever!

I reckon I’ll listen to him this one time and tell you what really happened. But I’m still the hero.

It was around midnight, I was asleep and dreaming of hotdogs. (It was a good dream. In it, I was running through a field of hotdogs and eating every one of them.) Then I heard a noise and sat up. There was some guy walking right up to our boat just as fancy as you please. Well, I wasn’t going to take that, so I barked at him. He did a U-turn and made a hasty departure. And that was the end of it.

You know . . . I wish Andrew would stick to his own story-telling and let me do mine. It sounded a whole lot better when I defeated thirty killers.

That’s about it for now. If I hurry home, I might just be able to make it in time to catch the neighborhood dogs taking their humans for their evening walk. That’s always good for some first-rate barking.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot—go out and buy Andrew’s new book. It’ll make the old guy happy.

This is Andrew again. On behalf of Danny and myself, I would like to thank J.D. for having us over. It’s been a real pleasure.

Andrew

Andrew Joyce left high school at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn’t return from his journey until decades later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written four books, including a two-volume collection of one hundred and forty short stories comprised of his hitching adventures called BEDTIME STORIES FOR GROWN-UPS (as yet unpublished), and his latest novel, RESOLUTION. He now lives aboard a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his dog, Danny, where he is busy working on his next book, YELLOW HAIR.

 

Book Review: Salsa With the Pope by Samantha Wren Anderson

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Salsa With the Pope by Samantha Wren Anderson is a quirky, women’s fiction novel about a struggling actress going through the ups and downs of finding love – and in the end, herself.

I’ll say this; Salsa With the Pope is funny. The situations that Samantha finds herself in and her inner thought process throughout it all are downright hilarious at times. And although it isn’t necessarily the deepest novel that I’ve ever read, you know what? It doesn’t have to be. A fluff read is fun once in a while.

My only issue here is that I wonder how closely this novel walks the line between fiction and creative non-fiction. I couldn’t help but notice that the author and main character share many similarities and I have a sneaking suspicion that we have a “Mary-Sue” situation going on here (if you aren’t familiar with the term, click here).

Overall, I liked Salsa With the Pope and would recommend it for fans of the pop fiction / women’s lit genre.

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Guest Post by Author Stephen Leather

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HOW MANY WORDS ARE ENOUGH?

Over the last few years my productivity has increased several fold. Ten years ago I published one book a year – usually about 120,000 words.

These days, in the wake of the eBook boom, I publish at least  three, sometimes four each year, plus several short stories. My published output is closer to 400,000 words. Before eBooks and self-publishing came along, publishers generally wanted one book a year. When it came out in hardback the book from the previous year would be reissued as a paperback. Most writers earned their living from one book year. And that’s how traditional publishing worked – they simply didn’t want more than one book a year.

EBooks changed all that, of course. Some of the most successful self-publishers now produce a new book every couple of months, and make a lot of money doing it. With eBooks there are no supermarkets to negotiate with, no bookshop shelf space to be bargained for. You just upload your book and it’s available for sale. The more books you write, the more you sell. In theory, at least!

The most published novelist in history – Agatha Christie – is estimated to have sold more than four billion books to date. But as productive as she was, she wrote fewer then 70 novels in her lifetime. And taken over the period of her writing career she averaged about a book and a half each year. Probably not more than 120,000 words, because her books don’t tend to be long reads. Barbara Cartland spent 80 years writing and produced 722 books, releasing one every 40 days, pretty much, though her books tended to be on the short side.

So how many words a day should a writer be aiming at? Horror writer Stephen King hits 2,000 words a day. Hemingway used to write fewer than a thousand. Right up there at the top is probably Belgian novelist Georges Simenon who published almost 500 novels and many short stories during his lifetime. He is credited with writing between 60 to 80 pages a day, sometimes more than 20,000 words.

Wow. That takes my breath away.

My most recently-published book is New York Night, the seventh in the Jack Nightingale supernatural detective series. It’s just over 73,000 words – which is quite short for a thriller – but it only took two months to write. I’m midway through my 13th Spider Shepherd novel –  Black Ops. At the moment I’m writing about 2,000 words a day, on average. With my deadline some forty days away, that’s a comfortable rate to finish on time.

My most prolific period was a few years ago when I travelled from Malaysia to the UK on a cargo ship, It meant being at sea for 16 days with no phone and no internet access. Each day was pretty much the same, because when you’re at sea there isn’t much to see, except sea. So I’d get up and have breakfast with the crew, then write, then lunch, then write, then dinner, a game of table tennis with the first officer, then more writing.  Even with a schedule like that I rarely managed more than three thousand words a day. That seems to be my maximum.

Mind you, three thousand words a day is pretty good going. Even with weekends off, that’s close to three quarters of a million words a year – eight or nine novels. But I seriously doubt that I could write nine novels a year – not good ones, anyway.

The thing is, at the end of the day it’s quality that matters, not quantity. There’s no point in bashing out 10,000 words if most of them are no good. All that matters is how many of those words feel right, which is why chasing a word count can sometimes be counter-productive.

But I can give you one writing tip that should help increase your word count, and keep the quality up.

When you are writing, and you’re getting close to finishing for the day, try not to finish on a scene. Leave It unfinished. Definitely don’t end at a chapter, and ideally stop writing mid-paragraph or even mid-sentence.

That way when you go to sleep, your subconscious will be working out what it has to do next. When you wake up, because you stopped mid-flow, you’ll find that when you sit down next day, you’ll be all fired up to start writing! It’s the best way of doing away with writer’s block that I know!

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Book Review: Contamination (Feast of Weeds #2) by Jamie Thornton

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Sequels can be hit or miss, however Jamie Thornton nailed it with her second book in the Feast of Weeds series, Contamination.

Although the story picks up roughly where the first left off when it comes to timeline, Contamination follows a brand new set of characters in their journey to survive the outbreak that is quickly turning the population into rabid zombie-like beings.

I really enjoy how Thornton ties in the past characters to the new ones, and I appreciate that the author gives some explanations as to how the virus began and the scope of the spread.

Another aspect of the novel that I like is Corinna’s backstory. The glimpses into her past make it easier to understand her decision making throughout her stuggles. As for Dylan and her “friend” Jane, well… I didn’t like them much however I don’t suspect that the reader is supposed to.

Honestly, I preferred Contamination over the first book of the series. It’s just as action packed as Germination however since Contamination is a full-length novel instead of a novella, I feel that Thornton was able to offer so much more to her readers.

All in all, Contamination is a can’t-put-down zombie thriller that will have you reading into the wee hours of the night.

NOTE: I received a free copy from the author in exchange with an honest review.

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Book Review: A Dog and His Boy by T.F. Pruden

 

a dog and his boy

Set in northwest Canada during the nineteen seventies, A Dog and His Boy by first time author T.F. Pruden follows one unconventional family and their lives in an isolated ranch as they learn to survive lost childhoods and broken homes.

Let me start by stating that A Dog and His Boy was a decent novel. While exploring themes of isolation, loss and family relationships, Pruden does a good job at giving the readers a sense of what life in northern Manitoba must have been like. I especially liked the strained dynamic between Tommy and his father and imagining how desolate it must be being a child growing up the way they did.

This being said, I found the novel to be very slow paced and I have to admit that I struggled to complete it. This could be blamed simply on personal taste; these types of novels/movies rarely appeal to me. Still, it didn’t keep me as engaged as I had hoped.

NOTE: This novel was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: He Knew a Firefly by Smita Bhattacharya

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He Knew a Firefly by Smita Bhattacharya centers on Akshara who has the ability to see the futures of the people she loves. However her “gift” is more of a curse than a blessing as it seems that every life she touches is thrown into turmoil. Akshara must try to light the dark paths of her loved ones before fear and guilt consume her.

Bhattacharya writes in a graceful, almost lyrical style that I’ve rarely encountered in past novels and this poetic talent is certainly her strong suit. Seriously, her writing is exquisite.

I also really enjoyed having a glimpse into some of the different cultures of India. The author does this with ease, even adding words from her native tongue into the dialogue of the story without losing her English readers.

Where I encountered some problems was in the plot. Bhattacharya has created three loosely connected stories, all tied together by Akshara’s relationship with them which in theory is great however I found the storylines were somewhat difficult to follow. Because of this confusion, it made it hard to connect with some of her characters.

If I were to give a rating on the story alone, He Knew a Firefly would get 3 cups of java. However, because I feel that Bhattacharya’s writing itself is so beautiful, I have given the novel a 4 out 5 cup rating.

NOTE: I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: I’m Not Your “Baby” by Joy Jennings

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I’m Not Your “Baby” by Joy Jennings is a poignant look at one woman’s personal experiences with sexual harassment, assault and rape.

Telling this story must have taken a great deal of courage on the part of the author. Victims of sexual violence are so often silenced by their fear and I commend Jennings for putting it all out there. And trust me, there are tons of terrible encounters to tell. Many instances in the book were very uncomfortable to read and I can’t imagine how it must have felt to actually live them.

What I found most distressing throughout the book was how Jennings’ experiences with sexual harassment and assault were so often downplayed by those around her. Being told to “just ignore it” or the ever popular “boys will be boys” excuse is unfortunately so reflective of our society. All too often, it seems as though the victims are pegged as the problem and that they should be the ones to change their behavior or appearance as to not entice abusers.

Another aspect that struck me was the degree of frequency Jennings was harassed and assaulted. I feel as though this woman has to be the unluckiest person in regards to the men. It’s so disturbing that there are women out there who repeatedly have to endure sexual violence. I feel blessed to have a fair amount of male friends – none of which would ever behave remotely close to the way hers did.

Normally, I feel uneasy about reviewing a memoir. There are so many useless memoirs out these days (I’m sorry, but having parents and a childhood doesn’t of itself qualify you to write a memoir). When I agreed to review Jennings’ story it was because I felt that there was something to be learned by the horrifying events that happened in her life. I respect the author immensely for her bravery and for sharing her story with her readers.

Note: This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: Where Death is a Hunter by Christopher Stookey

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Where Death is a Hunter is a fast-paced medical thriller by author Christopher Stookey and an absolute gripping read. The book kicks off right at the moment where all goes wrong and doesn’t let up until the very end. It tells the story of Hannah Fâtier, an anesthesiologist who is accused of malpractice when a patient dies under her care in the OR. The more Hannah goes over the details of the event however, the less they make sense. As the pieces of the puzzle come together it becomes increasingly obvious that someone has framed her.

Medical thrillers are a tricky genre to write without them becoming a lexicon of medical mumbo-jumbo. This could especially have been the case considering the author, Christopher Stookey, also happens to be an MD. Thankfully, he succeeds in creating a very comprehensible novel with just enough hospital terms to make it believable but not enough to loose his readers.

Where Death is a Hunter is the type of book that refuses to let you put it down and I credit Stookey’s pacing skills for that (seriously, I read it in one day). He has written a novel mostly devoid of “fluff” which is incredibly refreshing . There’s little that is capable of losing my attention faster than reading paragraph after paragraph of unnecessary text (fillers, as I call them) and it’s great to see an author that keeps it to the point.

The characters are also very solid. I like how we get to know Hannah’s background bit by bit and I especially like her own personal growth throughout the story. I won’t lie – I had a pretty good idea who had “done it” so to speak, but wasn’t sure about the “why” until it was revealed.

Where Death is a Hunter is a fantastic novel and I recommend it to fans of the thriller/mystery genre. I look forward to reading more novels by Stookey in the future.

Note: I received this novel by the author in exchange with an honest review.

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