Random Book Review-Halloween Party by Rayne Duncan

I recently had a chance to read Rayne Duncan’s short story, “Halloween Party” and left a review. If you’re interested in shorter works with heart and some darker elements you’d be a fool not to check it out! Check out my review below and keep reading and writing!

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4 out of 5 stars!

In Duncan’s short story entry into the world of thrillers, suspense, and mystery her readers are taken for a casual stroll through a woman’s life and then just as easily left for dead within it. What starts as a crawl quickly escalates to a full on run through a world Duncan so cleverly disguises as heartfelt and emotionally comforting as dark twists rise up and strike mercilessly with sinister intent and sharpened blades.

Duncan’s introduction of Katie Sommers as the lead in this short fiction work showcases her ability to deliver a believable character. A person most readers will find relatable given certain circumstances. From the first paragraph, Duncan pulls her readers into the world of Sommers and easily lays the foundation for what she will later ruthlessly and unapologetically destroy. Supporting characters are perfectly utilized filling in any gaps that flesh out Sommers to be as real as the girl next door, the woman we’ve seen in class, known from a past job, or are still friends with.

Although fast-paced and short, Duncan packs as much punch into her work as a round of heavyweight boxers delivering quick jabs and glancing blows to her readers before delivering the final knockout. Masterfully weaving emotions with a hint of deeply rooted psychology and sliding door moments, Duncan’s exploration of the inner thought processes of a woman juggling life, decisions, and everything in between instantly pulls readers in as she leads them down a dimly lit hallway, spills some blood, and exacts her master plan.

Duncan doesn’t necessarily break new ground in this genre, but what she does produce is a seemingly flawless depiction of the struggles many women face daily and the subsequent damage that can rise up as a result, both physically and mentally. Readers are given enough information to care, to understand, and to be intrigued before Duncan effectively turns off the lights and leaves us all in the dark with a devilish smile. Quick and powerful, blissful and macabre, well worth it!

 

This review was also posted on Goodreads and Amazon. 🙂 Enjoy and keep sharing and creating!

Random Image Day!-#40 (Taking the walk)

As the month of Aquarius wraps up and slips away into Pisces, I noticed it’s been slightly busier than normal the entire month of February. After taking a couple weeks off to focus, adult, and manage the release of Book 4 it seemed it would never end and some days seemed destined to drive me insane. During those moments a couple of things happened that I just now came to terms with, so to speak, and how it affected me on every level.

During “my” month that I share with my fellow water-bearers it seems I grew up and took stock of my life. Pals I thought I’d have forever found themselves unfriended and people I viewed as enemies became besties. I heard people complain about indie authors promoting their work only to see those same people post about their own. It was a confusing few weeks and once the dust settled I realized some people are out there to help, others to hinder, and some, like myself and many others, just want to read, write, and enjoy snacks hidden away from society.

I say these things for a reason and that is, we’re all different and we’re all working on things behind the scenes. As an indie author, I support and owe a great deal of respect to others in this crazy self-publishing world. I wish I could read everything, I wish I could retweet every fellow writer I come across. Hands helping each other up the mountain, or at least onto the trail is how I see it, sadly some do not. For the future, I intend to help and support as much as possible and I hope many feel the same way. Whatever or where ever your journey of writing takes you know that for every bad apple there’s an orchard of positive vibes there right alongside you. Keep writing, head down, ignore the naysayers and create, love, share, and support.

For me, Book 5 is starting to transform before my eyes. It’s daunting to be at the beginning of yet another journey of the rough draft, editing, revising and all that happens behind the scenes. It’s also inspiring and magical for the path is lit for a fantastic journey and a marvelous end to my first book series. I may not see the end through the tough spots, but I know I’m not giving up, not stopping. Taking the walk with baby steps when needed, full on gas pedal slamming launch forward when it’s possible. Blazing forward!

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Photo Credit: Amazing World by Caras Ionut. Website at http://www.carasdesign.com 

Random Image Day!-#39 (Four out the door!)

It’s Friday, finally a weekend to enjoy instead of the usual running and screaming of adulting. It’s also the day of new book releases, namely mine! I don’t normally lay it all out there, but Book 4 of The Keeper Chronicles is done and uploading to retailers as we speak. I know, crazy right!? Who would have thought that we’d make it this far?

When I started this journey I spent a great deal of time writing Book 1 and thinking it would take forever and I was overwhelmed with the tasks of getting it all into place and the lengths indie authors go through to send their works out into the world. It took a long time of learning the ropes, getting in with knowledgeable people, and growing as an individual. It was hard, it was frustrating, it was awesome! After Books 2 and 3, it was a little easier, and I found my voice to carry on. Now, as I settle into bed tonight joyful and thoroughly satisfied at having completed Book 4 I can safely say, I kind of know what I’m doing now, sorta.

Personal thanks to Eeva at thebookkhaleesi.com for all her hard work in not only creating and designing Book 3 but for also battling my crazy ideas for Book 4. Her skill and dedication to her craft is nothing short of awesome and I highly recommend her for any author services you may be in the market for. We can’t do it all and, as an indie author herself, she knows a thing or two about the biz! Many thanks, many hugs!

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If you’re writing, keep it up! No matter where you are in the process, it will and can be your creation, your dream, your special weekend happy post. Enjoy your weekend and keep it up!

 

Random Image Day!-#38 (Closing the day)

A few days ago, “The End” was quietly and comfortably typed into a word document. Book 4 of The Keeper Chronicles was finished, a title yet placed, a goal still unfinished. I did the normal self-congratulations, followed by copious amounts of food and drink. I earned it, I deserved it. Still, something was missing.

It was probably the first time in my writing career I actually wrote, “The End” on the last page of a series that has consumed my life in thought, in finger pain, in character development. What started as a baby had now grown into a bus of elderly people heading to a nearby casino. It wasn’t the end per se, it was the knowledge it soon would be. The last book, the last entry in a series that has grown in leaps and bounds from what started from a tiny seed in the back of my mind was approaching.

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Book 5 will be the last in this offering, the Keeper Chronicles will soon be put to bed. It may be the finale, but it will never truly be the end although it sort of feels that way. Spinoffs are possible, a series expanding that world is also considered, but it won’t be the same. I’m shutting one door, but refusing to lock it.

New goals and directions will soon pop up. They’ll be different and that’s ok in its own right, but people I know sometimes better than myself, even if they only exist in my mind, won’t be included in the fun. An old friend is leaving soon and even though I can still see them waving from a car window, soon they’ll drift from view. It’s understandable to see the end of the road and rejoice in the journey but also understandable to want to linger as long as possible if only to wrap myself in the comforts I’ve created.

As a writer, be it long-running published or aspiring first-time drafter, where do you go when “The End” is truly the end? Be it one book or a multiple of creations, do you get the feels, the emotional struggles? Do you pick up and jump into something else right away or do you let the whispers of that world slowly fade in time? Have you thought about it, have you acknowledged it? I’m curious.

As I dive into editing and bringing myself into the Holiday spirit, I’ll take pride in accomplishing so much for myself. In the stillness of a winter night, I’ll look to the stars and send up a little prayer for the experience, for all the people I’ve met, for all the learning I’ve acquired in this wacky world of writing, and for what’s to come with new stories, new characters, new situations. In addition, a prayer with a smile about the time spent with old friends nestled between book pages for a lifetime.

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Keep writing, keep creating, keep inspiring!

 

 

Random Image Day!-#37 (Finding my way)

As November rolls along and we gather for our holiday grazing, I find myself reflecting back on my very first year, and a couple of months within the world of writing and being an author. Way back in July of 2017 I released my very first book after roughly 2 years of working on it. The Keeper Chronicles was birthed, so to speak. I didn’t know what I was doing, in some cases, I still don’t. After several long moments of disbelief and giddy wonderment, it was out there, a piece of me, a vision created from my mind. I still get that feeling with each new release, I still feel like “did I just do that, again?” and it never gets old.

As I recently hit the 50k word mark on The Keeper Chronicles Book 4, yes I can’t believe it either, I took a moment to remember all that I’ve learned, all that I’ve discovered, and all that I wished I would have forgotten. I entered this world of authors a newborn, the scars and hard edges a testament to my craft, the crippling doubts, and feeling of busted self-worth free of charge with every entry. Listed below are just a few of those…

  1. Nothing you can do besides writing will ever get words on paper. Trust me, I’ve tried. Push past lazy days and worthless feelings and just write. No magic spell, no superpower, no sneaky ghostwriter that lives in the basement will ever finish that line, that chapter, that book except you. Do it!
  2.  Social media is both a boon and a curse, a necessary evil. One can lose hours branding, catching up, hanging out, and picking up tidbits of useful information from others. Befriend those in your genre, those outside it. Share the love and retweet, favors and virtual handshakes go a long way to making your dream a reality and making someone’s day. Utilize, share, collect, learn, and leave, there’s writing that needs to get done! Come back to it later, don’t make it a full adventure every day.
  3. No one’s path to print is ever the same. Trust everyone, trust no one. Learn, research, read, and watch. Take everything you’ve collected with a grain of salt and find your own way. There’s no definitive guide only “this is how I did it” or “watch me” all of which help but no one is going to make that decision except you. Traditional or self-publish is your call and both come with their own courses of action. Ask questions, draw experience from the process.
  4. Be proactive, about everything! Write your blurb, study formatting tips, editing options, and research cover ideas while shopping around for a decent and fair price or make your own if you’re artsy. Make the decision for you, for your work, for the driving force in your head that says “this is what we want” and never be swayed by people’s assumption, opinions, or personal choices.
  5. You’re going to forget a step, maybe two or more. Don’t get discouraged. Make a list, carry on, learn from your mistakes.
  6. Never look at someone else’s mountain, climb your own. In the world of writing there will always be someone ahead of you, someone always behind. Never judge, never become envious, and never ever look back unless it’s to extend a hand to someone just starting out. Learn from those ahead, help those behind. Remember, you too once sat looking at a blank screen as visions of storylines danced in your head.
  7. Read when you can! Read other writers in your genre, read books outside your own. Study how their stories flow, understand the process and enjoy. Mostly all authors are readers, all readers are not always authors. Read indie books, those people are your tribe, for the most part. Leave a review, share the love.
  8. Join clubs, Facebook groups, or writing communities only if you love the idea of what’s offered and want to be a part of it, or if it’s going to serve your pursuits to be involved. If it requires time sinks that pull you from writing, consider and weigh the cons and pros. Some are great and worth the additional time and effort, some will drain your energy, time, creativity, and wallet quicker than a trip to Vegas.
  9. Dare to dream, live to create. Use memories, senses, and people around you for inspiration. Never let someone tell you that you can’t put that in your book, it’s yours, it’s your baby. If you want purple rhinos and a cross-dressing ninja that smokes a corncob pipe in your book, do it! If it makes sense to you, if it fits into your idea, vision, creation, run with it!
  10. Feel free to give yourself all the hugs and all the pats on the back once you finish. Be it a sentence, a chapter, a full book, you deserve it. It’s an accomplishment and others, just like you, understand the struggle, the work, the turmoil of having done it. Don’t expect the praise, don’t live for acknowledgment. Be proud of yourself and let that creative light shine on regardless of who thinks otherwise. You did good, well done, congratulations and welcome to the club! Much love, much respect!

 

As I draw my sword and continue to trek upwards upon my own mountain I take everything I learned along the way, some to the heart, some to the head. I have found my way, my path, sometimes completely alone, sometimes alongside word warriors much like myself. Are there words of wisdom, or lessons learned that I forgot, probably. Is there more to learn, hell to the yes! It’s been a journey and it’s one that I’m not stopping anytime soon.

Have anything you’d like to share? Are there any lessons of tidbits of information you want to include?? Let me know! Just don’t take too long, there’s writing to be done!

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Photo Credit: The Old God of the Northern Mountains by Bjarke Pedersen, 2016. Website at, https://www.artstation.com/bjarkepedersen