National Novel Writing Month: 50,000 Words and Beyond
NaNoWriMo / November 30, 2016

I have some very exciting news to share! I have officially passed the 50,000 word goal for National Novel Writing Month with one extra day to spare, no less! I can hardly believe it. The writing process has been exhilarating, frustrating, and deeply meaningful. Most importantly, the novel is not anywhere near finished. My fantasy novel looks like it will probably require somewhere in the ballpark of 80,000-90,000 words as I envision it now, not to mention the editing process to follow. I really hope that it will turn out to be entertaining and skillfully written enough to publish. For now, I am just looking forward to the process of writing the rest of it and the personal satisfaction of completing my best possible work. In other news, you can expect a new book review very soon, possibly tomorrow. After that, I will be writing my Pocket Full of Tinder review as I near the end of my advance review copy. Jill Archer is really outdoing herself with this one. To see my Pocket Full of Tinder preview, simply click here. I hope the rest of you have been successful in your personal NaNoWriMo goals. Keep writing! Word Count: 50,044

National Novel Writing Month: Ever Onward
NaNoWriMo / November 18, 2016

Hello, everyone! I hope that the rest of you are having a productive, although admittedly cray, NaNoWriMo like I am. Right now, I am over halfway through the intimidating 50,000 word goal. I still need to make my 1,667 words for today, but I plan on getting back to writing as soon as I am done with making this post. This is the first time that I have really committed to NaNoWriMo and the results are really amazing. That is not to say that the book that I am writing is a masterpiece. What I am finding, though, is that writing in itself is an accomplishment. I always read that the most important part of writing is simply to sit down and force yourself to write. From what I can see, that strategy is the way to go. There have been many times in the process where I did not see where the story was going, only to have the answer suddenly jump out at me organically through the writing process. As I mentioned before, I will be light on the story details since those details could easily change and because I do not want to give anything away yet. Suffice to say that…

Buffering: Book Review
Autobiography/Biography , YouTuber / November 11, 2016

Title: Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded Author: Hannah Hart Published: 2016 Genre: Autobiography, YouTuber Pages: 256 (hardback) Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded is an autobiographical work by the YouTube sensation Hannah Hart. If you do not know about Hannah Hart or her hit show My Drunk Kitchen, then please do yourself a favor by checking out her YouTube channel here. Buffering is deeply personal and oftentimes serious in tone. There a moments of comedy sprinkled throughout, but readers should expect a genuine, emotional journey through Hannah Hart’s most formative struggles and successes. First of all, I just want to say that I love the cover, the color scheme, and the general layout of the book. The pictures of artifacts from Hannah’s life and helpful footnotes of additional commentary from Hannah really personalize the experience. Hannah Hart knows how to connect with her audience. She finds creative ways to express very trying situations to her readers while maintaining an overall sense of optimism. The core struggle in the book is centered around her early life growing up in a home where her mother suffered from schizophrenia. Her childhood traumas reverberate throughout the book and ultimately lead to a confrontation with her mother’s illness in the final…

Pocket Full of Tinder: Preview
Preview / November 8, 2016

Jill Archer, author of the compelling Noon Onyx fantasy series, graciously sent me a preview booklet for Nouiomo Onyx’s fourth adventure titled Pocket Full of Tinder. Isn’t that title awesome? I am happy to report that the 30 preview pages of Pocket Full of Tinder are highly promising and immediately engaging. If you have never heard of the Noon Onyx series, then you are in for a treat. Jill Archer’s creation is truly genre-bending fantasy that follows the adventures of a powerful, magic-slinging heroine in a world inhabited by demons and angels. Noon’s love life, however, might be more dangerous than many of the other threats combined! There is something for every reader here. Pocket Full of Tinder picks up in the aftermath of a shocking reveal at the end of the third novel, White Heart of Justice, regarding Noon’s lover, Ari Carmine. The reader is immediately drawn back into the action while the story quickly moves forward. Jill Archer’s ability to describe New Babylon and bring it to life with her words, as well as the details of every setting that her characters inhabit, is fascinating to me. Her characters are just as quick-witted and their conversations are just as snappy as ever. I am only disappointed that I do not have the full book…

National Novel Writing Month
NaNoWriMo / November 5, 2016

Hey, guys! I wanted to update everyone on my participation in National Novel Writing Month. I did write a novel once before, a few years ago. When it was completed I felt that I had learned a great deal but probably had not written the next great novel. I am taking another try at novel writing this month and, if you have never heard of National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) then please visit the website here. I am not signed up officially on the website, but rest assured that I am typing away! The particular novel I am working on is a work of fantasy literature, although it does initially take place in the “real” world. I will be rather brief on the details here because anything could change at this point in the process. The goal for the month is 50,000 words, although if I am to actually have a rough copy finished then I imagine I will need to go above and beyond that goal. I did start about three days late, so I am playing catch-up at the moment. If you are participating in NaNoWriMo, please leave a comment and let me know what you are working on…

My Bookshelf – November 2016
My Bookshelf / November 3, 2016

Hey, guys! This is a new type of post that I hope to make a regular part of the website. It is essentially a list of the books that I am currently reading/hoping to read in the near future. I have a terrible habit of splitting my attention between several books at one time. Am I the only one who does this? As an avid reader, it is easy to collect many more books than I have time for at any one point in time (I guess the most books that can be read at one point in time is exactly that: one). I think that many of you will understand the feeling as well. You are perusing the shelves at your favorite bookstore and an intriguing, new cover captures your eye. You are faced with the sudden desire, nay, inexorable reality that you are going to buy that book. No matter that there is a stack at home already calling your name! Right now, I am reading the following books:   1. & 2. The Fifty-Year Mission: The First 25 Years and The Fifty-Year Mission: The Next 25 Years by Mark A. Altman & Edward Gross: This is a two-volume work that chronicles the history behind my favorite…

The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass: Book Review
Fantasy / November 2, 2016

Title: The Cinder Spires: The Aeronaut’s Windlass Author: Jim Butcher Published: 2015 Genre: Fantasy Pages: 768 (paperback) The Aeronaut’s Windlass is the first entry in Jim Butcher’s fantasy series The Cinder Spires. Jim Butcher’s foray into the Steampunk fantasy subgenre quickly hurls the reader into nonstop, relentless action as the inhabitants of the Spires struggle for survival against their ruthless enemies. Fans of The Dresden Files or Jim Butcher’s highly underrated Codex Alera series will find a touch of the familiar along with a whole new world to explore. Jim Butcher’s worldbuilding is impeccable, as always. He creates a unique fantasy setting that borrows a great deal from Victorian mannerisms and the trappings of European noble houses. The Spires, which our characters call home, are held aloft miles above the ground and the most lucrative trade is the production of powerful crystals that can power airships. Due to the air-borne nature of the setting, the airships are a primary focus of the story and are the centerpieces of many adventures. The grizzled, veteran Captain Grimm and his crew are clearly inspired by Star Trek, and Jim Butcher uses Trek-like terminology and tactics when he describes the vessel, the organization of its crew, and the inevitable airship clashes. He even includes a grumpy, miracle-working engineer character who is…