First Review of Bridger: A Dystopian Serial

Back in December I subscribed to Bridger: A Dystopian Serial – a novel told in serial format with each chapter delivered to my email inbox every few days. The story is by Manitoban author, Geralyn Wichers. You can find out more, catch up on missed episodes, and subscribe here.

This morning Episode 8 was delivered to my inbox and I felt I now had enough of the story to voice an early opinion on it.

First, Ms. Wichers’ writing style does not disappoint. I’ve read three of her four earlier works (and the fourth is on my TBR list) and she is perhaps my favourite local author. I rank her among my all-time favourites as well. She has a knack for natural, complex, characters and builds backstory gradually, letting the reader put the pieces together.

Second, Ms. Wicher’s has created an interesting scenario. The world is at war, split along very distinct geographic lines. Her North American characters show a casual dislike of their “enemies” that sounds a lot like our modern day racism, and racism of decades past. The war is a very real and active event. Bridger takes place in Alaska and Episode 8 opens with smoky skies – Tokyo is burning across the sea. She’s taken what might have been a pretty standard futuristic war story and added her own flair – the main character, Charlene “Char” Thompson finds a traveler in the snow, a traveler from another planet.

Thus the plot is set up. Char is a former soldier now working as a private security contractor. Her ex-husband Seth is working at the same base she is as the medical doctor. There is an alien and he claims there is a portal nearby to another world. With resources on this futuristic Earth being depleted by high populations and a seemingly endless war, the possibility of travelling quickly and painlessly to another world to harvest resources sounds like a war-winning idea to the head of the Alaska base.

And that’s where we are. The first 8 episodes introduce us to the base, to the complex history of Char and Seth’s relationship, to the alien, and to the minor characters who fill out this adventure. We see that Venn (the alien) has a complex home life eerily similar to Char and Seth’s. And we’ve already come face-to-face of the might-makes-right attitude of the army.

I’ll admit, it took me most of these 8 episodes to get into the story. The first chapter is good, don’t get me wrong, but the length of the chapters is short and you have to wait. I read Stephen King’s “The Green Mile” in the original serial format and you had to wait months between installments – but each installment was a novella. With Bridger, you only have to wait 2-3 days for the next installment, but each installment is only a single chapter, a few thousand words.  It’s challenging to completely hook every reader by the end of the first chapter without dumping character information on them. Ms. Wichers chose to stick to her distinctive slow-build style, giving readers lots of excitement, cliff-hangers, and questions along the way, and it’s paying off. I get to the end of each episode eager for more and I look forward to checking my emails and finding a new Bridger waiting for me.

We’re only 8 episodes in at this point so if you haven’t heard of it, it’s easy to get caught up. I don’t know how long this serial is going to be, but I’m looking forward to weeks of entertainment, delivered in bite-sized pieces to my inbox. There’s something nice about serials, how they force you to slow down and think about each chapter as you wait for the next. There’s something fun about being left to wonder, at least for a little bit.

The only down-side, aside from how short the episodes are, is that Bridger is digital-only at this point. Whether Ms. Wichers plans to release a paperback version later or not I don’t know. I do know some of my friends don’t like reading on the screen though. If you’re one of those people you may be out of luck with this thrilling tale.

If you don’t mind reading on the screen and you enjoy a thoughtful, well-paced sci-fi with genuine, complex characters, take a chance on Bridger. It’s free, it shows up in your inbox (and so far Ms. Wichers has sent no spam, just great writing), and it only takes a few minutes every few days to stay caught up!

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New Year, New Projects, New Goals

As we prepare to welcome 2019, it’s time to sit down and take stock of 2018, and look ahead to what the new year could hold.

2018 was full of turmoil for me. For those who don’t already know, I decided to close Schreyer Ink Publishing a the end of this year. All of our anthologies are going out of print. We will not be accepting anything new. The blog and email will close as well.

I took a chance on a lot of new shows and learned a lot about the market, and about different show organizers.

I learned a lot, about myself, about my desires, about running a business. I learned that I have a bad habit of undervaluing my time, my services, and my product. I learned that I have a few amazing friends who will come through for me every time and I hope that I can be there for them as consistently as they are for me. I learned that stretching myself too thin was a good way to fail at everything. I learned just how important my husband, marriage, and family are to me – and that my mental and emotional health, and the health of my family relationships, need to come first.

2019 is going to look very different. It has to, in the face of so many changes.

For one thing, I will not have to put aside time for reading submissions. Part of me is saddened by this as I really enjoyed all the stories that came my way. I don’t have to put aside time for layout, design, and marketing either, not for the anthologies. I can just focus on my own works.

I sadly underestimated my goals in 2018 so I’m upping the bar for 2019 and I hope I’ve landed on a good solid basis for my writing – one that challenges me without being so hard to achieve that I burn out.

This is my tentative schedule for 2019:

C4 Winnipeg Horror and Sci-Fi Convention in February – probably

Spring Craft Sales – I’ll only do 2 or 3 and only with a few trusted and liked organizers

C4 Winnipeg “Manitoba Comic Con” in April – maybe

KeyCon over May Long Weekend – already booked

Summer Street Fairs – Only doing 1 in Steinbach, and possibly 1 in Ste Pierre

C4 Winnipeg in October – probably

Christmas craft events – I’ll do half a dozen or so in November and early December, again, sticking to events with good organizers in good locations.

And, here are my writing goals for 2019:

Total Word Count Goal for the Year: 520,000 words (the equivalent of 10,000 words per week, or 2,000 words per day for 5 days each week)

Rose Garden: Book 4 is done. I need to finish book 5, get everything on the shelf, and host a massive series launch at the Jake Epp Library in the spring. (Approximately 65,000 words)

Underground: I need to write books 6 & 7 to finish off the series. There is also a spin-off book that needs to be written. (Approximately 24,000 words per book, or 72,000 words)

Underground Graphic Novels: I have an artist (I hope). Now I need to collect my thoughts for what I’m looking for in a graphic novel and sit down with the potential artist to get this project rolling.

Contract work: I have 56,000 words outstanding on a contract. When it’s done, I’m done. I will not be doing any further ghostwriting.

So far that’s 193,000 words, or roughly 19.5 weeks of work. (That only takes me to mid-May).

After that I will start on a massive 4-book project, my baby, my long-time backburner project, the one I’ve been dying to write for years. I’m looking at 350,000 words over four books (which takes me over my 520,000 word goal by about 25,000 words). My plan is to finish the four books by the end of January 2020 and then attempt to find an agent and a traditional publisher for them.

After that? Well, that’s 9 entire books in a single year (though I’ll only be publishing 4 of them) plus the graphic novels. I don’t think I want to plan past that point, or commit to anything past that point. But there are ideas. Lots and lots of ideas.

There will never be a shortage of things to write.

Popular Q&A Platform Harmful to Writers

Have you heard of Quora? Because Quora may be helping readers steal your books.

You sign up and you can ask questions and get multiple answers from other users on a variety of topics, both personal and technical in nature. Looking for a recipe? Kitchen hack? Relationship advise? Go ahead and ask. The idea is similar to Wikipedia in that users can add their own answers, creating discussion and a wide base of knowledge. You can up or down vote answers to help keep the most useful information more visible.

Sounds good, right?

I don’t remember when or why I joined up. I think I saw a question that I wanted to answer and I was in. I get regular emails from them “Can you answer this question?” I delete them without reading them if I’m not in the mood. No one forces you to answer anything.

Lately, I noticed a scary trend in the questions I was getting (since I have literature as one of my interests on Quora). People were asking where to download free e-books (in general) or free pdf copies of specific titles.

Some titles were classics and difficult to find in electronic format so people directed them to Project Gutenberg and other similar digitization projects.

For the general request, I directed people to the free section of Amazon, or to Smashwords (which is much easier for indie authors to use when it comes to free content and actually has pdfs).

Some titles were newer and not being offered for free. And that’s when I noticed people posting links to pirate sites.

I tried to combat it by answering “Stop stealing from authors. Go to Amazon and buy the book” or something to that effect. “Your library has a digital lending catalogue, go borrow the book if you legit can’t afford it” was added in there, but politer wording.

Obviously, as an author, this upset me, A LOT. Equally as obvious was the fact that I could not fight this, one question at a time. I changed my tactics to include two new things: I contacted the author or publisher of titles I saw people requesting; I contacted Quora support.

I haven’t heard back from any of the authors I contacted. I hope my message did not get lost in cyberspace and that they have someone who can help with the problem on their end. I’m one little indie author with no industry pull, but a few “cease and desist” letters or “copyright infringement” suits against Quora from the big 5 publishers would quickly change things.

Because Quora isn’t interested in changing. I FINALLY got a response to my inquiry with them:

Hello Casia,

The questions referenced in your complaint do not violate any Quora policy. For more info, see: https://qr.ae/TUG6CH.

However, there may be specific answers to those questions that do violate our policy on spam, or some other Quora policy. We suggest that you report specific content you come across that you believe may violate our policies.

You can report questions, answers, comments, and messages by clicking on the ‘more’ menu located beneath the content (e.g., the “…” option), selecting “Report”, and then choosing the appropriate reporting option. Our moderation team will then review the reported content and take action based on our policies and guidelines.

We appreciate your understanding.

Sincerely,

Roger
User Operations
Quora

That’s right. You heard it straight from Quora folks. To be fair, they’re right, there’s nothing illegal with asking “Where can I get TITLE by AUTHOR for free?”. The illegal part is the answers. It’s the fact that people are going “Yeah, I cracked that DRM and have it on my blog, here, download it free”. I saw this. I clicked the links. It worked. (I promptly deleted the file because I will not read stolen copies).

Quora is not interested in protecting authors. That means we have to protect ourselves.

Please share this post with every author you know and in every writing group that you belong to. If you’re with a traditional publisher, warn them about Quora. Joining is free and if they have a social media rep or someone who monitors for copyright infringement online (ie Pirate sites) they should add Quora to the list of sites they are monitoring.

If you do find someone posting illegal links to illegal copies of your book, contact Quora and tell them to take it down or you will take legal action against them. They are legally responsible for the content of their site, even user-generated content.

The world already looks down on our work and undervalues books and authors. This is just one more platform people are using to avoid paying us at all costs.

October Blog Hop – Scary Must-Read

Only a few more days until Halloween. For some people, October is THE month for scary things. For others, scary things, especially scary books, is a year-round passion. We have some authors and book bloggers weighing in on their scariest recommendations, so if you like a scary book, why not try these?

Leslie Conzatti

Leslie Conzatti

Oh boy! There have definitely been a few that I’ve read that definitely creeped me out! For starters, there is Beasts of Babylon by E. A. Copen (a woman who can’t die wants to hunt down the werewolf and the cannibalistic skin-walker who killed her and her two children); Blood Hound by James Osiris Baldwin (a mystic hitman is tapped by the Russian mafia to investigate a string of gruesome occult-related deaths); Floor 21 by Jason Luthor (all of humanity is reduced to living in the upper floors of a tall Tower, since the ground and the lower floors of the skyscraper have been taken over by a sentient, hallucination-inducing, deadly goo called The Creep); Sanctuary by Pauline Creeden is also suitably shiver-inducing (the prophesied apocalypse is facilitated by an alien invasion–one of the effects of which turns ordinary humans into decaying, deathless zombies…). If you are a classic horror/Gothic literature aficionado, I would definitely recommend either Merely This And Nothing More: Edgar Allan Poe Goes Punk or Hideous Progeny: Classic Horror Goes Punk by the friendly, SUPER-talented Writerpunk Press Group! For “spooky” on a lighter note, may I suggest more humorous options like the Grave Reports by R. R. Virdi, or the Portal Prophecies series by C. A. King.

bp

Brandy Potter www.brandypotterbooks.com

Let’s start with the master, Stephen King’s IT. Taking away that one scene (and if you have read the book you KNOW what scene) the book is terrifying. It plays on every child’s nightmares and drags them through to adulthood. Next, the original haunted house story, The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. I have not read it yet, but what a great day to read it on yes? Next we will go to my favorite spooky author of classical literature, and hometown hero, Edgar Allan Poe’s The Cask of Amontillado. I have always loved this story. Finally a more contemporary novel that I love, The Supernaturals by David Goleman.

 

I have read so many deliciously scary books and I would like to recommend Wendigo Whispers by Alex McGilvery for those who love a thriller with a touch of paranormal.

I always want to mention a project I’ve enjoyed heading-up over the last year, and that’s the Twilight Madhouse short story collections. As the acquisitions editor I’ve read over 300 scary short stories for the 4 volumes of Twilight Madhouse and the 1 volume of Hell’s Talisman. We’ve released over 40 stories in these 5 volumes (none written by me) by over 40 authors.

Hell’s Talisman is definitely 18+ but the others are more 14+ (depending on the teen) with stories ranging from black magic to boogey men to twists of fate, labyrinths, and demons. Volume 4 of Twilight Madhouse came out at the beginning of the month and I was beyond impressed with the quality of the stories we received.

If you’re looking for twisty, shivery, short stories I highly recommend these books.

October Blog Hop – A Day Out With a Fictional Character

Wouldn’t it be lovely to spend the day with Mole and Water Rat out on the river? Or perhaps you’d rather visit the Harkers in London? We all have our favourite or most memorable characters and it’s fun to imagine spending real time with them, either in the world of their books, or here in ours.

Jo Linsdell Percy Jackson

Jo Linsdell www.JoLinsdell.com

I’m a bit obsessed with Percy Jackson at the moment and so would have to pick him. He could take me to Camp Half-Blood and show me around. I’d love to see all the different training grounds. It would be awesome to try some of them.

I pretty sure there would never be a dull moment. Percy has a habit of attracting trouble, but he’s also very protective and loyal to his friends so I’d be OK. Adventure is guaranteed. We might even get to go on a quest 🙂

Outlander Season 2 2016

Kim Jacque www.writersideoflife.com

I would love to spend a day with Claire Fraser from Outlander. I first read this book about eighteen years ago and have read the whole series many times since. Obviously, it would be in Scotland in the 18th century not the 20th century. Claire is so capable in any situation, from riding horses to scolding Highlanders and using herbs to treat medical ailments to cavorting in high society.

Leslie Conzatti

Leslie Conzatti www.upstreamwriter.blogspot.com

Okay, so one character in particular I would love to meet and hang out with would probably be Emma from Amy Hopkins’ Talented series! I would stop by her London tea shop for a chat, and we’d just hang out, and maybe we’d find a bookstore (magic or not!) to visit and we’d just bum around London and life would be grand!

Brandy Potter

Brandy Potter www.brandypotterbooks.com

Sooooo many characters to pick. I actually thought about Hannibal Lecter. I decided against that though because if he didn’t like me back it might not end well. Ultimately though, I went with Aphrael/Danae/Flute from David Eddings The Elenium and The Tamuli series. She gets to meet everyone. I do mean everyone from all races and since she is a goddess, she knows all the gods and goddesses too. Meeting all of my favorite characters from those books would be so amazing and that would be the perfect day for me! But I would have to be careful. She does have a way of making people love her and stealing their souls (in a way).

 

casauthor

There were some good answers here, and Danae from The Elenium series would be fun to visit for sure. But I think if I had to pick one for myself (aside from the Winchesters because they’re on TV first and foremost) it would be the Baginses. I would love to spend an afternoon in Bag End with Bilbo and Frodo, perhaps on a day when Gandalf dropped by and the smell of pipe tobacco filled the air. A warm afternoon spent in the garden, watching birds and shadows, eating and drinking and talking. And perhaps a hooded figure will appear at the door in the long dusk shadows and bow and say “at your service” and we will have a little dinner party of our own and hear all the news from the Lonely Mountain.

Good food, a warm hearth, and the best of friends. What could be better?

October Blog Hop – Favourite Book Turned Movie

The dreaded moment. Some big Hollywood studio has announced that they’re turning yet another book into a movie or TV show. Every reader who ever loved the book waits, anxious and fearful. Will they butcher it? Will it live up to the book? Will it *gasp* be better than the book?

Today’s stop in the October Blog Hop asks what book-turned-movie people actually enjoyed.

Leslie Conzatti

Leslie Conzatti www.upstreamwriter.blogspot.com

I would have to say, off the top of my head, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. That was one of those that completely blew my mind with the way it was formatted and written–such beautiful imagery! The unorthodox style, the way the author interrupted himself with “A thought”–I had never seen a book do that with such sincerity. Death as the narrator, too, gave the opportunity for a unique perspective on the most mundane things… I love it when authors do that! And then the movie absolutely 100% did it justice, which is sometimes hard for a movie to do! But there’s other books-turned-movies that I also enjoyed. In fact, I wrote A Blog Post About It. And then there was The One Where The Book Was Still Better. (Yes, I kind of get a little persnickety about film adaptations!)

kim jacque

Kim Jacque www.writersideoflife.com

Ahh, so many to choose from – I love movies made from books! They are some of the most in-depth thoughtful films. My best movie made from a book would have to be The Princess Bride. It is also that most rare of beasts; a movie that is, in fact, better than the book it was based on. I also like Blade Runner, which is based on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K Dick and Memoirs of A Geisha by Arthur Golden. Both of these are wonderful books and were faithfully made into great movies. It doesn’t matter if you read or watch these first. Both are utterly enjoyable.

 

Brandy Potter www.brandypotterbooks.com

I am about to fool EVERYBODY. Why do I say that? I know that anyone who has read my entries for the blog hop the past few years is thinking “She’s gonna say Lord of the rings.” Nope. Not gonna. Can’t make me! I LOVE the adaptations of Lord of the Rings. However a lot of my favorite scenes from the book are missing. Therefore, not my favorite. And do NOT get me started on The Hobbit…. It’s 1 book people if you can make 3 books into three movies, you should be able to make 1 book into 1 movie like seriously Peter. Ok Ok I digress.

 

So what is my favorite book to movie adaptation……..

So since we said movie, I omitted the 1995 BBC production of Pride and Prejudice as technically that is a mini-series. So my favorite book to movie adaptation is 1995’s Sense and Sensibility starring Emma Thompson. Admittedly there are some characters missing but they weren’t needed. The cast is amazing! And Alan RIckman as Colonel Brandon… sigh.

Second favorite would be 2011 Jane Eyre with Michael Fassbender and Mia Wasikowska. NOT my favorite adaptation of Jane Eyre. They omit too much of her childhood. They sort of have to I get it so that’s why it’s still excellent in my eyes. If you want to know my favorite adaptation, message me and maybe I will talk about it in a vlog post 😉
ElineLovelyAudiobooks

Eline LovelyAudiobooks.info

I’ll cheat here just a little bit. I love the American Gods series! This has been one of my absolute favourite books since I first read it. And I’d say it shaped my idea of what an Urban Fantasy is, which is now one of my favourite genres. Part of me would have liked to see the series closer to the books, but regardless of that it has the feeling of the book to it. I’m very much looking forward to the next seasons.

 

Jo Linsdell www.JoLinsdell.com

I’m obsessed with Percy Jackson at the moment so part of me wants to say those (and yes I think they should have made more films. I personally loved the first two), but there are so many other great film adaptations that deserve a mentions too.

Harry Potter definitely deserves to be on this list, as does the Narnia series. There have been lots of good adaptations of Janes Austen’s books too.

 

Tania Richardson – The Bookworm Mummy  tania_richardson.com

My favourite book turned movie is also one of my favourite movies ever, and that is The Princess Bride, of course! It also happens to be one of those rare adaptations that turns out to be better than the book it’s based upon! This may be due to Goldman buying back the movie rights after The Princess Bride spent 12 years in production hell, and writing the screenplay himself… He had the chance to tell the story exactly how he wanted it, and maybe even improve on the original. Another movie I want to mention is 2004’s The Phantom of the Opera… A movie based on a musical, based on a book and a massive guilty pleasure of mine!

 

casauthor

I’m an odd duck apparently in that I greatly enjoyed Peter Jackson’s vision of Middle Earth. I recently reread The Hobbit with my kids (their first time) and I was amazed that I’d forgotten how slow it was. I think Jackson did a good job of picking up the pace of the stories without losing the richness of the world.

I know the movies don’t follow the books exactly, but I’m not too much of a literalist when it comes to adaptations. I figure if the director and scriptwriter can capture the feeling of the book, the personalities of the characters, and the overarching plot, then it’s a win.

Bookish Summer: Non-Fiction Reads

I’m a fiction writer, and a fiction reader, for the most part. But today’s post is all about non-fiction. Hello! If you’re just tuning in, this is one of the final stops on the Bookish Summer Blog Hop Tour. At the bottom of the post is a schedule so you can go back and catch up on all the great book conversations we’ve had this month.

Today’s topic is: The last non-fiction book you finished reading.

Tangled in Text Logo

Kelli Quintos www.tangledintext.com

“We just tiptoe around things, afraid we’ll offend or look ignorant, be misunderstood. Honesty is a risk few are willing to take.” – Flow by Kennedy Ryan 

Leslie Conzatti

Leslie Conzatti www.upstreamwriter.blogspot.com

I… don’t read a lot of nonfiction, quite honestly! I’ve only read from a select few… one of those being Felicia Day. Her book You’re Never Weird On The Internet (Almost) is a beautiful dissection of somebody who is instantly relatable and very much All Of Us. Sure, she had different opportunities than you or I might experience, and her list of achievements is astonishing–but she gives the backstage glimpse, the real-world perspective, the oftimes harsh reality of the whole situation–while imparting the nuggets of wisdom and truth as only  she can. Reading her book inspired me to write an entire blog post on “How I Learned To Stop Hiding And Embrace My Own Weird” and I hope one day to achieve her level of confidence and charisma!

 

Allie Bock http://girlwithagoodbookandherdog.blogspot.com

The last non-fiction read I read was The Eighty Dollar Champion. It’s a true rags to riches story. The book also has photos from real life.

Book Blurb from Goodreads:

November 1958: the National Horse Show at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Into the rarefied atmosphere of wealth and tradition comes the most unlikely of horses—a drab white former plow horse named Snowman—and his rider, Harry de Leyer. They were the longest of all longshots—and their win was the stuff of legend.

Harry de Leyer first saw the horse he would name Snowman on a bleak winter afternoon between the slats of a rickety truck bound for the slaughterhouse. He recognized the spark in the eye of the beaten-up horse and bought him for eighty dollars. On Harry’s modest farm on Long Island, the horse thrived. But the recent Dutch immigrant and his growing family needed money, and Harry was always on the lookout for the perfect thoroughbred to train for the show-jumping circuit—so he reluctantly sold Snowman to a farm a few miles down the road.

But Snowman had other ideas about what Harry needed. When he turned up back at Harry’s barn, dragging an old tire and a broken fence board, Harry knew that he had misjudged the horse. And so he set about teaching this shaggy, easygoing horse how to fly. One show at a time, against extraordinary odds and some of the most expensive thoroughbreds alive, the pair climbed to the very top of the sport of show jumping.

Here is the dramatic and inspiring rise to stardom of an unlikely duo, based on the insight and recollections of “the Flying Dutchman” himself. Their story captured the heart of Cold War–era America—a story of unstoppable hope, inconceivable dreams, and the chance to have it all. Elizabeth Letts’s message is simple: Never give up, even when the obstacles seem sky-high. There is something extraordinary in all of us.

 

My last non-fiction read was a memoir: Call me Adam by Arthur Adam. Arthur grew up poor in a small town not far from where I live. His memoir details his path from poverty and abuse to successful businessman. He is honest about his mistakes and his faults and the story reads like he’s sitting there talking to you. I had the chance to talk with him as we read his memoir for book club and he joined us one evening, and he’s an entertaining man with a storyteller’s voice.

Do you read non-fiction? What type? What was the last one you finished? Check out the rest of the tour! There’re a few days left but this is my last day hosting. Have a great summer, and keep reading.

bookish summer 1

A Bookish Summer: Best School Reads

School is out for the summer over here, but that doesn’t stop us from reading, or from talking about books! Welcome to the halfway point of the Bookish Summer Blog Hop. At the bottom of this post is a schedule so you can catch up on any posts you missed.

Today we are discussing the very best books we had to read for school.

Tangled in Text Logo

Kelli Quintos www.tangledintext.com

I only remember reading two books for school. The others I sparknoted or BS’ed my way through the book reports. They were The Outsiders by  S. E. Hinton and Animal Farm by George Orwell and although they were both superb, I’m still quite obsessed with Animal Farm. I had no idea a book could be that awesome, when I hated reading at that time. I loved that a book could say one thing and mean another and just have a darker, twisted agenda than ever expected. That was the first book discussion I ever participated in during class and I still remember getting enthusiastic because of all the different ways people interpreted scenes and meanings.

Leslie Conzatti

Leslie Conzatti www.upstreamwriter.blogspot.com

One of the benefits of being homeschooled was that I got to choose what I read, or at least choose how fast I read things or in which order. Basically, we had this “Master Reading List” to go through, and as soon as I finished one I could go right onto the next one. I loved to read, and the bookshelves at my house were always full of classics and obscure books from the early 1900’s, or from the Victorian era. But as far as assigned reading, I would have to go with one of the books I read in college, for a class on The Life And Works of Jane Austen. Yep, I got to read romance novels for one whole quarter! My favorite out of that was Persuasion. Just the simple, straightforward protagonist, Anne, whose only goal was to do right by everybody and not to meddle with other people, and who got blamed for a whole lot… I really connected with her on many different levels, and I just enjoyed that novel immensely. So much, in fact, that I wished to give it more adaptations, as has been done with Pride and Prejudice over and over again. I have a contemporary adaptation, as well as a dark fantasy mashup that I hope to write someday!

Jo Linsdell author Pic Feb 2018

Jo Linsdell www.JoLinsdell.com

By far it has to be The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank. This book really touched me, and is, in part, responsible for me becoming a writer. It was so raw, and powerful. I felt like I was there with her. I’ve always been interested in history too so it fascinated me to read about the details of that time. I truly believe that everyone should read this book.

Rachael Beardsley

Rachael Beardsley https://variancefiction.wordpress.com/

My favorite book from high school was To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. We were supposed to read it during freshman year, but we ran out of time. We’d already paid for our copies though, so they were given to us anyway. Funnily enough, I hated the book the first time I tried to read itI couldn’t get interested in the story at all. But I picked it up again some time in junior or senior year and immediately loved it. The story was suddenly powerful and I couldn’t put the book down. I’m not sure why it failed to click with me the first time, but I’m so glad I tried again!

Two Cities

Brandy Potter www.brandypotterbooks.com

I had a heck of a time with this. I honestly struggled. The Diary of Anne Frank, The Canterbury Tales, Beowulf, Lord of the Flies how do you pick just one? I mean all of them influenced my reading so much. And Anne Frank made me question my pride in my German Heritage (luckily I found out that we immigrated before WWI so…) but having to pick one, I went with A Tale of Two Cities. With characters like Madam Defarge, Dr. Mannette, Sydney, and Charles that just grip you. And how amazing like a reverse Prince and the Pauper… I don’t want to spoil it so.. But this book made me realize that romance can exist in a book and not make it mushy and icky. Which is now why I write romance lol.

 

I have a BA in English so I read a lot of books over the years. Einstein’s Dreams was one we read in high school and it really stuck with me. In grade 3 we read The BFG by Roald Dahl. In university it would have been The Importance of Being Ernest by Oscar Wilde.

School doesn’t bring up the best of memories all the time – the work, the boring hours spent in a classroom, bullies, bologna sandwiches, but maybe there’s a silver lining in there somewhere. What were your favourite teacher-assigned books? And don’t forget to visit the rest of the tour.

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A Bookish Summer: The Very Best Villains

Welcome to stop #6 on the Bookish Summer Blog Hop. Yesterday was hosted by Leslie Conzatti  and the topic was “Some of your favourite authors”.

Today we are discussing villains. The bad guy makes the book go round. Or at least they make the plot go forward. We all love to hate a bad guy, and a really well written bad guy can ramp up the tension of a book until we just can’t put it down.

Here are some favourite villains:

Jo Linsdell author Pic Feb 2018

Jo Linsdell www.JoLinsdell.com

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m a huge fan of the Shepherd series by Ethan Cross. One of the main villains in this series is Francis Ackerman Jr, a prolific serial killer. He’s brutal, cunning, and dangerous. There are so many parts to his personality though, and whilst he is incredibly evil you somehow end up feeling sorry for him and even rooting for him at times.

 

Rachael Beardsley

Rachael Beardsley https://variancefiction.wordpress.com/

The main character from The Minds of Billy Milligan by Daniel Keyes. Calling him a villain would be inaccurate, but he definitely did things that were…. not good, to say the least. The book follows the true story of Billy Milligan, a man diagnosed with multiple personalities. It doesn’t take long before the reader begins rooting for him despite his crimes. He was treated at the psychiatric hospital that’s now a part of my college’s campus, so for me, it was very surreal to read descriptions of places I see every day.

Andy

Andreas Ganz: https://www.facebook.com/GraftonGanz/

Hmm. That’s tough. If you’d said movie, it would have been an easy choice. From a book? I’d have to go with The Cardinal from The Three Musketeers. No, you know what, change that to Svidrigailov Crime and Punishment.

He is seriously a bad piece of shit no grey what so ever and totally un- apologetic – you cannot read it and not hate the guy … but the Cardinal is snippy, more of a clown than a villain, you know what, I change my mind, go with the first answer.

 

As for me? I’d say Dr. James Moriarty from Sherlock Holmes and Randall Flag from Stephen King’s The Stand.

Moriarty was such a wonderful pairing for Holmes and you could sense a mutual admiration beneath the loathing. He was sharp, calculating, and deceptively charming. Not to mention educated and well-dressed. He was a villain with ambition and drive, not just a random mad-man.

Randall Flag, on the other hand, was a man bent on destruction for the sake of destruction, a master manipulator and deceiver. He had a dark magic at his disposal and he used it to twist a horrible situation into something far worse, drawing the conmen, the manipulators, to him to build an empire from the rubble.

 

So, now it’s your turn. Who is your favourite book villain and why? And why not check out the rest of the tour?

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