Saturday, October 25, 2014

NanoWrimo - November is Writing Month!

November is National Writing Month! Have you ever heard of NanoWrimo? It's a website dedicated to writing a manuscript during the month of November. The goal is to write a 50,000 word rough draft in November. You can submit your manuscript if you'd like to participate in their writing contest (where you can earn real prizes), or you can just use the website to kick-start your own writing.

On NanoWrimo, you can select your region, take part in the forums, find a buddy or two, and just generally be sociable during your writing process. There are also tools to get your inspiration flowing!

I took part in NanoWrimo three years ago, but never got my story finished. This year I'm hoping to get closer to that 50,000 mark so that I can say I at least did better than the last time.

Any other Wrimo'ers out there? If so, maybe we can swap names and be writing buddies!

During the month of November, I plan on updating on my NanoWrimo progress, so I hope you'll check back with me to see how it's going.

Friday, October 24, 2014

A Grand Design - a Litfuse Review

Series: Quilts of Love
  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Abingdon Press (June 17, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1426773471

Book Description

A getaway on a charming island may be just what Alyssa needs—if only she can let go of her past.

When Alyssa Denham, a single career woman, wins a fun getaway for two on Mackinac Island where her grandmother lives, she gives her carefree best friend a call. Together, they tour the old shops and hidden treasures of the quaint island while helping Alyssa’s grandmother piece together an heirloom quilt. Their quest gains them entrance into the homes of many longtime residents of the island, parts of the city that are otherwise off limits to tourists.

As the quilt’s story takes shape, Alyssa gains amazing insight into her grandmother’s life . . . and attracts the attention of the handsome Scott Whitman, an island resident in charge of hotel transportation. Will memories of her past keep Alyssa from letting go? Or will the quest to piece together the heirloom quilt restore Alyssa’s fractured heart—and bring healing to her entire family?

My Thoughts
This was a hard novel to read. My general rule is that if I'm not captured by the story in 30 pages that I give myself permission to stop reading. (However, this being a review book, I read until the end.) The book just didn't take off until page 100 or so. Half the story felt like filler or as if the author was trying to build up to the climax but was struggling.

The main character Alyssa was a character who I had a hard time visualizing. I'd have liked to have seen her more fleshed out, along with the other characters. The male in the story was alluded to having had a family secret of some sort, like Alyssa, but it was never addressed. I kept waiting for it, but it never arrived. That was a bit disappointing. 
There was a part of the story that really left me shaking my head. In the story, Alyssa had been attacked in the past by a man and was accosted again by him in the story. Alyssa was saved by Scott, who managed to get a few wounds during the attempt to fight off Alyssa's attacker. Alyssa tended to his wounds, and both of them felt the draw to kiss. This didn't feel right to me--does someone who's been accosted want to kiss someone who she barely knows and has been developing feelings for? I wouldn't. And when I asked my husband how he'd have felt about the matter, he wholeheartedly agreed that he couldn't imagine wanting to romantically kiss someone who had just been accosted. In another scene with Alyssa's friend Libby and Grandma, the experience was quickly talked away. Reading it, I felt like scratching my head, because I was imagining that Alyssa's experience would have left her shaken and maybe left her having a hard time sleeping. However, an hour or so after the event, Alyssa, her friend Libby, and Grandma were hilariously laughing about something. It just didn't make sense.
I will say though that the story ended ok. It had a godly focus to it, which I certainly appreciate. It had a nice romantic ending, and I wish that the story had had more oomph to it! 
About the Author
Amber Stockton is an award‑winning author, a national speaker, and a direct‑sales brand partner with Nerium International. She lives with her husband and fellow author, Stuart Vaughn Stockton, in Colorado. They have a daughter and a son, and an Aussie/retriever mix named Roxie. Three of her novels have won annual reader’s choice awards. Find out why readers love her by visiting her website

I've been given a copy of A Grand Design by Litfuse Publicity Group, in exchange for my honest review. My opinions are my own.