4 Star reviews · book review · Creative Writing · New Adult · writing

D.K. Cassidy Writes About a Nation that Can No Longer Sleep

the sleepless
Image courtesy of Pluvio Press

 

I just reviewed The Sleepless(Insomnolence Book 1) over on Amazon, so check out the full review there! I’ve also written a neat haiku review over on Goodreads that quickly sums up my thoughts on the work.

The Sleepless was a very interesting story. What I learned from the author is the power of characterization and not being afraid to test premises.

In The Sleepless, the main character Kate has to navigate life not being able to sleep anymore, so she has to take on odd jobs like cleaning up dead bodies and the another horrible job she refuses: prostitution.

Thank God she has Decker, a dear friend(who could be more than a friend at this point) who does the clean up duties for her. He is actually a sleeper. One of the ones unaffected by whatever event happened a decade back. What I like most about him is that he is an artist and never had much liking for Smartphones and social media. He prefers touch and face to face communication.

D.K. Cassidy’s fearless approach to tell a story about a nation who can’t fall asleep makes the book appealing and to be honest gave me pause. I feel this nation is heading to that point now. Think about it: I can barely sleep because I am always scrolling on my phone trying to find the next Tweet, or next comedic Facebook post and when not doing that, I am reading an eBook.

By time I have to go to work, I am still up- no choice now.

When I come home, I hop on my laptop. I do real work on there, but social media takes up 80% of that time.

D.K. Cassidy is currently working on Book 2: The Dreamers. If you have not already, please subscribe to this blog and check out D.K. Cassidy’s amazing books! 🙂

~The Write Web

 

book review · Creative Writing · Five Star Review · writing

The Art and Craft of the Short Story( a book review)

art and craft of short stories
Book cover courtesy of Open Road Distribution(October 2016)

The Art and Craft of the Short Story by Rick DeMarinis

Originally published by Story Press(2008)

ISBN: 978-15040-3685-6

If you’ve ever wanted to take that Master’s course in creative short fiction writing, I recommend none higher than DeMarinis’ The Art and Craft of the Short Story. This is no short book with quick, easy clichés to get you writing better. On the contrary, you will learn the anatomy of the short story and how to tell the difference between a good one and bad one.

What makes this book so good?

  • It is straight to the point with explanations of the tools of creative writing.
  • Lots of exercises.
  • Examples of amazing short stories written and published.

As someone who loves reading poetry and short stories, I had to pick this one up. I needed a book from an expert who will not only tell, but show me what good writing looks like.

DeMarinis breaks down beginnings, endings, plots, imagery, theme and more.

You realize he is speaking to you as a gentle instructor, showing you what you already realize as a reader: that a story has to grab your attention from the get go.

Here is just a few of the sage advice you’ll find:

  • “If there is a thematic point in a story to be made, it would have to emerge organically-not forced”(pg.59) meaning as you are writing, you may not want to focus on theme, just tell the story. Readers will have their own thoughts on what the theme truly is.
  • The contemporary short story is mostly character driven.
  • Shifting points of view may bring the story into sharper focus.
  • Closing a short story is similar to closing a poem(really loved this topic!)
  • The weird yet glamorous world of meta-fiction writing.

I think the biggest take away from this book is the breakdown of stories. As DeMarinis puts it:

“In fiction, every sentence is innovation.”(pg. 135) Stories are made up of Narrative(voice that tells the story), narrative summary(moves story forward), and scenes(place characters on stage).

Seeing it condensed like that after reading his book, really nailed it.

So if you are interested in writing short stories and getting them recognized and/or published, you will be doing yourself a favor by picking it up either on loan from Freading.com or clicking its title above to purchase from Amazon.

I wish I could spill all the information from beginning to end on this book, but writing is your journey and yours alone.

Would you pick up this book to improve your own writing or to learn about short fiction?

What are some books you have read on short story writing? Share here!

Sincerely,

-The Write Web

Creative Writing · writing · Writing gigs

The Power of Shorts

shorts
Photo Image by Josh Willink and blog design by Ericajean using Canva

I’m not talking about the tiny things people will be wearing on their legs this summer.

I’m talking about the incredible short fiction that is actually selling well on the Kindle and Smashwords.

Don’t believe me? Check this out:

“I know of one writer who sells collections of short pieces of erotica. She tells me she makes $15,000 a month, and expects to make more, as she releases more collections… So short stories are goldmines, these days.”[ http://www.fabfreelancewriting.com/blog/2013/06/25/writing-kindle-ficion-make-money-with-short-stories/]

Let’s Talk Short Pieces and Long Money

Just from those pieces of information, I know two things: One, short fiction is back.

Two: Writing in the popular categories(a.k.a. romance) will earn you more money as a writer.

Do I know this from personal experience?

Yes and…no.

I’ve written a story less than 150 pages for Smashwords and Barnes and Noble and it amassed about $23.00  at 0.99 per book.

Why the low sales?

Actually I received thousands of downloads when it was free. When I experimented and set it to 0.99 for a short while, it earned $23 buckaroos. Not much.

But I did not lose hope.

I began sifting through articles to find real writers who are earning an income and they are totally making a living out of this short fiction thing.

But, I don’t think it is as easy as it may seem.

Picking the Piece That Fits You

What if you don’t like writing romance? What if you are into mystery and thrillers or nonfiction?

Well, the stats are in the favor of these top four categories:

Lucky for me, I enjoy all four of these categories and regularly read the books within them. But I’ll be honest. Romance is my #1 fav hands down.

Recently, I’ve had the pleasure of reading D.K. Cassidy’s Room #42 and last year enjoyed Trish Marie Dawson’s The Station Series.

These books are fantastic and are not chunky page-wise.

In fact, Trish Marie Dawson’s The Station Series’ books, are less than 200 pages each and still I craved them enough to spend  3.99 on each book. Her first book is free.

Hopefully, knowing this is making it easier to consider writing short fiction. If not, here is more to persuade you…

I just bought D.K. Cassidy’s Sleepless book because her short read, Room 42 had me hooked to her writing.

The Key to Serving Up Your Stories

I notice a trend in pricing models too. For example, series seem to do extremely well online- especially if the first book is free.

If you want people to gobble down your books, serve them up a free appetizer and you will see your audience grow(of course this all depends on factors such as cover design, selecting the right categories for your book and great writing skills).

As a bookworm and writer I see the benefits from both ends. For one, as a reader I need to know where your stories are going and your tone in the books before I make any kind of extra purchase within the series.

C’mon even movies have trailers.

Secondly, as a writer, posting up free reads is a genius plan to get people hyped about the following books.

I heard of Kindle Singles and Kindle Worlds as well for writers to place their short stories. I am unfamiliar with these tools so please help me out if you know anything, comment below!

Want to strengthen you short story skills? Try out these powerful resources below:

The Art and Craft of the Short Story by Rick D.eMarinis

Jerz’s Literary Blog

The Seven Key Elements of Fiction

How to Write Short Stories That Sell

How to Make Real Money Selling Short Fiction

 

 

4.5 Star Review · book review · Creative Writing

The Shape of Ideas by Grant Snider (a review)

The Shape of Ideas: An Illustrated Exploration of Creativity by author/illustrator Grant Snider

Published: Abrams(2017)

ISBN: 978-1-4197-2317-9

*Book received for my unbiased review from Netgalley

Ever wonder where ideas come from?

Interested in how to catch them?

Don’t wish to read too many words on how ideas are shaped?

Then great. When I downloaded Snider’s Shape of Ideas, I was pleased to see cute pictures illustrating the many aspects and processes of generating ideas and entertaining inspiration.

“With every new thing I make I think I’m getting closer to whole.”(The Shape of Ideas p.45)

As a writer and creative thinker, it was pretty cool to have a visual of the process of forming an idea.

The drawings are simplistic enough, but with a tad bit of humor as you journey through sections such as:

  • Inspiration
  • Perspiration
  • Improvisation
  • Aspiration
  • Contemplation
  • Exploration, etc.

The book’s goal is to mirror what happens when we think about creating.

The book poses poignant questions and offered up sage advice within the art.

“You can be anything you want to be… but can you be everything you want to be.”(p.57)

In sum, The Shape of Ideas had some timeless, sage advice- most we identify with on a day to day basis but it was still a neat illustrative book.

About Grant Snider

You can find Grant Snider on incidentalcomics.com. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Kansas Star, and The Best American Comics 2013. He lives in Wichita, Kansas with his wife and 2 sons. More examples of his illustrative genius can be seen in Quiet Power: The Secret Strengths of Introverts.

 

book review · Creative Writing · Five Star Review

Wow, Room 42 is a Mind Trip(a review)

Room 42
Designed by Ericajean using Canva

Room 42 by D.K. Cassidy(Published in the “Immortality Chronicles” created by Samuel Peralta)

Pluto Press*Book received from Instafreebie.com

Visit D.K. Cassidy and while you’re at it, you are DEFINITELY going to want to download Room 42!

On April 15th the year 2145 at 42 minutes past midnight, “The Event” happened.

Everyone became immortal…and sterile.

Dr. Vivian Toujours for 75 years, has been working on a cure for this strange disease. In a world where everything lives forever- except one organism(read to find out!), what is a scientist to do?

My Reaction:

This story grabbed my mind and f#!&d with it. What’s even more cool, is the author even admits in her bio that she hopes to mess with our minds.

Good job, D.K.!

But seriously deep down, my psyche wanted a conclusion or some kind of sequel. I read this story as if I was there in the year 2145 and needing answers. For such a short work, the story highlights possible political and social scenarios- all plausible to me.

One question I need answered right now:

Can we please have a part 2 of some kind?

Just kidding! I know the power of the short and D.K.Cassidy wields it well!

For more reviews and even more on writing, delivered to your email or WordPress reader, I implore you to subscribe!

Sincerely,

Ericajean

P.S. Affiliate links may be in this post 😉

Creative Writing · Essays · writing · Writing gigs

Is Fiverr a Good Site for Writers?

I decided to do a little post on my experience using Fiverr as my side hustle for money.

I was paid to post legit comments on reputable blogs and articles, and made quite a bit of money writing up promotional material for authors.

Many of you who write are probably interested in making a little extra cash and to put something on your resume, but I am telling you now, be careful with many of these sites.

Writing online can be fun and rewarding, but being careful and trying to build your own platform and brand is key here.

Okay, so let’s talk about it…

Why Did I Start Using Fiverr?

I began using Fiverr because people were talking about it.

I also wanted to make money. Simple as that.

What did I do on Fiverr?

I started out just helping people get traction for their blogs by posting well thought out comments that were keyword dense. Eventually I realized that my love of reading could be marketable too, so I would promote author’s books on my social media after reviewing it in full or in part.

Do you have to be an expert?

It is preferable.

If you are passionate and relatively good and what you do. Go for it. In my opinion we should always look into perfecting our craft and professionalism should always be high.

What can a person do on Fiverr or what makes the most money?

You can offer ANY gig on Fiverr(within legal limits of course!). From my research, the most popular gig offers are for making promotional videos. If an individual or company wants you to try their product and review it in a video, that is what seems to be selling like hot cakes on Fiverr.

And it is super easy to do and make tons of money too.

Another popular gig is writing and designing. You will have to figure out your niche.

Is the pay good?

I will say this. I charged only five dollars for my gigs and once Fiverr took their cut and then Paypal took their cut, I was left with earnings of $3.92. No lie! But it added up quickly. I made probably $50 bucks or so off of my gigs when I was serious about it.

Why did I leave?

Here is the straw that is breaking the camel’s back. Poor camel!

I left because one bad review can take your popularity down a notch. I had just made top seller and one- just ONE of my customers was upset because she/he did not read my gig right.

Also, Fiverr took down one my writing gigs because it failed Terms of Service…? They did not give me details of how that happened and it was very shady how they did it too.

This does not mean Fiverr is a scam, but it made me rethink my business model.

My Journey to Freelance Writing Freedom

I don’t have all the knowledge yet on my new writing venture, but I do know this. I am tired of writing for companies that twist your money and work any kind of way just so you could earn pennies.

It is disgusting.

I now spend my days studying and honing my craft even more, submitting to literary journals and other places and getting my name out there.

If you are serious about becoming a writer-preneur then the first step is perfecting your craft and hosting it on your OWN website. I don’t have a domain yet but I will soon.

I am interested in how many of you are living your life free to write. Comment below or give this post a like!

Sincerely,

Ericajean 🙂

4.5 Star Review · African American · Creative Writing · writing

There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé(Book Review)

Morgan Parker
Blog design by Ericajean using Pixlr/Book Design Courtesy Tin House Books

4.5 Purple Hearts

There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce, Morgan Parker

Edition: Paperback

ISBN: 978-1941040539

Price: 14.95 USD(Get First Edition on Amazon for less)

*Book received for free from Netgalley.

With a title such as There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyonce, Morgan Parker is setting the reader up for poetry that will be evocative, provocative, enthralling and enriched, steeped in the black and black woman experience.

For a greater experience of Morgan Parker’s writing, check out her article on Afrofuturism that is amazing!

My Reaction:

Reading Parker’s poetry was like taking a deep dive into some subconscious quagmire that only those in touch with pop culture will sink into. However it was hard not to judge this book subjectively because with poems like “13 Ways of Looking at a Black Girl”,“Afro”, and “RoboBeyonce” I had a party in my head and I understood exactly where the speaker was coming from.

Take these words for instance:

“I’m too small to see but I’m listening.”

Or

“On the last day of the year I enter a scalding tub and think you away.”

Many poems I understood, just from living it.

However, some poems I came across seemed to be from a stream of consciousness that my mind just froze upon. That is okay. Stream of consciousness is good. I delve into it with my own writing too, creating abstract poems with my abstract brain.

This is a great book of poetry, I do recommend it to those who enjoy poetry infused with pop culture and plenty of interesting, uncharacteristic rhythm.