Ink Stains: An Ebook Review

I’ve told you before about author Lara Zielin when I reviewed her book Donut
Days
. Well, when she asked me to review a new ebook, Ink Stains, which she
compiled with eight other authors, I jumped at the chance. Between these
authors they have more than 25 published books, so it’s only natural that they
would have some great advice to share with other writers.

The career of a writer is often an uncertain one.

Will I ever be published?

Will anyone buy my book?

Is it even worth the effort?

We ask ourselves a million questions and doubt ourselves a
million times. Rejection and criticism can hail down on the delicate surroundings
we’ve built with our words. It’s hard to stay motivated and focused when
there’s a cloud of doubt raining over your thoughts. So, let Ink Stains be your
umbrella.

With each author’s contribution, you’ll gain insight into
dealing with some of the most common worries that writers have. Questions you
may have posed to yourself, they have asked themselves already. Bumps in the
road? They have had the same ones to cross. Topics like the time spent on your
work, how to handle the criticism from editors, writer’s block and even how to
answer the ever-popular question “Am I a writer?” is addressed.

Each entry is told in a conversational tone, so it’s like
you are sitting with the author in a one-on-one interview. All of which are
easy to relate to because these are real people with the same problems every
writer has experienced. Whether you have already published, or this is the
first time you are putting pen to paper, this is a great read.

Ink Stains isn’t a tell-all novel with every tidbit about
writing you have ever wanted to know. It’s a quick read with honest opinions
and personal accounts from published authors. After reading it, you’ll feel a
renewed inspiration for your writings. But make sure you keep it on a nearby
shelf because picking this up every so often for a reread just might do wonders
for your progress.

My Very First Giveaway!

I met Lara Zielin on Twitter some time ago and found out quickly how easy it is to like her. She is always sweeter than the donuts she loves and giggly as a teenage girl. This is obviously a winning combination for a Young Adult author. However, I wondered, should I pick up her book? At the time, I was struggling with whether or not I should be reading YA novels since I am, sadly, no longer a young adult. After blogging about rereading A Wrinkle In Time, I realized it would be more ridiculous to NOT read her book.

So, I read it. AND, I loved it. And because Lara is so superfabulous, she offered to give away a copy of Donut Days to a commenter on my blog! *happy dance*

Now don’t go hopping straight down to comment! At least read what it’s about first…geez…you guys are so impatient.

Emma is an aspiring journalist hoping to win a scholarship from a local newspaper so she can attend a non-Christian university, which is against her parents’ wishes. The neighborhood debut of Crispy Dream, a popular donut shop chain, is the topic of her story, along with the people camping out for days in anticipation of its opening. However, the events that have been occurring in her parents’ church threaten to distract her away from everything she’s working for. While she’s spending time at the camp, her mother’s minister status is being questioned because of a supposed prophecy made by a member of the church. On top of it all, Emma’s best friend has turned on her and is now hanging out with the daughter of the man who made the prophecy that started it all.

Lara has created a novel that is easy to love. The major events are not your typical teenage problems, but they are framed by the common issues of friend betrayal, growing up and falling in love. The combination makes for a relatable, page turning story. The characters are well developed; it’s not hard to endear to Emma and her family within the first few pages. And with Emma narrating, you are placed in her shoes, feeling her frustration of what has happened. This is not an action packed book, but Lara keeps from lingering in one spot too long, which avoids any lulls in the story line. And when it comes to Emma’s love interest, it’s simple and promising. I loved every inch of this book. Every word and every page had my full attention. I’m sure you will, too.

Ok, NOW you can go comment! Leave me a comment and I will use a random number generator to pick the winner of the book on Friday, May 21.   

I’m Reading A Book.

I’m reading a book.

Yes…I know.

How cerebral of me.

In the past year of self discovery, one of the changes I made was to read more often. In the second half of last year, I read twelve books, or so. When the new year began, I saw @JackiYo post a hashtag on Twitter that sparked my interest. I asked her what #26in2011 is and she explained it as an initiative to read 26 books during the year 2011. The tag was started by @davefleet last year when he used #26in2010. However, it was actually inspired by @julien‘s idea for a book-a-week.

What a great way for me to keep up with my reading, I thought. You see, I’m what I like to think of as a “passive-aggressive competitor”. I am competitive, but only when it’s not really an official competition. I have always felt that people are much more likely to succeed when the pressure of winning isn’t hanging over their heads. For me, it tends to be a contest with myself to excel. Then if I perform better than others, it’s an added bonus. And when I surpass everyone…well, sometimes it gets ugly.

But, I digress…

I’m currently on book #4, A Wrinkle In Time. Since joining Twitter, I have somehow connected with a large number of Young Adult (YA) readers and writers. Before Twitter, it hadn’t occurred to me to pick up a YA novel as reading material. I’m 33. I’m not a “young adult” no matter how whimsically I wish for it to be true. After seeing so many others that read YA material, I was soon reminiscing about all the books I devoured as a child. A Wrinkle In Time is in my top five favorites. So, I put down my uncertainty and picked up a book I loved to find out how it would affect me today.

Even though I had read this book so many times in my youth, its pages washed over me with a newness like the first time I read it. I remember how dearly I identified with Meg. Her awkwardness. Her insecurity. Her ability to keep everyone at arms length, yet the need to pull them all so close. The intangible connection with her brother shows her protective nature. Then an unexpected love interest gave away her vulnerable side. I remember the wide-eyed awe with which I absorbed the crosshatching of science and fantasy in the story. It was everything my tender soul needed at that age. And now, it’s able to unearth all those memories that  I hadn’t realized had been buried so deep.

Because of this book, my choice of reading material has now broadened extensively. While I love to be right, having my opinions proven wrong through my own experiences never ceases to renew my spirit. As I continue to read this year, I can now include an entire genre I had thought I had left behind me. So, thank you to all of the YA readers and writers that have opened my eyes. I thank you. My creativity and imagination thanks you.

And the 10 year old Christine Marie thanks you, too.

I’m A Writer, Damnit…Part 2

Here’s some proof!

This is a free e-book offered on a website of someone I met on Twitter, Dave Ursillo.  Dave is a writer who has a fantastic site that concentrates on pieces that encourage happiness and inspiration in life.  This e-book was written collaboratively by myself and nine other incredible writers. 

http://www.daveursillo.com/blog/the-happiness-catalyst/

What are you waiting for?  GO!  Check it out! It’s free!