Cake Baking and Book Making – Review of FICTION WRITING MODES by Mike Klaassen

Novel writing is similar to baking a cake. You start off with an idea of what you’re going to make and at the end, if you’ve done your job, you wind up with something pretty sweet. But it’s the middle to me that bears the greatest similarity. It’s all about the ingredients. First off, the right ingredients, because the cake will never be a cake without them. And second, using the ingredients in the proper amounts. This leads us to FICTION WRITING MODES by Mike Klaassen. Not only has Mike assembled the ingredients for a novel, he’s shown us how to use each effectively to create a killer story.

PROS:

  • Off the bat, Mike lays out what sets his book apart from other books on fiction writing. This in itself is helpful because as a writer, you have to be able to describe what sets your work apart. It doesn’t have to be this huge thing either. Just a fine tweaking that distinguishes you from the rest of the pack.

  • The Ingredients! Or if you’re not big on cake (can you believe that some people don’t like cake?) you can think of the fiction modes as tools. Think of building a ‘67 Ford Mustang. You’ll need tools to do it. Well, in building our Mustang of a novel, one that changes gears smoothly and just flows and flies off book shelves, we will need the tools and material to do the job right. Mike assembles those tools and materials for us.

  • He’s assembled those tools in an easy to find outline style. One of the things I love about this book is that each chapter has headings and hyperlinkable (is that a word?) Yes, hyperlinkable subjects. Take for instance the fiction mode of Sensation. Well there is a hyperlink for that Mode that will take you directly to it. So after you’ve read through the book, you can go back and use it as a handy desk reference.

  • I loved his section on FRUSTRATION and its role in Plot. I won’t go into detail here because I’d like you to read about it in the book. But I will say that if you follow this one piece of advice alone, you’ll go far. Just imagine if you follow them all.

CONS (And there weren’t many):

  • I think Mike spent too much time in the beginning talking about how he developed his modes. That could’ve been placed in the appendix or referenced in a separate article or blog post.

  • In keeping with that first con, while he explained to us the superiority of his modes, he kept referencing the inferior modes. Yes, I know one needs a point of reference. But when referring to that point, it’s best to downplay it. Perhaps mention the inferior once and the superior ten times.

Overall, FICTION WRITING MODES is a well written, thorough, tool for writers at any stage. Whether starting out or fine tuning skill, this book is an awesome desk reference. I give the book four out of five stars!

For more info on this book and others by Mike Klaassen, please visit

https://www.mikeklaassen.com/

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Aries Nox Dawson is Taking Over!

Locked and Loaded Ebook Cover
Hey say, what’s happening? I’m Aries Nox Dawson and yeah, I hacked James Fant’s page. Ole boy left me no choice. He been saying he’s gonna put out the novels about me and he ain’t done it yet. I’ve tried everything short of bribing him. But he keeps talking about timelines, and other priorities—blah, blah blah!
 
Say what, now? Who is Aries Nox Dawson? I’m so very glad you asked, beloved. I’m a 6’5”, 350-pound ex-football player who loves to eat, hates early mornings and bodyguards some of the craziest people in the world. Now, I do have a bit of a gut. I’ll admit that. But it’s solid, though. And I’m real handsome so the ladies don’t seem to mind.
 
But anyway, since James Fant ain’t dropped my first novel yet, I asked him if he’d at least do a short story. You know? Something!!! So here it is: LOCKED AND LOADED. It’s a shawty about how I have to protect these wannabe, fake gangster rappers from some real goons in this hole-in-the-wall club with one way in and one way out. But did somebody pay those goons to attack my clients? Is it that sexy club owner who hates the group’s manager for breaking her heart? Is it the bouncer—this muscle-bound clown wearing those Kurt Angle-looking weightlifting pants? Or are the goons out for blood because my clients are just as soft as apple sauce?
 
You wanna know whodunit? Well, LOCKED AND LOADED is out right now and it’s FREE!!! Pick up your copy today and take a ride with your boy. I’m inviting you into my wild and crazy life. Can you handle it?
 
Sincerely,
 
Aries Nox Dawson — A.N.D.
 
Oh yeah! One more thing. Next time you see James Fant, tell him I said, “Hurry up and publish those Aries Nox Dawson Whodunits! Giddy-Up, Homeboi!!!”
 
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THE VERY IMPORTANT POINT: My review of The Call of the Writer’s Craft: Writing and Selling the Book Within by Tom Bird

I read this book really to broaden my horizon on book marketing. However, as I traveled through the pages (or screens since I read the ebook) I was reintroduced to a love for creativity. I was reawakened to the love and enjoyment of filling blank space with a story that is authentic and passionate. A story only I can tell. How to write that story in the right way. How to ensure it is an exciting and powerful tale. How to get out of my own way when I write and let the divinely inspired story flow from within. Because only when you’ve created an honest and passionate tale, will it resonate with others. And then, perhaps, go so far as to sell itself.

The book talks about what hinders free flowing prose. The Logical Critical Brain (LCB), and its haughty pragmatism. It knows what’s best. It checks all the checklists. Dots all the I’s crosses all the T’s. It constrains the freedom of expression. Tells us, “No, we must think about the consequences of revealing such a truth. It serves a purpose as a gatekeeper, I guess, but it stifles the true message that is begging to be released. Think about it, writer. How many times during your writing have you paused mid-type to think about ramifications, to ponder if that is what truly should be said, to argue with yourself about the character’s intentions when the character is actually screaming to you, NO. THIS IS WHAT TRULY HAPPENS!!! And what happens, is you go through several drafts struggling to find a voice that through the course of your LCB driven writing, you’ve overlooked and ignored. This shouldn’t be the case when creatively writing. Passion is the first draft. Pragmatism is the second. Write with your heart on the first draft. Your head on subsequent drafts. (But if you believe Tom Bird, you only need two drafts if you write this way).

Do I recommend you read this book? Yes, I believe that you should because it will stoke a fire in you for writing. But does the book deal much with marketing? As an indie author, I’ve learned that marketing is a big part of the package. If no one knows you wrote it, then no one will read it. Because how can you read something when you don’t know that it exists. So you need to market. You even need to market if you’re signed to a publisher. But how do you do that? Does this book tell you how? While it doesn’t go into great detail, I believe that it drives home a very important point about marketing fiction. I laugh at this pun now, about a very important point. Because without giving out a spoiler, the very important point actually deals with THE VERY IMPORTANT POINT.

Yes, I think you should read this book. For the fire for writing it will stoke and for the tip about marketing (there goes that pun again), this book will bless you immensely!

For more information on this book and others by Tom Bird, please visit his website:

https://tombird.com/ 

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Excerpt from The Darkest Loop

cover

Someone somewhere was giving me a gang of second chances. Who knew when their generosity was going to run out?

So I staked out in the side parking lot of Family Medicine. I backed my Camry into a spot near some bushes so I wouldn’t be seen. But by the time I arrived there at 7:00 in the morning, there was no one to be seeing me anyway.

There I was, sitting in the driver seat like an old flatfoot. Slumped in my seat. A baseball cap pulled over my head. The tint on my windows provided an excellent cover. I spent the entire early morning thinking about the why of the loop. The why haunted me. Eluded me. It had nothing to do with saving Kevin. I knew that now. I knew exactly why I was stuck in a time loop. My mission. But the mission was daunting—much too daunting for one man to tackle. I needed a partner. Thena was the first person who came to mind. It was like a little voice in my head telling me that we were somehow irrevocably linked in some cosmic and spiritual way. In the kind of way that would cause her to believe me when I told her that I was in this loop. The kind of blind faith that would have her help me in perhaps doing what I was chosen to do. But I had to save Kevin. And I couldn’t get hurt in the process. I would sure need my ankle later.

It was nearly noon when I saw Thena walk by and I cursed. Why was she still here? Wasn’t she still mad at Kevin?

Now, I knew that the incident with the van wouldn’t take place for another fifteen minutes or so. So I had to act fast.

I pushed through the lobby doors in my trench coat and ball cap and said, “I knew you were going to let me down!”

“Dallas,” she turned left, right, then back to me. “What are you doing here?”

“I’ve told you: I’ve been here before.”

“Here?”

I looked around the lobby. “No…not here. But out there.” I pointed out the dark glass window. “Definitely out there.” Mind you, I was wearing a trench coat in the beginning of September, along with a hat pulled tightly over my eyes. I hadn’t taken stock in the craziness of my outfit. My next statement would sound to Thena as crazy as the outfit I was wearing.

“I’m stuck in a time loop. That’s how I know about Bryant Green—but all I know about him is that you were engaged long ago. That’s not important. I only brought him up because it’s a fact that I know that I could not have known unless I saw you talking to him, and of course your mother told me that you were engaged.”

“Kevin could’ve told you all of that. You know what? You need to leave.”

“Kevin’s coming soon. He’s going to start into that intersection and get demolished unless I save him.”

“I’m calling security.”

“Yesterday, you were wearing light pink toe-nail polish with glitter.” She narrowed her eyes. “Now how would I know that unless you took off your shoes? You didn’t yesterday. Not that yesterday. But on a previous yesterday, you did.”

Thena was motioning to the representative behind the reception counter. “Excuse me! Sir? Would you please call Public Safety?”

“Oh my goodness.” I shot up from my chair. “Kevin’s coming.”

I dashed out, knowing in my heart each step was the sealing of my fate. Sweat pooled at the base of my neck to match the moistness on my forehead. I tossed the hat to the ground. Why? No clue. Maybe I thought in the seconds between my lunging from the glass doors to the sidewalk my hat would slow me down. But that was stupid. The hat—if I still had it—would cushion the blow as my head hit the ground—again. Of course I didn’t feel much pain on my first go round (if that was the first go round of me attempting to save Kevin). But the pain afterwards? The mind gnawing migraines. My ankle feeling like someone had stabbed through it all the way to the bone. And that same someone had the unmitigated gall to leave that knife there. That rusty knife. In the next microsecond it dawned on me: what if I didn’t just get nicked this time? What if that minivan plowed right through me? Or what if I was unsuccessful in pushing Kevin out of the way of the van this time? It was sheer luck that aided me the last time. That stunt man stuff you see in the movies is not as reproducible as you think in the real world. Could I do it twice?

 

 

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THE DARKEST LOOP is on Virtual Book Tour!

THE DARKEST LOOP is on virtual book tour! Today, we’re stopping by This And That Book Blog where you’ll be able to enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card. The blog is here: http://thisandthatbookblog.blogspot.com/…/the-darkest-loop-…

And check out this featured excerpt in the blog and below.

Excerpt from THE DARKEST LOOP

“The dream was nothing,” I said. “And everything is cool.” The lie was better than the truth. The truth was I was coming unglued. Destabilized by this loop which faithfully kept twirling us round and round. I was a moon trapped in its orbit. And its gravity was slowly tearing me apart.

I couldn’t face Thena because my eyes would surely tell her the truth. So I turned and stared at the skyline. A gray mist settled over the buildings below, like the buildings were hiding under a fluffy blanket, wary of the coming danger. The sky was gloomy like it knew that the planes were coming. It was weird that the following morning it would be clear and a beautiful blue. For a little while. Because the smoke billowing from the towers would darken the sky. Likewise, my heart was darkened because we hadn’t found our way in.

Security had tightened since the 1993 bombing. In fact, most of the building was off limits to the public. So on the occasions that we visited the inside of the towers, it was only the lobby that we were able to freely peruse and of course the observation decks on the South Tower. There was also the restaurant, Windows on the World, on the 107th floor of the North Tower. We had dinner in the restaurant—or at least tried to. Sitting there amongst a dining area filled with people who didn’t know that all of this would soon come crashing to the ground snatched away our appetites. Our food basically watched us as we stared out of the window at the beautiful, yet haunting sky line.

We had dinner there each evening of September 9th, getting there at 8pm each time. We sat at the same table and was waited on by the same waiter: a slender man from Maldonado. The staff was diverse, reminding me of staff you’ll find on cruise ships. From various countries. Various accents. A melting pot 107 stories in the sky. We ordered the same entrées. Perhaps eating the very same food over and over again. Giving brand new meaning to the idea of recycling. And each dinner I was quiet, thinking mostly about our mission. But also about my father’s story about my mother.

I was thinking about her then as we took in the cool air atop this man made mountain. On the Observation Deck, I considered telling Thena about what my father said. But I couldn’t figure out how to do it without sounding like a lunatic. Finally, when I didn’t answer she said, “I get it. You’re imagining the planes coming at us.” I looked around us. People were smiling and chit chatting, talking about the show they were going to see that evening. The trip to the Statue of Liberty. The visit to the Museum. None of them knew. My heart really broke when that one little kid asked, “Mommy, can we come back up here tomorrow morning?” And the mother replied, “Sure. Weather man says it should be clearer tomorrow.”

“We’re powerless,” I moaned.

“Don’t say that.”

“It’s been almost a month and all we’ve done is witness this building fall three times,” I whispered forcefully. “I don’t know if I can take another.”

“Did you think we’d figure this out over night? I didn’t. I knew it would take some time because of all the variables. But we will be successful. Were that not the case, we wouldn’t keep getting all these chances to make things right.”

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A Perfect Appetizer: Review of The Perfect Crime: An Asher Benson Short Story

What did I think? I thought it was awesome! THE PERFECT CRIME, by Jason Brant, is a short story that occurs between books 1 and 2 of his Asher Benson series. Asher was just as witty and tough in this short as he was in ASH. The cool thing about this short is that it is told totally from the point of view of the bad guy, a lowlife creep named Andrew. And the ending took me by surprise! What I loved most about this story is that it made me laugh out loud. What I disliked? Absolutely nothing! THE PERFECT CRIME was a perfect appetizer for MADNESS, book 2 of the series, which I am about to start reading right now!
Check out this book on Goodreads: The Perfect Crime: An Asher Benson Short Story https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23622005-the-perfect-crime 

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A Fun, Feel-Good Read (Review of THE PLAYER’S OPTION by K.L. BRADY)

Ty Ellen Baker and Chris “C.J.” Jamison are sports agents on a collision course. They each have a client who has threatened to jump to the other agent and Ty and Chris know this. And they both have serious flaws which hamper their business. Maybe their meeting at the Combines in Indianapolis is fate at work. The only thing is, when they meet, they only know each other as Just Ellen and Just Chris. Having never met as Ty and C.J. before, they have no clue at first that the other is a threat. Will they connect? What happens when truth springs and two wolves learn that they’re hunting the same piece of meat?

This was a fun, feel good novel. Written with wit and charm. Sprinkled with comedy here and there. There are two POVs: Ty and Chris. This is cool; however, the author at times rehashed entire events that I’d read in one POV in the next. The characters were well fleshed, real, and flawed. As crazy as it sounds, flawed characters are good. A character that has all the answers is not only boring to me, but unrealistic. The only thing I disliked about the novel is that the author “told” instead of “showed” in a few scenes–told me how a character felt instead of illustrating it through action, facial expression or dialogue. But this was only minor to me.

A major theme of the book is the dynamic of competition and completion. For example, in the novel (won’t say where) there’s this guy (won’t give name) who was jealous of his lady’s success. How shallow! Man, my wife’s successes are mine as well. The more money I make, the more money she makes. When she wins, we win. There is no competition. Only Completion! How can we complement each other so we both get what we need?

If you’re looking for a fun, feel good novel that is written with wit and charm, check out K.L. Brady’s THE PLAYER’S OPTION. There’s also a great life lesson there. Fiction–from the times of the Parables to now–still one of the best formats for learning life lessons.

For more info on K.L. Brady’s books, check out http://www.simonandschuster.com/authors/K-L-Brady/76764023 

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