Category Archives: Books and Writing

Book and Movie Review: Austenland

I am a fan of Jane Austen as much as the next girl. Who wouldn’t love a man who is a gentleman and has manners. And the heroine is a smart, headstrong girl.

austenland book cover

I’ve heard of this book on and off for years, and finally got down my list to it. It kept getting pushed down whenever one of my favorite authors had a new release.

I was pleasantly surprised. There was a lot less fluff then I thought there would have been. The main character, Jane, is a little wishy washy. But in a good way. She knows she has an obsession which has been fueled by her bad string of boyfriends. She knows what the “practical” thing she should do, but her heart wants something else.

Some people didn’t like her as much (in other reviews) because she wasn’t “strong and decisive”. But I can relate to her. She is stuck in 3 worlds, not just 2. Not only the modern world where women can do anything and everything, and has it all figured out. Then the world that tells her that her biological clock is ticking. And that she shouldn’t have had so many boyfriends.

This third world is part fantasy, part history. A more simple time. Yes less choices, but too many choices can be overwhelming. Its bad enough parts of society expect you to be loose and free when you date in your younger years, but just turn around and settle down and take everything serious. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a serious relationship right off. She can’t change something that is fundamentally her.

Overall, a good read. Highly recommended. An easy read that skims on some deeper parts.

Austenland the movie

Since I liked the book so much I went online to find the movie. Now I didn’t have high expectations only because most books to movies don’t translate well.

So no, this was not a close adaptation. A lot was changed. There was no inheritance from the aunt, she bought the package herself. Her obsession was not hidden but glaringly obvious. And all the characters were changed in big or small ways. A lot of the background was lost like in most movies.

But…..somehow it worked. The movie was only an hour and a half so they had to cut somewhere. So the beginning was the logical answer. And people want more at the place anyways.


It did show how ridiculous all the people were. I liked how Jane and “Lizzie” were more friends. The changes worked for the time they had.

Also movies do add some where the book could not. I’ve never been good at picturing what clothes looked like in detail. Then the little moments of a look. I feel like movies can do better at add the impact of just one look.

Overall a good, enjoyable movie. Just don’t go looking to it as a close read to the book. I’d suggest only do that for the ones that get turn into TV shows.

Has anyone read this book or seen the movie? What did you think of it? Any thoughts on book to movie adaptations?



Freelance Work: Proofreading and Writing

At the end of last year I decided to take the plunge into freelance working. I wanted to explore a different way of working. And the extra money was helpful for paying bills.

So I started out with writing. Its what I want to do and there’s so much out there……Yeah, that’s the problem. There is so much out there. It is hard wading through all the scams, then you have to figure out what you “qualify” for.

Don’t get me wrong. I did put out there a few articles and a short story. But it all helped me narrow down what I really want to do. And what I am actually good at.

First ties into one of my passions, reading. And I mean passion. I almost opened a bookstore because there isn’t one for miles. (one and a half to two hour drive) So I started looking for work ad a proofreader and editor.

The two sites I use are Guru   and Elance . I personally have had more luck at Guru. But both have hundreds of job postings for writing, blogging, web design, virtual assistants, illustration, and a bunch more. Go check them out.

The other part I learned is that I do not do well with articles. I just don’t have the right writing for it. But I do do good as a blogger and short story writer. Granted I don’t make money on my blogging (someday I hope I will). But writing short stories is easy for me.

Sadly nothing published yet, but I am working on three avenues:

1. Writing contests. I subscribe to a few newsletters that give heads up on upcoming contests, many of them free to enter. I get a lot from Writer’s Digest and Poets and Writers. They both even publish a special magazine issue just on writing contests and short stories.

This as actually this May/June issue

This as actually this May/June issue

2. Magazines. Now I may not be good at articles but there are a few magazines that still publish short stories. This article here has some great advice on how and where.

3. Self-Publish. Yes I am going this route, at least for my short stories. I like the idea that I can reach more people and get stories out there quicker. Also you can put each story out individually, then compile a bunch into one book. I am almost done with my first story so I’ll let you know how it goes.

I am still slowly working on my book, which I want to go the traditional route with. But things are slow going with so many balls in the air.

I hope this way helpful. If you have any questions please ask.


Writing and Weddings and Fitness. Oh My!

I have a lot going on right now and I feel like more will be coming up before I know it. I have about 9 months to plan a wedding. At the same, time trying to kick up my freelance writing with a few article, short stories, and ultimately a novel. Then trying to get back into shape, which is now more important with the wedding. All at the same time working two at home part-time jobs.

I think I’m missing something and that scares me.


I have ten days to finish my short story for a contest to be published in an anthology. At this rate I’m not going to get it done. I’m averaging 300 words a day. I need to at least get to 5000 to remotely tie a story together.

On top of that I’m trying to get two blogs and a Tumblr site running with some followers. Then I need to work on a grant proposal and hopefully two more short stories.

Some days I can barely put two words together let alone sentences. I’m not sure I can finish it in time.


And now I have 9 months to plan a wedding, on a budget. After talking to my two bridesmaids I realize I know very little that goes into a wedding. So many tiny details and timelines. My head hurts.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m super excited and love to plan. But it doesn’t help all the waiting because I’m hours away from where it’s going to be.

But in March, me and my mom are going to a wedding show to do some serious recon and find out what I can realistically do with $10,000. I honestly have no idea what things really cost, even after searching online. They don’t exactly give many details.

Fitness:                                        images

Once I get this first short story out and get our venue figured out I need to kick up my fitness. Since our vacation I almost stop exercising. That needs to change soon now that I have an important dress to fit into.

So, I’m still deciding whether or not to join the Y in my town. There’s only one other choice and that’s an Anytime fitness. But I know I do better with fitness classes. I need variety and a group support.

I’m going to work up to doing yoga, zumba, and a circuit class all once a week each. Then walk to dog everyday (as long as it isn’t frigid out).  Still debating on whether I want to try running once a week.

For food I will start out with adding one serving of vegetables and two servings of fruit a day. I’m still deciding on how I want to proceed after I get to that point. I know more fish and whole grains. Still need to do more research.


As you can see I have a lot to do. But I’m super excited. Hoping I can get it all done. Wish me luck.

Book Review: The Light Who Shines


Now I was asked by the author to read her book and do a review, but I told her I would be honest no matter whether I liked it or not. Hell, I love to read and might someday want to get paid to do it.

Overall, I loved the book. The story was great and the plot was good with some actual surprising twists. A few of the dialogues and descriptions were a little lengthy, but easily fixed. Nothing that would make you want to stop reading. I would like more development with the characters, but there was plenty for the story.

Now there are going to be some spoilers in here, so if you don’t want me to ruin it stop here.

It’s a story in a world like our own with three distinct variations in the species; Humans, Gifted, and Vampires. Now don’t roll you eyes. These are not the happy, I just want love kind. They are killers. The main Vampire is a little sappy in that he thinks he can’t have love because he is a monster, but not to the point of annoyance.

The main character is Bluebell Kildare. She is Gifted and pleasantly enough she doesn’t have some huge flashy power. She is an empathy that can sense present and lingering emotions. She can also sense life forms and magic. She is very smart, but I hope she learns a little more self defense because needing someone to help in a physical fight most of the time will get old.

Heres the synopsis the author wrote for the book:

When Paranormal Investigation Bureau agent Bluebell Kildare (a.k.a. Blue) arrives at the scene of the crime it is obvious the grotesquely damaged body of the deceased teenage boy was caused by far more than a simple hit and run. Using her innate sixth sense, she locates a powerful magical artifact that acts as a key to an ancient Grimiore and is likely the motive for the crime. She soon discovers the Grimiore has a dark past as it was instrumental in the creation of the Vampire breed and still holds the power to unravel the boundaries between hell and earth.

Blue and her faithful wolf Varg follow the trail starting at the Cock and Bull Tap and all through the town of Crimson Hollow, which leads to plenty of dead ends; some more dead than others. Between being sidelined by a stalker that sticks to the shadows, and chasing a perpetrator that vanishes in thin air, things are getting complicated. Dark vampire activity is at an all time high and hate group activity is increasing. However, it’s her burgeoning feelings for Jack Tanner, her magnetic Daylight Vampire boss, who alternates between warm affection and cool indifference that just might undo her.

While Blue searches for clues to nail the perpetrator, someone seems to be conducting a search of their own and things are getting extremely messy. Who will find whom first? Danger lurks in every corner and Blue needs all her focus in this increasingly dangerous game or she risks ending up the next victim.

The book left a lot open for future stories without leaving you frustrated about unanswered questions. I particularly like the growing problem of discrimination and hate crimes between the groups. Not in that I agree with it, but the way it shows its blind destruction and how some religions can make it worse. Even though they tout certain morals but are selective in who gets it.

Overall I really enjoyed reading this book look forward to the next in the series. I gave her my suggestions on things to work on, but in the end she did great for a first book self-published.

P.S. Thank you so much to the author for not having some sexed up character on the book cover. She actually looks that the main character.

Buy her book on Kindle or check her out on Goodreads

If Writing Is Not Your Day Job, Are You Still a Writer?

Sadly I am still at the point where I still work at places that i hope will either fire me or burn to the ground. But I still write

Waiting Outside of Parnassus

At what point is one allowed to call oneself a writer is a question that I’ve spent far too much time contemplating. When I was younger, I would shy away from calling myself a writer because my writing wasn’t serious, wasn’t good, wasn’t published, wasn’t published in a paying magazine, and myriad of other reasons. I now say that the only thing that makes a person a writer is that they write (something I’ve heard a lot of other people say for a long time before I accepted its obvious truth). As long as I spend a good portion of my time getting words on the page, I am a writer. Maybe not a good one, a successful one or any other qualifier, but I am inarguably a writer, though there is always a little (or huge) part of me that doesn’t think I can call myself one. Part of the…

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Book Review: Complete Guide to Article Writing


Overall the book was good, Lots of information and examples. But I was a little disappointed that it written for complete beginners even though it was advertised for more intermediate writers. So I did not get out of what I hoped I would.

The book was very thought out and detail orientated. So if you love some personal stories then you will be disappointed, this book is all about the facts for online and print. The information is quite good, so I will be keeping this as a reference.

The first part of the book was all about the specifics of writing. What I mean is grammar, punctuation and things like that. Most of what you would of learned in your main years at school. Now if you are not a good writer or sometimes need a refresher this part is great. If not, I suggest skimming it or skipping completely. Because it is long and my eyes started to glaze over.

The next sections are the dirty details on writing itself. Not this part has some really good and bad examples on writing different articles. Also, on how to keep you voice and narrative going with facts put in throughout. Then it gives the formats for different articles you can write; blog, fact base article, fiction, book reviews.

The last sections are how to break into the business and grow; using social media, pitching ideas, relationships with editors. I did like the section of building your platform. It gives details on what a platform is and the different areas that you can build on it.

So if you are trying to break into freelance writing this book is a valuable thing to have. It will help you in the many areas needed in writing other than the actual writing.