Thursday, 17 April 2014

AtoZ Blog Challenge: O is for OBSIDIAN

Image Pinterest
Obsidian is a shiny, black piece of volcanic rock. I chose this for my O post in the Challenge because I have recently read a book by my favourite author, Nalini Singh. The title is Heart of Obsidian and I have once again confirmed her as my favourite.
The story is part of a series, but I am not going to go into those details. Heart of Obsidian is the story of Councillor Caleb Krychek. You meet him in some of the earlier books, and no, he is not a nice guy. In fact you believe him to be the worst of the worst by the time you get to this book.
And no, he doesn't suddenly become this cute guy that likes teddy bears and plays nice with the kids. The author never deviates from the character established in earlier books and that is one of the things I loved about the story.
But can bad guys be misunderstood? What motivates him? What drives him to do the things he did? Can someone like him find love?
If you like paranormal romance this Psy-Changeling series might be right up your alley. And Heart of Obsidian? I loved the story because it delved into the deepest darkest recesses of the human (Psy?) mind to find the one thing that can, and sometimes will, motivate us to commit murder.
It is not a pretty and fluffy hero story, but it was different and an out-of-the-box romance. If you read as many romance books as I do, you will find this story unusual for the genre. I couldn't put it down and sacrificed many hours of sleep to find out if Caleb could find love before it was too late.
My rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

AtoZ Blog Challenge: N is for NANOWRIMO

April and July presents the opportunity for anyone who wishes to write a novel to 'practice' for the main event in November each year.
CampNaNoWriMo as the events in April and July are known, differ slightly from NaNoWriMo in that you can set your own target with a minimum of 10,000 words. It might sound like a lot but if you break it down into a daily target, it is an easier target. How difficult can it be to write 10,000/30 = 333.3 words (okay, make it 334) every day for 30 days?
The benefit is that you get into the habit of writing, you can plan to write everyday and if you get ahead of your target (which is always recommended) there is less pressure when the dreaded deadline looms.
And these events are fun. There are local groups and online groups and the best thing of all is the support given by everyone taking part.
Not a novel writer? Why not write a collection of short stories? I have found that a Plan B, the short stories, is an excellent way of writing for this challenge. You never know what ideas might crop up that could be explored in a novel.

My work schedule is especially nightmarish this year, but the one thing that I add to my calender on January1st, is NaNoWriMo - and Camp is the best preparation there is.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

AtoZ Blog Challenge: M is for MY LIFE STORY

I bought a book a while back, with the title on the cover, My Life Story. No, it is not a novel or a self-help book, it is a blank journal that you can use to write...my life story.
It has enough pages for 100 years of your life and the manufacturer of the book states that if you have filled this one up, they will give you a new one for free. Ha, I don't know how many people live past a hundred years, but it is a nice sentiment I suppose.
I bought mine when I was in my forties already, so there is a lot of my life that still needs to be penned down. The hard part is what do I include and what is way too boring to even mention. And the most important question: when am I going to find the time to write the details of the years before I bought it?
To alleviate some of this problem, I decided to stick to my adult life. My childhood was fairly normal, and happy. Where I recall a particularly happy or memorable event, I could always pen that. Wasting pages of paper just to say that I passed this grade or read that book, would really be dull anyway. Not that I can remember every single book I have ever read in my life.
I even bought special lightweight sketchbook for a drawing or two for this book, since it has a blank page for every year for a photo. I don't have many photographs of myself, being a bit camera shy and all that. The drawings will also serve a double purpose to alleviate the urge to create - for the artist in me.

Have you considered writing your life story, even if it is only for your own family?

Monday, 14 April 2014

AtoZ Blog Challenge: L is for LETTUCE

This underrated vegetable deserves more attention than the afterthought slash limp leaf
decorating the corner of our dinner plates. It is a low fat and low cholesterol food, containing essential vitamins and minerals our bodies need.
A few years' ago I had read an article that said lettuce contains a trace amount of arsenic. My friends used to joke that I am probably the only person alive that will die of natural arsenic poisoning, because I do love my lettuce. Fortunately, I doubt that I will ever eat so much of it that it would pose any risk to my health. I like other foods way too much to ever live on lettuce alone.
In the meantime I have done a little more research and found out that the levels of arsenic in lettuce is about the same as for any other vegetable. The levels in the vegetable depends on the levels found in the soil where it is farmed. It is not unique to lettuce.
Since arsenic can be harmful, soil levels are monitored where necessary.

So here is to many more years of BLT samies!

Please tell me I am not only one that thinks that lettuce is more than rabbit food!

 

Saturday, 12 April 2014

AtoZ Blog Challenge: K is for KRYANE

Image from Pinterest
Also taking part in Camp NaNoWriMo during April, I am working on finishing the first draft of my third novel in the Nations of Peace Series, Michael's Mystery. It is also the second Grandmaster story of the series.
Michael is sent to investigate a series of serial murders that took place in KEEPER OFTHE DRAGON SWORD. His bosses, the Lords of the High Council, sent him to Kryane to find out what motivated these horrifying murders and to help bring the responsible person to justice.
Unlike Xa'an - the planet where GERA'S GIFT and KEEPER OF THE DRAGON SWORD took place, Kryane is mostly a desert.
The planet is divided into four continents: Kyrja (the largest), Ananla, Prochi and Lirtyni (the smallest). The four continents are surrounded by two oceans, both of them very cold and only supporting a limited number of species of sea creatures. The ice caps are frozen solid and the prevailing winds make them uninhabitable to mammalian life forms.
During his investigation Michael finds himself trapped with Andesine in a sandstorm and he learns that life in a desert environment is more challenging than he realised. The inhabitants of the village of Amer guard their water supply jealously. The villagers also grow their own food, but to enable them to do that they have to work in greenhouses that can also be hazardous to them because of the heat.
But these are people adapted to living in a desert. The fabrics and styles of their clothing suit their environment. They are prepared for sandstorms, but are not lax when it comes to cleaning up afterwards. The villagers living in Amer appreciate and support each other as their lives invariably depend on it.

Now only if Andesine was so easy to figure out. What are the secrets hiding behind those red eyes and how much does she really know about the murders?