Self Published Review: Demon Eyes by Sarina Dorie

So this Sunday I will be reviewing, as you can probably tell by the title, Demon Eyes by Sarina Dorie. I want to tell you a bit about why I chose this book. I am a fan of a Kpop singer named Jay Park. He actually grew up in the area I live in but is now an entertainer in Korea. I like most of his songs, but there is one that always makes me laugh. It is called Demon, and it is in English.

I have often thought that one of the reasons I like Kpop is because I cannot understand what they are saying so the stupid and or ridiculous lyrics cannot bother me. This song supports that theory. The entire song is a bit silly talking about how he can’t let go of this girl and and how that somehow makes her a demon. But there is one line in particular:

“No wonder your eyes are red in every picture we take. You’re a demon, why you so evil to me?”

Yes, because clearly her having red eye is a sign that she is a demon. Except, in the story i just read… it really is. So, without further ado, here is my thoughts on this short story.

What did you like about the story?

I liked the randomness of it. I know that was a weird comment, so let me explain. Basically in this story a girl goes into a 24 hour store and picks up her graduation pictures and laments when she has red eye in them as this is apparently a recurring problem for her. The boy at the counter tells her that, clearly, this means she is a demon. See the random? But, it actually works for this. In a short story there is no room for slow buildup, you just gotta kinda put it out there right away and while this might not have been an elegant way to do this, it was entertaining.

What didn’t you like about the story?

There was a lot of explanations. This is a 2100 word story and we spend nearly half of it with the counter guy explaining things… it was a bit boring.

What did you learn?

I’m gonna be honest. I’m not really sure that I learned anything. But I was mildly entertained for a few minutes so I wouldn’t count it a total loss.

Would you recommend reading this book?

No, as I said in the above question I was only mildly entertained and the story is extremely short. However, she does have multiple books out, you can check out her profile on smashwords here, and I would not be opposed to reading a book of hers that was longer with the story more fleshed out.

If you would like to read this short story just click here!

Hello again!

All of this was written at 1:30am while on a sugar high so please bear with me, this could get a bit rambly.

Hello world, I am back in the blogging sphere! I just finished a webinar I bought from Writer’s Digest about how to be a more productive writer. As you can see from the dates of when my last post was and when I am posting this, I clearly need help in this department. Two of the quotes that were pointed out during this webinar really hit home for me. The first was said by Steven Pressfield, “Figure out what scares you the most, and do that first.”

For me, that is blogging. I have considered coming back to blogging over and over for the past nine months and I always just pushed it aside, and told myself I would do it later. But after listening to that webinar I asked myself, why? Why was I so afraid of blogging again? And I realized it was because of one of the most common fears anyone can have. The fear of being judged, and being found wanting. So, I have decided that I don’t give a shit anymore.

Some people might think it’s not that simple, but it really is. I simply refuse to let what I think others might have to say about my blogs influence what I do, or don’t, write. This brings me to my other quote by Joss Whedon, “If you don’t have to write, you shouldn’t be writing.”

The entire time I wasn’t blogging, I wasn’t really writing much, and it was killing me. I was depressed and frustrated with my life and I just couldn’t get out of that slump. I have all of these stories in my head just dying to get out, and I let doubt and fear get in the way.

Looking back to when I started this blog I have realized that I made one big mistake, I gave myself a time limit. I said that if within a year or two I wasn’t successful then I would go back to school. Well, screw that. I know, without a doubt, that writing is what I want to do with my life.

I have a day job that gets me by and I can pay the bills with. Why would I spend all of my extra time working on getting a degree I don’t care about for a job I tolerate, instead of using it for writing? I will stop writing the day I have nothing left to say and, as anyone who has met me can tell you, I will be on my death bed jabbering away.

I have also made one more decision. I am, mostly, done with blogging about Kpop. As much as I love it, it is not what I am focused on. I will, starting next Sunday, have one review of a self-published short story each week and I will make random posts of my thoughts. That isn’t to say that I will never blog about Kpop again. If something big happens I will probably talk about it. But I want my focus to be writing,

Peace out for now!

F is for Failure

expectations-vs-reality-part4-6

 

So… basically the A-Z challenge kicked my butt. It took way more energy and time than I thought it would.  I know, silly me, it’s not called “challenge” for shits and giggles. So I took the last couple weeks off to distress myself, and now I am back! Don’t lie, I know you missed me.

One great thing that came out of that was I realized how much I love blogging about Kpop, and Korea in general. So I have decided to start a weekly segment called “Kpop Sunday Special.” Every week I will blog about what ever happened in the sphere of Kpop or Korean pop culture in general. If nothing really interesting happened I will just talk about something that has happened in the past that I feel like telling you about. But no matter what; it will be about something from Korea. My first edition will be out later today.

As for my writing: I laugh hysterically to myself when I look at my first post on this blog. Particularly at the part where I say I will write an entire book in 4 months. Clearly I am a comic genius. It is not going that smoothly at all. And recently I figured out why I was having such a hard time. I was trying to write the book from the wrong perspective.

It is a fantasy novel so my first thought was I should write it from the most kick-ass person in the cast. They are going to be at the center of all the action so in that aspect it kind of made sense. But then I realized that she was just too hard to relate to, I had fallen into the Superman conundrum. If she is this all powerful, awesome character, what real difficulties could she face? She the other girl that basically started out as her plucky side kick is now the main protagonist. She is so much more relatable and so much easier to write I am a little ashamed of myself for not figuring this out sooner.

Update

 

Hello! … So, it has been quite awhile. I admit, I am a bad bad blogger. In my defense I was working 60 hour weeks and trying to find tome to work on my novel in between! But now OT season is over at work and I actually have free time.

To get back into the blogging spirit I have decided to join the A-Z blogging challenge! I know myself and I know I can’t think of a post everyday about my writing and I do still have a job so I can’t just do a book review every day. So for the next month I am going to be blogging about my second love… KPOP!! If anyone mentions Psy I am sorry but we cannot be friends. I will be giving a short intro to different aspects of KPOP, introducing different groups and I may even throw a Kdrama or two in there to keep it interesting. Let the fun begin!

 

New Weekly Segment!

I have been considering lately what I want this blog to be about. Its main purpose, as I wrote about earlier, is to talk about the process of me writing my novel. The problem is that I don’t always have something very interesting or entertaining to say about that. Other than “I wrote words… then realized I didn’t like it and rewrote them…” Oh, the joys of editing.

So to break up the monotony of me complaining (apparently writing a novel is hard, who knew?) I have decided to introduce a weekly segment. Introducing:

Self-Published Writing Review Monday

Its a working title, don’t judge me.

Basically I will go on smashwords or amazon and I will look around the free self-published fiction. I will find something I think is interesting, read it and tell you what I think. Not only does this make sure I keep up on reading, I am a firm believer that writers should read, it will also give me a better sense of the self-publishing community.

I have built a small and simple survey, to give myself questions to think of when writing reviews. I may not always follow it exactly but it will at least give it some format. So, without further ado, here is the first review!

 

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The story I will be reviewing today is “The Hunt” by Troy Martin. I chose to start off with a short story because right now I am actually working on a short story so I wanted to read a few to get a feel for the format.

What did you like about the story?

The main thing that I liked about the story was his imagery. It wasn’t overly done but there was enough to pull you into the world he was building. The story itself wasn’t all that ground breaking or imaginative, it’s about a guy that hunts werewolves and one in particular because it killed his wife. But what the story lacked originality it made up for in description.

What didn’t you like about the story?

There was one plot hole that pulled me out of the little world being created. This man, whom we have not been told is anything but human, is able to choke out a werewolf. Troy described to us how bad-ass these things are and how it apparently ripped a door to pieces but his character is able to choke his newly werewolf wife to death with his bare hands. This may be explained away by the fact that she is newly turned, but in a few paragraphs he holds down the werewolf that turned his wife long enough to cut off his head… I call bullshit.

What did you learn?

I have read quite a lot of fantasy and science fiction, but this is one of the first times I have consciously read with the eye of a writer. One thing I noticed was the lack of explanation. He didn’t spend paragraphs explaining the origin of werewolves in this world or give an in-depth explanation as to how to kill them. We got little snippets here and there and in these five pages I was able to learn what I needed to know to understand what was going on. Thinking back on other things I have read I realized that is normally how it works. The often repeated show them don’t tell them phrase in action.

One thing I had been struggling with in my short story was how did I explain all the different nuances of what these characters are and what they can do? Now I realized that for that story, I don’t have to. All you need to know is that they are teenagers with magic that heal fast. When I write the whole novel I will have to go into more detail but there will be no long boring paragraphs of explanation, it will be dropped here and there as needed.

 

Overall I thought that this was a good short story, definitely worth the read! If you want to read it for yourself you can download it here at smashwords.com:

http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/404702

 

If you do read it, let me know what you think!

My Bed is Evil!!

I’m only kind of kidding…. It may have evil procrastination powers.

What I am really trying to say here is I have come to the decision that I need to get myself a real desk. What I have right now is an underused table covered in crap I threw on it and forgot with a kitchen chair. Even when I was first organizing my room I was wondering why I was putting a desk in my there, I knew I wasn’t going to use it… look at it!

2014-01-29 12.26.03

Clearly not at all usable and, as I was saying earlier, my bed is evil. Whenever I lay down on my bed intending to work I mysteriously end up on YouTube or DramaFever and 3 hours have passed without me writing a single word. But recently I showed up at a coffee shop early to meet my writing critique group, more on that later. By the time the meeting started an hour later I had finished an amazing 3 pages! They will probably have to be heavily edited but they were still there on the screen and not in my head!

So I have decided that I need to actually clean off my desk and get a chair in front of it that I can stand to sit in for more than five minutes at a time. Until then I may become a near permanent feature at the Denny’s closest to my house.

Does anyone know where to buy a cheap yet comfortable office char? The unpublished author is broke…

Why am I doing this?

My final decision to put off school and focus on finishing my first novel happened because of a patch of ice. It wasn’t even a very large patch of ice.

About a month ago I was walking out of H-mart with a couple (yes a couple, don’t judge me) boxes of ramyun. For white people who don’t eat spicy food that is super spicy and super delicious ramen. Because I am eternally clumsy I managed to find the only part of the parking lot with frozen water, fell, and broke my leg. At first, all I could think was … OWWWWWW. I got to the hospital, they gave me pain killers and set my leg and I had to wait around for the doctor to say it was okay for me to go home. This took a very long time and I had time think past the immediate future. I was not a happy camper. I was going to have to put off school, again.

For those of you who don’t know, I am 23 years old, and I don’t have my college degree. I went to college right out of high school but couldn’t decide what I wanted to do. First, I was going to be an editor. I love books, getting to read all day seemed like a great job! I went to school for a year and I was doing really well! Then reality set in and I found out that reading all day was not actually the job. Also, to be honest, I suck at spelling and I am even worse with grammar. Spell check and I are like this. *insert crossed fingers*

My next brilliant idea was to be a nurse. One of my favorite people in the world is a nurse! After a year of truly painful schooling reality again reared its ugly head and I remembered that I suck at science and don’t deal well with bodily fluids. I mean seriously, can you imagine a nurse that pukes every time the patient does? That is the exact opposite of helpful.

After this I decided that I was getting too old, at the advanced age of 20, and I needed to be practical. So I decided to be an accountant. People always need an accountant right? This was the shortest lived of my aspirations as I soon realized that I do not hate myself that much. I gave up and realized I had no clue what I wanted to go to school for. So I told myself I would take a year off to “find myself” and I would come back to school refreshed and ready to graduate. Let’s be honest though, I really just wanted to get away from homework.

Around the time of the aforementioned accident I had finally settled on a career, settled being the key word. I knew I was getting older and I was getting worried about not having my degree yet. So I decided I was going to get my bachelor’s degree and be a foreign English teacher in South Korea. I love South Korean pop culture, probably to an unhealthy and slightly obsessive degree. Also, I truly like kids, they are adorable and some of the weirdest people you will meet. So I decided I would combine my want to travel and my love of kids and get myself a fairly stable career.

This is where my accident comes in. As I was sitting in that emergency bed I realized why I could never really decide what I wanted to do. Why I had settled for something I thought sounded interesting but I knew would drive me crazy, and not the funny crazy I am now, within a few years. I wasn’t lying before. I do like kids and Korean pop culture, but I didn’t really want to base my entire life on it.

The truth is I have always known what I want to do. Writing. I have been coming up with stories and trying to write them down since I was in high school and I have been an avid reader for much longer than that. In 6th grade they literally gave me an award because I read so much. I didn’t even know that was a thing.

The reason I never really took my writing seriously is because I know how risky it is. I know that it is very likely that I will never make a cent as an Author. There is no guarantee anyone will ever read this blog, much less a whole novel. And with the publishing world the way it is right now it is nearly impossible to get a publishing deal, even if you have a great book. This leaves the even less safe and more frightening world of self-publishing.

So I was practical, I shoved my stories to the back of my mind, pushing it to that far-away “someday.” When I was done with school and I didn’t have to work so much.  When I was financially stable and could take a month or two off and work on it. Sitting in that emergency room bed I realized that this “someday” was never going to be now. With my injury I knew that I would have to put school off until at least the fall. Because of that I would probably not be done with school until I was 28. Then I would be in another country, trying to learn my new job and learn the language and it would go on and on like this, pushing my dream off until “someday.” Before I knew it I would be 30 and I would still have never written a single book.

To some people 30 may not seem all that old. But believe you me; it scares the crap out of a 23 year old. So until the end of 2015 I am going to focus on my writing, and I will have my first novel done before I am 24, in 5 months. I am making this blog to keep myself accountable, to document my experience of writing a novel. If I try to use real humans to keep me on track I will talk their ear off about my book so much that they are sick of it before I even finish my first draft. With this blog I have a way to vent and anyone who chooses to listen can also choose to click away from the page and make me shut up. 

In a couple years I may be back to school, being responsible and figuring out a career that would actually make me money. I may try this out and realize I love reading and the idea of writing a book but I absolutely hate doing it. Maybe I will love writing but I will show it to people and find out that my writing bites. But when I am that terrifying age of 30 I don’t want to still be thinking “someday” or have given up my dream completely. I want to be able to look back and at least say that I tried.