Showing posts with label Books. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Books. Show all posts

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Conventions In The Carolinas

Annual Wine And Sign Arts and Literary Festival Set up
I am putting together a list of conventions that I would love to travel to. As I live in the Carolina Area, many of these will be from GA up to NC. Because I am looking at places to attend as an author I will be listing the table fees beside it for my own future reference (and for that of my fellow author friends). We'd love to see you there though! Write down these dates in your calender, pull up the websites and pre-order your tickets! I have visited many of these as 'just a civilian' (not promoting my books) and have found them to be great fun with something for even the youngest of family members!

Convention List:

Other Events:

If you know of  an event that you would like me to consider adding to my list please drop it in the comments section! I am always looking for new places to check out!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Book Drive! Books Needed!

Hey everyone! I've got some exciting news to share with you today! PDMI Publishing LLC has just opened their very own bookstore in Albertville Alabama. They are the only bookstore in town and the only bookstore in a 30 mile radius! Now... for the news YOU will like! They are looking for donations of NEW and Gently used books... Do you have a bookshelf full of books you'd like to unload? You'll need more space to put all of your brand new books from Christmas after all!

Are you an author wanting to expand your reach and wouldn't mind donating a book to help start up this independent bookstore?

Please send your donated books to:

 PDMI Publishing, LLC
7032 Hwy 431
Albertville Alabama 35950

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Rounding Up 150 Children With Math

children chart
Children chart
Who's up for another fan extra?
I'm working on a sequel to The Alien Mind, but in order to do so I needed to back track some math to try to figure out how many kids are on the scene, how many are needing to be found, and which ones are available to be rounded up from other scenes. This got so complicated I needed two sheets of notes and three tally mark charts; talk about some writer problems! It was so confusing pulling this all together that I thought you all might enjoy a bit of a peek!

In The Alien Mind an alien group called the Aruk kidnap 150 children originally. During the original captivity and before the Aunantet rescue the children a girl is killed during when her and Rivi are trying to escape, leaving 149 children (including Rivi). At the beginning of the book we find that these 149 children are now being raised by the Aunantet. (You can find out more about the book as well as some fan extras here!)

When Aun is attacked the Children are sent off to safety in 10 ships each with a 20 person capacity. 50 Aunantet join them.

 Because Rivi and Ankh stay behind on Aun to make sure the children's ships get off the planet safely  that leaves 148 children to be divided among the 10 ships with two seats empty.

8 of the ships  are filled with 15 Kids and 5 Aunantet
2 of the ships are filled with 14 kids and 5 Aunantet

One of the ships of 14 kids and 5 Aunantet ends up destroyed (any more information here would be a *spoiler*) 
 Which leaves 127 kids and 45 Aunantet

Later the book says the children and Aunantet decide to split up into 45 smaller groups to better evade the Aruk.

20 of those groups are found and Rivi  is put in charge of relocating 15 of those groups- 30 children of which decide to join some of Earth's new planetary colonies. Rivi then takes 15 of the youngest to the mars colony. However the book never really states how many kids (exactly) are found and how many decide to stay on Aun . (Which is important to me if they are going to be in the second book.)

It does say 75 of the kids are left to be found.

So in order to get a better picture... I ended up breaking out the old pen and paper and drew out the above chart. Separated evenly into 45 groups you get:

12 of the groups have 3 kids to 1 Aunantet
8 of the groups have 2 kids to 1 Aunantet

So working backwards... if you take the 75 kids out of the picture first and leave the 20 groups that end up found you get 52 kids. Rivi is put in charge of relocating 15 of those groups (so 42 kids out of the 52) and we are also told that 30 of her children decide to go to the other colonies. I'm assuming here that the Aunantet took charge of relocating most of the youngest ones thereby deciding to send them to Mars. So with 30 of Rivi's group gone to the other colonies that leaves 5 that were Rivi's (out of those youngest 15) that go to mars and 7 of Rivi's end up staying on Aun!

So... what trouble can I get these children into now?
If you'd like to see me finish this second book so you can find out what happens next, comment in the blog comments with #finishthatstory !

Have any questions? You can ask those in the comments too ;)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Getting to Know Jo Linsdell and Maria Rochelle

Book tour banner!
Jasmine's Got Talent book tour!

Jasmine's Got Talent and the rest of the Jasmine's Dreams books are all available on Amazon!

About Jasmine's Got Talent: A miniature schnauzer has a dreamy adventure and dreams she's in a talent contest. 

Maria Rochelle, do you mind if I ask you and Jo a few random just for fun questions? :)

~What was your first job?
My first job was at Chick-fil-A as a cashier, and I also worked in food prep. I had a great time working there my senior year in high school. 

~My first job was a waitress and cashier too- be kind to the food industry workers, you never know what they might accomplish in a few years!

~What is your favorite movie?
Just one....I like so many. Braveheart and Pretty In Pink are two of my favorites.

~Hmm I've never seen 'Pretty In Pink' but 'Braveheart' was awesome!

~Who designed the cover and illustrated the book?
Jo Linsdell designed the cover and illustrated all my books. She has been wonderful to work with. 

~ Jo is awesome! I've been friends with her for quite a few years- its been awesome watching her illustrating talent grow!

Illustrator Jo Linsdell,

~What was the hardest part of working on this series?
Some of the animals were easy to do but with others it wasn't as simple and straight forward. A lot depends on the photo I have to work with. Then there's the simple fact that not all animals are easy to transform into the style used in the series. Certain breeds are easy to identify from the strong characteristics they have. When the animal is mixed breed and has lots of markings it gets more complicated. Those with lots of markings for example are hard to simplify whilst still putting in the details that make them who they are. I then need to add accessories to them to put them "in character". The end product needs to be clutter-free in keeping with the style used. Like I said, not always an easy task ;)

~I always love hearing about everyone's different processes. I absolutely adore your illustrations- even at the pencil sketch phase! Have you ever thought about doing a more realistic story book, sorta like your first round photo like sketches?

~What is your favorite color?

~NO WAY! Mine too! I like dark blue... well that and fuchsia... I think I have a tie...

~Who is your favorite artist?
Tough question. I love so many of them. Salvador Dali is definitely one of my favorites. I remember when they did an exhibition of his art here in Rome. I went twice and spent hours in there each time. I love how creative and imaginative he was. Eccentric and attention grabbing both in his art and in life. As well as the surrealist work he is most famous for, he was also a very good sculpture, and photographer.

~Oh cool! My personal favorite is Vincent Van Gogh- I ADORE his 'Starry Night'. On the rest of his paintings I love how he uses streaks of color and blends them all together to create the picture! Of course after seeing him 'come to life' in Doctor Who... that was the best!

~Where can people find out more about working with you?

At my website On site they can find information on my "work with me" page, read testimonials from people I've worked with, see examples of my work, and find out more about the projects I'm involved with.

~Awesome ladies! You two are major inspirations! Maria I am so honored to get a chance to meet you; and Jo- you are always welcome on my blog! I really enjoyed the inside look into how your illustration projects come together in last week's blog. Keep on inspiring the next generation to reach for the stars ladies!

If anyone has any questions for Jo or Maria, I've been told they may just stop by ;) So ask away!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

V.L. Jennings Movie Rating System

Your Ending Killed Your Story

 I  rate movies (and books) on an A- C scale. Sure Amazon, Goodreads, Barnes and Noble all may try to force me to use a five star system... but really- if you are unfortunate enough to need a one or two star well then I typically don't bother because numerous other people have probably already told you how awful it is and it wouldn't be kind of me to heap on extra helpings of shin kicking.

The same rating system that helps me review movies and books also helps me decide whether they are interesting enough to buy.

My husband and I share our ratings with each other after watching movie trailers, "That will be a B movie". Then after we see the movie we often compare how we would change our keep our rating.

I treat my potential reads the same way- though in this case I'll typically read the back of the book blurb and the first and last pages (I know... I'm odd).

So... Here's My Review Rating System

Volcano image
photo credit: ierdnall via photopin cc
We can just tell a C movie by watching the previews, if it doesn't look like it will interest us then we typically won't buy them until they are in the super cheap bin. If I somehow watch a C movie in the theater- yeah I really regret wasting the money.

If the book back copy, first and last page don't interest me then I don't typically pick up these sorts of books to read.

If the book gave me a hard time following the story line, it barely interested me, or was really formulaic then you will earn yourself a C.

volcano image 2
photo credit: ierdnall via photopin cc

B movies I'd be much happier getting when they hit the stores- we might go see it in theaters if we have nothing else better to do.

These movies atleast strike our interest in previews.

If you manage to hold my interest, I can finish it, and it takes me on a fun journey without too many readability issues- then you earn yourself a B. I Typically don't read B books again, unless I am bored.

Volcano image 3
photo credit: ierdnall via photopin cc

'A' movies I WANT to watch in the movie theater and then also buy as soon as they hit the stores!

These are the movies that ROCK our socks off in previews!

These are the books that I can't put down, the ones that I want to read over and over again!

The most important thing about a book or movie?

The ending must be perfect for the story like- it is a make or break it, all or nothing experience! The ending should blow me away and leave me feeling satisfied.

See the thing is... when a book or movie starts out at as an A and then the ending totally doesn't 'do it for me' well, yeah, it sorta cuts the whole experience down a rating notch for me.

Am I the only one?

 Case in point.... the movie Pompeii.

I loved the movie! (Right up until the end.) 
It had everything I love about these types of movies, action, love interest, a bit of historical politics thrown in there, and a heart pounding destruction scene! One by one the characters get killed off- heck this is Pompeii, we all know what happens by now.

Right until the end- our main hero couple finally looks like they are going to get away! YAY! Then the horse bolts and they stand there to die. *groan*

I disliked that ending. However, the epicness of the movie was high enough that I didn't regret watching the movie. I probably won't buy it on DVD though. (Which is saying something because I happen to love collecting disaster/end of the world type movies. Because yes, I'm weird like that.)

As an author, bearing all this in mind, I see it as a major risk to go killing off your major characters at the end of the book when you have asked your readers (or in Pompeii's case- your viewers) to fall in love with them. If you are going to do so you better make sure the rest of the story is super, or that you left your readers with other favorite characters to keep loving in their dreams.

Walking Dead, for example, can get away with killing off the lovable Beth character simply because there are plenty of other characters that we will all show up next season for. Why? Because we love them too and want to watch their story play out.

The last book that disappointed me? Off the top of my head I'd have to say Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince- killing off Dumbledore almost made me not want to go back. I did, and I am glad I took that chance, but still- that was disturbing to sit with for an entire year. Risky J.K., risky!

Anyhow... what was the last movie or book you finished that started off as an A and then the ending just really left a sour taste in your mouth? Please share!