Wednesday, October 29, 2014

NaNoWriMo and Talecraft by Komikasi Enterprise

It's that time of the year again where laptop-toting people of all ages flock towards coffee shops, bookstores and libraries to crank out 50,000 words or more in 30 days. 

Yes, it is another year (month really) of NaNoWriMo that I will be passing up again. Maybe I'll participate next year if I have enough vacation credits so my day job will not get in the way and hopefully by that time, I'll have a replacement for my 2008 MacBook (Black) that I traded in last Aug. 14, 2014. I'm waiting for the updated MacBook Air since the rumor mill are saying it will be refreshed sometime in 2015. 

Anyway, as for NaNoWriMo, I have decided to help participants this year, by posting a daily Writer's Block Fix using Talecraft by Komikasi Enterprise. I am not sure if Talecraft is available here in the U.S. because I bought this deck back in February 2010 in Makati, Philippines at a Powerbooks bookstore in Greenbelt. The funny thing about this purchase was that I had intended to use this deck of cards to generate story ideas but ever since the great move, I haven't used it much less cracked it open.... At least until tonight. 

Front Cover of Box
Back Cover of Box

I know that a lot of writers utilize Tarot cards as creative writing tools which is also great (I have the beautiful Celestial Tarot Deck but I haven't used it as a writing tool) if you want a more complicated spread.

The beauty of Talecraft lies in its simplicity — you don't need a reference book or be a Tarot card expert to decipher what the card means. The deck has 3 stacks: Genre, Archetypes and Key. Under the Key stack, you have Plotline, Keyword, Pick and Swap. The rules are pretty simple: pick 1 card from the Genre stack, 2 cards from the Archetypes stack representing the protagonist and the antagonist and 6 cards from the Key stack. If your key cards are under Plotline and Keyword, you have to incorporate these cards in your story. And if you have a Pick & Swap cards, follow the directions on the card. 

Genre Stack

Archetype Stack

Key Stack

And because I was reading up on Tarot cards as creative writing tools, I came upon this beautiful Fairy Tale Tarot Deck by Lisa Hunt and I want it because I love fairy tales and this is more appropriate to use as a writing tool instead of my Celestial Tarot Deck, don't you agree?

Fairy Tale Tarot Box Set by Lisa Hunt

Anyway, I am excited to be finally using my Talecraft Deck and hopefully my 30 days of Writer's Block Fix will help someone overcome Writer's Block or to spark someone's inner creative powers.

Counting down to Nov. 1 when the first Writer's Block Fix will be posted here on the blog! Stayed tuned!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

[Book Review] When Girlfriends Make Choices by Savannah Page

When Girlfriends Make Choices (When Girlfriends, #3)When Girlfriends Make Choices by Savannah Page
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Part 1: From The Book Cover

A novel about forbidden love, the choices you make, and discovering what’s important in life.

Lara Kearns has it all. She has her MBA, a successful career in advertising in Seattle, and she’s even living with her best friend and single mom, Robin. Reliable, dedicated, and eager, Lara is the resident go-to-girl, and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Lara's that girl who has everything going for her…everything, that is, except for true love. With the big 3-0 on its way and no man in sight, Lara wonders if she’ll always be married to her career, or her cat, and never find the One.

But then, when she least expects it, a handsome and suave executive at her firm, Paul Mackenzie, makes a pass at her. Hesitant at first about striking up an office romance, Lara eventually finds herself falling for her charming colleague. And the best part? Paul is falling in love with Lara, too!

What happens, though, when the man of your dreams loves you…and his wife?

Battling with what the head and the heart want, Lara finds herself in a precarious situation. Life is spiraling out of control, but with the support of her therapist and friends, Lara must make a choice. Is she really prepared to chase after love…at all costs?

This is a provocative story about struggling between right and wrong. About what you will or won’t do for true love. About what happens when girlfriends make choices.

Part 2: Recommendation

The most memorable quote from this book is this narrative from Lara: "You can't have Mr. Right (or who you presume to be Mr. Right) at the expense of everything. Not when that love hurts so many people around you. Just because you want something with all your heart doesn't mean you are entitled to it. Not when the relationship causes so much hurt, so much angst... No relationship should do that. No real and true love should be rife with anger and jealousy, fear and pain, shame and obsession. I'll love again. But the right love. Not the forbidden kind." I like this quote because finally, it shows character development that readers should've seen in the middle of the book not almost towards the end.

This is the first book that exposed me to Savannah Page. While I love supporting indie authors (because there are now more indie titles published that is professionally done, has enjoyable characters and amazing storylines), and I do enjoy reading Chick-Lit and Women's Fiction, sadly this book fell below my expectations because there are nine words that should've been spelled as "lounge" as in chaise lounge but was instead spelled as "longue" (maybe spell-checker failed or auto-correct kicked in? I don't know) and coming across it so many times made my straight hair curl with annoyance. On top of that, I have counted fourteen errors (grammatical and typos combined) sprinkled throughout the book which is a little too many for me and that doesn't even include the "longue" typos. I will not put them all down here in this review but if the author wants to know about these errors, she can definitely send me an email and I will be more than happy to provide them to her so she can update her book because we all know that books, even those that have gone through editing and proof reading, can still have a few errors in it that proof readers, editors, beta readers did not catch. This book has a promising storyline, real enough secondary characters, narrative and dialogue are okay. My problem with this book is with Lara. Her never-ending stupidity and obsession over Paul, a coworker she had an affair with and a married man at that, makes me angry and she makes me want to throw the book across the room. On top of that, you only get to assume Lara got her own happy ending with a nice, single guy! I actually want to know how her blind dates went and who Lara ends up with. So yes, I did not appreciate how this book ended because at 394 pages, the author could have cut off all the other secondary character's drama (or shortened it), definitely shortened the lengthy scenes depicting Lara's struggle to deal with her obsession and stalker tendencies (this part could be a very well written narrative instead) and probably at page 250-ish, the author could've shown Lara's character development (see this review's part about my most memorable quote) and spend the next 144 pages showing Lara actively going on blind dates and getting to know herself and the guys she has dinner with, ending with Lara finally falling truly and madly in love with one of them. With eight books in this series When Girlfriends, I am not sure I want to read the other books in the series mainly because I already got a gist of what happened to all the other girlfriends. Writing a series can be tricky but the author should've just focused on Lara and her story since this book is all about Lara. She could place a couple of hints for the other girlfriends and use foreshadowing so that readers would want to read the other books in this series. Overall, this book could benefit from additional editing and revisions.

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