My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Good Morning Everyone!!! Here's another one for you this morning. This one is REAPER MADNESS by NESSIE STRANGE. I rec'd an ARC copy from the author in exchange for an honest opinion her book. This is mousiey's honest opinion of her book. I first must say " Thank you very much for allowing me to read your book." This is the 2nd story that I have read from this author. I must say, I found it to be a work of total genius!! She has a way with words and placing the reader right in the story with the characters.
The story is about a young women learning to be a reaper of souls. She is new to this and she is also bound to another reaper Sam. They have a connection. They can speak to each other through their minds. This is very rare.Now death has a job for her to do. He believes that Sam is up to something. And wants Jen to find out what it is. Along the way Reapers start disappearing on earth. Sam falls victim on earth. Jen works hard to get him back and runs smack into the man that she fell in love with on earth Jack. Who is taking the reapers and why?? Is Jen able to get Sam back?? Does Jen become a reaper ?? For all these answers and more you need to read the story!!!! This book is recommended for all , especially those that love paranormal . I give the rating of this book a 30 out of 5 stars. Now GO GET YOUR COPY TODAY ON AMAZON!!! FLY THERE NOW!!!
MOUSIEY'S GUEST NESSIE STRANGE
ME---- HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE STORY??
NESSIE --- From Idea to Story
I wish I could pinpoint what exactly makes an idea latch onto my brain and demand to be written. For me, it’s not always a conscious thing. While I can write with a prompt in mind, more often than not, a brilliant story idea comes at a random time. Maybe I’m standing in line at the grocery store or driving to work. On more than one occasion, I’ve woken from a sound sleep, as if a switch has been turned on inside my head and suddenly I can’t stop thinking about it. Once that switch has been flipped and a story occupies my mind, there’s a rush of creative adrenaline. It’s definitely part of the thrill from crafting a piece of fiction.
As a writer who does very minimal plotting (and mostly in my head, at that) the most exciting thing is discovering the story and getting to know the characters along the way. It’s almost like solving a puzzle, or a mystery. I admit it--during this process, I get attached to my characters. I spend a lot of time inside their heads, figuring out what motivates them. Their fears, their memories, the things that make them happy. I think you really need to know your characters inside and out. You might not write about every detail, but you need to be thinking about them, because it’s part of what brings the character to life.
Finishing a story is a rush. There’s this huge sense of accomplishment that goes along with taking a story from an idea to something tangible. I think this is because an enormous amount of mental energy is needed to write a novel. It’s not as simple as just typing words. It’s all about finding the right combination of words that convey your story properly and in a way that’s compelling. This requires a strong understanding of language, story structure, character--all part of the craft of creative writing. Like any craft, you get better at it the more you do it. Especially if you’re open-minded and willing to learn.
ME----HOW DID YOU BECOME AN AUTHOR???
NESSIE-- --REFLECTING ON LIFE AND BEING THANKFUL
With Thanksgiving about to arrive, I think it’s as good a time as any to reflect on life and the things to be thankful for. Like many other people, I’ve had my share of hardships. An amicable divorce turned nasty left me feeling pretty battered a few years ago. I’ve struggled financially since then, teetering between just having enough to pay my bills and rent to wondering what bill I can postpone so I can put food on the table. It was never for lack of effort. I worked full time and had a decent wage, but mountains of debt from school loans, lawyer fees and the fallout from learning how to manage my own money have always kept me treading water. Some of it was my fault, some of it was unfortunate luck and bad timing, but either way it’s a sucky, stressful situation to be in. I got frustrated with a lot of things, including my own writing, and just couldn’t seem to produce anything good for the life of me. Then I was laid off in late Spring of this year, and I thought man--is this ever going to get better?
During my time in the ranks of the unemployed I (of course) hunted for jobs, but I also took advantage of my much more flexible schedule to really focus on some writing. I hadn’t finished (or even written) anything substantial in a long time, and my first book, Living Dead Girl had already been out for six months. I wanted to finish the sequel, but needed to learn better discipline, find better motivation and get back into the groove. So I enlisted some of my writer friends to harass me into keeping up with deadlines. I would produce at least one chapter every week or face dire consequences (not sure what those were, but the threat worked) and at the end of that week I’d send them to one of my writer friends. Something really clicked. I completed Reaper Madness in just over a month, and in the process, built back some of the confidence I’d lost in my own writing.
Since then, I’ve been writing much more regularly and currently have many projects going. It took almost six months to find a job that would pay enough to support my small family. I’m still struggling financially as I begin to recover from paying the bare minimum (and in a couple cases not at all) that came from stretching my tiny unemployment check as far as I could. I won’t lie...it still sucks financially right now. But you know what? I can do this. I can make it through all of this, because I have before. I have two wonderful, smart, loving children who are both healthy. I’m healthy. We still have a roof over our heads. And even though sometimes it takes some strategic and creative juggling, I know I can pay what absolutely needs to get paid and keep them fed. I will find a way--I always do. And as I go along, I like to think I’m finding ways to do it better.
I’ve got a great family. Friends. All kinds of wonderful people in my life, both in person and online. And then there’s writing. I’m not yet at a point where I’m making a substantial income from it, but I feel like I’m only at the beginning of that journey. I’ve found people who believe in my work. People who have helped shape it up for public consumption. Writer friends who have helped me navigate social media, and marketing, and provided considerable moral support. I think for every shitty thing that’s happened, there are many more good things. I look at my life, and despite the rough patches, I’m still happy. It’s not that bad. I’m still fighting for more. I look at some of the truly horrific and tragic things that happen in this world and I know my life could be much, much worse.
I’ve had people ask how I could still go on after some of the things that have happened, but my answer is simple: I have to. For my kids, for myself. For that bright horizon in the distance. I still have so much to live for, and long ago I made the decision not to waste precious mental energy worrying about things I can’t control. I think, if I put everything in perspective, I have much more to be thankful for than not.
ME--CAN YOU TELL ABOUT THE LIVING DEAD SERIES??
NESSIE -- THE LIVING DEAD SERIES
When I first started writing Living Dead Girl (book 1), I hadn’t quite planned on sequels, or series. I just had this story in my head that was fighting to get out. It begins with Jen MacLellan, who’s a fairly ordinary young twenty-something woman who happens to have an unusual job: she’s a mortician. She’s kind of going through the motions with life in general--never really challenging herself or venturing out beyond the safe little bubble she’s created. Not to mention, her family takes advantage of her, and her boyfriend doesn’t appreciate her. Basically, she’s stuck in a rut. Then she meets Jack and all that gets turned upside down.
Jack is a musician. He’s a free-spirited, happy-go-lucky type guy. While he’s tattooed and can be a bit of a troublemaker (more of the wise-ass variety) he’s not really what I’d call a typical bad boy. He’s actually a really kind soul. He’s the type of guy who looks out for his friends and the people he cares most about, and with Jen, he finds a partner who has many of the qualities he lacks.
It begins as a hate-to-love, opposites attract type story. The romance between these two builds slowly, but when they do finally get together, their bond grows really strong. They complement each other. Unfortunately, once they find that happiness, tragedy strikes. While it’s harsh, and the things that happen to these characters are terrible, we learn later that this isn’t really the end of things. In this series, death isn’t final--it’s a new beginning.
Living Dead Girl is really a gateway story, because it shows this transition from regular, everyday life to death and what happens after. From book two on, we’re following both Jen and Jack on their journeys through the afterlife. The connections between the characters, as well as their history comes into light, and we learn there is a much bigger picture.
I haven’t decided exactly how many books will be in the series. There will be at least three, leaning more toward four. There is also a book coming from Jack’s POV that begins before and then overlaps some of Living Dead Girl. I look back at when I first started writing Jen’s story, and that first spark of an idea, and I never imagined how complex it would become. I also never imagined how attached I’d become to the characters. It’s funny how that works. Anyway, thank you so much for reading, and I hope you will follow along on Jen and Jack’s journey.
ME-- CAN YOU TELL US WHAT MAKES A GOOD CHARACTER??
NESSIE-- IN MAKING A GOOD CHARACTER??
I think for fiction writers, if there’s one thing that really needs to be learned, it’s how to create believable characters. Believable characters come alive in the pages. They stir up emotions, they keep us reading, they make us care. I don’t know of any rules to give to an aspiring writer to help them determine what makes a character good, but I will give my thoughts on a few things.
It’s more than just the sum of body parts. Some people may disagree with me on this, but I think minimal is best when it comes to describing the physical characteristics. I usually pick a few basic ones when I first introduce a character, but rarely spend more than a sentence or two on it. There are a few reasons for this, the first being that long lists of physical traits are just boring to read. I think it disrupts the flow of the story any time you need to stop and assess something. Not only that, but readers will form a picture of the character on their own. Your job is to give a basic impression to guide their imagination in the right direction...not provide an anatomically accurate cardboard cutout.
Writing as the opposite gender. I’m not sure why this freaks some writers out. I’ve written from a male POV many times, and while I’ve definitely never been a man, I think I pulled off writing one reasonably well. It’s all in the approach. Don’t write to a gender, write to a human being. Not all males are the same and not all females are the same, so how on earth would we ever write ‘how a guy thinks’ or ‘how a girl thinks’? The danger is we start producing stereotypes and assigning gender roles instead of bringing a character to life. It’s flat, and boring and makes it difficult to connect to the character. Real people have hopes, dreams, things that make them happy, sad, angry, etc. They have memories and experiences that shape them, and no two people are alike. Figure out what these things are so you can have a living, breathing character who also happens to be male (or female).
Dialogue can be your best friend. Done well, dialogue will really help shape your character. It shows how they interact with other characters, how they react. It reflects tone, intent, and can help quicken the pace of a scene. The best way to learn dialogue is to be observant. Pay attention to how other people speak. Do they use contractions? Say things like ‘gonna’ instead of ‘going to’? Do they swear a lot? Pause to think? And it’s not just the words that come out, either, but their facial expressions, body language and posture matter as well. All of these things can matter when a character is having a conversation.
I think the key to creating a believable character is really to know him or her inside out. You don’t have to write about every detail in your story, but you do need to be aware of what they are. The more you get inside your characters’ heads, the stronger their presence becomes on paper.
So you see Nessie Strange has alot that she puts into her books. Please go to Amazon and GET YOUR COPY TODAY OF REAPER MADNESS!!!
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