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text 2014-12-09 19:05
Fly, Baby Bird, Fly!
Adrift (The Widow's Walk Trilogy Book 1) - Robin Wainwright,Carol Holaday

Tentatively I approached a few of my friends about reading my first novel. They all expressed enthusiasm and I sent them out electronic copies.


Once again the waiting game began, nerve-racking.


I continued working on the second and third novels in the series, Becalmed and Capsized, and tried to stay focused on the process.


Then I received a card in the mail from one of my beta readers. It contained a Starbucks card and statements about how much my reader wanted to visit Crescent Bay, the fictional village where my story takes place. The Starbucks card was a reference to how large a part coffee plays in the first book.


Success! I still keep the card nearby to read on those days when writing is a challenge.


Then a couple weeks later I got an email from another beta reader. The beginning was a typical email from a friend but she ended it with “or I could move to a small village…” and she went on to describe the main theme of my book. Hurray.


Feeling more at ease with my first book, I dove back in to finish the race.


As an avid reader I have always enjoyed discovering a series that had been out long enough that I could binge read the full story. Since I am a self-published author, I can decide when my novels are published. I had decided to release all three books at the same time on October first, my favorite month of the year.


Hopefully Chronos would be on my side.

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text 2014-10-15 00:23
Pushing a Baby Bird Toward the Edge of the Nest
Adrift (The Widow's Walk Trilogy Book 1) - Robin Wainwright,Carol Holaday

After almost a year of work, I now had three novels living on my Google drive, but were they any good?


I sent my first paper baby, Adrift, off to my editor and waited.


However, I have never been a very patient soul.


Two weeks later, I tentatively asked a longtime friend, and avid reader, if she would be willing to read my first novel.


She said she'd love to and I sent Adrift out into the world, and waited on pins and needles.


What if all my work and effort resulted in nothing more than a waste of time?


What if the characters I had grown to love were so terrible that only their own mother could love them?


A week later, on Father's day, I was sitting in a restaurant having lunch with my husband, when I received an email from my friend. She loved what I had written; I burst into tears of relief. My wonderful husband just smiled and comforted me by saying, "Of course she loved what you wrote, you're a good writer."


Later that afternoon, that same friend called me and she was bubbling over with enthusiasm for my book. She admitted that she had put off reading it, fearful of what she would say to me if my writing was bad. She had started reading Adrift that morning. She told me that she had quickly become absorbed by the story and had been bummed that she’d have to put it aside to take her husband out for Father’s day celebrations. He had opted to stay in and watch NASCAR and she had dove back into my book. She had finished reading Adrift in one day. She said it was so good she couldn't put it down.


Her enthusiasm boosted my confidence and I wondered about sending my baby off to a couple of other Beta readers.

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review 2013-04-06 00:00
The New Writer's Handbook 2007: A Practical Anthology of Best Advice for Your Craft and Career - Philip Martin,Erica Jong Well-versed compilation of essays about writing, coming from a multitude of writers including Jane Yolen and Neil Gaiman. I think of the sections I found most particularly helpful were the earlier ones on the craft and gathering ideas. There were other various contributions about non-fiction writing, magazine writing, haiku crafting, querying agents and editors, and even dealing with matters regarding the internet - including creating a blog and, surprisingly, dealing with "trolls". It's a smorgasbord of advice, pretty much up for the ready for anyone who wants to peruse it. I enjoyed it and certainly wouldn't mind finding more of this kind of collection.Overall: 4/5
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review 2010-01-01 00:00
Living on the Edge of the World: New Jersey Writers Take On the Garden State
Living on the Edge of the World: New Jersey Writers Take On the Garden State - Irina Reyn A collection of 18 short stories written by authors who lived or live in New Jersey. They're more like memoir entries than fictional accounts; snippets of memories of their experiences in the Garden State.

It's a good book for reading over a course of several days, with the conveniently lengthed stories and variety of voices. The collection succeeds in bringing out the complexities of the state and its residents. The book delves beyond the stereotypes, while sometimes acknowledging the factual roots of the stereotypes. One thing that struck me is the lack of strong endings. Is this because most of the writers are used to writing fiction? Or is it because they're reflecting on lives that are still being lived? There are several stories about prejudice, which highlights the state's ethnic diversity in a negative way. The teen years is another popular theme, with its varying levels of drama and dysfunction. New York City is oft-mentioned, as expected. But I was surprised by the lack of attention given to Philadelphia. I once took a wrong turn in downtown Philly and found myself on a one-way road into New Jersey. But I digress.

Kathleen DeMarco's "Family Farm" is one of the weaker stories, yet probably one of the more informative ones. Lauren Grodstein's "Notes On Camden" is a treasure trove of Jersey trivia, yet it's forgettable. James Kaplan's "Uncommon Criminal" is one of the stronger pieces, though its Mafia theme seems contradictory to the purpose of the book. "Taking the Nets", by David Roth, is another good one.

The weaker stories here are 3 or 3 1/2, the stronger ones are 4 or 4 1/2. So the collection as a whole gets a 3 1/2 or a 4, probably leaning slightly toward 3 1/2. It did change my thinking of New Jersey, so for that alone it was worth it.
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