Do Amazing Things!

Happy New Year by Casey Carlisle

 

Hope you are having a wonderful time bringing in the New Year and that 2015 is the best year yet!

If you want a buddy to help reach your writing goals, message me and we’ll keep each other motivated and on track…

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Bullies, B!tches and Scabs

Real life characters help build great antagonists

Bullies bitches and scabs by Casey Carlisle

This year my life has had more than it’s fill of unsavory people.  For a moment I nearly lost my faith in humanity; that we are an inherently kind race. Luckily I have great and loving friends and family, so the negativity I was exposed to failed to get me upset or depressed. Like greedy vultures picking on the carcasses of the dead, those awful personalities have become great fodder for my writing.

Not only have these people made me stronger, they’ve become the bad guys in my novels. All I can say is thank you. You have strengthened my resolve and improved my writing.

So not only did I experience some personal growth, but I have attitudes, back stories, personal ticks and foibles filling an arsenal of antagonists. Honestly it has really helped my writing and added an extra dimension to character building. Provided motivation behind the unkind things people do.

Not only do personality traits come into play, but also circumstance and communication. The way people talk – or don’t talk about certain things. In hindsight these aspects are fascinating and great plot points. Living though them is a completely different matter – but this article isn’t about venting or crying ‘poor me,’ it’s about taking notice of what happens around you, to write it down.

There are also those who aren’t bad, or intentionally out to hurt someone that end up causing pain – how did it happen, how did they handle it, what happened afterwards? Questions like these help mould a more interesting character.

It wasn’t until I started asking ‘why’ in my writing that it really started to take off and develop. This doesn’t have to apply just to your antagonist, it should apply to all your cast.

Where do you get inspiration for your characters? Do they come fully formed in your head? Are they built slowly over the life or your novel, or do you loosely base it on someone you know?

Bullies Bitches and Scabs Pic 02 By Casey Carlisle

… and to all those bullies, haters and cowards – thanks for the great material. I hope you find your happiness soon.

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© Casey Carlisle 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Film vs Novel – The Vampire Diaries

Did you get your bite on?

The Vampire Diaries Review by Casey Carlisle

Just how similar are the book series to the popular CW television show? Honestly, don’t expect there to be a great deal of parallels. I completed the novels some years ago, before the television pilot, and while I enjoyed the story, it was nothing that I want to rave about.

I did like the darkness in the novels, especially in the debut, and the premise of the story has great potential. There are a great many elements I find intriguing in L.J. Smith’s books, but ultimately it was their execution, and writing style that fell short of making Stefan and company compelling for me.

This experience mirrors how I feel about the television show – while I do enjoy watching it, I can’t say it’s my favourite, or that it would bother me if I missed an episode or two.

Maybe I’ve grown out of my fascination for Smith’s world?

The Vampire Diaries Review Pic 1 by Casey CarlisleI will say I like the characters portrayed in the books better than the tv show. Stefan and Damon feel more wicked and mysterious, and even though they are aged vampires, they still manage to connect, and project a lot of teen angst. Their television counterparts felt too mature and broody than dangerous… and that lost the edge for me. As for Elena, the written version is so much better, she’s innocent, wounded and ballsy; where I find Nina Dobrev’s interpretation of her insipid a lot of the time.

The stand out character that differs vastly from the book is that of Caroline. She is more of a secondary character in the books, and felt a little two dimensional. However, I love how her character has grown in the television series.

Other obvious differences in the cast of characters, like Elena’s little brother, add a better dynamic for the small screen (not to mention eye-candy).

The occasional special effect and added supernatural element in the television show grab my attention now and then, and is the primary drawcard to park in front of the screen with a bowl of icecream. The style of the novels is more for a tween market. I was easily bored, but thankfully it is an easy and fast read. Though the series do have a great many unpredictable plot twists that kept me entertained.

As to which I prefer – I can’t really say. I’m not overwhelmed by either. But if pushed I would have to say the novels… solely because of the better characters in the beginning and the brevity of the series.

Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Top Ten Reads for 2014

Top Ten reads of 2014 by Casey Carlisle

Out of all the novels I’ve read (and reviewed) this year, I thought I’d list my top ten and why they tickled my chicken…

 

The Fault in Our Stars Title by Casey Carlisle

 

This book completely destroyed me. I mean messed me up. It was really beautiful… and sad. But I loved it and it is my top pick for this year. The fact I’ve had my own battle with cancer (twice) it really struck a cord within me… but I’m still waiting to meet my Augustus.

 

Anna Dressed in Blood Title by Casey Carlisle

A great mix of horror, dark humor and ghost slaying. With some witty banter and not-so-cookie-cutout characters, I was really impressed. It took me back to my Buffy the Vampire Slayer days. Can’t wait to see what the movie is going to turn out.

 

Cinder Title by Casey Carlisle

A surprising take on the classic fairy tale. Usually this type of book is not one I’d pick up, but given the science fiction twist I was curious. And then fell in love. A cyborg, Moon people, a prince and a robot bestie, what’s not to like?

 

Hyperbole and a Half Title by Casey Carlisle

I squirted tea out of my nose reading this – so fair warning, don’t eat or drink while reading Allie Brosh’s novel, you’ll laugh a lot. And loudly. I definitely got a great ab workout. I was even surprised at how much expression was conveyed in the child-like graphics accompanying her stories. Brilliant.

 

Beautiful Creatures Title by Casey Carlisle

So the movie inspired me to start reading this series, and I was not disappointed. The language itself is worth reading for, even if you aren’t interested in the story. I was in awe at the lyrical tone in the narration. The charm of the South oozes from the page really placing you in the bayou and battlefields.

 

Eleanor and Park Title by Casey Carlisle

This was my childhood – growing up in the 80’s I loved all the pop culture references and the quirks of the characters. The story is unassuming, yet packs a beautiful punch.

 

The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Casey Carlisle

Mysterious. I loved how this book built up a story without delivering a punch line. The language is beautiful and builds slowly easily dragging you into Mara’s world.

 

Obsidian by Casey Carlisle

I really loved this. Although I don’t like chauvinistic characters, the love story sizzles on the page. It has elements of Roswell and I Am Number Four. A guilty pleasure that I am looking forward to continuing with the series.

 

Will Grayson, Will Grayson Title by Casey Carlisle

The first book I’d read of Green and Levithan, and enjoy the satire and metaphor embedded in the text. They manage to slowly peel back the layers of their characters to reveal someone completely different by the end. Plenty of witty banter and colourful characters.

 

Flat Out Love Title by Casey Carlisle

A pleasant romantic read with a touch of mystery solving. The main reason for loving this book is the research that went behind it – Park really knew her characters and their motivations. A prime example of character driven plot. Celeste had me rolling on the floor with her blunt one liners.

 

What books made your top ten? Tell me what your favourite read for 2014 is.

UPPERCASE lowercase banner by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Book Review – Earth Girl

Earth Girl Book Review by Casey CarlisleFrom Goodreads:

Jarra is stuck on Earth while the rest of humanity portals around the universe. But can she prove that she’s more than just an Earth Girl?

Only the handicapped live on Earth. While everyone else portals between worlds, 18 year old Jarra is among the one in a thousand people born with an immune system that cannot survive on other planets. Sent to Earth at birth to save her life, she has been abandoned by her parents. She can’t travel to other worlds, but she can watch their vids, and she knows all the jokes they make. She’s an ‘ape.’ A ‘throwback.’ But this is one ape girl who won’t give in.

Jarra invents a fake background for herself – as a normal child of Military parents – and joins a class of norms that is on Earth to excavate the ruins of the old cities. When an ancient skyscraper collapses, burying another research team, Jarra’s role in their rescue puts her in the spotlight. No hiding in the back of the class now. To make life more complicated, she finds herself falling in love with one of her classmates – a norm from another planet. Somehow, she has to keep the deception going.

A freak solar storm strikes the atmosphere, and the class is ordered to portal off-world for safety – no problem for the real child of military parents, but fatal for Jarra. The storm is so bad that the crews of the orbiting solar arrays have to escape to the planet below: the first landing from space in 600 years, And one is on a collision course with their shelter.

Page border by Casey Carlisle

Being a big science fiction lover, this book easily grabbed my attention. Combining elements of history and space exploration, this novel expertly creates a post apocalyptic version of Earth.

I connected quickly with Jarra, she is intelligent and driven, forging a career on her own terms. Later in the story (through one of the reveals) I lost a little faith in the writer, the sub plot wasn’t written well enough to be believable for me. But all in all a great story.

Her relationships build at a realistic pace, perceptions change and grow for all the characters in this book, which is something I don’t experience too often, so I have to take my hat off to Janet Edwards for creating such a well-rounded read.

Another aspect of the novel I enjoyed was the realism of the archaeological dig sites, even with the advanced technology being used. It added tension and a dynamic I was not expecting.

The Goodreads synopsis (above) does not do this book justice – I’d like to see it re-written to leave more of the plot left out and more character description.

I’d really like to talk more about the interesting aspects of the novel, but would end up with a list of spoilers, so I’d have to say, if you have an interest in science fiction, strong female characters, YA, and archaeology, then pick ‘Earth Girl’ up and give it a go. There were aspects of ‘The Brainship’ series By Anne McCaffery here, so if you liked that book, or her writing, then branch out to include Janet Edwards to you collection.

Definitely adding ‘Earth Star,’ the next in the series to my TBR list!

Earth Girl Book Review Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle

    Critique Casey by Casey Carlisle

© Casey Carlisle 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Waiting… and then all at once.

This seems to be the mantra for the end of 2014.

 Waiting and then all at once by Casey Carlisle

 

Here’s a little update, rather than my usual article or review:

 

I’ve been pushing to finish writing my latest novel, and after a few sputtering attempts (life kept getting in the way) I completed the final sprint wrapping up the last four chapters. (Cue the popping of champagne and throwing of streamers.)

 

So too has the moving house scenario played out in similar fashion, with many pauses in the process due to red tape, I was beginning to get despondent, that I would never get to unpack my office and jump back into writing full force. But the last fortnight turned everything on its head. Thankfully. Now life is moving at lightning speed.

 

It’s like the Universe feeds on this frantic energy – so many other aspects of my life have started ramping up and wrapping up. Have I missed some grand cosmic event?

 

I haven’t been active with my reading or reviews either – books are packed up and my time has been spent arranging aspects of the move.

 

But the anxiety is sure to be over in the next week as I am about to embark on a massive road trip to a place I’ve now dubbed the ‘Writers Cottage’ – purposely set up for nothing but scribbling out pages of my next W.I.P.

 

I can’t wait – where Melbourne offered plenty of distraction, the Writers Cottage is isolated and boasts panoramic views of the Sunshine Coast and a natural spring sequestered amongst rainforest at the foot of the property. Initially I was only planning to take short trips for bursts of productivity before returning to the city, but now after a 2 year relationship has ended, it’s quite possible the move will be more permanent, as I now have more ties on the tropical coast than I do to the café strewn metropolis.

 

Between packing, I dabbled in creating some marketing images for my books: it helps keep me enthusiastic about projects and stay in the head space to jump straight back into writing in a few weeks. So I can’t wait for the new year to start to share my fumbling foray into Photoshop.

 

This time has also allowed me to plan out writing goals for 2015… it can’t come soon enough. (Settle down girl!)

 

To all my fellow writing enthusiasts – may the words flow forever freely for 2015.

 

What are your writing goals? What environment do you write best in?

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© Casey Carlisle 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Casey Carlisle with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.