Editing = Visiting the Dentist

Recently I had a dental appointment for a filling, and it is not the most pleasant experience, and it reminded me how similar it can be to editing my new novel…

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Editing equals Visiting the dentist Pic 02 by Casey Carlisle.jpgKnowing I need to edit nearly 500 pages of text is a daunting task, as is the thought of needles and sharp tools being waved around in my open mouth. You put it off as long as possible. Until your tooth aches enough that is noticeable every time you sip your coffee. Just like my friends and family keep asking me when the book is going to be finished – the peer pressure to have it ready for publication finally forces me to pull up the document and start.

Editing equals Visiting the dentist Pic 06 by Casey Carlisle

Editing equals Visiting the dentist Pic 03 by Casey CarlisleThe horror! Sometimes you sit there wondering how you could write such tripe, just like the sting of anaesthesia and an ache of your jaw being stretched wide for so long. Will this pain never end? The thought that it is just the beginning and you have to suffer through more of the same is disheartening. Thoughts of leaping from the dental chair and disappearing through the door with hair flying and numb mouth drooling is just the same as wanting to toss my manuscript across the room demanding why I wasn’t a better writer.

Editing equals Visiting the dentist Pic 07 by Casey Carlisle

Editing equals Visiting the dentist Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleThen the pain killer kicks in, or the nitrous-oxide takes hold, and things are much better. Whether you get used to the ache, just like you settle into your writing, the dental visit becomes tolerable. You hit your editing stride and fly through the chapters, red pen in hand making the changes – the excitement starts to return you had when first writing it as the story is only getting better.

Editing equals Visiting the dentist Pic 08 by Casey Carlisle

Editing equals Visiting the dentist Pic 04 by Casey CarlisleAs the dental appointment finally draws to a close, you are rejoicing how you survived such an ordeal, eager to get back home; like when you get to the last pages of your first draft thinking what a mammoth task, yet resplendent in how wonderful this novel is.

Don’t forget the weird fluctuations of remorse you get afterwards: is it good enough, there are still more changes I could make… Just like the moments when you have a sip of tea and it dribbles past your numb lip to stain your favourite top.

But ultimately your smile is pearly white and beautiful, just as is your completed novel – a marvel for any reader!!

 

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© Casey Carlisle 2016. 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 – Safe by Mark Richard Zubro

A cross between Veronica Mars and Donald Strachey.

 Safe Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Contemporary, GLBT

No. of pages: 208

From Goodreads:

In an unsafe world, death and danger stalk gay teens, Roger Cook and Steve Koemer.

Roger Cook is in the middle of his senior year when Kyle Davis, the most picked on kid in his high school commits suicide. Roger agrees to write an article on Kyle for the school newspaper. As he gathers information, Roger realizes the dead boy was gay and may have been murdered. Gay himself, Roger wants to find out the truth, but this leads him to danger and the possibility of love. Roger opens himself to even greater risk while trying to make those around him safe.  

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A real case of don’t judge the book by its cover – I nearly dismissed this title because of the crappy PhotoShopped dust jacket, but I’m glad the blurb intrigued me enough to overlook that failing and settle in for a cozy afternoon reading.

The main thing that attracted me to ‘Safe’ was that the protagonist, Roger, is on the school newspaper. YA – check; a blogger, reviewer or school newspaper – check; and a GLBT theme – check!

An issue I had with the narrative was that there was something clinical about this novel. For a high school student struggling with his sexual identity, Roger seemed very together. At one moment he was purporting to never tell anyone about being gay, and then he blurts it out to someone with little emotion or anxiety… it felt very unrealistic to me. (I began to wonder if Roger wasn’t a little bipolar)

Additionally, I had major problems stemming from the background and emotional motivations of Roger, pertaining his sexual orientation and coming out. It’s obviously connected to the point above about the inconsistent tone of the narrative. But these were the worst aspects I had with ‘Safe’ and even these are more nit picking than irreconcilable flaws.

The relationships and character development is second to none, even though it felt all wrong for a High School setting – they all seemed so much more mature, like this should have taken place on a University Campus. Especially with Roger being so cool calm and collected in some of his keystone events in the coming out process and places we find him in. Though I can see why Mark Zubro included them, in trying to shed a light on the shadier aspects of homosexual culture.

I really appreciated the statement this novel made, I just wish Zubro had either moved the landscape to an older demographic, or omitted the more difficult parts of Rogers culture to something more common and appropriate to teens. Ignoring that, ‘Safe’ is very enjoyable – think Veronica Mars.

The mystery and sleuthing was paced so well, I really felt like I was there with Roger tracking down clues, following leads. Even though I had nothing much in common with Roger, Zubro had me caring about him and eager find out the truth about Kyle, not an easy task.

On issues of bullying and making new personal relationships in the throes of being outed in an educational setting, this novel really bangs it on the head. And I’m not ashamed to admit, it gave me strength to know that all types of people are bullied in some form or another and it’s how we rise above it that defines us.

I read the entire book in a day, average-ish rating, but leaves you with a warm hug…

Overall feeling: I barely put the book down.

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© Casey Carlisle 2016. 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 – Safe in My Arms by Janice Sims

O_o

 Safe in My Arms Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Romance

No. of pages: 224

From Goodreads:

Operation: love. 

Former army pilot Mina Gaines isn’t looking for a hero. She’s too busy running her grandfather’s remote mountainside hotel to bother with love. That is, until a private plane crashes and brings danger to her doorstep…and a sexy stranger into her life. There’s no mistaking that a serious threat is near, but when faced with no other way to survive, can she trust that there’s more to Jake?

Bringing a drug kingpin to justice is undercover DEA agent Jake Wolfe’s top mission. Now, with the beautiful Mina caught in the criminal’s crosshairs, he’s ready to take any risk to protect her—and keep her in his arms forever.

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I wanted to read something I don’t normally; step out of my comfort zone, so I selected this title at random out of my collection of ebooks… let’s just say the desired outcome wasn’t anything pleasant.

‘Safe in My Arms’ did not get off to the best start, the introduction of all characters with their full names, did not flow naturally and ultimately came off clunky and poorly written. I should have expected, this being romance, a certain amount of tongue-in-cheek, but the cheesy premise and a big case of telling instead of showing left a bad taste in my mouth. It was close to something I would’ve whipped up as a first draft in a pain-killer haze while in hospital.

I like an occasional soppy romance, but this did not reach the calibre of book I usually read – it’s my own fault for a completely random pick – usually I am much more discerning on how I spend my reading time.

Our protagonist and her love interest have got to be the worst written characters I’ve read to date. Mina was boring and kind of gullible considering someone with her military background. Jake just felt leery. I didn’t relate to either.

The antagonists were just as unimaginative and two dimensional.

There were some redeeming aspects to this novel – the corny jokes had me rolling my eyes or smiling and did a great job at breaking up the monotony. Also Jancie Sims wasn’t bad at building the angst and tension. I just wish she had spent a lot more time developing this story and its characters. It’s such a shame to blast the writing given the racially diverse cast.

One other note: there is a sex scene that gets quite graphic, yet sadly, generic Unoriginal slop.

And the ending… gag me with a spoon! No more random romance picks for me.

Overall feeling: URG

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© Casey Carlisle 2016. 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 – Glitches by Marissa Meyer

Glitches Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Science Fiction, Adventure

No. of pages: 32

From Goodreads:

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. In Glitches, a short prequel story to Cinder, we see the results of that illness play out, and the emotional toll that takes on Cinder. Something that may, or may not, be a glitch…

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In the lead up to reading ‘Winter’ I wanted to read all of the novellas in the Lunar Universe – ‘Glitches’ is the first of three that have currently been released.

This story provides a look into Cinders childhood, with her step father Garan bringing her home for the first time. It was great to get a glimpse into the family before real hardship was dealt.

Cinder was really a blank slate, Peoney (younger stepsister) was a beautiful accepting and playful child, and Adri (adoptive mother) although held some distaste for Cinder, she had yet to start abusing her. Although not altogether a pretty picture, it was a realistic setting from which to start the downfall leading to the beginning of ‘Cinder.’

This story was also about the birth of Iko (Cinder’s android best friend)… my favourite character in the Lunar Chronicles

It ended on a broken beautiful note and well worth the read – and it’s only 32 pages, so it won’t consume a lot of your time.

A great addition to the Cinder franchise.

Overall feeling: Cool!

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Glitches Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

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 © Casey Carlisle 2016. 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 – Bossypants by Tina Fey

Anecdotes that had me chortling off my chair.

Bossypants Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Memoir, Comedy

No. of pages: 272

From Goodreads:

Before Liz Lemon, before “Weekend Update,” before “Sarah Palin,” Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV.

She has seen both these dreams come true.

At last, Tina Fey’s story can be told. From her youthful days as a vicious nerd to her tour of duty on Saturday Night Live; from her passionately halfhearted pursuit of physical beauty to her life as a mother eating things off the floor; from her one-sided college romance to her nearly fatal honeymoon—from the beginning of this paragraph to this final sentence.

Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we’ve all suspected: you’re no one until someone calls you bossy. 

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This was a surprise read for me. Mainly because it was much funnier than I had expected, and its approach to the narrative gloriously feminine and unique.

Tina Fey broaches a lot of relevant topics of being female without being aggressive and feminist. It’s a human approach for a human experience. And I loved that message.

It was also fantastic to hear anecdotes about periods, childbirth, breast feeding, parenting, career vs motherhood dilemma, and the perception/expectations male colleagues in her industry have… it felt like – finally an intelligent voice was given to topics that have most people sticking their fingers in their ears and singing ‘la la la la la.’

Additionally, it was interesting to hear about the behind the scenes goings on around improv and acting, be it in clubs, theatre, television or film. The creative process, and creative people working in such a fast paced regimental industry offers a unique juxtaposition. All of Tina’s narrative is thoughtful and intelligent. As was the topic of identity and sexual orientation. But you’ll have to read it to hear how she feels about this in her own words. It led me to think of her as a visionary, and someone who is an example for everyone’s attitudes towards life.

It’s all delivered in her sarcastic and satirical tone. Deadpan and humorous.

I’ve loved some of the movies I’ve seen her in, but after reading ‘Bossypants’ I have much more respect and adoration for her as an artist, business woman, comic and human being.

She is goofy awesomeness at its best.

Overall feeling: So much funny

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Bossypants Book Review Pic 03 by Casey Carlisle

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 © Casey Carlisle 2016. 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 5 Books read in 2015

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I managed over 100 titles last year in my reading and in retrospect I wondered what one’s I would recommend to anyone asking for something new. So, here’s a brief list of my favourite reads from 2015 – 2 are part of a series, and one honourable mention at the end, but these books managed to tick all the boxes for me. Fun, indulgence and engaging…

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Darklife and Riptide

 

This series by Kat Falls managed to cover the genres of Young Adult, Science Fiction, Dystopian, and Marine Biology – all of which are favourites on their own, but pulled together in one book had me just about melting into a pool of my own making.

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The Lunar Chronicles (Cinder, Scarlet, Cress, Fairest, and Winter)

Though I have yet to read Winter, the rest of the books in this series were a massive surprise. I’m not a fan of fairytale re-tellings, but The Lunar Chronicles had me eating my words. A truly entertaining and unique fable woven over so many volumes with great characters and such an interwoven plot. A masterful task!

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A Court of Thorns and Roses

A Court of Thorns and Roses Book Review Pic 01 by Casey Carlisle

Hot of the tail of The Lunar Chronicles, I broke and purchased yet another adaptation of fairy tales (from Beauty and the Beast). I’d heard great things from friends about the ‘A Crown of Thorns’ series, and thought I’d start with this single book rather than tackle a large series again. It did not disappoint, I was truly entranced in the Fae world and our Huntress’ predicament. Truly magical.

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Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda

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I got to read and review a lot of GLBT+ titles this year, the majority of them ranking highly, but this is by far my favourite.

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The Martian

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This is nerd porn on steroids. With so much science and witty repertoire thrown in, this survival story where literally the intelligence of Watney is the only thing saving him from death at every turn on an alien landscape. This is also the only book to get in my top 5 that has multiple points of view…

 

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Life and Death – Twilight Re-imagined

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I have to include this, even though it is not a new novel, but only because it reminded me of a time that got me into reading and writing in earnest. Also the gender swap added another layer to the story and many of the issues critics had with the novel. With the addition of some changes and what-if’s Stephenie was able to address, it was a wonderful gift for the tenth anniversary of Twilight.

 

I also noticed that the colours red and blue (and black) dominate the covers of my favourites – a funny coincidence 🙂

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© Casey Carlisle 2016. 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 – Cryer’s Cross by Lisa McMann

Equal parts mystery and spookiness in this uniquely haunting tale.

 Cryers Cross Book Review Pic 01 by Casey CarlisleGenre: Y/A, Paranormal, Mystery

No. of pages: 233

From Goodreads:

Kendall loves her life in small town Cryer’s Cross, Montana, but she also longs for something more. She knows the chances of going to school in New York are small, but she’s not the type to give up easily. Even though it will mean leaving Nico, the world’s sweetest boyfriend, behind.

But when Cryer’s Cross is rocked by unspeakable tragedy, Kendall shoves her dreams aside and focuses on just one goal: help find her missing friends. Even if it means spending time with the one boy she shouldn’t get close to… the one boy who makes her question everything she feels for Nico.

Determined to help and to stay true to the boy she’s always loved, Kendall keeps up the search—and stumbles upon some frightening local history. She knows she can’t stop digging, but Kendall is about to find out just how far the townspeople will go to keep their secrets buried….

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After enjoying ‘Dead to You’ and it completely restoring my faith in Lisa McMann, I decided to give ‘Cryer’s Cross’ a go – the only other title of hers remaining unread on my shelves. No disappointment here. While it did not blow me away, ‘Cryer’s Cross’ is a pleasantly spooky supernatural tale.

What I’ve found as typical with Lisa McMann, some sort of mental illness comes into play within the plot – in this case, OCD affecting our protagonist, Kendall. McMann’s descriptions of how this disorder affects behaviour and thought patterns is bang on, and despite this affliction, I found Kendall to be a compelling character. Growing up in a small town surrounded by boys, she’s a bit sporty, a bit country, but still a girl. She is a quite hero. Cherishing her town, her friends and her family. It is endearing.

Nico, her kind-of boyfriend is equally as endearing, and it was beautiful to read how they interacted with each other. He is so devoted to her.

The new student in Kendall’s tiny school, Jacián was a mixed bag for me: although cliché, I did end up liking him. Kendall’s narrative can lead opinion swinging from left to right. Though, upon reflection I’m not sure I was sold on their ‘ship.

I liked how the mystery is built around a missing girl, feared kidnapped and quite possibly murdered.

The story line also develops organically with a slow burn. Such a constant intriguing pace with an easy to read narrative that kept me glued to the page and I completed this novel in one sitting.

The plot is mostly predictable. I didn’t get any surprises. But the conclusion is something else. It was very satisfying and equally creepy.

I am unsure if another reader would get more of the feels from this, and while there is definitely a lot of emotion wrapped between the book covers, it did not have me tearing up, or the hair raising along my arms – though there were hints of it.

Really enjoy McMann’s stand alones much more than I do her series. And would recommend this for a cozy afternoon on the front porch 🙂

Overall feeling: Just as good as an episode of Doctor Who

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© Casey Carlisle 2016. 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.