Tag Archive | creative writing

Nadezhda Seiler’s “A Measure of Guilt”

AMOGHappy New Year, my friends! I hope it will be productive and joyful for everyone.

Today is the second anniversary of the publication of my novel A Measure of Guilt, and since it’s my creation, I treat this date as its birthday. I think it’s only right to start posting on my blog in 2015 with this acknowledgement.

Thus, the New Year’s celebration continues for me. 🙂

Here’s the blurb:

Nineteen-year-old Kate Flanagan has already endured entirely too much in her young life. Two years earlier, her kid sister, Angie, and her best friend, Sandra, were kidnapped from a San Diego amusement park, and Kate’s guilt over the part she played in the tragedy is beyond measure. Believing herself undeserving of a normal life, Kate avoids relationships, feels estranged from her parents, and has no social life. When she begins receiving increasingly chilling anonymous notes on her windshield, she dismisses them as the work of a random stalker.

The fifth note, however, claims that the writer has information about her sister. Hopeful that Angie and Sandra are still alive, distrustful of the police, and frightened by the escalating threat of the notes, Kate nevertheless decides to smoke out the source of the notes. With the help of an amateur private investigator, Kate sets out on a mission to find her sister and best friend— a hunt that leads her straight to her deranged stalker.

In this intriguing mystery tale, a woman anxious to atone for the past mistakes that have cost her nearly everything puts her life on the line in a desperate attempt to right a terrible wrong and catch a determined criminal.

If you read my second novel, Without Thinking Twice, you will be surprised (pleasantly, I hope) to meet again with one of its characters in A Measure of Guilt. And if you read A Measure of Guilt, you may be interested in its sequel that I’m currently working on, which will be released this year.

The novel can be purchased on Abbott Press, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. The e-book version is available for download for most e-readers, including, but not limited, to Kindle, Nook, iPad and Sony.

Writers on Writing

What a fun little video! Sarah Negovetich, the author of newly-released Rite of Rejection, demonstrates how to write a novel in 90 seconds.

What?! 90 seconds?! Just 90?!

Well, yeah. It’s doable. Sarah did it 🙂 and Rite of Rejection is a fine novel (read my review on this blog or on amazon.com), and now she shows us all the steps.

Looks sooooo eeeeeasy! I’ve never tried to pin flashcards on a board, but I’ll try it with my next novel.

Thanks, Sarah! 🙂

Writers on Writing

I remember what one of my English professors at TWU said about a better time when to start writing fiction–while you’re still young, when your imagination, skills, and energy are at their peak.

Here’s a contradictory opinion. Lee Child, the author of the best-selling Jack Reacher series, believes that “not only can you, but you should start (writing) late, because you’ve lived, you’ve gotten experience…” which young people lack.

Also having started writing late, I can’t agree more with Mr. Child.

Sarah Negovetich’s “Rite of Rejection”

51PgU1YZfUL._UY250_[1]Sarah Negovetich’s Rite of Rejection is a YA novel set in an imaginary society ruled by a leader named “Cardinal” with absolute power. The author masterfully depicts a country with a totalitarian regime (reminiscent of Stalin’s Russia and Hitler’s Germany) where its citizens are so brainwashed that they follow their leader unconsciously, like sheep. Not because they don’t have a mind of their own, but because they’re so enamored by Cardinal’s personality and his ideas that they wholeheartedly trust his “wisdom” and his supposed “devotion” to the well-being of the nation. (Here’s a classic example of the personality cult for you.) When, in an attempt to cleanse the country of criminals, the government designs a machine capable of sorting out the “good” citizens from the “bad” ones and sending the latter to a penal colony for the rest of their lives, no one has any doubt in the faultlessness of the Machine. Even those “rejects” who have never done anything wrong sincerely believe that they might have a propensity for committing a crime, just like the Machine has “predicted.”

That’s how sixteen-year-old Rebecca Collins feels when she, a good girl, is ripped from her family and home and exiled to the PIT, a place of no return. It happens right before the Acceptance ceremony, the biggest event in her life, when she’s about to be welcomed into the society as an adult. After she goes through the Machine (which is just a routine procedure in her mind), she will attend a celebratory ball, where she will dance with eligible bachelors, and, hopefully, with her future husband. (Yes, in this country, a woman’s role is limited to being a wife and mother.)

But Rebecca’s high expectations are crushed when the Machine rejects her. She’s in the PIT now, living in wretched conditions, among “criminals” like herself and actual hardcore criminals. She is confused and scared. How will she survive? Will she survive? Fortunately, she meets other teens who become her friends and who reveal the truth about the Cardinal’s “just” and indisputable policies.

There’s yet another test for Rebecca to go through, this time in order to prove her worthiness and loyalty to her new friends; there’s a love triangle; there’s an attempt to escape; there’s a vital-for-survival friendship and there’s an unfathomable betrayal… And, of course, there’s nail-biting tension all throughout the novel.

Will Rebecca and her friends free themselves of the abject existence in this hellhole? And if they do, where will they go? They can’t go back to their home after all.

Rite of Rejection is so interesting that I read it in one setting. I was disappointed with it ending on a cliffhanger, but I assumed Sarah Negovetich would write a sequel. I do hope that she will.

Favorite line: “There’s freedom that comes with words that don’t fall into perfect measurements or even stitches.”

Author Interviews: On Writing

Readers talk about books. Writers talk about writing them.

Martin Amis says, “Literature is a war against clichés,” and he expressed this belief in his book, The War Against Cliché.

Fran Lebowitz exclaims, “Nothing lives up to books!”

Zadie Smith states, “A book is your best self.”

Jonathan Franzen‘s goal is to “take his experiences and share them with people.”

In the video below, these authors elaborated on their statements. Very interesting!

Enjoy! 🙂

Karen Essex’s “Leonardo’s Swans”

leonardoswansbook[1]When I read the last paragraph of Leonardo’s Swans by Karen Essex, I said one word: Wow!

But when I first read the opening of the prologue, I thought, Huh? The ending is not just predictable, but revealed—in the first paragraph! So why should I read further?

Ah, but I’m a sucker for a beautiful language, and Karen Essex‘s  language shines—in the first lines!

So I kept reading.

The prologue describes a scene of mourning, taking place in the noble family’s crypt. Leaning over a marble figure of her sister, who died a few years ago at the age of twenty-one, Isabella is whispering to Beatrice about the things that she, Isabella, has endured and has yet to endure, calling herself “a figure on a chessboard of poison.” She reminds her deceased sister about the games they used to play and about their fierce rivalry both in games and in love. Isabella mentions Beatrice’s husband, Ludovico, rotting in a French prison, and the French now “tramping Italy,” and her own plan to attend King Louis’s ball tonight—thus telling me the reader not only about their personal problems but about the drama of their country. The fact that she’s whispering, afraid of being overheard and reported as a traitor, underscores the point that the danger is still present.

Isabella’s revelation grabbed my attention. I was intrigued by the sisters’ contradictory relationship. I wanted to learn about their lives and the events leading to this sad, tragic point. I wanted to know why Beatrice died so young, and why Isabella, while mourning her death, still considers it a blessing—for Beatrice. And of course, the Renaissance period in Italy, where the world greatest artists created, has always interested me, as well as the intrigues in kings’ courts.

I was hooked.

So I kept reading Leonardo’s Swans, this fascinating story of two incredible women, two sisters of the Renaissance, Isabella and Beatrice d’Este, both young, beautiful, bright, ambitious, well-educated, accomplished, strong-willed, and pretty famous and influential in Italy in the 15th-16th centuries.

The novel is filled with intrigue, suspense, love, lust, and verbal sparring. Karen Essex masterfully draws the image of Leonardo da Vinci—as a painter, a scientist, and as a person. I was lost in the 15th century Italy, which wasn’t a unified country as we know it now, but a numerous separate lands feuding with each other. But what fascinated me most, however, was the maturity of Isabel and Beatrice. With a short lifespan (40 years on the average), girls were betrothed at the age of 5 or 6, to be married ten years later. But young maidens from noble families were so accomplished by the time they became wives—speaking several languages, writing and reciting poetry, playing musical instruments, acquiring equestrian skills, as well as oratory ones, and whatnot–I thought that the level of education during the Renaissance, for nobility at least, was quite impressive.

Anyway, I enjoyed Leonardo’s Swans immensely and I’d like to add to my aforementioned word, Wow, this: If you like historical fiction, this novel will appeal to you; if you like historical fiction portraying a renowned Renaissance artist, this novel will certainly satisfy your interest; but if you like historical fiction portraying a renowned artist and strong-willed women (actual historical figures), you will absolutely love this novel!

Strongly recommend!