Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Dusty Pages Review: Matilda

Matilda is the world's most famous bookworm, no thanks to her ghastly parents.
Her father thinks she's a little scab. Her mother spends all afternoon playing bingo.
And her headmistress, Miss Trunchbull?
She's the worst of all.
She's a big bully, who thinks all her pupils are rotten and locks them in the dreaded Chokey.
Despite these beastly grownups trying to push her down, Matilda is an extraordinary girl with a magical mind.
And she's had enough.
So all the terrible adults had better watch out, because she's going to teach them a lesson they'll never forget!
I've seen many adaptations of Roald Dahl's stories but this is the first time I've read one. Matilda being one of my favourite adaptations I was a little worried about ruining it by finding the book completely different. Although there are small differences - for example Mr & Mrs Wormwood swap body type, its set in England not America, and the movie contains a lot of superfluous things that aren't in the book. Its not a long book, so unlike most movies that take stuff out, the one I am most fond of (Danny DeVito) added things in.

I found Miss Honey's little house to be the most significant difference. In the book, her home is a squat single story brick house, with no running water, no heating and no furniture. I don't suppose to film makers that seemed realistic to an adult who is making a living as a teacher, so they made it more of a country cottage with a pretty wildflower garden - though the story of how she came to live there was exactly the same.

I found Matilda a wonderful story that shows that a smart child can get her own back on bad adults. I loved the illustrations, simple but elegant, giving you a look at the characters.I was happy to see that the book had a similar happy ending to the movie, and think its a perfectly lovely book to read to a child as a bedtime story.

I give it

Monday, 27 August 2018

To Leave it be or Not to Leave it be

...That is the question.

Shakespeare was a smart man, but honestly, he's not really what this blog post is about today. Today is about new editions of old books.

When I split from EP, I got all the rights back to my books with them. This was brilliant. Until I looked at the bigger picture of what it was going to take to bring them all back out again. My first project along these lines was a bit of a short cut. Paranormal Pleasures became a collection of all my short paranormal romance novellas (plus the incentive of a never before printed novella) and I like to think that it came out well. It certainly had a large download percentage while it was in KU.

Now comes the next project - revitalizing and reissuing my first series. Cassandra Farbanks was my first character, my first published book of her adventures - Soul Market - was my first published book ever. It was well received, and I have lots of positive reviews of it. However, hand in hand with that came the negative reviews. Pointing out errors, spelling mistakes, typos and such. Pretty standard things for a first time book that will be possible to fix now.

However, there were also many things I doubted, things I wondered if they could be done differently. The choice that faces me now, is once all the errors and things are fixed, do I change the things that could be changed, do I tweak the story. Its not really a question of if I could do it, I know I have the right and the ability to, but the real choice is should I. What if in trying to make the story better I actually make it worse?

This sort of worry is a lot easier to process on a manuscript that hasn't been published before, where the only people that have read it have been you, the submissions editor and the editor assigned to you. To be fair, its just me working on my own right now, so I haven't got anyone to call me on any bad decisions. On the same hand I have to worry about how new content could possibly be bad. It might attract new readers (along with the new cover art that will be applied) but however it might bring back old readers, help them to dive back into her world and understand it better while they are there.

There were several times over the years where I was asked to, or at least what I considered, "dumb down" my work. Asked to use American versions of words for English Characters because the editor was sure the reader would throw the book into the bin if forced to have to google a word they didn't know. I've always maintained that anyone who reads for enjoyment, wants to learn something new, will seek to discover things they have not discovered before.

At least one change I will be making is reverting each book back to British English. There will be a U in the Colour, Neighbour, and Centre will be with the r and the e, the right way round. I will say rubbish instead of garbage and pavement instead of sidewalk. I think its important that my writing stay true not only to the place in which it is set, but to me.

Thank you for reading

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Dusty Pages Review: Why Mummy Drinks?

It is Mummy’s 39th birthday. She is staring down the barrel of a future of people asking if she wants to come to their advanced yoga classes, and polite book clubs where everyone claims to be tiddly after a glass of Pinot Grigio and says things like ‘Oooh gosh, are you having another glass?’

But Mummy does not want to go quietly into that good night of women with sensible haircuts who ‘live for their children’ and stand in the playground trying to trump each other with their offspring’s extracurricular activities and achievements, and boasting about their latest holidays.

Instead, she clutches a large glass of wine, muttering ‘FML’ over and over again. Until she remembers the gem of an idea she’s had…

 This book is hilarious. Whether you have kids of your own, or whether you just know someone else's, its totally relatable and laugh out loud funny. I got several odd looks when I would suddenly start cackling at passages as Ellen (Mummy) describes how to avoid the Uber Mummies, drinks far too much wine, tries to convince her husband of the virtues of a panama hat ,and the tragic story of  one man and his donkey in an olive grove.

I read it quite quickly and am looking forward to the getting my hands on the next book - Why Mummy Swears - though because of my book buying hiatus (because I was very bad after my birthday and books lots of books) I will be waiting until it is available in paperback. I sort of hope that I will be a Mummy just like her one day - perhaps with a little less drinking. I would highly recommend this to anyone, as I am sure there will be at least one character that will remind you of someone you know.

I give it

Monday, 20 August 2018

Meet A Writer Monday Presents...

...Penni Jones

1. Tell me about your book,
Kricket, and where you got your inspiration for it?

Kricket is about a single mother living in a United States without freedom of religion. During the Cold War, the US required all citizens to register with a church. The promise was safety and unity, but the result was restricted rights and a government that monitors its citizens too closely. Kricket is a bootlegger and drug-runner, but in this case the drugs are life-saving medications.

I got my inspiration from the 2008 presidential election when so many people were losing their minds over the false notion that Barack Obama was a Muslim. Religion is so intertwined in American politics, even though separation of church and state is part of our constitution.

2. Did you learn anything from writing this book? If so what was it?

When I researched Prohibition I learned that the US government sometimes poisoned alcohol to teach drinkers a lesson. Alcoholic drinks were still manufactured in the US during Prohibition because citizens were allowed three pints of booze per month if it was prescribed by a doctor, and sacramental wine was also still allowed. The government would make poisoned shipments easy for bootleggers to steal. In 1927, around 700 people died from poisoned alcohol in New York City alone. The lesson: do not trust a government that is attempting to legislate morality.

3. What is the most influential book you’ve read in the last year?

I Loved You More by Tom Spanbauer- it’s about the closest to perfect a novel can be. Spanbauer’s writing makes me strive to be better.

4. If your book was made into a film, who would you like to see play the lead?

Samara Weaving, Greta Gerwig, or Madeline Brewer.

5. Have you ever been pulled over by a cop?

Oh yes. I’ve had a few speeding tickets, but none lately. I try to be more cautious these days.

6. What is the longest you’ve gone without writing?

I once went about five years without writing. I let someone close to me convince me that I wasn’t good enough so I stopped. It was an important lesson. And something that will never happen again.

7. Which do you use more often, dictionary or thesaurus?

Dictionary- I have a bad habit of misusing words. So if I have any doubt at all, I look it up before I use it in a book.

8. What do you think Victoria’s secret is?

An eating disorder.

9. You’ve just been kidnapped and the people from the last TV Show/Movie you watched have to save you. Who is it?

Orphan Black- I’d be in great hands!

10. What makes you cry?

I ugly-cried a couple of weeks ago when I saw a video of the original Hamilton cast performing for the Obamas in the White House. The powerful music combined with the reminder of how things were in our country just a few years ago was a lot to process at once.

11. Do you let a book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?

Once I finish the entire draft I have trouble letting it stew. But I will walk away from a partial draft and work on something else all too often. I have four partial manuscript drafts on my computer right now. It’s driving me crazy!

12. Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?

My characters always take over. I’ve tried to outline and be an organized writer, but it was a useless effort.

13. Anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?

I need validation more than a grown woman should. Thank you, readers and fans. You keep me going.

14. Are your characters based off real people or did they all come entirely from your imagination?

They’re completely made up. I’ve tried basing characters on real people, but I found it more difficult to develop a character based on a real person’s traits. I like my characters to be a clean slate. 

Religious freedom has been stripped from Americans through the Religious Uniformity Act. Kricket Foster is a second-generation fighter in the Religious Resistance, a radical group of activists organized to restore this freedom. After a brush with the law, Kricket gives up activism to protect her young daughter.

Kricket makes her living bootlegging and bringing medications into the US. Other than paying off or shooting the occasional extortionist Department of Religious Affairs agent, she lives a quiet life. Her vow to stay out of the Resistance is challenged when she finds herself embroiled in a plot to murder the DRA Director. She must choose between her family and her beliefs while maintaining her commitment to her community. If she makes the wrong choice, she will lose her freedom and many of her friends will lose their lives.


About Penni

Penni Jones is a writer, movie buff, concert t-shirt enthusiast, reluctant multi-tasker, grunge music listener, and blogger extraordinaire of Scapegoats and Sacred Cows. She is the author of On the Bricks, released January 2017 by Pandamoon Publishing, and the upcoming Kricket, released April 25, 2018.

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