New Self-Published eBooks: February 28- March 5

Hey all!

Here’s an update on some of this week’s self-published eBooks. I will be choosing one or two of these to read; if you have any suggestions, let me know! It looks like this is the week of Lulu and Kindle publishing. They have a TON that look really good, and a bunch of Lulu’s are free!

Here we go!

 

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Hall of Mosses by Nicoline Evans available February 28, 2016

Caught Between (Two Worlds) (the Mages of Elsynvaal series) by Christine Davidson available February 28, 2016 isthars blade by lisa blackwood

The Cascaders by L.M. Glenn available February 28, 20
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Trinity- Accepting Fate (#3 in the Trinity Series) by Kylie Price available February 28, 2016

Memorias: Deep in the Arnaks by Charles Serabian, Tom Edwards, C.S. Lakin available February 28, 2016

Working with Cedar: The Early Years by Terry McDonald available February 28, 2016

Universe in Flames: Ryonna’s Trials (#1 Novella in the Universe in Flames series)  by Christian Kallias available February 28, 2016

Ishtar’s Blade by Lisa Blackwood available February 29, 2016

The Clockwork Siren Series (Boxset of the series) by Katie Hayoz available February 29, 2016

Black Magic by Yamaya Cruz available February 29, 2016

Arnie, Mervin, and the Blood of Kindsby Luke Pedliham available February 29, 2016

South End by Lisa Glenn available February 29, 2016

The Pirate (#2 in the Blood and Destiny series) by E.C. Jarvis available February 29, 2016

Zero Resistance (#2 in the Agency Series) by Fabian Utomi available February 29, 2016

Homeland: Falling Down (#1 in the Homeland series) by R.A. Mathis available February 29, 2016

Academy of Secrets (Outcast Angels Christian Fantasy and Science Fiction series) by Michael Carney available February 29, 2016memorias by charles serabian

Frack You (#5 in the Rise of the Discordant series) by Christina McMullen available February 29, 2016

Phantoms of Phoenix (#3 in The Adventures of Jericho Sims series) by T. Mike McCurley available February 29, 2016

Prince’s Labyrinth by Z. Shannon available February 29, 2016

ShadowFae (#3 in the Searching for Eden series) by Kathleen Kerridge, Jay Aheer, Emma Stedall available February 29, 2016

The Old Scrapbook by Dennis Higgins available February 29, 2016

A Tale of Two Tabbies by Kathi Daley available February 29, 2016

Extinction End (#5 in the Extinction Cycle) by Nicholas Sansbury Smith, Aaron Sikes available February 29, 2016

Honour Bound (#2 in the Highland Magic series) by Helen Harper available February 29, 2016

Rubaisha: The Story of Unrealized Love (The Time Trilogy) by Naseha Sameen available March 1, 2016

Hey Mortality by Luke Kinsella available March 1, 2016

EVO Shift (#2 in the Evo Nation series) by K.J. Chapman available March 1, 2016

Emissary Metal (#1-3 in the Omnibus series) by Chris Paton available March 1, 2016

Elemental: Part Two (#1 in the Steele Stolen series) by Christie Hastie available March 1, 2016

Disarray: Where Survival Depends on Obediance (The District series) by Amy Shannon available March 1, 2016caught between two worlds by christine davidson

Carnival (#2 in the Spark Form Chronicles) by Matt Doyle available March 1, 2016

The Order of Events: The Nightwatcher (#3 in the Order of Events series) by C.J. Haines, Daniel Haines available March 1, 2016

Black Horde: War Horn by Costei Andrew available March 1, 2016

Lost in the Apocalypse by L.C. Mortimer available March 1, 2016

Jake Steele and the Great Inferno (#1 in the Firestone Series) by C.J. Eller available March 1, 2016

Winds of Fate (#1 in the Legacy of the Dreamer series) by M.P. Reeves available March 1, 2016

Vampires and Vinca (#4 in the Hawthorn Witches series) by A. L. Tyler available March 1, 2016

Surviving Earth: Makayla’s Journey by Cora A. Murray, Christina Escue available March 1, 2016

Pathfinders by Aidan J. Reid available March 1, 2016

The Wasteland Soldier (#3 in the Drums of War series) by Laurence Moore available March 1, 2016

There’s No Place: Homecoming by Tracey H. Kitts available March 1, 2016

Remainder by Stacy H. Pain available March 1, 2016lost in the apocalypse by lc mortimer

Interstellar Incident (#2 in the Alicia Jones series) by D.L. Harrison available March 1, 2016

Dissonance (#2.5 in the Echo Trilogy) by Lindsey Fairleigh available March 1, 2016

The Children of Calm by J. Michael Smith available March 1, 2016

Spell Bound (#3 in the Fair Retelling series) by Dorian Tsukioka available March 1, 2016

Emergence (#1 in the Return of Magic series) by D.R. Rosier available March 1, 2016

Favorite Obsession (#3 in the Royal Pride series) by Nancy Corrigan available March 1, 2016

The Shelter: WAR by Ira Tabankin, Dianne Mayhew available March 1, 2016

Haraken (#4 in the Silver Ships series) by S.H. Jucha available March 1, 2016

A Mosaic of Stares: Short Stories from Other Worldsby Andrew Knighton available March 3, 2016

Cruise of the Living Dead: A Zombie Anthology by Scott M. Baker available March 3, 2016

Renegade World: Future Pastby G.D. Patten available March 4, 2016

Fires of Mastery (#3 in the Tale of Azaran series) by Zackery Arbela available March 4, 2016shadowfae by kathleen kerridge

Ad Astra: Wonderboy and Stargirl (#1 in the Adventures of Woderboy and Stargirl series) by Giovanni Mallia available March 4, 2016

Arcene: The Island by Al K. Line available March 4, 2016

Beyond Legacy: Brothers to the End by Isaac Blais available March 4, 2016

Prepper’s Crucible (#6 in The End series) by Bobby Andrews available March 4, 2016

Unleash the Storm (#5 in the Steel and Stone series) by Annette Marie available March 4, 2016

The Traitor’s Song (#2 in the Storm Eagles series) by D. J. Colwell available March 5, 2016

White Lie (#4 in the Orphans series) by Mike Evans available March 5, 2016

 

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[Sorry about the lack of images for the nook books! I had an issue between computers, but I’ll have it resolved next week!]

Poison Patch Episode 2 (The Astoria Files series) by Brida Anderson available February 28, 2016

Wizards for the Immediate Cheddar by L. Joseph Shosty available February 28, 2016

Era of the Scourge: Reclamation by Avery Tingle available February, 28 2016

Uncharted (#2 in the Guardians Saga) by Mylan Allen available February 28, 2016

God Killer (#3 in the Redneck Apocolypse series) by Eden Hudson available February 29, 2016

Life As Is by Brenda Thornlow available February 29, 2016

Titus Ad Larem by Peter Schnake available February 29, 2016

Shadows (#2 in the Keepers series) by B.T. Jaybush available February 29, 2016

The Secret City (#2 in the Stolen Future Trilogy) by Brian K. Lowe available February 29, 2016

The Awakening (#2 in the Athran Saga) by Kristofer M. Hanson available March 1, 2016

The Monster in the Mirror by Gareth Lewis available March 1, 2016

Tawny: Melusine’s Cats (#2) by Chris Quinton available March 1, 2016

Those Who Wander (All That Glitters series) by Shalaena Medford available March 1, 2016

Divine Intervention: Tales of Metamor City (#2) by Chris Lester available March 1, 2016

Karimath: A World at Peace by Jacques Ferreira available March 1, 2016

A Salmon Amongst Trouts by Kevin Focke available March 2, 2016

Spirit Light (#6 in the Rehema series) by C.C. Rose available March 3, 2016

The Turning by Sarah D. Silvey available March 3, 2016

Crossbones: Season 1 (Episodes 1-6 of the Crossbones series) by Stefan M. Nardi available March 3, 2016

Majesty (#5 in the Unbound series) by Jereon Steenbeeke available March 3, 2016

Magicka by Kathie Rivera available March 3, 2016

Reaper Chronicles: The Price by Riley Bryant available March 4, 2016

Liath Luachra: The Grey One by Brian O’Sullivan available March 5, 2016

Age of Men by Eduard Joseph available March 7, 2016

 

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[Reminder: Lulu does not post up-and-coming publishings, so all books are recorded from the previous week]

The Karzalean Key by Seth Giolle available February 27, 2016

Hunt by Myles Songolo available February 27, 2016

Revelations (#2 in the Throwback Chronicles) by Tom Roth available February 27, 2016weft of crimson by sarah downing

Ready Reference Treatise: Childhood’s End by Raja Sharma available February 26, 2016

Johnny Come Home by Tony Breedan available February 26, 2016

Tiger Force by Richard Kinsman available February 26, 2016

Weft of Crimson by Sarah Downing available February 26, 2016

To Summon the Blackbird by Ken Doggett available February 26, 2016

Out into the Open- Herus by Sara Camilla Schmidt Grodin available February 26, 2016to summon the blackbird by ken dogget

Vices by Corrine Plummer available February 26, 2016

Luckbane by Tony Breeden available February 26, 2016

Hal by Ania Kovas available February 26, 2016

The Gods Mistake by Montsho Shelby available February 26, 2016

The Crystal Grid by Mackenzie Patterson available February 25, 2016

Dragon’s Den by Terri Branson available February 25, 2016in plain sight by michele briere

Pursuit of Truth (the Kesher Chronicles) by Sarah Wallin-Huff available Fenruary 25, 2016

E-Tron 2by Akshaj Mehta available February 25, 2016

Redemption: Part Two of the Legend of Running Brook by William C. Barnes available February 25, 2016

Serendipity by Dustin Humphreys available February 24, 2016

Virus by Cheyenne Gross available February 24, 2016ariel's tear a tale of rehaven by justin rose

The Vexing Companion by Douglas Hatten available February 24, 2016

Shattered Time by Stepehen B. McAfee available February 24, 2016

Dateline: Korea- It Wasn’t Just a Trip Through Time: It Was an Adventure by Brent Kirk available February 23, 2016

Ariel’s Tear: A Tale of Rehaven by Justin Rose available February 23, 2016

Earth (miniseries) by Gabriel Dica available February 23, 2016

Earth: The Ashan Report (miniseries) by Gabriel Dica available February 23, 2016

Earth: The Future is History (miniseries) by Gabriel Dica available February 23, 2016cosmic sculpture by terri branson

The Lost Prince (#1 in the Tset-su Chronicles) by Ascien Keith available February 23, 2016

In Plain Sight (#1 in the Gatekeepers series) by Michele Briere available February 23, 2016

The Guardian Trial by C.M. Crabtree available February 22, 2016

Assassin for Hire (#1) by Dwayne Eric McLeon available February 22, 2016

Cosmic Sculpture by Terri Branson available February 22, 2016

 

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Uncharted (#2 in the Guardians Saga) by Mylan Allen available February 28, 2016

God Killer by Eden Hudson available February 29, 2016

Karimath: A World at Peace by Jacques Ferreira available March 1, 2016the turning by sarah d silvey

Divine Intervention: Tales of Metamor City (#2) by Chris Lester available March 1, 2016

The Awakening (#2 in the Athran Saga) by Kristofer Hanson available March 1, 2016

Those Who Wander by Shalaena Medford available March 1, 2016

The Turning by Sarah D. Silvey available March 4, 2016

Reaper Chronicles: The Price by Riley Bryant available March 4, 2016

Europa 2049 by Joel Puga available March 5, 2016

 

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Rise of the Fallen (#3 in the Dark Tides series) by Diana Bocco available February 29, 2016

 

 

Disclaimer: This list is created based on my own research. Any oversights in self-published books are not done purposefully or out of maliciousness. Books with a listed publisher other than the author’s name, listed under a genre other than Fantasy or Science-Fiction, or advertised on a separate eReader site, will not be included. Amendments will not be made to published posts. To ensure inclusion in the weekly updates, please send me an email and a link to your eBook to thedriftingpaige@gmail.com and, if given enough notice, I will do my best to include you!

 

 

Monthly Challenge: February and the Chinese New Year Completed!

Monthly Reading Challenge: February

Title: The Girl with Ghost Eyes

Author: M.H. Borosonimg_0077

Publisher: Talos

Summary: Living in San Francisco’s Chinatown in the late 1800s, Li-lin is a Daoshi exorcist training under her father’s advanced tutelage. Recently widowed, she trains in Kung-Fu and the magical properties of the Maoshan tradition that allows her to use her special yin eyes to hunt and protect against ghosts. Armed with her teachings, Li-lin becomes prey to a brutal plan aimed to destroy her father and Chinatown itself, but with the help of a small protective ghost and her own tools and knowledge, Li-lin will fight this enemy at all costs.

Impression: This is Borson’s debut novel, and honestly is the best debut I’ve read yet. It is the perfect style for a Chinese cultural novel- not overly flowery in prose and perfectly steeped in Chinese religion and traditions. Borson includes his own literary notes at the end to help explain to the reader what certain terms are and what they mean, so for readers like me who aren’t familiar with fighting move names, you can learn as you go!

I found myself annoyed with the novel at certain points because of the sheer sexism that pervades Li-lin’s life. However, it is completely historically accurate and truly paints the picture of what life was like back then for a female Chinese immigrant in the western United States. In terms of storytelling, it was a bit choppy, but at the end all of the loose ends come together nicely. I am under the impression that Borson has more stories with Li-lin in mind, and I’m eagerly awaiting the sequels if so. I would absolutely recommend this book, but if you’re sensitive to sexism like I am, try to stay objective J it’s not only a nice fantasy story, it’s also historically and culturally accurate.

Rating:

Until next time!

Live,
Morgan Paige

Disclaimer: My ratings incorporate overall design of the book, complexity of characters, storytelling proficiency, themes, accuracy, grammar, and overall enjoyment. If you require more information than what is in the “Impressions” section why a book receives a certain rating, please feel free to comment or message me at thedriftingpaige@gmail.com.

Boskone, Worldcon, and ALL the Conventions!

Boskone, Worldcon, and ALL the Conventions!

Good morning everyone!

I hope you all had a fantastic weekend; I’m really excited to share with you just how action-packed this past weekend was.

I live in New Hampshire, as some of you may know, and am fortunate to be close to one of the country’s biggest and most exciting cities: Boston! I love Boston (I swear, I’m not terribly biased). Throughout the few roadtrips I’ve been fortunate enough to take, Boston has always been one of the few cities I enjoy visiting. Yes, the city is a mess of one-ways and I still manage to get lost sometimes, but it’s a fun city on the coast and is full of ambitious, creative types of people.

Jerry Remy’s Restaurant has a great view (an Iron Maiden boat?? yes!) and even better food.

Part of the reason why this atmosphere is so prevalent is because Boston plays host to a lot of fun conventions (PAX East, Comicon, etc.), most recent of which is the one they hosted this past weekend at the Westin Hotel on the Waterfront: Boskone. In the world of conventions, this is the largest science fiction and fantasy convention hosted in New England. It promotes authors, artists, musicians, and creators of all types who work in the science-fiction and fantasy genres.

It was a three day convention and only cost $25 a day to attend ($45 on Saturday, because it had the largest amount of activities), but with the three day package it was only $65. There were literary speakers, art galleries, book sellers, movie showings, autograph tables, and many participatory activities, as well as booths outside of the ballrooms that advertised other conventions, new products, and upcoming events.

 I learned about Worldcon while I was there, and, if you weren’t aware, it is the biggest science fiction convention in the world. If you become a member of Worldcon, you gain membership that allows you to nominate and vote for the Hugo Awards. This is the most popular Science Fiction/ Fantasy award ceremony for authors and artists alike. World Con seemed interesting, but it’s being held in Helsinki next year… so something tells me this girl isn’t going to be able to make the quick trip lol

Boskone, however, was an absolute blast. I was fortunate to make it to the Friday activities, and will make it a point to go all three days next year. Even though it was a short visit, Friday was really the most incredible day in my literary life thus far. If you follow me on any of my social media sites, you’d have seen me meeting the author I look up to most, Garth Nix, as well as the incredible horror author, Joe Hill.


I think you can see just how nervous I am in the photo, but it really was incredible being able to meet one of the biggest literary inspirations in my life. Both Joe Hill and Garth Nix were incredibly kind and exciting authors to meet, and conventions like Boskone allow experiences like this to happen. There were panels that helped aspiring authors learn how to get to where these authors are, and learn from the very people that they look up to. I can’t express enough how amazing these opportunities are, and we writers should absolutely take advantage of conventions when they come around. Hopefully, next year I’ll be able to provide you with more information about each day of the convention, but until then, I’ve compiled a list of New England-friendly conventions to look forward to, and then another list of most popular conventions that are worth attending. If I’ve missed any, please shoot me a message! Also, if there are any closer to where you live or are more popular in your state/country, please let us all know! Conventions are put in place to help us all grow and create a more knowledgeable, closer community.

Thanks for reading, everyone!

 

New England-Friendly Conventions Popular Conventions
Boskone (Boston, MA) 2/19-2/21 Worldcon (Helsinki, Finland 2017)

MidAmeriCon (Kansas City, MI) 8/17-8/20

LunaCon (New York, NY) 3/18-3/20 NASFIC (North American Science Fiction Con, potentially San Juan in 2017)
Arisia (Boston, MA) 1/15-1/18 (already happened, let’s look out for next year!) World Fantasy Convention (Columbus, OH) 10/27-10/30
Readercon (Quincy, MA) 7/7-7/10 Nebula Awards Weekend (Chicago, IL) 5/12-5/15
Vericon (Cambridge, MA) 3/18-3/20 DragonCon (Atlanta, GA) 9/3-9/5 Labor Day Weekend

 

Until next time!

Live,

Morgan Paige

New Self-Published eBooks: February 21-27

Hey everyone!

I’ve been getting more and more interested in self-published books and eBooks, but noticed that there aren’t many resources to help readers like myself to find decent or recent publications. They tend to get buried in the eReader apps and I find myself getting more frustrated the more that I dig. I know self-publishing doesn’t really give authors much in terms of marketing, but, on top of that, the eReaders don’t help distinguish them from the rest of the commercially published novels. Self-published authors already have a hard enough time marketing their stories, and I can see that all you readers really want to be aware of new and up-and-coming authors!

So, I’ve decided to make weekly lists to promote self-published eBooks in the Science-Fiction and Fantasy genres. I know there are a lot of you who want to read current self-published authors, and, on top of the debut authors that I’ll be reviewing regularly, I think this will give you all a good, rounded idea of what’s new in the science-fiction and fantasy world. I’ll try to include horror publications, too, but in all honesty there really aren’t many self-published horror novels. I’ll throw in whichever ones I find, though 🙂

I’ll post every weekly update on Sundays so you guys all know what to expect in the week to come, and I’ve labeled which eReaders offer which books below. I only have five of these resources available to me, but will possibly add Scribd to my list in the future if anyone is interested. The six major eBook sellers are: Amazon Kindle, Barnes and Noble Nook, Lulu.com, Kobo, iBooks, and Scribd. I haven’t added Scribd because I do not have an account there at the moment, but if there is any interest I will add them to this list. Just let me know! I hope this helps!

I will also be doing reviews of one or two books each week. Have fun reading!

Published during the week of February 21-27 unless otherwise specified.

 

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A Flight of Souls (#23 in the A Shade of Vampires series) by Bella Forrest
available Fthe far side of creation by m.r. mathisebruary 21, 2016

The Far Side of Creation (#7 in the Legend of Vanx Malic series) by M. R. Mathias available February 21, 2016

Dark Winter: Last Rites (Dark Winter series) by John Hennessy, Claudia McKinney, Catriona Crehan available February 21, 2016

Revenge of Zeeka: Zeeka and the Zombies by Brenda Mohammed available February 21, 2016

Burning Monday (#2 in the Dane Monday series) by Dennis Liggio available February 22, 2016

Mind of Tesla (#2 in The Tesla Trilogy) by Eli Nixon available February 22, 2016img_0096-1

Seed Among the Thorns (#1 in the Seedlings Trilogy) by Morgan Lee
available February 22, 2016

Shadow Magic by Yamaya Cruz available February 22, 2016

Voodoo Queen of Shadows (#1 in the Shadow Magic Series) by Yamaya Cruz available February 22, 2016

Wild Hearts (#1 in the Blood and Judgment series) by Eve Newton, Franca Storm available February 22, 2016

Echoes of Tomorrow (#4 in the Echoes of Tomorrow: Season One series)
by Douglas Wayne available February 23, 2016echoes of tomorrow by douglas wayne

The Last Testament by Paul Manes available February 24, 2016

Bound (#4 in the Legacy Series) by Max Ellendale, Victoria Miller,
J. L. James, R. M. Bruce, Deadra Krieger available February 24, 2016

Cora (#1 in the Of Earth or Erda series) by Relina Skye, Amber Bungo, Teri the Editing Fairy available February 25, 2016

Dream Stalker (#1 in the Talented series) by Amy Hopkins available Febryary 25, 2016

WWIV: A Basin of Secrets by E. A. Lake, LL Pix, Rob Bignell available
February 26, 2016hero rising by chris fox

ME by Hannah Sealy available February 26, 2016

Lifehack: God’s Rising (#1 in the Glimpse series) by Fred Reinald, Cisco Jhemis, Gill Herrera available February 26, 2016

Welcome Home (#3 in the Alternate Worlds series) by Taylor Leigh available February 26, 2016

Avoidables (#7) by Rachel Medhurst available February 26, 2016

Hero Rising (#2 in the Project Solaris series) by Chris Fox available
February 26, 2016img_0095-1

The Great Society (#3 in the Timeline series) by James Philip available February 26, 2016

Dragon Knight (#3 in the Collegium Series) by Jenny Schwartz available February 27, 2016

The Bells of Paradise (#3 in the Fairy Tales Retold series) by Suzannah Rowntree available February 27, 2016

Brink of Extinction by Nicholas Ryan available February 27, 2016

 

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The Redemption of Erath: Exile (#2 in the Redemption of Erath series) by Satis available born-to-be-wilde-by-jenn-starkFebruary 22, 2016

Repunzelmother by Joseph Burgo available February 22, 2016 (also available on iBooks same day)

Dawn of Ash (The Imdalind series) by Rebecca Ethington available February 23, 2016

Born to be Wilde (#3 in the Immortal Vegas series) by Jenn Stark available February 23, 2016

The Necromancer’s Daughter (#6 in the For Queen And Country: Historical Fantasy series) available February 23, 2016

The Keeper (#5 in the Keeper series) by Kaytie Reade available February 23, 2016

Blood Song (Blood World series) by Marie Treanor available February 23, 20162940152350043_p0_v1_s192x300

Warphan by J.D. Mulcey available February 24, 2016

Revelations: Far from Earth by Robert J Hamilton available February 25, 2016

The Anzu: The Insurgents by Mary S. Sheppard available February 25, 201

Crossbones: Season 1 (Episodes 1-6 of the Crossbones series) by Stefan M. Nardi available February 25, 2016

An Exquisite Nightmare by Kate Winters available February 27, 2016

 

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Lulu.com

[Lulu doesn’t publish information for up-and-coming books, so these
are all listed from last week, February 14-20)nimravid by d.l. greeley

Nimravid (#1 in the Macfade Chronicles) by D.L. Greeley available February 15, 2016

Serenis by Felcitiy White available February 15, 2016

The Adventures of a Gingerbread Man by J. A. Stubbs available February 15, 2016

Witches of the Old West: Tales of the Source by Jay Rubne available February 15, 2016

Ariel’s Tear: A Tale of Rehavan by Justin Rose available February, 17 2016ariel's tear a tale of rehaven by justin rose

Dateline: Korea – It Wasn’t Just a Trip Through Time: It was an Adventure by Brent Kirk available February 17, 2016 ***Also available on the iBookstore

The Azine Tale by Saam Hasan available February 17, 2016

The Funny Necromancer by Monique Golay available February 17, 2016 ***Also available on the iBookstore

Vices by Corinne Plummer available February 18, 2016

The Sly Phantom by Monique Golay available February 18, 2016

 

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Disclaimer: This list is created based on my own research. Any oversights in self-published books are not done purposefully or out of maliciousness. Books with a listed publisher other than the author’s name, listed under a genre other than Fantasy or Science-Fiction, or advertised on a separate eReader site, will not be included. Amendments will not be made to published posts. To ensure inclusion in the weekly updates, please send me an email and a link to your eBook to thedriftingpaige@gmail.com and, if given enough notice, I will do my best to include you!

Dare to Pair: Rioja and Veggie Burgers

Hey everyone!
This month’s dare to pair features the healthiest of junk food: veggie burgers and sweet potato nachos! I used the recipes from Half Baked Harvest (the Cuban burgers and the healthy nachos) to put together an awesome meal for myself and some friends, and I’m super excited because they came out so well.

(Honestly, I’m not surprised, Tieghan has some of the most incredible recipes… her BBQ pulled chicken is a staple in our house!)

This dinner was especially fun, because I got to try out some dairy-free/vegan cheese in both the burger and the nachos. I can’t believe how much better these products are getting. If anyone is interested, I used the Follow Your Heart cheeses, and they melted and shredded perfectly. The provolone one tasted so good!


None of us were huge fans of the teams playing for the Superbowl this year, but this meal caught our interest and kept us invested in the game. We were able to indulge a little bit with this spicy, exotic menu and to compliment it I pulled out two wines to taste against (you know… since last month’s pairing didn’t work so well 😛 ).

My first choice was a Rioja (named for the region it is produced in) called Paco Garcia that one of my friends brought back for me from Spain. It was a 2012 vintage and a blend of garnacha and tempranillo grapes. Unfortunately, we cannot seem to find it in our state yet, but it was absolutely phenomenal with the burgers and nachos. The spice and heft of the food paired so freaking perfectly with the complex garnacha blend. Garnacha (the Spanish name for the Grenache grape) is super mellow and high in flavors of red fruits and some light pepper. It didn’t have any of the characteristic leathery tastes that some aged Grenache wines can get, which was actually super ideal for this meal. There are tons of spices in these two recipes, and I think it complimented the relatively pleasing and just peppery notes in the wine.

 Since the Rioja did so well with dinner, we only barely tasted the Francis Coppola Pinot Noir against the food. It honestly wasn’t very spectacular and got overpowered by the multiple flavors that came together in the nachos. Plus, there are jalapenos and green chiles in the nachos and those REALLY overpowered the flavor of the pinot noir. It was good with the burger, however, as long as we kept the mango salsa off of it 🙂

I will definitely be looking into expanding my Spanish wine tastings with future meals. This has been the first red wine that paired super well with a vegetarian-based meal and I intend to keep this experiment going! Also, I’m thinking about adding some informative resources that I use for wine pairing and education… would anyone be interested in that? It’s pretty cool to see  how many books are out there and why each one is unique. I could also review tools and toys for wine (decanters, wine keys, aerators, etc.) if anyone is interested. Just let me know!

Here’s to a successful pairing, finally! 🙂

Until next time,

Live,

Morgan Paige

Traveling Blues VS Editsaurus

temp

Well, I’m back! The trip was a short one, but it was just what the heart ordered! My boyfriend and I took the long weekend to visit my mom in Florida, and we spent a few days relaxing on island-time and enjoying the sun. We left behind negative degree weather for perfect 70 degree days and came back to New England… in a snowstorm.

florida collage
Farmers Markets and Tiki Bars
It’s a whiteout outside while I write this and it’s supposed to continue snowing throughout the day. Luckily, we stocked up on Domino’s pizza and Chinese takeout when we drove home, so we will still eat like kings while we’re trapped inside the apartment… there’s no better way to wind down after a trip than with some greasy food and movies (we finally watched Crimson Peak by Guillermo Del Toro) is there?

But as we speak, I’ve had a hard time getting back into the routine of reading and writing. Usually, books are like water to me. They are just a part of my life like food and sleep is… more of a necessity than anything. So, I’ve tried picking up a few different books that are more entertaining than thought provoking to try to rekindle that flame, and also, since my brain has gone beyond writer’s block to the ultimate stage of thoughtlessness, I’ve been going back through my writing trying to edit it. It’s hard though, because when you have no creative inspiration you also can’t see your own writing for what it is. To me, this story I’ve been putting my heart and soul into for months looks uninteresting and drab. It makes me want to edit everything.

That’s why I took to the internet to find something to help me and, lo and behold, I discovered a program that helps analyze your text and picks out word choices that you may want to rethink or rewrite.

It’s called Editsaurus and was created by a writer/programmer named Tyler Walters. His free program allows you to see where you’ve used pronouns (he, she, it), misused words (their vs. they’re), lexical illusions (duplicate words your brain may have skipped over), passive voice (was doing, had been running), filler words (very, but, some), and adverbs (happily, furiously, quickly).

2016-02-16 (2)
Very rough first draft! 
As you can see, I ran through a paragraph at the very beginning of my story and YIKES did it need work. But, it’s pretty fantastic because it allows me to see my weaknesses objectively instead of just staring mindlessly at my computer screen.

I have a real problem with adverbs and pronouns, apparently… but, which writer doesn’t? All of us have our weaknesses, and we can only get better when we acknowledge those weaknesses. I think this program can also be used by blog writers, journalists, poets, and technical writers. Most writing needs this sort of close attention to detail, and, ultimately, you’re the one who decides what stays and what goes.

This program has actually helped me a ton this morning in getting my groove back into writing and meeting my word count. It’s helped me stay mindful and more aware, which is what I think my brain needed. I’m much more a creature of routine in regards to motivation, and though the vacation was so necessary and wonderful, it really threw off my creative flow! Does this happen to anyone else?

I’ll be picking through my writing and editing my way through this ocean of pronouns and adverbs… wish me luck! Haha I hope the rest of you aren’t trapped by a snowstorm and closed highways and are staying nice and warm!

 

Until next time!

Live,

Morgan Paige

Travel Reads: Book Suggestions and the Overdrive App

Hey, everyone!

This is a bit of a last minute post, but honestly, everything that has happened in the past couple of days has turned every decision into a last minute one. With the snow storms, the spontaneous work projects, and the sudden request to pick my brother up from the airport (welcome back broheem!), my schedule essentially fell apart.

And, to top it all off, my very own travel plans have gone unaddressed until the very last minute. I stayed up last night trying to figure out what to pack for my morning flight and was busy grabbing books to bring to my mom (some choices are the Lightbringer trilogy by Brent Weeks and the Gemma Doyle trilogy by Libba Bray), when I realized: I hadn’t packed any books for myself!

What time is more fortuitous to a reader than the (hopefully) quiet hours spent as a passenger on a plane? What more of an excuse do you need to sit and devour your favorite book?

I didn’t have any time to go to a book store, I couldn’t make it to the library in the morning, and my bookshelves are surprisingly void of new material. I don’t have anything wrong with rereading a book (in fact, I’m considering grabbing a Harry Potter book for nostalgia’s sake), but the opportunity to spend an afternoon reading without a new story was quite tormenting.

And, so!

I present to you my foolproof, last minute method of actually getting a new story to your fingertips! I do not have an eReader, but I do have an iPad! I downloaded the Overdrive app and connected that to my library’s eBook and audiobook selection. All you need is your library card number and possibly a PIN number (just give your library a call if this is the case… usually it’s as simple as your phone number). Voila! It’s like having an eReader without having to actually buy a whole new device and subscription! You do “check-out” books, and they have to be returned after a set amount of days. However, you are free to read without internet access once you have the book downloaded. This is so perfect for traveling and is so efficient. I love that libraries are doing this and have offered this to the public!

So, with the method chosen, I still have yet to choose a book. I have a couple of ideas bouncing around, however. Generally, when I travel I like something gripping and fun, because there can be numerous distractions around you onboard a flight (crying babies and drunk people… woot…). In this same vein of thinking, I was thinking about checking out one of these books:

  1. You’re Never Weird on the Internet by Felicia Day
  2. Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb
  3. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson

What do you think? Do you have favorite books you bring with you while you travel? Do you always read certain types of books to keep you happy in the stress getting through an airport? Have eReaders served you well on flights/car rides?

Can’t wait to hear what you think!

Until next time!

Live,

Morgan Paige

A Collection of Thought Bubbles: Effectiveness of Word Count

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With popular writing events like NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), NewNoWriMo (New Novel Writing Month created by one of WordPress’ favorite bloggers, N.E. White), and 500 Word February (also created by one of the most fun bloggers here on WordPress, Lizzie!), authors and writers equate success with word count.

Just to further support this, I found a list that dictates how many words established authors must reach each day. Some authors measure their success by the amount of words they write every day, and we aspiring writers follow suite with our own monthly public challenges like the ones listed above.

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This is just one of the three images on this site that will show famous authors’ word counts!

In contrast, there are the authors who also tell you that word count does not matter; half the time you’ll go back and edit out all the filler, anyway. Determining your workmanship should be based on time and quality, not amount produced.

It’s hard to judge progress when it comes to writing, because every reader is a critic and everyone has a different taste in literature. An author can be beloved by one reader and hated by another… this inability to be quantified makes writing such a subjective art. Putting a number count on a writing goal gives the writer something to quantify the hard work that they’ve done.

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Found on Garth Nix’s facebook page… haven’t we all been here before?

The old saying goes that you become the master a craft after 10,000 hours of devoted time. Aspiring writers can reach their goal much more easily by starting a daily word count goal instead of a time limit. For example, who can sit and immediately begin writing, only to end their creative work after an hour? Personally, it takes me a while to get into the groove of writing and to find the voice that I desire after a break. I can’t be forced to write quality stories within an hour-long time span. However, if I don’t force myself to sit and write during a certain part of the day, I know I wouldn’t regularly have the inspiration required to write on my own creative flow.

Does a writer’s word count really mean so much in regards to their prowess? How can you tell when a writer is a good storyteller? Writing is so subjective; it is amazing that we all still aspire to become authors! It is important for us to have a writing count/goal because of the lack of other quantifiable assessments of our craft. Word count shouldn’t be an actual designation, however, because the amount of words you put to paper doesn’t mean it is actual quality work. It is instead a means by which we can use to determine our progress towards our own goals. No writer is done learning… no author has mastered the craft completely. And that’s where word count goals come in and why monthly writing challenges are so popular and rewarding.

With the pressure that some of these contests put onto word count, don’t lose sight of the skills that need to be honed and built when you write. Changing voices, trying new styles, working on weaknesses… these should all be considered when you set pen to paper during these challenges. Skill-building tends to get lost in word count goals, so I’ve created a small list of how writers can be more mindful of actually building their craft rather than just vomiting words onto a paper.

Instead of just focusing on word count, try to…:

  1. Pick a word of the day. And try to use it! Sure, you have a story/chapter/poem in mind, but how will you use the word provenance in your subject matter? It’s a challenge! And it grows your vocabulary. Every writer needs a strong and varied vocabulary to further their reader’s interest. Personally, I subscribe to the dictionary.com Word of the Day on my Feedly App (it’s an app that keeps you up-to-date with articles and postings online). You can also just visit the website, get one of those nifty word-of-the-day daily calendars, or just flip through a dictionary and pick a word at random.
  2. Edit! Don’t be afraid to edit your work! I feel like word count gets so ingrained in an author’s mind that they think, “Hey, I’ve finished my work for the day… now I can watch Netflix!” But, wait! Take ten minutes and read through your work and pick up on something that needs to be fixed. Yes, editing right away isn’t ideal because you aren’t subjective enough or removed enough to pick up on the big things that need to be changed, but maybe a quick read-through can show you just how many times your sentences start with the word “the” or how each dialogue ends with “she said.” You can then make a post-it note or highlight certain areas that need attention, so next time you’ll be less likely to make the same mistake. Awareness is the best tool you could have when you’re writing for your word count.
  3. The Thesaurus is your Friend! Building off of the previous tip, many authors have a hard time noticing when they repeat words or when they use the same sounding words in a row. Just go ahead and type “hair” into your finder bar and see how many matches your Microsoft Word can make. It’ll help you see how often you describe your characters with their hair color or how often you mention someone’s hair in their reactions. Change it up! Either replace the word with a synonym or choose another descriptor! It really is that easy, and can help you determine which parts of your writing need to be worked on.  Note: “said” is a bit of an exception (some readers just hate wading through the “she exclaimed,” “he shouted,” “she bit her lip”… sometimes simpler is better). If you feel like searching and replacing “said” with other descriptors, just be mindful of how much verbiage you’re adding to a dialogue and see if it still flows smoothly.

 

That being said, most writers love these challenges, because it gives us inspiration and motivation. I love events like NaNoWriMo and think every author should push themselves hard to finish their book .It is difficult to become proficient at writing, as practice and devotion are the only things that can further your skill.

Who here takes part in these events? Do you think they are worthwhile? Do you judge your progress by word count or by how many styles/genres you’ve managed to practice? Let me hear about it! 🙂 And please check out those links above to the bloggers who have begun their own monthly challenges. It keeps our community strong and gives you motivation on those days/weeks/months that you really really need it! lol

 

Until next time!

Live,

Morgan Paige

Bookfangirling Blog Award!


Hey lovely readers! I was nominated by Tina at Alloftheseprompts  for the Bookfangirling Blog Award! Thanks so much! 😊

This is such a fantastic award, I hadn’t heard of it until Tina made me aware of the awesome fangirling blog. Essentially, it’s an award that allows us to show other blogs that we appreciate the work that they do and the content they produce. It’s another way of showing others how much we like their blog on top of the like button 🙂 Sometimes, comments can only express so much!

Rules:

1) Create a post to accept your award.

2) Add the blog award button into your post and put it on the side of your blog as a widget. Visit Fangirling for the award button.

3) Answer the questions I have below.

4) Nominate between 5-10 book bloggers who you think also deserve this award.

5) Come up with your own 5 questions for your nominees.

 

My Answers:

  1. Which languages do you read in? I only read in English, but in the past I have read books in French. I took about… 7 years of French growing up, so I probably could still do so, but it’s hard to find untranslated books where I live! If anyone has any good resources, please let me know!
  2. Name the very first book you remember reading on your own (as opposed to your parents reading to you). Oh my goodness, what a great question! I think I first read Beatrix Potter to myself. We had this great boxed edition that my mom got for me (and I promptly destroyed all the bindings on all the books from reading them so often). They were such a poignant series, I loved them almost as much as I loved my Corduroy book! However, my first real book was a series about King Arthur and the round table. I’ve asked my family if they remembered the series at all, but no one seems to know the author or anything since it was so long ago. I think I loved the King Arthur books because of my namesake to Morgan Le Fae J
  3. How do you choose which book to read next? I usually haunt Barnes and Noble and the library for a few days, to be honest! It sort of takes me a while to choose a book. I always have a list of recommendations going and then search to see what’s available and then narrow it down from there. A lot depends on my mood, also. If I have the option between a sci-fi book and a horror novel, I’ll consider my current temperament and frame of mind. I get really involved and committed to the books I read so I want to make sure it has the right feel and message I’m looking for.
  4. How do you feel about ebooks and audiobooks? I must be very old school, because it’s taken me a while to get into both of these mediums. It took me a while to warm up to audiobooks (mostly because my stepdad would listen to them in the car and I’d either be uninterested in the novel he was currently listening to or he would just listen to it at a random point in the story so I wouldn’t know what was going on). However, I always have an audiobook in my car, now. I love them and I love the variety. I think part of their appeal is that there are actual books in the genres I like to choose from. And as for ebooks, I only just signed up and I can’t wait to get started! I feel like there are so many ebooks out there and just as many avenues in which to get them. Overdrive and Kindle are the two apps I just started using.
  5. Name one book that disappointed you and one that was a pleasant surprise. One book that disappointed me is The Magicians by Lev Grossman. There are books that I don’t like and books that I am not interested in, but this must have been the most disappointing because I had such high expectations. You can’t label something “the grown-up Harry Potter” and instead write a pity-party celebrating a dull main character. I wish Grossman had done more with the magic, too… but, I ramble. A book that was a pleasant surprise was Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes. I wasn’t sure what to expect from it, as it was a little outside my comfort zone and I ended up falling in love. The story is a beautiful one and it’s so hauntingly written, I think about that story a lot and it always makes me feel grateful for what I have.

 

My Questions:

  1. What character from which book have you related to the most? Why?
  2. Which genre do you typically read? Have you found a book outside of this genre that you liked?
  3. Is there an author’s work who you have read completely or nearly in completion?
  4. Which book do you recommend to people the most?
  5. What do you feel about book-to-film adaptations? If applicable, name a book you like more than its movie and vice versa.

 

My Nominees:

1. Abooknation

2. Sarah from sarahinzombieland

3.  Lizzie from Writerscompanion

4. N.E. White from his N. E. White wordpress blog

 

No pressure to participate, but I thought you would all have some interesting posts/responses 🙂 And if anyone else feels like completing these questions, please do so and link to me! I’d love to read them!

Until next time,

Live,

Morgan Paige

Monthly Challenge: February and the Chinese New Year

 

Hey, everyone!

This month’s reading challenge caused me a bit of an internal debate, because there were so many books I wanted to review. Since I’m trying to focus more on debut authors in the publishing world, I thought it would be hard to find one that fit this month’s theme. On February 8th, next Monday, is the Chinese New Year. It falls on a New Moon typically between the end of January and the end of February, and this year it just so happens to fall in the second week of February. It is also known as their Spring Festival and is a time to celebrate good fortune, happiness, and wealth. I figured it’d be fun to do a challenge around the Chinese culture to celebrate the New Year this month!

To my great fortune, I found a novel that fits perfectly into this month’s theme. Debut author M.H. Boroson recently published his book The Girl with Ghost Eyes. It is available at most bookstores, and I was fortunate enough to nab the last one at the Barnes and Noble in my area. He studied Chinese religion for his undergrad, which helped inspire this book.


The story follows a young girl named Li-lin living in San Francisco’s Chinatown at the turn of the 19th century. She is a normal girl, despite her penchant for seeing and hunting ghosts within the planar ghost world. After an attack on her father, she must use her powers to navigate the ghost realm and bring honor and justice back to her family. With the aid of traditional Chinese folkloric monsters and deities, Li-lin must find her place as an immigrant to a new country and a woman within a man’s profession.

It is an incredibly promising novel with so many interesting layers. Learning Chinese folklore and religion through a ghost story sounds so entertaining; I really cannot wait to read this story! The fact that this is the first novel that Boroson has published is a huge draw, too. I will provide a very detailed review at the end of this month’s challenge, and I’d be so happy if you guys read along with me! Follow me at the Goodreads link below, on Pinterest, or even on Twitter. I’d be so happy to discuss this novel with you guys along the way!

My social media links are located on the front page and I will include them here as well. Check out my About page, too if you feel like contacting me via email 🙂 (Thank you, Sally, for pointing out that the links were missing!)

Twitter

Goodreads

Pinterest

Instagram

 

Until next time,

Live,

Morgan Paige