Sunday, November 3, 2019

An Author’s Perspective: Are the “Too Short” Criticisms for Literary Works by Readers Valid?

The Criticism

Every creative writer has heard the same criticism from a reader at some point.  Scrolling down at the reviews for your newly published work is the comment that your short story, novella, novelette, novel, or whatever is “too short”.  Some readers may throw in other criticisms like that your work was so short that they couldn’t relate to it or bond with the characters.  While all creative people have to deal with criticism, most should be looked at as opportunities to improve.  But is the “too short” review a real argument?  Is that a criticism or a compliment?

Now, as a self-published author, I have argued in the past that short works are a perfect way to introduce your writing style and creativity to your prospective audience.  The reason for this is an author is able to write different works in a short amount of time, giving the reader variety while testing out genres and styles that suit you as a writer.  For example, I love reading mysteries and horror novels as a young adult.  When I decided to start self-publishing, I discovered that my niche genre wasn’t horror.  As I dabbled into the realm of shorter works, publishing them as teasers for the purpose of creating a fan-base and getting feedback, I discovered that my skills at writing horror needed work, but that I was actually better at writing fantasy with a touch of romance.  I wouldn’t have discovered that without publishing and listening to the response of my audience.

Shorter works are excellent for writers that are still figuring out their voice and signature style.  With short works, pricing isn’t an issue either as most are offered as freebies to those with e-readers or smart phones.  This makes them convenient and enticing to prospective readers.  Why offer them free when you can charge?  As if the reason isn’t obvious, if the goal is to build an audience, I do not know a single demographic that is opposed to anything that is free.  It gives your work a higher probability of being downloaded and read by your target audience.  That is a “win-win” as they say.  Readers want something that entertains them, and writers want people who will read their work, providing critical feedback for improvement and hopefully gaining a fan-base in return.  However, do not get stuck in the free section.  Longer works take time, planning, and creativity which writers should be paid for.  So, do not sell yourself short.

Criticism Or Compliment

So, when the issue of a work being “too short” comes up in a review, should a writer take heed? Is that a criticism or a compliment?

Well, take heed to any criticism but attempt to understand the context of the statement.  There are positives and negatives to reviews like this.  There are also different reasons for the readers to leave reviews like this.  You, as the writer, have the power to change what you can, but remember that you cannot please everyone either.  My mother has a great saying which is a bit off topic but relevant.  Whenever people talked behind my back ━ sadly, even some family members ━ it got to me, changing the way I felt about myself subtly.  When she saw me like this, she would say, “You are not a hundred dollar bill that everyone is going to like you.  You’re always going to have negative people around.”  Ain’t that the truth!  It was her way of saying, “So what if people don’t like you.  They don’t matter anyway, so suck it up, buttercup.”  Gossip was just another form of criticism, and it was for me to take heed to or throw away.  The truth is that 100% of people will not like your work either, they just won’t relate to it and that is OK.  Your goal is to find the people who do and keep them reading.

When you create anything, no matter how short or long, you are invested as the creator of that content.  You want your audience to enjoy the experience as much as you love creating it.  It’s a creative cycle; you make the content you love to share you creation with people who equally love it.  In turn, they support it, so you can create more of what you love. When we receive feedback by those who support our craft by downloading it or physically purchasing it, we listen, because any disruption breaks the chain, the chain to creative happiness.

Yet, not all critiques are as negative as they sound. I do not know a single published author that hasn’t received a negative review.  If you are testing your writing ability by self publishing your first attempts at storytelling, accept the criticism as a gift to help you grow your craft.  The best form of testing and even developing the craft of writing is creating short literary works.  However, the issue with readers and the most common complaint authors hear from their readers is it wasn’t long enough, especially if the story, for example, is not apart of a compilation.  But there are industry standards that authors adhere to that make even shorter works the appropriate length.

Word Counts Matter

Aside from a deep delve into the plot and any critiques associated with writing, let us explore the “too short” critiques as strictly concerning length, because there are many issues with a story that can make a reader feel as if the story was rushed or too fast-paced to emerge themselves into.

Now, when writing anything from a short story to a full length novel, it is the author’s job to research the appropriate word count for the job. For example, a young adult novel is typically around 80,000 words. Any less than 60,000 is typically too short for readers, although the minimum word count is 55,000.  Any more than 90,000 is practically un-publishable for a first time author, major publishing houses will consider it too long to be taken seriously. But for adult novels, 100,000 words or more is the standard. So, it is important to understand who you are writing for and how long your work should be.

So, what are the appropriate word counts based on the type of work you are creating?  Here they are:

If you are within the appropriate word count parameters, why is it that you will receive criticism in terms of its length?  I have dealt with this issue, everything from my short stories to my full length novel has been labeled as “too short” by at least one reader.  I have concluded that this is attributed to one of two things; the reader’s entitlement or the reader’s involvement.  So, which is better?  Which one is positive and which is negative?  Are there any negatives for the author?  I will venture to answer these questions.

Perceptions and Expectations

Ultimately, we are dealing with a reader’s perception of what is, rather than what actually is.  At that point, the author is blameless for the reader’s experience if the argument is solely length.  Now, readers can then argue that they couldn’t get into the story itself.  Due to length, there’s less descriptive elements in plot and character development, but this is to be expected in a shorter work.  Short stories are not a main course or even a dessert.  They are an amuse bouche, a single bit to hold you over until you delve into a larger meal.  They can be so delicious that you crave more, but they need to be taken for what they are ━ a sample.

With the innovative e-book, readers have certain expectations that are not demanded when purchasing a physical book from a bookstore.  Part of that is when reading a physical book, the reader knows the standard size of the book and pages.  With an e-book, formatting is quite different; e-book pages are shorter than most, and font can be altered, so readers cannot gauge length as easily.  The e-book reading experience is different, and therefore, alters the reader’s experience.

If the reader’s experience is changed by their expectation of what should be, we are left with what I call the reader’s entitlement.  This is the reader’s belief that they’re deserving of something that meets their own preconceived ideal and, only then, are they satisfied.  This is an unrealistic expectation, because it’s the belief that they deserve more than what the industry standard is, even if they pay nothing for the product.  It’s an undue expectation, because the same expectation is not made with physical books of the same length.  If a writer has penned a short story which has met the word count of 7,500 words or less, the reader has no reason to feel dissatisfied with length, coming into the the story knowing that it was clearly labeled and marketed as a shorter work.


If there are differences between word counts and the reader’s different from expectation of length, the only reason for dissatisfaction would be the reader’s entitlement.  This equates to the idea that if they want more, then they are entitled to more, because the reader’s always right.  Well, no.  That is a fast food mentality that is being attributed to art, but even with art, art is limited to the size of the canvas the artist uses.  Spectators do not expect artists to paint outside of the canvas.

If the reader has been told up front, whether in the description or written on the cover, that the work was a short story or a novella or whatever, the issue is the reader, not the writing and not the length.  The reader has an expectation that they deserve more from e-books than they would have received from printed works.

It’s a perception that exists whether the work is listed as free or at a cheaper price than standard pricing in the industry.  I have written and published short stories, novellas, novelettes, and YA novels, using my shorter works in an effort to test different genres and showcase my versatility as a writer.  Each of these shorter works is free for whoever was interested in downloading them.  Each of these stories had their own covers which said plainly what type of work they were.  Still, there was at least one reader for every work that complained about length.  They felt entitled to more ━ without investment ━ and that sums up the problem.

Ultimately, an author cannot change a reader’s perception as that is subjective to the reader and has nothing to do with the work itself in comparison to industry standards.  It’s based solely on the reader’s feelings of length, and the author isn’t capable of changing that, unless they want to throw away full length manuscripts for free, but that is no guarantee that it would end the criticism.  My own experience tells me the opposite.

I have published YA novels that have run at 80,000 words – as per industry standard – for a measly price of $0.99, and still, there were complaints about length. Giving away whole novels or selling them at prices that they could never physically buy a new book for will not solve the perception of what a reader feels they deserve, because the problem is the reader having expectations that are beyond the norm.  It is a negative critique in this case, but it’s not due to the author or the literary work.  The responsibility falls on the reader.


The second possibility is the reader’s involvement with your work.  This is a positive thing.  A reader’s complaints about length can be the ultimate compliment in this case, because it means that the reader was so involved in the story that they just wanted it to go on and on.

When someone is so involved in reading to this degree, the pages fly by.  The reader has no concept of length, because it all becomes one big vision before their eyes.  Every word becomes tangible.  They experience becoming apart of the story, and before they know it, the experience is over.  They have no concept that they read through an entire novelette of 17,000 words in two hours.  This is the mark of success for any author.  It means that you created a story that others want to devour and have withdrawal after the experience is over.  This is how you as a writer build a fan-base.

The withdrawal creates more demand, and the demand leads to more readers.  More readers creates a higher demand for work and the cycle continues.  That is what I think of as a positive cycle.  It is one where the reader is fulfilled, even after the disappointment of the end of the work, and the author is happy.

However, there are also negative cycles, one that lacks the appropriate give and take.  If the author is gifting their work for free and the reader expects more, there is no balance.  Thus, the “entitlement” that I was speaking of.  So, is there a positive and negative to a criticism about length? Yes, but whether the review has a positive or negative connotation, there is nothing the author can or should do about it.  Why?  Because the author cannot change the reader’s subjective experience about length after publishing.  For a reader to expect a full length novel out of a novella is unrealistic, and the only way to temper any disappointment, aside from story, starts with them.  On the other hand, the tension created can entice readers to have a need to read more.


As a writer, your job is to create a picture with words, your plot is a moving picture that is meant to entertain, but this isn’t Burger King.  Readers can’t always have it their way in terms of expectation, and the plot isn’t always going to be to their liking.  The only two things an author has control of is their story, which they must stand by, and honoring industry standards to give readers the quality they deserve as per the norm.

Self-published authors have more liberties in terms of price and marketing, but the control an author has stops upon downloading or purchase of the product.  From there, the product belongs to the reader for better or for worse, whether they are happy with the read or not.  No returns after reading.

If they have unusual expectations, then the responsibility lands on them.  If something is marketed as a novella and is downloaded for free, then the expectation should be that they’re about to read a short work.  If they are reading a YA novel, the expectation should be that a YA novel is shorter than an adult novel, and the story will not be as graphic, for example.

As a reader, they must also take responsibility of what they are downloading and have chosen to read.  When the T.V. Guide shows a half hour show on an 7:30 pm time slot, the watcher cannot expect a 2 hour movie.  Broadcasters cannot be anymore clear about scheduling and watchers cannot be unreasonable about the content. It is the same with literature.

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Distraction-free Writing... The AlphaSmart Neo 2

I love my HP laptop. I don't have many programs on it to distract me, although the internet can be a distraction. I got it solely for the purpose of writing, but constant virus updates and the ability to edit as I write is decreasing my word counts and my motivation to write. Not to mention six hours of use without charging goes by fast, and I am too aware of that battery icon dwindling down.

I can still work on it as Windows Defender runs scans, but the scan messages break my flow. I get messages to update and scan at practically every time I use it. I could change the settings, but I want to know what my system is adding that will take up storage. It doesn't take long to boot up, but any boot time is not conducive for writing ideas quickly.

I considered a Freewrite Traveler and a Pomera DM200, but they are in the $300-400 price range which is overpriced for a word processor, and there was a wait time, especially for the Freewrite Traveler which hasn't been released yet. I needed something for right now. So, I ordered an AlphaSmart Neo 2.

The online community of writers on YouTube and blogs swear by this old piece of tech. It is a simple word processor that can transfer text directly to your laptop. It was made as a tool in the 90's and early 2000's as a way to help children with special needs take notes. I started writing on Brother Electronic Typewriter in Elementary School, but I had to retype whole documents when editing. I used a big, clunky word processor in Middle School. By the time High School came around, desktop computers were new to market, and I got one as a Christmas gift. Computers, desktop or laptop, have been my writing tools of choice since they were placed on the market, but this AlphaSmart is sleek compared to those old word processors that I am used to. So, I am hoping it works for free-writing a first draft.

This is an obsolete product that people buy second hand. I got mine for $23 (including shipping) on eBay with the expectation of freely writing without looking back to edit. The screen is so small and going back through the text is purposefully bothersome. I can agonize over each paragraph on my laptop after I have written the first draft of a scene on this device. Now the Freewrite is superior with an e-ink screen and backlight as well as their keyboard. The Pomera is superior in portability. The AlphaSmart is superior in battery life, up to 700 hours. The batteries will last up to a year. I can't wait to use it!

Monday, March 5, 2018

Fear of Success: Fear-based Thought is the Dream Killer

What is a fear of success?  Is that even real?  Can someone be so scared of their success that they block opportunities?  YES!  At the root of it, however, is another fear.  It is the fear of change.  It is the fear of public ridicule or judgement.  It is the fear of failing if the road to success requires risk.  Or the fear of the downward spiral after the win.  The fear of success if fueled by a fear of other things.  It is the fear mentality that stifles growth.

Speaking kindly to yourself is key.  What do you speak to yourself?  Do you say things like... well, I am not as smart as all these people that are successful?  Do you say, that kind of luck only happens to other people?  That mentality will keep you small.  That kind of mentality will prevent you from growing.  Your focus is on what you don't have.  Your focus is not on you and your personal growth.  You're speaking negativity before you can plant a seed of positive growth.  We replay negativity in our heads, overwhelmed with personal problems like bills, money, family relationships, romantic relationships, etc.

Let's say your dream is to get married and have a healthy relationship.  How many women do you know that meet a good guy who is honest and has a well-placed moral compass, but they ruin chances of a relationship because of fear?  Fear of cheating.  Fear of being used.  The fear prevented a good relationship, because it is an imaginary fear of what could happen, not what is actually happening.  So they run from someone who could be the fulfillment of that dream.  It happens to women in a relationship as well, accusing men of cheating, even with no evidence, breaking into phones and checking social media accounts for anything that will validate their self-sabotaging behavior.  They make their partner feel so trapped with their negative energy that the relationship ends.  Men do it, too, especially with jealousy which is another form of control due to a fear of losing.  It's all based on an illusion!  It is all based on what the mind convinces you could happen, not on what is actually happening.  Before you know it, the dream of a happy relationship is stifled by accusations and arguments that it dies.

That example could be used when it comes to explain the fear of career success.  If you have a steady job that barely pays the bills but is stable, a job where you are stuck doing your job and your bosses, a job that you dread going to everyday, but you stay.... Why?  You can get a job at a bigger organization or get make your own business.  Fear.  Fear of change.  Fear of responsibility.  Intimidation of large, well-known organizations.

I do this myself as I start on the publishing journey.  Sure, self-publishing today can give you some pocket money, especially if you are good at marketing, but nothing like traditional publishing, unless you have a huge built-in audience and/or a good size marketing budget.  I fill my mind with negativity.  "Oh, I am not talented enough."  "My manuscript isn't good enough.  It is too different."  "I am nobody, why would an agent take my work seriously?"  "I don't know if I can work with a big publisher, I'm not equipped to handle the responsibilities that entails."  "I should just self publish again."  My mind keeps me thinking small, stifles my growth until I'm not doing the things I set out to do in life.  If I listened to it, eventually, I wouldn't act at all in the direction of my dreams.  I would let the fear surround me until my negative thoughts are on loop, replaying and replaying, unable to move.

Fear is the dream killer.

Until, I change my mind, that is.  Positive affirmations can help, but it takes time to overcome a negative mentality.  It takes constant correction.  When you start to hear yourself speaking negativity, recognize it.  Reprogram your brain by replacing it with a positive statement like "I am worthy of success."  Then make a step in the direction of your goals.  The minute I recognize my negative thought, I say to myself, "I am smart, I am worthy...." Then I do something productive, whether that is to write or send out another query.  Even if the steps are small, they are in the right direction.  Yes, every step can have some fear attached to it.  No one is fearless.  The difference is moving past it, not letting it govern your decisions.  Move past the fear with positive self talk and actions.  Move past the doubt, and when you see results, the fear will lessen, and you will crave more results.

Change your mind and you can change your future.

Symptoms Exercise:
Helpful Explanation:

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Lack of Confidence: The Undoing of an Aspiring Author

The topic I wanted to discuss is something that most new writers deal with: CONFIDENCE!  Confidence isn't something that just comes automatically as a person continues to write.  Really, confidence, or lack thereof, is a result of an individual's interior health.  If one is insecure about themselves, even on a physical or material level, he or she will be more prone to doubt their abilities.  This can manifest a number of ways.  For some, who have never shared their work publicly, it can prevent them from showing others how uniquely talented they are.  For others, it prohibits them from reaching higher goals because of public opinion or creates limiting beliefs of what they're capable of.  Through this blog post, I want to discuss my understanding of how insecurities can block a writer from creating the breakout novel that is trapped in their mind.

People that write as a hobby or a profession tend to be introverted by nature.  It makes sense, since writing, at least in the initial stages, is a solitary task.  Writers can have periods of appearing as extroverts, especially when they meet fans at a book signing or are pictured on a red carpet, but really, it is a mask, a smile pasted on one's face until he or she can go back into their dark den and create.  These types of people live in an internal world that few can really appreciate because this inner world is rarely revealed.  It's a place where everything is felt deeply but little is vocalized.  Life is observed, rather than merely lived.  It is a place where everything is scribbled down in an almost meticulous way so that this can be expressed later through artistic outlets.  It is the creation of a whole universe, if only in one's mind.  This is the life of an author.

The mind is a powerful tool.  Each thought triggers a feeling that can bring happiness and, in contrast, depression and every emotion in between.  The mind is a place where introverts live, and if one is not careful, a place that they can become trapped in.  A mind that is in a negative space will create blockages that prevent a person from taking chances to improve their situation.  Something as simple as chasing a childhood dream can be analyzed, over and over, until it seems impossible.  Giving up is easy in this mind frame.  It is almost second nature.  A positive mind will nurture and foster growth, allowing an individual to chase success without fear, but a negative one will talk a person out of, even, the most brilliant ideas.  The mind can be a person's best friend or worst enemy, but it all depends on lived experiences and what it is fed.

Feeding the mind isn't an easy task when one is faced with many disappointments.  Insecurity stems from life experiences, whether someone said something harmful or a traumatizing life event triggered these feelings.  When someone has lived through some dark days, these instances can foster deep-rooted fear, creating feelings that one cannot surpass challenges in order to achieve a goal.  This is the birth of insecurity, this is the conception of a mentality of lack.  These thoughts can stifle a writer, especially when the creative process is sparked by the mind.

Fear, insecurity, depression, doubt, etc. are all the same.  The words are relatively interchangeable, all apart of the same mental cycle that keeps a person stuck.  Lack of confidence stems from a fear of being ridiculed.  That fear grows until one feels they can't complete their goal, and that is when the depression sets in.  When the mind is blocked or situations we face are unclear, inspiration can be blocked, not from a lack of ideas, but from an inability to think.  If there is no visible way to come out of the mind and face one's fears, surpassing challenges head-on, the passion will, eventually, be drained.  These manifestations of insecurity, these irrational fears, will hold a person back, not just from creating, but also, from moving towards one's happiness on a broader level.  If this "fear monster" grows without being combated, it will create depression, distance in relationships, lack of purpose, indecision, etc. in every aspect of one's being.  Fear is the dream killer, and the seed of fear, from which all else stems, is a lack of confidence.

So, how do you feed your mind the proper food?  I am still learning what it is to nourish the mind, but I look at the children in my life, and one thing I have observed is... they have no fear, especially the younger children.  We learn fear as we get older, but young children haven't been programmed to the extent that an adult has.  They haven't internalized disappointments, reliving them and creating inner demons.  Their memory isn't that long.  We can learn by seeing through the eyes of children.

Writing is supposed to be fun, it's an art form, but real-world problems and toxic thoughts can block expression.  One way to free the mind is to let go of the past, let go of disappointments, and instead, see them as opportunities for learning and growth.  You can't go back, the past doesn't exist anymore, so you can't live there, constantly trying to change it.  When a baby is learning to walk, they don't give up after they fall.  They know no fear.  They harbor no feelings of disappointment.  They try again without dwelling on what happened.  If you don't dwell on what went wrong, you will focus on what to do next; therefore, no blockages will be created.

However, if these feelings already exist, there are ways around them and through them.  One such way to overcome lack of confidence is to choose to be happy.  It sounds odd.  How does one choose to be happy?  Is happiness an option?  Yes.  Happiness is a feeling, that feeling can be evoked at any point in your day.  Scientific studies show that a simple smile releases happy endorphins that will give you a natural feeling of euphoria, preventing depressive thoughts.  The more you smile, even when you don't feel like it, the happier you will be.  The easier it will be for you to draw others to you, and who doesn't like to be the center of attention?  In this state, you are much more likely to feel better about yourself, this contentment within your being will extend to all aspects, including self-expression.

In order to truly arrive at the root of the problem, one has to understand the cause of the feelings in the first place.  What do you fear?  What are you unhappy with?  For example, if someone is overweight, they can experience depression that may make them find comfort in food, beginning a cycle which ends in more weight gain and depression.  This sense creates blockages.  If you are insecure, that feeling will grow tentacles and create further feelings of lack in other aspects of your life.  However, there's a way out.  If that same person changes the very thing that made them develop fear in the first place, like starting a workout plan and eating healthier, they will remove this thought pattern as the pounds melt away.  Insecurity must be identified to be dealt with, if at all.  No one can cure it for you.  If a man lacks confidence in his own manhood and worth, possibly because he was made fun of by friends in his childhood, he may look for the most beautiful woman that he can find, because in his mind, having that woman on his arm will give him that sense of his own value.  But men that do this are rarely happy.  Why?  Because no one can heal what is wrong inside of you.  You have to do that all by yourself, and no one wants to do the work.  At least, not at first.  Most prefer the idea of the quick fix, but if you can do one thing a day to change something you don't like, you can eradicate that gnawing feeling of being worth less than what you truly are.

Writing is my personal outlet.  I prefer to write than to speak.  It is easier for me as I am naturally shy.  When I was younger, this shyness was quite painful.  I had no problem making friends once I was approached, but I was always shaking on the inside.  I felt blocked from speaking my mind, at times, scared to fully express myself for fear of ridicule.  I wore a mask, a sometimes expressionless or serious exterior.  There was the mask I showed my friends and work colleagues.  I took off this mask when I arrived at home.  As an adult, speaking about how I felt because increasingly difficult, but to carry on with life, I buried those feelings deep down, tried not to shake, and did the tasks that I needed to do.  Then I could go home and be myself.  When I started writing, this shyness created blocks.  As a young girl, I never finished a story!  Finishing it would mean people would read it, judge it.  There is nothing more confidence-killing than a bad review for a writer.  I wrote so many great pieces of poetry that were unseen because the idea of showing others what I had written caused me anxiety.  By the time self-publishing became popular, I wrote the Weeping Willow stories.  I didn't suddenly develop the confidence to post them.  I honestly loaded them, closed my eyes, and while I was panicking on the inside, pressed the publish button.  It wasn't that the fear had vanished, it was that the passion I had for writing outweighed the fear I had at that moment.

How much do you want to write?  Even today, after publishing a few stories and novels, my insecurities remain.  I have doubts about my ability to create something really good, fears about my ability to expand, tremors over approaching people within the industry, anxiety over being too public, etc.  These feelings have held me back, but through acknowledging those fears, I can step towards eliminating them altogether.  That is what it will take to overcome these emotional barriers and write the next great bestseller.

So, if you to write, it is important to realize that publishing, whether traditionally or self-publishing, is a public forum.  Your art will be on display, receiving acclaim and criticism, but lack of confidence shouldn't prevent you.  Remember, fear is the dream killer.  Your confidence shouldn't be hinged on whether someone writes a scathing review.  Your confidence is born inside of you, not dependent on another.  Every time you leave your comfort zone and attempt to share your work, pat yourself on the back.  That is one step on a journey to success.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

New Covers and Stories

Hello, everyone!

As most of you can already tell, I updated the covers of my free works; these are my short stories, novelas, and novelettes.  I want to give a shout out and special thanks to the wonderful artists at Deviant Art for their stock images.  I used these images in combination with my own artwork and clip art in some cases.  These stocks are for personal use and not for commercial.  Since my ebooks aren't in physical form, and they are free to download, there shouldn't be any infringement of these policies. (If any of the artists would prefer I not use their stock, please leave me a message so that I could rework the cover art).

Also, I have written two new shorts.  Each one will be posted on Smashwords very soon.  Please check my Smashwords author page for updates as I plan to release one within the next few days.  Smashwords will then distribute the short to other online vendors like Barnes and Noble, Amazon, etc. where you will be able to download the content.

Thank you, readers and artists!


Feeling - Cut Out by lardacil-stock -
PNG Castle 2 by MoonWaterLilly -

Girl PNG by Dea-Avi -
Madd ShabbyChic Stock Texture by RavenMaddArtwork -

Premade BG 31 - Stock by InADesign Stock -
Wandering - Cut Out Stock by lardacil-stock -

Ghost Behind the Glass PNG by KarahRobinson-Art -
Haunted House 01 PNG Stock by Roy3D -

Friday, August 26, 2016

My Thoughts On The Conjuring II

Hello, everyone!

I wanted to get back into writing blog posts, so I decided to write a bit of a movie review.  Well, of sorts....  This blog is really for my journey from project to publishing, but I thought I would change it up, especially since my projects have been slow going.

I grew up on a steady diet of horror movies.  While my mother was working, my older brothers watched us girls in the house.  We often played card games, heard music, and watched movies together.  We had more freedoms than most kids, but we handled it responsibly.  The worst thing we did was watch rated R movies.  At five, I remember watching Texas Chainsaw Massacre with my brother who is ten years older.  I wasn't frightened by any of the movies I saw.  I was intrigued, and I began to really love the genre.

As a teen and young adult, there was a big boom in shows concerning paranormal themes.  I ate them up, watching all of the ones that I could; Ghost Hunters, Paranormal State, Scariest Places on Earth, Most Haunted, etc.  Having my own supernatural experiences as a child and teen, these shows cemented my own experiences in my mind and gave me a type of validation of sorts.  None of these shows were ever as scary as the real thing for me, so I wasn't effected negatively by them, just intrigued.

The reason I mention these things is because some people cannot tolerate something even the slightest bit scary.  If you cannot, then the Conjuring II is not a movie for you.  It can be traumatic for people who are fearful to watch these types of movies.  I wasn't even born when The Exorcist was released, but I remember hearing stories that watching the movie made people sick.  Many had to run out of the movie theaters before it was over.  If one has such a raw reaction to this kind of content, it is better to miss it than to watch it and be tormented by the mental replay of its scenes in your mind.

However, if you are like me, this movie, which is based on reality, this movie can reaffirm one's beliefs in an afterlife.  I have been a fan of the Warrens since watching Paranormal State where Lorraine Warren was a regular consultant.  Although I wasn't fully in the Catholic Church back then, the show depicted how Catholics deal with the paranormal.  I found it so interesting, because again, these people who were tormented by spiritual warfare in their homes were reflections of my own experience, and there was a bit of a kinship as if those who have experienced these things are apart of a community.  I will add that some movies are even too much for me.  I still haven't seen The Exorcist.  I refuse to see it.

The Conjuring II was excellent in my humble opinion.  It was a great sequel that stands alone in and of itself.  Beside the usual jump scares, the plot was well developed and the characters really leave a lasting impression long after the film is over.  Most of us can relate to the overwhelmed single mom, the bullied child, the abandonment issues associated with a absentee father, etc.  The Catholic values of the Warrens' relationship was really depicted nicely throughout and quite endearing.

While the first Conjuring surrounded the family being tormented, this one gave Ed and Lorraine a larger role in the plot.  From my viewpoint, it really depicted the struggle to follow God's will.  The Warrens' found a mission in helping families tormented by demons.  They were two of the chosen few who were trusted to investigate cases for the Catholic Church which isn't a small feat.  The Church doesn't just trust anyone really to investigate such things, especially people who aren't clergy.  The subplot aside from the haunting really featured the struggle in following the will of God and the toll it takes on the family.  Remember, demons don't respect personal boundaries or aren't limited to one household.

Anyone can watch this film and be fully entertained.  However, there is more to this film than a scary movie.  It is based on real life events.  For a Catholic, this movie really affirms the power of the faith and puts spiritual warfare into perspective.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Personal Update

Hello, everyone.

I want to thank everyone who has been checking in on my blog and website, waiting for updates and new releases.  Special thanks to those who enjoyed my writing and felt the need to contact me.  I'm always surprised to hear from readers.  I haven't updated my blog or website or written a newsletter in months but faithful readers have continued to visit, and I think it's amazing!

First, I wanted to say that there have been significant delays in the writing of Wicked Voices, so much so that I had to make a blog post.  Many personal circumstances have taken up my time since I started writing, and those personal concerns take precedence over any writing projects.  Sometimes life takes turns, and those abrupt changes create blockages.  Any plans I have made to pick up the pace have failed.  I'm hoping that the near future is a bit more conducive to the creative process.  I expected to finish Wicked Voices by Winter 2016/17, but it is looking like it will be delayed until Spring 2017.

Second, it has been brought to my attention that those who purchased Wicked Love within the first few months of release may have not received Chapter 24.  This problem exists only on Nook downloads.  Kindle, Apple iBooks, and Smashwords have no issues with this.  No one has emailed me, requesting the chapter, but I looked into it.  If the chapter is missing, it is as easily as archiving the book and re-downloading it after a few days.  The missing chapter will appear.

Thank you all so much for your patience and support for my writings.  I hope to release better works in the future, so we can continue our literary adventures.