#IWSG February 2018: For the love of #paranormal; oh, and some #graphicnovels

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Created and hosted by the Ninja himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writers Support Group posts the 1st Wednesday of every month. Click the image to learn more or sign up.

Monthly Question: What do you love about the genre you write in most often?

I write in many genres most of the time, which isn’t always a good thing, but that’s a topic for another day. I’d say the genre I’m most passionate about is ‘paranormal’. I love to read and write about the paranormal in its many and diverse forms. Of all the speculative genres (science fiction, fantasy, horror, and all subgenres) it’s the most speculative. I find that for, those like me, who like to blend a bit of spirituality and or religion into some of my writing, the paranormal genre is the easiest fit. I love to explore and manipulate ideas and concepts about myths and legends to find fun, new, and sometimes thought-provoking ways to show the many facets of humanity. Whether it’s vampires, werewolves, ghost, angels, or demons, I can never get enough of the supernatural goodness of the paranormal genre.

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Now on to the personal updates.

The IWSG Book Club is reading Lord of the Flies for our March discussion on symbolism. I’ll admit that I was a bit bummed by the outcome of the vote, but I’m not heartbroken over it. I was hoping to use this as an opportunity, a motivator, for me to finally read Moby Dick (I know, I can’t believe I haven’t read it either), but I think that ship has sailed (no pun initially intended). I just don’t know if I’ll ever get around to reading that, when I have so many other books that I really really want to read. In any case, I’m hoping my second read of LOTF will go better than the first. Perhaps being older and not being forced to read it for a class will make all the difference.

I’ve been struggling with how to approach the future of my writing. I feel like I need to start over from scratch, but can’t quite bring myself to make the leap. I’m trying to figure out a way to maybe take baby steps instead. For now, at least, I’m going to focus on reading, writing my rewrites, as well as the new ideas I’m developing, and am making no plans to publish anything in the near future. Perhaps in a year or two, I’ll be ready to take on the publishing challenge once again.

Over at A Small Gang of Authors, I’ve been writing a blog series about music, inspiration, and my writing. In today’s part 4 of the series, I talk about character theme songs, if you care to check it out.

I’m challenging myself to a graphic novel read-a-thon this month. Please check it out, if your interested.

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Why do you love to write in the genre of your choice?

Read any good graphic novels lately? Thinking about trying one out?

Have you clarified all your goals for the immediate future?

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After hanging out with Alex, be sure to stop by and visit this month’s co-hosts:
Stephen Tremp,
Pat Garcia,
Angela Wooldridge,
Victoria Marie Lees, and
Madeline Mora-Summonte!

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Click here to visit other IWSG blogs and sites to receive and share more inspiration and support. (This month, I’m #57).

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

#IWSG January 2018: Schedules, Blog Fests, eBooks, oh my!

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Created and hosted by the Ninja himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writers Support Group posts the 1st Wednesday of every month. Click the image to learn more or sign up.

Monthly Question: What steps have you taken to put a schedule in place for your writing and publishing?

I’ve written and blogged on a rotating schedule for years. Of course, that means I’ve started schedules I haven’t stuck too. This year I’m keeping things simple. I have an extremely small window of my day not devoted to sleep, my day job, or basic life functions. It’s between 4:30 and 9:00 on weekdays and Saturday. I don’t count Sunday because it’s my day of rest. If I happen to do some writing that day, it’s a blessing and or task from God. Outside of my brief window, I’m not going to stress about writing or blogging. I either get to it or I don’t.

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Now on to the personal updates (you know, year-end stuff).

I read 56 books last year and reviewed 54 of them.  Two of them aren’t currently listed online to be reviewed, but I’ll get to them eventually. I surpassed my Goodreads Reading Challenge.

I said good-bye to Reading Indie and hello to A Small Gang of Authors, to which I’m currently working on a blog series on music and writing.

I totally dropped the ball on my YouTube channel, but I’ll give it another go this year.

I’m taking my writing in a new direction which caused me to put a halt to all my active WIPs. We’ll see how things go with my new direction before I give any updates on that.

Lastly, I’m currently about to finish The Weekend Novelist for the IWSG Book Club. Looking forward to our discussion.

Well, that’s enough about me. Here’s some cool stuff to check out.

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Flaming Crimes Blogfest

Prompt: What is something ridiculous you would save if there was a fire?

After making sure my husband, dog Margie, and tortoise Betty were safe, I’d probably go back inside to save my favorite vinyl records, comic books, and my Kindle. I’d also try to grab personal editions of books I wrote along with some of the art work my husband has produced.

CLICK this image to see my review!

Series: Disaster Crimes #4
Page Count: 304
Digital Price: 4.99
Print Price: 16.99
Author Rating: Spicy (PG13)

BUY LINKS:
Amazon Barnes & Noble
The Wild Rose Press

BLURB: Beth and Donovan are now happily married, and what Beth wants more than anything is a baby. Her dream of starting a family is put on hold as fires burn dangerously close and Donovan becomes a victim of sabotage.

Donovan escapes what could’ve been a deadly wreck. Their past enemies have been eliminated, so who is cutting brake lines and leaving bloody messages? He vows to find out, for the sake of the woman he loves and the life they’re trying to build.

Amidst a criminal mind game, a fire ignites next to their home. They battle the flames and fight to keep their house safe from the blaze pressing in on all sides, but neither of them expects to confront a psychotic adversary in the middle of the inferno.

Their lives may just go up in flames…

About the Author: Chrys Fey is the author of the Disaster Crimes Series, a unique concept blending romance, crimes, and disasters. She’s partnered with the Insecure Writer’s Support Group and runs their Goodreads book club. She’s also an editor for Dancing Lemur Press.

Author Links:
Website / Blog / Goodreads
Facebook / Twitter / Amazon

Before you check out some other stops on this blog fest, be sure to scroll down and read below, for another tasty treat.

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Electric‘ because they are ebooks.
Eclectic‘ for the various styles, genres and authors who write them.
And ‘Novelettes‘ as not to mislead readers they are anything other than short, sample books; introductory books to new authors and new genres.

Electric Eclectic books are written by some of the best indie authors in the world, each Electric Eclectic Novelette delivers wonderful and entertaining storytelling to a high standard.

People searching for their ‘next favourite read’ can rest assured in the knowledge that Electric Eclectic Novelettes have undergone a rigorous selection process, ensuring the stories meet or exacting standards.

This means you do not need to read through a bunch of ‘hookey’ or substandard books, or spend out on a random book hoping you will enjoy its content.

With each Electric Eclectic book costing, just 1.00 (dollar/euro/pound), it is a small price to pay to ensure a thoroughly entertaining read and an introduction to your next ‘favorite’ author.

Once you have found the right style of stories, the ones you love, you will have found your next favourite author and can start to work your way through their full-length books and novels knowing you will thoroughly enjoy their writing.

Download a handful of Electric Eclectic Novelettes and give yourself a literary treat?

What is more, Electric Eclectic Novelettes are easy to find.

The first way is to visit the Electric Eclectic website where all the Novelettes are shown, along with author insights and links to their personal books and pages.

The second is to go to Amazon books and type ‘Electric Eclectic books’ into the search bar. (In the USA you will need the Amazon.com Kindle search page.)

Alternatively, if you are on Amazon.co.uk you can follow this link: http://amzn.to/2BnYe7u

Website link: https://goo.gl/q2zwTS (This site is available to view, but not fully functional or edited. Estimated date of completion Mid-January 2018)

Email: EEbookbranding@mail.com

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Are you going to try a schedule for your writing this year?

What are you grabbing on the way out of your burning house?

Interested in Electric Electic Novelettes?

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After hanging out with Alex, be sure to stop by and visit this month’s co-hosts:
Tyrean Martinson,
The Cynical Sailor,
Megan Morgan,
Rachna Chhabria, and
Jennifer Lane!

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Click here to visit other IWSG blogs and sites to receive and share more inspiration and support. (This month, I’m #57).

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

#IWSG December 2017: A do-over or a fresh start?

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Created and hosted by the Ninja himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writers Support Group posts the 1st Wednesday of every month. Click the image to learn more or sign up.

Monthly Question: As you look back on 2017, with all its successes and failures, if you could backtrack, what would you do differently?

To say that I tried a lot of new things this year would be a huge understatement. This has been a monotonous year. It wasn’t all bad, but it wasn’t very good either. The two good things to come out of the new things I tried have been the IWSG Book Club and my new blog friends over at A Small Gang of Authors.

If I was to do something differently, I think I would have said no more often and been more selfish. I’m all the time trying to help others, and I realize now that no one wants my help, and that’s okay. There are those who want to work with me and I’m happy to work with those people. I’m not going to stop being a decent person, but I’m not going to continue slaving away silently in the background while other people gang up on me and point the finger when things don’t go the way they want. I can only do what I can do, and pleasing people isn’t something I’ve ever been good at, so it’s time I stopped. If I do what I think is right and people are pleased with it, great; if not, oh well. I did my best.

In 2018, I’ll be more selfish and less involved, but I’ll never turn my back on anyone who’s truly in need.

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No personal updates this time.

Happy Holidays everyone!

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What would you have done differently in 2017?
Is there anything you’re letting go of or embracing in the new year?

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After hanging out with Alex, be sure to stop by and visit this month’s co-hosts:
Julie Flanders,
Shannon Lawrence,
Fundy Blue, and
Heather Gardner!

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Click here to visit other IWSG blogs and sites to receive and share more inspiration and support. (This month, I’m #58).

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

Remakes Blogfest! The best & worst of #books, #film, #music & more


Hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh and Heather M. Gardner.

Remakes – most of them suck. Now and then, one comes along that is as good as, if not better, than the original. And after all of the bad ones we’ve endured, we want to know about some good ones.

On November 13, 2017 (hey, that’s today :D), blog about your favorite remake: movie (or television show into movie and vice versa), song, or book – or all three! Post a YouTube video and links where we can find these treasures. Tell us why THIS remake doesn’t suck!

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This post is basically an excuse for me not to do some other posts I’ve been meaning to do, so I plan to make it count. Here it goes; some of my best and worst remakes I know. *DISCLAIMER: Most of the titles listed here are the result of me putting multiple options into a random number generator and posting about the one that came up on the list. There are just too many remakes to consider. There are remakes out there that people don’t even realize are remakes, especially if you go as far back as the silent film era and the golden age of Jazz.

Movies—->Movies

BEST- King Kong

I’ve always loved King Kong, starting with the 1933 film. I’ve watched most of the movies under that title including some of the really bad Japanese movies completely unassociated with Godzilla. When the 2005 film came out, it brought back my childhood and the feeling I had that first made me a fan. This movie pays homage to the original on so many levels and then expands to make it into something new. It introduces a whole new generation to an amazing character and story and does it justice with really cool special effects.

WORST- Clash of Titans

Even with the outdated special effects of claymation, the original release of 1981 was, for me, ten-times better the special effects driven storyline of the 2010 remake. Plus, they got rid of Bobo. :p Not much else to say here.

TV—–>Movies

BEST- Mission Impossible

I only ever watched the original Mission Impossible TV show when it came on classic TV, late at night. By that time, my parents had given up on trying to get me to sleep at night, especially since I seemed to be a well-functioning night owl and only stayed up to watch old TV shows and movies. When the first, Tom Cruise, Mission Impossible movie came out, I was excited. The movie was pretty good and got people talking about the original show, a little. That’s what I think a good remake should do.

WORST- Starsky and Hutch (Never saw the Baywatch remake)

Not sure why they took a decent (well, not terrible) 70’s cop show and turned it into a ridiculous farce/comedy, but it didn’t go over well. Not the first or last mistake like this.

Book/Comic Strip—->Stage Play/Movie

BEST (gender swapper?) Annie

So the original stage-play musical is said to have been based on the comic strip “Little Orphan Annie”, but isn’t that comic strip just a gender-bender for the Oliver Twist story? Well, that’s what I’ve always thought. In any case, this still qualifies as a remake and I’ve so enjoyed the many small stage versions of the play I’ve seen as well as both theatrical film releases.

WORST- IDK, need to think on this more.

Books—->Movie

BEST- Cloud Atlas

This is a fairly recent book and movie remake in the scheme of things. There are many people who didn’t get the book by David Mitchell, so I’m sure the movie wasn’t high on their list either. Me on the other hand, I loved the book and the movie. Of course, I could tell you a list of issues I had with the film adaptation of this book, but overall, the film’s ability to grasp the multiple themes, story plots, and depict reincarnation is such a clear and vivid way, deserves recognition. I enjoy watching this film just for the visual representation of complicated storytelling techniques you only expect to experience when reading. The effects are good for sure, but it goes beyond that.

WORST- Cat in the Hat

I think this movie was supposed to be cute and funny, maybe a bit mischievous, like the beloved children’s book, but it wasn’t. It was weird. It failed and was totally unnecessary since there have been really good cartoon versions of this and other Dr. Seuss stories around for quite a while.

Songs—–>Songs

BEST- With A Little Help From My Friends by Joe Coker

I have always considered Joe Coker’s version of With A Little Help From My Friends to be one of the greatest popular-music song remakes of all time for 4 main reasons.

1) the original song is phenomenal but difficult to pull off without sounding cheesy unless you are The Beatles.

2) Coker not only performs the song well, he makes it into something almost unrecognizable from the original, making it a classic in its own right.

3) Childhood nostalgia will always remind me that I’m amongst friends as I reminisce about “The Wonder Years” to which this song was the intro.

4) I have this song on its original vinyl and the sound is amazing. I can listen to this once a week for the rest of my life and not get bored with it.

WORST- Blue Monday by Orgy

Blue Monday by New Order is not one of my favorite songs in the world, but it’s a decent song; definitely a product of the 80’s. The remake by Orgy didn’t do much to make it stand out other than to make it really really heavy. I just think this is a remake that could have been passed on.

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BE SURE TO CHECK OUT THE OTHERS
CONTRIBUTING TO THIS FUN HOP.
CLICK THE IMAGE

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords

#IWSG November 2017: No #NaNoWriMo for me ‘cause I’m stuck in a rut.

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Created and hosted by the Ninja himself, Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writers Support Group posts the 1st Wednesday of every month. Click the image to learn more or sign up.

Monthly Question: Win or not, do you usually finish your NaNo project? Have any of them gone on to be published?

I’ve never attempted NaNo simply because I know it’s not a format that suits me, though I’ve heard it’s done wonders for other writers. The idea of trying to force 50k words in 30 days stresses me out. That’s not to say I haven’t done it before, but when it just happens, naturally, over a weekend with little sleep and lots of caffeine, it’s great. Outside of that, I’ll stick with my meager word counts and finish when I finish.

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Now on to the personal updates.

I think I’m stuck in a rut. Not sure how I got here or how to get out. I feel so… blah. I’m behind on writing book reviews and updating my vlog, though I’ve had time to do both. I think a lot of it has to do with the dissatisfaction of my day job and my growing desire to stop sharing my writing. I absolutely do not want to stop writing, I just don’t know if I want to keep sharing what I write. I don’t think anyone would really miss my words if they were no longer there, and I’d be content to just write them for myself. IDK. Perhaps if I had a few close friends who enjoyed reading and or writing it would be different, but since I don’t, all my writing feels like a solitary act. So, why not just keep it to myself?

Then there’s blogging. Not sure about this at the moment either, at least where to do it that is. I still enjoy blogging even if it does take up a lot of my time. Right now, I’m challenged with how often I should blog here, at The ToiBox of Words. Since I’ve started contributing to A Small Gang of Authors, and might start contributing to another blog (assuming I ever submit something they actually like), I been wondering if and how much of my presence is still desired here? Again, IDK. No matter what, I’ll always do this hop here and The Cephalopod Coffeehouse, as long as they are running.

In any case, if you’re up for it, check out this Halloween post that went up yesterday and this part 2 of my Angel Lore series that went up today.

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Are you doing NaNo? Why?
Are you stuck in a rut? Any ideas on how to get out?
Should I continue posting once a week or stick with my two hops only?

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After hanging out with Alex, be sure to stop by and visit this month’s co-hosts:
Tonja Drecker,
Diane Burton,
MJ Fifield, and
Rebecca Douglass!

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Click here to visit other IWSG blogs and sites to receive and share more inspiration and support. (This month, I’m #58).

Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like it let me know and share it with others. See you next time, Toi Thomas. #thetoiboxofwords