Writing Update: Cover Reveal!

Dahlia

(From this site)

The rough draft of Dahlia is done and this is going to be the cover! I may tweak the font and I’m considering either a subtitle or series name but I wanted to show this off! And show that I’m not slacking on my writing or just talking about it without any results. 

I’m thinking this series will be three parts but depending on the flow, that my change. My original outline was four parts but I already changed that. That’s usually why I don’t outline… But I can’t deny my output has increased overall with a plan in place; even if I don’t follow it.

I don’t have a release date since I’m still editing to make sure it flows right and has no typos. I’ll post that as soon as I know.

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Writing Update: Yeah, remember? I write books.

It’s been a while since I’ve done an update but I have been working. I haven’t published since Djinn 2 and Fruit of the Dead 2, but I have been hard at work re-writing and expanding a short story I wrote in college called “Dahlia.” Instead of a couple-page drabble, I’m going to turn it into either a full novel or a multi-part series. I have to see how the writing goes.

As you can see from the picture, I’m 7k deep and the story is progressing nicely. I hesitate to give a timeline because that totally depends on if I hit a roadblock or have a particularly productive streak of days. I do already have a cover for it but I’ll hold off on posting it until the story is close to being published. I’ll probably have to tweak the design a bit once more of the story is done.

Hopefully I’ll have a release date soon!

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Coming Soon: Fruit of the Dead Part 2!

Fruit of the Dead is a series I started back in 2018 and legitimately went numb on until recently. Yes, I should have a publishing schedule but I honestly had no clue where to go next at the time. But, I’ve been doing a lot of brainstorming and prompt mining and my general output has been increasing. So, the second episode is in the absolute last stage of editing and will be up later this week!

 

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Lenni Reviews: “The Testaments” by Margaret Atwood

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In this sequel to The Handmaid’s Tale, we continue our journey through Gilead through a protester of the totalitarian regime in Canada, the daughter of a Commander, and Aunt Lydia, a Gilead enforcer.

I have to say, this is a lot less subtle than the first book and perhaps that’s a good thing. Some parts ramble a bit but it’s overall very harrowing and sad. One quote stuck out to me:

“Stupid, stupid, stupid: I’d believed alll that claptrap about life, liberty, democracy, and the rights of the individual I’d soaked up in law school. Those were eternal verities and we would always defend them. I’d depended on that, as if a magic charm.”

I read this months ago and this is sadly relevant still. It’s absolutely a pageturner and the writing is of course amazing. 4.5 out of 5. 

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Lenni Revews: “The Slave Yards” by Najwa Bin Shatwan, Nancy Roberts (Translation)

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

Set in 19th century Benghasi, this novel tells the story of Atiqui, who knows she’s mixed race but otherwise doesn’t know much about her parents. One day her cousin Ali shows up with the full story of how her parents met, why she never knew them, and the lineage that entitles her to an inheritance.

While the overt racism can get frustrating, this is a beautifully written historical novel. Aside for my modern abhorrence to racism, sexism, and slavery, this is a sprawling story of forbidden love, solidarity, and survival. This presents an unflinching depiction of life in that time. I found myself riveted, wanting to know what happens next. If you like historical fiction, this is a great entry. 4.7 out of 5

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Lenni Reviews: “The Farm” by Joanne Ramos

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

Told through different perspectives, this book takes you to Golden Oaks, where women carry surrogate babies for wealthy clients. Every aspect of their lives are controlled to produce the most viable offspring. In desperation, one of the hosts, Jane, as volunteered as a surrogate in order to make the money she needs to give her daughter a better life.

I like how each chapter comes from a different woman’s perspective. You get to hear their exact story and learn about their lives. There is still a disturbing edge to the very idea of the wealthy taking advantage of desperate poor women; particularly immigrants. Despite the inevitable dystopian leanings of such a practice, I did find myself immersed in these stories. Very well done. 4 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Hark” by Sam Lipsyte

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

Fraz Penzig is just meandering through life with little ambition and not much excitement in raising his twins with his wife, Tovah. He runs into a man named Hark who expounds on the teachings of Mental Archery. Fanz gets caught up in the movement Hanz accidentally starts and what once was some self-help jargon turns into an unhealthy cult.

From that premise, one would expect some amazing dark comedy, right? NOPE. Written like a cheap self-help book,  you are presented with too many words; leaving your mind desperate to find meaning in the flouncy actions and dialogue. So, your brain grasps at any sort of footing as you wait for something magical to happen.

And I think that may have been the whole point.

That does NOT mean I enjoyed this. Every word feels like work and I frequently just put down my kindle and held my forehead in exasperation. In the end, everybody sucks, everybody dies, and self-help won’t get you around those two immutable facts. An absolutely miserable read. 2 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “In the Midnight Room” by Laura McBride

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*This book was given to me in exchange for an honest review.

*This review has been cross-posted to Otakus and Geeks.

Book-ended with the life of June Stein, this novel dives into Las Vegas in the 1950’s and a casino called ‘The Midnight Room.’

This book feels a lot like the times where I went into a real casino in Vegas and Atlantic City; glitz, glamour, sadness, and desperation. Including June, the lives of four very different women collide together over the course of a lifetime in this book and we follow some hauntingly poetic stories. I’m not really one for historical fiction and this book managed to suck me in and I had trouble putting the book down.

I do have to say some of the point of view changes had me confused but the story managed to sort itself out in a few paragraphs; particularly in the end when it’s suddenly all from June’s perspective but as it’s her life that frames the entire narrative, it’s forgivable. An excellent period piece and I recommend. 3.9 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “A Fine Summer’s Day” by Charles Todd

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Inspector Rutledge is sent to investigate a murder where the victim had no known enemies. The more he investigates, the less the case makes sense until two other seemingly unrelated men lose their lives in the same way and Rutledge is led on a strange case he must solve before breaks out all over Europe.

This is a very detailed and thrilling historical mystery. I enjoyed this despite mysteries not really begin my thing and this this being the seventeenth in a series had no effect on my understanding. This book stands just fine on it’s own.

There are a few frustrating parts; especially Rutledge’s fiancee, Jean, who knows she’s marrying a police officer yet is somehow all huffy when he has to go do his job yet wants him to enlist in the army as World War I looms? She’s such a superficial character I couldn’t wait for her scenes to be over so the adults could talk again. But it’s a well written, cozy mystery with other very intuitive, smart, and realistic characters. 3.7 out of 5.

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Lenni Reviews: “Dreadnought” (Nemesis – Book One) by April Daniels

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*I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

*This review is cross-posted at Otakus and Geeks.

Danny is out secretly buying nail polish and ends up thrust into the middle of a superhero battle. Defeated, Dreadnought transfers his powers to Danny, giving him super human abilities but the female body this transgender teen has always wanted. But not only does Danny have to deal with coming out as the new Dreadnought, she also must come out to her strict parents, the Legion of other heroes, and content with Utopia, the cyborg villain who killed Danny’s predecessor.

After reading “Black Angel” I was a little nervous about another LGBTQ YA novel. However, this book is much like “Rebel Genius” in that I was hooked and entertained for most of this despite being a sorry old lady outside the target demographic.

This novel touches on the good and bad about being a trans teen with the added flight of fancy that if anyone bullies you for being trans, you can pummel them into the ground. Danny is such a great kid, you can’t help but root for her and just outright DESPISE what she’s put through. And, as a comic book geek, this also makes for an awesome superhero story. There is genuine peril Danny has to deal with as a budding super-heroine and despite the world ending consequences; the story doesn’t feel like it gets bogged down when dealing with the issues surrounding a transgendered individual. Some reactions are almost TOO evil but I think that’s just the part of me that is desperately holding on to a shred of hope in humanity. It doesn’t pander, it doesn’t preach; “Dreadnought” is a well-written, wild ride, and if it’s the start to a series; I look forward to more. 4.7 out of 5.

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