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Aisling D'Art "artist and author" RSS Feed (Portsmouth, NH USA)

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How I Found the Write Path: A Compilation of Letters
How I Found the Write Path: A Compilation of Letters
Price: $0.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Consistently helpful messages that every writer needs to hear, regularly, December 21, 2014
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This is an entertaining collection of "letters to my earlier self" by successful writers. Many of the letters are rich with insights. Only a few indulge in obvious self-promotion. All of them share consistent, encouraging messages about persistence, focus, and knowing whether a book can be salvaged or if it should be abandoned as a "learning experience."

I like this book because it's like having a coach at your elbow, supporting your best decisions and steering you away from things that, in your heart, you probably know are a waste of time. In some ways, this book is like having a trusted support group available 24/7.

You can't beat the price, and I heartily recommend this book for writers at any level of experience.

Fiction Attack!: Insider Secrets for Writing and Selling Your Novels & Stories For Self-Published and Traditional Authors
Fiction Attack!: Insider Secrets for Writing and Selling Your Novels & Stories For Self-Published and Traditional Authors
by James Scott Bell
Edition: Paperback
Price: $10.39
25 used & new from $9.68

4.0 out of 5 stars Delightful, informal, personal, and loaded with essential information about popular and genre fiction, December 21, 2014
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I ordered this book because I want to study everything James Scott Bell says. When he's right, he's brilliant. When he's wrong... okay, if he's ever said anything that's completely and utterly wrong, I haven't read it yet. (Even when I'd like him to be wrong... he's still right.)

This book is a hodge-podge of advice for authors (and aspiring authors) of popular and genre fiction. Reading it -- after studying most of his other books -- I felt like he was at my elbow, saying, "Wait. In my other books, I forgot to tell you this part..."

In other words, if you've read his other (excellent) books, this book may be wall-to-wall "ah-HA!" moments. And, since the advice is edited from his blog, this is a more conversational book than most.

I love this book. It's among the books I keep near my desk. I also appreciate the paper version, so I can highlight it, jot real notes in the margin, and have that "book" experience.

Browse Bell's blog, online. If you like it, I think you'll love this book.

Parker Pyne Investigates: A Short Story Collection
Parker Pyne Investigates: A Short Story Collection
Offered by HarperCollins Publishers
Price: $8.54

5.0 out of 5 stars Enchanting. Absolutely delightful. Stories short and fun enough for a bedtime read., December 21, 2014
As a writer, I know the rules of writing mysteries. This delightful series of short stories breaks most of them.

As a rabid, frothing-at-the-mouth mystery enthusiast, I know that Agatha Christie was one of the great writers in the genre. This book proves it. Even though she provides few clues to the reader and dumps key blocks of information at the climax, I'm still swept up in the story.

Whether the story is set in England or aboard a ship or in some exotic locale, I feel as if I'm there. I'm actually at the side of Parker Pyne, savoring a rich experience. I get to see the masters (Christie as a writer, and Pyne as a sleuth) at work.

Every story is a joy. Nothing feels repetitive or even closely derivative. Each tale is a fresh encounter with tangled emotions, at least one unscrupulous or badly flawed character, and the sometimes surprising outcome of those ingredients.

For me, this book shows Christie at her best. I'm enchanted by her gifted storytelling, and I didn't want this book to end.

eBook Writing System: How to Write a Short eBook for Kindle in 14 Days or Less -- That Readers Will Enjoy!
eBook Writing System: How to Write a Short eBook for Kindle in 14 Days or Less -- That Readers Will Enjoy!
Price: $0.99

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Keyword-based, repetitive information, probably spun, December 21, 2014
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I bought this book because I love the cover. I wanted this to be a fun, informative book.

It's not.

It reads like someone scoured the Internet for writing advice and rephrased what he or she found. This book seems filled with awkward phrasing, typos, and repetitive sentences.

The first 10% of the book is a tedious introduction. It repeats the gist of the Amazon book description, but pads it with a lot of fluff. In a book like this, that's often by design. It's so Kindle Unlimited readers trudge through that first 10% and the book author (in this case, I use that term loosely) earns money, no matter how good or bad the rest of the book is.

After the introduction, this book doesn't improve. Here's a passage from the first chapter, about selecting a topic for your book: "If you desire to make as much money as you can, picking the topics that are popular is the direction to go. If that isn't one of you big goals, you have more freedom."

Yes, he said "you big goals." There's a lot of that in this book.

Then he says, "When deciding on what to write about a great topic can depend on two things: interest and knowledge. Interest is about..." After explaining what the words "interest" and "knowledge" mean, he advises us, "Simply by reading a few of the best books about the subject, you can probably consider yourself more knowledgeable then most people."

Again, I've copied that as written, complete with typo. It's not only badly written, it's bad advice.

I wish this book's content was even half as good as the cover. It's not, and I can't recommend it.

How To Use The Law Of Attraction To Quit Your Day Job
How To Use The Law Of Attraction To Quit Your Day Job
Price: $2.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A unique synergy of self-help concepts, slightly diluted, December 20, 2014
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This is an interesting book. It's also perplexing to review. What Trevor does well, he does really well, at a five-star level. Where he misses the mark... he really misses it. Sadly, that dilutes his valuable message. As a result, I was between a three- and a four-star review.

I read this book in one day with a few hours' break, mid-book. I paused to absorb and start applying Trevor's stylish recommendations. They're surprisingly powerful.

The best advice in this book is near the middle of it. That's where Trevor shines, with his uniquely synergistic mix of the Law of Attraction, "getting in the gap," NLP, and a few other self-help concepts. Trevor gives readers enough information to grasp the basics and run with them. He also provides pointers and breadcrumbs for readers to research the elements that work most powerfully for them.

Trevor's self-help insights, along with his personal story -- which I was familiar with, having bought some of his other products -- were inspiring, even breathtaking at times. They're why I recommend this book.

However, after the midpoint of the book, he seemed to bounce from unique, powerful advice to a commercial message, and back again. I started questioning the reason for this book; whether it was to present self-help concepts, or something else.

I was okay the first time Trevor mentioned that he's available to coach people. Many self-help authors offer personal counseling and coaching.

By the third time he brought it up -- and suggested that finding a coach was key to successfully quitting your day job -- it felt a little like a sales pitch.

That was disappointing. I'm pretty sure it's the antithesis of what Trevor intended. Between that and his apparent endorsement of a formulaic Internet marketing business model... the power of his message was badly diluted.

He's better than that. I'd like to think many of his readers are, too.

Trevor's writing style is very heartfelt, and -- as others have said -- it's like reading a personal letter from a friend. A proofreader might have caught several punctuation errors, but they're minor distractions.

Mostly, I look at the insights Trevor provides, and feel that he and his readers would be better served if he rose above the idea of commercial "hooks," $7 products, and $27/month email consulting. Without those dissonant elements, I think Trevor's unique message, inspiration, and compassion could make him a respected leader in the self-help field.

Perhaps he should take a page from his own book and inspire people to reach for their dreams... leaving the "how" part in the guiding hands the Universe.

All in all, I like this book and recommend it to anyone who's a fan of Dr. Wayne Dyer, Tony Robbins, and Abraham-Hicks. There are acres of diamonds to be found in Trevor's insights.

The Lucky Cat - Black Cat Vol. 1 - A Salem Massachusetts Mini Mystery
The Lucky Cat - Black Cat Vol. 1 - A Salem Massachusetts Mini Mystery
Price: $0.00

2.0 out of 5 stars An okay start to a series, but it needs more depth, December 18, 2014
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I read this all the way through. It was a fast read. I also bought (and read) the next book in this series, hoping the story would improve.

In general, I think the author can write, but either needs more practice in (or understanding of) this particular sub-genre, or a longer book in which to showcase more character and plot depth.

In my opinion, the story started with cliches and wrapped up too quickly. It wasn't a satisfying read. When I read a mystery, I want enough clues (planted from the beginning) to figure most of it out on my own. Or, if I guess wrong, I want to be impressed by the red herrings.

Agatha Christie's sleuths -- especially Parker Pyne -- can present the solution as an info dump. Christie's writing skills was engaging enough to get away with that, even in a short story or novella.

For me, Shea's story felt rushed, or as if she wasn't familiar enough with this sub-genre.

Your Nostradamus Factor
Your Nostradamus Factor
by Ingo Swann
Edition: Paperback
40 used & new from $35.00

4.0 out of 5 stars Challenging for most people, and chillingly useful if you actually follow his advice, December 18, 2014
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This is a startling guide, very stylishly written... and that's both good and bad news.

This book delivers information completely different from what I'd expected... even though I'm familiar with Mr. Swann's work. So, I went through a time of muttering, "That's it...? That's what works...?"

Also, Swann's writing style is a mix of fanciful speculation and bone-dry, journalistic reporting. I've been around people who talk like this (and may be one of them, myself), so I adjusted to it right away. Even then, there were sentences and phrases and made me stop and re-read them, to be sure I understood the point he was trying to make.

If you're interested in seeing the future, and recognizing when you're already showing yourself what's ahead, I think this is a must-own book. (You're likely to work through the book slowly. Borrowing a copy from a library isn't enough. Buy it.)

Swann's track record speaks for itself. So does his way of describing what works and what doesn't.

Expect to be unimpressed by his presentation and information, and surprised by the results, IF you actually follow his instructions. If you've read Seth Godin's book, "The Dip," this book -- "Your Nostradamus Factor" -- hands you a pretty steep dip that may prevent all but the most determined from achieving what Swann suggests in the book description.

Nevertheless, if you really want insights about the future, this book presents one path to what you seek. It's a fairly simple path, but not necessarily one that's easy to stick to.

Blaze of Glory (The Laws of Magic)
Blaze of Glory (The Laws of Magic)
by Michael Pryor
Edition: Paperback
Price: $9.18
77 used & new from $0.01

2.0 out of 5 stars I tried to like this, but couldn't warm to the setting, characters, or opening, December 18, 2014
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I really wanted to like this book, but it didn't seem as imaginative or fun as I'd expected from the cover or book description. Maybe it's better appreciated by boys in the target age group. I don't know. It just didn't engage my interest past the first few pages. I realize that J. K. Rowling's work is a tough act to follow, but still... this book didn't deliver the kind of reading experience it might have. I just didn't feel immersed in a magical world.

Llewellyn's Complete Book of Correspondences: A Comprehensive & Cross-Referenced Resource for Pagans & Wiccans (Llewellyn's Complete Book Series)
Llewellyn's Complete Book of Correspondences: A Comprehensive & Cross-Referenced Resource for Pagans & Wiccans (Llewellyn's Complete Book Series)
by Sandra Kynes
Edition: Paperback
Price: $21.25
57 used & new from $16.78

5.0 out of 5 stars An essential reference for anyone working with the subject of magic, December 18, 2014
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If you're writing magic into your stories, please get the facts right. This book covers a wide range of topics, some more related to magic than others. However, as an author, I think this book is essential for anyone including magical, fantasy, or arcane elements in a story.

If you're Pagan, this book is a must-own reference.

I might have liked more clear cross-referencing in either the text or the index at the back of the book. Sometimes, I want to understand how one approach "translates" into another tradition.

However, even with that possible shortcoming, this really is the most authoritative reference to get herbs, numbers, colors, planets, etc., correct when you're working with or writing about magic... real or fantastical.

Fact, Fiction, and Folklore in Harry Potter's World: An Unofficial Guide
Fact, Fiction, and Folklore in Harry Potter's World: An Unofficial Guide
by George Beahm
Edition: Paperback
74 used & new from $0.01

3.0 out of 5 stars Okay as an addition to your Potter-related library., December 18, 2014
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This isn't the very best Harry Potter guide I've read, but it's pretty good. No two guidebooks feature the same insights or editorial slant. If you're collecting a lot of Potter-ish material, this is a fine addition to your collection. If you can only buy one book like this for your personal library, browse other books like this one. Check the "look inside." Some are better than others.

This book isn't bad. It's just not quite as authoritative as some competing books. I don't regret buying it, but -- for my research (as a writer) -- it wasn't a keeper.

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