Upcoming Poetry Contest Deadlines!

It’s Poetry month and as such, Poets & Writers has some poetry contest deadlines for you to check out. Have a peek here. Everything from single poems, groups of poems, short fiction, flash fiction, and even one press looking for a second book of poems by African American poets. Check it out! Grand prizes for all of these is $1000 and publication! There are entry fees ranging from $3 to $20.

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#BookReview – Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Ender's Game (Ender's Saga, #1)Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Ender’s Game (Ender’s Saga, #1) by Orson Scott Card is a military-based science fiction novel. It is the story of a child, known as Ender, a third, in a family of brilliant children. Ender is selected to military school after years of being monitored, just as his brother Peter and his sister Valentine had been before him. He is chosen because unlike Peter, he can kill, but doesn’t want to kill. He is chosen because unlike Valentine, he has compassion, but can make the hard choices. He is Earth’s greatest hope against the Buggers. Earth has already fought two wars against the Buggers, barely defeating them both times. A third war is coming. The Buggers learn quickly from their mistakes because they have a hive-mind. In order to defeat them, completely and for all time, the IF needs someone who can think and act like the Buggers. They’ve chosen Ender, but can he live up to their expectations?

Ender is brilliant. He thinks quickly and methodically. He understands strategy, he understands that in order to win, sometimes you have to break the rules and he is willing to do so. During his time at the military school, Ender is deliberately isolated from his school mates by Colonel Graff. Slowly though, he begins to earn friends and establishes himself as a military genius. By the time he enters command school, Ender is nearly broken. He’s tired of games, tired of the rules changing, tired of defending himself against those who wish to do him harm for his brilliance.

Back on Earth, his brother Peter and his sister Valentine have become famous as Locke and Demosthenes, respectively, who argue about political matters on the Webs. Peter has taken the more benevolent stance, gaining respect as a humanitarian. Valentine takes the more rebellious stance, but gains recognition far quicker than Peter. It is obvious that Peter’s intent is to some day take over the world, something not lost on Valentine who knows how sinister her brother can be.

With a visit from Valentine, Ender decides to go on to Command School and command. He discovers that all who are now under him are those friends he made at school. He is now trained by Mazar Rackham, the victor of the second war against the Buggers. It is now that Ender learns to think like the Buggers and discovers how to defeat them. As he prepares for his final exam at Command School, can Ender make the hard choice? Will he make it?

The novel ends with an introduction of sorts into the second book in the series, Speaker for the Dead. Ender carries a special parcel that he will some day deliver to a special place. He tells the story of the Hive Queen and speaks of her life and death. He publishes the story anonymously and it becomes a religion of sorts. It is a wonderful introduction to more of Ender’s world.

Of all the science fiction books I have read, Ender’s Game is the one I come back to again and again. I’ve read it at least a dozen times, but this is the first time I have listened to it as an audiobook. If you want the full experience of Orson Scott Card’s story, I highly recommend that you listen to it. The emotions I felt listening to it where much much more intense than when I read it.

This is a book that I would recommend to anyone who loves science fiction, military fiction, and it is even appropriate for teenagers. I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone under ten years of age because there is some violence in the book.

I’ve tried not to give any spoilers in this review, so hopefully you will still get the full benefit of the story when you read it yourself.

Rating: 5 stars

Genre: Science Fiction, Military Science Fiction

Where to Purchase: Amazon Kindle | Paperback , Audible

#BookReview – In Between by M.A. Fernandez

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In Between by M.A. Fernandez, a new adult romance. tells the story of a love triangle between Rachel, her fiance Ethan and Tom, a new lawyer at the firm where Rachel works. Rachel’s life seems to be on track. She has a great job and a fiance that she loves – although he is absent a lot due to his job. And then charismatic Tom enters the picture. Rachel is immediately drawn to him, but feels guilty every time she is around him because of Ethan. And yet, she cannot help herself from being drawn into Tom’s seductive web.

Fernandez weaves an intricate story of love, seduction, choices, and how one deals with the choices one has made. It is a story of hope, forgiveness, and redemption. With Rachel, Fernandez has created a character who is real and complicated. She is torn between her faith as an Adventist and her desire to be free to do as she wishes. Torn between her fiance and the world they can build together and her desire for unbridled passion. Rachel represents the woman of today. Women who want it all – the job, the family, and passion.

I would give this novel a five star except for two reasons:
1) it needed a bit more editing – there are some grammar mistakes that should have been easy to spot, but only a few minor ones, nothing that would detract from the story as a whole.
2) Ethan’s POV – I am not sure why Fernandez switched POVs in the story by introducing Ethan’s thoughts. The story was fine without them. It is Rachel’s story, after all. Still, this is but a minor distraction, although a distraction.

Rating – 4.5 stars

Genre: New Adult Romance

Where to Purchase: Amazon

Note: I was given a free copy of this novel for an honest and fair review.

30 Children’s Book Publishers Seeking Picture Books

30 Children’s Book Publishers Seeking Picture Books

All the publishers on this list focus primarily on publishing picture books. There are a lot of myths about publishing picture books, and one of them is that you have to supply your own illustrations. This is generally not the case. Most picture book publishers will match your work with an illustrator for you, some won’t even consider written work submitted with illustrations.

The publishers on this list run the gamut from being a few years old and still establishing their reputation, to being over 75 years old. Some are large companies with good distribution and others are still finding their way.

Article by Emily Harstone

#BookReview – Deadly Lies by Chris Patchell

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Deadly Lies by Chris Patchell is an unusual crime/thriller novel. It is told in two voices – Jill’s and Alex’s. Jill is a survivor of childhood sexual abuse by her stepfather. Alex is a detective in Seattle PD. Although they are a married couple of five years, the two have been living separate lives as their jobs keep them both busy. While Jill has an affair with her boss, Alex works to find the killer of his ex-girlfriend’s sister and who has also threatened everyone Alex loves. Jill’s life begins to spiral out of control when her boss abruptly ends their affair and threatens to end Jill’s career. This leads Jill down a road of unfortunate and deadly events which further threatens her marriage to Alex and her personal freedom. Alex successfully tracks down the killer only to have the killer slip through his fingers a couple of times. Once Alex finally gets the killer in custody, he learns the dangerous, deadly game Jill has been playing. Then the killer is released and everyone’s lives are again in danger. Meanwhile, Alex has to decide what to do about Jill and as the two are in the middle of that confrontation, the killer shows up in an exciting, yet sad conclusion.

Patchell creates intriguing, solid characters. Jill is vulnerable, yet hardened from hatred of her stepfather. Alex is steady, loyal and honorable. Although I was shocked by some of Jill’s actions, I could understand why she did some of the things she did. Jill’s character, while not completely likable, actually became my favorite. Alex’s character seemed a bit naive at times, but Patchell set him up as such a good detective, I wasn’t at all surprised at how easily he discovered what Jill had been up to. The scene building was also well done, as were the characterizations, descriptions and settings. All in all, this was a complete package. If you want a great thriller that gives you some shocking, exciting moments, this is definitely the novel for you.

Rating: 5 stars

Genre: Crime Fiction/Thriller

To Purchase: Amazon Kindle | Audible

Publishing Offers for YA Authors

Are you an author of Young Adult novels? Can’t find a publisher or don’t know where to look? Check out the following link for opportunities:

28 Publishers Seeking Young Adult Manuscripts

Note: I have not personally vetted these Publishers, so proceed with caution. Be sure to read their pitches completely before sending your manuscript(s).