Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Upstream Updates: June 2019 Edition!


Actually, I'm more like "It's Summer!" because if I measure my year by individual months, I've found it goes by way too quickly.
But summer is HERE. Summer is NOW. And SO HELP ME I AM GOING TO WRITE AND GET ALL THE THINGS DONE before I return to work again!

Life Stuff

First of all, there's a bit of "life stuff" going on, even in the period of time when I'm not working. Namely, it's the impending remodel of one of the bedrooms in our house--one that I'm going to move into, so I've got the responsibility of decorating and setting it up for myself! It's got a little reading nook, plenty of wall space for MORE BOOKSHELVES (because goodness knows I need that!) and I'm just really excited to have a space that's so entirely my own! (I have lots of siblings... you have no idea...) So that's taking up a lot of time.

Which brings me to my next point of order: Word Count Updates.
The last two months have been less-than-stellar. It's officially been a year since I started using WordKeeper Alpha and I must say, it's been GREAT to be able to see progress, no matter how small! That being said... Well, I'll let the graph speak for itself.

For reference... the 25K line is supposed to be my goal every month... haven't hit it since January...

Dismal, right? But I am going to do my almighty best to get in more of a groove! It still boggles me how I'm going to set up a writing habit that I can also maintain while working full-time, but I am fully confident that I'll reach that goal eventually! I have told myself that if I can just make it to 20K for this month, I will count that as a success. (Just a few thousand words away!)


This month held plenty of excitement, as not only did Forest of the Fearless officially release (making the fourth anthology to contain a story I wrote!) but also a fellow writer and very dear friend released her book just this week, which I am beyond excited to recommend to all of you, my readers! 
It's the first book in a series called The Time Tree Chronicles, and this particular book is called The Emergence by Lisa Rae Morris and if you like time travel, quiet forests, Scottish countrysides, and funny old people in nursing homes, then I would highly advise you to take a closer look! I still remember when she first brought it up, she was all "I have this idea and you're probably going to think it's weird and it totally doesn't make sense to me and I'm wondering if I should even be writing it..." and the moment I heard it, I responded, "DEAR HEAVENS PLEASE WRITE IT I NEED THIS IN MY LIFE!!" and now it's a wish come true!

What's next? How about another release? That's right! Dangerous Damsels and Fatal Femmes is coming to you soon, from the Dreamtime Fantasy Authors, the same group who brought you Dreamtime Dragons back in 2017! I'll be sure and update when I've got an official date, so you don't miss it!

CURRENT EVENTS: Blog Hop & Author Takeover

So the more astute followers might know that The Upstream Writer is currently almost finished with the Bookish Summer Blog Hop of 2019. Only a few days more to go, so if you haven't gotten on it yet, then scurry on over to the >Intro Post< where I've linked all the posts from the last month! We've had some pretty unique questions that I've had a lot of fun answering!

ALSO, if you want to actually be able to interact with me LIVE (as in, I'm going to read your
comment and respond immediately) then you'll want to click the following hyperlinked text to Access Facebook And Join The Fantasy And Sci-Fi Reader's Lounge, because on Friday morning I'm going to be giving background information and running games based on my story from the Forest of the Fearless Anthology, "Serenity's Light." It has some pretty unique origins, and you'll definitely want to be a part of it! Of course, I'll still get notified of any interaction with the posts after that short amount of time, but showing up the morning of will be worth it, if I can get some of the other anthology submitters to show up and give info about their stories! So you'll want to be there! My time slot is 8:30AM-10AM Pacific Time, if you can make it!

Now to get down to the more serious, accountability side of business...


The Last Inkweaver

How can a project be both "closer than ever" and "farther away" from an actual freaking ending??? Not even kidding, it probably took me these last two months to get through that whole conversation with Jacqueline, in which I thought at first that I was going to be able to reveal a bunch of stuff, but that required a lot of thinking and rethinking (and overthinking) to ensure that revealing all of it at this point would still make sense and seem like a logical progression for the conversation... only to realize, when I finally arrived at said point in the conversation, that it was really too much information to dump all at once, and that I could actually move it to a later point... Which then makes the scenes-to-come longer than I originally anticipated... Chapter 31, as it stands, is a beast. My beta readers are definitely going to hate me (if I don't burn them out in the first 30 chapters, that is...) But with that done, I can finally bring Matthias onto the scene, send them into "Oblivion" (in more ways than one!), and get on with it, at last! Here's hoping it doesn't take me the next two months to finish this!!

Red, The Wolf: The Series

It's official! Red, The Wolf is coming to The Upstream Writer's Serial Saturday lineup, at last! Unfortunately, that teaser I posted a few months ago is now obsolete, since I decided to scrap that and go with another one. BUT this also meant that I went ahead and continued it--and now that I'm officially posting it, this means that I'm going to carry it through all the way to the end! I can't wait for you to meet this awesome character! I hope you all enjoy the series as much as I have in my own head!
Full of intense action, a shapeshifter who isn't really accustomed to being vulnerable and helpless, a swindling peddler who is used to pulling the wool over everyone's eyes, and a fortune teller who can see past the surface, to the true nature of everyone she meets... It's "Red Riding Hood" like you haven't seen it yet!

A Writer's Tale, Book 3: The Sheriff's Showdown

Excuse me? Do you really think I'm so shameless that I would plunk out a grand total of half a scene on this project after not touching it for months, just so I could give an update on it today?

Yeah. I'm totally that shameless. (It was almost a thousand words in a single go, how could I resist?)

While I am pressuring myself to get The Last Inkweaver done, I also find that I really kind of want to finish this one, too... just so I can get onto the next one, really. (That's kind of been the case for pretty much every single book in this series... go figure...) Honestly, the true motivator would probably be Wattpad, and the fact that I've only got one active story that I'm updating anymore, and not really any feedback as to what else people want to see me posting. Meanwhile, my old stuff is still getting votes and adds and whatnot so it's not all terrible... I just feel like I don't have a "Wattpad Wednesday" when I'm not really updating on there!


Speaking of which, let me bring you all up to speed with what I have on here:

My current in-progress work that I'm updating regularly still is the FLASHES OF INSPIRATION. Mostly I'm just copying from what I have already posted on here, which you can find under "Flash Fictions"... but I will have you know, I just finished a brand-new flash-fic that I won't be posting here on the blog, but I will add to the Wattpad version... so you might want to keep your eye over there (or keep an eye out on the Flash Fictions page on here, because I'll be adding the link) for when I post it!

There is still the SOUND OF AN ECHO, a Percy Jackson fanfic that I started, that I probably really should finish eventually someday... I got Percy and Annabeth and a few other campers to leave Camp Half-Blood on their quest, after a whole bunch of prophecies, and there's no telling (because I haven't gotten any feedback at all) whether or not my clues and hints were obvious or not. I still do have all the notes and stuff, so I do know how all the prophecies play out, and most of all, how it ends. It's just that "middle" part, the part where they're supposed to "meet up with allies" or "encounter opposition" where I am a little fuzzy on the details... Maybe if I really wanted to challenge myself, I could sit down and see how much of it I can pound out... So that's another WIP to add to my docket! Will I have time to write all of these? Who even knows anymore?


Hoo boy...

So May was a dismal failure, as far as reading goes. I was so exhausted by work every single week and so busy on the weekends trying to get caught up on everything that I barely had time to read at all, and I didn't end up finishing a single book for the whole month!

Finally, here at the end of June, I've had enough time to finish Angel Tormented, the third book in the LouisiAngel series by C. L. Coffey. It was everything I hoped it would be, and so much that I was totally not expecting! I also brought along You Left Me No Choice by Kelly Blanchard (Book 5 in her Chronicles of Lorrek series!) on a car trip yesterday, and got from "halfway through" to "nearly finished" so that's another review coming possibly next week! Other than that... I still have a few more "bought" books that I must finish before I allow myself to return to the library--it hurts so bad! Feels almost like a punishment... But now that I'm on summer break, I keep telling myself I have more time for reading, so no more excuses!

And that's where I'm at with everything! How about you? What are you writing or reading? Feel free to comment with a little update! Do you have any questions for me about anything I've mentioned here? Ask them, and I'll answer to the best of my ability! As always...

Catch You Further Upstream!

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Reader's Review: "Angel Tormented" by C. L. Coffey

Synopsis from Amazon:

When help is coming from the son of Beelzebub himself, you know things aren’t going well…

New Orleans doesn’t just have Lucifer to worry about.

Taking up residence in the Crescent City are countless nephilim and far too many of the Fallen. Unfortunately, one of those fallen angels is also Joshua’s Lieutenant.

With the precinct compromised and Joshua’s partner looking for answers Angel can’t give him, the only thing looking up for Angel is her relationship with her charge.

After a tip from a nephilim sends Angel and Michael on a deadly mission to investigate how the lieutenant is linked with a pop star, it’s up to Angel and Cupid to pick up the pieces and get the House functioning again.

With offers of help coming from unlikely sources; rogue cherubim, a bitter voodoo queen, and the son of Beelzebub himself, Angel’s got to keep her guard up and work out who she can trust. Before she gets killed again.


My Review:

"It's always darkest just before dawn." --Thomas Fuller

Halfway through the series, and there is a lot that's packed into just this one book! Angel is finally finding herself playing a bigger role in the events of this looming war between heaven and hell--a war that some celestial administrators continue to deny, in spite of mounting evidence--and the necessity of taking the fight right to the Fallen instead of waiting for them to achieve whatever goals they are working toward is more imperative than ever.

New enemies arise, threats emerge that no one saw coming, and big players on the side of heaven are "removed from play" in various ways, in spite of some attempts to add to the ranks. New Orleans is looking very dark, indeed.

What stays consistent, though, is Coffey's skill in developing the individual characters in a natural, rational progression, through everything that happens. Angel has picked a side, and she's owning that decision without backing down. She's done second-guessing herself and waiting for something to happen--she's making it happen! Most of the angels in Michael's house have been lumped together and brushed to the side... but the absence of the cherubim gives them all a chance to become more than just "useless runway models." They have names and personalities, skills beyond just "delivering messages."

Adding to that the way Angel and Josh's relationship comes up against some pretty tough challenges--but again, the growth is there, so they can weather these difficulties without getting too obsessive or dismissive of each other.
There were some "betrayals" and revelations that I did not see coming, but then there were also moments of victory, such as Angel and Cupid restoring the cherubim, and patching things up between them (in some small way) that made this book, difficult as it was to come to terms with some unfortunate demises, a pleasure to read!

Yet another well-rounded installment in the LouisiAngel Series! Angel Tormented scores a perfect *****5 STAR***** rating on all fronts, and maintains its Upstream Writer Certified Definitely Recommended status. The plot moves forward a little, in spite of circumstances that conspire to push our heroes back--they stand strong and bond together. I'm still deeply invested in the outcome, and if you're in the mood for a little "angels versus demons" battling, rich in entertainment and extremely relatable, then this is a series worth starting!

Further Reading: (Epic Battles/Good Versus Evil/Supernatural)
The LouisiAngel Series--C. L. Coffey
       -Angel in Training
       -Angel Eclipsed
The Untamed Series--Madeline Dyer
The Vemreaux Trilogy--Mary E. Twomey
       -The Way
       -The Truth
       -The Lie
The Chronicles of Lorrek--Kelly Blanchard
       -Someday I'll Be Redeemed
       -I Still Have A Soul
       -I'm Still Alive
       -Do You Trust Me?
The Grave Reports--R. R. Virdi
       -Grave Beginnings
       -Grave Measures
       -Grave Dealings
The Portal Prophecies--C. A. King
     -A Keeper's Destiny 
     -A Halloween's Curse 
     -Frost Bitten
The Firebird Fairy Tales--Amy Kuivalainen
       -The Cry of the Firebird 
       -Ashes of the Firebird 

The Fair Folk Chronicles--Jeffrey Cook and Katherine Perkins
        -Foul is Fair 
        -Street Fair 
        -A Fair Fight
        -All's Fair

Monday, June 24, 2019

Bookish Summer Blog Hop: "What Was The Last Book Series You Read?"

Since we've answered the question of "series versus stand-alones" this month, I'm sure you all are wondering: "What was the last series we of the Bookish Blog Hops have read?"

Series are fun, pretty much because of the prolonged presence of the same characters we've become familiar with, a long-awaited resolution to some conflict, or just the opportunity to enjoy a larger story than can fit into just one or two books.

It's the intense "hangover" that comes after finishing a long series, where we have to rejoin an existence without those characters, that is sometimes hard to deal with. But we soldier on to find the next one!

Anyway, here's the latest batch of answers from the blog hop!

Views She Writes

Scottish Bookshop Mystery by Shelton Paige and Witchless in Seattle series by Dakota Cassidy.

Leslie Conzatti (Me!)

Okay, so pretty much the last series I read all the way through, as in finished, not just “I read the next 
book”... was back in 2017, when I finished The Fair Folk Chronicles by Jeffrey Cook and Katherine Perkins. My, what a series that was! I’ve talked about it earlier in the blog hop--It’s such a wonderful series, all the way through! Such imagination, emotion, and marvelous character dynamic… I don’t have a negative thing to say about it, whatsoever!

The real trouble is I’m terrible about reading series. I just feel bad about bingeing the entire plot arc for one group of characters, when there are so many other books out there that I haven’t gotten around to reading yet! So I “space out” the books in a series (a habit, I think, that serves me well when I’m waiting for the next installment in a series that hasn’t been released yet… I find plenty to occupy my time while I’m waiting!) and therefore it takes me forever to finish a series!

Krewe of Hunters by Heather Graham. The series follows FBI special units who investigate crimes that have a paranormal element. Either a ghost is accused of the crime or there is a ghost legend associated with the location or there is a psychic link to a spirit victim. There are several units all over the country and every third book is a new unit.

Jo Linsdell

The last series I read was Me Before You by Jojo Moyes. I LOVED this series! Each book was an emotional rollercoaster with all the feels. Seriously, you’ll need a box of tissues handy. It was also funny, and touching, and thought provoking. A great cast of characters that I enjoyed getting to know better, and seeing grow as the series progressed. I highly recommend reading all three books.

Valerie, Cats Luv Coffee
While I’ve read newly released books in series that I’ve been following, the only one I’ve binged this year is The Misfit Series by Samantha Foxe. It’s an urban fantasy that follows three people who got attacked by a werewolf and turned. They start their own pack and traverse this new world together. Each book finds them facing a new threat and building their friendship and pack bonds.

So there you have it! Some new series for you to try!
Do you have a recommendation for us? Let us know the last series you finished, in the comments! And don't forget to visit the >Intro Post< for more Bookish Summer Blog Hop fun!
Catch You Further Upstream!

Friday, June 14, 2019

Bookish Summer Blog Hop: "Show us a book set in the summer!"

Ahh, summer! 
Warm days, less responsibilities (if you work in education), time for getting things done and enjoying oneself... and a popular time period for big changes and all sorts of steamy shenanigans!

Want to hear about some great books set in the summertime? Here's a couple that you may not have heard of!

Leslie Conzatti (Me!)

Ha! That’s easy! It’s “Street Fair” by Jeffrey Cook and Katherine Perkins! It’s the second book in their Fair Folk Chronicles series, and it’s amazing! Set in Seattle, Washington (near my neck of the woods!) the Fair Folk Chronicles tells the story of Megan O’Reilly, a girl living with her mom, who finds out that her dad (whom she thought just up and left them) is actually a Fairy King which makes her a real fairy princess--completely opposite of the way Megan saw herself! The characters are wonderfully diverse--a satyress who plays in a rock band, a crippled fairy who rides a service crow, and a whole family of Hawaiian menehune (Pacific islander “builder dwarf” types!), to name just a few--and the whole series warms the heart as much as it sparks the imagination! In particular, Street Fair deals with a secret fairy street fair that takes place during midsummer--and the bargains you find aren’t at all what you expect!

Brandy Potter

The best book I have ever read set in the summer is Nora…. Nope, not going there again! I am about to shock everyone and admit the the best thing I have ever read set in the summer was written by the bard himself, William Shakespeare. A Midsummer Night’s Dream started me on my path to researching the Fay folk and their mythology. 
Puck, Titania and Oberon show the weakness of humans in a most comical way. It’s a hard read if you can’t understand Shakespeare’s iambic pentameter and flowery Elizabethan english, but it’s so worth it!

All of Jana Deleon's Fortune mysteries are set in Louisiana, so it's eternal summer!

Jo Linsdell 

Starting Over by Sheri S. Levy.

How about you? What's a book you've read that's set during the summertime? Let us know in the comments! If you're just joining now and you want to get caught up on the other questions, head back to the >Intro Post< for links to the other days! And don't forget... tomorrow is a new question, hosted by Trails of Tales, so stop on by for more delectable suggestions!

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Bookish Summer Blog Hop: "How do you keep track of books you will be reviewing or reading?"

Welcome to today's post in the Bookish Blog Hop's Summer Hop! I hope you enjoyed the last post from A Book Lover's Adventures, all about the best genres to read during the summer--lots of romance, chick-lit and thriller/mysteries around these parts! 

In today's post, we all weighed in on pretty much the hardest thing besides actually reading through all the books we want to read. Today's burning question is: How does one keep track of all the books one reads and reviews?"

Let's see what everyone's got!

I swear by GoodReads. If it was not for that wonderful site, I would never have read as many books as I have. It is also a wonderful way of tracking how much I am reading vs. how much I am reviewing. So it is a good reality check for me.

Leslie Conzatti (Me!)

I second Goodreads! I love the fact that I can save a record of when I read a book, so that if I come across a title that catches my interest and sounds familiar, I can immediately check if I’ve read it before. I also use Goodreads to find out if a book I find is part of a series or not--sometimes the cover doesn’t tell you! I always like to start at the beginning of a series, so having the complete list there is helpful. And the fact that whenever you log that you’ve finished a book, it immediately asks you to rate and/or review--it’s great! New titles I see... I can mark as "Want To Read" at the touch of a button, so if I'm in the library and I can't think of a specific book to look for... I can pull out my "To Read" list and realize oh yeah, I wanted to read that one! I really like that feature!

Jo Linsdell

Goodreads is where I tend to track my books too.  It makes it easy to keep a list of the books on my TBR, and the one’s I’ve read. I also have a notepad where I list the books I’ve been sent for review.

I use Goodreads a ton! I love being able to add books to lists such as currently reading, want to read and read in that year - those are my main lists, and I also use google calendar to keep track of the dates I am reviewing to make sure I don’t double up. (if possible)

I have to admit… Goodreads and I… we are not friends. It’s really difficult for me to remember adding every book. But I also don’t actually have a TBR list. Using GR is always a conscious effort for me. What I do use to keep track of reviews is OneNote. I have my content calendar in there and keep notes which book would fit a specific reading list, which ARC’s I have not reviewed yet, on which day I want to post a specific review, and so on.

I hate to be unoriginal, but I have to go with Goodreads too. It’s about the only way I can keep track. I also like that it counts the number of books I read in a year. I used to love the summer reading challenges in school and I always won.


Well! I suppose GoodReads is a reader's best friend! Bonus tip: every listing on Goodreads also comes with a handy set of links of where to buy the books online, such as Barnes & Noble or Amazon. So if you don't have a book, and you want it, you have a place to get it with ease!

So how about you? How do you keep track of the books you want to read? What are your opinions on GoodReads? Comment to join the discussion!

That's all for today, but tomorrow, you can head over to Sawdust And Spoons to learn our most memorable books we read as children! And if you missed any other days, you can always head back to the >Intro Post< to catch up!

Catch You Further Upstream!

Monday, June 3, 2019

My Bookish Blog Hops PRESENTS: Summer Hop 2019!

Welcome to June!

Courtesy of the Bookish Blog Hops, it's time for another Summer Hop! Get ready for a month-long feast of reading, of recommendations, of preferences, of summer themes and authors we won't hesitate to rave about! If you're looking to stock up for the upcoming "Official First Day Of Vacation", then you'll want to pay attention!

As always, this intro post is going to be the place where I'm updating on all the posts from every day--the hyperlinks are purple, just click on the purple text and you'll be taken right to the blog post containing the answers. Enjoy the read--and don't forget to leave a comment to participate in the discussion! We love the interaction!

Ready? Here goes!

13th: Books set in places one wants to visit
24th: Last book series you read
25th: One POV or multiple?
26th: Auto-buy authors
27th: How do you feel about cliffhangers?
28th: What is your favorite genre to read?
29th: Do you like it when books become movies?
30th: What book is next on your list to read?