Guest Post: Three Tricks to Make Your Word Count by Zachary Paul Chopchinski #bowtieauthor

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Zachary is a bow tie wearing, formal vest rocking, pocket watch using, sarcastic monster of a writer. Currently residing in Orlando, Florida, he spends his days working, writing, and procrastinating.

Zach has multiple college degrees, in the fields of criminal justice and criminology…because he wanted to catch ALL the bad guys. Now, coupled with being an author of young adult fiction he spends his days yelling at people for breaking regulatory laws.

Zach is the author of the Gabrielle series, a young adult fantasy with a paranormal-historical-time traveling twist (try saying that five times fast).  

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By a show of hands, who else here thought that they would grab this whole “Be an author” thing by the keyboard and become its master? I can tell you that I have my hand up. I can also tell you that, I’m sure those of you who are human (robots, immortals, monsters, and other fictional beings need not apply) this thing is way harder than I thought it was.

Now, we all have our stories. We all have our very own inspirations, adventurous tales, and dreams when it comes to being a writer. Yet, I think in many respects, we all face some of the same hurdles that our cohorts face daily. I, for example, was not fortunate enough to be discovered by my first novel. Nope, this one’s going to make me work for it.

So, like many of you, I must also maintain a job to pay the bills. I mean who else in here needs electricity, internet, and copious amount of coffee to get the job done? I can tell you I sure as hell do! This is what brings me to here today to talk about one of my main obstacles, and I think that many of you also share this one: getting those damn words on the paper.

Word counts are a funny thing. They can scare us and drive us all at the same time. They are a great reflection of what we have accomplished, but at the same time they’re like looking at the bully that wants to fight you after school and you are in last period. I’m here to tell you, however, that you don’t have to be afraid. I also am here to tell you that there are some small tricks that I use to help get me through the numbers.

On a side note, ironically, writing all comes down to numbers. I think the reason many of us became authors was so that we didn’t have to “math” anymore…

Trick #1: Set that goal, girlfriend!

Yeah yeah yeah. I know, easier said than done, right? WRONG! Setting a decent, and obtainable goal is often the best and only way to be sure that you’re writing regularly. Writing regularly is a must, by the way, or you would be surprised how much something like this can be a perishable skill.

So, set a daily goal. It could be 500 words, it could be 5000 words, but the key is to set a goal and nail it. This is also why it is important to be honest with yourself and don’t try and pop a wheelie before you know how to ride the bike. If you’re busy, set a 1000-word goal. A general typist will take roughly an hour or so to accomplish this and with a goal, you can break this up throughout the day. This doesn’t have to be all at once.

Remember, the day is not complete until this goal is met. So be fair to yourself and your writing and give it the time its needs and keep into account what you can afford to give.

Trick #2: 500 is the warmup.

Dependent upon the size of the font and spacing, 500 words is roughly a page. This is about the break point for many writers. Often the will to create is lost on you, but just try to reach that 500-word marker. By this time, creativity will start to bloom and the words will flow more easily, trust me. Often, with writing, you must first find the flow and then the inspiration will follow as you engage your brain and challenge it to create. Reaching one page and pressing forward tends to allow your mind to wander in a determined direction and you will find yourself able to focus while letting loose.

Trick #3: If you want to get those gains on, get you a spotter.

Weightlifting jokes aside, often finding someone that you trust to check on your progress daily will help drive you to get those words down. You find yourself not wanting to let this person down, or if you have let them down, trying to make it up to them by hitting your goal. (NOTE: This also works if you are trying to prove them wrong and show them that you CAN do it! Just saying)

This trick can get…well…tricky. Remember to not get mad at your spotter. They are only trying to help you and they want you to be the best author that you can be. So… DON’T SHOOT THE DAMN MESSENGER!

Well, these are some of my tricks. I hope they can help you as much as they have helped me. I must be off now, as I have my own words to get down for today. By the way, this article is 817 words and I am totally counting that for today. Just saying.

CHECK OUT ZACH’S BOOKS

curious taleAmazon/Goodreads/Signed Paperback

What If You Woke Up in Someone Else’s Life?

Thirteen-year-old Gabrielle was given a mysterious bracelet for her birthday. She went to bed as a normal teen but woke up in another time, as another person.

When demons appear, Gabrielle’s dream adventure turns into a nightmare. But is a nightmare adventure better than just existing in your mundane life?

curiosityAmazon/Goodreads/Signed Paperback

Is An Extraordinary Experience Worth The Loss of Innocence?

In this gripping sequel, Gabrielle stumbles into revolutionary France with more questions than answers. Why did Alexandra chose her for this adventure? What did the mysterious old woman mean by “it’s all up to you”? And why was she seeing monsters no one else could see?

In search of these answers, Gabrielle finds herself in the middle of a much bigger battle than she could have ever imagined. Can a nineteen year old old take on the past and un-seen evil all on her own?

curiosityAmazon/Goodreads/Signed Paperback

Will Gabrielle’s power be enough to save her?

In this third installment, Gabrielle finds herself living in one of the darkest times in American history, running a safe house for the Underground Railroad.

Arawn’s done playing games. When he discovers Gabrielle’s weakness he will stop at nothing to take her down. Gabrielle is going to have to use every ounce of her new power if she’s going to survive.

Keep reading, 

Jordan

 

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ARC Review & Giveaway: Wolf by Wolf-Ryan Graudin

 

Special intro from the author:

“Once upon a different time, there was a girl who lived in a kingdom of death. Wolves howled up her arm. A whole pack of them–made of tattoo ink and pain, memory and loss. It was the only thing about her that ever stayed the same. Her story begins on a train.”

And so begins the story of Yael, a girl who can change her appearance to mimic any other female. A girl who must win a 20,000 kilometer cross-continental motorcycle race from Germania to Tokyo so that she can have an audience with Adolf Hitler. A girl who has every intention of killing him.

Whenever I describe the premise of WOLF BY WOLF to people, the reactions I get are quite similar. It’s the “are-you-insane-or-are-you-onto-something” face: dropped jaw, squiggly eyebrows. I must admit, I felt many of those same feelings when I first started penning Yael’s story. Alternate history + sci-fi + epic motorcycle journey felt like a strange recipe for a novel. But I pushed through my fears and kept writing, and I couldn’t be happier with the result. I, for one, don’t think I’m insane, but I’ll let you, dear reader, come up with your own conclusion.

Happy reading!

Ryan Graudin

synCode Name Verity meets Inglourious Basterds in this fast-paced novel from the author of The Walled City.


The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule the world. To commemorate their Great Victory over Britain and Russia, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor’s ball.

Yael, who escaped from a death camp, has one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year’s only female victor, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin’s brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael’s every move. But as Yael begins to get closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission? 

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5/5 Stars
***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
From the first page, Wolf by Wolf is an addictive, compelling, whirlwind of a story. The history nerd in me reached Nirvana. Wolf by Wolf is one of the best books I’ve read, and those of you who follow know that I read hundreds a year. From the sweeping historical rewrite to the adrenaline rush of the motorcycle race that spans continents, Wolf by Wolf has something for everyone and will leave you with an unshakeable book hangover. 
PROS:
  • The opening page. There’s beauty in simplicity. Ryan Graudin jam packs so much into short, compiled sentences that each word hits like a sucker punch. I fell in reader and writer love with that first paragraph and immediately knew that this book would be one of the greats. 
  • Yael is as fierce, brave, and calculated as the wolves she has inked on her body. The trauma and pain she has suffered seems insurmountable but we learn that through memory and determination that we can overcome even the most horrific of pasts. Yael’s time in the camp, the incredible losses she’s went through, everything is ingrained into her very soul and marked on her body, she’ll never forget and it’s through these reminders that she finds the courage and strength to rebel and take on a task more risky than any other. Yael doesn’t let any setbacks break her down, she’s come so far and has been broken but never beaten. She is a lesson in inner strength and perseverance. 
  • The historical rewrite is ingenious, mainly because it could have been. So many elements of the story are bold and brutal, historically on target and put you right in the mad frenzy that was Hitler’s reign. The policing, the camps, the politics, and the terrifying roots of Hitler Youth become a stark reality that is much more real than what you read in history books. One of the sentiments that stayed with me from this story is the coldness of historical memory, the need to reduce people down to numbers so much that we forget the individual. Through Yael, you see every person, every memory, present and memorialized in her tattoos. 
  • Each character, no matter how small, leaves an impression and has their own unique background. The stories of the wolves added levels to Yael’s character, you see how she was built through her union with others and how their experiences changed her life. 
  • THE moment. The critical seconds when Yael meets Hitler face to face. My heart stopped. The anticipation built into an overwhelming and all-consuming beast of anxiety. The emotion is astounding and poignant, every memory, every ounce of pain culminates in a few short seconds.
  • Motorcycles, nefarious tactics, and honor all reign supreme during the Axis Tour. It’s not simply a race but a legacy of political propaganda and competition. The race is full of perilous terrain, vindictive components, and deadly situations. Though it’s stressful and in some part horrifying, there are scenes on the road that are light and playful, it’s a nice balance. 
CONS:
  • The twist was sort of predictable for me but the sheer rush of the scene itself more than made up for it. Even when you know what’s coming, the actual occurrence is more fierce and tense than you could ever imagine.
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Ryan Graudin grew up in Charleston and graduated from the College of Charleston with a degree in Creative Writing in 2009. She is the author of All That Glows and The Walled City. She resides near Charleston with her husband and wolf-dog. You can find her online at http://www.ryangraudin.com.
giveaway
Giveaway Details: 1 winner will receive a signed finished copy of the book with a special WOLF BY WOLF pin. US Only. Ends on October 26th at Midnight EST!

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If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this (really, if you like books at all, you should read this): 

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Happy reading, 

Jordan

Review: The Conspiracy of Us-Maggie Hall

17134589Goodreads/Amazon/B&N/iBooks

cooltext1889161239 copyA fast-paced international escapade, laced with adrenaline, glamour, and romance–perfect for fans of Ally Carter.

Avery West’s newfound family can shut down Prada when they want to shop in peace, and can just as easily order a bombing when they want to start a war. Part of a powerful and dangerous secret society called the Circle, they believe Avery is the key to an ancient prophecy. Some want to use her as a pawn. Some want her dead. To unravel the mystery putting her life in danger, Avery must follow a trail of clues from the monuments of Paris to the back alleys of Istanbul with two boys who work for the Circle—beautiful, volatile Stellan and mysterious, magnetic Jack. But as the clues expose a stunning conspiracy that might plunge the world into World War 3, she discovers that both boys are hiding secrets of their own. Now she will have to choose not only between freedom and family–but between the boy who might help her save the world, and the one she’s falling in love with.

cooltext1889171582 copy3/5 Stars

The Conspiracy of Us is a thrilling mystery rich in historical puzzles and political intrigue. Part treasure hunt and wild goose chase, The Conspiracy of Us is a whirlwind of adrenaline, violence, and pageantry.

PROS:

  • The historical reference to Alexander the Great, Egypt, and the trek across the world scrambling for clues was colorful and engaging. Glimpses of Paris, Istanbul, and other countries were a cultural explosion of light. The 12 houses, their symbols, the genetics, it all combined for layers of lies, deceit, and mystery that gave the story a very Da Vinci Code
  • Stellan, be still my Slav loving heart! Deadly, semi-vicious, enigmatic, Stellan has a bad boy image with dazzling good looks. Underneath the deadly exterior is a playful flirt whose emotions are sporadic. One moment hot, the next murderous, you never know quite what you’re going to get. Besides his mystique, Stellan is after Avery’s heart. It goes beyond the questionable nature of her heritage, the pet name he gives her, the accent, his love for his sister will melt your heart.
  • Luc was a pleasant surprise of a character. He’s got flair and style, he’s charismatic and deep, there’s something about him that you can relate to.
  • There was a twist that took a supernatural turn that was so unexpected that it left me reeling, had no idea where it came from. THAT ENDING.

CONS:

  • Plot clues were blatant and so obvious that it was easy to stay steps ahead of the characters (for the most part). Parts that should have shocked fell flat because there were so many clues. At the same time, the clues left by Emerson were bare bones hints that were near impossible to sift through. How Avery and Jack make sense of them is a tad farfetched and oddly enough, too simple.
  • Avery lacked development. There wasn’t a lot of personal or emotional information about her. I had a hard time connecting with her because so much of who she is as a person was missing. I had several questions about this mysterious, closed-off girl that were left unanswered. Avery’s likes and dislikes, her passions were left out and it made it difficult to attach a distinct personality to her character.
  • Chemistry between Avery and Jack was off. Their actions are overwhelming and disconnected. The extent of Avery’s feelings and the escalation didn’t add up, there wasn’t substantial build up or even instalove…It just was and it seemed random.

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

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