Posted in audiobook, books, classic literature, dystopian, lessons learned, writing, writing advice, writing thoughts, writing tips

Lessons Learned: Brave New World

I just finished listening to Brave New World by Aldus Huxley and there were three main lessons I took away from the book.

Those who aren’t familiar with the novel should know a few things. It was published in 1932 and is a dystopian fiction novel set in largely London and, for a brief period, in a Native American reservation in New Mexico. The story explores themes of society vs. the individual, passion vs. stability, and the price of happiness.

Lesson 1: Use unique structure purposefully

In the early chapters, Huxley has a section where the Controller is explaining the dystopian world to the reader through a tour he’s giving to research students visiting a fertilization factory.

During this explanation, there are insertions of other character’s points of view, sometimes breaking in after only a few lines or mid-sentence. At first, the style was very distracting, especially since I was listening to the book and didn’t have visual cues of the shifts. The patched together structure was interesting, though, because as the Controller is explaining the process of creating humans ideal for their society, the reader is given examples of how these methods control the behavior of individuals.

If you choose to use a unique structure in your writing, make sure there is a good reason for it, or it may only serve to confuse or distract readers.

Lesson 2: Don’t preach to readers to get a point across

I have a personal dislike for preachy books, probably because I grew up in a very religious household and had more than enough of that growing up.

If you have a particular point or philosophy you want to share with readers, do so through the characters and story and NOT by directly telling them what the right way or answer is. Let them discover the idea or answer by experiencing the story.

Huxley does this very well in this book. The Controllers and other characters do, at times, directly state the theories and philosophies of the society, however there is always a skeptical character to give the reader another point of view or at least make them question the legitimacy of the concept.

Each of the four main characters have viewpoints that differ from the main society in different ways as well, so the reader isn’t inundated with only one character’s arguments or ideas. Each character is also given a strong reason for seeing things differently, so their struggle with society feels genuine and unforced.

As the reader, there were times it was hard to decide which idea or concept was “right” or “better” because Huxley did such a good job of showing both sides of an argument. Instead of telling the reader how to think, the story asks reader to thoughtfully consider the philosophies presented and decide for themselves.

Lesson 3: An unsatisfying ending can work when the story calls for it

Just as there were times while reading that I couldn’t fully commit to one side or another of an argument or philosophy, I couldn’t really think of a way the story could end in a satisfying way because the issues were too big to be wrapped up simply and easily.

Maybe Huxley felt the same, or maybe his purpose wasn’t to provide answers (which I think is very likely), because the book doesn’t have a satisfying end in the sense that any of the issues are solved. A few of the characters find relatively acceptable ends but, for the most part, story aspects are left either unhappy or up to the reader to puzzle out.

It didn’t bother me to have the book end like this, though, because a neatly wrapped up ending where everything was solved would have felt manufactured and trite. The purpose of the novel seemed to be to get readers to think more deeply about how individuals and society have to reach a balance, what it means to be happy, whether passion and stability can coexist, and who or what should set moral and ethical boundaries.

A story doesn’t need a satisfying ending if the purpose is to leave readers unsatisfied enough to keep thinking about the problem and the possible solutions.

Posted in books, dystopian, fantasy, paranormal, romance, ya fantasy, ya paranormal, ya urban fantasy

Secrets and Shadows Box Set is here!

Are you ready?

ss-17The Secrets and Shadows Boxed Set is a compilation of TEN not to be missed Young Adult Paranormal, Fantasy and Science Fiction full-length novels that will have you turning the pages faster than ever before.
Packed with fairies, witches, shifters, ghosts, space soldiers, aliens, deadly magic, gritty dystopian worlds, complicated relationships, and the ultimate swoon worthy love interests, follow ten badass heroines with remarkable powers and gifts as they face extraordinary challenges and decisions with potentially deadly consequences. They will stop at nothing to protect everyone and everything they love. They are fierce!
With over a million words and more than 700 combined four and five star reviews, this is your ultimate young adult collection of mesmerizing paranormal, action-packed urban fantasy, enthralling time travel, gripping dystopian and captivating space operas from 10 Award Winning, New York Times, USA Today, and International Bestselling authors!
Check out this epic line up and secure your Limited Edition copy today!

The Ghost Host – DelSheree Gladden
Everyone thinks Echo Simmons is crazy, but being The Ghost Host isn’t just a YouTube hoax like people think. It’s the only way to control the ghosts haunting her…at least until the FBI shows up asking questions.

Waken – Angela Fristoe
The people of Everod have been waiting for Janie and if she hopes to survive she’ll need to confront who and what she really is.

The Midnight Society – Rhonda Sermon
Witness protection has a protocol for every threat – except magic.ss-3d-box-set

The Other F Word – Susan Stec
Even with wings you can’t fly away from fate.

Chosen – Laxmi Hariharan
His family is being held to ransom by a deadly mastermind.

Sunset Empire – Melissa Eskue Ousley
She may be guilty of arson, but she didn’t kill the burned girl haunting her.
When Elyse is haunted by vengeful ghost lurking in the tunnels under Astoria, she discovers her family may be responsible for a fire that nearly destroyed the city, as well as mysterious disappearances spanning hundreds of years. Helping her uncover the truth is Phantom, a boy with a hidden weapon and a dark heritage of his own, that could turn him from friend to hunter.

The Retreat – Kelly St. Clare
Earth was ruined. Humankind destroyed. And it’s old news.

Swords & Stilettos – Kristin D. Van Risseghem
Seventeen-year-old Zoe must devise a kickass plan to thwart evil or watch the world burn.

Saven Deception – Siobhan Davis
The truth doesn’t always set you free…
In a futuristic undersea city, Sadie falls hard for captivating Logan – only to discover he comes from another world! Romance and intrigue combine in this addictive page-turner.

Talented – Sophie Davis
As an exceptionally powerful mental manipulator, seventeen-year-old Talia Lyons can read and control the thoughts of others. In Talented, the first book of her epic story, Talia inhabits a pounding, siren-ready world as she trains to become a highly specialized covert operative.

Buy now for $0.99 or read for #FREE on #KindleUnlimited

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Posted in dystopian, new release

Child of Destruction is getting the dust brushed off!

This poor book has been languishing in my computer files for a long time, and I think I’m finally ready to do something with it. I made a cover for it, anyway! I’d love to hear everyone’s thoughts.

Child of Destruction.jpg

  And now, here’s a little about the book!

Rule #1: Always work to benefit the village.

Rule #2: Obey the leaders, or become exiled into the nuclear war-decimated wasteland.

Rule #3: Never bring an outside back to the village.

Harmony has always had a tough time blindly following anyone, let alone the village leader intent on seeing her exiled. So when she stumbles across a not-quite-dead body during a scavenging hunt, she’s determined to take him back to the village. The other members of the hunting party tell her to leave him, let him die, it’s too risky. Even Pace is wary of helping her. He knows what the price of her aid will be.

Harmony refuses to let the emaciated and strange looking man die alone in the desert. That’s not the only reason. After having been told her whole life that they were the only humans left in the ravaged Southwest, possibly the world, she wants nothing more than to expose Luther for the liar he is.

For most of the villagers, survival is all that matters. They wear themselves out, day after day, just trying to stay alive. Harmony asks herself daily what the point of staying alive and safe is when it only inflicts misery. Her desire to share this one small truth and give hope to the villagers, backlashes when Luther finds out. His son, Zen tries to step in on Harmony’s behalf, but Luther is relentless.

So is Harmony. She now knows the truth is somewhere outside the walls of the village, and she won’t stop until she finds it, with or without Zen and Pace’s help.

Not totally sure on the release date yet, but it’s looking good for this summer!

Posted in dystopian, escaping fate, fantasy, free book, invisible, paranormal, twin souls, wicked hunger, young adult

Free Books Anyone?

We’re coming up on summer, let’s get to reading! 

I’ll be sharing my official summer reading list recommendations in the next few weeks (There are some awesome books on it!), but until then, you’re more than welcome to grab one of these FREEBIES and share them with your friends. All of them. Seriously. 

Not sure where to get them? 
Well, here are the links!

Invisible

(working on Kindle, they’re slow. Right now it’s only .99)

Inquest

Escaping Fate

Wattpad (full book will be up this month)

Wicked Hunger

Twin Souls

Happy reading everyone!