Book Review: The Stolen Karma of Nathaniel Valentine

The Stolen Karma Of Nathaniel Valentine (The Books Of Balance Book 1) by [Bloch, Justin]

5 out of 5

From the beginning of this novel I was captivated. The elegance of the writing is something that stood out to me. The way scenes were detailed made it seem as if I were there with the main character, Nathaniel Valentine. Each of the characters in this book were truly their own character because of how well developed they were making it so easy to delve right into the world.

I would also like to point out that there were some pleasant surprises in the novel as you read along. Parts of the ending were a surprise to me, which I can honestly say doesn’t happen often. For those who love reading fantasy, this should be one of the books you read.

The gist of the story is a man who is basically a nobody, drifting through life unnoticed, suddenly becomes more than just a somebody. He is destined to bring balance to the karmic system. All the while, he travels with a karma policeman (angel) who is extremely rough around the edges as he doesn’t like mankind/Residents. This story puts a unique spin on the origins of humanity, other creatures, and of God.

The downside is that there doesn’t seem to be a second book in the series, yet.

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Perseverance

As much as we love writing, we have another writing confession…. We also hate it. We have a love/hate relationship with writing. There are some days we absolutely love writing and can hammer out 5,000 words or more on a project. And then, there are days where we can barely write 50 words. That’s okay though. The thing is as long as you continue to write and plug away at your WIP, even if it’s only 50 words at a time, it will eventually get done. The important thing is that you keep working at it. Never give up, even if sometimes writing is difficult. It took us a while to admit it, even to ourselves, but it’s okay to admit something is difficult, even if it’s your chosen career path. Things are going to be difficult some days. There’s nothing wrong with it. In fact, it’s those difficult days that help us grow as writers.

For us, the best written scenes are the ones we struggle with. We like to think it’s because it’s such a struggle and we have to sit there and think precisely what we want to write. Often times, we delete sentences or paragraphs and start over in these scenes.

We know we’ve written a few posts like this in the past, but it’s something every writer needs a reminder about from time to time. I know we do. Sometimes we get so caught up in the idea “we should be writing” that we forget writing isn’t everything. It’s only a part of who we are. So, if there are days you can only hammer out a few words then there are days like that. It isn’t something we should really, really worry about unless we’re under a deadline because of a contract.

Enjoy life. Enjoy writing. Don’t give up.

A Writing Confession

We haven’t written anything in 3 days! That’s saying something for us. We always write something, even if it’s only a paragraph or just a sentence. But, it’s been 3 days since either of us have wanted to write. Sometimes, although we love to write, we need to take a break from it. While we’ve taken this break, it feels as if we’re a little more refreshed and focused now.

Life is supposed to be enjoyable, and so is writing. But when writing starts to feel like something else, one needs to take a break from it and reflect on why it’s feeling different. Writing, for us, isn’t supposed to feel like a chore, not when we’ve always loved writing and creating new worlds and people. However, writing had started to feel like it was something we HAD to do, and it’s because we lost focus. We were focusing more on the end result than on the enjoyable process of creating and writing. We were starting to write for other people. That’s something neither of us have ever wanted to do. We want to write the stories we want to write, not what we think others want us to. The reason we write for ourselves is because we know not everyone is going to like our stories or the way we write. That’s okay as long as we like it.

On a side note, it’s also nice to know there are people out there who enjoy our stories. We are fortunate enough to have a few fans who absolutely love our stories and we always look forward to hearing from them. We also enjoy hearing from others who have stumbled across one of our novels.

Now that we refocused our priorities again, the pages and stories are coming easier again. Thank goodness! Hopefully, we won’t slip again.  I’m not saying that we won’t. We’re only human. The important thing is we try not to lose our focus and that we continue to enjoy doing what we do.

A note to other writers out there. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Writing is hard enough without the extra harsh criticism coming from ourselves. It’s okay to be critical of your own work, but don’t become so critical of it, you start to hate doing what you do. Chances are, even if you go over your manuscript a thousand times, there’s going to be some mistake in there that someone will point out. It’s okay. I’ve read a few traditionally published books that had several mistakes in them. I’ve read indie books with only one or two. It all depends on the editor. Mistakes happen and are easily overlooked sometimes. Just remember to enjoy yourself. Life is too short for anything less.

 

The False Gods Release Date

I was to have book 4 of the Hartland, The False Gods, series published already but one of my beta readers was delayed. I still haven’t heard back from them…. So, what I’m going to do since I’ve gotten the green light on the other beta readers is press forward. I shouldn’t have waited this long for them, especially if they don’t have the common courtesy to email me or shoot me a Facebook message telling me something like “life got in the way, sorry I didn’t finish your book”, or “I didn’t like the book and I have no good things to say about it”. That’s two things I cannot stand: lack of courtesy and lack of communication. I know they’re not dead as they’ve been on Facebook posting things. Otherwise, I’d be concerned.

Anyway, we’re aiming for a release date of July 12th! Just 6 days away. I wanted to read through the manuscript one more time, looking for any mistakes I may have missed. It’s been a while since I’ve read the book so I’m coming to it with a fresh set of eyes. I’m so excited to reveal the 4th book in the 5 book series. Book 5 is already halfway through its first draft as well. For those of you who may have forgotten what the cover looks like, here it is. Enjoy your day. I have a busy few days ahead of me!

The False Gods Cover 2

Writing in Solitude

As I read other authors blogs and posts on Facebook, it seems all of them just want peace and quiet while they write. They want solitude and to be left alone. I have found that I write much better when my husband is in the room with me. When he goes off to the job that pays the bills and I’m left alone all day, my writing suffers. Sometimes I don’t write at all or only manage to get a page out. When he gets home and we’ve gotten to talk to each other and have dinner that’s when I hammer out my word counts and meet page numbers. It’s comforting in having him home with me, even if there are distractions because of it. Even if while I’m writing, he’s telling me about something that happened during the day.

He’s the same way. Back when I used to work, he wasn’t productive at all if he had a day off and I was at work. It wasn’t until I came home and we were together again did he think about writing. Writing is one of the many, many things that have drawn us closer to one another over the 12 years of our marriage, even when we disagree how a scene should play out. Somehow, we always manage to compromise and the scene turns out really great. Only a few times have we had to scrap the entire thing and start over. Thank goodness.

I think what it is, is we end up missing each other too much during the day. Maybe we’re odd. Maybe we’re not. All I know is we write at our best together instead of in solitude. We do everything better together.

Road Trips = Great Ideas

Every time my husband and I take a road trip, story ideas start pouring from us. I think it’s because we’re forced to take a break from social media and video games. We’re forced to sit in the car as we drive toward our destination looking at scenery. This is where a lot of our ideas come from. This is where we fine tune some of our future projects. Most of the time, we don’t write them down either until we stop. If it’s something super important we’ll text the other person little reminders so we can write them down when we stop.

The magic doesn’t really start happening until about an hour into the trip though. It’s about the time we get tired of listening to music and turn it off for a bit. I love road trips for this reason and many more. Road trips help take the mind off of everything. You’re going somewhere new or different and it’s exciting. It’s almost the same feeling as when we create a new world with new characters. Excitement. Thrill. Eagerness.

So after the first hour that’s when we start talking about our stories or we’ll see something that reminds us of something we’re working on. Most of our road trips are spent talking to one another, coming up with ideas, talking about our current projects and why we might be stuck on them. It’s sad we cannot take more road trips, but the job that pays the bills gets in the way. Silly job don’t you know we have important things to write? Why must you take up so much time?

For us, whenever we talk about a road trip we know we’re going to come away with some kind of fantastic idea or new story creation. So, I say, bring on the road trips.