bookBUZZ -Story Engineering

I don't usually read writing books, but I thought I'd give STORY ENGINEERING a try. And I'm glad I did.

Author Larry Brooks has packed this book with interesting and pertinent information that every writer will benefit from knowing. Story Engineering is, as the title suggests, a blueprint for writing. The book predominately covers the fiction "blueprint", but the author suggests that the tools described can help writers with some forms of non-fiction as well.

Being a "seat of the pants" writer as described in Brooks's book, I found it quite interesting to read about the "six core competencies of successful writing" and how they apply to my "organic" writing style. These core competencies, Brooks insists, are mandatory if a writer is trying to get published, and he provides a good argument for each.

Brooks has crafted an amazingly informative book in Story Engineering that I think every writer - other than the A-listers of course - will benefit from reading. I know that I certainly found several nuggets of information that I'll be using in future novels!

bookBUZZ - Beyond Talent

Beyond Talent: Become Someone Who Gets Extraordinary Results by John Maxwell is an inspiring self help book meant to coach those with talent into becoming a "talent plus" person. Maxwell guides readers on a road to implementing the steps to take their talent and maximize it.

Beyond Talent: Become Someone Who Gets Extraordinary Results contains plenty of great examples of people who have used initiative, belief, preparation, practice, character and focus to turn their talent into something big, something great, something that fulfills them and helps them to achieve their purpose in life.

Maxwell's writing style is positive and encouraging and Beyond Talent: Become Someone Who Gets Extraordinary Results is filled with great advice on how to get moving, make your talent work for you, and score in the game of life.

If you're looking for a good book to coach you on how to achieve more with the talent you have, you'll want to read John Maxwell's Beyond Talent: Become Someone Who Gets Extraordinary Results .

technologyBUZZ - iPad2

The iPad 2 is thinner and lighter than its original counterpart. It weighs only 1.33 pounds, making it an easy device to tote around! The frame has been more streamlined, making it more ergonomic, in my opinion, and less unstable when placed on a flat surface. The iPad 2 sports a new A5 dual-core processor that, when combined with the iOS 4.3 which it ships with, makes it super fast. And the ten-hour battery life allows you to use it for long periods of time without searching for a plug in. The iPad 2 also comes with dual-cameras, one front-facing and one rear-facing. Cameras are a nice addition to the iPad 2, allowing users to chat via Facetime as well as take photos and videos (rear-camera is capable of shooting video at 720p HD). Combine all of these features with new Airprint capabilites, a new Apple Digital AV adapter that lets users output HD video, and some really smart Smartcovers and you've got pure Apple magic. Once again, Apple has outclassed everyone else in the market and provided a top-notch, not-to-be-missed product that once you use it, you'll find it hard to live without. I definately think that everyone would love an iPad 2. I recommend that you get the Apple iPad 2 MC916LL/A Tablet (64GB) if you plan to do a lot of video editing on your iPad 2.

technologyBUZZ: DROID 2

I switched from a Blackberry to a DROID 2 recently, and I'm loving the DROID 2 . It does everything that my Blackberry used to do, and then some! DROID 2 does email - only better. DROID 2 does social media. DROID 2 loads faster in the browser and has an incredible speech to text feature that works right out of the box (without training it to your voice)!

Android phones come with Swype, which is fun to learn for fast texting, and even easier to get addicted to. Even the way that the emergency contacts are set up on the Android OS just makes - if you use security with your screen lock, the emergency contacts show up right from the locked screen! (Now, that just makes sense, doesn't it?) The QWERTY keyboard is good quality and large enough to get some good texting speed out of if you want to use it instead of Swype. The phone itself is made well, with good quality components. The camera takes great photos and video. So far, I've only had a few "glitches" to complain about. For instance, the DROID 2 has completely lost the connection to my email accounts twice, and no amount of reapplying the settings has fixed the problem. The fix required completely deleting the accounts(s) and starting over. So far, the DROID 2 has exceeded my expectations. If you get one, I think you'll like it too.

bookBUZZ - Photoshop Darkroom 2: Creative Digital Transformations

The Photoshop Darkroom 2: Creative Digital Transformations by Harold Davis and Phyllis Davis from Focal Press is an excellent resource book for photographers and designers. The book itself is a work of Photoshop art! Vivid images put together in Photoshop are displayed to perfection inside the book and on the covers, making the book a joy to read. The how-to techniques are easy to understand and helpful in inspiring new ideas for those who design in Photoshop.

The Photoshop Darkroom 2: Creative Digital Transformations is written so that both newbies and experts are sure to find something of interest between the covers and the writing style is perfect for a book of this nature. The author duo includes both a photographer and a designer, and the book shines from the experience of both.

I have to admit, I loved this book. The combination of visually stunning images and excellent tutorials is a winner. I'd highly recommend this book to readers who love Photoshop!

bookBUZZ- Destiny's Promise by Janeau L'voe

Destiny's Promise by Janeau L'voe offered by Writer's Exchange publishing is an anthology with a collection of four novellas. All novellas contained in this anthology have a paranormal bent to them. One thing I really liked about this anthology was the fact that it was very clean (as in sans erotic detail). All of the stories are a quick read, too, which makes them great to take along if you are traveling or on your daily commute.

Destiny's Promise is only available as an ebook, but it is available in a stunning selection of formats!

A summation of the novellas, from the publisher's site:

The Imminent Future: Meet Sylver Dreeming, the foremost geo-thermal expert for CosmoTeck. Follow her efforts to find a solution to the problem of Earth's overpopulation in the year 2193.

Daughter's Destiny: Is a daughter's healing strength enough to save her mother from the evil that has stalked her across an entire mountain? Can love change the nature of the beast that only wishes to do harm?

Maxwell's Promise: Los Lunas, New Mexico - City of the Moon. Is the curse of the werewolf greater than the power of love?

Midnight Mist: Every night at midnight, a magical mist creeps into the corner of Selene's parlor: but this time it has brought with it a man, an immortal creature who rides the mists of time as easily as a hawk rides the wind.

bookBUZZ - Living on the Edge by Shannon K. Butcher

I just finished reading LIVING ON THE EDGE by Shannon K. Butcher from Penguin Group's Signet line. This is the first in her new THE EDGE suspense series. After reading all of the books currently available from her paranormal series, SENTINEL WARS, I have to admit I was expecting a little more suspense from her new suspense series. LIVING ON THE EDGE was well-written, had great characters, an interesting back story, and quite a few plot twists and turns, but the suspense tended to ebb and flow. I found myself feeling bored in a few chapters and actually flipping ahead in the book to find some more action!

Despite that one minor flaw, I have to say that Shannon K. Butcher still produced a great read. All of the elements of a good novel were present, and Butcher definitely had character development down to an art form. Her characters practically jump right off the page with realism. Once again, though, in true Butcher style, she does leave the reader hanging at the end of the book - wanting more, but being forced to wait until the next book in the series comes out in November 2011.

bookBUZZ - Immanuel's Veins by Ted Dekker

Immanuel's Veins by Ted Dekker published by Thomas Nelson was a bit of a surprise. I have never before seen a Christian vampire novel! I greatly anticipated the arrival of this rare story, but I ended up being a little disappointed.

The story is very unique. Set in the Carpathian Mountains in the 18th Century, Immanuel's Veins tells the story of Toma, who is sent to guard two women from danger. When he realizes that the danger that he needs to protect them from comes in the form of the descendants of the Nephilim, he is taken aback. However, he must do his duty, and so he allows himself to be drawn along on a dark journey of blood and danger.

As unique as the storyline is, I expected a bit more from Ted Dekker. The book progressed in fits and starts and did not have an even flow of suspense, and, without revealing a spoiler, I have to say that I was very disappointed in the end and felt that after all of the work that went into such an incredible story, it could have been tied together better at the conclusion.

Despite my disappointment, I still feel that kudos should go to Thomas Nelson for publishing fiction that pushes the edge of Christian literature!
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