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Cognitive Estrangement

This mouthful is used to explain what happens when someone experiences a scene or idea that is different from his/her own reality, but similar enough that they can see it being plausible.

In other words…the suspension of disbelief.  

Now that is a phrase everyone recognizes. It explains a person’s willingness to interrupt his/her critical faculties and believe the unbelievable; sacrifice of realism and logic for the sake of pure enjoyment. The term was coined in 1817 by the poet and aesthetic philosopher Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who suggested that if a writer could infuse a "human interest and a semblance of truth" into a fantastic tale, the reader would suspend judgement concerning the implausibility of the narrative. The concept often applies to fictional works of the action, comedy, fantasy, sci-fi and horror genres. But in reality any genre could have issues with this because a characters motivations and actions often come under fire as being unrealistic, especially when his/her/it arc resembles the Gateway Arch in St. Louis.

What’s so interesting about this topic is the literature implies the burden is on the reader, rather than the writer, to achieve it.


I guess subjectivity does include how willing (or unwilling) we are to accept something we might normally reject. That a love for a character or characters could override the concern for a faulty plot-line. There have been a couple of very popular YA series published over the past decade that I have read the first novel to, but chosen not to continue on with the rest of the series. Why? Not because they were terrible reads, they weren’t. No, I was unable to suspend my disbelief regarding the basic premise of the story. (No – I’m not talking about Harry Potter)

But still, the author bears some responsibility, right?  We shouldn’t take the castle on a chessboard and move it diagonally, because that’s against the rules and therefore unbelievable. Or is it? We all flirt with that line in some way or another, which is funny because everybody has a different idea of where that line should be.

What are your thoughts? How much does your work depend upon cognitive estrangement? What books have you read that went to far in that regard?

A Hesitant Pause.

For the last couple weeks I've devoted my time to blowing the dust off the query letter for Moving Fear, writing a new one for PRICK, not to mention making sure my Query Tracker subscription was up-to-date. Now that I've severed ties with my previous agent, it's time to hit the query trails again.

The truth is, if I wasn't doing all of that, there wouldn't be much else for me to do...writing-wise. I've been riding a high for two years thinking my writing was good enough to land me an agent, but now it turns out the agent wasn't very good - so naturally I have to reassess what that means. PRICK was my fourth novel -- all of them written over a span of seven years -- and although I'm itching to work on something else, I think I've reached a point where I'm not sure putting forth the effort will lead me anywhere. It's not that I believe my writing can't improve, because it absolutely can, but I also feel that over the course of four books I've improved enough to warrant serious consideration. The cost-benefit analysis of starting a fifth manuscript is cloudy - at best.

I guess what I'm saying is that I've reached a tipping point. I have sequels outlined for both Moving Fear and PRICK, and I'm poised to dive into either of them should I land an agent or publisher, but I'm hesitant. I'm consumed with the eternal debate that most aspiring writers are forced to face at some point.  Do I possess enough talent to break into this industry...or am I simply banging my head against a wall that could care less? No, I'm not saying I'm giving up. I'm sending out query letters and tossing chum in the water to see if the sharks are interested. But at the same time, I'm not working on anything new.

Time will tell if this is just a brief respite preceding a flurry of activity and excitement, or the agonizing silence before the doctor pronounces the time of death. 

TIMELESS - Cover Reveal

Are you ready for this gorgeousness? It's been so SO hard not spilling the beans early, but the day is FINALLY here, and we couldn't be more stoked. Crystal Collier is taking over my blog today to reveal the cover for her 3rd book in the Maiden of Time series, and its a doozy!

First of all, a HUGE shout and thank you to all the wonderful people helping Crystal share her cover today: L.G. Keltner, Sandra Cox, Jennifer Lane, DL Hammons, Patricia Lynne, Lidy Wilks, Shannon LawrenceKai Strand, Cathrnia Constantine, Annalisa Crawford, Nicki Elson, Jessica Haight, A. A. Chamberlynn, Sherry Ellis, Nick Wilford, Kristin Smith, Kristine Hall, Sheena-kay GrahamMurees Dupeand Lynne Fickling.

And here it comes!

Are you ready?

Are you sure?




Book Title: TIMELESS (Maiden of Time #3)
Author: Crystal Collier
Genre: YA Paranormal Historical
Release Date: November 1, 2016


In 1771, Alexia had everything: the man of her dreams, reconciliation with her father, even a child on the way. But she was never meant to stay. It broke her heart, but Alexia heeded destiny and traveled five hundred years back to stop the Soulless from becoming.

In the thirteenth century, the Holy Roman Church has ordered the Knights Templar to exterminate the Passionate, her bloodline. As Alexia fights this new threat—along with an unfathomable evil and her own heart—the Soulless genesis nears. But none of her hard-won battles may matter if she dies in childbirth before completing her mission.

Can Alexia escape her own clock?

AWESOME, right?!?

So two quick things. You know how Crystal loves giving away things? You can enter to win a eARC of TIMELESS RIGHT NOW. Yay!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


You can get a notification of the book's actual release on November 1 via email (and get the first chapter FREE shortly), by shooting me your email address HERE.

Lastly, it's BLOG TOUR TIME!!!

If you're willing to help spread the word at release time, sign up today! There will be cheese in abundance, and prizes. You know it!

What do you think of the cover? What makes an awesome cover to you?

Book Review – in a dark dark wood by Ruth Ware

I noticed an odd thing the other day while I was analyzing my Twitter traffic (yes, I do that sort of thing). In the past whenever I posted a book review on my blog and subsequently tweeted about it, my Twitter impressions and engagement rate went through the roof – despite the fact I received just a handful of comments on the blog post itself. So today I’m running an experiment to see if this was an abnormality, or do my followers really care what I think when I discuss current literature. I’ve picked one of my most recent reads and I’m going to give it the review treatment today…then we’ll see what happens.

It just so happens the book I’m reviewing today was an impulse buy. I travel quite a bit for my job and to dull the suffering caused by the inconveniences of modern day air travel, I read. A lot. I usually make sure I have two books tucked in my backpack for this very reason, but on my last trip I miscalculated and left myself without literary companionship with multiple hours still left to go. So I ducked into an airport book store for a fiction-based life raft. 

I wasn’t looking for anything in particular, though my taste usually runs towards mystery/suspense/thriller in either the adult or YA vein. in a dark dark wood by Ruth Ware caught my eye, despite never hearing the authors name before. The cover was very simplistic, black and white, with a single quote in red at the bottom from Reese Witherspoon (the actress, for those of you who are cinema-challenged) stating…Prepare to be scared…really scared! Both the back cover and first two pages were covered with praise for the book from a plethora of notable sources, announcing that it was soon to become a major motion picture, but nowhere could I find a description of what the book was actually about. I was intrigued anyway, so I added it to my collection.

I’ll start off my actual thoughts about the book by saying this…Reese Witherspoon must really be a WUSS!

The book begins with a couple of quick scenes of someone running desperately through the woods, either chasing or being chased, and the reader is definitely given the impression that foul deeds are at play. From then on the story jumps back and forth between the current timeline and a re-telling of events that led up to it.

We then find out our narrators name is Leonora, which in itself is a point of contention because she used to go by Lee and now she wants to be called Nora, but nobody over the course of the book can seem to get that straight. Lee/Nora is a writer, living a solitary existence in England until she receives an invite to attend a “hen” weekend (sort of a female version of a bachelor party) for an old girlfriend (Clare) from her school days. Lee/Nora is reluctant to attend at first because apparently her past friendship with Clare brings back memories of a tragic breakup with an ex-boyfriend that she has never really gotten over. But after conferring with a close friend (Nina) who was also invited, the two make a pact to tough it out together.

The “hen” takes place at a secluded home (of course - with cell phone service that seems to be suspiciously in-sync with the plot) in the woods that was borrowed for the weekend. Along with Lee/Nora and Nina, the cast of characters for the weekend include Clare (bride-to-be), Flo (the borderline obsessive best friend and weekend organizer), Melanie (a college friend who is a new mother), and Tom (a gay co-worker of the groom and bride).

To prevent me from giving away too many spoilers, I’ll simply say that Lee/Nora learns something from Clare when she arrives that immediately has her re-thinking her decision to come, and amps up the tension considerably. Utilizing the back and forth style of story revealing, the author lets the reader learn that someone is murdered…but who is dead…and who is the murderer?

That’s enough of a setup, so let’s get down to what I thought. Ruth Ware knows how to tell a story and writes in such a way that lends itself to a quick read. No, it wasn’t scary (seriously Reese?) but it was fast paced and thrilling at times. The characters were well defined and much more than card board cutouts. As far as the mystery goes, I knew what was going on about ½ way in. But to Ms. Ware’s credit, she did throw in enough red herrings and false trails to make me doubt my assumptions at times, but in the end it was predictable. Some readers might take issue with believability if they’re unable to suspend the need for rational thought by some characters, but I brushed these aside and just enjoyed the ride. This was Ms. Ware’s debut novel and her sophomore book (The Woman in Cabin 10) is already on the bookshelves…and on my TBR list.

On a five star scale, I would give this a three. I very rarely hand out five stars and four stars signify exceptional work that resonated with me long after I turned the last page. I consider three stars a pleasurable read, but did it deserve all the praise bestowed upon it? Not in my opinion. 

And after all, that’s all this is…one guys opinion. If you read it, what did you think?


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