Writing Ranting with Others!

Join my Discord group and rant about writing with others. @LoveFantasy#0367

Writing is scary. Sharing your writing is scary and confusing and chaotic sometimes. I have a small writing group on Discord called Writing Ranting with Others. It’s not the usual kind of writing group. The main aim of the group is to support and help writers find their way as they embark on their writing journey or if they question the path they’re on. I’m no expert in writing, but I am an expert in losing my way, including in my writing.

Writing is a tough game. We need thick skin if we want to put our work out there and get published. But we don’t all start that way, and sometimes we might slip back if we’re having a tough time.

Below are just some of the topics I’d like to help writers with.

  • How to deal with advice – I posted about Great Writing Advice last week with some of my favourite sources. It took me a good while to work how where to find advice without overloading my brain, but also how to pick out the right advice for me. 
  • Overcoming stagefright – Sharing is scary, so why not share with the very purpose or having that first critique from people who know the feeling? Honesty doesn’t have to be hard to hear.
  • Taking feedback – Critiques are meant to help writers, but they can also be hard to handle at first. Then there are the conflicting opinions on top. It’s a lot to process when you’re finding your voice.
  • Writer’s block – It’s not always easy to find inspiration when life gets stressful. Sometimes brainstorming for someone else can help wake up your creative side.
  • Using your emotions – Write from the heart and use what you’ve experienced in life to put pen to paper.
  • Indecisiveness – Sometimes you don’t even need advice., You need a second opinion because you’re stuck on a decision. Think aloud with us and get some thoughts back, or maybe you’ll come to your own conclusion by sounding out your options.

I want to help writers deal with the scary and confusing aspects of writing as well as creating a safe place to talk about all kinds of writerly things. Call it group therapy if you like. 

Join my Discord group and rant about writing with others. @LoveFantasy#0367


Welcome to I Love Fantasy Novels!

Book, Landscape, Read, Leaves, Atmosphere, Inspiration
Image by MysticArtDesign at Pixabay

Welcome to my awesome imagination. Let’s see if my writing can express it. I’ll be sharing treats and teasers and tips. Don’t alliterate lists sound nice?

This site is full of my fantastical ideas, and my blog, Writing Ranting, is exactly what it sounds like. It’s me ranting about my thoughts on writing and sharing some of my short pieces. I’d love for you to join me on this amazing journey to becoming a published writer and maybe find something useful in what I say. I am by no means an expert, but I’m an avid reader, aspiring writer, a helpful (so I’ve been told) writing buddy, and a fantasist. It’s my opinion, and you are free to disagree. 

At the time of starting this site, I am not published. I strongly believe that writing should be a creative process which can’t be rushed or controlled, otherwise it looses its sense of creativity. There’s always plenty of folk out there who like to read works in progress and watch them grow. I’m one of them, whether it’s my work or someone else’s.

As a performing arts and media student turned IT technician turned English ESL teacher in Spain, I’ve had a lot of experience with expression and languages. I love grammar and structures, but I also love playing around with it. So I’m strict in teaching it as a foreign language, but the moment I start writing fiction, all rules go out the window. Well… some of them. Rules are made to be broken, right?

Join me for Writing Ranting with Others on Discord SilverLinings#0367. Tweet me @L0veFantasy. Instagram @LoveFantasyNovels Email me lovefantasynovels@gmail.com. Skype me live:lovefantasynovels.

Book Review – Autumn of the Grimoire By J.L. Vamp – 2.5 stars

Warning: May contain minor spoilers, but opening comments are spoiler-free. Check out my Reading Ranting page for more.

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

I was a bit disappointed with this book since it looked so good, but ultimately I just didn’t get into it. I read it all because I wanted to know the ending, but if it had been longer, I might have DNFed it. I’m actually relieved to have given a book a low rating this year since I was beginning to think I was being too nice maybe. But I’m just lucky apart from this book.

What I liked…

Once the romance got going, I quite liked it. 

It was a genuinely interesting story.

What I didn’t like…

The writing was good, but not very exciting most of the time. It was just… ok.

There were a few things that I just didn’t get at the beginning that I felt needed more explanation for me to understand the story.

Transitions felt rushed and often skipped completely to the point it felt jarring.

The romance jumped some key moments too and just didn’t feel natural.

Final thoughts…

I don’t know if I want to read the rest of the series but I might try them if they’re on Kindle Unlimited. 

Book Review – A Game of Malice and Greed by Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti – 4 stars

Warning: May contain minor spoilers, but opening comments are spoiler-free. Check out my Reading Ranting page for more.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

If these two write a fantasy, I’ll devour it. If you’ve read their other books, forget them. This is a completely new world with new characters and is a dark Alladin retelling. 

Princess Austyn is a princess hidden by a veil and slave to traditions. When her guard, Cassius, accidentally sees her without her veil, he’s sentenced to death, But the evil empress offers him a chance at freedom if he finds a hidden treasure for her. Drake is a street thief who would be mad to refuse the idea of a fortune when he and Cassius end up in the palace dungeon together after Cassius refused the empress’ offer. 

The pair embark on a journey to find a magical treasure that will lead them to a larger adventure. 

What I loved…

The grumpy sunshine friendship between the two MMCs was top-notch. They’re complete opposites but make a hilarious duo. 

Whatever you expect for the genie… I doubt you’re prepared for Kyra. She’s a fun take on the lovable character and my favourite.

Princess Austyn knows her own mind from the start but is a prisoner of her own gender and has no power to make the changes she wants. But she has a little fun doing it sometimes.

What I didn’t like…

I struggled a few times during the first half of the book. I think that could have been seriously condensed. The fun banter between Drake and Cassius made it worth it. 

Final thoughts…

Another book from the twisted sisters to make me laugh and cry and scream and sigh along with the characters. And if you’re scared based off their other series, you should be.

Reading Ranting – On the High Seas of Piracy

Honestly, this is one Hell of a rant today because I’m just furious over people’s ignorance and blatant disregard for others when it comes to piracy.

Imagine you’ve worked for months on an important university project. It counts for half your final results and without it, you’d have to repeat the year. You spent hours in the library, so you saved your project on a cloud so you could access it wherever.

Now imagine your professor calls you in to say someone else has the exact same project, and until you can prove it’s yours, you can’t submit the project. The other person clearly accessed your files through the university’s computers, but the university claim that’s not their problem because they were your files. 

By the time it gets resolved, the submission date has passed, and you’ve lost half your grade. 

Do you see my point?

One of my favourite series, The Plated Prisoner, by Raven Kennedy got taken of Kindle a few weeks ago along with some other authors because their books were found on piracy sites. I didn’t know all the authors, but many people I follow on social media did and spoke out on their behalf. We were all shocked and appalled, partly at Amazon for their lack of security, and at people who support pirating sites and claim it’s “not their problem”. They either use the excuse that they only use pirating sites for textbooks (hence my opening example being about a student), or they say that they can’t afford books and how else are they supposed to get them?

I’m sorry for the situations that people are in where they can’t afford textbooks for their studies or can’t enjoy the amazing stories that many of us take for granted even if it’s a 9.99 Kinde Unlimited subscription. But that still doesn’t give them the right to risk the livelihood of hardworking authors because they feel they deserve those books. 

Nobody is entitled to free books at the expense of authors losing the ability to sell their books. Not only do books get taken off Amazon, but the authors are at risk of losing their accounts because of repeated piracy. 

And rather than do something about their access to free books, people complain on social media, essentially admitting to obtaining books illegally. I have no words for that. 

Instead of arguing… 

  • Meet with your local library to discuss raising more money for more books and have specific copies to stay in the library so they’re always available.
  • Ask the school/university to create a book renting system where you pay a deposit but get the money back when you return the book. 
  • Create a book sharing group where you buy 1 book each or 1 book for each subject, then you share them. 

These are what I came up with in 5 minutes. If you really need textbooks, there are ways to get them legally. If people spent more time doing something and less time arguing over how hard it is, then imagine what we’d achieve. 

Writing Ranting – Listening to Readers

One of the most important things I’ve learned as a writer is to listen to readers. I’ve talked about receiving feedback specifically related to your book throughout the revising and editing stages, but this advice applies to any point before and during.

I’ve heard a ton of advice from writers who seemed to stick to a formula and write to appeal to the easily pleased market, but also the easy to forget market. That’s fine to sell lots of books in a short space of time, but I want more for myself as a writer. 

I want my books to stay with people long after they’ve read them, and I want readers to keep coming back for my characters, my worlds, my stories that make them truly feel something. 

Listening to writers is definitely not as effective as listening to readers in this sense. Before you even set pen to page, taking reader’s thoughts and passions onboard can help you get your story off to a great start before it’s even fully formed.

Just to be clear, this isn’t about writing to a current reading trends, though you’re more than welcome to. But you risk missing the slot and turning up late to the part if you don’t write the book in time. I’m talking about looking for the types of characters that people keep raving over, the tropes that have been popular in your sub genre for years, and the books that keep popping up time and time again. 

So how do you listen to readers that haven’t read your book?

  • Find similar books and check the reviews on what readers liked and didn’t like. Use them to your advantage and play on the most popular comments in the high rating reviews while avoiding the common issues in the low rating reviews.
  • Join bookish social media, but be sure to go beyond the surface level posts. Book nerds and other writers share their experiences on both sides for you to learn from in relating to what your potential readers want. 
  • Join reading groups on Facebook and Discord to see what they say about their favourite books and why they like them so much. 
  • Listen to your inner reader. If you’re anything like me, then you’ll love reading as much as writing. I know what I love as a reader, and I use that in my books as best as I can, because I know there are readers like me out there who’ll love it too. 

This is pretty much the extent of it, but learning how to navigate these platforms takes time and patience. But it will pay off once you know what types of accounts, groups, and comments to trust as useful. 

I’ve had entire conversations over a book that I knew was very similar to mine and thought… hmm, maybe I should try such a thing in that scene since it seems to work in other books. 

I’m not saying to copy other books just because they’re similar to yours and popular. Your book is still your own story, but if you’re unsure of a particular path, or a certain comment sparks an idea that you feel truly works for your story too, then go for it. 

Book Review – Supernova by Julie Hall – 5 stars

Warning: May contain minor spoilers, but opening comments are spoiler-free. Check out my Reading Ranting page for more.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I didn’t think this series could get any better, but this was top tier tension between Nova and Thorn. Wow, just freaking wow. I liked Nova in the previous books, but when she leapt for Thorn… I loved her for that and was so happy to see her get her own book.

What I liked…

Did I mention tension? Lots of it. 

I love Nova’s no nonsense attitude. She’s very different to Emberly which is a nice change after 3 books of Emberly’s story. We definitely get a little of Nova’s dark side, which I really love.

Thorn’s redemption continues from the end of the last book and we see how he became the way he is and what he wants for himself now his mother isn’t around. Poor guy needs a big hug. 

Cleo… I love her soooo much. Might be because I love cats and have one called Cleo too. But the creature is awesome. 

There’s also a mystery (no spoilers) and some confusing goings on up top in the council.

What I didn’t like…

That it’s over. I need more.  

I would have liked Thorn’s POV too. I don’t think it would had spoiled anything getting his perspective too. But I only thought about this a couple of times, so it really wasn’t a big deal. 

Final thoughts…

One of the best enemies to lovers ever. 

Book Review – Belladonna by Adalyn Grace – 5 stars

I absolutely loved every pWarning: May contain minor spoilers, but opening comments are spoiler-free. Check out my Reading Ranting page for more.age of this book. 

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What I liked…

Signa is a fantastic character. I love how she’s a no nonsense young woman doing her best to fit into a world that fears her because they think she’s cursed. 

Death… There were moments I swear I old-fashioned swooned over him. He’s such a curious character, and I knew something was up with… Shhhh, no spoilers.

The murder mystery was done so well with poor Signa not knowing who she could trust.

What I didn’t like…

Nothing. Absolutely nothing. 

Final thoughts…

Now, I’m not one to plug my own book in a review… but I have to admit part of the reason I loved this so much was because it has a lot in common with Out of Ashes, so if you like this, then you’ll like mine too. 

Book Review – Monthly TBR Update February 2023

Reading did not go to plan this month, but that’s okay. I got through some great stories, mostly indie authors, including a couple of ARCs.

Books I read this month…
  • Gods and Monsters by Janie Marie – 3 stars
  • A Shimmer Between (ARC) by Evelyn Sage – 3.5
  • Disgraced by Holly Huntress – 4
  • Death Maker (ARC) by J.C. McKenzie – 5 stars
  • Beyond Forsaken Worlds by J.P. McDonald – 4 stars
  • Shadows and Lies by Deanna Ortega – 3 stars
  • Their Vicious Darling by Nikki St. Crowe – 5 stars
  • Belladonna by Adalyn Grace – 5 stars
Mini non-spoiler reviews…

Gods and Mostes had such a great start but then fell away for me. And a lot of the writing and character traits were overdone.

A Shimmer Between. Again, another great story but lacked clear descriptions and had an awkward magical power.

Disgraced had good characters and story, but the writing was a little flat for my liking.

Death Maker. Loved everything about this book. The writing was excellent. The story was really fun and the love interest was nicely played. 

Beyond Forsaken Worlds reminded me of Firefly but the movie, and The Lower Decks with some intergalactic conspiracies. 

Their Vicious Darling is the best of the series so far. I loved the previous books, but felt they were too short to really get into. Now it’s a decent length story, and I really love it.

Shadow and Lies wasn’t as good as I was hoping. I actually skipped a lot because I was waiting for something to happen that never did. 

Belladonna. Wow. This was another top tier book for me. It started off a lot like mine which was super fun, and it had similar tone and elements to my book. How could I not love it?

Books I’m going to read next month…
  • To Ashes and Dust (ARC) by Luna Laurier
  • Autumn of the Grimoire by J.L. Vamp
  • A game of Malice and Greed by Caroline Peckham and Susanne Valenti
  • Until the Last Drop by Kyla Shinder
  • An Heir Comes to Rise C.C. Peñaranda
  • Supernova by Julie Hall
  • Forsaken Thrones by L.L. Stiles
  • Broken Bonds by J. Bree

Reading Ranting – We Just Love Books, Barry!

I want to preface this by stating that I’m a Xenial, meaning I’m on the cusp of Gen X and Millenials, so I grew up with very little technology, and social media wasn’t a thing until I was an adult. I can tell you it was nothing like the fast-paced multi-thematic platforms like Instagram and TikTok, so I’ve seen it grow and evolve. It’s part of life and the way we communicate and share. It’s not perfect, but it can be such an amazing thing when you know how to navigate it and find your people.

In the shallow world of BookTok, being ‘a reader’ is more important than actually reading

GQ article by Barry Pierce. Find the full article here.

I don’t think I’ve ever been so insulted or angered in my life over complete and utter drivel that wasn’t even aimed at me personally from former BookTuber Barry Pierce. How this overly opinionated and obviously unresearched piece made it to GQ magazine is beyond me. What’s worse is that his Instagram followers approve of this article and the incorrect portrayal of an amazing community. Click here to see more responses. They make similar points to me but some funnier.

BookTok isn’t about sharing books. It’s about sharing experiences.

Let me breakdown the many ways this article has taken a fraction of the BookTok community and generalised it and turned it into nonsense, because if Barry had interviewed real BookTokers or had seen other responses to this, he would have learned there’s so much more to us. I say “us” even though I’m a very small fish, probably more like plankton, in a huge ocean of amazing creators, but I feel strongly about this community, so here I am, giving my 2 cents. 

“watching the same twenty books being flaunted again and again”

Well, many BookTokers (not all) read multiple books per month and share thoughts on said books, so to see the same twenty is impossible. There are definitely popular books that get more attention from fans and multiple creators. In between those posts are countless other book recommendations that constantly feed my reading habits. I read at least 4 books per month and I share posts about them as I read, so each week, you’ll see a different book on my page along with other books I read a while back and I’m sharing again for anyone who missed them the first time. 

people openly confessing to owning hundreds of unread books

Hundreds? Really, Barry? I definitely see people with a TBR pile, but as consumers of a highly creative medium, we’re not always in the mood for something we planned to read a few weeks ago. Also, if we start a series, we might lose ourselves in that series or similar books because we go through a phase. If we looked into Barry’s wardrobe and pulled out his clothes, could he honestly say he wore them all equally, or do some get bought with a plan to wear but never the right mood or opportunity? Same thing, Barry. 

the flagrant abuse of sticky tabs in novels that absolutely do not require that much citation

Oh, Barry. You clearly don’t understand the idea of theorising or analysing or just making notes for a review or points to remember for the next book in the series. Again, not your fault that you didn’t think about how others have different thought processes.

bookshelves that are so perfect that arouse suspicion

Suspicion over what, Barry? That we (but not all of us) like pretty covers and organised bookshelves the way someone might display a collection with pride or art that costs thousands or more? I’ve also seen shelves that are all haphazard and don’t think anything bad about them because “to each their own” and all that jazz. Some don’t even have shelves. But you didn’t look long enough to see those, did you, Barry?

something called New Adult?

Yes, Barry. Because YA is from 12-19 ish, and yet some YA books have suggestive scenes in them that aren’t appropriate for the younger end. So New Adult covers a whole group of adults 18+ (college age) who are the appropriate age for those scenes, but it’s still on the younger side of the adult spectrum. It helps us grown-ups choose a book since some prefer about adults with some sense of their lives together while others prefer the younger but still mature (to a point) end of adulthood. 

I think I’m responsible for this.

Big ego you have there, Barry. But let me deflate that for you. I used to watch YouTube for book reviews, but they often got into spoilers and analyzing the book, which is absolutely fine, but it wasn’t good for a review. Also, I’m busy and don’t need that long to decide if I might like a book or not. I’m the same with written reviews too. So a short 30 second to 1 minute video is much easier to digest, especially when I want varying opinions, and help me decide. 

(books hauls, unhauls, challenges, reading wrap-ups) 

Again, this is a small fraction of the community, and reading wrap-ups are just as much for the individual to keep track as they are for the viewers. Sometimes we like to share for ourselves too, Barry. 

Actual reviews became few and far between and many of the smaller, genuine readers on the platform jumped ship. It feels like BookTok has got to the same place, only much faster.

You’re clearly not seeing what I’m seeing because I come across reviews or quick recommendations that act like reviews all the time. It’s also called digital evolution. Life changes, Barry. Move with the times. 

I noticed it had a whole bay dedicated to these BookTok books.

Well, Barry. BookTokers don’t have a say in this. The bookshops do, and I’ve seen fellow BookTokers complain about one or two authors getting all the attention when it’s not a realistic representation of the books we share. 

someone has wrapped every unread book they own (over 300!) in brown paper. Or the dude who says that one of his tips for learning to read more is to “romanticise reading” by finding a cute outfit to read in. Or the person who has made miniature versions of every book they read in 2022 and displays them in a frame. Or the person who has “re-tabbed” their books because the tabs stick out too much and they want the colour match the tabs to the books’ covers. 

I don’t even know where to start with this one. You’re going to get people who going to the extreme with any personal activity, so again, this is unfair generalising over something I rarely see. Also, these people are sharing something with an understanding and like-minded community. Sure, we don’t all do these things, but most of us get it. If you don’t get the reasoning behind these things, then you can’t possibly appreciate that the reading experience goes far beyond the book in your hands. 

Every book is like making a new friend, going on a new adventure, or having a wild dream. We love sharing the ups and downs of everything about those books along with the build-up and the come-down. Some stay with us because they made us feel so deeply, and yes, we’re going to share about that feeling with people we know felt it too.

Book Review – Their Vicious Darling by Nikki St. Crowe – 5 stars

Warning: May contain minor spoilers, but opening comments are spoiler-free. Check out my Reading Ranting page for more.

I’m hooked (pun intended) on the series and this is the best book so far. 

What I liked…

As usual, I love how Winnie finds and accepts her place in Neverland. 

I definitely feel like the characters have had time to form real bonds now which was lacking for me in the previous books. 

I get answers on Wendy since there were a couple of things that were unclear in the last book. It all makes sens now. 

Croc. Lol. He’s so much fun, and I think… I think… there’s something fun being set up with him for the next book beyond the obvious.

What I didn’t like…

In this one, nothing. 

Final thoughts…

Another wild ride on Neverland. 

Book Review – Beyond Forsaken Worlds by J.P. McDonald – 4 stars

Warning: May contain minor spoilers, but opening comments are spoiler-free. Check out my Reading Ranting page for more.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Firstly, I’m going to need some specifics on the massage function of Juniper’s exo-hand.😏

This gave me Firefly meets The Lower Decks vibes with an unlikely crew uncovering an intergalactic conspiracy. Honestly, it’s been a while since I read sci-fi so I have not up-to-date books to compare this to. 

What I liked…

The story is really good and uncovers some deep secrets that put the main characters in danger, and Xan’s pet, Qilin. Nothing gets to me more than a cute animal. 

I love Juniper. She’s so much fun and completely unfiltered. 

I also love Lilianna’s gradual increase in confidence and how she accepts her own desires. 

What I didn’t like…

The analogies and metaphors were overdone and felt forced for my liking.

The constant jumping back and forth with flashbacks got a bit distracting. I’m ok with flashbacks, but this was pushing it for me. 

Final thoughts…

It was a ride and a half, and I definitely recommend it to anyone who likes a space adventure with spice. I’ll be up for book 2.