Inspired Images

Inspired Images

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Forsaken Fate Cover Reveal

Cover designed by Derek Murphy of Creativindie Covers
It's finally here.
Stay tuned for release date. - TBD

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Review: Night by Elie Wiesel


Night by Elie Wiesel

I cannot possibly review this book. Night was powerful. If you haven't already done so, I suggest reading this novel.
If you follow along with me on Instagram or on Facebook you might catch my "what I'm reading" posts. This summer, I have dedicated myself to Holocaust survivor stories. Starting first with The Pianist, then to Anne Frank, then to Night and I am currently reading Schneider's List. I've spent countless hours watching survivor documentaries - each one beginning and ending in my tears. And currently I am taking part in a 22 video series on WWII . It's not the prettiest way to spend a summer, but I am a lifelong learner and have set out to learn about these lives and the losses from this event. I simply cannot wrap my head around the amount of loss caused by The Holocaust and I don't think that I will ever be able to fully understand why it happened, and for so long, and why so many souls had to die.  I'm sad. Hate confuses me. I don't think I possess the ability to hate. I have never hated anyone before. I simply don't understand it. 
I am grateful to survivors like Elie Wiesel for their strength and their ability to share the darkest and most horrifying years of their lives with the unknown public so that we may learn from this.

Master Class Reveiw with James Patterson

Recently, my old high school english teacher posted a link to my facebook page suggesting that I look in to Master Class.  This English teacher is a personal favorite person of mine. She knew me and loved me when I was at my very worst. She saw the best in me and without her, I don't know if I would be able to have achieved my writing goals. I graduated 13 years ago, and this teacher still holds my attention and respect. She has moved from teacher to mentor in my world and I thank her in every book I publish and plan to continue to do so until the day that I die.  So when she suggests something - I listen. After all, this smart and funny woman brought A Brave New World, Fahrenheit 451, Lord of the Flies, Animal Farm and The Odyssey in to my life. She hasn't steered me wrong yet.

So, I pulled up Master Class and sure enough, the idea intrigued me. I love to be intrigued. Master Class claims that their instructors are the best in the world.  If you want to learn the craft of acting, take a class with Dustin Hoffman. Wow. Somehow Serena Williams can teach you how to play tennis and Annie Leibovitz can teach the art of Photography. My niche is writing and it so happens that the best selling author of all time, James Patterson teamed up with Master Cass and lent his time and vast knowledge for a 22 class session.  So I took the bait and for a $90.00 fee, I became one of James Patterson's students.
Ninety bucks isn't bad. In fact, its a steal. A class at a university would typically cost much more, and I'm not too sure they could offer any more helpful information than that of James Patterson.
The class was fun, I enjoyed each session, I took away much more than what I thought I would have.  Patterson hit home on several points that really helped me polish my craft.  In the sessions, Patterson emphasizes the need for passion and habit, he talks about finding and using book ideas, the importance of pace with a plot, the absolute need to research everything - a few times he mentions research everything right down to the bee sting - this could not be more true. Patterson spends two sessions on outlines - a blessing for me. He touches on character development, dialog, editing, getting published and even dealing with Hollywood.  With the lectures, is a follow along workbook, a Q&A, and opportunities to join the writing community with conversations on each subject.
This class gets my approval. I would suggest Master Class to any of my writer friends. I ended each session with a boost of confidence and walked away as a better writer because of it.
Check it out  by clicking here --> MasterClass and let me know what you think.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

2015 Best of Springfield VOTE FOR ME

I am from the greatest state in the USA. Illinois. Please do not pronounce the 's.' In Illinois, we have fields, countless fields. Rows of corn that go on further than the eye can see. In Illinois we have cows that rarely moo, chickens that scatter when we drive down dusty roads, and dogs that do nothing but lie underneath  some of the prettiest blue skies you might ever see. We fight over baseball teams and sit in garages for fun. Illinoisans celebrate their home grown goodness and we take great pride in supporting our locals. I can attest to this.
Yearly, the Illinois Times puts on the "Best of Springfield." We encourage people to log on and vote for their favorite local...everything - food (a lot of food), shops, musicians and artist. This year, I happen to be on the ballot for the Best Living Writer/Author and I'd b beyond happy if I were to win this Illinois Honor.
If you happen to see this blog post then it's likely that you are bored and in search of something to kill some time, so I urge you to VOTE FOR ME. You don't have to be from Illinois and really voting is super easy and takes nano seconds. Follow the link I've posted below and enter your name email and city. You can find me under the section about people - and I am under Best Living Local Author.  Select my name and submit your vote. that it!
Thanks again to everyone for so much support. I have said this before, but the support I receive is mind boggling. I'll let y'all know if I win. Fingers crossed.

Review: Luckiest Girl Alive By Jessica Knoll


Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll
3 out of 5 stars
Ani is difficult to like - too much talk about body image, superiority and her desire to be so much better than anyone she meets. Barf. Ani’s relationship with Luke seemed borderline irrelevant to the rest of the story and in a way, their relationship details became filler. I understood Ani’s struggles so I forgave her for some of her faults as an adult. The storyline had some holes and that bothers me to no end. I hate flaws in a story line, but it was entertaining nonetheless. The writing was solid – Jessica Knoll is clever but I think this could have been much better than what it was. Again, I am having issues with publishers stacking too much weight on average books making them much bigger than what they should be.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Review: The Pianist by Wladyslaw Szpilman

5 of 5 stars
The Pianist is strong, poignant, moving and brave. This is a first person account of one man’s horrifying experience in Warsaw Poland during the Holocaust. It is our duty to read these books, watch these movies and listen to Holocaust survivor interviews. So much can be learned from these brave survivors and from mankind- our evils and our kindness can be so radical and surprising.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

"I love you. I have been put on this Earth to protect you. It’s my job.  My worship of you is on the edge of unholy.  My devotion is sacrilegious. You are my whole reason for being. I’ve placed you on the tallest of pedestals and that is where I intend to keep you. Forever. I will lie down at your feet and die. I will sacrifice my every breath for you. Everything I do, I do for you. You are my Fate."
                                                                               - Ari  Alexander 
 A Forsaken Fate

Monday, July 6, 2015

Review: Sugar

Sugar by Deirdre Riordan Hall
Sugar is poignant. The writing style of this author is unique and worked so perfectly with the characters that I could not image the story being told any other way. Not one sentence was wasted on filler or unnecessary detail. Sugar is a sold read full of fierce emotion.

Review: We Were Liars

I was beginning to think that authors and story tellers had given up on quality, good prose, and fresh ideas. After reading a few major let down books in a row, We Were Liars was a breath of fresh air.
There isn’t much of a synopsis on the jacket cover of this one and I hadn’t read any reviews before diving in so I had no idea of what to expect from the story. At first, I felt that the staccato style and clipped sentences would bother me but I found myself enjoying the writing style. The author gives the reader only what she wants you to know and what you need to know in this story, which I loved. She doesn’t fill in pages with too much background or detail and she doesn’t bore us with pointless side stories. Although I didn’t make a connection with the characters, I didn’t need to in order to enjoy the book. This is plot driven and it was the right way to go to for the ending to have the kind of impact that it did. I was expecting a bit more of a love story, and really, We Were Liars is more of a family story about how people fall apart and the lengths some will go to in order to pull their family back together. For the first time in a while, I didn’t guess the ending and I loved that I was surprised with the truth. We Were Liars is a quick, page turner and well worth the afternoon I spent reading it.

Review: Reconstructing Aelia


Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberly McCreight

2 of 5 stars          
                      This book wasn’t good. The writing wasn’t good. The characters weren’t anything special. The story line was ridiculous. I’m upset, once again, with a book that the publisher stamped a dozen great reviews on the inside cover to attract readers. It’s a ruse, these reviews are lies. Kirkus Reviews stated “A multilayered legal thriller… comes to a seamless and unanticipated conclusion.” Nonsense. Reconstructing Amelia was one pile after another of mess and full on unbelievable plot twists. The conclusion was more than expected. There were so many different characters out to get this poor teenage girl for the smallest and pettiest of reasons making the book too farfetched for enjoyment. If the author had taken away a few of those stupid side stories – i.e. Ben and all the back and forth about the possibilities of Amelia’s father, the story may have been a little better. I feel like the Ben character, Jeremy and Zadie’s mother made the story cheap and acted more like filler – these characters and their input to the storyline lessened the believably and turned the book in to a day time drama.
This book didn’t hold any weight for me. I kept flipping through to see how many pages I had left until I could finally break free and move on to a book with more promise. I was hoping for a book that resonated with me and had substance. Reconstructing Amelia was a letdown. 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Review: The Girl on the Train


The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

4 of 5 stars           
meh.... I liked it. I liked the writing style - felt it was solid. I didn't like the characters and suspected the killer. I felt the ending was too unavailing. But really, given Rachel's personality, I cannot see the story ending any other way. The story is plot-driven. There is not one likeable character in the book but sometimes that is okay. Sometimes, that's just life. Although, The Girl On the Train was a thrilling read, it had too much hype surrounding it and therefore, the book did not live up to my expectations.

Review: The Silent Wife

The Silent Wife by A.S.A. Harrison  

's review
Jun 22, 15  ·                                
  The Silent Wife was not a “chilling psychological thriller” as the publisher advertises. I am not sure what this book was but I can tell you it was not good. The story (I use the term loosely) was boring, tedious and slow. I continued to read for some kind of pick up in the plot but nothing ever came. There were many pointless pages upon pages about Jodi and Todd’s mundane lives, and even a series of flashback scenes of Jodi with her own psychiatrist that, in my opinion, had zilch to do with anything else in the book. – these scenes were random and beyond dull and a good editor would have cut them at first glance. These characters were incredibly uninteresting. I cannot fathom why the author would ever want to write about them. In the end, what every reader, I suspect, thought would happen happened and I regret having been duped by the publisher, Penguin. This is a prime example of a publisher pumping up a book with paid reviews to make sales. Lie after Lie- this is nothing like Gone Girl, there was nothing suspenseful or thrilling. The praise that this book received from a string of New York Times bestselling authors boggles my mind. How much were these authors paid to lie?

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Fangirl Review

Cat Mann rated a book 5 of 5 stars
read in June, 2015
Fangirl was intriguing. Rainbow Rowell is a clever girl. She has a kind of subtle genius in her writing that makes me jealous. He writing is honest and her characters are all wonderfully accurate. The story is character-driven and to me, it had a slow start. It wasn’t until I met all the characters and learned to appreciate them that I was hooked on the story. With a lot of character-driven books, the ending can be anti-climactic as there isn’t much of a resolve but rather all the loose ends are tied up nicely in pretty pink bows. Rowell created two universes in one book- the World of Mages and the World of Cath. Smart Lady, smart book, good read. I enjoy Rowell's writing style and cannot wait to read more. She's made a fan out of me.


Working... Kind of. Writing - in my head (does that still count?) I have plans to do more. Some plans are solid and some more like in a Jell-O kind of state but still good (red Jell-O in the shape of stars) 
I have a "to do" list that I can share to prove my good intentions.
1. Start finishing book 4.
2. Bother my editor and my beta reader and ask that they beat me up until I am black and blue and feel like an idiot for ever thinking I could write anything - my name included.
3. Share reviews I have written on books recently read - which I will start to do in posts on this blog, but you can always find my reviews on goodreads and you can keep up with everything I am reading on FB and on my instagram account -itsmecatmann.
4. I am working on a sort of "How To" for writers on getting started with the process, cover art, editing, beta readers, books, sites, publishing, blogs, bloggers and reviews - everything I used  to learn the craft of self publishing and the secrets I've learned along the way. Will post on blog.
5. Share  unedited writing laps and short stories on blog.  - I like to keep my worlds all to myself and I doubt that will ever help me go anywhere - so I'll start here - on the internet and possibly on wattpad.   I lack courage and tune - but lack for nothing in the excuses department.

Thanks to those of you who have stuck with me and the world of Ari and Ava.   I am happy that this upcoming book will be the end of them for a while or maybe even forever. I am excited to publish A Forsaken Fate and very ready to start the next chapter of my writing profile.  I have a lot of ideas and I cannot wait to see them come out on paper.

More soon.