SINS OF OUR MOTHERS by Nicole Souza
◊ Genre: Dystopian Novel
◊ Publisher: WiDo Publishing (August 25, 2020)
◊ Print & eBooks ◊ Paperback: 338 pages
◊ ISBN-10: 1947966391 ◊ ISBN-13: 978-1947966390
It has been fifteen hundred years since the solar flare devastation of the Global Catastrophe. Due to the radioactivity in the harvesting fields, society dismisses its defective children as nothing more than flawed products of the malfunctioned seeds in the field.
But Lyratelle, a hyper-observant musical prodigy, believes these “defects” are intelligent, particularly her own sibling, the youngest child of her impervious mother. Abandoning her dream career, Lyratelle climbs the bureaucratic ladder to run the Defect Research Center, where she can safeguard the child.
With an underground team of women who share her uncertainties, Lyratelle unearths the Old History truth that womankind’s survival actually hinges on the existence of these defects.
When General Sarah Love, the city’s most powerful advocate against the defects, detects Lyratelle’s sympathy toward the creatures, she threatens the life of Lyratelle’s sibling.
Now Lyratelle’s desperate attempt to save this child endangers everyone she loves—her team, her family, even the existence of the defects themselves.
SINS OF OUR MOTHERS is available at AMAZON * Barnes & Noble * WiDo Publishing. Also, be sure to add it to your TBR List on Goodreads.
REVIEW by LAWonder10:
Lyratelle, was a very talented, intelligent young girl. He future as a top musician was "set". After the "defect", causing her youngest sibling to be taken away, she shocked everyone by switching her college degree from a musician to a medical doctor. She became very successful... a success which would cause her to question life as she thought it to be.
Sins of Our Mothers is a "catchy" Title for an action-packed, Dystopian book.
At first it was difficult to "get into" but that didn't last long. The suspense and intrigue grew with each chapter. It soon became a book I couldn't put down until the very last page
The key characters were very endearing and others, very infuriating. The scenes and characters were easily visualized and felt real.
The novel was about a distant future where women ruled and deceived the majority of the population. Families existed of only women. Their thinking was truly distorted.
So many times in women's literature, men are depicted as evil or insignificant. The sad fact is, although some men are evil and most men can be "jerks" at times, women are nt exempt from these character flaws, either. Women can also be brutal and cruel.
Some sensitive topics are addressed in this book, but otherwise, it is very "clean".
I offer a Four and a Half Stars rating.
* This book e=was gifted me with no pressure for a positive review. This is my honest review.
10 Things I Wish I Knew About Being an Author I Didn’t Know Before
If I could go back in time and start my writing journey over, would I?
Absolutely not! It’s been way too strenuous a trek.
I’m happy with where I’m at now, having learned the hard way over nearly a decade, and still picking up tricks and new ideas every time I write. I’ve learned that what we call mistakes are really steps in the right direction. I embrace my limitations as a writer and enjoy the challenge of maximizing my abilities.
That’s not to say, however, there aren’t some things I wish I knew before embarking on this journey. Would I go back in time to give my younger self some advice? Absolutely! (I’d just get out of there as fast as possible.)
Here’s to hoping these tips will reach someone who can benefit. I present to you, the ten things I wish I knew about being an author I didn’t know before:
1. The First Draft is Just Verbal Vomit; Editing is the True Art-form
Authors are not good writers; we’re determined, dedicated editors. Much like a large chunk of stone before being masterfully carved, a first draft is rarely more than a massive glob of words, ideas, notes, and concepts that over time, and with a lot of agonizing patience and strenuous mental labor, is whittled into artwork in the form of storytelling.
Editing is akin to clay sculpting; just as your project begins to take shape, you’ll add another handful of verbal clay to thicken or reshape what’s there. There’s no counting how many times an author edits a manuscript to half its size only to add back nearly the amount removed with new content, then commence construction anew, chiseling away at excess words, cliches, and lazy writing.
Don’t worry about making your first draft sound good. If you have the perfect word chosen for a scene, throw it in. If it’s truly the perfect word, it’ll make the final cut. If not, it’ll be chipped off, like countless other words once part of the original boulder. Making the final cut does not bestow value upon words. Like clay scraps, words sacrificed for the sake of the story are not wasted. Just get your ideas written down. Allow your brain to vomit, as it were, and once it’s all there, make it beautiful.
2. Whenever Possible, Use Live Beta Readers:
Quite possibly, the most valuable thing I’ve ever done for myself as an author, is sit with a group of readers, and listen to them read my story out loud. What an awakening! I’m fortunate enough to have a group of beta readers that are able to do full, single-day readings. We did this several times, each session following a thorough edit.
Readers’ voices can be broken up by paragraph, page, or chapter. Whatever way you choose, rotate the reader frequently to hear your story read in many voices. This allows you to gauge how the story will be interpreted and processed from other perspectives. Unless writing a screenplay, don’t assign readers a character. Listen to entire passages in the same reader’s voice to assess the flow of your writing.
Request that your beta readers give live feedback, both good and bad. If something is confusing, cheesy, predictable, cliché, boring, moving, inspiring, shocking, or if they have a suggestion or question, have them voice it the moment they experience it. Don’t dwell on it unless specific feedback requires attention. A simple, “That passage wasn’t clear,” or “Grace is awesome! She’s my favorite character so far,” or “I hate that Grace said that; it’s not like her,” is plenty for the author. Be ready to take good notes! This is also great for grammar and punctuation errors.
Beta readers can be expensive, and most writers can’t afford such luxuries. So, do what I do: invite your book-loving family members and friends (who won’t sugarcoat their reactions!) to spend the day reading your book together. Good food is usually enough payment for such people. And hey, it’s not like you’re asking them to help you move, right? (Maybe mention that.) Shoot for a minimum of three, maximum of twelve readers.
3. Your Book Reads Differently in Different Formats; Test Them All
This one’s simple. Read your story on your phone, tablet, and other devices, in addition to the one used to write and edit. Print a chapter to read as a hard copy. Scrolling and page-turning are different. There’s a distinct feel to reading when you can see the shape of the paragraphs on two full pages at once as opposed to half a paragraph on a small screen.
Recording yourself reading a chapter then listening to it while doing dishes or laundry provides a fresh perspective as well. Will your writing style translate well to an audio book? You won’t know unless you’ve heard it recorded.
4. The Story Often Writes Itself; Don’t Let Go of the Reigns
Many pre-imagined scenes will be altered as your characters develop. They’ll come alive on the page and often take the story down unexpected paths. This is especially true when writing dialogue. While such occurrences are magical and elevate your writing, stay true to your ultimate message. Of course, be flexible in changing up details that don’t alter the heart of the story, just don’t let changes diminish what you’re saying.
It’s a tough balance!
This isn’t to say you won’t learn new things and expand personal opinions along your writing journey. Allow growth in both your story and yourself. However, the original idea for your story was probably sparked by a message you wish the world could hear. Is that message coming across? Or was it lost in development?
5. Your Characters Really Do Keep You Up at Night
Characters of untold stories are demanding! The story wants to be told, and, for whatever reason, you’re the only one who can tell it.
Before really dedicating myself to authorship, I assumed other writers were overly dramatic, speaking of their characters as if real people and insisting they’re kept awake in mental dialogue with them. Now, as someone who can’t shower without talking to a character or crying over their pain (yes—I know I created it, but did I? Didn’t those details write themselves?), or even listen to music without assessing how it would make a character feel, I recognize how wrongly I judged my fellow authors.
We’re all nuts. Embrace it!
You will suffer restless nights and unprecedented stress at work knowing you should be writing instead of building a career that actually generates money. It’s exhausting living between the real world and the fictional. But keep going! It is, indeed, part of the process.\
6. Be Mindful of Your Physical Health:
This may be the point I most wish I knew before diving into the wonderful world of writing. Often, after a productive writing session, I’d stand only to discover the regular feeling in my body was replaced by terrible aches in my back, shoulders, neck, and wrists. Carpal tunnel is no joke! I even got plantar fasciitis as I sat, unaware, with my feet curled in weird positions for hours at a time.
“Quick bathroom breaks” become whole experiences when limping on cramped feet.
Only in retrospect did I learn that when writing, I completely leave my body behind. I sit motionless, except for my hands, experiencing solely the fictional world, unaware of what’s happening around me physically. It’s incredibly unhealthy, especially several days at a time.
I was shocked to step on the scale one day and discover I’d gained fifteen pounds in two weeks because every spare second was spent writing without any consideration for my overall wellbeing. A deep writing session could last eighteen hours overnight with zero sleep, no stretching, and no walking breaks. The worst part was I was continuously stuffing my face with quick, easy junk food to disallow hunger to distract me.
Now, having suffered those consequences, I set alarms reminding me to take a walk, stretch, and check in with my body. I strive to plan healthy meals and eat before writing. When I do get hungry, I take a break to focus on my food and get some fresh air. It’s infinitely better to write with a clear mind. Seven hours of healthy writing are ultimately more productive than fifteen hours of focused writing but physical misery.
Plan ahead. What position will your body be in while you write? How’s your posture? Are your feet getting good blood flow? Are you tensing your wrists while you type? Is your neck strained? Try out many arrangements and don’t settle until you know it won’t cause issues for your body. A standing or treadmill desk may be your thing. Perhaps an exercise ball encouraging movement in your hips. Maybe you need to set a timer to change positions every half hour. Or maybe frequent breaks will be enough. Just be good to your precious body!
7. Write Down Every Good Idea—Even in the Middle of the Night
My memory is unreliable. I’ve lost grand ideas for my stories due to sleepiness, laziness, or basic unwillingness to stop what I’m doing and write them down. I’m not naturally organized so planners, physical and digital, do me no good. In order to preserve my rare and precious moments of genius, I’ve had to learn (painstakingly) to work with my personality and all its flaws. Hopefully my method proves useful to other poor souls who self-identify as creative sloths.
When random inspiration strikes, I text myself. That simple! Reading my solo text thread to recall a 3:00 a.m. epiphany is like opening a little gift from my past self. I’m always grateful to that lazy lass for taking the time to type it out; I know how hard it was for her.
I also use an audio recording app to save a quick idea when on the road or in a position where it’s hard to text.
Find a system that’s easy for you. As long as you get your great ideas recorded where you’ll know to find them later, the method matters not.
8. Get Feedback (aka Data) from Professionals and Straightforward Active Consumers:
Your doting aunt’s praise is important for you as a person because everyone needs encouragement and to know who’s in their corner. However, it’s useless for your writing. Get feedback from agents and editors as you pitch your work.
Also helpful are your seemingly anti-social, entertainment-obsessed (more often than not manga-loving) acquaintances. See how social they become when invited to scrutinize a story unfiltered. If your story sucks, your writing is lazy, or a character needs work, they’ll tell you. An active consumer’s perspective is invaluable to authors.
Remember, your story has an audience. It’s not for everyone. Consumers have preferred medias and genres within those medias. The more readers, the better. Within reason, of course. It still needs to be your story. As long as you keep it your own, feedback is helpful.
Don’t take negative feedback as an attack to your talent or intelligence. It’s just data: process, assess, and apply what’s relevant. You’ll improve by non-emotionally allowing people to tear your writing to shreds. Using criticism constructively is a talent of its own.
9. For Character Development, Create Your Own SPEMPARFS:
For me, character development is the most fun, yet daunting, aspect of storytelling. To assist my chaotic brain, I developed a system I call SPEMPARFS, an acronym for:
This is in order of importance as I like to get to know my characters in a certain way. That doesn’t mean I don’t sometimes know a character’s physical traits or financial status first, it just means when fleshing out a character, this works best for me.
I encourage all writers to create their own program for developing characters and am happy to share SPEMPARFS as a starting point for anyone struggling to get theirs going.
I begin with a character’s spirituality because it will tell me more about them than anything else. What are their beliefs? Were they raised in those beliefs or did they come by them later in life? Is their spiritual journey part of the story I’m telling, or did they have unwavering beliefs before the story begins? Do their beliefs affect the story? Are they relevant for the reader? Or are those details out of place in this story? Either way, the author needs to know them in order to write the character.
Physical appearance is important early on because I want to picture the character as I write, and make sure the reader is able to do so as well. A character’s physical state also tells me what their body is capable of. If a character is overweight whether from genetics, a sedentary lifestyle, or overeating, I need to remember that when they’re required to ascend twenty flights of stairs. If a character is obsessed with health and fitness, I want to show that with scenes involving more physical activity.
The emotional makeup of a character will determine their reactions and speech patterns, which will assist with dialogue and decision making.
And the list goes on.
10. Utilize the Miracle of Music
I must preface by saying I never, ever listen to music while I’m writing. What an unbearable distraction! It’s impossible for me to write with sound, strong smells, bright lights, anything that pulls me out of my characters’ world. Music does, however, heavily impact my stories. When away from the screen, I do a lot of music-inspired plotting and mental adjusting to my stories.
Though I don’t like the term “writer’s block” I relate to being stuck not knowing exactly how to structure a scene or guide it to its main point. What helps most is listening to music that has the feel I want for that scene. Often, I’ll take my dogs to the park and, with headphones on full volume, find the right song on my playlist then listen on repeat. Immersing myself in the feeling of the scene allows me to picture it, facilitating construction.
If this exercise works well for you, take it to the next level. What song would work for a trailer for your story? While listening to that song, what scenes would be highlighted in the trailer? Do those scenes as currently written in your manuscript portray the importance they bear to your story? Or do they need work?
There’s really no end to the impact music can have on your craft. The right words for a character’s expression in a crucial moment may come to you via Mozart’s brilliance.
While writers experience similar challenges and joys, every writer’s journey is unique. Be mindful of yourself, your mental and physical health, and overall wellbeing, including your real-world relationships. It’s a marathon. Pace yourself. Be good to yourself. More than anything, enjoy this fantastic ride!
Meet the Author
As the third of eight siblings, Nicole has always been surrounded by people. Among her immediate family are spoken seven languages. Her favorite thing is hearing her nieces and nephews speak French, Tongan, or Mandarin. It’s no surprise she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Languages, as language is one of her greatest passions, topped only by music and Beat Saber.
Nicole minored in Women Studies and continues to take a particular interest in both women’s history and their individual stories. She’s grateful for her ancestors and other women who paved the way for her to pursue her dream of publishing stories and strives to create new avenues for the coming generations to pursue their dreams.
Though she’s lived-in various states in the U.S. and Brazil, Nicole considers Utah “home base” and continuously finds herself returning, even when previous moves were intended to be permanent. She attributes her love of Utah to the beauty of the Wasatch Mountains and the incredible people who make it feel like home, even when she’s been away for long periods of time. Recently, however, after visiting her sister’s family overseas, she’s been dreaming of a quiet beach house in Taiwan.
Connect with Nicole on her Website ~ Facebook ~ Instagram ~
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