Faith Simone

All Things Written…To Inspire and Encourage

Book Review: “Distortion” by Terri Blackstock

DistortionTitle: Distortion

Author: Terri Blackstock

Genre: Christian/Mystery/Thriller

Book Description: 

A husband’s lies can have deadly consequences.

When Juliet Cole’s husband of fifteen years is gunned down in a dark parking lot before her eyes, she thinks it was a random shooting. Devastated and traumatized, she answers hours of questioning. When she’s finally allowed to return home to break the news to her boys, she hears a voicemail that takes the situation from a random shooting to a planned, deliberate attack. “Mrs. Cole, we know you have access to the supply and the money. If you don’t turn fifty million over to us and give us the codes, then you’ll be burying more family members.” Suddenly, Juliet realizes that she and her children are in danger.

She teams up with her sisters and PI Michael Hogan to dig into the sham Bob has been living for years. The more she learns, the worse the betrayal. A drug trafficking history, a fortune in cash, and a secret family all emerge to turn Juliet’s belief system on its head, and threaten the things she loves. Are she and her sisters skilled enough as sleuths to get to the truth?

 My Review:

I have mixed opinions about this book. Let me give you my overall feedback first, then we’ll delve into the rest. This is a well written, well thought out mystery novel. It’s full of twists and turns, and the end came as a complete shock to me. I didn’t see it coming, which I love. It’s rare for a book to have shock value for me, and this one delivered. The thing is, I kind of expected the quality of the writing to be great.  After all, it is written by a respected best-selling author. Terri Blackstock delivered, so no shade towards her.

My issue is purely personal. This is book two in the series, and I wasn’t aware of that when I agreed to review it. I take no pleasure in reviewing individual books in a series, when I haven’t read the preceding book. It’s just flat-out annoying. I will say that the author does a great job of balancing the fine art of giving enough information about what happened in the first book of the series so that new readers wouldn’t be lost, and moving the plot along quickly enough that series fans wouldn’t be bored. Not an easy thing to do. I read it as a stand alone, and still pretty much enjoyed it. But, I’m sure that had I read the first book, I would have enjoyed it even more.

In the end, I could recommend Distortion to a friend with the preface that they should start from the beginning of the series, as I’m sure God, and the author intended! A solid 4 out 5 stars from me.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review, which I freely give.

How do you feel about reading a series book as a stand alone? Does it grit in your craw too? (If you need an interpretation of that phrase, feel free to let me know below! ;) )

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The Perfect Query Letter

Not crazy

Hello all of you fabulous people! Can you tell that I’m trying to butter you up for something? I was thinking the other day (yeah, occasionally I do that) and it occurred to me that there’s a distinct possibility that a lot of you are full of knowledge. So, that’s why I’m reaching out to you. I need your help to create the all time greatest query letter EVER! For reals, I need all the help I can get. We’ll also have the opportunity to help other writers perfect their query letter writing ability.

I’m planning to share tips for querying agents in the near future and that’s where YOU step in. I’d love it if you’d email me samples of query letters that have proven successful for you. We’ll define successful as a query letter that received any sort of response from an agent. Whether that response was a request for a partial/full manuscript or simply an agent taking time to respond to your inquiry in any way besides a form rejection letter.

Please email your query letter to Type THE PERFECT QUERY LETTER in all caps in the subject line, then paste the letter into the body of the email. I won’t open attachments. I just can’t take the gamble! Keep in mind that anything you send me may be shared here on, so blocking out any identifying information is a must. If you also want to include a picture of your gorgeous mug and a link to your blog/website, please feel free to do so.

That’s all folks. Holla at your girl!

By the way, for all of the independent publishing warriors out there, check out my series on self publishing by clicking here.

Photo credit: marsmet491 / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)


He Is Risen!!!

Hello lovely people! I hope you’re enjoying this beautiful Sunday morning. This day is significant for Christians the world over, because it’s the day we acknowledge and celebrate that Jesus Christ conquered the grave. I’m on my way to an Easter service to enjoy food for my spirit, then it’s back home to enjoy some good old-fashioned soul food :)  I pray you all have a blessed Resurrection Day!


Faith Simone


What are your plans for Easter? I’d love to hear about them below!

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Writing Software Frenzy (Perhaps I’m Exaggerating Just A Little)

softwareHey y’all! This will be a quick post. I want to share two things with you.

The other day I went on an on about my beast of a novel and how tedious it is to edit. Well, I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed and I stumbled across an ad for this great writing software called Literature and Latte by Scrivener. It sounds freakin’ amazing! Click here to check it out. It costs $40 bucks to download, so of course I’m researching it a bit more before deciding whether or not to purchase.

Which leads me to my next quick little share: this amazing article I found on giving an overview on six other potentially fabulous writing software programs. Click here to read all about them for yourself. Trust me, it’s time well spent if you’re in the market for this type of thing.

I can see a little light at the end of my editing tunnel! When I finally decide which program to buy, I’ll give you guys an in-depth review.

Have you used any type of writing software program? Please dish below and give us all the deets!

P.S. For some simple editing tips check out my article “6 Tips for Self-Editing” by clicking here.


Photo credit: opensourceway / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)


So You Want To Write A Novel?

Novel ideaSo, you want to write a novel huh? First off, kudos to you! The desire to write a novel is, well, a novel idea. (Que punchline drum sequence…are those birds I hear chirping too?) Anyway, I remember when I first decided to write a book.

I. did. not. have. a. single. clue.

Not one! I knew I liked to write. I’d read hundreds, maybe even thousands of books. How hard could it be? So I started writing. About 8-9 months later I ended up with a 150, 000 word manuscript of epic proportions. Literally, it’s the size of an epic story. Sadly, it’s not an epic genre type book. The exorbitantly high word count was my first mistake. Unfortunately, I also made quite a few more mistakes and that’s why I’m reaching out to you today. It all boils down to one thing:


I didn’t mean to yell at you but, seriously, learn from my mistakes.  For the next month or two, I plan to tediously edit my novel for the gazillionth time. I’m not talking about a little light grammatical editing. Oh no, I’m talking full on hard-core content editing. As in re-ordering sequences, making crucial cuts, etc. It sucks. It all could have been avoided if I’d done one little thing. It’s the thing I want you to do before you even THINK about writing your novel.


Ok, so I did mean to yell at you that time. It’s all love, I promise. I wish someone had yelled at me to study the craft of writing before I wrote a gorilla beast of a novel! If they had, I’d already have my first novel published and could currently be spending time happily writing my next one. Instead, I’m constantly re-writing that sucker. Now that I’ve spent time studying the craft of writing, I know how to make my book the best it can possibly be. But honestly, it’s a huge pain in my ba-donk-a donk!

I love my first novel. After all, it’s my baby. And I’m proud of the fact that even though I wrote it when I didn’t have a whiff of a clue, it’s worth all the re-writes and edits.  It’s a solid first effort and there’s so much to it that all of my laborious editing is time well spent. Going through this is a learning process that will serve me well in my future literary endeavors.

You, however, don’t have to engage in the same remedial learning process I’m currently experiencing. Save yourself the drama and take time to really learn all the ins and outs of novel-writing. This doesn’t have to mean going back to school and enrolling in a creative writing program. Although, if you’re blessed with the opportunity to do so, by all means, go for it. What I’m saying is take workshops and seminars on character development, plot outlining, novel structure, point-of-view, chapter spacing, etc. Read lots of books on the topic of writing. Attend writer’s conferences. Do whatever it takes to make sure you’re fully prepared to tell the story in your head with style, grace and respect for the art of writing.

You’ll thank me (and yourself) later.

Chime in y’all!

Newbies: What made you decide to write a novel? Do you feel prepared skill wise to write the story in your head?

Seasoned writers: What did you learn during your first novel-writing experience? What would you do differently if you could turn back time? 

Photo credit: duncan / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC 2.0)




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