Random Adventures


Lifestyle and Other Items


Writing and all related items

Writing Tips: A Guest Post by Tamuna Tsertsvadze

Sunday, July 15, 2018

1 comment
Writing Tips by Tamuna Tsertsvadze

I am a writer with 5 years of book writing and 2 years of screenwriting and game writing experience. Even though I write for quite long, I am still improving day by day, and learning more and more. I want to share my experience and some tips with others too.

Generally, it is hard to give tips to aspiring writers, because everyone writes with their own style and their own rules. Writing is not something you can put in a frame and label as you want. Even though we often see books separated in specific genres, we can still understand that the so-called ‘borders’ and ‘frames’ aren’t quite solid, but rather barely visible – that said, a book of one genre can very often belong to multiple other genres, or even create a blend of genres. Thus, there is no specific outlined rule for writing and literature. One writes to their heart’s content. Fiction writing is a form of art. And art has no rules whatsoever – it is where people can feel completely free and unleash their imagination to its fullest. 

And still, there are some basic guidelines we should follow, as when you think of writing as no more a hobby but a serious profession, another problem arises – your writing should appeal to other people too and not only yourself. Every writer should know a great deal of psychology in order to write well and make the people like their stories.

Every book a person takes in his hands contains the world and characters they’re familiar with. Otherwise, no one will be interested in the work. So, the
1st rule is: be realistic. People enjoy reading books about the problems they find around themselves in everyday life, and characters who they can relate to. 

Of course, creating a realistic world doesn’t mean fantasy writers do a wrong thing. Realistic world means not the so-called ‘real world’ we live in, but the real passions, emotions, events we experience every day. So even if you have a fantasy world, the feelings must remain sincere. You mustn’t make your reader feel that the world you’re writing about is fake, and the characters are unnatural. They must believe the world you’re writing about exists somewhere beyond the stars, and even though they know it is fiction, they must feel somewhere in a deep corner of the universe that world still exists. 

2nd rule: do NOT create perfect characters. Every one of us has flaws. And as ancient stories tell, even an angel had flaws, no matter angels were ‘perfect beings’. And to be more precise, the term ‘perfect’ is relative. Something that one considers a quality, others might consider a flaw. That is why a perfect being doesn’t exist, so even if you’re writing about ‘perfect beings’ such as superhuman aliens or angels, it is OKAY to give them flaws, because even if they’re so-called ‘perfect beings’, there will appear somewhere an ‘imperfect being’ who says those creatures are full of flaws. That is just how the world is. It is only natural for a character to have their flaws. To be honest, the more flaws, fears and problems they have and the harder they are to overcome, the more perfect our story becomes.

3rd rule: Plot is NOT the key in the writing. It is the craft of the writer – HOW you tell the story, not WHAT you tell. To explain better – everything you can think of now, no matter how original it may seem at first, has already been thought of and written down. Main is now to raise your own voice and retell it only the way YOU can think of. That said – be original, do not be afraid to pour your feelings and emotions down on the paper. You might even find it helpful to listen to battle music while you write action scenes, listen to sad music when you write about someone’s slow death, turn on romantic music when you’re writing a romance scene… Music awakens the deepest emotions of human hearts, and when you listen to music, those emotions flow within you. It is a general truth that whenever the writer writes with their hearts full of passion and emotions, the reader who afterward reads the story, can feel the emotions writer had undergone while writing. It is true – our writing passes down our feelings and emotions as well. So you must be emotional yourself while you’re writing, in order to awaken emotions in your readers afterward.

The 4th rule would be, – feel YOURSELF what you’re writing.

And now, the hardest part of any writer – we consider our stories great, but people don’t read. Why is that? There are several issues – 1st, of course, is marketing. When you are a self-publisher (like me) you must be ready to work not only your writing, but also the marketing skills. 

As for the 2nd issue – it is often that we don’t write according to the right audience, and right genre. No matter what I said of genres before – that they usually blend in each other in a single book – some rules still exist. So the best advice on this behalf would be – not to read articles about genre specifics that you find on the internet – but to read the books belonging to the genre you’re writing in. Books are the best teachers – they show you the craft of other writers, their styles and their passions, their methods and ways. So you know your genre best when you read books of that genre. 

That is basically all I can advise to the aspiring writers. As I said, we all are improving each day, and so the final rule is that practice makes perfect, so do not fear any obstacle put before you, and write and write as much as you can. Only with hard work, strong will and undying enthusiasm can one become a ‘professional writer’ (in inverted commas because that term too is relative ;) One can never satisfy everyone on the planet with their work ;) Critics will come from everywhere). 

Thank you very much for reading this post! I wish you the best of luck in creating your masterpieces! ^_^
About Tamuna:
Tamuna was born in Tbilisi, Georgia. She started writing at the age of 7 when she read the first book that inspired her - Thomas Mayne Reid's "The Giraffe Hunters". Since that day she loves both reading and writing.
She wrote her first serious work when she was 11 years old, a 100 paged story inspired by anime/manga Naruto, which was one of her favourite anime series. 

You can view Tamuna's books by clicking here.
Read More

Summer Vacation: Too Many Books - Not Enough Space

Friday, July 13, 2018

No comments

Summer Vacation: A BookLover Dilemma

We leave for our Summer vacation to Rio de Janeiro this weekend! Yay! The next 2 weeks I will be instagramming and blogging (Big Plans) about the magnificent views and colors of the "Cidade Maravilhosa"! I'm Super excited to experiment with my new camera, so stay tuned.

By the way, it's actually winter in Rio right now, and my mom made sure to mention that it's "very" cold, so I checked the weather: 76F today! It will be 83F tomorrow.  I forgot how different our definitions of cold temperature can be (when you live in tropical weather)...

I love to travel but going on vacation requires careful planning and packing. I'm usually pretty good at making my lists ahead of time: t-shirts, swimsuits, dresses, shoes, those are no-brainers.

The BIG question is: How many books should I take? Will I really read 5 books?  Probably not, but I like to have options.  I do have to admit that as much as I like actual books (they do photograph better also), the existence of an e-reader and audiobooks make the life of a booklover considerably easier than it was several years ago (no longer trying to squeeze 5 books in a tight suitcase).

So after staring at my "To Be Read" list for a loooong time, here’s what I ultimately decided to bring:

Actual Books: 
1) Girls Night Out by Lisa Steinke and Liz Fenton
2) A Gathering of Secrets by Linda Castillo

Kindle Books:
3) Talking as Fast as I Can: From Gilmore Girls to Gilmore Girls (and Everything in Between) by Lauren Graham
4) Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch by Neil Gaiman

5) Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (currently on chapter 35)
6) Born a Crime by Trevor Noah
7) My (not so) Perfect Life by Sophie Kinsella

Ok, 7 Books!!!
I think I covered all my options (funny, fantasy, fiction, crime) and am looking forward to a great reading time, among other things!

How many books do you usually bring on vacation and how do you choose (any special process!?) ?
Please do tell :-)

Books to take on vacation

Read More

Guest Post: How Not to Write a Masterpiece

Sunday, July 8, 2018


by Scott Stavrou

Don’t save your words for special occasions

I am a writer and for better or for worse, with all it’s ups and downs, have been one for most of my life.

I have written for money. I have written for free. I have written for my own pleasure and I have written for others’ business pursuits. I like to think that sometimes I have also written for other peoples pleasure. I have written things I saw, things I did, things I experienced, things I made up. Things other people did, things other people made up. I have written fiction as fact and even fact as fiction. I have played and I have worked.

But like most writers, I would write no matter what. I suspect that’s true of most of us with who pursue this passion.

But I have not always used my tools enough.

I have one particular tool, a MontBlanc Meisterstück fountain pen that was gifted to me by a favorite aunt some years ago when I was young and immature but fortunate enough to get my first travel book published. It was not a great book but it was a great gift. But because it was a special pen, a heavy and ponderous instrumenteven the name Meisterstück was dauntingI tucked the cherished gift away and foolhardily decided only to take it out for special occasions.

Because I am not a young man, there have been a number of special occasions that I deemed worthy when I ceremonially retrieved the heavy black fountain pen and put it into use.

I used it twenty years ago at my first book signing. Then tucked it away.

I made it a point to tuck it into my tuxedo and use it to sign my marriage license on my wedding day.

When my wife and I bought our first house, the Montblanc Meisterstück was used to sign the escrow papers.

When I signed my long-awaited first representation contract with a highly-touted NYC literary agent, out it came again.

When we sold the house and decided to move to Europe, the Montblanc Meisterstück was there to send us off to scale new summits.

I have cherished this pen and its ponderous significance and for most of the travels of two decades, it has accompanied me, even though little used and too often neglected.

Finally, some weeks ago, I was doing my first book-signing in years for my second book, Losing Venice, a novel. In between the almost two decades between books, there had been screenplays, stageplays, articles and speeches, and even school lessons penned. But all without the Montblanc Meisterstück.

And so the trusty but much-neglected Montblanc Masterpiece Meisterstück came out again and did its job faithfully as it had done on several special occasions over the years. But the book signing went well enough that the pen, for the first time in these decades, ran out of ink. The well was finally dry and I had to borrow a cheap plastic pen to sign some more books. And it was a relief. The ponderous pen was done, as was its masterpiece demanding machinations.

I thought, for a time, about buying an ink refill for it. And then thought of how few times I had deemed special enough to pull it out in lo these many years of possessing it. And decided to retire it. It did its job. It was a touching gift for a young writer who looked forward to a life that might be filled with opportunities and special occasions. But I am 
no longer so young nor so naive as to believe in the folly of being too selective in choosing special occasions.

All of life is a special event and there’s not enough ink in the world to mark its everyday majesty. Not enough time to wait for the special moment and the special master piece.

Everything, of course, is not a masterpiece. But everything you do with dedication and passion is a part of a masterpiece, no matter what pen you use or don’t use.

What I wish for all writers is a favorite aunt that gifts a special pen. And many special occasionsalong with a liberal and open-armed attitude over deeming what constitutes a special occasion. And that the ink in all writers special pens might run out much faster and more fleeting than mine own Montblanc Meisterstück was allowed to.

Don’t wait to write a masterpiece, people.

Don’t wait to write. Use all your ink for all the special occasions life presents.


Scott Stavrou is an American writer and creative writing teacher living in Greece. He has written fiction and non-fiction for numerous publications in America and Europe and was awarded a PEN International Hemingway prize for short fiction. His latest novel, Losing Venice was released May 1, 2018 and is available in paperback and ebook online and in select bookstores. More of his writing can be found on, on  twitter  and Medium. 

 Losing Venice, a novel is available on Amazon and other online bookstores

Read More

Sadie by Courtney Summers

Thursday, July 5, 2018

No comments

Book Review: Sadie by Courtney Summers

BOOK REVIEW: Sadie by Courtney Summers

Release Date: September 4th, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Thriller
320 Pages
Publisher: Wednesday Books
I rated 5 stars on Goodreads


"Summers has pulled no punches when it comes to diving into the darker side of teen lives." —Bustle

A gripping novel about the depth of a sister's love; poised to be the next book you won't be able to stop talking about.

A missing girl on a journey of revenge and a Serial—like podcast following the clues she's left behind. 

Sadie hasn't had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she's been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water. 

But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie's entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister's killer to justice and hits the road following a few meager clues to find him.

When West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—overhears Sadie's story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie's journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it's too late.

Courtney Summers has written the breakout book of her career. SADIE is propulsive and harrowing and will keep you riveted until the last page.


There's a reason this book is getting so much Buzz on social media: It is powerful. It takes you in full force, spins your emotions around and finally breaks your heart!

Let me backtrack a bit: I had the pleasure of meeting Courtney Summers at a FierceReads breakfast at The BookCon in NYC last June, where I got an ARC of Sadie.  I never read any of Courtney's books, so I asked her general writing questions (not specific to her books)...yet, during BookCon, you would see the cover of Sadie everywhere, so the curiosity in me sparkled!

And what did I think about Sadie? Oh my...this book broke me.  I was completely lost in it.  I rooted for Sadie.  I followed her on her quest for her sister's murder.  I cried with her.  I was taken by surprise and had no idea of how magnificent Courtney Summers' writing style is.

The chapters are split between Sadie's journey to avenge her sister by killing the man that took the one person that really mattered to her, and West McCray's version, the radio presenter that starts investigating Sadie's disappearance.  Every chapter ends with a cliffhanger, so you can't wait to read the next chapter.  This back and forth helps the story flow and keeps you hoping that the clues Sadie leaves behind will help West McCray find her.  The closest he gets to where Sadie is, the more you want to keep reading...until the very last page.

The more you learn about Sadie's family and the life she lived, the more you hope for her to actually go through with her plan (Yes! I actually wanted her to end him!)...

At first I thought the story was purely about revenge, but it is so much more than that.  It's about wanting to belong, to be needed, to have someone that loved you back.  Isn't that the definition of being alive?

I'm not going to sugarcoat it.  This book is dark. It is not for the weak at heart.  But the beauty of it is that it's neither graphic nor obscene, therefore, you can call it a YA novel.
It is one of the best true crime/thrillers I have ever read!

Dear Courtney, if I ever bump into you again, I will now gladly tell you that I loved your book (and who knows, by then, I'll probably have read other books written by you).
I was in the presence of a great author and didn't know :-(

Read More

Why I started a Book Club

Sunday, June 24, 2018


Why I started a Book Club

Whenever I tell my friends and co-workers that I started a Book Club, they immediately look at me like I lost my mind and need some sort of intervention (although I do believe I lost my mind many years ago but that's another tale). 

The truth is, everyone seems to have this vague idea of what a book club looks like: a bunch of nerdy looking people (usually suburban women), drinking tea, and discussing Jane Austen's books.  That's such a stereotype! And if that's what's been keeping you from joining a Book Club, let me tell you a little secret: Book clubs can be Fun!  

Here's a common scenario: you finish reading a book and you NEED to talk about that book to someone! Except, none of your friends like to read.  Your partner doesn't read fiction.  Your co-workers claim they have no time. You even give a copy of the book to your best friend to see if she'll get the hint...Nah. Nothing.

Maybe you just moved to a new town and would like to meet people.  Maybe you've lived in the same town for a while but would like to meet new people.  Maybe you've been a member of a more classic book club and you're looking for something different, where you can get your monthly dose of literary discussion while drinking wine.  

Whatever your story, if you can't find the right book club, start one. Make your own rules.  Don't want to meet in someone's home? Don't have to.  Agree to disagree.  Keep it civil.  Make it Fun.  Allow everyone to suggest a book (don't be a dictator, the world has enough of those already).  

Starting a book club was one of the best things I've done!  I met an incredible bunch of women (yeah, there was 1 guy on the very first meeting but he never came back).  The book club has grown to 85 members (I never thought that would happen), and we are a very diverse group, at different stages in our lives, that share something in common -- a desire to think and discuss.  

From the Book club, we've had two spin-offs already: Trivia Night at the local bar and Board Game Night! 

What's not to love about this?

As Neil Gaiman mentioned on one of the best commencement speeches ever

"Fiction has two uses. Firstly, it’s a gateway drug to reading. The drive to know what happens next, to want to turn the page, the need to keep going, even if it’s hard, because someone’s in trouble and you have to know how it’s all going to end … that’s a very real drive. And it forces you to learn new words, to think new thoughts, to keep going. To discover that reading per se is pleasurable. Once you learn that, you’re on the road to reading everything. And reading is key.."

If you do decide to start your own Book Club and need help, BookRiot has an article titled "How to Start a Book Club that Doesn't Suck"  

And finally, here's what my Book Club is reading in 2018:

1. Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate (JANUARY)
2. Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman (FEBRUARY)
3. Watching Glass Shatter by James J. Cudney (MARCH)
4. Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult (APRIL)
5. The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman (MAY)
6. Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover (JUNE)
7. Good Neighbors by Joanne Serling (JULY)
8. Exit West by Moshin Hamid (AUGUST)
9. The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin (SEPT)
10. Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan (OCT)
11. Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (NOV)
12. The Woman in the Window by A J Finn (DEC)

I hope you enjoyed reading this post!  If you did, please leave a comment :-)

Why I started a Book Club

Read More

Book Blogger A to Z Survey

Wednesday, June 13, 2018


Book Blogger A to Z Survey

Hi everyone! 
I just saw this post from A Bookish Peach, and it looked so interesting that I decided to tag myself! (That's pretty much the kind of freedom that comes with blogging: you can tag yourself and/or do whatever you want...) 

By the way, this survey was originally created by The Perpetual Page Turner, back in 2013.  Please pay her a visit when you have a chance!

Read below to see all of my answers :-)

Author you’ve read the most books from:

Hmmm...I'm pretty sure that's Anne Rice.  I will never forget the first time I read An Interview with a Vampire! I was obssessed by her books (and while on vacation in New Orleans many years ago, I ditched all my friends and went to one of her book signings).  

Best Sequel Ever:

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (from The Hunger Games Trilogy)

Currently Reading:

The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer and Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Drink of Choice While Reading:

Usually coffee but sometimes a glass of wine is required 

E-reader or Physical Book?

Physical books. I think my reading is 70% physical books, 20% audiobooks and 10% e-reader.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School:

Ha! That's an interesting question, but since we're talking "Fictional" character, I would say Matthew Clairmont, the jaw-dropping good looking vampire from A Discovery of Witches.

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty

Hidden Gem Book:

Broken Open by Elizabeth Lesser

Important Moment in your Reading Life:

When my dad gave me 1984 by George Orwell.  We both read it and talked about it for hours.

Just Finished:

Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:

I'm not one to discriminate and usually will read anything that catches my attention, but, I'm not really into romance novels.

Longest Book You’ve Read:

Wicked by Gregory Maguire

Major book hangover because of:

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult.  

Number of Bookcases You Own:

Not enough!  I'm actually in the process of turning my daughter's old baby room into a reading room so I can stack all my books there (and hopefully my family will stop complaining that my books are taking over the house).

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

Preferred Place To Read:

Living Room sofa, by the window.

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read:

“Stories are webs, interconnected strand to strand, and you follow each story to the center, because the center is the end. Each person is a strand of the story.”  ― Neil Gaiman, Anansi Boys

Reading Regret:

Do Not Become Alarmed by Maile Meloy

Series You Started And Need To Finish (all books are out in series):

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books:

Love Anthony by Lisa Genova / The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini / Interview with a Vampire by Anne Rice

Unapologetic Fangirl For:

That’s a tough one.  This answer changes from time to time.  Right now I'd have to say Neil Gaiman and Lisa Genova (very different styles, I know).

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others:

I just found out that Anne Rice has a new book from the Vampire Chronicles coming out in October!!!

Worst Bookish Habit:

Judging a book by its cover.

X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book:

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Your latest book purchase:

The Alternate Side by Anna Quindlen

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late):

Educated by Tara Westover

I would really LOVE to see some of you join me and answer this survey as well!  
If you do, please link back to this page :-)

Read More

Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl

Thursday, June 7, 2018



Happy Thursday everyone!

I'm really excited to be joining the #BlogTour for Neverworld Wake by Marisha Pessl.  I'd also like to send a BIG Thank You to Rockstar Book Tours for allowing me to be a host today!

Read on for book + author info, my review, and don't forget to check out the GIVEAWAY!


Pub. Date: June 5, 2018

Publisher: Delacorte Press
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Mystery
Formats: Hardcover, eBook, audiobook
Pages: 336
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonAudibleB&NiBooksTBD

Once upon a time, back at Darrow-Harker School, Beatrice Hartley and her six best friends were the cool kids, the beautiful ones. Then the shocking death of Jim—their creative genius and Beatrice's boyfriend—changed everything.

One year after graduation, Beatrice is returning to Wincroft—the seaside estate where they spent so many nights sharing secrets, crushes, plans to change the world—hoping she'll get to the bottom of the dark questions gnawing at her about Jim’s death. But as the night plays out in a haze of stilted jokes and unfathomable silence, Beatrice senses she’s never going to know what really happened.

Then a mysterious man knocks on the door. Blithely, he announces the impossible: time for them has become stuck, snagged on a splinter that can only be removed if the former friends make the harshest of decisions. Now Beatrice has one last shot at answers--and at life.

“It’s always the one we worship the most we know the least”.


Five friends get stuck in a time loop called Neverworld Wake.  Only 1 can survive.  Would you be able to choose who? 

This book is about friendship, betrayal, forgiveness, life, death and the world in between.

Marisha Pessl's first Young Adult novel is captivating and full of unexpected twists.  Each character is mysterious in his/her own way and each chapter peels another layer of the truth. Exposes another secret.  Changes your mind regarding who should survive.

Being trapped in time allows them to discover what really happened to Jim, the friend that died during their senior year.  It also gives them a chance to understand how crucial the passing of time is and how every tiny action and detail can affect the fabric of time.  

What I liked best was the author’s attention to details and how she carefully linked events that brought them to where they are.  She also placed a few thrilling twists that will keep you guessing till the very end. 

You will not be able to put this book down, and if you do, you will find your mind drifting back to Neverworld

I highly recommend Neverworld Wake.  I rated 4 stars on Goodreads.

This was my first novel by Marisha Pessl, but I will definitely read all her other novels!!!


Marisha Pessl grew up in Asheville, North Carolina, and now lives in New York City. Special Topics in Calamity Physics, her debut novel, was a bestseller in both hardcover and paperback. It won the 2006 John Sargent Sr. First Novel Prize (now the Center for Fiction’s Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize), and was selected as one of the 10 Best Books of the Year by The New York Times Book Review. Her new novel, Night Film, comes out August 20, 2013.

As an added bonus, check out Marisha's Playlist:


3 winners will receive a finished copy of NEVERWORLD WAKE, US Only.
Click Here to enter. Good Luck!

Tour Schedule:

6/1/2018- YA Books CentralExcerpt

Week Two:
6/4/2018- Two Chicks on BooksExcerpt
6/5/2018- Bookish LifestyleReview
6/6/2018- Tea With Mermaids- Review
6/7/2018- Trendy Simple LifeReview
6/8/2018- A Dream Within A DreamReview

Week Three:
6/11/2018- Books Coffee and RepeatReview
6/12/2018- NerdophilesReview
6/13/2018- Life of a Literary NerdReview
6/14/2018- Jena Brown WritesReview
6/15/2018- Once Upon a TwilightReview

Week Four:
6/18/2018- Here's to Happy EndingsReview
6/19/2018- Book-KeepingReview
6/20/2018- A Gingerly ReviewReview
6/21/2018- Cindy's Love of BooksReview
6/22/2018- RhythmicBooktrovertReview

Week Five:
6/25/2018- BookHounds YAReview
6/26/2018- Under the Book CoverReview
6/27/2018- Smada's Book SmackReview
6/28/2018- HauntedbybooksReview
6/29/2018- The Cover ContessaExcerpt

Read More
Copyright © TRENDY SIMPLE LIFE. Blog Design by