Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Marcie by Carly M. Duncan (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for Marcie by author Carly M. Duncan!

Author Guest Post

The Process of Writing A Novel
By: Carly M. Duncan

The process of writing a novel is a hefty task, but not if you approach it in sections. Everyone has his or her own recipe for success and there’s no right or wrong way to attack a page until you’re able to write, “The End.” Through the course of finishing my first novel, Marcie, and my upcoming novel, Behind You, I’ve found a process that works best for me.

I always know the ending before I begin. I can’t begin a new project without understanding where the story is going to land at its completion. I’ve tried to blindly lead myself down a path, but always end up wondering what it’s all for. I think it gives me a sense of relief to know what the last line will be. The hard part is making up all of the elements that are going to get me there. Generally speaking, I like an ending that feels like a friendly punch to the gut: something that leaves you slightly breathless and shocked, but otherwise unharmed.

For me, one of the most exciting parts about starting a new story is the creation of characters. Almost every character I’ve ever invented stems from a line someone said to me or a person I saw or a few quirks of those closest to me. I begin with something I know and then I build an individual around that. Once I know who I’m working with, I give them a problem. When I have the appropriate obstacle, I think about how this person would proceed. Would they make mistakes? Would they act maliciously? Would they do what is right? I learn to navigate the story based on understanding what my character might do next. For me, writing is a lot like acting because I’m always trying to pretend I’m in someone else’s shoes.

Sometimes, I’ll send a few chapters of the book to a friend or family member who happens to enjoy the genre of book I’m writing. I ask them about what they’re most curious about, what they think is going to happen next and what they want to happen next. I consider this my own sort of case study and it’s especially helpful if I’ve hit a good ‘ol fashioned writer’s block and need help deciding where the story will go next.

Finally, and perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned about the process of writing a story, is figuring out how I’m going to continue to keep my readers’ interest peaked. What is going to make them want to turn the page? I try to end each chapter with a bit of a tease or a demanding closing line – something that will make them want to begin a new chapter before going to sleep. If I finish a chapter, but there’s nothing to propel me into the next one I’m not done with that chapter.

The process of writing a novel is overwhelming, challenging, wonderful and cathartic. It may take time (sometimes too much of it), but in the end I feel this incredible pride in what I’ve accomplished and relieved that that story has come to an end.

For a peek at an ending that has left readers asking me “AND THEN WHAT?!” check out my novel, Marcie, available on Amazon and Don’t forget to pay me a visit too! I’d love to hear from you. Just “like” my Carly M. Duncan Facebook page and say hi.

About The Author

Carly M. Duncan is a television producer by day and a writer whenever there is time. She loves baking, scripted television and is working on easing her addiction to her too-smart-phone. She lives with her husband, two daughters and beloved Westie in Brooklyn, New York.

Her latest book is the chick lit novel, Marcie.

Marcie by Carly M. Duncan ~ Virtual Book Tour Page: Pump Up You Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours

Book Review

Marcie by Carly M. Duncan
Publisher: Independent Self Publishing
Publication Date: May 10, 2013 
Format: Paperback - 136 pages / Kindle - 229 KB 
ISBN: 148011832X
ASIN: B00E8858OI
Genre: Chick Lit / Contemporary Fiction / Women's Fiction


Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Pump Up Your Book! Virtual Book Publicity Tours.

Book Description:

When Kate’s mother, Marcie, dies mysteriously she is forever tormented by the many questions surrounding her mother’s death. In Marcie’s absence Kate clings to her mother’s husbands, searching for solace.

As family secrets are revealed Kate works to build her own life and family, but the mystery of her mother’s death sidetracks her until she finally gets the answer she’s always hoped for.

Book Excerpt:

A call in the middle of the night can never bear good news. In fact, the sound of each ring sends a chill through me. Even the tiny hairs on my arm stand on edge.

A glance at the clock tells me two things; either there is an emergency, or the neighborhood middle school kids are having a prank hay day. The frequency of the latter enables me to calmly and patiently let the phone continue to ring a few more times.

I don’t have an answering machine, and there’s no reason I wouldn’t be home (asleep) at this hour, so whoever is dialing knows I’ll answer as long as they challenge me with the annoyance of each ring. I pretend that I’m dreaming, but by the seventh ring I can’t ignore reality. There is, after all, the small possibility that the call could be something important. I answer.

It’s my stepbrother, Terry, and there isn’t a greeting at all. Just, “Something’s happened to Marcie. I just got a call from Guam. Get to my house as soon as possible.”

Terry is six years older than I and is someone who entered my life when I was five years old. He is his father, Beau’s, clone in every way a son can and should be. He’s handsome, loud, bossy and, though I sense a lot of anger from the depths inside of him, he’s always laughing.

He lives nearby with his mother, so we see him often and he’s another protective, embarrassing older brother I could’ve done without. I imagine if I were to enter into a family that wasn’t my own, I might do so gradually and with care, but Terry immediately jumped into his role as big brother and was happy not only to have a brother to team up with, but a little sister to antagonize as well.

I’m nineteen and my brothers still insist on making fun of me. I figured it would die down once I exited junior high, then thought it would lose its charm once I turned eighteen, but it happens to be our family’s form of entertainment, so I laugh. I try to get my share of punches in on them. I remember that they jest out of love, and convince my normally overly sensitive side to giggle with them on occasion.

I am the perfect little sister because I make the jokes easy to come by (or perhaps simply being a little sister allows the jokes to flow freely.) Like when I enter the living room, ready for a date, and my big brothers say to me, “You’re not honestly going out like that, are you?!” My super jock-y, rule-the-school brothers are used to a hotter level of date, I guess.

My Book Review:

Marcie is an intriguing novella written in the first person narrative that delves into the dysfunctional family relationship and quest of a young woman to find the answer to her mother's mysterious death and journey to healing and moving forward with her life.

Author Carly M. Duncan weaves an emotional tale that draws the reader into Kate's story of seeking answers and closure after her mother Marcie is lost at sea in Guam in February 1977. Kate's story follows a timeline from February 1974 when Marcie informs Kate that she and her stepfather Beau are moving from California to Guam, weaving forward through August 1983, when Kate receives the closure that she had longed for since her mother's death.

Kate has not had an easy family life, the dysfunction is apparent as she reveals Marcie's history of marriages and divorces, she never felt like she ever connected with her mother, and as young woman of nineteen, she is dealt a blow when her mother disappears in a hurricane. As Kate and Marcie's story unfolds, the reader is drawn into the complexity of their lives, it is a story that runs the emotional gamut from loss and sadness to strength and love. You can't help but get drawn into their story and feel for Kate as her journey to seek closure and the strength to move forward with her life is not an easy one, it keeps the reader engaged and wondering about the mystery of Marcie's disappearance and death until it is revealed in the closing sentence of the story.

Marcie is a beautifully written novella that will pull at your heartstrings, it is a wonderful debut for author Carly M. Duncan.


Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule:

Monday, August 5 – First Chapter Reveal at Pump Up Your Book
Monday, August 5 – Interview at Examiner
Tuesday, August 6 – Book Featured at Margay Leah Justice
Thursday, August 8 – Book Featured at My Devotional Thoughts
Friday, August 9 – Book Featured at Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews
Tuesday, August 13 – Book Featured at Confessions of a Reader
Thursday, August 15 – Book Review at My Reading Table
Friday, August 16 – Book Review at From the TBR Pile
Monday, August 19 – Guest Blogging at The Writer’s Life
Tuesday, August 20 – Guest blogging & First Chapter Reveal at Alana Munro
Wednesday, August 21 – Book Review at Melissa’s Midnight Musings
Thursday, August 22 – Character Guest Post at Gina’s Library
Friday, August 23 – Book Review at The Self-Taught Cook
Monday, August 26 – Book Review & First Chapter Reveal at Mom in Love with Fiction
Tuesday, August 27 – Book Review at Mary’s Cup of Tea
Wednesday, August 28 – Guest Blogging at Lori’s Reading Corner
Thursday, August 29 – Guest Blogging at Authors and Readers Book Corner
Friday, August 30 – Book Review & Guest Blogging at Jersey Girl Book Reviews
Friday, August 30 – First Chapter Reveal at Literary Winner
RESCHEDULING: First Chapter Reveal at Read 2 Review

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