Wednesday, December 28, 2016

I'm Moving!

Talk about a long hiatus!

So, things have been happening, or rather, things have been stalling, and I've decided that I need to actually do things in order to achieve what I want to in life. Where I want my writing to go, and what I want to dedicate my blog to.

When I first started MJA I had no idea what I wanted in a blog. I just wanted to write, and I hoped that the readers would follow me. And it took awhile, but you have! But I've been terrible at keeping up with this blog because I was trying to turn it into something that it just couldn't be.

I'm an author, first and foremost, and upon meeting other writers, I've learned so much and want to pass on that education to others, like they've passed on to me.

That said, The Modern Jane Austen isn't going to be getting updates anymore. This is a blog where I wrote about my life, some reviews here and there, and just a few tidbits about my writing journey. But it was mostly a confused mess, IMO, and I've decided to rebrand and start anew.

About two months ago I took advantage of a $7 blog setup special from Blogelina, which was setting up Wordpress, a year's worth of hosting on GoDaddy, as well as a blog design. I'd be mad NOT to take that deal. But I started a new blog. It's not live yet, and won't be until January 2, but this is going to be a blog completely dedicated to writing, publishing, and reviewing. If you're a writer and want to publish, there will be something there for you. If you're a reader and love finding new books, there will be a lot for you, as well. One of the most important aspects of blogging is finding your audience, and I realized that I want my audience to be people like me: Writers who want to publish.

I've learned a lot from MJA, and will keep it open in case there are posts you ever want to go back to (I want to keep it open specifically for my cornbread recipe. It's delicious!), but I won't be updating here anymore.

Thank you for joining me in this journey, and I hope that you'll join me at my new online residence, Rebekah Martin Writes.

God bless!

Becky Martin

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

These Are the MomentsThese Are the Moments by Jenny Bravo
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I don't read much YA or NA, and I got this because I follow Jenny's blog, her Twitter, and have gotten to know her a bit more through #StorySocial on Twitter, so I was really excited to read her book.
This book was honestly like looking back at my own history. Granted, I've never loved anyone who couldn't get their crap together, but a lot of Wendy's teenage experiences, from going to Youth Group retreats to pining after a guy who has only shown a passing interest in me at first, rang real.

In fact, a lot of the world Jenny built was very real. I could see the town Wendy lived in, the friends she had, her younger sister's painful first breakup, the pain of catch and release with Simon's affections. I seriously wanted to punch him, and kept asking what it was about him that made her keep going back. Simon was a terrible person, and Wendy deserved so much better.

Everything in the story was very relatable, right down to feeling ignored by your recently engaged best friend (or any friend in a new, exciting relationship). These Are The Moments that we can all remember happening to us. I liked the story, and I'm looking forward to reading the prequel and sequel.

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Saturday, December 10, 2016

Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice (The Austen Project, #4)Eligible: A Modern Retelling of Pride and Prejudice by Curtis Sittenfeld
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I have a love/hate relationship with Curtis Sittenfeld. I think she's a good writer if a bit pretentious. I read Prep when I was in college and was confused by its plotless story. I followed it up with The Man of My Dreams and was once again confused about when it would get to an actual story. By the time I got to American Wife I honestly had to ask myself if I'd ever read anything of Sittenfeld's again.
That being said, I read this because I love Jane Austen. Pride and Prejudice is probably one of the most amazing novels ever written. Elizabeth Bennet is complex, likable, and completely learns from her experiences.
I didn't feel that Liz Bennet learned anything in this modern remake. She was as judgemental as the characters she complained were judgmental. She goes through this entire novel acting like she's better than everyone because she's spent the last twenty years in New York, and not in Cincinnati, which is apparently Hickville, USA.
This is what almost every modern retelling of P&P gets wrong: Lizzie Bennet, while she definitely has her foibles, she's overall a kind person. Liz in Eligible just felt petty. She treats her parents like petulant children (though they were in denial, but she could've been more tactful, especially following her father's health scare), her sisters like children (though they were never forced to grow up, so that's to be expected, I guess), and the idea that she and Darcy decided to have hate sex just kind of grated on my nerves. She makes snap judgments on people, which are always spot-on. She's right about everything, which is annoying. I also felt like she was trying too hard to prove she was with the times, unlike her backward, conservative parents (Sittenfeld is seriously a one-sided writer).
I was glad that this book had a plot to follow. There were numerous goals with good challenges to block the goals, but I think the appeal of this book for me was the fact that it was based around P&P. I also thought the last bit with Mary's POV was unnecessary. It was just a POV to show how superior she was to her family. I already didn't like Mary, but that was overkill.

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Monday, November 21, 2016

Incursion (Catalyst Moon #1)Incursion by Lauren L. Garcia
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I received this from the publisher for a review and my honest opinion.

I just want to start off this review by saying that I didn't hate this book. In fact, there were parts that I really liked. What I didn't care for was the structure and the lack of description. Aside from the fact that Kali was injured and had dark hair and Stonewall was a burly soldier-type, I couldn't tell you anything else about the characters. I couldn't tell you who half the supporting cast was, or why their stories were important. The only thing I can figure is that they'll have bigger, more substantial roles in later books.
I've been reading a lot of books on story structure lately, because I know it's something that I definitely need to work on. In this, the characters had several misadventures, but nothing added up to a big climax at the end. There was no real antagonist to keep the main characters from their goal of reaching Whitewater City (Canderi, maybe?), and the threat and stakes didn't feel like they were much risk. I kept expecting some of the people that Kali and Stonewall stopped to help to betray them, but betray them from what? They weren't trying to do anything except get to the city. I think if Kali had been a bit more anxious to get away from Stonewall there may have been more opportunities for conflict, but she was almost too agreeable.
I think this was a valiant first effort in a book series, I just wish that there had been more at stake. Perhaps in later books, and this is just the first rumble of a full-on revolution for the Mages?

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Thursday, September 1, 2016

September Musings on Writing

Another year has gone by.



I'm 20 days out from my 31st birthday.


I'm 24 days out from embarking on my first cruise to Canada.


I'm thismuch closer to finishing a second manuscript this year.

So, it's shaping up to be a pretty exciting month for me. I'd REALLY like to finish both manuscripts so that I can get to working on their second drafts before NaNoWriMo kicks off in November.

Yes. I'm using my thirties as I should've used my twenties: As someone who wants to write books for a living. Novel concept right?

But honestly. Six years ago when I started at my current job, I was under the illusion that what happened to Amanda Hocking would happen to me. Haha! I was so cute and naive when I was 25.

The last year or so, I've tried really hard to understand what it means to be an independent or self-published author. How you have to put your best work out there, not just the crappy first draft that you were just relieved to finish. That editors want to help you and not hinder you. That the entire business of getting word out rests on your shoulders.

I keep waffling between wanting to find a real publisher and sharing profits, or doing everything myself (or hiring it out), and getting to keep more of my hard earned money. But if I do that, will I still have time for writing? Therein lies the real question.

Do I want to attempt to find a publisher (I've got a list of small publishing companies I could pitch to), and risk rejection from a small number of people? Or do I want to self-publish, create my own brand, risk losing valuable writing time, but keep more profit?


If I wanted to be honest with myself, I'd rather make more money (You haven't seen my student loans. Hoo-boy!). I'm extremely cautious about showing my writing to some people, because I was scarred from it during college (no one in my department liked it, it seemed, but everyone outside my department loved it. WTF?).

However, this past year of soul searching, I've discovered a couple different writing communities that have opened my eyes not only to the vast array of writers and their stories out there, but that people want to read what I have to write.

Last night, I was taking part in #StorySocial on Twitter, and we were talking about character relationships. I talked about one of my current WIP (Works in Progress), about a woman coming into her story in the middle of a beautiful relationship. It managed to pique the interest of several other members of the group. I've never gotten that kind of feedback from a group of writers before. It made me think, I can really do this.


So, despite the month being shorter for me, due to my vacation at the end of the month, and I cut myself off from technology during vacations, I really want to finish both manuscripts. I want to get them both published in the next year. I want to make a go of this crazy writing life that I've desired since I was nine years old.

That's why I haven't been hanging out here for awhile. I've been working on my books. And I hope when they are published, you'll do me the honor of reading them.


  • What are your September goals?
  • Anything fun coming up?
  • What are you writing? Reading?

Friday, August 26, 2016

Free Money! 3 Tips For Giving Plasma

Today, I wanted to talk to you about giving Plasma. Plasma is the liquid part of your blood that carries your blood cells all around your body. When you give plasma, they use it to make medication, and it also helps patients who have experienced trauma, have bleeding disorders, and more. I started giving Plasma back in 2007 when gas prices were upwards of $4 a gallon in Missouri, where I was living and needed all the extra money I could get. At the time, I got about $40/donation, but now I give through OctaPharma here in CB, with different pricing (It varies based on your weight).

It hasn't always been easy, though. A few years ago, I was unable to keep giving, and I couldn't figure out why. When I went back to try to raise money for an upcoming vacation the first few times I tried, my protein levels were either too low or at the bare minimum, so I thought I'd share some tips that help.

1. Three hours before you go, start eating something with protein. 

I usually give in the morning, so I make sure to eat two large eggs (12g of protein), and then as I'm driving out, I'll drink a protein shake. Doing this, my levels have been steady, and I've had no issues. Remember to also eat protein consistently on your off days, too. It's just good nutrition. I've also noticed that if I add spinach, my hematocrit levels are perfect. You have to be at 38 to give, and mine is usually on the lower side. I've also started taking an iron supplement, which helps.


2. HYDRATE

Storytime! Back in 2011, before we went on our first Disney Cruise, I had been giving plasma to get souvenir money. The week before I left, I didn't hydrate well enough, and when they were returning my blood cells to my body, my veins weren't plump enough to get the blood back through the vein, and I ended up with a huge bruise on my arm. I wasn't able to give again until the bruise went away. When you're hydrated, your veins have extra water to push your blood through, and accept the blood cells back.


3. Bring a stress ball

If you've ever given blood, they usually give you a stress ball to squeeze to help your blood pump out. I'd taken to squeezing my hand in a consistent, medium speed. I can actually feel the vein popping out (Are you getting squeamish yet?). I've found that if I squeeze my hand too quickly, it doesn't come out as fast, and it makes the machine beep. When I do it slower, the lights on the machine stay green, the phlebotomists don't have to keep checking on you, and you're out quicker. At a baseball game a few weeks back, a company gave my mom a stress bathtub, which she gave me to use when giving plasma. It works so much better than just squeezing my hand.



These are the tips that work best for me. There's probably a lot of trial and error, and you should find what works best for you, but I hope these tips can give you a jumping off point for your own plasma journey. It's completely worthwhile and helpful if needles don't bother you, and a good way to make some extra money. I'm able to pay off my next cruise, and extra bills. If you're paying down debt, it's a great option for only a couple hours of your time per week.

Visit octapharmaplasma.com for more information, and donation centers. I'm not affiliated, aside from being a patron, but I think helping the medical community is a worthy cause. 

Thursday, August 25, 2016

I Promise I Haven't Abandoned You

Time flies when you're busy doing other things, doesn't it? The blog hasn't really been at the front of my mind lately, because things have been pretty busy.

My last post, back in March, was about writing. I'm still working on finding some freelance work, but it's harder than I anticipated. I think confidence has a lot to do with that. But at the start of April, I focused all of my writing energy toward Camp NaNoWriMo, and I won! My novel still isn't done, but it's pretty darn close. I'm currently tying up loose ends, and think it'd be amazing if I could send it to a couple indie publishers before Christmas.



I also completed Camp NaNoWriMo in July for another book, which I'm focusing on now. Plus, I just got an idea for another story that I might attempt for regular NaNoWriMo

I'm working on some backstory for a couple other books, and learning more about Scrivener. I'm falling in love with Scrivener. I think I can count it as a big reason I was able to write so much of my novel.

I haven't been keeping up with Built By Beks much, either, but I did restart WW, and am doing pretty well with it. I'm working on a morning exercise habit, and I'm starting to notice my new healthy habits are starting to pay off with better sleep and looser clothes. Win!


I've moved to a new client at work. I was pretty sad when they said they wanted to move me, but then I found out that my client was going away, and I felt relieved that they had a place for me first. And apparently some nice things were said about me in the process, which was awesome. I love finding out that the work I do is appreciated.

I've joined a Book Club. Back in September, my library forgave all library fines, which had been what kept me from going there (they added up REALLY quickly back in the day!), so I renewed my card, and have been exploring all of the community activities they offer from craft classes to Book Club. The first book I read with them was The Night Circus, which was amazing. We've also read Boneshaker (It was just meh), Ready Player One (Pretty good), The Heroines (Avoid at ALL COSTS), Station Eleven (Pretty good), and for next week, we're reading The Mists of Avalon. I've seen the miniseries, but I'm having trouble getting into the book.


So, that's pretty much what I've been up to.


  • What have you been doing this summer?
  • Ready for Back to School?