Writer Wednesday – Jacob & Jenny Floyd

Writer Wednesday

 

1. Tell us who you are and a little bit about what you write.

Jacob: My name is Jacob Floyd, I write paranormal nonfiction with my wife, Jenny. We are also ghost hunters who own and operate two history and haunts tours in the Louisville area—Jacob Floyd’s Shepherdsville History and Haunts Tour and Jacob Floyd’s NuLu History and Haunts Tour. I also run a blog called Jacob Floyd’s Ghosts and Monsters, which focuses on dark fiction and nonfiction paranormal topics; on it, I conduct interviews, post reviews of books, film, and television, and post other articles on related topics. I also write horror, as well.

Jenny: My name is Jenny Floyd. I am co-author of Kentucky’s Haunted Mansions. I am also a photographer that specializes in cemetery photography. I love antiques and Disney, and I am a ghost hunter.

 

2. What is something that your fans would be surprised to know about you?

Jacob: I don’t know. Maybe that, other than my wife, my best friend is my toy poodle named Snow White, and we call her BooBoo. People are also often surprised to find out that I’m a fan of pro wrestling.

Jenny: I am a descendant of Daniel Boone. Also, the northern route of the Wilderness Road once crossed through the property of the Brooks Plantation, which was a family home and the first chapter of Kentucky’s Haunted Mansions.

 

3. What made you become a writer?

Jacob: It’s just something I’ve always wanted to do. When I was a kid, I used to carry notebooks around and write down everything that came to my mind. As a teen, I wrote poetry and outlined a lot of stories I never finished. As I got older, I started writing full stories. After my wife and I started getting involved with ghost hunting, we both decided it would be cool to write books about the things we found out. She has a lot of ideas and knowledge regarding the paranormal.

Jenny: My dad used to give me antique books—the chapter books with the gilt edges—and I always thought, “I got stories to tell.” In first grade, I wrote a book called Ghost, and it was about a ghost that did different things. The most memorable thing was that he ate pizza. The book was a hit with my class. LOL

 

4. Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Jacob: Mostly plotter. For the ghost books, Jenny and I always sit down and lay out a table of contents before researching. For fiction, I always have to plot. I write out what’s going to happen chapter by chapter and then get to writing. But, it’s only a vague outline. The details often evolve organically around the plot. I used to be a pantser, but the storyline always suffered. It’s better for me to have an idea where I’m going.

Jenny: I’m definitely a plotter. My goal is to have a series of paranormal books.

 

5. What is the biggest mistake that you’ve learned not to make while writing?

Jacob: For nonfiction paranormal, writing something down without thoroughly researching it, even if it’s something as minute as a detail of the building or what street corner it’s on. You have to always make sure to get that right. For fiction, not plotting the story was the biggest mistake I always made.

Jenny: Not to get ahead of myself.

 

6. What is the last book you finished reading? What did you think?

Jacob: I just finished reading Knife’s Tell by Daniel Dark. I thought it was a very unique and engrossing book. I wrote a review for it on my blog, Jacob Floyd’s Ghosts and Monsters.

Jenny: Skull Full of Kisses by Michael West. I really enjoyed the stories.

 

7. Would you like to pimp a specific project?

Jacob: Well, I already mentioned my blog, and our tours. You can check out my Amazon author page for my books.

Jenny: We are working on our next paranormal books, so stay tuned to see what’s forthcoming from the Frightening Floyds.

 

8. Is there a URL or social media account you’d like to share?

Here is a link to our Facebook page, The Frightening Floyds: https://www.facebook.com/FrighteningFloyds/

Our cemetery photography: https://www.facebook.com/FloydsCemeteryPhotography/

Here is my author page: https://www.facebook.com/jacobfloydauthor/

A page to my blog: https://www.facebook.com/JacobFloydsGhostsandMonsters/

My blog site: https://wordpress.com/view/jacobfloydsghostsandmonsters.wordpress.com

The tour pages:

https://www.facebook.com/shepherdsvilletour/

https://www.facebook.com/eastmarkettour/

 

On Writing

We just think it’s important to keep writing and moving our work forward. We are trying to create our own brand on the paranormal side, which is very meaningful to use because it’s something we have created together. Jenny has a lot of ideas on the topic, and we bounce those ideas around and come up with great projects together. We have a few series planned for the paranormal writing. We built the tours together through a lot of interviews and research, and it’s been a great experience as they have helped us get the ball rolling for our books.

As for fiction, the same thing only reversed: I have a ton of ideas and my wife helps me make them better when we bounce ideas around; often times, she helps me fill in plots, or come up with great beginnings and story arcs. I have a lot planned for the fiction side of things, as well. We have a ton of ideas and don’t plan on stopping. We work together on everything and that’s why we love what we do.

We also work together on ideas for the blog, which helps us progress in both arenas—fiction and nonfiction paranormal—whether it’s who to interview, what to review, or what topic to tackle. Jenny has really gotten the hang of designing the ads, and that has given the blog the necessary visual to bring it attention. That’s how the Frightening Floyds work!

 

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Book Review – Word Nerd

Title: Word Nerd
Author: Susin Nielson
Format: Hardback
Published: 2008

So, I thought about starting off this review by saying that I am not this book’s target audience, but I doubt that I’m the target audience for most of the stuff I read.  And really, since it’s technically a children’s book, I’m pretty sure you know by now that I’m not some 11 yr old girl (I am still holed up in my room with the stuffed animal I sleep with, but that’s a different argument altogether).

ANYWAY.  Word Nerd follows around Ambrose Bukowski, a self-described word nerd, only child, and peanut-allergy sufferer.  He’s named after his dad, who died before he was born, and as a result, he hops around Canada with his mother, a professor who moved whenever the going get tough, or she didn’t get tenure.

The book starts out with the school bullies slipping Ambrose a peanut in his sandwich.  Predictably, it almost kills him, and the result is that Ambrose ends up home schooled while his mother teaches at night.  While all that is happening, he’s becoming friends with the neighbor – Cosmo Economopolous – who showed up unnanounced after leaving prison.   He coerces Cosmo to take him to Scrabble Club instead.

So… Uh.   I’m sorry, but the plot of the book reads sort of like a NaNoWriMo dare.  I’m not saying that it’s a bad thing, but it’s just odd.  “Let’s kill the dad off in utero so he’s out of the picture…  Let’s go to scrabble club… Let’s pick some random medical issue… Let’s… “   I’m not saying it’s a bad thing per sey, but most of what happened in the story is defintely stuff that seems peculiar.  Most pre-teen boys aren’t gung ho about something like Scrabble Club, for instance.

That said, the book is written well enough, (although I wish it weren’t first person, bcause it’d would be so much stronger if it wasn’t), albeit predictable (although, again, I’m about 25 years beyond their target audience, so it might be better if I were).

I also had issues with the alphabet soup type of last name that the upstairs neighbors had.  Ambrose usually called them Mr. & Mrs. E, but every time the author said the whole last name, it pulled me out of the book entirely because your eye kind of trips over it on the page.

 

In the end, even though it was a silly premise, I thought it was well enough written, especially the scene with the mother in the car when she finds out about Scrabble club.  The chapter headers are single words but arranged so you’re making words out of a strimg of letters, and that was a cute touch.  I did feel that a few of the characters talked down to Ambrose a bit, which was annoying because it was his freakin’ story, but I’ll give it a pass for the reading level this book is written at.

In the end, I was looking for a simple read that I could finish in a hurry, and I did finish this in an hour or two on the couch one night.  That in mind, I’ll actually give it a tentative four out of five pages.  If you’re the book’s target audience, go ahead and grab it.  If you’re beyond that point, though, you may not enjoy it quite as much.

Book Review – Tales of Arilland

TITLE: Tales of Arilland
AUTHOR: Alethea Kontis
FORMAT: Audio Book
READ BY: Gabrielle Baker
PUBLISHED: 2017?

This review is, unfortunately, going to be as much about my feelings on audio books as it will be on Alethea’s words.

I liked the idea of an audio book.  I’ve been spending a lot of time in the car, taking my fiancee to work, and if I can listen to a book instead of the same music over and over and over again, then that’s a good thing, right?  I mean, it counts towards the books I read and it counts towards the books that I get to share with you guys, and you can still pick it up in print or ebook even though I’ve reviewed the audio.

I’ve heard good things about this series from a friend of mine (search our blog for Alethea Kontis, and you’ll find reviews of most of her books on this site), and I figured that a group of short stories was totally a good way to jump into the world.  The series is all fairy tale retellings, so I thought I’d have enough of  a familiarity with them that I could jump in easy peasy.

Yeah.  Notsomuch.

Right off the bat, I had a few issues with the audio book.  I’d heard amazing things about Gabrielle Baker, and I was really looking forward to this, but her reading for the first story was a little flatter than I would have liked – not enough (if any) difference in dialog to necessarily know that you’re switching people or dealing with dialog.

The other issue that I had was that I couldn’t always tell when a story ended and another one started.  I wish there had been something really obvious for it.  When you’re in the car, driving, you don’t always have 100% attention on the audio.  So something would have been helpful – maybe a chime when the story was over or her making it clear that she was reading story titles.  Because they kinda blended in.

The other problem that I had was that it was hard to keep enough attention on the book to not miss something here and there, you know?  Driving in a town you’re not that familiar with and trying to find your turn?  Oops, haven’t heard what’s being said for the last five minutes.  Sleeping toddler wakes up and starts talking?  Nope, no idea what that paragraph was.  And if I’m going to stay hands free, I don’t have the luxury to rewind it or whatever.  Lose focus in a print book, and you just read the page again.

Oh, and I don’t know why, but all I get for titles in my audible thing is “Chapter 1” instead of a story name, so I couldn’t even go and look it up later.  Boo.

That said, the point of listening to this was so that I could get more book in my limited amount of time.  So as for the actual stories:

I’m not going to break down each story because, well, I can’t even if I wanted to (and I actually did want to).  I searched the internet ad nauseum for a table of contents for this book and I just couldn’t find one no matter how hard I tried.  I have never in my life seen a book so inaccessible to the online masses.  Like, seriously, the online links bring me to Amazon in every country ever, but no reviews or anything that I could glean that information from.  And again, Gabrielle’s reading didn’t always make it clear – although credit to her, after the first couple stories, the readings got So. Much. Better.

Let’s just say there are some stories that I’ve already forgotten and I’m okay with that.  Others, though, were fabulous.

The mermaid story was beautiful.  It was dark and gritty and omg, and I loved it and was so sad when it was over.  I also loved the siren story.  I don’t know that much about siren lore, but I just loved how it was presented.  The characters were beautifully done and the siren herself was heartwrenching.  Ironically, the most human character in the whole story.

The bulk – okay, probably half – of the 6ish hours is taken up by her Woodcutter series and a story about Sunday and Rumboldt.  (Or maybe it’s two stories?  Again, I’m really unsure here…) I really like how her characters are developed and there are some beautiful lines that I wish I could have written down.  Unfortunately, common sense decided against trying to do that at 70 miles per hour while operating the car.  Alethea really does have a good way with words.

 

In all, it was a pleasant experience.  I know that there’s going to be some give and take with the audio format – especially when you’re listening in the car in a big city – but the stories themselves were beautiful and Gabrielle really did read the story well – especially as this progressed.

 

I’ll give the format itself a 3.  It doesn’t even come close to being as amazing as a print book could be, but it was nice to be able to listen to a book on the go

The book itself, though, is better.  There were a few that I didn’t care for, but the ones that were good were really good.  In all, I’ll give this a 4/5.

 

Book Review – The Anti-Bride

TITLE: Anti-Bride Etiquette Guide: The rules and how to bend them
AUthoR: Carolyn Guerin
Format: Paperback
Published; 2004

I got engaged on January 1, so of course the first thing I did when I made the next trip to the library was to find the wedding section and get a couple books.  I started reading this one right away and was done in a  very short amount of time.
The purpose of the book is pretty much to make brides relax a bit.  Just because your mother talks lovingly about wearing her mother’s wedding dress or your sister shared her special day with 18 attendants in matching head to toe ensembles doesn’t mean that you have to continue those traditions.

The initial format of the book is pretty nice.  She’s arranged chapters by thing, and they’re pretty much chronological.  There’s definitely nothing complicated about this.  Each chapter starts by telling you the history of whatever it is, and then expands in to a Q&A/FAQ type format where it talks about ‘do you have to’ or what ifs or whatever.  [note: the wedding cake history isn’t entirely right]

It’s not bad.  It’s nice to know why we do the things we do, and the author wants you to understand things before you decide to do them differently. There are charts to show expectations of things like what to wear and when.  It’s also nice to know that there are silly fuddy-duddy things that don’t need done anymore.  (And have people say it’s okay – there are so many details a bride has to think of that I’m sure there are plenty that are afraid to go off script.)

That said, I had some issues.  For starters, the author likes ridiculous examples of things and doesn’t offer real world solutions nearly as often as she could.  Also a lot of the things she brings up are a little clichee – like dyeable shoes – but that could also be a product of the fact that the book is 10 years old.

Unfortunately, the bottom line is that I didn’t learn hardly anything from this book (I did learn that “honor of your presence” should only be used if the wedding is in a church), and a lot of the scenario/answer things were pretty common sense or out there. “My mother’s been telling her yoga class.  Help!”  Well, so what?  Is your wedding a government secret??  And some of it wasn’t even thorough.  “I didn’t get a present, I feel slighted!” should have had the “hello, they have a year!” reminder in addition to her actual advice of don’t keep score.
I didn’t gain anything whatsoever from this book and I think it fell very short where it could have been fabulous.  Also, updating things would make a lot of these answers so much better.  I mean, the book is over a decade old, so it barely mentions the internet’s existence.  (And really, if it were done today, there’d be a total ETSY RULES!! chapter.) I think the book had potential, but I think it fell completely short of where it should have been.  If you’re new at this and don’t have a clue, it may be helpful.  But I can sum the book up as “it’s okay to relax tradition” and you can skip it, too.

Also, the book is in two font colors – black and pink.  Which maybe would be okay with the right font, but the font is a skinny little thing and it made reading really difficult at times.  So there’s that.  I want to be generous and all and give it a better rating, but in my heart, I know this needs to be a 2/5.

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