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Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Brad Wiggins vs Chris Frome... My Time vs The Climb

For those of you who don't know, I'm a huge cycling fan.  Now you know.

I read The Climb by Chris Froome right after reading My Time by Brad Wiggins and am going to do a quick comparison between the two books.

From a reader's perspective, Froome's autobiography, The Climb, was much easier to read, more linear, less confusing, lighter and frankly, the writing was superior. 

click for image credit
Victorious Wiggins
Brad Wiggins the man (sorry, the knight), from outside the fish bowl, is an enigma and comes across as an enigma via his writing.  He is consistently inconsistent, at times aloof and seems incredibly (and sadly) insecure with himself.

 This comes out in his writing -how he describes his interactions with others, how his thoughts are all over the place.  I would have thought a good editor would have reigned in his tangents but perhaps it was an attempt to...allow readers a glimpse inside the mind of Sir. Wiggo.  Brad's story was post-olympics and onward and it lacked the foundation, the back story that was so prevalent in Froome's The Climb.

click for image credit

Last week Sir Bradley Wiggins won the Time Trial World Championships making him the only cyclist to gold medal in the Olympics, win the Tour de France and win the World Championships.

This may never be done again in the history of the sport.  When Brad is on, he is phenomenal -unstoppable in the time trial.  I believe Froome could take him in the mountains...but that's neither here nor there. 

Back to the books...
The window into Froome's past that comprises the first quarter (or more) of his book is very well written and entertaining.  It gave me insight into the man I see in the media and on the television during the race season.

Chris Froome
Froome wins mountaintop finish
The endearing account of his early life in Kenya followed by his early cycling career and taking us through his 2013 Tour de France victory is one of the best athlete autobiographies I've had the pleasure of reading.  My perception of Chris is someone I'd love to meet -a nice guy (although fiercely competitive).

Brad Wiggins has moments where he, too, can be that guy you'd like to meet in a local pub and share a pint in his autobiography...but it is spotted with moments that made me wonder if that was the real Brad...or is Brad the other guy -the guy with the walls all around him, the guy who can't communicate with his own team.  He leaves you confused because I think he is confused.  I truly hope Wiggo is able to find peace in his life.
Casual Brad

So, in summary: The Climb: excellent read, highly recommend. My Time is more sterile, harder to read but a highly interesting glimpse into the mind of a cycling legend.  While Froome speaks more of his interactions with Wiggins, the stories intertwine so much that if you're going to read one, you certainly should read the other.  Start with My Time (otherwise your perception of Brad may be poisoned before you give him a chance). 

2015 should be a great year for cycling and the paths of Chris Froome and Sir Bradley Wiggins will no doubt be captivating.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Starbucks vs Dunkin Donuts

I know this is totally random but I was pondering while driving past yet another Dunkin' Donuts being constructed and I realized what the difference between these two coffee giants truly is. 

They both have

Good coffee
Good baked stuff
Good non-coffee beverage selections

But there is something Starbucks has that Dunkin' does not and, in my opinion, never will. 

Has anyone ever thought, hey, I'm going to Dunkin to sit, relax, get some work done, meet some friends?  Probably not. But why?

1. Layout. Take a look at the floor layouts the next time you visit either. Every DD I've ever visited were perfectly rectangular. A counter on one side, tables  on the other. Set up fore one thing. Move customers through the ordering process as quickly as possible. Are there windows by the tables? Probably not. Now look at a Starbucks. They are usually more square with tables around the perimeter and in the center. Sure, they have flow in mind but they also have atmosphere in mind. The tables are most likely beside large windows. They probably have a community board on the wall somewhere. And there is most likely artwork hanging on the wall that doesn't have anything to do with marketing their own products.

2. Customer service. The majority of Starbucks employees are on their 'A' game every time you walk in the door. If you go there enough they probably know you by your first name. Can the same be said for DD? I don't think so. At least, not in my personal experience. I imagine the training to be a Starbucks barista is rather focused. Cookie cutter? Yes. But consistent. I would guess that DD training is more store specific and less formal. 

I am speculating however I believe that each Dunkin' Donuts is individually owned and operated which could explain the difference from store to store when it comes to customer service. Perhaps training unification across all stores would be helpful.

Anyway, that's all for my random coffeehouse post that I'm writing on my phone using the Blogger app for the first time.

What do you think? Did I get it right or am I wrong?

Thursday, May 29, 2014

June short story contest-Zombie me!

As part of the lead-up to the October launch of Evasion, book 2 of The Never Chronicles, I will be hosting a writing contest each month.  

Contest category:  Fiction
Type:  Short Story
Deadline:   June 30, 2014
Entry fee: $0.00 (FREE!)

Word count Maximum: 500

​First place: Two signed copies of Exiled and a digital copy of Tristis Manor 
Second place: One signed copy of Exiled and a digital copy of Tristis Manor
Third place: a digital copy of Tristis Manor

Prompt: Write a story that centers around a zombie, zombies or the zombie apocalypse.  That's it. Seriously.

​PLEASE read the contest rules HERE I STRONGLY RECOMMEND reading the scoring rubric (found in the contest rules). It will tell you exactly how each submission will be scored.

Tweet: I'm entering the zombie short story contest! @JRWagner2 #TheNeverChronicles #writingcontest

~In the book world, word of mouth is king~

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Evasion, book two of The Never Chronicles release date change

 young adult, fantasy, fiction, the never chronicles, j.r. wagner, fantasy novel, book, bestseller

Release Update: 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014 at 9:58:29 AM

Dear readers,

Due to circumstances beyond my control, the release date of Evasion has been pushed back to Spring of 2015

Please click HERE to read more.

It's official!

Evasion, the second book in The Never Chronicles series will release on October 28th of this year.

There will be an exclusive launch party (with a cool, Halloween tie-in) location and details forthcoming.

Starting in June, I will be hosting one writing contest each month leading up to the launch in October.  The prizes should be quite cool.  Look for a blog post this week regarding the June contest details.

Blog post with details can be found HERE

There will also be giveaways each month beginning in June and running through the release date. 

TheNeverChronicles.com is currently undergoing a facelift.  The new look and functionality release will available soon.

The Evasion cover reveal will come early August.  I am very excited about this cover (designed by the super-talented Todd Berkhammer) and can't wait to hear what everyone thinks.  If you would like to be part of the cover reveal, send me an email.  JRW@theneverchronicles.com

Book one, Exiled as well as Tristis Manor will be running at special sale prices during the June-November promotional period.

Thank you for your continued support.  I truly appreciate it.

Tweet: Evasion, book 2 of The Never Chronicles is coming out October 28th. @JRWagner2 Can't wait! #TheNeverChronicles

~In the book world, word of mouth is king~

The Never Chronicles, YA, Young Adult, social issues, novel, book, abuse

A tale of perseverance, strength and redemption.

the never chronicles, j.r. wagner, ya fantasy novel, fiction, exiled

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Customizing the columns for Scrivener in the outliner view


Can you tell I'm obsessed with Scrivener yet?

First, THIS is the outliner view.

You get to it by clicking on the far right 'Group Mode'

What good is outliner view?


Think of it like the corkboard view on steroids.  Not only does it show each chapter synopsis, you can create labels, update status', look at your word counts per chapter as well as add custom columns.

Here is how to add custom columns:

Click on the Custom Meta-Data button at the bottom right of the inspector

This will bring up the Custom Meta-Data in the inspector.  To add or change fields, click on the settings button and select 'Edit Custom Meta-Data settings.

The Meta-Data Settings menu will pop up.

Here you can add custom columns in the outliner by clicking the +, giving it a new title and selecting if you want to wrap the text or color the text.  

When you are finished adding columns, click OK and viola, they will show up in the inspector.

You will need to fill in the information for it to show up in the outliner.

That's it.  You now have custom columns and can, at a glance, view important information about every chapter you've written.  Good stuff!

Do you have any custom columns you use consistently?  If so, please share!