Coffee Confessions: Choosing to Express Like Espresso -A Guest Post by Author Caroline George

Writers tend to be different. Maybe our abnormality is accredited to the excessive amounts of time we spend with our own thoughts. Maybe we see and understand more than non-writers. Maybe our creativity has fried our brains.

I was and am different.

As a determined, overly imaginative teenager, I decided to spend my seventeenth birthday with my mom at Counter Culture Coffee in Atlanta, Georgia. There were two things I wanted for my birthday—a handmade vintage sundress and barista lessons. If the requests don’t convey my weirdness, let me preface by saying I had already published two books and launched my author career by the time I first used a tamp and steam wand. Different described every aspect of my life.

The first thing I learned about working an espresso machine:

Coffee is an art form.

Baristas at Counter Culture are required to complete various courses and training before receiving certification. These classes teach basic espresso machine usage, the chemistry of milk, and much more. All of this information is needed when working in authentic coffeehouses.

How does coffee relate to creative writing?

Writing requires the same amount of knowledge, practice, and skill as pouring the perfect latte. Professional baristas must be so familiar with the coffee-making process, they know when milk reaches the desired temperature, when the espresso is pulled to its prime consistency. Professional writers must also be so well-versed with their craft, they’re able to develop plots and characters with ease, build concise and effective sentences.

I tasted my first espresso shot at barista training—I was required to take multiple shots of espresso pulled at different draw times. My body was buzzed on caffeine as I made lattes, attempted a tulip and art design with steamed milk. The drinks were proof—I was not knowledgeable, practiced, nor skilled.

There are three writing tips I learned from Counter Culture classes.

Knowledge: Acquiring know-how takes effort.

Writing is a constant education, same as working as a barista. To be successful as a writer and author, one must do research, learn about the publishing industry and current market.

Practice: Knowledge is useless without implementation.

Like knowing how to pull an espresso doesn’t mean a barista can work an espresso machine, someone who knows how to write isn’t always a good writer. Once knowledge is gained, it needs to be applied and practiced.

Skill: Time determines talent.

Although some people are gifted with natural writing ability, the best writers gain their skills from utilization and diligence.

We have to make lattes with disfigured latte art before we can pour intricate floral designs. We have to be willing to write not-so-great stories before we can build masterpieces.

I left Counter Culture over-caffeinated, covered in grinds, and more appreciative of baristas. The experience was so inspiring, I made my main character in The Vestige (coming June 30 from Evernight Teen Publishing) a barista—shameless self-plug.

Overall, as writers, we need to express like espresso.

We need to be knowledgeable, practiced, and skilled.

 

About Caroline:

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Caroline George, author of THE PRIME WAY TRILOGY and THE VESTIGE, resides in Nashville where she spends the majority of her time in hipster coffeehouses, sipping lavender mochas and undertaking over-the-top projects. She is a two-time Georgia Author of the Year nominee, speaker, blogger and writer for teen magazine PURSUE. Caroline studies publishing and public relations at Belmont University and works as a publicist for local artists.

Instagram @authorcarolinegeorge

Facebook/AuthorCarolineGeorge

Twitter @CarolineGeorge_

Website: authorcarolinegeorge.com

 

About The Vestige:

Choose to see the unseen . . .

Julie Stryker has spent her life in the scenic streets of Charleston, South Carolina, bicycling to the local college, working at a coffeehouse, watching her family fall apart and back together. She has plans, dreams—all of which seem out of reach. Then she meets a handsome stranger at work, and she believes her life is on the brink of a much needed change. But after a tragic accident, Julie is whisked away from the only home she’s ever known and confronted with a life-altering secret: The end of the world has already occurred and a portion of humankind has been kept oblivious.

Tossed into a hidden world of deception, Julie must confront the truth within herself and reveal the government’s layers before the end of the world becomes a permanent reality.

1st Layer: What you can see.

2nd Layer: What you know is real.

3rd Layer: What you can neither see nor know is real.

Choose; Fulfill Your Created Purpose by David Brannock

I received this book from the author for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.

Synopsis:

God created you for a purpose. Will you choose to fulfill it? High school graduates face a sea of possibilities. Will you pursue a college degree, military service, or job search? As you launch the next step of your journey, saying yes to one option means saying no to other good opportunities. Who is the real you? What do you want? Career and relationship choices are important, but what you decide about Jesus is the most important choice you will ever make. In Choose, author David E. Brannock offers the advice and wisdom he wishes he’d had on campus 200 miles from home. His experiences, supported by Scripture, serve as a lighthouse. May this book steer you away from the rocks he hit and illuminate the course God intends for you.

Review:

Lighthearted and insightful on guiding you as you transition from high-school to college, is Choose, a book written for graduates by an author who wishes that he would’ve had this book during his transition.

It’s a short book but it somehow covers everything  you may have questions about, from how to handle relationships and friendships, to troublesome roommates, to choosing your career, to even maintaining self-esteem in a world that seems to only want to tear you down. It also has some wonderful one-liners that you might scribble down on your mirror!

The author has a sense of humor but is also very real and vulnerable to his audience, making it that much easier to engage with. Plus, he’s not long-winded nor does he repeat his advice constantly as so many other nonfiction writers do.

So, I can honestly give Choose; Fulfill Your Created Purpose 5 out of 5 stars and do recommend it for graduates, especially those of you who aren’t overly fond of reading but still looking for some helpful advice.

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Rated:

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Unfolding by Jonathan Friesen

I received this book from the author/publisher for the purpose of this review. All comments and opinions are all my own.

The Synopsis:

Jonah wishes he could get the girl, but he’s an outcast and she’s the most perfect girl he knows.

And their futures seemed destined to fork apart: Jonah’s physical condition is debilitating, and epileptic seizures fill his life with frustration. Whereas Stormi is seemingly carefree, and navigates life by sensing things before they happen. And her most recent premonition is urging her to leave town.

When Stormi begs Jonah for help, he finds himself swept into a dark mystery his small town has been keeping for years. And the answers Stormi needs about her own past could possibly destroy everything Jonah has ever known—including his growing relationship with Stormi herself.

Review:

Trying to fit the Gospel into a YA novel, and still have it sell, is very hard to do, and though I applaud Jonathan for trying, I think he may have spent a little too much time on trying to fit the Gospel in than he did to develop the story.

It was very well written and I fell in love with both Jonah and Stormi (Arthur too), I was just left with unanswered questions and was very confused at the ending. Stormi’s gifts aren’t really explained until the middle of the book, the antagonists aren’t dealt with in the end, and honestly, I wasn’t really sure what the plot was as I read.

Now don’t get me wrong, the way it’s written made it impossible to put down and I enjoyed reading it, I’m just left with many questions, but perhaps this is what the author wanted. Regardless, I’m only going to give it 3 out of 5 stars, though I do recommend it to anyone who wants to give this Christian YA a chance, maybe its plot will be clearer to another reader.

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Rated:

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On The Ropes by Hallee Bridgeman

I received this book from the author/publisher for the purpose of this review. I was not required to write a positive review.

The Synopsis:

Doctor Ruth Burnette has everything she has ever dreamed possible: the perfect job, a twin sister who is her best friend, and a fiancé who is retiring from professional boxing as the middleweight champion of the world.

Then came that fateful night when she witnessed a mafia execution. When her sister is murdered she knows she’ll battle to the last round and never, ever throw in the towel. Now she’s down for the count, in witness protection, anxious, alone except for the faithful company of her German Shepherd at her side.

As the time draws near to when she has to leave her safe little corner she stays on her toes. She has to testify against one of the darkest criminals in New York, she shores up the courage to face the accused from the witness stand. Unexpectedly, he’s not the one who worries her. She wonders what coming face-to-face with his son, VICTOR KOVALEV…her former fiancé …will bring.
Will Ruth have a fighting chance against the Kovalev family, or will Victor keep her pinned ON THE ROPES?

Review:

In On The Ropes, we read of a young girl named Mara Harrison trying to escape her hidden past. With the story changing timelines, we soon find out the link between her two worlds and are able to fully understand who Mara is.

The book is well written, but has a mostly predictable story line. Although, it does have a few twists that keep you “On the Ropes”. The plot is easy to understand. So, for those who enjoy an easy read, as well as a little bit of mystery, I would suggest this book.

Overall, this story is youth friendly and keeps the mind active. The author uses great descriptive appeal to really draw you into the scene. The story is defined and focused. I would rate it at 3 out of 5 stars.

Rated:

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Film Review: Champion

I was offered a chance, from the producers, to screen this movie in exchange for an honest review. All comments and opinions are entirely my own.

About the Movie:

In the supercharged world of dirt track racing, a single mistake causes the lives of two men to change forever. One must fight for his family, the other must fight to forgive.

Review:

Coming to Select Theaters: May 19th, 2017

“Forgiveness doesn’t erase our past, but it does help us rewrite our future.”

Champion is a movie that tackles many subjects and weaves them all together into a beautiful story. Forgiveness is the main message that is advertised, but there is also the Biblical truths of the need for a father figure, a heart-wrenching take on what many foster children go through, the loss of a loved one, and overcoming pain caused by someone else.

The acting is done incredibly well, the soundtrack is quite wonderful, and I love the storyline immensely. You can tell in some of the scenes that it is a low-budget film in comparison to a lot of big-time movies, but it is handled very well and I really enjoyed getting to watch it.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars and encourage you to go watch it when it releases in theaters on May 19th!

Official Trailer & List of Participating Theaters

Rated:

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