I've been sitting on this one a while. I even have it saved as a draft in written form from a few years ago but just didn't feel like there was enough to go with. So now, it's in video form and it's glorious!
So, if you've noticed a copious amount of blog posts with the title just being the date, that's because Weebly hates me right now. I don't know what's going on but sometimes it will let me type in a title, and sometimes it won't. I've tried on multiple computers so, here you go.
Book Haul and Wrap Up from January
Queen of Shadows - Sarah J. Mass
Heir of Fire - Sarah J. Mass
An Atlas of Tolkien - David Day
Firstlife - Gena Showalter
Stalking Jack the Ripper - Kerri Maniscalco
Gilmore Girls cookbook - Christi Carlson
Kings & Queens:
The Son of Neptune (The Heroes of Olymups #2) - Rick Riordan
Cold Dream Dawning (Pale Queen #2) - A.R. Kahler
Firstlife (Everlife #1) - Gena Showalter
Stalking Jack the Ripper (Stalking Jack the Ripper #1) - Kerri Maniscalco
City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) - Cassandra Clare (re-read)
So, apparently, inside the BookTube community there is a sub genre. AuthorTube! The above video goes through the questions asked by the amazing JennaTheDarkOne who created the AuthorTube newbie tag. So thanks Jenna for the awesomeness!
You can now head on over to YouTube and check our my BookTube newbie challenge. =)
UPDATE * 1/27/17*
Uhm guys, I have my own booktube channel now! The above video contains both the reading and writing goals blogs posted. Watch or read, you have a choice here. =)
Last weekend I promised a 2017 writing goals blog. So here it is for your viewing pleasure!
Big picture wise I plan to have 70k words written for The Ankou's Curse, 70k words written for the second Warriors of Kamadia book, and to finish editing WoK.
Other things I'm working on? I'm trying to be more active with social media. Because of this I've set up some goals for posts. I want to post at least twice a week on Twitter and Instagram. I also want to get in two blog posts a week and to go along with my reading goals, one book review a week.
And although it's not necessarily writing related, I am going to be starting my own BookTube channel sometime this month. I bought a new camera yesterday (my old one doesn't have sound anymore apparently), so I'm working on figuring out the logistics of that and then I should be up and running.
So, there are my writing goals for 2017. They're not super specific but I think they're attainable.
I can't wait to see what 2017 brings. I hope you'll all join me for the fun, busy year I'm expecting to have!
Later this week I'll give you my writing goals for this year, but for now, reading goals.
As mentioned in the last post, my 2016 reading was abysmal. So, for 2017 I'm shooting for the same number of books as I read in 2015. That magic number, is 52. In case you're not aware, that's a book a week. With my writing goals, I feel like this is a doable number for me so I'm rolling with it.
What will those books be? Well, like every other bibliophile out there, my physical TBR shelf is absolutely out of control. Actually there's only about 50 books over there, it's not too bad yet. You probably won't find my trapped under my TBR pile hoping for someone to save me from the book avalanche or anything, it's not QUITE that large yet.
Because of this, I've decided for 2017 half of the books I read will be books I already own. So at least 26 books will be straight from my shelves. I'd do more but there are some really good books coming out this year as well as the fact I have the first few books of several series on my shelves and I want to be able to finish them, so 26 it is.
What am I most looking forward to in 2017? Let me tell you. This is my list of 10 most anticipated books of 2017. Some are new releases, some are books I just haven't got around to yet (and in no order).
I didn't read nearly as much last year as I wanted to. I only managed 20 books! 20! That's insane. In comparison, 2015 I read 52. There were some books that I flew through (here's looking at you everything Amanda Hocking), and there were some books that I just couldn't manage to get into (sorry The Lost Hero).
Anyway, here's a quick rundown of my stats for 2016.
Trylle trilogy (Switched, Torn, and Ascend) and Kanin Chronicles (Frostfire, Ice Kissed, and Crystal Kingdom), all by Amanda Hocking
I read through these six books so dang quick! I love Amanda's writing style and just everything about her characters. I'm so glad I picked up her books this year. Expect to see more of Hocking's works on my list for 2017!
Unforgiven (Fallen #5), by Lauren Kate
It was my only 3 star review and I had some serious issues with this book. Cam and Lillith's characters were great and the plot was okay, but the ending? I just can't even begin to go there. Like everything else you can find my full review in the BOOKS I READ section of the website.
Most infuriating/dissapointing final book
The Ruby Circle, by Richelle Mead
Mead let me down with this one. I really liked this book, I did. It's just so darn annoying that the whole mystery in the first book was never solved. It wasn't even mentioned. It's almost like Richelle forgot there was a mystery in the first book. Not to mention all of the society issues and the fact that we never got an answer to if they were going to lower the ages for working Dhampirs OR if they would learn to fight Strigoi which were questions brought up at the end of the previous series. I can't handle it. I can't. The book itself was good, but as an end of series wrap up? It failed miserably.
What's up little ducks?
Here's another year (and another post) with me telling you that I'm going to do better this year. I'm going to post more, be more active on this blog, and write more!
I'm sure I don't need to tell you, but you probably shouldn't hold your breath. =)
Anyway, I am going to try to do all of those things. I'm now bullet journaling which is helping me keep on track with most of my day to day things. I'm using this really awesome Writing and Revision tracker from Jamie Raintree (you can find it here) to keep track of my writing projects and even my blog and twitter posts.
We'll see how it goes I guess!
It will be midnight (at least on the east coast) and it'll be the beginning of July Camp NaNoWriMo. All that stands between me and the blissful freedom (ha!) of writing is a fun filled day of end of month paperwork. Did I mention I'm a secretary/accountant during the day? Trust me, writing IS freeing when you're a number cruncher.
Are you planning on participating in this round of camp? Are you ready for this round of camp?
Note cards full of outlines and plot points? Check.
Brand new assortment of pens/pencils/notebooks? Double (triple?) check.
Dropbox at the ready to save all of my new writing? Check.
Awesome cabin mates to discuss the hardships (errr, freedom) of writing while trying not to panic? Check. Eight times over actually.
Writing playlist with way more Disney music than any self-respecting, recently turned 29-year-old without children should have? Uhm, check again.
So that's my list. What's on yours? Is everything all checked off?
Oh yeah. Don't forget to pack extra underwear and socks! You never know man, you never know.
So remember earlier when I said I was slaying this note card outline method? Well, I just did some re-arranging and added a few more cards, this is what it's looking like for now. It should have everything I need but we all know something else will come in to play.
Next month is July CampNano and once again I'll be participating. Unlike April's camp, where I did some revisions to Warriors, this time I'm going to be writing the first draft of The Ankou's Curse. How many people name a story before they've written it. Just me? I thought so.
The Ankou's Curse is probably the third or fourth story I've come up with since I made the switch from fanfiction to original stories many, many years ago. It had a pretty good foundation and I made quite a lot of progress with it while taking breaks with Warriors but this past week it has bloomed into a work of art all on its own.
I tried some different note card methods (something I'd never actually heard of before, I'm SO behind the times with this writing stuff) and actually made great progress with the plot the past couple of weeks where I feel like this will be the quickest draft I've ever been able to accomplish.
There is still more work to be done with Warriors, I just don't feel like it's good enough yet. Again, I'm not striving for perfection, I just feel like it's still a mediocre attempt at high fantasy and I can't live with that because I know I'm better than that.
Speaking of being better than that, there are a lot of things I need to do to up my game in this writer world and there's no time better to do it than the present. =)
"The most important thing you could ever do is follow your dreams. You don't have to be the best at what you do because people have already changed the world without being the best." - Jimmy 'the Rev' Sullivan
I hadn't exactly expected to be here tonight. Apparently I've been pretty busy today. I finished all of my revisions for Alchemy! So here's the stats of old manuscript vs. new.
Old Manuscript: Chapters - 29 Pages - 320 Words - 90K
New Manuscript: Chapters - 27 Pages - 292 Words - 77K
I've actually never completed a NaNo challenge before and I probably wouldn't have been able to finish this one if I didn't have everything written already. Doing the revisions was definitely interesting to say the least. Now I need a new Query to get things rolling.
Well, we're 23 days in to CampNaNo and I'm actually doing really well. My goal this month was to do some serious revisions to Alchemy on paper and then transfer everything to screen. The paper revisions have been done since around the 10th. I've been working on getting the changes made on the computer. Right now I'm at about 39K words of the original 90K.
Additionally, I've cut so much filler/info dumping/crap that I've already cut out about 30 pages. Well that and I cut out the whole two space after a period thing. Which honestly I'd already thought I did like three years ago. But here we are. It has also been put into correct manuscript format so that's changed things up a bit as well.
Anyway, what I'm trying to say is, my month at camp is going swimmingly. I've been participating in word sprints on twitter and chatting with the girls in my cabin. So I'm being social (don't tell anyone).
I've also been working on updating the website and some other things as well. Not to mention all the stuff I've been doing at home, PLUS I've watched the entire first season of The Flash (I'd like to say it was for research, buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut it was for Grant Gustin, let's be honest), and I've been working the day job. Gosh, there's been a lot going on this month. I didn't really see it until I put it all down.
So if you're also participating in CampNaNoWriMo I hope your month is going great! And good luck to you!
How have I not posted yet this month? I keep meaning to and apparently I just keep forgetting. Good thing I didn't look into doing the A-Z blog more!
It's April, which means it's time for Camp NaNoWriMo. Don't know what that is? It's basically like NaNoWriMo but you can join cabins and work with other authors to help keep your spirits up. This is my first year of actually participating and I'm in a cabin with a group of ladies who are mostly working on revisions. Much like me.
I'm finally getting those revisions done on Alchemy that I knew needed to be done but I kept putting off. Yesterday I completed the revisions on paper and I started typing them all into the computer this morning. To give you an idea of how much info dumping and non-important information was chopped, at the same part of the story the old version was on page 44 and the new version is on page 22!
Now, granted, some of what was chopped will be put back in later on in the story when it's actually important and less of a "Here's 200 years of Kamadrian history up front" like it was before. Still, that's some pretty effective chopping on my part.
Anyway, there's your update I'm going back to the paper to screen battle I currently have happening here. Good luck to those of you who are also attempting Camp NaNo!
How many times have we been here? Too many to count.
After about a year of query letters being sent out to agents with essentially no bites, and even using contests to try to get some feedback with no bites there as well, I decided to restructure some things with my favorite warriors and their story. I had a couple of people read over the first 50 or so pages and was able to get some feedback and learn areas I need to work on with the beginning.
Some characters aren't going to make it through the cuts, one of my favorites actually. Well, e may show up, but in a much smaller capacity. And another of my favorites is going to have to change in order to fill a void the first will leave. It's going to take me a little while to go through everything and work out the logistics of it all, but I think it will work out.
The biggest change? The whole structure of the story has changed recently. The name of the series, the name of the first book, it's all different. Although the story is still Alchemy's to tell, it's never been all about her. The restructuring allows me to show that.
I'm excited, but also worried, and kind of overwhelmed by the whole thing. But when it comes to this, I'm not a quitter. I'll keep changing it and making it great. I don't need it to be perfect, but it can't just be mediocre either.
The book will now be called Warriors of Kamadria.
This one is just a huge thank you to everyone who stopped by to read my query and first 250 during the #newagent blog hop.
You all have left me with wonderful and helpful insight to what's been holding me back and I greatly appreciate it. The first chapter definitely needs re-written and this makes me wonder if the whole book needs re-written. It's a scary thought.
For now I'll redo the first chapter or so. I do recall in school my sister always had to re-write the beginnings of my papers and I always had to re-write the end of hers. We all have our weaknesses. Unfortunately mine happens to be what will grab your attention at the beginning.
I plan on working on a new book soon so this one may end up in the flack pile until I have time to work on it. It's a hard decision, I can't really decide what to do with it. My future is filled with lots of thinking.
Again, thanks to everyone for their help!
The wonderful Michelle set up a #newagent blog hop for those of us who didn't make the next round to give each other some insights on our query and first 250 words. I welcome all of you who happen upon my page whether from New Agent or otherwise. Thank you to anyone who leaves a comment, they are greatly appreciated!
Title: The Labors of Alchemy
Word Count: 91,000
Genre: Adult Heroic Fantasy
Alchemy’s father had been summoned by the Light Elf royals when she was twelve to go into battle. He never returned. Now, a decade later, they’ve called for her. Unlike her father, a warrior captain, she has no ties to the royal army. It is only out of respect for him she accepts a mission to travel into Dark Elf territory. She is to discover if the Satria sisters, the enemies her father died to destroy, have resurrected. Thankfully she has many years of sword training and an equally qualified best friend, Keely, to back her up.
Living on an island where two races of elves live with an often troubled truce with one another, it’s not uncommon for someone to grow up training for battle. The girls soon learn sparring against your friend and fighting for your life are two completely different situations. After essentially losing her first real battle, Alchemy wants to give up. She’s not ready to do as her father did and give up her life for royals who really couldn’t care if she died or not. When she learns only someone from her bloodline can kill the Satria sisters she knows she will continue to fight. With her father gone, her bloodline is down to one.
With half of the royals and an entire Dark Elf army trying to stand in her way, will this sarcastic and cynical twenty-three year old be able to become the hero the Light Elves need without dying or losing her friends in the process? This story combines mythology and magic to present a tale of bravery, loss, finding your place in the world, and most importantly of all – friendship.
First 250 words:
“Prince Brennan of the Wood Elves requests the presence of Alchemy of Denton at his home. Please don’t keep him waiting.”
Who knew twenty-one words could be so terrifying. The letter delivered to my door said nothing else other than being signed at the bottom by General Nikkos, but it had still sent me into an instant panic. I had been summoned by not only a general but also a prince. My father was the last person I knew to be asked to join someone in one of the royal cities and he had never returned. Though I was nervous about what might happen, I knew I had to go. So, once I had gathered my things I set off for Rylan, the seat of the Wood Elf royalty.
When I woke up the following morning I could feel the sun hitting my skin, the warmth coming through the leaves overhead. There was soft crunching and hushed whispers not too far from me. If I had been traveling alone the sounds may have caused me to jump up immediately, but I had three companions with me on this trip including my best friend Keely.
As I had thought her name, I could hear Keely’s voice coming from beside me. Keely and I had been best friends for as long as I could remember. Our parents lived next to one another in our village. When we were growing up my father, Grady, the captain of our village’s army, had trained us both heavily in combat.
It's like you're in hell, before you die.
All aspiring writers know what it's like to stress for weeks and weeks and weeks about what you'll write in your query and how you'll make it sound just absolutely perfect knowing at least 100 people are going to look at it for 2.2 seconds and delete it.
It's a painful, yet necessary part of finding an agent and becoming published (you know, if that's the route you choose to take).
Today I had one query returned to me faster than it took to type and send, with a lovely, polite rejection. I spend hours searching for who I think might be the right person, I don't just query every agent out there in hope someone might like it. I research, and I only query one agent at a time.
After my aforementioned 2.2 second rejection I went to the next person on my list. I have a list of people with emails, requirements, kinds of stories they like, etc. in a folder along with my other novel information. I write this really super funny, catchy personalized query (something she asked for, even offering points to Ravenclaw) and re-read it at least four times. Even out loud once. It was perfect so I clicked send.
It was that exact moment I realized I forgot to add in the first five pages of story the agent has listed in her preferences. I stared at the "E-Mail Sent" message for a whole three minutes.
Why isn't there a back button? Why can't e-mails have like a five minute delay on them so you can take them back if you realize you forgot something important? What can I do now? No one wants to be the person who e-mails them twice like "Oh, please excuse my lack of brains over here. I'm a big ditz and in my quest to be perfect I failed at just being acceptable, miserably."
Here's to hoping my witty repartee was good enough for her to email me back saying "It seems you've left something off. Perhaps you belong in Hufflepuff."
*sigh* She wouldn't be wrong.
Two more today!
First was Mr. Alan Van Sprang as Valentine.
I can totally see it. He's attractive, and looks like he can come across as charming yet devilishly evil at the same time.
I haven't watched him in anything before so it'll be all new for me.
For the most part, the fan base is totally behind him. I mean JRM is awesome but his costuming was so incredibly wrong (not to mention his insanity was up a huge notch) that it kind of ruined it for me in the movie.
I'm interested to see how Alan will portray Valentine because I have this specific view of him in my noggin that I'd like to see come to life.
And finally (because the girls have been asking about him forevvvvver) they announced that Harry Shum Jr. will be playing Magnus.
My first reaction was a "yeah, okay I see it". I've only seen him in Glee, so I'm interested to see his take on Magnus. The part that has me most excited was how excited Clare was about his audition. If she was that excited it must have been awesome.
Fanbase wise, the girls were a little crazy. I mean a lot of people were angry it wasn't Gao but I mean, seriously if you pay attention you'd know they've already said that no one from the movie will reprise their role for the series so we should have known he wouldn't be coming.
Personally for me I didn't find Gao's portrayal of Magnus quite enough. I mean he had the cat eyes and glitter down . . . but that was about it. A super attractive guy for sure, but not working the Magnus magic for me. A lot of fans are happy with this choice, he's even expressed interest in it before so, it's kind of nice to see someone who knows the character.
Again, I'll give a full review of the choices after the first couple of episodes and I have time to check them out in action.
So far, so good from where I'm standing.
Friday brought us two more cast members for the upcoming Shadowhunters tv series. Why is this all I'm blogging about right now? Because it's basically all I can think about. Your loss.
Anyway first up is Matthew Daddario as Alec. I'm not a huge fan of this photo of him, but he's a pretty smokin' hot dude. My first reaction was , okay, he'll look great next to Emeraude. They'll definitely work as siblings.
I'm not familiar with his work but I'm excited to see what he'll bring to the cast.
There were just a few ruffled feathers from fans who couldn't handle that Matt doesn't have Alec's signature blue eyes. Personally I'm just happy he looks the right age. I say, excellent choice.
And next we have Isaiah Mustafa as Luke.
Honestly I think this was a brilliant choice. My first reaction was Whaaaaaat? because he just looks, I don't know, off. However I quickly realized it's just this picture. Once I looked at a few other photos and watched the video he posted, I was completely sold.
And lets be real, Aidan Turner was probably the best cast person from the entire movie. He was an epic Luke. Brilliant. Perfect. For me, Isaiah has big shoes to fill, but I'm so sold on him now, I completely believe he can.
The only work of his I've seen are the Old Spice commercials, but hey, what else do you need to know about him? The man has a gorgeous smile, the ability to look completely fierce, and just a little mischievous. I fully believe he'll be a great Luke.
There was another uproar in the fandom about his race but at this point I just refuse to discuss how ignorant some people can be. For the most part, the fandom believes this was a good cast choice and I agree. Again, Im excited to see what he brings to Luke's character.
29. Writer. Reader. Music lover. Culinary ninja. DIY master. YouTube addict. Worlds most fun Aunt. Writing about the characters who constantly scream in my head, demanding me to let the world know who they are.