Friday, October 12, 2018

Project Hellion Sneak Peek!

Hey guys! So I know I haven't been very active on here... It's been pretty busy, but I wanted to share the first chapter of Project Hellion! This book has been quite the wild ride. There have been so many ups and downs but I'm super proud of how its turned out. I hope you enjoy this sneak peek and look forward to when it comes out at the end of November!! :)

Delphi came to a sudden stop, her breath hitching in her throat as she pressed her back against the closest wall. There he was: Drake, the man they’d been hunting down for weeks now. Their target unlocked the door of a warehouse and stepped inside, glancing over his shoulder as he did so. Delphi ducked back around the corner and touched her finger to the comm in her ear. “I’ve got eyes on Drake. East warehouse 115.”

A cacophony of voices rang in her ears, all saying they were on their way and not to engage. Delphi made her ice skateboard disappear into the bottom of her feet as she peeked around the corner. As far as she could tell the way was clear and Drake was alone.

“Do not engage without backup,” Julian (Also known as: Phantom, her super-powered cousin) iterated as if reading her mind from a distance. He had been scouring the other warehouses for Drake along with the rest of the team.

But Delphi couldn’t wait, not with Drake so close. They had been hunting him down since he had escaped prison with the help of the Shadows more than three weeks ago. The Protectors only searched for a week before turning matters over to the Young Protectors, so they could deal with other things. For Delphi it was better this way. He was the one who had stuck the needle in her, given her, her icy powers and she would be the one to lock him up. For good this time.

“Khione, don’t engage without backup. Do you hear me?” Ignoring Julian’s voice in her ear she stepped around the corner, on high alert as she made her way to the warehouse’s side door.

“I bet she’s doing it, anyway. She never listens,” Asher said.

“Khione, if you don’t listen they will pull you from the team,” Liam added.

“Boy Wonder, we’re on a mission. We can talk about this later,” Hailey joined in.

This was why Wolf was becoming Delphi’s favorite Young Protector. He never talked incessantly through the comm. In fact, he never talked on the comm at all unless spoken to or unless he had a lead, and he never told Delphi what she could or couldn’t do.

An ice spike slid from Delphi’s wrist, into her grip, her other hand turning the knob of the warehouse door. She peeked inside and found Drake wasn’t so alone after all. He stood in front of several stacks of wooden boxes, a pry bar in hand and one box opened. Beside him was the woman who tried to assassinate Julian a few months ago, the woman in the red mask, her black hair tied in a bun atop her head. Behind her and to the left was one of the Shadows’ cronies, a man in all black with a visor over his eyes.

On all the wooden boxes were the telltale sign of Krobo Industries, just the proof the Protectors needed to take the huge technology company down and prove that the Shadows and Krobo Industries were the same. Delphi grinned at the sight, a plan already forming in her mind. If they could get the woman in the red, then they could take down the Shadows. But first, she needed to take care of their bodyguard.

Delphi quietly shut the door and squatted down, blowing into her palm. Her breath crystalized and formed a ball of ice. Elemental didn’t have the full scope of power that a true cryokinetic did, but he had taught Delphi a thing or two and had helped her fill in the blanks along the way. Over the past two months, Delphi’s powers had grown considerably, and she loved every second of having her icy powers. She slid her spike back into her wrist and crept around the side of the warehouse to another entrance. Whoever made these warehouses needed to take into consideration that villains loved these places as hideouts and rendezvous spots.

Delphi opened the door, finding Drake and the woman in red still standing over the boxes with their backs to her now. They seemed absorbed in the conversation they were having.

Over the comm, Asher and Liam now argued over what to do about the warehouse, while Hailey talked over them about letting Delphi handle this, asserting that she was strong enough to protect herself. It was giving Delphi a headache. Couldn‘t they all just be quiet and focus on the mission? Knowing she would get in major trouble for it later, she turned her comm link off so she could focus.
Delphi concentrated as she set the ball of ice down on the floor and rolled it into the warehouse’s giant, mostly empty first floor. She held her hand out and felt the familiar push and pull of using her power from a distance. With her influence, the ball of ice rolled to the opposite side of the building. Delphi closed her eyes and melted the ice down, making her hand go palm up, sliding it under the door and reforming it into a ball of ice on the other side by clenching her hand into a fist. Elemental would be so proud of her control. They’d been working hard for the past two months, nearly nonstop. Delphi would get out of Golden Gate High School every evening and go directly to training. He said he had never mentored such a fast and motivated learner. Just last week he had even said with a bit more practice and she could rival Blizzard.

Counting to five like Elemental taught her, she unclenched her hand and the ball of ice exploded on the opposite side of the building.

Drake and the woman in red who, despite two months of searching for leads, no one had been able to identify, stopped talking, their heads shooting up. “What was that?” she asked, her voice sharp and clear. She planted her hands on her hips and cocked her head.

Drake stepped toward the opposite door after shaking his head. He looked more ragged and worn down than the woman did, seeing how he had just escaped from GateWell Penitentiary a few weeks ago and had been running ever since. The Protectors were good for at least one thing: Hunting down escaped convicts. They weren’t so good at bringing down corrupt business/villain organizations or finding out valuable, important information, though.

“I don’t know,” he said. “I’ll go check it out. Stay here.”

Delphi didn’t understand what he thought he would do. He didn’t have a defensive power. He didn’t even have an offensive power. All he could do was make people tell the truth with a touch of his hand. But then he pulled a gun from the back of his pants, clicked off the safety and cocked it with precision. Maybe he wasn’t so defenseless. He took the other guard, the Shadow with the visor with him for backup. Delphi shut the door she had come through and poised in a crouch, waiting for him to open the door. He did, and Delphi struck without any backup or anyone knowing her plan. It was better this way, she told herself. No one would get hurt if this went sideways.

She leaped out of her hiding place and threw her hand up, shooting out a stream of ice and shoving Drake through the door, and iced the door locked behind him. Locking her and the woman in red in together.

The woman in red stepped back, placing herself between Delphi and whatever valuable objects were in the crates behind her. But instead of fear scrawling across her face, she smiled and raised her hands. “Ooh, so scary. The Shadows’ failed experiment threatening me. Do you have any idea who I am?”

Delphi scowled, refusing to let whoever this young woman was scare her. “No. Why don’t you tell me?”

The woman smirked, wiggling her fingers. “They call me Nightmare. You wanna know why?”
Delphi frowned. “Uh…”

Nightmare’s smirk widened as she flexed her gloved hands. An ice spike formed in Delphi’s hand, but she never got a chance to use it. An agonizing pain ripped through her head making her drop the ice spike. It shattered into a million tiny pieces. Delphi screamed and clutched her head, the world blurring around her. The last thing she saw was Nightmare stepping up to her in those heeled red boots. Her lips moved but Delphi couldn’t hear over the pain tearing through her. She dropped to her knees, the pain dragging her into darkness.

For more information about Project Hellion check out the link right HERE. I hope you've enjoyed chapter one and I look forward to sharing the rest of the book with all of you!! :)

Saturday, October 6, 2018

September Monthly Wrap-Up

Hey everyone! So I know its six days into October and my September wrap up is so late! This month is going to be a slow one for blog posts I think... There's just so much going on and I am feeling so busy and overwhelmed with a lot of stuff. But I am also looking forward to the weather finally cooling down and for lots of Fall days outside.

September Writing: September wasn't as productive as August, but I still did get a lot of writing things done. I worked on Blood Brothers for a lot of the month and near the end of September I even found a writer friend on Twitter to look over Sterling Silver and give me feedback! So I plan to fix up Sterling Silver a bit more and then fix Blood Brothers because I'm sure there will be a few changes that transfer to that book. I might even have her check out Blood Brothers if she's willing. Project Hellion also became on the top of my to do list near the end of September. I had it sent out to an editor and I'm hoping to have it back by the end of October and have it published on November 27! So keep a look out for that! The whole month I was also trying to figure out a certain idea that I've had for a while. It started out as a sort of Frankenstein retelling or continuation and when that didn't pan out I decided to change it to a Jekyll and Hyde thing... That didn't work out either, and now it has turned out to become it's own thing, a more original idea not explicitly based off a different monster story. (Though after watching Venom last night... its just a little bit inspired by a certain antihero and symbiote).

September Reading: For September I didn't get as much reading done, but Vengeful finally came out!! I was up and at Barnes and Nobles at 10:30 that Tuesday morning and got the special edition that was signed!! I was (and still am) so psyched about that! I finished it the same week and man, it was so good! Honestly, Marcella (the new bad guy) wasn't my favorite. She was a little too much of a feminist for me, but overall she was a pretty good villain and it was so, so good to see Victor and Mitch and Sydney and Dom and Eli again! The Eli backstory? Uph it killed me! I had so many conflicting emotions by the end of the book and I desperately need a third one now! That's pretty much the only book I read that month, and that is Ok with me. Now I just have to wait till the end of October for The Darkest Star by Jennifer L. Armentrout.

September Life Stuff/Random: So the reason October is going to be kind of slow in the blog post department is because my math class started. I knew it was going to be hard but I really didn't think it was going to be this hard. My anxiety is higher than its been all Summer and I'm just counting down the days till December 15, when my classes end. It's going to be a rough semester, but I'm determined to still enjoy the Fall, to still enjoy my writing and still just find time to chill. I also started a new small group at my church and I'm loving it. I'm so glad that I found it and it's been so good! This is sort of in October but I have to say, Trench, the new Twenty One Pilots album came out this week and guys!! It is so good!! Plus... Venom?? If you haven't seen it yet, you absolutely must. It was just amazing and no one can tell me otherwise. Tom Hardy is just the best and the characters he played, Eddie and Venom? They're just the best too. So definitely go see that movie. I am really, really hoping for a sequel!

So yeah, that was my September in a nutshell. I am both eager to enjoy October and ready for it to be over because once November comes around it means there's only one more month left before classes end. I hope your September went well and that your October is full of lots of comfy sweaters, caramel apples and yummy coffee!

Friday, September 21, 2018

Five Tips for Writers in College

Hi guys! So, this is my final semester at the community college I've been attending for a few years now. It's been a slow progress since I've only taken two-three classes a semester, but that's Ok cuz that's the pace I work best at when it comes to classes: Slow but steady. Anyways, the beginning of this semester was pretty easy. I started a Children's Library class and that's been fun.
I've been thinking about going into Library Sciences for a while now and, though I'm still thinking about it, I think I'll attend a four year college for that field next Fall. Right now though, I'm just praying about it and really considering what I want to do and what God wants me to do after I graduate. Though even that, the praying and the thinking about after graduation is kind of put on hold because my math class started this week. Yay! ;) To be completely honest, I hate math. I am terrible at it and never had a very good experience in math classes when I was at school. When I was homeschooled it went a lot smoother because I could work at my own pace and my mom is super good at math and she could help me. I haven't done math in years, not this kind of math anyways, so it's... an adjustment. I can't say my anxiety disappeared over the summer or that it got easier, but it definitely was more manageable and I haven't felt this stressed or anxious in a while. This math class just requires a lot of work and though I love my library class, it also has a lot of projects that take up a lot of time. I guess what I'm saying is, I'm feeling a little overwhelmed. But, this is my last semester. When December fifteen rolls around I will officially be over and I plan to celebrate and there will probably be some excited post on here that week about how hard I worked and that I survived this semester.

But anyways! This post isn't about me complaining about my classes and all that. I was sort of spoiled over the summer with all of my free time and I got into the rhythm of just being able to work on whatever writing project I wanted, to put all of my energy and focus into that project instead of dividing up my focus between writing and several different classes plus life stuff. Within this first week of me mentally rearranging my schedule and what days I need to get what done and all that, it made me realize how important it is to make time for writing even with all of this going on. So here are five tips or self-care ideas that pertain to writing when life gets busy. It's not so much specifically for those in college, but just for when life gets really busy and you feel overwhelmed and like you won't have any time to write (obviously that isn't so true for me because here I am, writing a blog post). Also, I write a post almost exactly like this one when I first started college.
I think I might have even written it in my first semester, so hey, it came full circle and I do so love when things come full circle. So, if you're interested in anything I said in that post here is the LINK and here are my five tips now, four years later and in my last semester of college:

1. At the top of my list is making time for writing. I know this sounds like a no-brainer, but when things get really stressful and busy I tend to get stuck in my own head. My thoughts go crazy and my anxiety spikes and my brain feels really full of stuff. Stuff that isn't writing and I've realized how important it is to make time for writing. I know myself well enough that last week after finishing draft 4 of Blood Brothers, that I was going to be too stressed and too busy to really throw myself into hard revisions. I knew that I was going to need a character and a story that was going to get me through this semester, or at least this first month. Maybe it's just me, but when I don't get to write, don't get my word count in for that day or the amount of pages I had my heart set on writing for that day, I get really frustrated with myself. It really sours my mood and makes me pent up inside because I didn't get my creativity out that day, I didn't get to get out of my head for an hour or two and forget the world and live in another world. The act of writing isn't just something that I love and enjoy, and I am passionate about, it's something I need. Getting out of my own head and tuning out of the world around me to write is something that I need to do during the day, even if it’s just for half an hour. Afterwards, I feel better and a little more relaxed. So, on Sunday I broke through my writer's block that I always get after finishing a big project and came across my first ever male main character: Charlie Frankenstein. It's sort of a spin-off of the Sterling Silver world and I set it up a little bit in Blood Brothers. Nothing huge or anything, but just a little mention of a monster hunting family with the last name of Frankenstein. Charlie and Sybilla and this story has already helped me this week to make me smile and just get out of my own head. So, long story short, make time for writing. If you can, carve out even just half an hour of writing every day, even if that means getting that half-hour in at ten-eleven at night. Last night I ended up writing till eleven and it felt so good.

2. Use music. I don't know about you, but I can't stand complete silence. Maybe it’s because I've grown up in a house with four brothers where there is something always going on. A TV is on or someone is talking or yelling or playing or doing homework at the table. Even upstairs in my room, more than a few times a day I hear someone doing something and yeah, sometimes that's annoying, but I don't know what I would do if I didn't have some form of noise. Music is always on. If I'm not watching a show or a movie or some tutorial or something for class, then I have music on. One of the first things I do when I start a new story, I make a Spotify playlist for that story. It's one of my favorite things about starting a new book. And then I proceed to listen to that playlist, kind of obsessively, until the book is finished. Even now as I write this post, I'm listening to my Frankenstein playlist. When I write Charlie's story I listen to the playlist, when I'm cleaning up, I listen to the playlist, when I edit and revise this story when it’s finished, I will also be listening to this playlist. It just keeps me in the mood of the story and of writing. So, even when I'm not writing and when the day is super busy I still feel connected to my characters and after you listen to the same songs long enough while writing the story, your brain sort of equates those specific songs with that specific book and it helps you come up with ideas throughout the day. Your subconscious is always working and I feel like music can help out that subconscious brainstorming us writers do every day. So, when you have that new idea, make a playlist for your main character or your book overall and make it the soundtrack of your day.

3. Have goals. I'm a very goal-oriented person. Every morning I make a mental checklist of what I need to do, of what I want to accomplish that day and then I get to work checking those things off my list. Most of the time it makes my day very efficient and productive, but when I fall short and don't check one or two of those things off my list, I tend to beat myself up a little about it. Don't do that to yourself. It's not worth it. I'm learning to just say, you know what, I got a lot done today and tomorrow is a new day. But make sure to have goals for your writing. Small ones are very helpful for busy weeks. Even like write 300 words today and if you go beyond that limit then you feel even better about yourself. I was saying in my Instagram post last night how, before I knew that most writers went by word count, I used to measure my writing goals by page count and during busy times, I slip back into that habit. So last night I was at page 48 in my WIP and I told myself Ok, just get to page 50 and I will be done for the day. I'll have completed the goal I set out to finish this morning. I ended up writing for almost an hour and by the time my fingers paused on the keyboard it was eleven at night and I was at 56 pages. Make those easy goals and don't feel the need to go beyond those goals, but if you do, it just makes you feel a little bit better about yourself.

4. Stay present and manage your time wisely. For me, I have a hard time turning my thoughts off. Since this math class started on Monday I have been obsessing over all the work I have to do. I jumped weeks ahead, freaking out about the three exams and the project and the quizzes and all the work I have to do next week and the week after. Please, don't do that. Don't be me. I'm learning to try and tell my head to shut up and just focus on this week. Manage your time so that by the end of the week, you have the weekend off and can just chill. I know a lot of people not only take classes but have jobs and that makes this whole weekend off thing a little (sometimes a lot) hard, but if you can it’s great to get to Friday and check the last thing off your list and look forward to a weekend to reset and be ready for the next week.

5. Don't freak out. I'm trying to tell myself that. It's not worth it. This class isn't the end of the world, that thing you have to do and are stressing about? It isn't going to kill you. I have a deadline. December fifteenth. After December fifteen I'm done, I never have to worry about this math class again. So why am I freaking about it? It's just not worth it because this class isn't going to ruin my life or effect my life after the twelve weeks of taking it.

This past Sunday our pastor was preaching about living a Word-saturated life. A life where you are in the Bible and interacting with the Word and with God as you do. He read in Psalms 119 but the verse that really got to me and that he really touched on was Psalm 119: 37: Turn my eyes away from worthless things; preserve my life according to your word. He then went on to say everything should be worth less than God and his Word. Not worthless. But worth less with a space between the two words. As in those things take second place. God should take first place. I've been thinking a lot about that this week as I freak out about all the work I have to do and trying to make time for writing. I plan to do my best to excel at this class, or at least get a passing grade. I'm going to finish all my work every week when it is due and do my best at getting a good grade in all of it. But when it comes down to it, this class is worth less than God. All these assignments and math equations are worth less than spending time in His Word and with Him. That doesn't mean I'm going to throw all of my math and library sciences assignments out the window and use that as an excuse to not do my work. It just means that I need to change my perspective to, yes, this stuff is important, and I have to complete this and pass these classes, but God is on top and everything I do should be for Him, which is why I want to work hard at my assignments. But really, those things are worth less than Him and, I don't know, that thought just makes me feel a little better for some reason. I guess maybe because it gives my anxiety and stress over these things less control over me. There's just a comfort in knowing that He is first and as long as I try every day to put Him first instead of these things that are worth less than Him, that I'm doing something right. And that includes writing and I know that and that's more of a struggle than putting God above my classes because writing is a big part of my life and something that I spend a lot of time on. It's something I'm working on and, I don't know, I guess I just hope that that gives you some comfort or encouragement too. This sort of turned into a mini sermon, but I just thought it was relevant to my fifth tip.

So yeah, those are my five tips. They're more like rants, but I hope something in there is helpful or encouraging or useful to you. Have a great weekend everyone!! 

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

My Revision Process

Hey guys! So, I'm pretty sure I've done a blog post about my revision process before, but I feel like I've honed it and its changed over the past few years and since I'm right in the middle of not one, not two, but three books that need revising, I thought I'd share my process on here. First of all, though, I have to say it’s getting cold out!! Fall is coming! It's September and I got to wear jeans and break out my jackets and my boots!! Every year the end of summer and the start of Fall always makes me so happy. October is my favorite month (second only to March) so I'm excited for October to roll around. Not to mention there are so many great books coming out this Fall and the new album of Twenty-One Pilots comes out in October too. So, seriously, this Fall is going to be pretty great.

I had been debating on whether to buy Scrivener or not for a while now and checked out the free trial and last week finally just decided to do it. There are so many great tools and tricks on there and its already been so helpful in my revising process. I wrote Second Star to the Right on Wattpad and really liked the style of each chapter having its own section and when I realized Scrivener has the same application that pretty much sealed the deal. I'm very goal oriented so it helped me to say Ok I'm going to finish this chapter and this chapter today and then see exactly how many words I finished, and it just made me feel good to see how much I finished instead of having an entire one length document with one huge word count that felt daunting.

After I finished the first draft to Second Star to the Right, I decided to start revising Blood Brothers. I want it to be ready to put on Wattpad no later than November, so it needs to be a priority over my other projects (besides Project Hellion which is still in the middle of edits...). The second draft of Blood Brothers was... daunting and grueling and difficult. I think it’s more because of the head-space I was in for the past week that I started working on it. Before even writing this sequel, the title came to me and I really want Blood Brothers to be the title, but to do that I needed to add a few plotlines that I completely didn't add in the first draft... which meant lots of writing. Anyways, all that being said, here is my revision process. Each book requires different steps and different lengths of time, so this isn't a set formula that I use for every single book, but it’s the same sort of structure.

Draft 1: The skeleton draft. Some first drafts are super clean and the writer's plot everything out before writing it. They already know their characters super well and how the book will end. That... is not me. Usually when I start a first draft I have a passion for the story and an itch to get it written. I have names for characters and a rough, broad idea of who they are as people and their personalities. Same goes for the plot. Sometimes I have a few big plot points that I know I absolutely want to add (usually this happens for sequels) and then other times I just sort of start writing, building on the idea I got. Normally I do know the villain, the main problem and a vague idea of how it will end, but always I am blind-sided by something. My best friend and I have talked about this numerous times as I write a first draft. I have a plan, I attempt to execute the plan but then my characters take on a life of their own and hijack my plan and suddenly the plan goes out the window. The book usually ends up being completely different and not at all what I expected, but usually still satisfying with lots of potential by the end of the first draft. In other words, my first drafts are organized chaos.

Draft 2: This is my least favorite part of the revision process. Draft two is for the huge changes. Where I write in whole new chapters, rewrite whole chapters or chunks of the story. Where I completely switch around, delete, change, or add scenes and plotlines. This is where the big stuff happens. For Blood Brothers, I just finished draft 2 which means I wrote out by hand the plot scene by scene and then added the plotlines and scenes that I needed to add and then went about writing them and rewriting a few chapters. Now, this is important: I may add entirely new characters, new subplots and major plotlines, but I do not tweak or fix the story to fit around them. So, say I added an important new character in the middle of the book, in that section of the book that new character is real and is talked about. But then I don't add him/her in the rest of the book in this draft. Once I add him/her or some huge revelation I leave it and move onto the next big revelation plot-thing until I have all the big stuff done. So... I guess you could say this draft is also organized chaos. Don't worry, I promise I know what I'm doing... kind of.

Draft 3: Before starting the third draft I rejoice in the fact that I am finished with the big, messy, macro book surgery part of the drafting and then I happily move on to draft three. If we're sticking with the surgery concept, draft 2 is where I open the book up and make extensive changes, draft three is where I get to sew it up. The sewing is still a little ugly by the end but it’s getting there. I fix inconsistencies and make all the new and old plotlines and subplots and characters line up. I fix the macro pacing of the story, so it actually resembles a story with a beginning, middle and end that make sense and isn't all over the place. This draft has more organized than chaos in it and there's just something sort of nice about this draft. I get to sit down with some tea and put on some music or a TV show to listen to and fix things up and smooth it all out.

Draft 4: After draft 3, the rest of the revision process becomes less defined. Those first three steps I do for pretty much every book, but not every book has the same problems. Draft four of one book might be focused on character, another on plot and another on pacing or action. For Blood Brothers, the fourth draft will consist of cleaning up characters. I know Tabitha and Sebastian pretty well, but I already know there are certain parts of the book that they act out of character. Some of my writing isn't very good in a few of the newer chapters I added so I have to fix that up too. One character completely just left and was never mentioned again so I have to fix that and figure out what he's doing and where he went. Actually, in this book all the characters are sort of all over the place, doing things in parts of the book they shouldn't be doing. So more or less in this draft I start to narrow in on different areas of the book and fixing up the things that I'm most concerned about.

Draft 5: Depending on how much work a book needs and what I get done in draft 4, this is also usually a macro revision too narrowing in on one aspect of the book. If I fixed up characters in draft 4, then I fix up smaller problems in plot and pacing in draft 5.

Draft 6: This is the sweet spot for me. Early in the revision process everything is too broad, and macro and it feels like there's so much to do. Too late in the revision process and things like word choice and sentence structure and all the tiny little details get tedious and annoying. But around draft 6 is my favorite because it’s not too tedious but not too daunting either. This is where I look at smaller inconsistencies, fix up and tinker with different areas of the book. I look over it, write out by hand the plot scene by scene to make sure things make sense and if certain things don't line up I fix that. Pretty much in the sixth draft I'm polishing the plot and characters.

Beyond drafts 1-6 it all just depends on the book. Sterling Silver had eight drafts while Golden is currently on its twelfth I think? Second Star to the Right won't need as many drafts as Golden or Project Hellion just because it came to me more compact and put together. But for Second Star to the Right, I'll have to put more work into the characters and character development than I would for Golden. For Golden the major problem isn't the characters but the plot. So, it all just depends on the book. Like I said, this isn't a formula I use every single time. Each book has its own set of problems and demands different steps, but more or less these steps are what I use to revise my books.

The Final Draft:
 Finishing this draft is, like, the best feeling ever. No, I think it’s tied with finishing a first draft because first drafts can be hard people! But when you go from a skeleton draft, a draft that is so messy and disorganized you really don't even know what is going on to a full-on book that makes sense and has great characters and a beginning, middle and end it’s just the best feeling. You did so much and put so many hours and sometimes tears and lots of frustrated moments of wanting to give up into this book but because you didn't give up you actually did it. Now congratulate yourself with something yummy and a much-needed break!

Have a great week everyone! 

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Books I'm Looking Forward to This Fall

Hi everyone! So, there are a lot of books that I'm really excited about this Fall. The next few months are full of great new releases that I can't wait to get my hands on and since I've been on such a reading streak I thought I would share all the books I'm most looking forward to this Autumn.

Vengeful by Victoria Schwab: This book I have been waiting for for a very long time! Victoria Schwab has been working on this book for years and now it is finally ready for release and I can't wait to see how Victor and Eli's stories continue! The first book, Vicious, is a masterpiece in my opinion. It's one of my all time favorite books and Victoria is one of my all time favorite characters, so I seriously can't wait for this book to come out!

The sequel to VICIOUS, V.E. Schwab's first adult novel.

Sydney once had Serena—beloved sister, betrayed enemy, powerful ally. But now she is alone, except for her thrice-dead dog, Dol, and then there's Victor, who thinks Sydney doesn't know about his most recent act of vengeance.

Victor himself is under the radar these days—being buried and re-animated can strike concern even if one has superhuman powers. But despite his own worries, his anger remains. And Eli Ever still has yet to pay for the evil he has done.

The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White: I read one of her other book a few years ago, Chaos of the Stars, and loved it. It was inspired by Egyptian Mythology, so of course to me it was really good cuz I love some good mythology books. I haven't read any of her other books but I've heard their really good. This one caught my interest because its inspired by Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, only its told by Victor Frankenstein's childhood friend Elizabeth. The cover is beautiful and the story sounds so intriguing.

Elizabeth Lavenza hasn't had a proper meal in weeks. Her thin arms are covered with bruises from her "caregiver," and she is on the verge of being thrown into the streets . . . until she is brought to the home of Victor Frankenstein, an unsmiling, solitary boy who has everything--except a friend.

Victor is her escape from misery. Elizabeth does everything she can to make herself indispensable--and it works. She is taken in by the Frankenstein family and rewarded with a warm bed, delicious food, and dresses of the finest silk. Soon she and Victor are inseparable.

But her new life comes at a price. As the years pass, Elizabeth's survival depends on managing Victor's dangerous temper and entertaining his every whim, no matter how depraved. Behind her blue eyes and sweet smile lies the calculating heart of a girl determined to stay alive no matter the cost . . . as the world she knows is consumed by darkness.

The Darkest Star by Jennifer L Armentrout: I recently devoured the Lux series mostly because I saw some sneak peeks on her Instagram page for The Darkest Star and really wanted to read it but I felt like I should read the original series first. And now I am even more excited for this book cuz I know Luc so much better having read about him in the Lux series and I can't wait for this book that is centered around him!

When seventeen-year-old Evie Dasher is caught up in a raid at a notorious club known as one of the few places where humans and the surviving Luxen can mingle freely, she meets Luc, an unnaturally beautiful guy she initially assumes is a Luxen...but he is in fact something much more powerful. Her growing attraction for Luc will lead her deeper and deeper into a world she'd only heard about, a world where everything she thought she knew will be turned on its head...

#1 New York Times, USA Today, and internationally bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout returns to the universe of the Lux in this brand new series, featuring beloved characters both new and old.

Keeper of the Lost Cities: Flashback: If you have followed me at all you know how big of a fan I am of Shannon Messenger. Her books are some of the only books that I buy consistently every year. The day they come out I am at Barnes and Nobles getting a copy, but last year I bought a limited edition and this year I bought the limited edition for Flashback cuz it has a short story in Fitz's POV in it and I shouldn't couldn't resist. I love the Keeper books, I love the characters and the super complicated, amazingly written plot and I can't wait to read the next chapter of Sophie's story.

In this unforgettable seventh book, Sophie must let the past and present blur together, because the deadliest secrets are always the ones that get erased.

Sophie Foster doesn’t know what—or whom—to believe. And in a game with this many players, the worst mistake can be focusing on the wrong threat.

But when the Neverseen prove that Sophie’s far more vulnerable than she ever imagined, she realizes it’s time to change the rules. Her powerful abilities can only protect her so far. To face down ruthless enemies, she must learn to fight.

Unfortunately, battle training can’t help a beloved friend who’s facing a whole different danger—where the only solution involves one of the biggest risks Sophie and her friends have ever taken. And the distraction might be exactly what the villains have been waiting for.

Arch-Enemies by Marissa Meyer:  I really loved her Lunar Chronicles series and Renegades was good. It was an enjoyable read and I did like it a lot, but it's not my all time favorite. It was good enough for me to get excited for Arch-Enemies though because I really did enjoy reading about her main character and the fact that her MC is like a real bad guy. Like she doesn't switch sides and isn't apologetic for her villainy. She's proud of her villainy and is very good at what she does and I find that refreshing in a superhero story.

The Renegades Trilogy continues, in this fiercely awaited second installment after the New York Times-bestselling Renegades by Marissa Meyer, author of the Lunar Chronicles.

Time is running out.
Together, they can save the world.
But they each other's worst nightmare.

In Renegades, Nova and Adrian (aka Insomnia and Sketch) fought the battle of their lives against the Anarchist known as the Detonator. It was a short-lived victory.

The Anarchists still have a secret weapon, one that Nova believes will protect her. The Renegades also have a strategy for overpowering the Anarchists, but both Nova and Adrian understand that it could mean the end of Gatlon City - and the world - as they know it. 

Have a great week everyone!!

Monday, September 3, 2018

August Monthly Wrap-Up

Hey everyone! So the end of August came and went and I totally forgot about a wrap-up post even though I've been excited to write one like all month because of all the reading and writing things I did this month. August was a very good month, but now I am so ready for it to be cold and Fall! 21 days till the first day of Fall and I am so ready!!

August Writing: August was full of lots of writing things. At the beginning of August I finished the first draft of the sequel to Sterling Silver (I'm calling it Blood Brothers right now). That book was so fun to write and it felt good to get back into the world of Tabitha. I'm sort of giving myself some time and space to mull over the big things I want to fix in this book. I have a few ideas that are going to require a lot of major book surgery but it'll be so worth it. Blood Brothers isn't like Sterling Silver. Sterling Silver came from my brain to the paper pretty easily and without a lot of bumps or problems. It went through eight drafts worth of revisions before I put it away for a year and came back to it to put it on Wattpad. I have a strong feeling Blood Brothers is going to require a bit more work. On September first the final two chapters and epilogue of Sterling Silver was put on Wattpad. My first Wattpad book officially finished and I am so excited about it. It was such a fun and new experience and I plan to continue adding books onto Wattpad while also working on publishable books as well.

Near the end of finishing Blood Brothers I also started working on a Peter Pan Retelling that has been on my mind for a long time. Writing a Peter Pan inspired story has been on my writerly bucket list for a long time and then a few months ago my mom and I were talking in the car and I was telling her about how I really want to write a retelling and she gave me a great idea for a Peter Pan story and it just sort of clicked all my other ideas into place. All the pieces fit together and suddenly I had a story! It's in the New Adult genre and is in the dual POV of an older Wendy Darling and a dashing Captain Hook. Its been a very interesting writing process and I feel like I'm just scratching the surface of what my characters are capable of. I've also loved writing my own interpretation of these beloved characters while also giving a nod to the original book and the Disney movies. Hook and Wendy are especially interesting and I feel like in drafts to come I'll be able to deepen their characters and really dig in and see who they truly are. There's Peter Pan (obviously), who also has a lot of potential for character complexity, Tiger Lily and Tinkerbell, the Lost Boys and Smee and fairies and mermaids and it's just all very exciting. This book is currently at 90,000 words and it is, so far, the longest book I have ever written. Before this, Sterling Silver was the longest at 85,000 words (yes my drafts tend to be bare bones drafts that are seventy to sixty thousand words) and that is why longer first drafts make me sort of twitchy and panicky about the whole revision process and revising such a large draft. They also tend to make me a bit impatient. Already as I grow closer and closer to the climax I can feel myself wanting to rush the story and I have to force myself to stop and let it take its time unraveling. Anyways, if you want to know more about this book, which I am, at the moment, calling Second Star to the Right, you can go HERE.

August Reading: Oh my goodness. I don't think I've read this many books in a long time! Where do I even start?? Ok, so the month started with a book called Brightly Burning by Alexa Donne. It's a debut novel and sci-fi and sort of reminded me a little of Starflight in terms of world and vibe in general, so I checked it out. I devoured it (I loved the romance!) but then near the end it got kind of boring... The writer built this intense, interesting romance/relationship between Stella (the FMC) and Hugo (the MMC) and then it just sort of got stale... After a few days I was too curious and so I skimmed through the rest of it and it did actually have a good ending. But then... I was in a sort of Buffy kick. I was rewatching whole seasons of Buffy and I finished season seven and felt the need to get back into the Buffy comics. I needed more of this amazing world Joss Whedon had created! I had started reading the comics after I first finished BTVS but for some reason I dropped off. I think I got busy or distracted reading something else. But this time, I devoured the comics! Oh my gosh... if you're a Buffy fan, you totally need to read these comics! I would so read the Angel and Spike comics but they don't have them at my library. I was very fortunate that my library had seasons 8-10 available and now I just have to buy season 11 and wait for all of season 12 (the final season, so sad!) to come out.

Anyways, I was momentarily obsessed with BTVS and then felt the sudden need to reread the Lux series. I started reading that series and got about three-ish books in when I was like thirteen or fourteen? I was way too young for them and I just couldn't get through them then, but now, despite the lots of swearing, really enjoyed the plot and characters as a whole. They're really good YA/romance/alien books and I wish I had been reading them when I was writing Golden cuz they would have been good inspiration/motivation for me. And now I can't wait for The Darkest Star which is centered around my favorite character in the whole series: Luc! He's just so great and I can't wait to see more of him and more the world Jennifer L. Armentrout created!

And then! August finished out in the best way possible: with a Victoria Schwab book. Her first ever Middle Grade book released and, I rarely buy books, but I did buy this one and I'm glad I did. It was so worth it. City of Ghosts was a really good read. I know there are some people who are fine with younger kids reading the content and paranormal stuff, but personally I don't think it was very kid appropriate. Twelve, thirteen year olds could read it, but I wouldn't recommend anyone younger. Though Victoria definitely dialed it back, there were still some pretty morbid, creepy and sort of disturbing parts. And it was very detailed in an explanation of how ghosts work. Kind of like Coco detailed, which I know my parents wouldn't appreciate my younger siblings reading or watching cuz ghosts aren't real and its creepy. As myself reading it though, I really did enjoy it. Victoria Schwab is a master storyteller. I aspire to be as good of a writer as she is one day. Truly if I can write half as good as she does I'll be a happy person. Her protagonist, Cassidy Blake, is super sweet and innocent twelve year old girl. She was the perfect protagonist to dial down and sweeten a ghost story and Victoria Schwab did a great job in crafting her. She loves photography and I found that hobby really interesting, how she takes pictures of not just normal things but also in the Veil (sort of like the Ghost Zone from Danny Phantom). Actually the book, though completely it's work and super original, did remind me a little bit of Danny Phantom, with like ghost hunters and the Veil and the fact that her parents are paranormal writers who are knowledgeable about ghosts and yet they have no idea that their daughter actually sees them and is best friends with one! I really liked Jake too, her ghost best friend. Their friendship was really adorable and sweet and I'm really intrigued to see how Victoria plans to continue with the threads of plot she hinted at at the end of the book with Jake. I also think its really cool that she got to write the book in a city that she is so familiar with and that she loves so much: Edinburgh.

Now I've started September off with rereading Vicious in preparation for Vengeful that comes out in a couple of weeks! I've waited so long for the sequel and I know how hard Victoria Schwab has worked on that book. She's put literally everything into Vengeful and I know it'll be amazing so I am pretty excited.

August Random/Life Stuff: My final semester of college started two weeks ago. I plan on writing a post about it for hopefully this week, cuz I guess its kind of a big deal that I am finally almost finished. I'll have my associates degree in December which is crazy to think about because I don't know what I'm going to do next. Either go on and get my Bachelors or find something else to do. But that's something I'll have to pray about and put in God's hands. He's got this and I just need to trust that. My math class starts in a few weeks, but right now college life is pretty easy for me. I'm taking a library sciences class about Children's Departments in libraries and so far its pretty easy and going pretty well. It's also really interesting and a fun class to take. We visited family and got to go to a huge mall and have a good time there. We visited my great aunt who has horses and dogs and then went to the beach the next day so that was fun too. Overall, August has been a good month.

September Looking Forward: Like I said, I'm excited for September 22nd, which happens to be my mother's birthday and the first day of Fall. There are two books coming out this month that I'm really excited about too. Vengeful (obviously) and The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White. I've read Chaos of the Stars by her but haven't read any of her other books, but this one, I am looking forward to. She's also writing a BTVS book that comes out next year so I am super thrilled about that!! Small groups at my church also start this week so I'm going to be figuring that out too and hopefully finding a group to go every week. I'll also be praying for cold weather to come quickly cuz I'm pretty done with this Summer of 90's and 100's. If I wanted that weather I would go live in Arizona! I plan on finishing Second Star to the Right and starting revisions on Blood Brother too!

Anyways, so that's what I've been up to in August. It's been a good month, like I said. There have been some challenges, some difficulties, but overall, it was good and now I'm excited to see what September holds. I hope you all have had a great August and that you have a great September too!

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Sterling Silver: My First Wattpad Book

Hi everyone! So this is a bittersweet post. I'm sad that Sterling Silver is finished, but so thrilled to have taken the leap and decided to give Wattpad a try. It was such a fun and interesting experience. It kept me accountable and on a schedule and frankly, it was a great confidence booster to see each week how many people are reading and enjoying my story. The sequel, Blood Brothers, is still in the works. I'm taking my time revising and editing it because I want it to be as good, if not better, than Sterling Silver. But I promise, once it is finished, I will be putting it on Wattpad right alongside Sterling Silver.

Sterling Silver is a very special book to me. Its my first supernatural book, the first book I wrote in one of my favorite genres. I know that genre better than I know any other genre thanks to TV shows like The Vampire Diaries, The Originals and Teen wolf and books like Twilight and The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. Its a genre that I have continually delved into and before writing Sterling Silver, one of my biggest dreams was to write a YA vampire romance book. And then, one day in May 2016, I sat down, feeling edgy and needing to write something, to just get something out. I started writing and Tabitha Sterling revealed herself. The seventeen year old strawberry blond vampire hunter who wears yellow combat boots and gloves to stalk around the city killing creatures of the night. She was - and is - one of my most dynamic and passionate characters. I've never written a character quite like her. Who's energetic (I'd even go so far as to say ADHD), excitable, and impulsive. She's hardcore in the best way possible and I had a total blast writing her story. One chapter in and Sebastian Davis came into the picture and I fell in love with him instantly. I think one of the reasons why vampires are so alluring to me is because they're part of history. They're a blend of modern and old-school and have so many stories and skeletons in their closets and ghosts from their pasts that you can do so much with them. Many of them walk a gray area and they're either cocky and cruel or brooding and sad. I didn't want to write the stereotypical brooding vampire. I love Stefan Salvatore and Edward Cullen, but I wanted a vampire who could keep up with Tabitha. Someone as passionate and dynamic as her. Tabitha wouldn't drag her feet and put up with a brooding, guilt-ridden vampire. But I also didn't want Sebastian to be cruel or a complete monster. He has a dark past, he's done a lot of bad things in his life. He knows he's done wrong and has changed his ways, but he isn't dragged down by his past and he doesn't feel consuming guilt for the things he's done. Instead, he chooses to focus on the man he is today and his future.

Tabitha and Sebastian are so special to me. I love them so much and just thinking about them makes me smile. Getting to write the sequel was as fun as writing the first book. I loved getting to delve back into the supernatural world of hunters and vampires that I've created, getting to write the banter between the two of them and the many action scenes. It was also so fun getting to expand my world. I didn't want the Sterling world to just be vampires. Usually when there are vampires, there are usually witches involved, but I'm not a big fan of witches or that modern, realistic sort of magic that those witches usually practice. And when there aren't witches, there are usually werewolves... I have ideas for a werewolf story, and I'm not sure if I want those characters to tie into this world or not. But I did add in a few other creatures that usually aren't mixed with vampires.

Sterling Silver was also one of the first books that I connected with the entire cast. Usually I know the MC's inside and out. I'm super connected with them, but when it comes to the secondary characters, they fall sort of flat and I have a harder time with them. In this book though, I feel like I know them really well. Chelsea and Jonas and Derrick and the Gonzalez's and Emmeline. They're all their own characters, the main characters of their own stories and they all have their own stuff going on while also being supporting characters for Tabitha and Sebastian's story.

Every good protagonist needs an equally good antagonist and I am pretty proud of how Alistair, the vampire villain, turned out. He's his own person, his own bad guy, and I'm proud of myself for not drawing too much from Klaus or any of the other bad guys from The Vampire Diaries. I wanted him to be his own thing and I feel like I accomplished that. Not to mention I love the history between him and Sebastian and Emmeline. It's all very intricate and exciting.

Anyways, if I ever publish Sterling Silver for real, in the acknowledgement's page there would be a mention to The Vampire Diaries. I wouldn't have been able to create the Sterling world without that show. A few of the plotlines and subplots wouldn't be there without TVD either. As Holly Black said in the back of The Coldest Girl in Coldtown, this book is a love letter to all the vampire stories I've ever read or watched. It was a love letter to TVD and how it inspired me and taught me so much about depth in plot and character. That vampires are so much more than dark, usually hot guys who fall in love with teenage girls. They have depth and symbolism and meanings far beyond the stereotypical plots that have been given to them in recent years and I hope that my book gives Sebastian and my other immortal characters the same respect and deepness that the characters of TVD were given.

To everyone who read this book on Wattpad, thank you! Thank you so much! This is an eighth draft and I know it could still use some work, but thank you for sticking by it and enjoying it! Each read and vote has been a big confidence booster to me and has fueled me to keep doing what I love the most: writing. I was having a bit of a doubt problem before putting Sterling Silver on Wattpad. I would never give up writing, but sometimes I don't think I'm ever going to go anywhere. That no one will ever read my books and enjoy them as much as I enjoy writing them. Putting Sterling Silver on Wattpad was the best thing I could have done for myself at that time. Each view made me realize that people do read my stuff and people do enjoy my stories. So, thank you! I hope you've enjoyed Tabitha and Sebastian's story as much as I have.

If you haven't read Sterling Silver yet, it is now officially finished and on Wattpad, all forty chapters of it! If you love TVD or The Originals or Twilight or any of that vampire stuff, you should totally check it out!

Anyways, I'm in the middle of writing a Peter Pan retelling and I think I might put it on Wattpad once I'm finished. It will probably be a third or fourth draft and will have some kinks to work out, but I look forward to seeing what you guys think. I'm still writing it and really, I have no idea when it'll be finished or how long the story will be, but I promise, I will get it up there as soon as possible. For now though, I hope Sterling Silver can give you a little taste of my writing and will leave you wanting more.

Have a great weekend everyone!