Saturday, December 29, 2012

A Morsel: Pendant, Tea, Rabbit

In response to a writing prompt from Tami Moore:     

          It rained again during the night. I spent hours putting bucket and bowls and cups under all the leaks in the rotten roof. One of these days it will fall on our heads and then we’ll have to move again, but I can’t fix it myself and I certainly can’t afford to hire someone to do it for us. I’ve got a little money saved up from working down at the watch shop, but anyone who came up here to work on the cabin would meet Lara.
                 I glanced over at the bed, where Lara was wrapped in the blankets like a little caterpillar in its cocoon. She was dreaming, her eyes flicking back and forth under her pale eyelids. Lara has always had very vivid dreams.
                The sun was just rising over the ridge, rays spilling in through the cracked windows of the cabin and reflecting off the knife in my hand. Lara would be up soon - she always woke with the dawn – and I had to leave for work. The watch shop opens at nine but it’s a long walk down the mountain to town. I went back to the sandwich I was making. Peanut butter and strawberry jam, cut into quarters with the crusts removed. It’s what she’s had for breakfast and lunch every day for the past eleven years, and she cries when I don’t take the crust off or use jelly instead of jam. I suppose I should be lucky that she eats any food at all. She only stopped breastfeeding when our mother died, and she was three years old then.
                I finished the sandwich and went to draw a bucket of water from the well. I didn’t have time to empty the things in the cabin, but if I filled a pitcher and added lemonade mix, maybe she would drink that instead of the rainwater. Maybe not.
                When I returned Lara was sitting up in bed, clutching Bunny to her chest. It was my toy first. I can remember giving it to Lara the night after Mother died, to get her to stop crying. She hasn’t let go of it ever since. It even bathes with her. The white fur is grey now, and patchy, the glass eyes are dull, and the lavender ribbon is shredded, but if you try to take bunny away from Lara, she’ll scream until she makes herself sick. Lara was looking out the window, blue eyes wide, not blinking. Sometimes she’ll go for days without talking, without even looking at me, just staring at things that aren’t there.
                “Lara, come eat breakfast.” Suddenly her eyes focused on me.
                “A witch tried to take Bunny away.”
                “What witch?” I dropped lemonade mix into the pitcher and stirred.
                “She was pretty, but her hands were black and her teeth were green. She tried to take Bunny but I kicked her, and then she screamed.” Lara got up from the bed and came to the table. I brushed her messy curls out of her face as she started on the sandwich.
                “You were just dreaming, Lara,” I replied.
                “No I wasn’t.”
                It’s hard to argue with Lara, but I tried. “I was watching you. You were sleeping.”
                Lara put down the sandwich and turned to look at me, her expression earnest. “I was asleep here, but I wasn’t asleep there. On the Other Side.”
                The Other Side. The land of the faeries. I sighed. “I have to go, Lara-bear. I’ll be home later. Try to stay out of trouble.”
                Lara gave me one of her rare, gorgeous smiles. “Don’t worry sissy, Bunny will keep me safe.”
                I took one last glance in through the window before I left. Lara was having an animated conversation with the air.

                The sun was setting by the time I returned to the cabin. I was usually back much earlier, as I only worked part time and left in the early afternoon, but – well. I’d been working on his watch when he came in, a complex piece with a fish that moved around the watch face and acted as the hour hand. It had taken me the better part of two weeks to build it and he’d been using it as an excuse to come see me. The shop’s bell rang, and that was all the warning I got before he was sitting in front of me.
                “Come to dinner with me tonight.” I confess I was shocked. I thought I’d been doing a good enough job of discouraging him, but it seemed not. “Come on! It’ll be fun. You never do anything for fun, do you?” His tone was light, teasing, flirty even, but I made myself keep working on the watch, kept myself from looking at him.
                “I can’t.”
                “Why not? What excuse is it this time, Ivy? There’s always something.”
                “I – I don’t feel well.” My heart was beating double-time, and my palms were starting to sweat. He smelled like cinnamon, and I wanted him to lean in closer.
                At the same time I wanted him far, far away.
                “So let me drive you home. Where do you live? Not in town, or I’d see you a lot more often. Up on the mountain?”
                I stood up so quickly my chair fell down, slamming into the floor. The noise startled him, and he jumped up.
                “Your watch is done.” I was out the door before he recovered enough to chase me. He wouldn’t want me once he met Lara. I’d be the girl with the crazy sister. And then he’d tell his friends, and word would get around, and people would bring up doctors and hospitals and Children’s Services. Maybe it was time to move again.
                It took me a long time to calm down, so I didn’t get home until sunset. It’s no use going home when I’m angry; Lara tries my patience enough as it is. So as I walked up the path to the cabin I wondered, with a slightly sick feeling in the pit of my stomach, what Lara had gotten up to while I was gone.
                I pushed open the door of the cabin and gasped. Lara had picked hundreds of flowers, pulled off the heads, and set them to float in the rainwater buckets and pots and bowls. And she had taken out every candle we owned and lit them. It was magical, and beautiful, and crazy, just like my sister.
                Lara came over to me and tugged my hand.
                “It’s for the faeries,” she said. “They won’t come inside unless there are flowers.”
                I felt like I was sleepwalking. “Of course…faeries…”
                “They’ve mostly left, but you can meet Violet.”
                I looked down at her. “What?”
                “Look.” She pointed to the table, were my tea mug sat, filled with tiny violets. I peered in, preparing myself to converse with Lara’s imaginary faery.
                But then, over the far rim, a tiny head appeared. Emerald eyes met mine.
                “Oh my God.” I closed my eyes and opened them again, wondering if I was dreaming –or hallucinating. But she – brown hair, emerald eyes, and delicate violet gossamer wings –was still there.
                I looked at my sister in disbelief. “A faery.”
Lara smiled. “I told you,” she said, “It’s all real.”

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Musings on Muses

Others have written before me - and very eloquently, I might add - on this subject, so I'll keep it brief.

Firstly, it's stupid to avoid writing because you're "waiting for inspiration to strike" or for your muse to suddenly make everything known to you.

Writing is not magic. Unfortunately.

The truth is, if you want to get results, you have to put in the effort yourself; do the work yourself. Your muse is not going to do it for you.

Except when it does.

I have a muse - or rather, I have a subconscious. When I get stuck on something in my writing  (and I mean really stuck, not just I've gotten lazy and don't want to work, but that I'm working and working and nothing is coming out right), it helps to let it go and work on something else or do something else for a little while. Sometimes it's an hour, and sometimes its a few days, but without fail there comes a time where suddenly my "muse" comes through and it all comes together in a rush.

Now what is really happening is that my brain is still working on my problem subconsciously, and when I come back to it it's been worked out. It's not magic, although as a fantasy buff I wouldn't mind if it was!

My brain likes to operate this way quite a lot of the time.

Friday, December 14, 2012

And Now, for Something Completely Different

I take photos. If you're interested, check out the link. The blog is brand new so only one post so far.

Do I worry that maintaining two blogs will be impossible when I can barely keep up with one? Maybe not. I think even if I don't have anything to say writing-wise I can post photos, and vice versa. Doing some writing, any at all, will keep the juices flowing.

We shall see.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


I'm seriously doing a happy dance as I type. Princess has a plot!

It was a hugely difficult labor but at last it is over and it is BEAUTIFUL. And only 10 days late :)

Just a few loose ends to tie up and then I can start writing!!

Monday, October 29, 2012


Due to the Frankenstorm (Sandy), I am off from school today and tomorrow.

The plan: today, finish all my school work. Tomorrow, finish plotting Princess in advance of NaNo.

I currently have lots of fun conflict for the first quarter of the book and the last quarter of the book. Maybe also the third quarter. The second quarter is looking a little empty right now...

Further updates forthcoming.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I hate Organic Chemistry

So I'm sorry that it's been almost a week since my last post. I've got one last push to make it over the insane work hurdle - by tomorrow it will be over! And I will return to blogging.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Midterms OF DEATH

Princess is kind of on hiatus until I get through my midterms of death. But I think I'm pretty much ready to jump into plotting when I return!* So that's exciting.

Tami's latest post on the pacing of the first 1/4 of a book came at a particularly good time. Now I can ruminate on that and on the world and character building I've done for a few days, and when I finish writing about Aristotle and Augustine I'll be so ready to write about Kel.

*[This sentence previously said something that made no sense at all. I can attribute this only to midterm-related exhaustion]

Friday, October 12, 2012

In Which I Feel Freaking Amazing

I am totally, completely and utterly IN LOVE with Princess.

I was planning on working through the NaNo prep posts in order, and I still am, but yesterday I was looking ahead to see what was coming up, and I saw a post about antagonists. And sudennly I was off and running, the ideas coming thick and fast and I almost couldn't keep up!

My evil king is now something other than the placeholder "evil". He has reasons for being the way he is. Those reasons make sense in the context of the world I've invented. They make him infinitely more interesting, cause now he's not just depraved, but insane, too. And as a bonus I get to hint at the ultimate antagonist of the series and based on an earlier event it MAKES SENSE THAT KEL WOULD SEE IT!

It all fits perfectly, like it is an actual, real, world and story and not something I'm making up in my head.

There will probably come a time when I'm stuck writing a hard scene and I will say to myself, "Why am I doing this?" And hopefully I can recapture the moment when it all came together and I ran around my dorm room (as much as it is possible to run around in a 200 sq ft room filled with dorm furniture) squealing and screaming "yes!" and generally making a fool of myself. I can only wonder at what the other people on my floor thought was happening.

In other news, I finally have a new pair of boots. I've been wanting a specific style of boots for a while now, and I finally found them! So that's good.

Also, my beautiful little doggy is sleeping next to me. Let's just say I'm in a good mood.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Plan of Action

Behold the side bar! It is no longer at 5%.

I decided to work through my Princess planning using more or less the strategy outlined in Tami Moore's NaNo prep posts. I'm currently on number 7, about to start number 8, so 7/31 = 23%. Yay math!

I've got a pretty good grip on Kel, and what kind of person she is, and how she's different from her little sister Bria. (By the way, Bria was not supposed to be a big character at all, but being a bright, outgoing and adventurous child, she had other ideas.)

I'm also discovering how Princess will probably have 2 sequels and end up a trilogy and is a lot more epic in scale than I originally thought. Bria gets her day to shine in Book 2. There are dragons involved.

In terms of worldbuilding, I've got a bunch of political entities, be they individuals (Kel, the evil king) or groups (the prosthelytizing democratic army - long story) with complicated motives which interact in interesting ways. Still to be fleshed out: the religions of the world (which will have a lot to do with magic), the ultimate big baddie, and the general trajectory of the trilogy as a whole which will have a HUGE impact on the plot of the first book.

Oh yeah, the plot. That too. We're getting there.

That's okay, this is totally normal for the stage of preparation I'm in. I'm also going to consciously try not to think about books 2 and 3 right now - if I'm struck with a brilliant idea I'll write it down, but I am going to shut down any actual development on them until I am done writing Princess. Aside from, of course, the most general, high-level story arc which I need to know in order to set it up properly in Princess. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Living in a Petri Dish

Living in a dorm is like living in a petri dish. Once one person in a dorm gets sick, they gradually infect everyone around them until the number of infected reaches critical mass and the campus descends into chaos as literally no one goes to class.

It's like the movie Contagion, every day from about October to January.

Over the weekend I was sick. Not with any kind of doomsday virus, just a bad cold (although apparently there is an outbreak of whooping cough...). I did not do any work. I did not do any writing. I had to make a determined effort to drag myself out of bed long enough to shower. I watched a lot of TV and movies instead. All day.

Now I'm playing a bit of catchup. I have been working a bit on Princess and there are updates coming as soon as possible. But first, Organic Chemistry.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


^ Clickety click

I have complained before about the lack of variety in new books I've encountered lately (Everything is distopian/vampires/werewolves). I actually haven't read this book so I can't say anything about the quality of the writing, but the idea is fantastic.


I never would have thought of it, but its a fresh, intriguing idea! Click on the cover photo for a giveaway.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Banned Books

 Books should never be banned. Will I read all the books on this list? No, of course not. But that doesn't mean that there aren't other people who would enjoy them, or whose lives would change because of them. We should all be free to choose. Just for fun, I've bolded the books below that I've read. What about you all?

Top 100 Banned/Challenged Books: 2000-2009

1. Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling

2. Alice series, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
3. The Chocolate War, by Robert Cormier
4. And Tango Makes Three, by Justin Richardson/Peter Parnell
5. Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
6. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
7. Scary Stories (series), by Alvin Schwartz
8. His Dark Materials (series), by Philip Pullman
9. ttyl; ttfn; l8r g8r (series), by Lauren Myracle
10. The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky
11. Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers
12. It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris
13. Captain Underpants (series), by Dav Pilkey [Thanks to my younger brother]
14. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
15. The Bluest Eye, by Toni Morrison
16. Forever, by Judy Blume
17. The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
18. Go Ask Alice, by Anonymous
19. Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
20. King and King, by Linda de Haan
21. To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
22. Gossip Girl (series), by Cecily von Ziegesar
23. The Giver, by Lois Lowry
24. In the Night Kitchen, by Maurice Sendak
25. Killing Mr. Griffen, by Lois Duncan
26. Beloved, by Toni Morrison
27. My Brother Sam Is Dead, by James Lincoln Collier
28. Bridge To Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
29. The Face on the Milk Carton, by Caroline B. Cooney
30. We All Fall Down, by Robert Cormier
31. What My Mother Doesn’t Know, by Sonya Sones
32. Bless Me, Ultima, by Rudolfo Anaya
33. Snow Falling on Cedars, by David Guterson
34. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big, Round Things, by Carolyn Mackler
35. Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging, by Louise Rennison
36. Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
37. It’s So Amazing, by Robie Harris
38. Arming America, by Michael Bellasiles
39. Kaffir Boy, by Mark Mathabane
40. Life is Funny, by E.R. Frank
41. Whale Talk, by Chris Crutcher
42. The Fighting Ground, by Avi
43. Blubber, by Judy Blume
44. Athletic Shorts, by Chris Crutcher
45. Crazy Lady, by Jane Leslie Conly
46. Slaughterhouse-Five, by Kurt Vonnegut
47. The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby: The First Graphic Novel by George Beard and Harold Hutchins, the creators of Captain Underpants, by Dav Pilkey [Again, younger brother]
48. Rainbow Boys, by Alex Sanchez
49. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, by Ken Kesey
50. The Kite Runner, by Khaled Hosseini
51. Daughters of Eve, by Lois Duncan
52. The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Paterson
53. You Hear Me?, by Betsy Franco
54. The Facts Speak for Themselves, by Brock Cole
55. Summer of My German Soldier, by Bette Green
56. When Dad Killed Mom, by Julius Lester
57. Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause
58. Fat Kid Rules the World, by K.L. Going
59. Olive’s Ocean, by Kevin Henkes
60. Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson
61. Draw Me A Star, by Eric Carle
62. The Stupids (series), by Harry Allard
63. The Terrorist, by Caroline B. Cooney
64. Mick Harte Was Here, by Barbara Park
65. The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
66. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred Taylor
67. A Time to Kill, by John Grisham
68. Always Running, by Luis Rodriguez
69. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
70. Harris and Me, by Gary Paulsen
71. Junie B. Jones (series), by Barbara Park
72. Song of Solomon, by Toni Morrison
73. What’s Happening to My Body Book, by Lynda Madaras
74. The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold
75. Anastasia (series), by Lois Lowry
76. A Prayer for Owen Meany, by John Irving
77. Crazy: A Novel, by Benjamin Lebert
78. The Joy of Gay Sex, by Dr. Charles Silverstein
79. The Upstairs Room, by Johanna Reiss
80. A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck
81. Black Boy, by Richard Wright
82. Deal With It!, by Esther Drill
83. Detour for Emmy, by Marilyn Reynolds
84. So Far From the Bamboo Grove, by Yoko Watkins
85. Staying Fat for Sarah Byrnes, by Chris Crutcher
86. Cut, by Patricia McCormick
87. Tiger Eyes, by Judy Blume
88. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood
89. Friday Night Lights, by H.G. Bissenger
90. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L’Engle
91. Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George

92. The Boy Who Lost His Face, by Louis Sachar
93. Bumps in the Night, by Harry Allard
94. Goosebumps (series), by R.L. Stine
95. Shade’s Children, by Garth Nix
96. Grendel, by John Gardner
97. The House of the Spirits, by Isabel Allende
98. I Saw Esau, by Iona Opte
99. Are You There, God?  It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume
100. America: A Novel, by E.R. Frank

The Next Big Thing

I've been tagged, and by the wonderful Tami Moore. Quick disclaimer: considering the fact that Princess is still very much in worldbuilding/plotting mode, my answers to some of these questions will be a bit sketchy :)

What is the working title of your book?

Princess, or Princess Story, or Princess Book. Obviously that will not be the final title.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I came across a writing prompt - if you can even call it that - to write "anything about a prince or princess". Almost as soon as I finished reading the sentence an image came to me of a princess being hunted through the woods. I started thinking about why she would be there, and the Princess story was born.

What genre does your book fall under? 

YA Fantasy.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? 

Kelisin.....Emilia Clarke
Bria .....Morgana Davies
The Prince (He doesn't have a name yet)... Josh Hutcherson
The Hound (But this is his actual title).....Mark Strong
Evil King (Not his actual name).....Ralph Fiennes
Marcos ...Henry Cavill

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? 

A princess attempts to recover her birthright after a bloody coup forces her to abandon her country and her sister.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? 

We are SO not there yet.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? May we see an intro? 

It's still in the planning stage. However, there are a few snippets in existence which I wrote before I realized this was a project I wanted to pursue seriously and stopped to plot and worldbuild. So:

"Kelisin!" The shout echoed through the drafty stable. Kel looked up from her horse's flank and leaned her head out of the stall, but no one was in the stable's hall. Not yet, at least.

"Good," Kel murmured. "They don't know I'm here yet." The horse whinnied softly and tossed his head, so Kel resumed brushing. She often came out here when she wanted to be alone. None of the ladies in waiting would ever consider going near the horses, and the grooms, who had grown to be her friends, were good at stalling. Kel had evaded many an embroidery session hiding in the stables.
The horse turned his head back and tried to nip at her pockets. Kel laughed and pushed his head away. "Stop it, Roque, I gave you an apple already." The horse snorted. "Greedy brute."
The bell rang the hour, and Kel reluctantly put away the curry comb. It was time to head back through the kitchens and into the palace proper, before anyone became too worried about her.
As Kel approached the stable's side door, she could hear voices. She wasn't surprised. The door was rather old and warped, and didn't close very well.
"She's not here." Kel recognized the voice. It belonged to a groom - Ostwald, his name was. Kel smiled. He was probably covering for her, throwing off the army of maids, ladies in waiting, pageboys, and the occasional guardsman mobilized to find her and capture her for her lesson. Kel wasn't a fool - she understood that history, military tactics, and mathematics were important subjects for a monarch to know. She didn't object to reading literature to open her mind, or even to etiquette and deportment, so vital to a royal life. But Lady Ainsley was always after her, nagging about embroidery and other useless pursuits. She was forever saying that it was a useful skill and that it never hurt to be underestimated by opponents, and Kel might have acquiesced if the Lady had not been such hideously dull company. So while Kel reluctantly sat through hours in the solarium with Lady Ainsley and her equally tedious cousins, every so often she just couldn't bear it. Hence her escapes.
Kel was distracted from her thoughts by something that sounded like a fist striking flesh, followed by a dull thud and a whimper. Eyes wide, Kel approached the door, trying to be absolutely silent. She peered through the crack.
Ostwald was down on the floor, huddled against the wall. Above him stood a soldier, the royal guard's crest conspicuously absent from his uniform. He looked down at the groom with an expression of disgust. "Where is she?"
"I haven't seen her, I swear!" cried Ostwald.
The soldier kicked him, and Ostwald let out a whimper.
"Try again," he said calmly.
"She's not here." The soldier drew his sword. "Wait! Wait, she might have gone down to the orchard. She likes to go there." The orchard was on the other side of the palace from the stables and the mews.
"Thank you," said the soldier, grinning. He reached a hand down to the groom and helped him up. As soon as Ostwald was on his feet the man rammed his sword through his belly.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? 

This is a hard one, because honestly I haven't encountered any YA fantasy like this recently. Most of what I've seen lately has been paranormal, or modern-day with magical/supernatural/mythical elements. That's not to say that these books don't exist - I'm sure they do and I should go hunt them down.

Who or what inspired you to write this book? 

 Hmm. I don't know that there was a particular inspiration for this book. I'm always inspired by the authors whose books I read, and the work they do to create beautiful things for their readers. I'm inspired by fellow would-be authors and the effort they take to perfect their craft. And, of course, there are many amazing women I know - my mother first and foremost - who are an incredible inspiration to write about women and girls with that same strength of character.

Could I be any vaguer or more sappy? :)

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

There are princesses in it. Doesn't everybody love princesses? Oh, and magic. But not too much romance - maybe later in the series. This book is about adventure and growth and love between sisters.

So now I tag...

Welp, this is awkward. I don't have anyone to tag... . So, anyone reading who would like to participate, have at it! I offer up my tags to you all.

Rules of The Next Big Thing:
*Use this format for your post *Answer the ten questions about your current WIP (work in progress) *Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.
Ten Interview Questions for the Next Big Thing:
  • What is your working title of your book?
  • Where did the idea come from for the book?
  • What genre does your book fall under?
  • Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
  • What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
  • Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
  • How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? May we see an intro?
  • What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
  • Who or what inspired you to write this book?
  • What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Include the link of who tagged you and this explanation for the people you have tagged. Be sure to line up your five people in advance.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Wonderful things are happening...

I have FINALLY worked out a believable magic system for Princess!! I'd tried a couple of times already and come up with something I thought worked, but then this morning I was sort of daydreaming about it and it all finally came together, and it is SO much better than before.

Now I have magic that is closely tied to blood (because magic is itself the blood of the earth), and a plausible reason for why only one family in this area of the world has it, and why Kel ends up having stronger magic than the rest of her relatives, and why succession is matrilineal. (Blogger is telling me this is not a word. It's totally a word!) I also have a good overarching problem for the series (oh yes, there will be more than one princess book). So while the problem of the first book is getting the kingdom back, lurking in the back will be the awakening magic and all the problems it could lead to...which will become more of the focus of the second (and third?) books.

Sometimes when I'm trying to come up with an idea, it feels like I'm struggling up a hill. I'm thinking of things, but they don't make a lot of sense, or they're too boring, or worst of all, they are perfectly good ideas but just aren't "right" for the project I have in mind. Those are not fun times. Those are the times in which you have worldbuilding fail.

Other times, I feel like one idea sparks another which sparks another which sparks another, to the point where I can hardly keep up, and they all fit together perfectly with each other and with things that I've come up with before. It feels like I'm running full speed down a hill, and it feels fantastic.

This is one of those times :)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Giveaway Roundup

Existence by David Brin 

Gerald Livingston is an orbital garbage collector. For a hundred years, people have been abandoning things in space, and someone has to clean it up. But there’s something spinning a little bit higher than he expects, something that isn’t on the decades’ old orbital maps. An hour after he grabs it and brings it in, rumors fill Earth’s infomesh about an “alien artifact.”

Thrown into the maelstrom of worldwide shared experience, the Artifact is a game-changer. A message in a bottle; an alien capsule that wants to communicate. The world reacts as humans always do: with fear and hope and selfishness and love and violence. And insatiable curiosity.

Shifted Perspective by J. Bridger

 Caleb Byrne's life seems to be going well after he's accepted to his dream school for pre-med studies. Going great, sure, until he grows four paws, a tail, and fluffy curls... Now he has to deal with being the world's lamest shape shifter, an estranged family with furry secrets of their own, a prying girlfriend, and a killer werewolf on the loose, and he thought life had been hard before!

Black City by Elizabeth Richards
A dark and tender post-apocalyptic love story set in the aftermath of a bloody war
In a city where humans and Darklings are now separated by a high wall and tensions between the two races still simmer after a terrible war, sixteen-year-olds Ash Fisher, a half-blood Darkling, and Natalie Buchanan, a human and the daughter of the Emissary, meet and do the unthinkable—they fall in love. Bonded by a mysterious connection that causes Ash’s long-dormant heart to beat, Ash and Natalie first deny and then struggle to fight their forbidden feelings for each other, knowing if they’re caught, they’ll be executed—but their feelings are too strong.
When Ash and Natalie then find themselves at the center of a deadly conspiracy that threatens to pull the humans and Darklings back into war, they must make hard choices that could result in both their deaths.

Nightingale by David Farland

Grand Prize Winner of the Hollywood Book Festival, placed first in all genres, all categories.

Winner of the 2012 International Book Award for Best Young Adult Novel of the Year

Finalist in the Global Ebook Awards
Some people sing at night to drive back the darkness.  Others sing to summon it. . . .

Bron Jones was abandoned at birth. Thrown into foster care, he was rejected by one family after another, until he met Olivia, a gifted and devoted high-school teacher who recognized him for what he really was--what her people call a "nightingale."

But Bron isn't ready to learn the truth. There are secrets that have been hidden from mankind for hundreds of thousands of years, secrets that should remain hidden. Some things are too dangerous to know.  Bron's secret may be the most dangerous of all.

In his remarkable young adult fantasy debut, David Farland shows why critics have called his work "compelling," "engrossing," "powerful," "profound," and "ultimately life-changing."

Skyship Acadmey: Crimson Rising by Nick James
Following their dramatic showdown in Seattle, Jesse Fisher and Cassius Stevenson find their world’s been turned inside out. The faculty at Skyship Academy is keeping Jesse a prisoner in his own home, fearful of his influence over Pearls. And Cassius, once a loyal Pearlhound for the Unified Party, has been pushed into hiding, fearful of his government's retaliation.

When Jesse smuggles a mysterious red Pearl onboard the Academy, he sets loose a destructive chain of events, which lead him to a reunion with Cassius and a confrontation with Theo -- a bloodthirsty Pearlhound with a dangerous secret.

But a larger threat looms in the stars. An enemy is gathering, with plans to exterminate the entire human race. And Jesse and Cassius might just be the lynch pins that trigger mankind's destruction.
 Banned books giveaway at I am a Reader Not a Writer

Choice of ChiZine eBook at Preturnatura

Reader's Choice at Preturnatura

Friday, September 21, 2012

In which Faith uses a Bad Word

I sat down with the intention of writing that post on rereading that I said I was going to write like two weeks ago, only to discover that I actually don't have enough to say for an entire post. I mean, I probably could get an entire post on it if I tried but seeing as I've been putting it off for so long obviously it's not going to happen. So instead, a series of comments, starting with rereading and ending with blog things:

1. Rereading is totally acceptable, and I will happily ignore those people who don't understand my desire to reenter worlds that have particularly engaged me and revisit characters who I've particularly identified with.

2. Sometimes I reread a book from a long time ago and I have changed so much that I no longer feel the same way about it. This usually happens when I'm rereading a book with writing flaws (info dumps, flat characters) that I was too young to notice the first time around. I find that I'm a much more critical reader than I was (though not as critical as many).

3. A section of the princess plot decided to make itself known to me yesterday. Progress! And yet, a lot of work remains to be done.

4. I will be doing NaNo this year, although I will almost definitely be participating with a reduced word count goal. I shall consider myself a winner if I get, let's say (excuse me while I do some math here)...15,000 words, a.k.a. 500 words a day. This is kind of a low bar but A) I have waaaaay to much work this semester, seriously it's insane and possibly unconstitutional, and B) then I can be pleasantly surprised and feel all proud of myself if I write more!

5. I may have said this already (I forget) but the progress bars will be staying exactly the way they are until I get out of the planning stage and into the writing. I don't even know how to begin estimating percentage completion for world building, when I won't know how much I need to do until I've already done it!

6. Marvin posts are now scheduled to run on Wednesdays from next Wednesday  until it's done. There are a lot left so it should last a while. Will there ever be a Marvin sequel? I really don't know. Perhaps a Freddy spinoff? [EDIT: Marvin will run once a week until February, at which point it will speed up so certain significant installments coincide with Valentine's day and my birthday]

7. I have a confession to make. I AM A BOOK GIVEAWAY WHORE. (There's your language). I appear to have notoriously bad luck in anything chance related that has to do with winning things (I'm looking at you, Urban NY), but I figure if I enter every single one I come across, I will eventually win something! Probably. Hopefully. Maybe. Knowing my luck, not until I'm 80. Anyway the point is that means my twitter is currently almost nothing but tweets/retweets about giveaways, which is usually counts as an additional entry. So yeah, I will at some point attempt to tweet more other things so that my twitter is not just a giveaway entry machine, but:

8. This is the order of things which I do: 1. Homework (at least in theory), 2. Writing, 3. Ballet, 4. Reading, 5. Other fun self-fulfilling things, like photography, or talking to other humans, or eating food, 6. Sleeping, 7. Blogging, and finally 8. Twitter. So, priorities being what they are, you understand why the blog has such long gaps between posts and the twitter is mostly barren.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


I finally got around to updating it! I like the background, though I may change it to something more book related. Or not.

I will also, in the fairly near future, be updating the blogroll/website list so that they are not years out of date. And small and sad and lonely.

Also the reading list, although I'm a bit scared of that one...there's a huge backlog and I seriously doubt I remember everything I read. Then again, do you really care to know every single book I've ever read? Whatever, that part is mostly for me anyway :)

And of course there will be a post with actual content coming your way soon. Just as soon as I finish the mountains of work I am currently procrastinating on.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Hey look it's...more vampires.

Okay, so I know I said last time that this time (oh boy) I would talk about rereading, but I changed my mind. I will eventually talk about that, but not today.

Today, we shall be talking about trends in literature.

Or rather, Things That Will Make Me Put the Book Down Immediately Unless There Is a Really Good Reason Not To. And they are:

1. Vampires/Werewolves

Unless there is something seriously interesting or different going on with them, I will not read about either. I'm tired of vampire boyfriends. I will read about bloodthirsty vampires, or British vampires (think Gail Carriger). Another example I saw recently was a woman who was the only (and I mean only) female werewolf.

2. Angels/Demons

 I have a naturally low tolerance for this subject matter. I have read very few books dealing with angels/demons that don't annoy me immensely. Exception: I was recently very pleasantly surprised by Sarah Reese Brennan's The Demon's Lexicon. I read her blog and really wanted to enjoy her book, but wasn't able to make myself pick it up because of the demons for a really long time. I regret that; it was excellent.

3. Distopian

There are just too many, and I don't have the energy to try to sort the good from the bad. So many seem terribly derivative. I'm not sure if it's just the jacket copy, but with so many excellent books on my to-read list, I don't have time to waste gambling on books that may just be the latest Hunger Games rehash.

4. Mermaids

Just never been a fan. Personal preference. I've yet to find a mermaid book which will prove me wrong, though I kind of hope Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama, which I found over at Preturnatura, might be the one.

There are more, but I won't bore you. I have to say, I really hate that I feel this way because it means I'm almost certainly missing out on some really great books.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Who's talking?

I don't have anything profound to share today (then again, when do I ever say anything profound?). I think tomorrow or whenever next I blog I will talk about rereading books, and revisiting books with a new perspective. But for now, I will just say that unattributed dialogue is a serious pain.

I'm currently reading Plato's Republic for a class. No, I'm not the kind of person who reads Plato for fun. I'm writing novels about princesses, for goodness' sakes! I'm much more likely to pick up a book with a dragon on the cover.

But I digress.

The Republic is actually a fairly engaging book, as "serious" books go, and I find myself getting rather drawn in to the dialogue. Then I discover that I've read four pages and no longer have any idea who's speaking. The book is almost exclusively dialogue, with few attributions and no quotation marks. It gets rather difficult at time to keep track of who is saying what.

I find myself with a new appreciation for dialogue tags and quotation marks and all those wonderful conventions of our time. Yes, grammar and punctuation rules require effort to learn. But they pay off a thousandfold when your reader can effortlessly understand your meaning, without having to backtrack to remember who is speaking.

P.S. An aside: This is actually the basis for a very important plot point in one of Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next novels (I forget which one...the second, maybe?) I'm not going to spoil it, but just say that I highly recommend the series to any avid reader or writer. They are engaging, witty, clever, and contain many inside jokes for those of a literary bent.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


Worldbuilding fail averted!

I'd been having such a hard time discovering anything about Princess world (that poor project really needs a title) and it was getting extremely frustrating. I kept feeling like I needed some kind of structure or visual to start me off. I was leaning towards making an outline, in the hopes that a plot would give me something to work from.

However, that was not the best idea. I feel that the best stories integrate the world seamlessly into the plot, so starting with the plot has a potential to result in an artificiality. Luckily, I decided to go with a map instead.

I think the nothingness, the incredible potential of a world that hasn't been made up yet, was too much for my poor mind. It totally shut down. But the map gave me enough limitation to kick start the creative juices again, and Princess and I are back on friendly terms.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A few orders of business

Okay so obviously I got the progress bars to work. A very kind fellow blogger allowed me to copy her code, which I did. I changed the color, but that's about it. I may change the font if I can figure out what other font I want. If anyone is interested, they are welcome to copy the code from here. Or, I gather that it was originally a Wordpress widget.

I'm also going to schedule the rest of the Marvin posts to run on Wednesday - a cute little pick-me-up for hump day. When I get to that - the photos are hiding on my computer.

Hopefully later today I will have a writing-related tidbit to offer you.

Monday, August 27, 2012

The internets are uncooperative. I am not amused.

New in the sidebar: progress bars which will, theoretically, update you (who? Is anybody out there reading this nonsense?) on my progress. But apparently the coding was not correct, so I will have to mess around some more and try to figure it out. However, because it it rather late and I'm tired, I will do that tomorrow. I am not really amused by this situation.

In other news, I love my stories. I was falling out of love with Lioness but I just reread the nuggets I wrote and there are beautiful little gems in there. Now I just have to do the not-so-fun part: organize and plan so that when I resume writing I don't get bogged down or lost. Ditto with princess, although I'm also having the worldbuilding fail problem there...

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Worldbuilding, and also my dog eats salad.

So...I've been feeling reinvigorated re: the princess story, but the other day I tried to do some worldbuilding and it just...did not work.

I mean, I came up with some interesting ideas. Actually, some totally amazing ideas. The problem is, they don't fit at ALL with the "seed" or "essence" of the princess story that I see in my head. I'm feeling seriously frustrated and I don't really know what to do.

I'm actually tempted to say forget the worldbuilding, and try to hash out some kind of plot outline in the hopes that that jogs my mind. Actually, when I think about it, that plan seems much, much more appealing. I'm beginning to suspect that I will have to do a prelim outline, see how that affects the world/what ideas that sparks, and then go back and adjust the plot if necessary.

I know that skimping on worldbuilding is extremely problematic for a number of reasons. I'm not really skimping, just...postponing. I don't know. I'm confused.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

What on Earth was I reading as a child?

For some reason, today, I had pop into my head the memory of a book I read a long time ago. It was a book I had checked out from the library. I couldn't remember the title or the author or really much about the plot but I did some google searching and eventually found it!

The point of this anecdote is twofold. One, it really sucks that you can't search for a book by description. Yes, keywords can sometimes yield results (like they did for me), and yes, there are sites out there with communities of people devoted to helping you figure out what book you're looking for. But still.

The other thing I drew from this is the conclusion in the title of this post. The book is a paranormal romance. There's a decent amount of sexytimes in there...and these are the kinds of books I was reading as a little girl. I actually think the first time I learned about sex was reading a book. Always being a responsible child, and I like to think reasonably mature for my age, I was always given a great degree of freedom in what I checked out. I really don't know where I'm going with this. Clearly I'm out of practice in writing blog posts.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I'm Baaaaack

Well, here we are again.

It's been nearly a year since I posted last. This means two things:

1. I am probably talking to myself; nobody reads this anymore.
2. The blogger interface has changed again. Between this and Facebook, I think I might cry.

I will explain why I was absent for so long. The truth is, college was quite enough for me to handle last year. The blog kept getting put on the back burner until I basically forgot about it. But I had a crazy, revelatory dream the other night which was basically a scene from a story popping into my head. And that just made me want to write again.

Interestingly, that's not the project I'm drawn to at the moment. I think it needs to percolate a bit. Unlike the princess story, which has percolated quite enough thank you and is ready to be worked on!

So I'm here, back on the blog. I can't promise anything (for example, daily posts). I think that's too much for me. I can aspire to, perhaps, three posts a week. They will mostly be related to what I'm writing, although I wouldn't be surprised if some school stuff or Nutcracker stuff or life-in-general stuff creeps in there.

To my readers, if they still exist, I apologize for not letting you know when I realized the blog was going dark. If you're still around, I'm still writing :)

If not, I already talk to myself quite a bit, so I suppose this isn't that different!

P.S. Yes, I will finish Marvin. And the reading list will have a huge gap in it. Oh well...