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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

The Writer's Tag

So, long time since I posted, let's get down to business shall we? I'm not sure how old this tag is, but two bloggers I follow recently posted their responses


1. WHAT GENRES, STYLES, AND TOPICS DO YOU WRITE ABOUT?
Genre: Fantasy. I've loved fantasy since I read Narnia and The Hobbit/LOTR years ago. I only started writing it when I was fourteen, though. I've dabbled with other genres, but I always come back to fantasy.
Style: I try to write vividly, but not laboriously. I don't like the modern juvenile style, but I also don't want to sound pretentious, like I'm trying to be 'old fashioned'. I just try to write the story.
Topics: I don't really have topics. I have a story, and I write it. Themes that seem to find their way into my stories no matter what: brother/sister friendships; courage; ordinary heroism triumphing against magic.


2. HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WRITING?
Since I was seven years old. Around seventeen years! I got serious when I was fourteen, though.

3. WHY DO YOU WRITE?
Because there are stories that haven't been written yet; because I enjoy it; and because the ideas have no place to go except to be written down.

4. WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO WRITE?
At night.

5. PARTS OF WRITING YOU LOVE VS PARTS YOU HATE?
I love the feeling of a new idea going smoothly from my fingers to the screen. I hate when I run into a problem, or lose momentum. I also hate trying to rewrite a scene that I like but that just isn't working; the scene may end up being better in some ways, but it seems to lose some of its sparkle and freshness.

6. HOW DO YOU OVERCOME WRITERS BLOCK?
So glad you asked! Not too long ago I would have said that I just wait for it to go away; which could take months sometimes. I've recently joined a group on Facebook called 365 Writing Club, where you are challenged to write something (even if its just 100 words) every day for a year. This isn't like NaNoWriMo, where you work on a single story the entire time. The writing can be anything: journalling, blog posts, poetry, even free writing and outlining. The idea is to get you into the habit of writing every day.
When the year started, and the club started, I was stuck in the old procrastination mindset. January and February went by, and my word count was so dismal that I seriously considered giving up. But I persevered, and in March I missed only one day of writing. Now, near the end of April, it has literally become a habit. If I'm about to go to bed without writing, I actually have a little nagging feeling inside me that says, "No, you can't go to bed yet. You need to get some words in."
Sometimes these words are throwaway, basically me talking to myself about ... whatever. But more often, they are part of something I'm working on that needs to be written.
Unfortunately, you can't just sign up for the club at any time during the year (complicated spreadsheets) but near the end of the year you can sing up for next year, so keep it in mind! It has worked wonders with my motivation and upped my confidence so much.

7. ARE YOU WORKING ON SOMETHING AT THE MOMENT?
I'm working on a multi-chapter fanfiction which will hopefully be done some time next month, as far as the first draft goes.
I'm planning on writing the second draft of Where the Music Ends once I've heard back from a few people I've shared it with.


8. WRITING GOALS THIS YEAR?

 To write, and keep on writing, and never stop! Also to write the second (and maybe third) draft of Where the Music Ends; I would love to publish it on Amazon within the year as well.

Consider yourself tagged! Post your responses in the comments, or write a blog post and link it in the comments.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Beautiful Books Novel Update

Another Beautiful Books questionnaire!





  1. Overall, how is your mental state, and how is your novel going? Well, since it's only day 3 I'd say my mental state is perfectly fine right now. I intend for it to stay that way.
  2. What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)? 
    Time dragged on. (OK, that sounds dull; but it's not the first sentence of my book, just the first sentence that I wrote for NaNo.)
  3. Who’s your current favourite character in your novel? Alice. No, Gilbert. Or maybe Alice? Come on, don't make me choose.
  4. What do you love about your novel so far? Umm, everything? OK, I love that I'm still interested in the story after outlining it twice and writing the first draft. That's sort of a new feeling for me; and an unexpected one after eschewing outlines as creativity-strangling devices.
  5. Have you made any hilarious typos or other mistakes? No, not yet.
  6. What is your favourite to write: beginning, middle, or end — and why? There are spots in all that are hard to write, and spots that are fun and exciting. It takes all three to make a good book, so I try not to play favorites.
  7. What are your writing habits? Is there a specific snack you eat? Do you listen to music? What time of day do you write best? Feel free to show us a picture of your writing space! I try not to eat or drink around my computer, plus it distracts me. I do listen to music, as long as it doesn't have words that I can understand. I can and will write anywhere, at any time of the day (or night).
  8. How private are you about your novel while you’re writing? Do you need a cheer squad or do you work alone (like, ahem, Batman)? I'm fairly private. I don't mind sharing excerpts and talking about it, but I don't let people read it until it's done.
  9. What keeps you writing even when it’s hard? Nothing. Haha. I try to motivate myself by promising stuff. Like, you can't do any knitting until you've reached your word count for the day. Sometimes it helps, sometimes I end up procrastinating until its too late, and, well, what can you do then? Just keep on the next day!
  10. What are your top 3 pieces of writing advice? Try to make your dialogue realistic. Be subtle. Don't try to please everyone.















Tuesday, November 1, 2016

NaNoWriMo 2016



Well, it's official. I failed my Octowrimo. I had the best intentions, but somehow I completely lost the momentum I gained in the early part of the month, and I hardly wrote any of the actual story (though I did get around 4000 words of outlining, so I'm glad of that at least).
Well, onwards and upwards! NaNoWriMo has arrived and I'll be updating my progress in the sidebar here on the blog, as well as on the NaNo site. I have 30 days to write 20,000 words. Shouldn't be hard, right?
Well, add two more weeks of studying the tax code (I'm hoping to get a job as a tax preparer), an obsession with knitting (especially as the weather gets cooler) and a natural inclination for procrastination, and you have a recipe for, well, un-success. But I'm determined to give it a shot at least.
Today I waited until the evening to start writing. I was feeling so unmotivated. So I set a timer for 15 minutes and got about half my goal (667 words), then I set it for another 15 minutes. By the end of that, I had a bit over my goal, but I had suddenly gotten in the swing and I ended up writing a thousand words.
I know better than to get all cocky now. I'm not going to slack off tomorrow just because I covered the word goal for that day. Losing momentum is the worst thing that can happen, so I am going to try my best to get in my minimum goal every day, no matter how far ahead I am.
Click here for my NaNo Profile


Are any of my readers doing NaNo this year? Tell me about it in the comments!









Saturday, October 15, 2016

Beautiful Books - October 2016


Well, I've been waiting for the next Beautiful People questions, and completely missed the fact that they posted a Beautiful Books questionnaire instead.
So here goes. Where the Music Ends. What's that? Why is my word count still so ridiculously low? Because I haven't been writing. Yes, yes, I know. I promised I would. Well, hopefully I will get back to it. Stop looking at me like that. Here's a post to keep you quiet.






1. What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?
I started out with the scene of a woman in red, standing in a clearing in the forest and calling the children to her for nefarious (but unknown) purposes. That was several years ago.

2. Describe what your novel is about!
At its heart, it’s about the love of a sister for her brother, and the lengths she’ll go to rescue him. It’s also about friendship and adventure.

3. What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!
Erm, haven’t thought about it much.

4. Introduce us to each of your characters!
I have a very small cast in this book. There’s Alice, the main character, whom I introduced in September’s Beautiful People post. There’s Gilbert, who joins up with her right at the beginning. Her brother Joseph, whom we only see in a few scenes. The witch is the villain. Supporting characters are Henry, his grandmother, and a scholar named Anthony.

5. How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)
I outline. I don’t have any rituals or anything, if that’s what you mean …

6. What are you most looking forward to about this novel?
Getting the second draft done!

7. List 3 things about your novel’s setting.
It’s cold. There are mountains. Oh, and a university!

8. What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?
Alice’s goal is to rescue her brother. The witch, and sometimes Gilbert, stand in her way (in one way or another).

9. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?
Well, I wouldn’t want to spoil that for you.

10. What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?

See question 2 for the theme. I want them to feel like they’ve read a worthwhile story about characters they have come to care about. I want them to feel like it will go on once the last page has been read, but also to feel that it has come to a satisfying conclusion.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Octowrimo!






My last post made me start thinking about how I need to be writing the second draft of Where the Music Ends. My problem has been that there are some things that I need to figure out before I can start the second draft. Issues with character motivations mostly, as those were sort of confused/unclear in the first draft.
So yesterday I decided to do what I'm calling Octowrimo. My goal is 25,000 words. The book is around 20,000, but I'm giving myself 5,000 words for planning and I'm including those words in the final count (though obviously not in the word count of the draft itself); that way I can feel more like I'm actually writing, instead of the planning stage seeming to drag on and me champing at the bit to get to the words that actually count.
So I'm putting a widget up on the sidebar of this blog that will show my total Octowrimo count; I only have to write 800 words a day, which is totally doable. I wrote 916 words yesterday in about 15 minutes.
I'm going to give myself 20 minutes a day where I turn off the internet and write. Nothing else, just write. And I'm posting about it here, because I'm pretty sure people read here even if y'all don't comment; it will give me a bit of an incentive to do this, since I know people are watching.

I'm planning on being ready to write the third draft for NaNoWriMo.

Friday, September 30, 2016

Beautiful People - September

Ooh, my first Beautiful People post!
I've heard about this for a long time, but never really looked into it until a few days ago. And then, up comes the September prompt. So I figured I'd do it.

You can join the linkup here.


So, I'll do Alice today. She's the main character of Where the Music Ends. Maybe this will help to get back into writing it!
Shall we begin?


  1. How did you come up with this character? Hmm, you know, I don't actually remember. I wrote the first drafts of Where the Music Ends several years ago. Alice just ... came. She was the first character, besides the witch.
  2. Have they ever been starving? Why? And what did they eat to break the fast? Actually, yes she has! In the first part of the book, when she and Gilbert are trying to escape the enchantment, they run out of food and don't eat for several days. And, soup. She eats soup when she's finally able to get some food.
  3. Do they have a talent or skill that they’re proud of? She's a very fast runner. 
  4. List 3 things that would make them lose their temper. Heh, this is Alice we're talking about. She has lots of things that make her lose her temper. Cowardice is the big one (or what she might perceive as cowardice). Cruelty. And she will also get really angry if someone messes with her brother.
  5. What is their favorite type of weather? Least favorite? Springtime would be her favorite, when all the weather is warming up and everything is fresh and blooming. She would like the fall weather, but it reminds her every year that she is getting closer to being called into the forest.
  6. What is their Hogwarts house and/or MBTI personality? I don't know, and that's not really something I've thought about.
  7. Are they more likely to worry about present problems, or freak out about the unknown future? A little of both.
  8. What is their favourite thing to drink? Milk.
  9. What is their favourite color? Least favorite? Blue is her favorite color. Black and red are her least favorite.
  10. What is a book that changed their life? A book of tales that mentions the free words.

Well, that was fun! I think I'll do Gilbert next month. Who knows? I might make this a regular thing. I do need to get back to blogging.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Red Rain Giveaway and Interview with the Author!

Hello, everyone! I recently did a book review of the prequel to Red Rain, and now I'm back with a book tour that Aubrey Hansen is doing for Red Rain. I'm here with an interview, and there are also prizes to be won. Read on to join in the fun!


About the Book



17-year-old Philadelphia has been imprisoned most of her life because of her Christian beliefs. When her father is sent to Mars against his will to work on a mysterious science project and a benevolent official allows her to accompany him, Philadelphia knows she must keep her head down or be sent back to prison on Earth. But when she stumbles into the wrong hallway and accidentally learns too much, Philadelphia is faced with a question she doesn’t want to answer: the choice between returning to Earth—or destroying it.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B005K21VU6

About the Author



Aubrey Hansen is a pink-haired, caffeine-fueled twenty-something. She's a writer (obviously), barista, dog trainer, and the co-founder of Penoaks Publishing. She shares her house in Kansas City with three cats, a pit bull, a snake, a ferret, and a husband.


What Reviewers are Saying
One day while I was busy mindlessly entering data into the computer at work, I put on my head phones and started listening to the book. I was hooked from the first few sentences. In fact, I stayed up late when I got home (even though I had to get up early the next morning) to finish the book.” -Amazon Reviewer

With solid craft and poignant world building, Aubrey Hansen has outlined a future both horrifying and realistic. I appreciated Hansen's character building skills.” -Amazon Reviewer

I loved this book! I didn't realize it was a short novella, and I wished it would have been longer.” -Goodreads Reviewer

“ The story was fascinating. I wasn't really sure what to expect, but everything came together in the end and it made sense.” -Goodreads Reviewer

Giveaway

Aubrey is offering three paperback copies of her book, Red Rain. This book will have the new cover on it. And the grand prize offering will also have the paperback of Faith Blum's book, Heaven's Jubilee, a Christian futuristic collection of short stories. To enter the giveaway, please fill out this Google form (you do not need a Google account to enter). The only required entries are your name and email address, but the more you do, the more chances you have to win.




Interview with Aubrey Hansen

1. Where did the idea for Red Rain come from?
I was at a park with my siblings, having taken up residence on my favorite piece of equipment—the swing set. When I swung high enough, I could see over the park fence into a “bus barn” across the street. I stared at the rows upon rows of yellow buses and, being homeschooled, thought about how terrible it would be if the government forced us to go to public school. Such things frightened my teenaged brain. <winks> But that gave birth to the first scene in the book, which has remained almost exactly as I first imagined it, despite the revisions the rest of the book went through. Don’t ask me how I went from school buses to Mars colonies, though. I honestly have no idea.

2. What books and movies inspired you while writing?
Anything sci-fi! Although I’m not extremely “techy” by nature, I have always adored the glistening sci-fi settings and the sparkling backdrop of space. My earliest known piece of writing was sci-fi, which is why sci-fi will always hold a special place in my heart.

3. Did you base anything in Red Rain off of your personal experiences?
Not intentionally—but then, it’s rarely intentional. I didn’t write Red Rain during a particularly traumatic period of my life, so I wasn’t doing any “writing therapy” at the time. The sequel, however, hits on a very difficult aspect of growing up...

4. Are any of the characters based off of or inspired by people you know?
No, although I did use the seven churches from Revelation as inspiration for their character arcs.

5. What is your favorite line (narration or dialogue) in the book?
“Curses,” Carnegie spat, and offered a few examples.
I was very proud of that line, because I proved to the world that you can have “realistic” crude characters without resorting to splicing language throughout your book. That and I thought it was very creative. But I might be biased.

6. Describe your writing process: do you like to have everything plotted out beforehand, are you a 'pantser', or something in between?
I lean more towards plotting. My books usually start with some scattered scenes written on-the-fly, just to capture the inspiration, but then I take a step back and work up an outline to fill in the blanks. Regardless of how much plotting I do, though, I almost always write the ending first and then work backwards. I usually write best when I know my climax and have to figure out how my characters got there.

7. What is the most difficult thing for you in writing?
Finding time! Cliché, I know, but with a full-time “day job” and a growing publishing business of our own, it’s hard to find quality time to put into my books! But I’m slowly getting it through my workaholic brain that my works are just as important as everything else on my plate, and it’s worth it to devote one or two evenings to my own projects.

8. If you could go anywhere for a week's vacation, and spend it writing to your heart's content, where would you go?
I’d probably be too distracted by all the new sights and sounds to write! I love travel and exploring new experiences, whether that be visiting a new store, doing an activity for the first time, or going to a new state or country. Now, if you’re going to give me a week off of work, where I didn’t feel guilty about not doing anything else but write, then sign me up!

9. When did you first start writing, and what was your first story/book about?
I started writing officially around age 14, although I’d always been “making up stories” in my brain. I just didn’t realize until then that you could write this stuff down and call it a book! My first book was actually EXO-FORCE fanfiction on the LEGO message boards. EXO-FORCE was a sci-fi line about sentient robots and piloted mechs... just the kind of fodder to inspire a lifelong love of sci-fi!

10. You're writing a sequel to Red Rain. Can you tell us a bit about that?
EVERYBODY DIES. Just kidding—but Crook Q is significantly more “serious” than Red Rain. I’ve matured, and so has Philadelphia. She gets thrown out on her own and has to start developing her own religious beliefs. It hits on a very important time from my own “coming of age”—realizing that I had to make my faith my own, and that it might not always match my parents’ beliefs perfectly. It will be a full-length novel, which should make my readers happy.


 

Tour Schedule

June 2
Bookish Orchestrations-Tour Introduction and Excerpt
Laurel’s Leaves-Author Interview

June 3
Gabriellyn-Excerpt and Author Interview
Joyful Peacock-Author Interview

June 4
Another OtherWorld-Character Interview with Philadelphia

June 5
Mary’s Writing World-Book Spotlight
Rachel Rossano’s Words-Excerpt and Author Interview

June 6
Tale Weaver-Author Interview

June 7
Bookish Orchestrations-Tour Wrap-up and Giveaway Announcement

Monday, April 11, 2016

Book Review - Project 74

Maybe his brains will finally get him out of prison.

When Ephesus, a talented young scientist, is personally summoned to Mars to work for a prestigious governor, he thinks he may have found his ticket to freedom. His enigmatic new boss, Dr. Nic, promises to transport Ephesus's family to Mars if Ephesus can provide the equation needed to complete an important project. With his family still imprisoned on Earth for religious freedom, this seems like a favorable arrangement. But when the project becomes progressively more sinister -- and Dr. Nic refuses to answer questions -- Ephesus begins to wonder if the offer is too good to be true.

Alternating between Ephesus's and Dr. Nic's point of view, "Project 74" tells the story of the deception and heartbreak that led into "Red Rain", the debut novel by author Aubrey Hansen.

I don't recall how long it's been since I read Aubrey Hansen's novella Red Rain, but I do remember enjoying it enough that I read it twice by myself, and once with my sister.
I was really excited when she published it's prequel, Project 74. Happily I was able to snag a free review copy!

I enjoyed it, but I definitely think it was far too short. I think it would have benefitted from being longer and fleshing out the characters, especially Ephesus', more. Ephesus wasn't quite conflicted enough about the Big Choice he had to make; with more space, I think his internal conflict could have been shown better.
I have to say that I loved the chapters from Dr. Nic's perspective! You never got to see this side of him in Red Rain: he's a sociopath-leaning-towards-psychopath, ready to go to (almost) whatever lengths it takes to be in power (although his scruples against killing more people than necessary didn't seem in character for him). He's extremely cool and calculating and I would love to read more from his perspective, which I think is possible when the sequel to Red Rain comes out (Crook Q).
So, to sum up, I liked it, but I think it could (and should) have been longer so the characters could be better developed.
Oh, and definitely read Red Rain first, because I think it helps with getting what's going on better :)

Book Link - Project 74
Website Link - Aubrey Hansen