I am Juliette snippets — in honor of Valentine’s Day

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My current WIP I am Juliette (draft four) is strong on the love story front. Which makes me laugh actually because I always told myself that any book I wrote would have only romantic side plots — and then I go and write a tragic re-telling of Beauty and the Beast. 

I feel like there should be a moral to this.

That said, the couple in IAJ are near and dear to my heart. The Prisoner is trapped in a containment tube on a space-ship all by his lonesome until the ship’s quirky robotic owl Custodians decide to teleport someone to keep him company. Cue Juliette, all spunk and curiosity and sweetness wrapped up in a red dress.

And much feels and adorableness ensue.

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// their interactions when they meet are my favorite ever.

“Did you just call me a nightmare?” I interrupted, lifting my eyebrows.

“Shut up, I’m thinking.” He frowned, his eyes still closed. “I’ve never asked a hallucination if it’s real or not before… so… maybe this is real.

“You mean like how you’re supposed to pinch yourself to know if you’re dreaming or not and you never think to in dreams, but you do in actual, waking life?”

“Exactly.”

“Well, I can answer that.” I pinched my wrist. “See? Not dreaming. Which means we’re both real.”

There was a silence, in which I counted eight seconds, then the man’s eyes opened and he looked straight at me.

“Hello,” I said, offering him my friendliest smile and a half wave. He didn’t answer, just looked me up and down, his eyes wide. They were brown like mine, but much lighter—almost hazel.

“Now who’s staring?” I teased.

// the dynamics between them are so much fun to write.

I gave up trying to win our stare-down and rubbed my eyes.

“Well, it was still nice of him,” I said, my voice muffled. “And I’d still like to thank him and yes, I know I can thank him later.” I hated how petulant my words sounded. “And yes, I probably should thank you too.”

“You’re very odd,” said the Prisoner thoughtfully.

I huffed a laugh.

“You’re not exactly ordinary yourself.”

// the Prisoner’s matter-of-fact way of looking out for Juliette makes me squee. 

“She appears whole to me,” the Owl chirped. My mouth twitched and I glanced over at the Prisoner who gave POND a look that should have melted him on the spot. The Owl merely shifted his grasp on my finger. His talons were cold and pointy and I felt his body vibrating from internal mechanisms — like the thrum of a living creature.

“Trust the human,” said the Prisoner. “Her hands are scratched. Make yourself useful and do something about it.”

// you fluffy, cute babies

“Red,” he finished.

“—scarlet,” I said simultaneously.

“Same difference.”

“Not quite.”

“Well, it’s not grey. And when you’ve been trapped in a place where everything is grey or black—”

“—or blue,” I interjected. “Ugh, sounds like a bruise.”

“No, not a bruise. Bruises are dark purple, and then they turn orange.”

I wrinkled my nose. “And now that we’ve established that.”

“You’re such a girl.”

// and did I mention the emotional pain? And just feels in general?

“You’re not real,” he whispered. “You can’t be real.”

I gulped back tears.

“I am real. I’m here with you.”

“No.” His frantic pulse echoed in my head. “You’re just another nightmare come to torment me.”

“I’m not. “My voice quivered. “I’m Juliette. Your friend.”

“I don’t have friends.”

//

Love is odd though.

It changes your perception of someone until you’re seeing, not just their face, but their personality. A sheet of paper with everything you love about them written all over it. And they are beautiful.

To me the Prisoner is like home and a wild storm and the sound of wind and the warmth of the sun all at once.

//

“I think… if I could trust anyone,” he opened his eyes and looked straight at me, “it would be you.”

//

Tears leaked from the corner of my eyes. The Prisoner watched me, the fingers of one hand tracing a pattern against the metal underneath it.

“Now, that we have that settled…” I swept strands of dark hair away from my face, adjusted my ring, and leaned my elbows on the tube’s edge.

“We’re supposed to be keeping you calm, and that—” I pointed back and forth between the two of us, “that wasn’t remotely the definition of calm.”

The Prisoner gave me a look.

“We’re human and we’re attracted to each other—not to mention, trapped together indefinitely. Calm is not our forte.”

//

I know what it is to live.

He only knows what it is to exist.

“I want him to be happy,” I whispered into the still air.

Then as his voice repeated those same words to me in my mind, I curled up on the cold glass and sobbed.

//

My broken, beautiful monster.

(now excuse me while I go and howl over my precious, battered babies. we writers are cruel. o.o)

 

 

Of owls and the color red // Snazzy Snippets

 

Once again I am joining in late with Snazzy Snippets. Better late than never, I say. 

I’ll be sharing snippets from both I am Juliette and Blood Thread today. The former is my current WIP (edits, woe is me) and the latter is one of my favorite stories that I have ever put down on paper. *hugs characters to Self*

Anyone up for a dash of steampunk and stardust?

 

1. A snippet from page 16 | I am Juliette

“The scanner requires a blood sample,” said POND. He whisked over to a low pedestal next to the hand scanner. There was a round hollow on the top of it and the Owl lowered himself in halfway. He fit perfectly. I licked the tiny bead of blood off my palm, wondering what other devices on the ship were designed specifically for the PONDs.

The Owl’s eyes brightened to an intense green.

“The DNA scan is successfully completed. You are fully human,” he squeaked.

2. A snippet of 16 words or fewer | Blood Thread

 His dreams continued to run red.

Then black. 

3. A snippet about something new | Blood Thread

The tiny canary fluttered her wings and hopped up and down.

“She’s here,” she gasped.

“Who’s where?” said Tarquin, flicking a glossy, black ear forward. He wished Prism would curb her tendency to bounce about like a rubber ball when she was distressed.

The bird pounced at him.

“Pay attention, Tarquin. A raven has been spotted.”

A raven.

The cat was suddenly grateful for the warm chimney behind his back.

“Where was it seen?” he asked, flattening his ears. Prism pointed a wing in the direction of Turkania’s merchant harbors.

“It was flying around the ships for hours before it vanished into the smog.”

“Not being subtle, is she?”

~~~~~~~~~~

In other news, I’m going to a book sale today (EEEP) and I may buy a scandalous amount of Once-Were-Trees. My edits of I am Juliette draft four begin properly in February and I am torn between dreading it and getting all excited and flail-y. I miss my characters from Blood Thread in the worst way. Reading has been at an unusual low for me because I’ve been so busy this past month — I do not like this state of affairs. It makes me panicky. Thank goodness for beta-reading projects and Wodehouse short stories! Also, I recently watched the newest Mission Impossible and currently it’s my favorite of all the action films. *loves it with all the love* 

What have you all been up to? And didst thou enjoy the snippetses? Any new favorite books this month?

Beautiful Books — Blood Thread // sneak peek into Annie’s editing process

Okay, I’m cheating (a lot) this round of Beautiful Books. Instead of using a completed novel for the questions, I’m answering them with Blood Thread — it’s close to completion, just not quite there. book, I am begging you to hurry and be finished. i need to know what happens.

And I haven’t even started editing it yet. Eeep!

Beautiful Books (part three) — Blood Thread

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On a scale of 1 (worst) to 10 (best), how did the book turn out? Did anything defy your expectations?

As before mentioned, it isn’t quite finished, but right now I’d rate it at an 8 or thereabouts. I’m absolutely loving how the story and characters have turned out. [insert happy flailing]

Comparative title time: what published books, movies, or TV shows are like your book? (Ex: Inkheart meets X-Men.)

Oh, help. I haven’t the faintest idea. O.o

The only books I can think of are Golden Daughter (cat who’s actually a faerie and “watches” over a young girl), Rooftoppers (children who spend heaps of time on top of roofs), and Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times (whimsical, magical steampunk).

Do you enjoy working with deadlines and pressure (aka NaNoWriMo)? Or do you prefer to write-as-you’re-inspired?

prefer to write-as-I’m-inspired, but I tend to procrastinate too much, so I set deadlines and goals for myself as much as possible so I actually get stuff done.

I just need a snarky AI to follow me around and remind me to WRITE. THE. WORDS. And to edit my books. And make me food when I forget to eat. And track down literary agents… this should be a thing, folks!

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How do you go about editing? Give us an insight into your editing process.

I take care of the big stuff first: plot holes, out-of-character interactions, shaky dialogue, choppy pacing, research, left-out descrip. etc. When I’ve tidied it up and the idea of other people reading it doesn’t make me cringe, I send it to my beta-readers. This makes for a happy interlude where I try to forget the story exists. Said Story comes back sadly mangled whereupon I weep, vent, then take a deep breath and go at it again.

Music (both lyrical and instrumental) is my lifesaver when editing. Unlike when I write, I edit at any time of the day — sometimes into the wee hours of the morning, and sometimes not. I actually prefer to be around other humans while editing so I can rant and gripe and brainstorm Not By Myself.

What aspect of your story needs the most work?

Right now it’s the description. The steampunk aspect of it is still shaky in my mind. And there are some plot holes that I’m pretending do not exist.

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What aspect of your story did you love the most?

The characters. They make or break a story for me and I love each and every one of them so much. Confused, stand-offish Tarquin, sweet Prism, impish Imo, the Boys, manipulative Persephone, the gruff granny…

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Give us a brief run down on your main characters and how you think they turned out. Do you think they’ll need changes in edits?

Tarquin is by far the most messed-up main character I’ve actually written (as opposed to Plot Bunny charries). His good points are few, but they do exist and he is really such a lovable, transparent darling. He has a High Impression of himself and he tends to be condescending and sometimes cruel in how he treats people. But despite that he is actually very vulnerable and much of his disdainful, standoffish attitude is a mask for his true feelings.

Seeing his character grew and change over the book has been one of the best parts of writing it. I don’t foresee I’ll have to do much adjustment with his character over edits — other than making him more catlike, perhaps?

What are your plans for this novel once you finish editing? More edits? Finding beta readers? Querying? Self-publishing? Hiding it in a dark hole forever?

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Share a favourite snippet!

Sneaking four moist, custard-filled teacakes into a crinkly paper bag was childishly simple. Sneaking out of the shoppe with said bag promised to be much less so.
Tarquin hid under a bread rack with the corner of the bag clutched firmly between his teeth and watched the door. A women with a voluminous, grey skirt that blocked his view stepped in front of the rack. Tarquin eyed her pointy, muddy shoes, and resisted the urge to claw her ankles.

— Blood Thread

What are your writing goals and plans for 2016?

I’m saving this for a separate post. Mwahaha. Patience, lovelies.

Until then have some piping-hot scones, enjoy the festive spirit abounding… and don’t forget to enter the SEA Scribblers short story contest! Time’s running out. 

 So tell me! What are your thoughts on editing? And are you the teensiest bit curious about Blood Thread? Can you divulge YOUR writerly/bookworm plans for 2016? 

Beautiful Books — Witchling (part two) // Also, NaNo updates

Time for Part Two of Beautiful Books!

According to the title, I also promised NaNoWriMo updates so let’s chat that first, shall we?

Last week my older sister and I went on a road-trip together. I didn’t get much written (about 1,000 words total) but it was wonderfully inspiring — everyone ought to try to road trip at least once per year. While we drove past rain-wet fields, deeply green pastures, forests of skeleton trees, and under the arc of pearl-grey sky, I spent a lot of time thinking about my books and planning my writing schedule out for the next few months. In a nutshell, with everything happening during the rest of November (helping a sibling move, fall-cleaning, Thanksgiving preparations, etc) realistically it would be well-nigh impossible for me to write 30,000 words on Witchling. Hence, I changed my goal to 10,000 which I reached this past Tuesday (YAY) and I am going to focus on Blood Thread for the rest of the month. I’m hoping to finish it before NaNoWriMo is over (Lordwilling) and I’ll spend the first two weeks of December editing and polishing it. It’ll be about 25,000 words long by the time I’m done and I have big plans for it.

So, there you have it! All the rest of my NaNo word-count will be going towards Blood Thread, and I feel much more at ease about my stress level — which has been higher because I’m sick right now. woe is me 

By the way, I am very curious about how your NaNo battle is progressing, folks! Tell me ALLLL about it in the comments, please and thank you. *gives everyone rejuvenating chocolate* And as for anyone not doing NaNo, I’m still curious about your writing, my precious.

Beautiful Books — Part Two


Is the book turning out how you thought it would be, or is it defying your expectations?

It’s has been a very obedient child for the most part, but at least three times it has suddenly darted from the beaten path and I’ve had to race after it and drag it kicking and screaming back.

What’s your first sentence (or paragraph)?

Oh, since you asked so nicely.

“The children are approaching, ma’am.”

(cue the suspenseful music.)

Are you a plotter or a pantser? Have you ever tried both methods and how did it turn out?

I’m a conglomeration of the two (plantser). My method is as follows:

Step One: Do a rough outline of the story with all the major plot points charted out.

Step Two: Trot merrily along from point to point and encounter all sorts of delightful shenanigans along the way.

Step Three: Become stuck with no idea how to get to Point (insert random number).

Step Four: Write a rough scene-by-scene outline.

Step Five: Write industriously with many moments of varied emotions.

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What do you reward yourself with after meeting a goal?

Sometimes the warm, fuzzy feeling of having reached said goal is enough. If not, I break out my chocolate stash (it’s very small, but IT IS ALL MINE.) Other rewards include watching a TV episode, reading, sharing snippets with friends, browsing Pinterest…. basically anything I particularly enjoy.

What do you look for in a name? Do you have themes and where do you find your names?

I like names that have a snap to them. I like to toy with words and turn them into names — such as Prism. Most of my names are gleaned from meeting people, looking at gravestones, checking baby name sites… sometimes I look up names based on the meaning or I take foreign names/Latin words and manipulate them into my own thing. If I hear a name I like there is a 99% chance I’ll incorporate it into a book. And I always have a list of names in the back of my mind just waiting for that perfect character.

What is your favourite to write: beginning, middle, or end — and why?

Beginnings are wonderful, also scary. But I love the emotions of finishing a book. There’s nothing like it.

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Who’s your current favourite character in your novel?

WHAT SORT OF QUESTION IS THIS I ASK YOU.

What kind of things have you researched for this project, and how do you go about researching? (What’s the weirdest thing you’ve researched?!)

I actually haven’t researched very much. I tend to leave that for the second draft. One thing I did look up was how to make souffles. Needless to say, I’ve been craving them since then.

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Do you write better alone or with others? Do you share your work or prefer to keep it to yourself?

I write best when I’m completely alone in a room, but word wars are amazing things so I (politely) bribe/beg my friends and younger sisters for them. Sharing snippets of my work with others is terrifying and exciting all at once. I love it.

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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!

Sequester myself at my desk, turn epic music on, make sure my glass of water is near by and write like I’m being chased by all nine of the Nazgul. I can’t snack whilst I write because I find it too distracting. I write best in the morning/early afternoon. Rarely ever do I write in the evenings.

(stay tuned for Part Three next month!)

In other news, I voluntarily entered the black hole of k-drama last week (I know, I’m questioning my sanity too). I’ve only seen City Hunter so far, but it was glorious and has so many martial arts scenes and plot twists and it destroyed my feels. I literally sat there and sobbed when a Certain Character died, and I can count the times I’ve done that during a film on one hand. I’ve entered the ranks of k-drama fangirls and I love it. My family thinks I’m mental. I fully intend to drag them down with me. *maniacal laughter* It’ll be epic.

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Alright then, cyberspacelings! Tell me all about your NaNo experience so far. How goes the war? Are your books/characters being good, little creatures? Are you a k-drama fan? If you’ve seen City Hunter, let’s chat!

Snazzy Snippets | Blood Thread

I first learned about Snazzy Snippets from my  fantastic friend, Aimee. (check out her awesome blog, minions of mine.)

As the image so concisely sums up, it’s a bimonthly link-up hosted by Alyssa and Emily. They provided prompts which I think is smashing.

I’ll be sharing snippets from Blood Thread which I first mentioned here, and you can find out more about it on my newly updated Books page.

–> your first paragraph or 500 words <–

“I hate thread.”
The cat spat out the words like they tasted of sour milk. His whiskers bristled.

–> a snippet with food <–

He heard a cough behind him and turned to see Finnigan — still in mortal form.

“Would you like some food?” he said to Tarquin.

The cat blinked.

“Food?” he repeated, wondering if he’d heard the fae correctly.

Finnigan nodded.

“Like honey cakes,” he said. “Or sausages. Or muffins. Or hot milk. That sort of food. You could keep me company,” he finished, his voice hopeful.

–> a snippet you’re really proud of <–

(because I have issues containing my excitement, I shall share more than one.)

At two years old Imo took to following Tarquin around like she was his kitten.

“I can’t go anywhere anymore,” he complained to Prism, one day when he escaped to the tower roof. “She trails about behind me like she’s attached by a string.”
“Perhaps she can’t resist your magnetic charm?” suggested Prism.

~~~~~~~~

“Who said anything about love, m’dear?” the cat purred.

“Do you want my advice?” asked Prism, fluttering to his side.
“No, thank you,” said Tarquin, and poised to leap off the roof.
“Figure out who Imo prefers and groom him accordingly.”
Tarquin permitted himself a chuckle this time.
“I’ll remember that.” He jumped down onto the barrel.
“You should,” Prism called after him.
The cat trotted away without answering.
Daft bird.

~~~~~~~~

Imo was jailed for a week for kicking a gentleman because he knocked her into the noisy, chaotic street. Tarquin found the man’s house, and wedged a dead mouse into each of the stove pipes. He also left one inside the man’s bedroom slippers.

~~~~~~~~

He would track the faerie down.

Scratch her beautiful face.

Drop her from a tower.

See how she liked it.

~~~~~~~~

Sweet Ring of Sauron, this book is so much fun to write. ANOTHER. *cough*

Let’s chat all the secrets of my Writing Process // tag, anyone?


(image via pinterest. words my own.)

Alrighty, humans! Time to divulge the secrets of how Annie Gets Things Done. This could also be called the Behind the Scenes tag which Katie Grace happened to nominate me for, and if you don’t already haunt her blog or Twitter you must change this STAT — she’s the sweetest girl, y’all.

*passes out chocolate brownies to everyone*

is there a certain snack you like to eat while writing?

If I could feast on pizza every time I wrote I would be the happiest of humans. Also, the most plump, but minor details. 

Chocolate is my writing muse. Candy is nice as long as it is in a wrapper — peppermint patties are amazing.  I don’t snack much while writing because it’s too distracting and untidy. I like things I can have in a mug, e.g. smoothies, tea, café au lait, hot chocolate… 

when do you normally write? 

Last year I discovered that I do my best writing in the morning. As a general rule, I write from 10 o’clock to noon, take a lunch break, and then write for a hour more. 

Ideally, it would be epic if I could get up at 5 o’clock every morning and write for hours. Am I crazy much? O.o

where do you write?

At my desk in my bedroom. The desk lamp cast a soft, golden glow and the area has an almost perfect ambiance. It isn’t quite perfect yet because I don’t have an inspiration board.

During the winter I write downstairs in the living room curled up by the stove so my bones don’t freeze.

how often do you write a new novel?

Maybe two a year? I haven’t completed many first drafts yet, but I’d love to finish three per year.

do you listen to music while you write?

Did I mention earlier that chocolate is my writing muse? Scratch that. It’s definitely music. “I’m sooo changeable!”

90% of the time I listen to music when I write. I have multiple writing play lists. It inspires me, helps me capture the essence of the scene, and plus, it’s just beautiful. Fast-paced music is a tremendous help during word wars.

Also, I tend to listen to just instrumental music when I’m scribbling. Lyrical music throws me off. Movie scores and classical are my favorites, with some Piano Guys. 

what do you write on? laptop or paper?

Since I don’t own a laptop, I write everything longhand. Probably even after I purchase a computer, I’ll still write first drafts by hand. There’s something about creating the words as I go — instead of typing them up on a screen — that is incredibly inspiring. 

is there a special ritual you have before/after you write?

Before I write?

Step One: Wash face.

Step Two: Clip up hair (is not always mandatory).

Step Three: Tidy desk, and put glass of water a safe distance from notebook. 

Step Four: Locate favorite pen.

Step Five: Beckon the Muse, i.e. music or sometimes chocolate.

Step Six: WRITE ALL THE WORDS. KILL ALL THE DARLINGS. CRY ALL THE TEARS. FEEL ALL THE FEELS.

After writing?

Stretch. Re-read favorite parts. Try to pretend there isn’t quite so much editing to be done. Pat self on back. Update family and Twitter.

Repeat. 

what do you do to get into the mood to write?

Make myself neat and tidy. Pray. Re-read some of my favorite writing in my own books. Just start writing.

Brainstorming + word sprints are Things that are Very Helpful. 

what is always near the place where you write?

A glass of water. Light. My phone for music or word wars. 

do you have a reward system for your word count?

Not a system, per se. The happy glow of having accomplished something is the Best Feeling Ever. If we have cookies or such in the house I’ll munch on one and read a book. Sometimes I reward myself by sharing a snippet with a Watson-friend. If I’ve had a really long, involved day of writing, I’ll reward myself by watching a movie or TV episode.

is there anything about your writing process that others might not know about?

1. I write like a hummingbird — meaning I dart all over the book whilst scribbling it.

For instances: 

In Blood Thread, I write half of the first scene. Then I skipped 1/4 of the way into the book and started writing there. Right now I’m at 3/4 into the book. 

2. I can’t stick to one notebook. Currently Blood Thread is spread out over four. The first one has the beginning, the second notebook has the middle portion, and the last two have random bits and pieces.

3. I can not write in an untidy environment. If my desk/room looks like a World War III zone, I have to quickly organize it. If the living room is cluttered, I clean it. Sometimes I’ll start laundry before I write so I’ll feel like I’m multitasking. 

4. I tend to go comma-happy.

5. I almost always write in cursive.

Ta-dah!

Now, for the tagging. *rubs hands together gleefully*

Brianna da Silva @ StoryPort || Ness @ of words & books || Brett @ Brett Michael Orr || Schuyler @ My Lady Bibliophile || Hanne-col @ Ain’t We Got Fun || Nicole @ A Soul Spun From Ink || Emily @ The Hero Singer

Tell me ALL about your writing secrets, humans! I’m dying to know. No pressure. *wink*

the questionlings

– Is there a certain snack you like to eat while writing?

– When do you normally write? Night, afternoon, or morning?

– Where do you write?

– How often do you write a new novel?

– Do you listen to music while you write?

– What do you write on? Laptop or paper?

– Is there a special ritual you have before or after you write?

– What do you do to get into the mood to write?

– What is always near the place you write?

– Do you have a reward system for your word count?

– Is there anything about your writing process that others might not know about?

As for the rest of you, feel free to snag the tag anyways!

All right, ladies and gentlemen. I need some new ideas for my rewards “system.” TALK TO ME. *bribes with chocolate chips*


I am Juliette sneak peek // the 7/7/7 challenge 

  
The sweet Victoria and the inspiring Nicole both tagged me for what is called the 7/7/7 challenge. 

In a nutshell, I trot over to the seventh page of my manuscript, count seven lines down, and share the seven lines below that. LET US DO THIS.

Quick synopsis: I am Juliette is a light science fiction re-telling of Beauty and the Beast. A girl wakes up from hibernation on a starship with no idea how she got there or why. The ship appears to be deserted other than a few quirky robotic birds, but then she discovers a mad prisoner trapped in a containment cell. 

And many feels go down. *fangirls/cries inside*

The seven lines:

“A hospital?”

“Negative,” POND I chirped.

I tapped my lip, and looked the hall over once more. My gaze fell on the wall-sized image of a night sky, bright with stars. A planet shone in the remote background.

Holographic wallpaper, maybe. And is that supposed to be Earth?

//

And I shall tag…… Joy @ Fullness of Joy | Schuyler @ My Lady Bibliophile | Emily @ The Herosinger | Carmel @ CARMEL | Mirriam @ Wishful Thinking | Hanne-col @ Ain’t We Got Fun | Elisabeth @ The Second Sentence | and anyone else who wishes to participate! Don’t be shy, ladies and gentlemen.