Of gingerbread and sibling-angst and space sirens and poison gardens // Beautiful Books #1

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Do you know what tomorrow is?

The first day of (Na)tional (No)vel (Wri)ting (Mo)nth.

*collective shrieking of writers all over the world*

This is my first year properly participating–unlike last year when I sort of forgot all about the fact that I meant to write the whole month long + life happened.

Am I nervous? Hah. I’m on the nervous level of a gingersnap on a cookie platter in front of a little boy right now.

Am I excited? YOU HAVE NO IDEA. I’ve counting down the days and I have this grand plan of getting up at 5:00 a.am on work days so I can write, and I’ve warned my family in advance that I may become a hermit, and–*flailing* so excited i become incoherent when i talk about it. Half of my excitement could be attributed to the fact that I am in love with my story, which reminds me of the whole point of this post: who wants to know what Annie is writing for NaNo?

FYI: I’m planning on writing most of my book in longhand–which is how I usually first-draft–so that means I’m aiming for a lower word goal that 50,000. Basically I am going rogue and turning NaNo into Camp NaNo.

(also FYI: some of you may recognize this as the book I worked on briefly for last NaNo. I’m hoping to finish it this time around. Absolutely. Definitely and for sure.)

Cue the Beautiful Books questionnaire hosted by Cait and Sky wherein I divulge never-before-revealed secrets of….

Witchling

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What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

Witchling is the book that was never supposed to exist. It’s actually the sequel to I am Juliette, the first book in my series of science fiction fairytale re-tellings. When I first started toying with the idea of a sci-fi Beauty and the Beast re-telling I sternly ordered myself to keep it a standalone novel because I have a very bad habit of spinning every story into a series. That would not be the case with I am Juliette, I declared.

*laughs at poor, ignorant, innocent Past Self*

(If we’re getting technically it was actually a character’s fault. He mentioned someone briefly in IAJ and, of course, my curiosity got the better of me and I had to find out all about said charrie. So, it is my fault? Never mind. Carry on.)

I think Witchling has been in the works for roughly a year and a half? And when I say “in the works” that means I have 10,000 words of the first draft written. Everything else is still in that lovely, ethereal realm of Not-Quite-Sure-What-Is-Happening-But-It’ll-Be-Glorious.

Describe what your novel is about!

a) it’s a Hansel and Gretel re-telling which makes me all the happy because I adore that particular fairytale almost as much as Beauty and the Beast. Largely because of the gingerbread house, I expect, but also because the children are such darling, intrepid humans and the story is quintessentially fairytale.

So think Hansel and Gretel.

But in space.

Futuristic space.

Creepy, futuristic space.

Hansel and Gretel in space + poisoned gingerbread and hypnosis and possible immortals and espionage and chilling assassins and double, possibly triple, secret agents and brainwashing and classical music and deadly gardens and foot chases and masks both visible and invisible.

What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like.

spicy scent of gingerbread. cold air and goosebumps. sharp needles. a soft, irresistible voice. vicious wolf. monochrome. lost siblings. shattered glass. morbid motley of dead people’s belongings. labyrinth. tiny white pebbles. stars glittering. innocent child-laughter. masks and mind games. light at the end of the tunnel. victorian greenhouse. break the cage. 

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Introduce us to each of your characters!

The Witchling. lost girl taken under a monster’s wing. she’s like a siren but one who lives in space + keeps a greenhouse and burns souffles on the side. broken sense of morals. collects mementos of victims. brilliant exploiter of people’s weaknesses. trickster sense of humor. feeds off adrenaline-filled situations. her true self is hidden behind a finely-crafted blend of masks–so deeply hidden she would not recognize it if she saw it. her insecurity is real. (also, despite her name she isn’t actually a witch. Just too mesmerizing and enchanting for her own good.)

The Wolf Master. monster with the face of an angel. Moriarty-complex. he doesn’t lurk in the shadows: he owns them. obsessed with people’s minds and souls. literally has no boundaries when it comes to “playing God.” taught the Witchling everything she knows. passionate swordsman. he only fears one thing, but he fears it so much he’s been running away his entire life.

Erik Halsey. skilled soldier with more secrets than anyone guesses. has an alarming knack of speaking bluntly. probably breaks down every locked door he encounters. will defend the people he cares about to his last drop of blood. kind of really hates politics and double-speak: is unfortunately involved in both. loves all cookies and just wants his own island in the middle of nowhere. eventually. there are children to do something about first.

Hans(el). fiercely protective older brother. heartrendingly precocious. ponders everything from all angles. has an aversion for dark rooms. will go sleepless and hungry rather than trust anyone. has picked up a decent amount of English alongside his native German. if you ask him for a hug he might bite instead.

Greta(el).  little ray of sunshine. anchor for her brother. hoards all things shiny. does the begging puppy eyes ridiculously well. barely talks and only in German. love language is touch.

How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)

  • Excited hyperventilating has happened.
  • Also moments of “WHAT IN CREATION AM I THINKING. HAVE I GONE MAD. HALPPPP.” Everyone assures me that I was mad to begin with so all’s well.
  • This list here has various elements + vital scenes that I want to incorporate into the novel.

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  • I rarely ever research for first drafts. I just let my imagination run about unfettered, and then fix the logic holes when I edited.
  • I bought myself pretty, new gel pens since I’ll be doing most of NaNo longhand + am collecting aesthetic imagery on Pinterest because I am a visual person + hashed out details with Other Humans + am doing a whole ton of praying because I don’t do this often enough about my writing and it’s kind of really important.
  • Why, yes, I have a chocolate stash specif. for NaNo. This is Annie we’re talking about. When do I not have chocolate and/or rave about it from the rooftops?

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What are you most looking forward to about this novel?

Honestly, the fact that it’s a Hansel and Gretel re-telling is enough to make me spazz happily—which I do a lot when I think about this book (I adore that fairytale if that isn’t perfectly clear to you by now).

I am head-over-heels in love with the cast of characters, and I can’t wait to spend more (and more, and more) time with them. Be still my beating heart.

Also, the sibling-angst is strong in this one. And I’m incorporating a non-romantic friendship between a man and a woman—which is something that matters a lot to me. Bring it on, gingersnaps.

*really just loves everything about this book* *could go on for hours* *must be considerate, my precious*

List 3 things about your novel’s setting.

  1. Long corridors and monochrome colors and sharp corners. There is no happy medium of light in the Wolf Master’s city—it’s either blindingly bright or faint enough that dark, looming shadows are everywhere.
  1. Trees. Black trees with silver leaves and tangled branches and long scars across their trunks. Faint whispers. Snapping twigs followed by long silences.
  1. A kitchen with lots of high stools and brightly colored stoneware dishes. The smell of good things baking. A candy jar half-filled, and floury work surfaces, and warmth from the stove. Mugs of steaming hot chocolate. There may be gingerbread. Possibly.

What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?

Fulfilling each and every one of her orders to the utmost degree of perfection. What stands in her way? Hansel and Gretel and, ultimately, herself.

(Keep in mind that these are the Witchling’s goals at the beginning of the book. Lots of shenanigans and morally grey situations go down after that.)

How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

By the end of the novel the Witchling’s world has been turned upside-down. She’s started to think for herself, to make her own decisions, she’s realizing what she thought was truthful, was right, might not be at all—and it discomforts her a lot more than she likes.

How has she changed beyond that?

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(you knew it was coming at some point)

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

I put a lot more of my heart into this book than I initially realized and, whilst I am Juliette feels like a healing book to me, Witchling has more of an element of digging deep, of bringing dark things to the surface, of brokenness and what that means in a person’s life, of staring untruths in the face and saying “I refuse to believe you. I refuse to let you shape who I am.”

I have an idea of how I want readers to feel but I don’t think I can put it into words yet. BUT. I do want them to be really, really eager to find out exactly what happens to the Witchling and the rest of the charries in the next book.

If you’re participating in NaNo what are you writing about? And if you aren’t a writer, whose stories are you stalking next month? TELL ME ALL.

 

Beautiful People — Dead Shot and Laser // sneak peek at Mingled + UPDATES WHAT HO

I am a worm of low degree. OF LOW DEGREE.

In other words, I can’t believe how shamefully I have neglected you all lately! I feel like I need to reacquaint myself with Curious Wren, dust off the cobwebs, fling open the windows and let the fresh air in…

In my defense, the Older Sister and I are road-tripping right now which, by the by, has been a magical and rewarding experience. Made new friends (I fully intend to visit Germany someday now), bought lots of books, wandered idyllic side-streets, cried over the beauty of sprawling, green landscapes… the list goes on. Yay for road-trips. I can feel my soul stretching and deepening every time I go on one.

Anywho.

I feel like I need to reacquaint myself with all you dear, wonderful people too so please, pretty please, tell me how life has been! What are you reading/writing/learning? How has your May been thus far and what are the happenings? I wish to know all, lovelies. And have a chocolate chip cupcake whilst you’re at it. ^_^

And now, Beautiful People. Also hosted by Sky.

I was toying around with the idea of several different stories this time–the questions are just. that. good–and I finally decided to use two characters from my science fiction, steampunk series Mingled. This is the first time I’ve mentioned it on the blog, but it’s basically like the Avengers meets Star Wars and it’s quite deliciously steampunkish and futuristic. The idea is that a special team called Mingled is formed by the leading governments of three planets (including Earth) and they end up like this adorable gang of feels and angst and much mission accomplishing.

The charries are as follows:

— Captain Lukas Keyes. Ship captain and leader of Mingled. 28. Male.

— Lechra Keyes. Historian/Translator. Lukas’ younger sister. 24. Female.

— Archangel “Angel.” Gunslinger-esque agent. 32. The Keyes siblings best buddy for his whole life. Male.

— “Dead Shot.” Infamous assassin. Crack shot, hence his “title” given to him by a past client. Uncertain age. Male.

— Sii Sari. Top bounty hunter. 26. Female.

— Laser. Tech geek. Near genius. 20. Male.

(I’ll be highlighting Dead Shot and Laser since they are polar opposites.)

Dead Shot

1. How often do they smile? Would they smile at a stranger?

Once upon a time Dead Shot hardly ever smiled, and when he did it was more of an ironical smirk, but now that he’s part of the “gang”–what with ridiculous antics, constant humor, and slowly-growing friendships– he has ample cause for unexpected smiles. Which, of course, remain unseen because he never takes his face mask off. 

He does not smile at strangers.

2. What is the cruelest thing they’ve ever been told? And what was their reaction?

One word: “No.”

He became an assassin.

3. What is the kindest thing they’ve ever been told? And what was their reaction?

For Dead Shot actions speak louder than words every time. Lechra once brought him a mug of tea when he was in a rough spot emotionally and mentally (which she didn’t know at the time). He was so touched he couldn’t even bring himself to drink it. Lechra found the mug later, still full to the brim with ice-cold tea. She thought he disliked it. 

4. What is one strong memory that has stuck with your character from childhood? Why is it so powerful and lasting?

This ties in with #2, but essentially that memory is the whole reason he chose to become an assassin–and not only an assassin, but the best one to be had. 

5. What book (a real actual published book!) do you think your character would benefit from reading?

How to Win Friends and Influence People? Or any book teaching people skills that doesn’t involve broken necks, a switchblade or poison.

Actually, probably the Bible would he best. *coughcough*

6. Have they ever been seriously injured? How severely? How did they react?

Hah. Hah.

Dead Shot’s been pulled from death’s door enough times to make him a walking miracle. Eventually he became skilled enough and subtle enough that not many people have the training to actually be a threat to him.

If he’s hurt he tends to himself stoically or seeks aid if the injury is too severe for even him to handle.

7. Do they like and get along with their neighbours?

He and Lukas have built a cautious balance of trust and respect in their respective roles as assassin-who-answers-to-someone-besides-himself-now/ship captain turned leader of a motley crew. 

Dead Shot holds a high opinion of Lechra. Sii Sari annoys him to no end. 

His and Angel’s friendship is of the love/hate variety and Laser is like the kid on the block that you tolerate and end up getting out of scrapes left and right. 

I love these guys so much.

8. On a scale from 1 to 10 (1 being easy and 10 being difficult) how easy are they to get along with?

Depends on who he’s around. As a general rule, he’s about a 5. Only because he has a tendency to blend in with the background and people forget he’s around. Until he abruptly joins in the conversation, that is. 

He regularly gives poor Lechra and Laser near heart attacks. 

9. If they could travel anywhere in the world, where would they go?

Well, seeing as he can already travel most anywhere in the world, and has actually traveled further throughout the galaxy than most people….

10. Who was the last person they held hands with?

Probably his mother? Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far–oh, wait.


Laser

1.How often do they smile? Would they smile at a stranger?

Laser has an exhaustive repertoire ranging from a deceptively innocent smile to genuine mirth to full-out glee. He uses said repertoire frequently. 

If a stranger smiled at him he’d probably either grin back or pretend to be blind depending on his mood. 

2. What is the cruelest thing they’ve ever been told? And what was their reaction?

Most of his peers had nothing but negativity to say about his level of brilliance, but the worst was when his girlfriend broke up with him and told him that the only thing keeping him from being utterly worthless was his brains. 

Needless to say, since then Laser’s avoided relationships, and most girls around his age. 

3. What is the kindest thing they’ve ever been told? And what was their reaction?

The kindest thing hasn’t been said to him yet.

4. What is one strong memory that has stuck with your character from childhood? Why is it so powerful and lasting?

His grandpa taking him on an illegal space jump. Laser was grounded for six months when they got back, but the dazzlingly splendor of the universe was burned into his mind and the resulting hunger to travel throughout the galaxy directly influenced his decision to join Mingled.

5. What book (a real actual published book!) do you think your character would benefit from reading?

I…. actually have no idea. 

PSALMS. He needs all the verses about how loved and precious we are. 

6. Have they ever been seriously injured? How severely? How did they react?

He broke his left wrist once. Worst three months of his life (he’s left-handed). And he has a germ phobia of sorts so when he gets so much as a paper cut he’s scrambling for iodine, skin adhesives, ANYTHING AT ONCE PROMPTLY AND ASAP.

7. Do they like and get along with their neighbours?

Wellll. Laser has authority issues so his first few months interacting with Captain Lukas were….. interesting. Angel is his object of hero worship (which said Hero feels slightly unworthy of/soaks it up like a sponge. Oh, honey). Sii Sari is basically like the intimidating big sister and Lechra the lovable big sister… who still has stern moments anyway. 

Dead Shot scares him, and also fascinates him because ASSASSIN. Laser’s still very much a boy at heart, bless him. 

8. On a scale from 1 to 10 (1 being easy and 10 being difficult) how easy are they to get along with?

A six, methinks. Being just out of his teenage years he’s still going through some rough patches when it comes to maturity and all that. But Laser tends to be a weird combination of easy-going and high-strung so it makes for some interesting group dynamics. Basically nobody in Mingled has any qualms putting him in his place if need be, but they all are affectionately rough or supportive depending how they express their care for him. 

(For instance, given a certain situation, Sii Sari would hit him upside the head and tell him to stop being such an idiot. Lechra would ask him questions designed to get him to think it through.)

9. If they could travel anywhere in the world, where would they go?

He particularly wants to visit the Scarlet Cities that orbit Jupiter. His Grandpa told him incredible tales about its people and the spice markets and how if you stand under the golden hourglass in a particular market square, you can actually see all seventeen kaleidoscope-like cities at once. 

10. Who was the last person they held hands with?

Lechra. It was in the middle of a mission, Laser happened to be along instead of on the ship running backup as per usual; he got distracted, Lukas had no intentions of leaving him behind so when they were discovered he told Lechra to grab the “kid” and make a run for it. 

This not-actual-family makes my heart happy. 

If I’m ever on an island with only ten books…

Anyone else feeling the cold of winter yet? (except you Aussies and other peeps enjoying summer which we will not discuss the injustice of. Kidding. Ish. *gives you all chocolate chips and laughs maniacally as they melt in the sun*)

I really wouldn’t mind finding a hobbit hole and hibernating with a ginormous stack of books until Spring. Alas, that is not an option for us humans so shall we warm ourselves up with this taggy thing about fresh, sunny breezes and books and fun stuff like that? (thanks, Joy!). and do not remind me that a desert island would likely be sweltering and miserable and Mount Doomlike. we can pretend it’s not, m’kay.

Let’s hope I’m never actually trapped on a desert island with only ten books at my disposal (*gasp*), but if I were… what would I choose? This is an agonizing question, bookworms!

I’m going to assume I don’t need any survival books and all that. This list shall be the books I would want by my side if I could possibly have them — practical or not.

Ten Books I Absolutely Must Have If Trapped On A Desert Island

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1. The Hobbit.

Having my Bible with me is a given so the first book on my list shall be The Hobbit. My love for this book of my childhood knows no bounds. It is the first storybook I remember, and the one that had the most influence on my mind as a young Story Girl. If I’m all alone on an island, I want Gandalf and Bilbo at my side.

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2. Jane of Lantern Hill.

Of all of Montgomery’s books this one is dearest to my heart — it typifies everything that’s charming and beautiful and soul-touching about her stories. Also, the charries in this book might possibly be some of my favorites ever. Jane would make a grand friend, methinks.

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3. Les Miserables.

Because:

a) I need to read this.

b) My Mum sings its praises and begs me periodically to pick it up so I can cry and discuss it with her. I shall read it, Mumsie. Sooooon.

c) It is a Doorstopper of a read. And I love Doorstoppers with all the fierce love of a Bookworm.

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4. To Kill A Mockingbird.

This requires no explanation.

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5. Shadow Hand.

I dithered forever over which of the seven I would take, and I finally narrowed it down to Shadow Hand because it has Eanrin (which is obviously a Must) and one of the most convulted and epic storylines of the series. I suppose, really, it has the best of the Tales of Goldstone Wood world.

“This is a tale of blood.
And love.
And the many things that lie between.”

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6. Halo: Ghosts of Onyx.

Just thinking about this book makes my heart hurt — in the best way possible. You really can never have too much hardcore science fiction. And I will probably dehydrate myself by crying over the ending.

“Every other Spartan on the field charged as well, hundreds of half-camouflaged armored figures, running and firing at the dazed Jackals, appearing as a wave of ghost warriors, half liquid, half shadow, part mirage, part nightmare.
They screamed a battle cry, momentarily drowning the sound of gunfire and explosion.
Tom yelled with them–for the fallen, for his friends, and for the blood of his enemies.”

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7. A Christmas Carol.

As hard as it would be leaving David Copperfield and A Tale of Two Cities behind, I choose A Christmas Carol. It’s the happiest of Dickens’ books, but still has all his distinctive motifs. I love it dearly. And it is set in winter with lots of descriptions about frigid snow and wind so maybe it would help me feel cool on a hot, sandy island? I CAN HOPE.

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8. Steal Like An Artist.

It is inspiring, humans. So inspiring.

I WILL WRITE IN THE SAND AND MAKE ART WITH SHELLS AND BRAID SEAWEED INTO BASKETS AND SERENADE SEAGULLS WITH SONGS I CREATED.

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9. The Wind in the Willows.

All the whimsy and charm and humor and descriptions of tasty food and adorableness and ACK. This book is special to me.

“He saw clearly how plain and simple – how narrow, even – it all was; but clearly, too, how much it all meant to him, and the special value of some such anchorage in one’s existence. He did not at all want to abandon the new life and its splendid spaces, to turn his back on sun and air and all they offered him and creep home and stay there; the upper world was all too strong, it called to him still, even down there, and he knew he must return to the larger stage. But it was good to think he had this to come back to, this place which was all his own, these things which were so glad to see him again and could always be counted upon for the same simple welcome.”

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10. The Iliad.

Because GREEK LEGENDS.

I’ve never read this — and I hear it’s incredible — so I think that should be amended, yes? After all, between catching fish and snaring seagulls and avoiding the sun and escaping deathly scorpions and generally staying alive, there will be plenty of time to read on this island. Naturally.

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If you’re wondering why there is no Wodehouse on this list that would be because I simply could not choose just one. I tried, lovelies. It is IMPOSSIBLE. Try it yourself and you’ll see.

Cheerio, darlings! I’m off to Panama — if you understood that reference you earn a largish bag of chocolate chips.

(feel free to steal this tag if the spirit so moves you.)

 

Cover reveal and Book Release Day — The Bureau of Time

I have a Very Important Announcement, cyberspacelings.

Today my fellow writer and friend, Brett Michael Orr, debuted his science fiction novel The Bureau of Time! (congrats, Brett!)

I’m incredibly excited about this because a.) this particular book is one I really, really, really want to read, and b.) cover reveals/release days are my favorite.

What is the book about, you ask? Read on, my friends.

The Bureau of Time

You can not change fate.

Cassandra Wright is a Timewalker – a teenager with a genetic mutation that allows her to manipulate the flow of time. But her inexplicable powers have made her a target for Adjusters – monstrous assassins from a parallel universe.

Saved from almost certain death, Cassie is pulled into a secret agency sworn to defend our timeline against these threats: the Bureau of Temporal Integrity, Monitoring, and Execution. Cassie’s life soon becomes entwined with Shaun Briars – a reckless Timewalker with an alluring smile and dark suspicions about the Bureau itself.

When Cassie and Shaun cross into the parallel universe, they discover a world in the grips of nuclear winter, with a new war threatening to spill over into our universe. With time running out, they must learn the true history of Timewalkers, confront the unforgivable crimes of their future selves, and defy their own fate to save two worlds.

Join the Conversation: #TheBureauOfTime

And now for the cover reveal!

*flings red and silver glitter everywhere* *trumpet fanfare*

 

(loving the red and the eagle and the symbolism of the hourglass and the shinyyy.)

THE BUREAU OF TIME is the debut YA SF/thriller novel from Brett Michael Orr, available on the AmericanAustralianBritish, and Canadian Amazon stores, and soon to be available on all digital reading platforms, including Kobo, iBookstore, and more.

Add on Goodreads. Stay up-to-date with The Bureau of Time by following @BrettMichaelOrr on Twitter.

I’m so excited about this book, y’all!! Most of you know how much I love science fiction and since this is time-travel science fiction it makes me even happier.  Plus, I asked Brett and he assured me that The Bureau of Time is free of sexual content (it does have some mild swearing) which is so. much. yes. Maybe somebody will buy it for me for Christmas?

Make sure you check out the hashtag, share your thoughts with me on The Bureau of Time‘s awesome cover and how much you want to read it. And maybe even buy a few copies as Christmas pressies! You know you want to. *nudges you towards Amazon*

Later, lovelies!

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!

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. 

Ten Books I Am Eager To Read In The Near Future

  
(image via Pinterest. words are my own.) 

This week for Top Ten Tuesday we all basically get to do our own thing. Did anyone else besides me panic momentarily? 

Hence: 

Ten Books I am dying to read soonish (probably during the months of ice-and-frozen-fingers-and-hibernating-in-a-nest-of-blankets-and-drinking-all-the-hot-chocolate).

  

  
1. The Phantom of the Opera.

This book has been described as epic and glorious and beautiful and heartbreaking and I can’t wait to get my icy fingers on it! I actually have a read-along planned with two friends for this October so I’m stoked about that. *flails*

  
2. Macbeth.

Let’s take a minute to swoon over that cover, shall we?

Now then. Much of the classic lit I’ve read has little nods to this particular Shakespeare play, and I want to know what it is all about. Every tiny snippet I’ve caught of it on-line is gorgeous. 

Plus, it’s a tragedy which means all the feels. 

Let’s do this. 

  
3. Red Rising.

Aimee read this and it sounds just my cup of tea (despite the fact, I’ll have to read it with white-out in hand). I love books that tear my emotions apart, and are rich with story, and moral conflict that makes me think. 
  

4. The Wrath and the Dawn.

Alright, I haven’t the faintest idea if this is clean or rubbish (any of you know?) but, it’s a re-telling of one of the most fascinating Arabian Nights stories, and I want to read it in the worst way.

  
5. Flights and Chimes and Mysterious Times.

Steampunk! Metal fairies! Clockwork dragons! Time-travel! Villainesses! More steampunk! 

I NEED IT.

  
6. Shirley.

In a nutshell, after the heart-wrenching, rich beauty that was Jane Eyre I desperately want more of Charlotte Brontë’s writing.

  
7. Seraphina.

Mathematical dragons in an alternate-medieval world? 

YES PLEASE.

  
8. Pendragon’s Heir.

Because I’ve never read an Arthurian legend book and a friend of mine wrote it and it sounds all around epic.

  
9. The Book Thief.

This sounds like one of those unforgettable reads that is about as close to perfection as one can get. We need to become acquainted, this book and I. 

  

10. Show Your Work!

I blame Schuyler for my eagerness to devour this. That and Steal like an Artist being such an inspiring read. 

Have YOU read any of these books? Thoughts? Which ones intrigue you the most? What books are YOU dying to get your hands on?