Thursday, January 29, 2015

Epic Reads Tag || Blogging Rebel

So in case you don't know, Epic Reads is a Youtube channel and website that is basically HaperCollins Teen interactive advertising. On their Youtube channel, they created a tag for Booktubers(basically book bloggers, accept on Youtube so larger audience.)  I saw the tag and thought it looked awesome. But I don't make videos. I have a list of about 7 things I have to have done before I can make a vlog. I haven't completed the items.


So I decided to bring the tag to the book blogging world, because I am a rebel like that.

Epic Reads Book Tag


Question 1
If you could invite one author and one of their fictional characters to tea, who would you invite and what would you serve them?
I would invite Megan Whalen Turner of The Queen's Thief series, and the Queen's Thief himself, Eugenides. I would serve them tea and scones, because I think Gen would  like those, and their easy to eat one handed.

Question 2
What book do you wish the author would write the prequel for?
Maybe the Demon King by Cinda Willians Chima, because I want to know about Han's life on the street. But I gotta be honest, I would love a book about James Potter at Hogwarts too!

Question 3
Which two characters (NOT from the same book) do you think would make a good couple?)
So, I was thinking about characters whose relationships I didn't approve of/love/were single and I thought of Tobias Eaton from the Divergent series and of Simone Lewis from The Mortal Instruments series. So my thinking is, let's set Four up with Izzy Lightwood so that Simone can date either Kath from Fangirl or Luna lovegood from Harry Potter. I think all three of those relationships might have a chance to work out. But if Izzy was too broken for Four, maybe he could date Susan Caraway from Stargirl.


Question 4
If you ran into your favorite author on the subway and only could say one sentence to them who is it and what would it be?
Well, my favorite author is Megan Whalen Turner (hence why I'd invite her for tea.) I think I would say to her, "I'm ready for the Prince of Attolia to be a book."  If you haven't read The Thief, do so now. It is one of the most brilliant books you'll ever read!

Question 5
What book made you a reader and why?
Buy on Amazon
I've always loved novels, but for the longest time, I refused to read, thus limiting myself to my library's audiobook collection. Then I wanted to read Dealing with Dragons. My library had an audiobook, but my sister also owned a hard copy, so I read that. Then I read it again. Then I read the second book in the series. Then I was hooked.

Question 6
Incendio! Your bookshelf just caught fire! What is the one book you would save?
My Personalized, Autographed
Copy of Go Teen Writers!
This is too hard, because there are six.* First I would save my autographed copy Go Teen Writers, which is on my night stand, not my bookshelf, so in the scenario, I would have plenty of time to save it. (We're going to ignore the fact that my nightstand is one of my three bookshelves and houses everything but my non-fiction sections and my fantasy sections, which are big enough for their own shelves.)
Next I would grab my autographed copy of  Allegiant. It is also on my bookshelf/nightstand because I don't count dystopian as sci-fi or fantasy for shelving purposes.
Then I would grab my entire Queen's Thief series, along with their personalized book ends.  That's right. In fifth grade pottery I made bookends specific to my favorite series, and that is how said series is displayed in my bedroom (on top of my "real" bookshelf.)
*It should be noted that my Kindle, while having a place on my bookshelf, is currently in my messenger bag, and so not at risk of burning in a bookshelf fire.


Question 7
Which dystopian world would you want to live in and why?
My original answer was the world of Legend by Marie Lu, because I might survive that one, but then  I wondered if Cinder counted? Because it would totally be Cinder. And then I saw the Unwind books on my Goodreads Five-Star bookshelf (thank goodness that's not the one burning, because then I would need to save ALL THE BOOKS!!) and I thought that would be an interesting world. True, I might get unwound, but I might be able to help get that world back on it's feet, morality wise.

Question 8
What is your most Epic Read of all time?
Buy on Amazon!
Even if you don't read them
they'll look impressive on your shelf.
Okay, for this one I'm going with what book (series-ish) sounds the most epic when I tell people I've read it, and that's Lord of the Rings. Here's a conversation I had this weekend:
Person: Are you a Lord of the Rings fan?
Me; I wouldn't say I'm a Lord of the Rings fan. But I've read all the books. And seen all the movies. And one time I marathoned the extended editions in one day. So . . .  I guess you could say I'm a fan.
Person: *nods and backs away* *slowly*
But I have friends that marathon LoTR every New Years Eve and went to the Hobbit in full costume. Compared to them, I am not a fan.


Tag Some People
I tag
Cait from Paper Fury
Lily from Lily's Notes in the Margins
TW from Ravens and Writing Desks
Sarah from Dreams and Dragons
Brooke Faulkner from Teen Words of Steel
Wild Horse from Opal Swirls or Ravens and Writing Desks

Another of my favorite YouTubers did this tag, so I thought I'd include her video too!


If you want to be tagged, feel free to do it! If I tagged you and you don't want to play, I won't mind (too much.) (One of the biggest problems I face is wanting to use smiley and winky faces inside parenthetical statements and then feeling like I'm giving my face a double chin. ;) ) <--- See what I mean?

What is your most Epic Read? Leave a comment and let me know!

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Where Realism and High Fantasy Intersect to Create a Stronger Story || Guest Post

If you like this post, pin it to your Writing board!
Andy Walser is a sixteen-year-old homeschool student and aspiring YA fantasy writer. While he writes fantasy stories involving dragons and witches, he also enjoys reading books, including comics, and watching Doctor Who. He suffers from a slightly more than mild coffee addiction and watches a surplus of movies, especially anything that carries the Marvel logo. Andy blogs at http://andywauthor.blogspot.com/ and Tweets (occasionally) at https://twitter.com/AndyWalser.

I’ve got a good idea of what comes to mind when you think of high fantasy: dragons, elves, sorcerers, castles, kings, and majestic storyworlds like Middle-Earth. Then when you think of realism, you get…well, you get real life, which isn’t nearly as grand nor as fantastic. But the realism I’m speaking of is a bit less than that; in fact, it has more to do with Sir Isaac Newton than your smartphone. Namely, I’m talking about keeping things realistic by keeping them within the boundaries of human limitations and the laws of physics (unless you’ve got a storyworld where the laws of physics don’t apply/are different). For instance, nobody, especially a dwarf, could jump a ten-foot wall without the aid of magic. And isn’t it more fun, not to mention engaging, to make your dwarf reach the wall, then have to fight his way to the top before jumping off? Not to mention that, if he did jump of a ten-foot wall, the chances of him hitting the ground and breaking/twisting/spraining an ankle or leg go way up, hindering his escape efforts even further.

This isn’t the only example of how writers can mistakenly push human (or dwarf) limitations. For instance, if your character has broken an arm, he won’t be climbing any cliffs or using a sword to fight off enemy soldiers. And a person can only lose so much blood (normally about 4 pints) before they’ll die without a transfusion. Couple this with the facts that, depending on where your characters is hit, this can happen in a few minutes, and that in most high fantasy worlds, medical technology isn’t advanced enough to do a blood transfusion, and you may need to find yourself a new main character. Another thing to look out for is a sudden characteristic change in your characters. Not in the sense of their personalities, however, but their physical abilities. For example, if one character is known for being clumsy (i.e. tripping over his own feet, knocking over tables and chairs, bumping into people) then you don’t want him to turn into a graceful ballerina waltzing his ways through a bunch of thugs jumping him.

Keeping human limitations in mind doesn’t only apply to high fantasy, or even fantasy novels at all. Let’s say you’re writing a mystery. Your MC has tracked down the bad guy, but the bad guy is getting away with a form of transportation your character can’t compete with or predict, like getting into a cab. Unless your MC can stay on the heels (tires?) of the cab, s/he can’t predict where it will go unless they’re Sherlock Holmes. And if your character randomly ended up on the same street as the antagonist right after he got out of the cab, it would be a bit of a plot hole. This scenario isn’t just a physical human limitation, but a mental one as well. It’s important to remember that a person can only do/take so much mentally as well as physically.

So there you go. If you pay attention to the laws of physics and human limitations (and elf limitations, and dwarf limitations, and dragon limitations, and so on) then your story will be stronger and more realistic, helping you to draw readers into your story and keep them there. Here are a few more human limitations to keep in mind:


  • It takes 4-6 weeks for a hairline fracture in your bone to heal (trust me, I know). If your character’s horse falls with him on top and he hobbles away with a leg at a funny angle, it’s probably going to take longer. A lot longer.
  • Somebody who’s never been near a boat probably won’t know all of the fancy seaman’s names for various parts of the ship and how they’re used. Just because you’ve done your research doesn’t mean your character has.
  • Much as your character can’t suddenly know everything about boats, they can’t suddenly become good at a physical task like sword fighting or magic. If they’re accomplished in these types of things, find a way to show it before the fighting starts, so that the reader knows they can fight off, say, an entire group of thugs or a troll.
  • No matter what you say, a dwarf still can’t jump a ten-foot wall without magic (or a trampoline).
Sarah here. Thanks to Andy for a great post!  Be sure to stop by Andy's blog if you like what you see here.

What's the most far-fetched thing you've ever read or watched in fantasy? Share it with me in the comment section!



Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday || TBR Books of 2014 I Didn't Read

Link-Up hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
So I've seen this link-up lots of places, but I think I've only done it once before. But in the spirit of posting more in 2015, here's the Top Ten 2014 Releases I Meant To Read But Didn't Get To.

*fair warning, I did not read nearly all the books I wanted to last year.  some of the books contained on this list may shock viewers. discretion advised.*


Bonus: 11. The Treatment by Suzanne Young
I received an ARC of book 1 in this series what seems like 3 years ago.  Maybe it was 3 years ago, because when I sat down to read The Treatment, remembered absolutely nothing of book 1.  It quickly got tossed aside, never to be picked up again.  I doubt I'll return to the series, but since I own book 1, it's not impossible.

10. Defy by Sara B. Larson
I don't know why, but somehow I heard about this book and decided I'd love it. I went so far as subscribing to the author's blog and following the author on Twitter before the book even released.  Then I read the first few pages and decided I'd rather marathon Scandel, because guys, Olivia Pope.  So yeah. Don't see myself returning to this novel.

9. To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
I heard about this book on BookTube.  I think I've read another Jenny Han book, and I liked it well enough.  I liked the title of this book. For some reason it reminded me of The Boyfriend List and 13 Little Blue Envelops, both stories I enjoyed.  I never started this book, but If I get it from the library in the next few months, I could see myself reading it.



8. #scandal by Sarah Ockler
I think maybe Cait at Paper Fury mentioned this book?  I heard about it somehow, but never saw it at my library, so I haven't started it yet.  (Also, currently the people at my library hate me because I have their books and have not given them back.  So I haven't been there in a while.)

7. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Guys, Anne and the French Kiss was one of the first YA romance books I actually liked.  I feel like I just have to see this series to completion.  *repeats mantra* I will read this soon. I will read this soon.*

6. Graduation Day by Joelle Charbonneau
Book 1 was great.  Book 2 was, well, fine.  Just not fine enough to  inspire me to go searching for book 3.  If it had showed up on my bookshelf, I would have read it.  But since the TBR faeries didn't see fit to hide it under my pillow, I haven't read it.



5. Undivided by Neal Shusterman
I actually didn't even realize this book was out until I started writing this blog post. In case you didn't know, Guys! The next Unwide book is out!  This series is one of my all-time favorites and has had a huge impact on me personally.  I will read it post-haste. You should too.

*these are the books you guys might really hate me for*

4. Panic by Lauren Oliver
I don't know what is wrong with me, but I just don't LOVE Lauren Oliver like some people do.  Nevertheless, I thought I would give Panic a shot.  It's a standalone, so not too much commitment. And I've heard great things about it.  So I'll probably keep it on my TBR and see what happens.

3. The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J Maas
As a self-identifying Celaena Sardothien fangirl, I am seriously ashamed of myself for not having read this book.  I feel like I must fail at fangirling.  I read the first short story, but shorts just aren't my thing.  You feel me?  Did you read Assassin's Blade?  If so, how was it?  I'm sure it is worth the read, and I'll get to it sometime in the future.

2. The One by Kiera Cass
I feel like at this point I'd need to go back and read the whole series to fully appreciate this book.  I'm sure it's a great book.  Maybe I'm just sick of dystopian love triangles.  Isn't everyone by now?

1. Cress by Marissa Meyer
I LOVED Cinder, but Scarlet really threw me through a loop. I have a hard time dealing with more than two POV characters, and from what I can remember, Scarlet had three.  I think I was worried Cress would have four or more, and I just wouldn't enjoy that very much.  If the TBR faeries gave my the whole series so far, I might marathon them.  Otherwise, I just don't see myself finishing it.

That's it for the linkup.  BUT

Four things before  you go!

Uno)  Please don't throw things at me for having not read these books.  I thought I would.  I honestly thought I would!

Dos) Let's make TBR faeries a thing. For realzies. If one of you is an artist, I want TBR faerie art!  *it would honest to goodnessly make my month*

Tres) They'll be another post on Thrusday. It's all polished (LOL I almost typed Polish[I should go to bed]) and ready to go!  Come back for it.  It'll be good.

Cuatro) I'm taking two college courses this semester, Chemistry and Spanish.  So you can expect shorter posts, but with a higher Español to English ratio.

Thanks for reading!  What are some books that you looked over in 2014?  Are you going to read them now? And if you did the link-up too, feel free to leave your link in the comments.


Thursday, January 8, 2015

GIFs and Things || Beautiful People Link-Up

Look at this!  Third post this month and it's not even the 10th. You should be so proud of me.
This post is brought to you by Paper Fury and Further Out and Further In.
ALSO, because Cait from Paper Fury uses GIFs and this post is inspired by her, this post may contain GIFs.  And some words in all caps. She's rubbing off on me. Sorry in advance.

Q U E S T I O N S


1. How many years have you been writing? When did you officially consider yourself a ‘writer’?
I've been writing for 5ish years.  I think I considered myself a writer the during 7th grade. That year I took a creative writing class and that's when I began to get involved in the writing community, specifically when I started reading writing craft books and when I started reading writing blogs.

2. How/why did you start writing?
I started writing because I loved the Eragon books and wanted to be as cool as their author, who was 15 when he wrote the first book.

3. What’s your favorite part of writing?
Falling in love with beautiful characters who don't think they're beautiful.


4. What’s your biggest writing struggle?
Climaxes and then editing.  Editing climaxes is basically torture.  I just want to start writing new stories and I CAN'T yet because these other characters need SO much editing.

5. Do you write best at night or day?
My most excited and best writing comes from 9:00AM to 12:00 PM and then again from 7:00 PM to 10:30 PM.

6. What does your writing space look like?
It's a couch in my living room.  From it I can see the piano, fireplace, staircase, and some horses if I look out the window.  It also happens to be the second best room in the house for hearing every conversation in the house. (Don't tell me family I said that.)

7. How long does it typically take you to write a complete draft?
My record for a first draft is six months.  I have yet to complete a Macro Edit aka second draft.


8. How many projects do you work on at once?
ONE!  Though I might be plotting one novel while drafting another.

9. Do you prefer writing happy endings, sad ones, or somewhere in between?
<-- Does this answer your question?


10. List a few authors who’ve influenced your writing journey.
Cara Putman, Stephanie Morrill, Megan Whalen Turner, Christopher Paolini, John Flanagan, Sarah J Maas (most recently) and every other author I've ever read.

11. Do you let people read your writing? Why or why not?
Not really, because I'm bad at editing and don't want anyone to see my less that perfect first and second drafts.

12. What’s your ultimate writing goal or dream?
To be JK Rowling.  But seriously, to be published as a teen, be well loved as an author, and to help other young writers fulfill their dreams too.


13. If you didn’t write, what would you want to do?
I would either find a way to monetize reading novels, or I'd become Olivia Pope.

14. Do you have a book you’d like to write one day but don’t feel you’re ready to attempt it yet?
Yes. I'll talk most about it in the last question.

How I feel when I think about VC
15. Which story has your heart and won’t let go?
I'm in love this story seed. We'll call it VC.  This story is basically Harry Potter meets the TV show Leverage or the Lies of Locke Lamora.  Sadly, to tell this story the way it deserves to be told, I'd need to write 7 books and 21 short stories.  I'm not in a place in life to commit to something like this.  But I love this story.  I've written random scenes from random books. I have the 6 MC's names (DID I MENTION THERE ARE 6 MAIN CHARACTERS?) written on notecards and tacked to my bulletin board.  I am in love with this idea, but I'm not ready to write it yet.

That's all I've got for the post!  Thanks for reading.

If you want to answer some of the questions for yourself, leave your answers in the comments section.  Or if you wrote a Beautiful People post this month, leave the link below and I'll read it!


This GIF has no purpose. I just wanted to use it.

Monday, January 5, 2015

In 2015, I Will

For the last two years, I've made lists of things I want to accomplish that year.  Here's a review of what I wanted to do in 2014. The crossed out items are things I did.

In 2014, I did
Finish my NaNo Novel First Draft (I worked a lot on it, it's about 80K, but I have no motivation right now)
Win a NaNoWriMo (I won April's Camp NaNo)
Edit my first novel (It's not done being edited, but I have done a lot of work on it)
Win a Go Teen Writers 100-for-100 contest (Yeah . . .  I quit 30 days in.)
Do major revisions on another novel (I began major revisions, but haven't finished them)
Reach 100 Blog followers (89, at time of post)
Reach 100 Twitter followers (61, at time of post)
Host a monthly Twitter Chat (Click here for more info)
Write at least 1K a week (That did not happen. I think I wrote about 40K this year)
Read 50 books, about 4 a month (I finished 45 book in 2014)
Query literary agents with at least one project
Publish at least 250 blog posts (That post was #160)
Read at least one craft book (I read more than one writing book last year!)


Now here are some of my goals for 2015

In 2015, I will
Get my MG Sci-Fi to Critique Partners
Not start another first draft until I've submitted a project to an agent
Finish critiquing my critique partner's novel
Graduate High School
Start a full time job (just for the summer)
Start college
Do well in college
Continue to host a monthly Twitter Chat (Click here for more info)
Reach 150 blog followers (116, currently)
Reach 250 Twitter followers (196, currently)
Read 50 books, about 1 a week
Reach at least 275 published blog posts (This post is #210)
Reach 500 followers on Pinterest (484 currently)


Those are the goals I have for now.  I would really encourage you to make some kind of list of your own.  I find them really helpful.

What are some of your 2015 goals?  I'd love to know!  Or if you write a similar post, please leave me the link.  This post was inspired by a similar post on Go Teen Writers; go check it out!



Thursday, January 1, 2015

Novel Spotlight: Mardan's Mark || Giveaway!

Happy New Year!  In honor of the New Year, I decided to get back into blogging!  My goal is to publish at least two posts a month.  You can expect posts on Mondays or Thursdays.  That's all the schedule I'm setting for myself.

Today we have a debut novel spotlight.  The book came out a week ago and so far as received 5 stars in every review. Let me introduce you to Mardan's Mark by Kathrese McKee.

Buy on Amazon
View on Goodreads

Srilani is second in line to the throne, and she’s always known what is expected of a princess -- bring honor to her family and marry well. Aldan has been a pirate’s slave for as long as he can remember, and all he wants is to be free. The Twin Kingdoms have been sister nations for centuries, but now their unity and existence are threatened by enemies both inside and outside their borders.
After pirates abduct Srilani and her three siblings, they are stranded behind enemy lines and across the Great Gulf. As the eldest, Srilani is faced with the dangerous task of bringing her father’s heir home. She convinces Aldan and his two fellow slaves to share their journey to freedom. These unlikely allies -- seven young captives -- must defeat the web of lies, murder, and betrayal tearing the kingdoms apart.
Kathrese McKee is a debut author.  Here's a little more about her:
Guys look!  Here's a picture of Kathrese
with a sword and medieval dress.
How cool!
Kathrese McKee writes epic adventures for young adults and anyone else who enjoys pirates and princesses combined with life's difficult questions. She is committed to exciting stories, appropriate content, and quality craftsmanship.
Once upon a time, Kathrese worked as a systems engineer for EDS and various oil and gas companies. After that, she taught Reading and ESL at the middle school level. These days, she edits fiction, home schools her children, and turns a blind eye to the feral dust bunnies lurking beneath her desk.
Mardan's Mark's sequel, Mardan's Anointed, is in process along with a related novella.
For more about the novel or author, check out Kathrese's website.

Enter below to win a Kindle copy of Mardan's Mark.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Comment below with one of your favorite fantasy books from 2014 or one you're looking forward to in 2015.  Check back next week to see if you won!


Thanks everyone!  That's all I've got.