An Author on an Expedition

An Author on an Expedition


11121089_1495942310661086_609968882442012637_nI’m going on another adventure! (THANKS, MOM!)

If you’ve read Dissonance, you know there exists a fallen faery tale off the California cost and it’s called Serenade. What? You haven’t read it? Okay, well I just told you–I know these things.

What? Yes, I wrote it. That doesn’t mean it’s not true–in some dimension.

And today I am a happy author because we are about to embark on a trip to California in which I can dream of finding the place I wrote about so much.

Need a description? Well, here ya go, straight from the pages of the book:

The town of Serenade was a fallen faery tale. Julian spent the rest of their journey describing festivals of song that took place every month, but the magical place was not where it belonged.

Every time the veil tears,” he explained, “what’s on it falls through. We’re not sure why things land where they do, but our unspoken pact is to care for what we find. I discovered a large fragment during my travels, automatically claiming it. They wouldn’t give it to me otherwise.”

Chapter Twenty-one of Dissonance will tell you all about it. I swear it exists! The place is vivid in my mind, a place of colorful buildings and winding sidewalks, a wild ocean and people playing music on every corner.

Maybe I’ll find it. I’m on an expedition to collect as many plot bunnies on this adventure as will come to me. Come to me, bunnies, come. I am also having a difficult time deciding what to read on the plane…

By the time you read this, I’ll probably be flying–or in the airport trying to find internet signal. Perhaps I’ll be reading or staring out the window: My favorite part of any vacation is often the airport, the excitement while waiting to board a flight.

Perhaps I’ll have arrived.

I can’t wait to take pictures, hopefully including a new author pic; I’ll see the beach again after three years! I’ve missed it so much. 60% of my creativity to write Dissonance came from staring at the ocean outside my aunt’s window in Peru.

Maybe, just maybe, I’ll come back with short stories. I’ll see interesting people and look up at skyscrapers. Perhaps I’ll run into someone famous.

It’s only for about four days, but a lot can happen in four days. A lot. And trust me, I’ll be back with lots of pictures.

I’m taking the travel journal I started writing during our trip to Las Vegas. Ironically enough I wrote a vivid description of Serenade, California in this journal, not knowing that one day I would be in California looking for it.

Maybe, just maybe, I’ll find it.

These are the things an author lives for. This is what makes the writing process worthwhile. You can make things that exist in your own world and suddenly expect to find them, just waiting for you at the edge of a cliff in California.

And when I get back, I’ll be ready to write the second draft of Elegy. Oh, yes–experience will prepare me for the sequel.

I’ll be using the Instagram hashtag #SerenadeCalifornia if you want to keep up with me live!

3 Reasons I Read Classics

3 Reasons I Read Classics


A few people who’ve read Dissonance this year claimed to enjoy my writing style. Some have asked how I manage eloquent prose. When posed with that question, my first instinct is to argue (“It’s not that great!”) My second is to urge people to read classical literature, because it makes noticeable changes in your style.

If my writing is eloquent, I can’t think of another reason: I simply visited the masters and learned from them.

All my literary heroes are dead. If you were to ask me about a favorite modern-day author, I wouldn’t know what to tell you. I fangirl over writers who got published hundreds of years ago; I find so much meaning in old literature.

Earlier this month, a friend asked that I guest blog for them about what classical literature is to me. That post is not out yet, but check Brett’s blog in the next couple of weeks! The request made me stop and reflect on why I love old books and admire authors from long ago.

My guest post has seven points, so keep an eye out for the link! However, I wanted to share three things right here that I love about classical literature:

1. The writing. The English language is always evolving. New words are invented and others forgotten. If you want to know how people spoke centuries ago, find an old book where the language is frozen in time. It gives soul to the book we’re reading; it opens a door for us to step back.

If you can muster the patience to look up big words, it’s rewarding to immerse yourself in literature from the past. Your vocabulary expands, making your writing eloquent; you see the world differently.

It’s worth giving these gems a chance; they’ve likely been neglected by society’s short attention span. You may be one of the only people to read a particular book, making it your treasure to find!

2. The timelessness. Classical literature retains the tension, sadness, confusion–whatever the mood at the time it was written. You’ll experience politics as it was in the 1800s. You’ll travel with people on horses or in carriages; you’ll see what it was like to work in a factory, or give up your life for a revolution.

Classics maintain different lifestyles and ideologies which may be outdated now, but once were followed faithfully. Life was different, and an old novel captures our world as it was long ago.

3. Second chances. This is the most important point to me: Each time you read a book by a dead author, you give them another chance to be heard.

Log onto Gutenberg or ManyBooks.net and dig into the archives. Find a name you’ve never heard, not even in your English class; pick a topic you know little about. Go random! Look up things such as etiquette or French cuisine and let a master from back then tell you how it was done.

Spend some time with an author who dedicated years of their life to writing a masterpiece. Every time you read a book by someone who’s dead, you give them a second chance at life–and if you take their words by heart, they’ll never really die.

Do you read classical literature? If the answer is no, then why? Maybe you haven’t found the right book yet–check out the links above and maybe you’ll find an adventure of your own!

5 Reasons I Forget to Blog


It seems every other week I’m publishing an excuse about why I was absent the week before. I’ve decided never to do that again; instead, here’s an open letter explaining why you can go days without hearing from me, even after I make my fifteenth promise never to slack off on blogging again.

1 – The Internet. It may be the reason my blog exists, but the Internet is also why my blog keeps dying. Connecting me with friends on Facebook or providing an endless scroll on Tumblr are ways the Internet prevents me from writing a blog post.

I scroll…and scroll…and scroll.

Then one of my blogging friends publishes a new post.

It reminds me I have a blog, too–and I need to update it. Oops.

2 – Writer’s Block. I’m really good at making up plot twists, tragedies, and sad endings for a story. However, my mind goes blank when it’s time to blog about my own life–or anything unrelated to the writing process. I can’t think of anything so interesting you guys would like to hear about it.

Perhaps that’s just me being my own critic, but how many word count updates could interest a reader? What you want is the book, not the update!

(I hope, anyway! :P)

3 – Reading. Seriously–reading.

Books are necessary for my improvement as a writer and blogger, so I read as much as I can–and often don’t do anything else. I grab book after book, forgetting to review or even mark them on Goodreads.

I forget my blog is about books, because I’m busy reading books.

4 – Procrastination. I confess that sometimes I know I should blog. Instead of blogging, I keep finding tasks to shake that responsibility.

Hey, don’t look at me like that–we’ve all done it! Be it homework or writing or blogging, there’s always something we really need to do, perhaps even like doing, but put off. We don’t want to sit down and make the effort.

For me, that thing is usually blogging…but more often, it’s novel writing.

5 – Writing. Because of Reason #4, I can’t make writing Reason #1.

I procrastinate writing a lot. I like to see my word count grow, but sitting to stare at a blank document? Counting the minutes until my Muse shows up? It’s not something that makes me bounce in excitement. It’s a thought I actually dread.

Once I’m writing and in the zone, things change. I become so focused on my draft and word count, this blog slips from my mind.

I forget to chronicle my life as a writer because I’m busy writing.

So there you go–five excuses. Sometimes I check my visitor count and feel really badeither because there’s been a spike in page views, or the visitor count has gone down to zero. That’s when I put away what I’m reading and sit to write guilty blog posts like this one.

I hope my readers will forgive me…but if you’re a blogger, I’m sure you can relate to some of these excuses, too!

Books I Love

Books I Love


Mariella Hunt:

Scroll down for a lovely review of Dissonance! Thanks Theresa!

Originally posted on Princess Meets World:

I haven’t been reading a whole lot of books this summer but there are a couple I have that I’m really jazzed about. So here you go.

Filling Our Father’s House by Shaun McAfeeAmazon summarizes it this way: “Converts often bring to the Catholic Church an evangelical zeal that can renew and energize even the most tired and battle weary among us. The Church is hurting for enthusiastic voices to proclaim her teachings on truth and morals. In these pages, Shaun McAfee, a convert from Evangelical Protestantism shows how we can take the best tools of evangelization and use them to reach countless souls with the fullness of the Christian Faith. With Shaun’s help, you’ll learn simple ways you can make the visitor in your parish more at home, how to speak compellingly about the Faith, simple ways to integrate daily Scripture reading into your life, why small groups…

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Review: <i>The Queen of the Tearling</i> by Erika Johansen

Review: The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen


Even a book can be dangerous in the wrong hands, and when that happens, you blame the hands, but you also read the book.
― Erika Johansen, The Queen of the Tearling

The Queen of the Tearling is gripping, with beautiful writing and bold characters forming a powerful story.

At nineteen years old, Princess Kelsea already faces battles. Her life leading up to them hasn’t been easy; through each second of her anguish shines a powerful will for someone so young.

She’s been raised strictly in preparation for the throne. It made her childhood one of bitter solitude with cold foster parents who showed little affection. Later in the book we see how this discipline roughened her to be the queen her people needed.

A lover of beautiful sentences, I fell for Johansen’s writing style. Not only did it paint Kelsea’s struggles, it made me fond of the character despite her many flaws.

Some books are written so eloquently that they’ll pull you in for hours. You’ll be floating in a dream, bound by extraordinary prose. I don’t know how to describe Erika Johansen’s writing style, but if the plot and characters had been mediocre, I would have still finished the book because of how it was written.

But the characters weren’t mediocre. The villains had a touch of humanity that made me understand them. The heroes weren’t always likeable, either. It meant each character felt real and alive, regardless to their role.

I read The Queen of the Tearling three months ago. It may be dark and gritty, but I walked away with my mind buzzing, wishing desperately for more. Soon I’ll be getting the second book to immerse myself once more in this world painted with such perfect words.

Bookworms Don’t Run Out of Adventures

Bookworms Don’t Run Out of Adventures


It’s so easy to get caught up in the writing and reading. It’s easy to forget that life is a story; it deserves to be chronicled.

I used to be so good at keeping a journal. I don’t know why my enthusiasm in journal writing faded; maybe I have too many journals and not enough drive to stick to one. Maybe I’ve been channeling myself into my novels, so there’s not much left for a piece of nonfiction.

Blogging is also a hard routine to keep, because the Internet has so many distractions; still, I keep trying.

For those of you who don’t already know, I finished a draft of Elegy last week and two hours later decided I didn’t like any of it. It took the encouragement and reassurance of several friends to convince me against scrapping it and starting over.

I can already hear the words of a new first chapter whispering in my mind; I can’t really see what the harm would be in starting over if I already know the order of things, but the general consensus among writers is to give it at least a month before you start the rewrite, so instead I have embarked on a new project.

All I can tell you is that there are ghosts, and a ship, and a ghost ship. I binge-watched all the Pirates of the Caribbean movies in a week, and read tons of ghost stories from the 1800s; my imagination now brims with gothic fiction.

To distract myself from the temptation to rewrite Elegy–which remains a working title, as the book has strayed far from what I titled it–I have started a new project, this ghost story, and am not going to bother with an outline. It helps me get a feel of the characters to start new novels from scratch.

I’m still struggling to figure out marketing plans. However, it’s humbling enough to know most of my closest friends have Dissonance in their homes or Kindles. Meanwhile I’m planning a blog tour for the end of August. The process of publishing burned me out; perhaps I needed a summer off to get energy to dive into the project.

There are a few reviews up–including Kayla’s and Alexa’s. Soon there will be more! I’ll keep you updated (and cross my fingers that these reviewers enjoy my story overall!)

I will send an eBook review copy if you want to help out. Shoot me a message and let me know if you’re a book blogger; I could use the exposure and would love to know what you think!

My adventures this year are far from over. I’ve read wonderful books and seen wonderful people; if I can’t find the drive to keep a personal diary, it’ll suffice to keep these memories in my heart.

Because bookworms never run out of adventures.

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Why Are Female Fantasy Authors Pushed To The Back Of The Bus?


Mariella Hunt:

Major food for thought.

Originally posted on Leona's Blog of Shadows:

There was an interesting thread on reddit /r/Fantasy

where I learned some rather disturbing facts about the publishing industry. The person who opened the thread was wondering why women prefer writing teen romance centered Urban Fantasy and YA Fantasy and why there are too few female epic fantasy authors.

I have to shamefully admit I had the same misconception myself since this is the pattern I see in the best seller lists, book blogs and the word on the street. Big shot female authors who write fantasy write YA and UF centered on romance. Hardly any female names pop up in epic fantasy category. There is Robin Hobb, but she is where she is today because Robin Hobb is a gender neutral pseudonym. I had no idea she was a woman until last year. I know I am not alone in this, I talked to a number of her readers who thought she was…

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Review: <i>Cinder</i> by Marissa Meyer

Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer


Here we go again.

It was one of those books all over social media, a book everyone insisted that I read. When a book is like that, I’m almost always suspicious of it. With The Selection, people were right–I didn’t regret the read. Cinder is a similar situation, though I must admit I didn’t love it at first.

I thought the beginning really slow and mediocre. It’s definitely not a traditional Cinderella retelling, and that’s a good thing, but the change in setting and culture really caught me off-guard at first–then throw in cyborgs and a plague. But as I read I found myself impressed by the details; by the time I finished, Cinder had won me over.

The author came up with such amazing twists…for example, Cinder can’t cry because she doesn’t have tear ducts. You’d think a character who can’t cry would be hard to relate to, but seeing her express her frustration in other ways was really satisfying, giving this character another layer of strength.

The prince was awesome in this retelling. I liked him better as a MC than Cinder herself. He cared about more than the ball or finding a princess; he was taking his job seriously and doing what he could to save his people, despite lack of experience.

I could go on, but by the time I finished Cinder, I was in love with it. There were many things unusual to a fairy tale–dystopia, cyborgs, Cinder’s determination not to rely on anyone. All this convinced me to try the rest of the series.

Times may change, but we’ll find a good fairy tale will survive the centuries–even if it takes different forms.

Cover Reveal: <i>Blood and Water</i> by Briana Morgan

Cover Reveal: Blood and Water by Briana Morgan


“Jay needed so many things. He needed Maia to be well. He needed a cure for both of them. He needed the world to somehow start making sense again. Above everything, he needed someone to tell him why these terrible things were happening to him.”

Seventeen-year-old Jay Harris lives in a world struck down by a deadly virus. His parents are dead, along with half the planet. When Jay’s sister Maia falls ill, he must find a cure before he loses her, too. But unbeknownst to Maia, Jay is also sick… and he’s running out of time to save them both.

When Jay’s friends tell him there might be a cure for him in France, he must decide whether to pursue it. The journey will be difficult and dangerous, especially in his weakened state, but with little time left—for himself and for Maia—it soon becomes clear there’s no other choice.

Jay leaves the relative comfort of London to search for help, knowing he may never find it. Along the way, he experiences the effects of disaster on the bonds of friendship and fluctuating notions of family. These teens, decimated by a dangerous plague, face stark choices in their search for help, not knowing if their efforts will end in loss and pain.

Will Jay and Maia find a cure before the virus takes them?

Final-Front-Book-Cover

I am so excited to help my friend Briana with her cover reveal today! In the months since we’ve met I’ve found she is a dedicated, passionate writer who loves her story and is super loyal to those she cares for.

Follow her blog, and visit her on Facebook and Twitter!

11811491_10152854599546841_8052592134780564109_nBriana Morgan is a YA and NA writer, editor, and blogger who loves dark, suspenseful reads, angst-ridden relationships, and complicated characters. Her interest in Jay Gatsby scares her friends and family. You can find her in way too many places online, eating too much popcorn, reading in the corner, or crying about long-dead literary heroes.

Review: <i>This Raging Light</i> by Estelle Laure

Review: This Raging Light by Estelle Laure


Her dad went crazy. Her mom left town. She has bills to pay and a little sister to look after. Now is not the time for level-headed seventeen-year-old Lucille to fall in love. But love—messy, inconvenient love—is what she’s about to experience when she falls for Digby Jones, her best friend’s brother. With blazing longing that builds to a fever pitch, Estelle Laure’s soulful debut will keep readers hooked and hoping until the very last page.

Thanks to NetGalley, I was able to read this fantastic book and hope to do it justice here.

Books with missing parents usually bug me. A major literary pet peeve of mine is the absence of parents; that’s why I always try to have parents in my novels when I write them. But This Raging Light takes the concept of the teenager-on-her-own to a different level, giving life to a strong main character struggling to raise her little sister after her mother leaves.

It’s a powerful book where you see Lucille struggle with her emotions, fighting to stay level-headed while being Mom and Dad to her sister, Wren; she has to get a job and make sure her sister’s all right, trying to hide the severity of the situation.

Trying to hide that her mom is gone, and doesn’t seem to be returning anytime soon.

She has some amazing friends to help her, including Digby and Eden. They’re the only people who know what’s going on as she struggles to keep a straight face in public so her sister won’t be taken away.

With the writer’s engaging style, I was a mess of feels by the end. A rapid, nerve-wracking book, it didn’t disappoint me. If you’re looking for a quick read with powerful characters and–ironically–a strong family message, I highly suggest This Raging Light.

It’ll be out on December 22, so be sure to add it to your TBR on Goodreads!