What I Learned as an Author in 2015


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Photo Credit J.N. Cahill

2015 was a special year because I finally published my first book, Dissonance, in June. I spent months putting it off–perhaps I was scared to have my story out in the open, or I edited too much. But it finally happened, and I never regretted it! I know it’s a cliche, but leave your comfort zone and dreams do come true.

I haven’t sold tons of copies yet, but I’ve had great readers who were very supportive. Some admitted my book was not to their taste; others gushed about it for weeks after they finished. I’m glad they didn’t pretend to love it. Everyone’s so different, and if Dissonance isn’t someone’s favorite book, one day I might still write something they enjoy.

The most significant change this year was my learning I could do this. I have enough talent to write a good story, and this is only my first novel! It’s exciting to wonder where I’ll be in ten years.

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Now I’m almost through with a coherent draft of the second book, Serenade, which I hope to put out in 2016 (but I’ve learned not to set strict dates! I guest blogged for Briana Morgan about why–click here to read it!)

In 2015 I also did my serial, The Autumn Prince. It had a very warm reception–better than I’d expected. I’m blown away by the people waiting for me to release Caspar’s story in novel form. The tale I released on October developed a little fandom and I love everyone who supported it! Thank you!

I completed The Autumn Prince novel and plan to focus on it more when I finish revising Serenade! I posted for She’s Novel about the adventure of serial writing. Read it here!

Finally, In 2015 my short story Starless was accepted for publication in the Crows on Heartstrings anthology. My short story has been waiting for three years to shine. I’ll write a post with more details later, but I’m proud to have made it and cannot wait to hold a copy in my hand!

I learned in 2015 that anything can happen, but in most activities–especially writing–the key is to wait. If you want to do a good job, you shouldn’t rush. It lowers the quality of your writing, and just because you work faster doesn’t mean you’ve gotten more done.

When it comes to writing, only time can create a good story; only time builds a loyal audience and strong friendships.

My hope for 2016 is to build an audience while exercising patience and improving at my craft. I want to guest blog for inspiring people and have more readers for Dissonance. I want to publish another book, and polish The Autumn Prince into a tale many will love.

In 2015 I learned it’s worth the wait. 

Thanks to the people who’ve cheered me on this year. I couldn’t do it without you! Happy New Year!

 

The Editing Life


The holidays have pulled me back significantly from blogging, but I haven’t fallen behind in all my duties. I have just reached the halfway point in editing for Serenade! It’ll be difficult not to rush the process from this point, but I’d rather take longer to finish than speed-edit and have to go over it again.

I’m not sure how I lost control of the blogging schedule this month, but plan to get back into the rhythm starting January. Perhaps we also need the occasional break from blogging. Ah well, it was Christmas–I hope you’ve had a good holiday and a good year! (It’s almost over…that is terrifying.)

What are your favorite memories of this year? Best books you’ve read? Do you have plans for 2016?

P.S. I’ll be looking for beta readers for Serenade next year. If you’re interested in helping (it’s not necessary that you read Dissonance first, though it sure helps!) comment and let me know. I can already tell it’s not much longer than book one, so you should be able to finish it in a couple of days!

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Write.

A very important word. I should put it on a sticky note on my computer to remind me to write. But I shouldn’t need a reminder–I mean, that’s what I do, right? Right?

It’s been literally years since I’ve kept a personal journal consistently (meaning I wrote at least one entry per month.) For some reason I can’t think of anything to write when I sit down with a fancy leather journal. It’s all about the novels; I suppose that’s normal, since some of the writer goes into the characters.

The thing is, I consider myself a thinker. If I set an alarm on my phone to let me know it was time to look at words closely…write something related to my own life…but then, that can’t be forced.

Can it?

After all, writing is hard to achieve without habits.

And if I were to write down a fraction of the epiphanies that go on in my head when I stare at the wall overthinking, maybe I could figure out why these topics are so important to me.

My New Year’s Resolution for this coming year is to find my voice again–my voice–to set an alarm, a reminder, and look away from the novel for a while so I can transfer the storm of words in my head onto paper. Maybe even a blog post. Perhaps some words only come out if they know they’ll have an audience. Perhaps I need the Publish button to feel it was worth writing the wordstorm, worth sorting out these questions and ideas and epiphanies.

I can keep a journal of sorts on here. I need you, readers, to keep me going. Even if you don’t comment, knowing I have an audience might help settle this ever restless, loud Muse…maybe sometimes you could comment and opine, or remind me via tweetspam to keep blogging.

My blog theme this year is the sky and the universe because that reminds me of the infinite supply of ideas we have. Sometimes we choose Writer’s Block, because there is really so much to write about…so much. Look at the sky next time you get Writer’s Block and pick a star. Then close your eyes and choose an idea and grasp onto it, stick to it, follow it everywhere. Really, there’s no stopping you…only fear can keep you blocked for too long.

2016’s goal is pay attention to wordstorms.

There’s always something to say.

Review: Winterspell by Claire LeGrand


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I’m usually a fast reader, but Winterspell changed that.

It had me reading slowly on purpose to make the book last. I knew from the first page that it would be a beautiful tale; its eloquent writing first drew me in, but the book kept getting better.

Clara is a fantastic main character, walking us through dark situations in a frightening new world. We feel her anger and dread. We root for her to put aside the fear she’s lived with for most of her life.

Something else that blew me away was the world building. From the snowy tundra of Mira’s Ring to Anise’s Summer Palace, everything was so vivid. Fittingly enough, even the beautiful places had a darkness to them.

This land is corrupted and suffocating under Anise’s reign. We want Nicholas to get his throne back. But even the protagonists had a certain darkness to them. It made them real and lovable in the end.

I hesitate to tell you everything and spoil the magic. Read the book and go on this adventure with Clara! If you ask me, this book gets five stars; it lets us relive the beloved tale in a new, breathtaking way.

The 2015 Birthday Bookhaul


I mentioned that the fourteenth was my birthday (still feeling 22!) The festivities consisted of a trip to the bookstore, and that’s all I need to celebrate!

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Winterspell is the first one I’ve started reading! I’m actually slowing the process so it won’t end too quickly, because it’s bewitching. And that cover is gorgeous. But this time it’s not the only reason I bought it! Here’s what it’s about:

The clock chimes midnight, a curse breaks, and a girl meets a prince…but what follows is not all sweetness and sugarplums.

New York City, 1899. Clara Stole, the mayor’s ever-proper daughter, leads a double life. Since her mother’s murder, she has secretly trained in self-defense with the mysterious Drosselmeyer.

Then, on Christmas Eve, disaster strikes.

Her home is destroyed, her father abducted—by beings distinctly not human. To find him, Clara journeys to the war-ravaged land of Cane. Her only companion is the dethroned prince Nicholas, bound by a wicked curse. If they’re to survive, Clara has no choice but to trust him, but his haunted eyes burn with secrets—and a need she can’t define. With the dangerous, seductive faery queen Anise hunting them, Clara soon realizes she won’t leave Cane unscathed—if she leaves at all.

Inspired by The Nutcracker, Winterspell is a dark, timeless fairy tale about love and war, longing and loneliness, and a girl who must learn to live without fear.

I would elaborate, but I’m too caught up reading to write a long blog post! ;)

Here are all eight books I got! I’m optimistic for all of them!

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Have you read any of them? Tell me what you think!

My Latest, Cruel Goal


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Today I turn 22.

I’ve been looking at my achievements in the past year with a satisfied but restless eye. You see, the writer is never satisfied with her work…and I’ve set resolutions for this coming year that might seem hefty to many, even impossible. They’re goals I’m probably going to take years to achieve–but only now am I embracing the challenge for real.

I want to be a cruel writer. Let me explain.

Sometimes you come across a book so bold and vivid that a mere glance at the first page fills you with excitement to start reading–but there’s something else. You hesitate, as if standing at the edge of a cliff. You almost take a step back.

You’re afraid to start reading that book, because once it’s finished you can’t recreate the first read. The magic of turning those pages for the first time? It won’t happen again, and it could be years before you find another book with that power!

The book is so powerful, you hold it in your hands and can almost feel its energy surging through your body. You’re in love with it and afraid of it, and you haven’t even finished the first chapter yet.

I don’t know if that’s pretentious, but I want to write books like that.

It means writing stories with plots that pack a punch. It means practicing until my voice can grip readers with a sentence. It means putting thought into small details to make the story unforgettable.

Perhaps it’s almost impossible, but I’m confident today. I want my books to be like that.

It’d be nice to know the power in my stories frightened readers before they even began, because they knew I would play with their emotions and perhaps break their hearts. Because to be an author, you must be cruel.

And I noticed that the authors I love are the cruelest ones I know, the ones who used words to make me an emotional wreck because they had that power. The ones who made me fall madly for a character, only to kill him. The ones who never wrote a happily ever after. The ones who made sure I wouldn’t forget them, who made an effort to create a beautiful and sad read.

I’ve decided I want to be ruthless in dealing with my characters and giving my readers an experience they’ll remember. It means breaking my own heart, too–it’s not a skill I’ll achieve without suffering.

But if the writer doesn’t cry, the reader doesn’t cry.

It will take me a long time to get there, but I’ll know by that point that my words have been chiseled to shine. To shatter. To be remembered.

Have you ever found a book that had this effect on you? Which book was it, and why did you feel this way–was it the writing, the story, or both?

Cover Reveal: Dissonance by Mariella Hunt


With Serenade finally undergoing revision, it was time to get the cover business taken care of–to have a pair of matching covers ready for the sequel’s release. The second edition of Dissonance features a girl who looks exactly like Allie, and lots of blue–which is all she will wear. She loves blue.

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Fifteen-year-old singer Allie Grant lives crippled by her illness. Though kept in isolation, she’s never alone: A spirit named Song lurks in the silence of her bedroom.
When Song reveals its dark nature on the night of her recital, the show ends in tragedy. Verging on death, Allie’s taken in by an uncle she’s never met. Julian claims to be a Muse with power over music and answers that’ll heal her.
It isn’t long before Allie suspects her uncle has a secret that’ll change her very identity. But with days left to live, she might fade without learning the truth…like the finishing chord of a song.

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The paperbacks aren’t available yet–the files are still in review. I hope to put them out there soon, though, since they’re beautiful. Your purchase would help my coffee fund so I can have the energy to write more books! I hope you enjoy the book if you do buy it!
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Guest Post: Should You Write to the Trends?


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Visit today’s fantastic guest at her blog, StoryPort!

If you ask writers, “Should you write to the trends?” you’ll receive vastly different responses, each delivered with passionate conviction. With such a variety of opinions, which should you listen to? What’s right for your novel?

There are a lot of pros and cons to writing to the trends. Both sides have their merits. I will do my best to represent both perspectives before sharing my own.

Let’s clear things up…

First of all, what is a trend? In the world of publishing, a trend can take many forms. It can be a recurring theme or genre (e.g. zombies, alien invasions, paranormal romance), a common plot element (love triangles, rebellion against oppressive societies), or more broadly and less distinctly, a culturally-shared attitude or mindset (such as the recent swing toward seeing “smart” as “cool”, when the exact opposite was true a decade or two ago).

Writing to the trends can take any or all of these forms. You may write a novel in a popular genre, and/or use recurring plot elements, and/or cater your story to the current attitudes of society.

The pros

On the surface, the appeal for writing to the trends is obvious: (1) It increases your chances of getting published. (2) It increases your chances of becoming a bestseller.

Let’s look at each of those points in a little more detail.

Publishers are highly aware of trends. When a subject is hot, they’ll be on high alert for relevant manuscripts. They want to publish what sells. That should be obvious; publishing is a business, after all. And a shrewd writer will keep this in mind:

You can only become a published (much less bestselling) author if you write what people want to read.

Just think about that for a minute.

If your book comes out in the midst of a trend, it’ll be more readily received. For example, fairytale retellings seem to be popular right now (e.g. The Lunar Chronicles, The Wrath and the Dawn). If a new fairytale retelling were published today, fans of The Lunar Chronicles or The Wrath and the Dawn would be eager to read it, because they already have an appetite for that kind of fiction. They’re in the mood. Most likely, they’ll be hungry for more… for now.

The cons

If I were to leave this post as it is, it would sound like a glittering, concrete argument for writing to the trends.

Throw the confetti! Throw the popcorn! Let’s go get published and grow RICH!

Unfortunately, it’s just not that simple.

First of all, predicting what publishers are looking for is not always as easy as it sounds. If you judge the trends based on what’s currently in the bookstores, you may already be too late. The process from acceptance of your manuscript to placement in the bookstores is not instantaneous – much less the process from ideation to first draft to seventh draft to agent querying to publisher submissions to (hopeful) acceptance of your manuscript!

In other words, if you identify a trend while it’s hot, write a book to fit it, polish it until your fingers bleed, then submit the manuscript to publishers… the trend may already be over, from the publishers’ perspective. And then you will have wasted potentially years of your life and no small share of blood, sweat, and tears.

To catch a trend, you have to catch it quick. You have to identify it at the beginning of its cycle, or have the keenness of mind to predict a trend before it fully forms. (That, or you have to be a really, really fast writer!)

Now, let’s get into the real problems with trendy literature.

What’s popular comes and goes. Maybe people like stories about four-footed cannibals right now, (they don’t; I made that up, if it wasn’t obvious), but in a few years, four-footed cannibal stories will become cliché and quickly forgotten as one of “those” books. The trend will only be hot for so long before it goes out of style and loses its appeal.

The YA dystopian genre is currently in this stage. Sparked by The Hunger Games series, (and yes that was a pun, thank you for clapping), the recent explosion of society-fighting teenagers (typically female, 16-17 years old, with one or two male love interests) was kept alive for as long as The Hunger Games movies were being released in theatres. But, the trend has been slowly, gradually dying. And now that Mockingjay Part 2 has hit the theatres, finally wrapping up the series, let me just give you a free tip:

Dystopians are dead.

The trend is over. It’s as cold as President Snow’s heart. Please, don’t write any more dystopians. Unless your story is completely and thoroughly separate from the now-spent genre (in other words, no 16-year-old female heroines, no – ahem – love triangles), then you will probably be wasting your time.

It’s not like I can stop you from sticking out your tongue at me and writing a dystopian anyway. But you can’t say I didn’t warn you.

This brings me to my next point. Trends – especially genre trends and recurring plot-elements – can become confining, even formulaic. The result may be a manuscript that feels cliché, hackneyed, and negatively familiar, not to mention the limits it places on your creativity and imagination.

“But, Brianna,” you may be arguing, “what about what you said earlier? ‘You can only become a published (much less bestselling) author if you write what people want to read. I don’t want to write something nobody likes! I want to write a story that masses of people will deeply connect with and enjoy. How do I do that, if you’re telling me to ignore the trends?”

What if I told you there’s a third option? What if I told you it doesn’t have to be black and white, yes or no, do follow trends or don’t?

And here’s where we launch into my perspective on the matter.

The third option

I said earlier you need to write “what people want to read.” But how do you know what people want to read?

Trends usually begin with a starter series: something that becomes wildly popular, something that works, something that publishers scramble to replicate. (E.g., The Twilight Saga for paranormal romance, or The Hunger Games for dystopians.)

But how do you predict that first spark? How do you predict which book will start a new trend?

The answer: You don’t.

There’s no way of knowing when a new book will become popular. There are countless stories of obscure authors who simply wrote the story on their heart, not expecting anyone to read them, but to their surprise the novel deeply resonated with audiences and became a huge success. (Lisa Genova with Still Alice and Andy Weir with The Martian are just two examples of this. Google it – you’ll be amazed at the authors’ stories you’ll find!)

Why does this happen? For two reasons: (1) Stories that are written out of a place of passion will always be better, because the authors are motivated to work hard and pour their heart into their work. (2) Stories that are written outside of the constraints of trends and publishers’ wants will often be more original, fresh, and genuine.

I think you can see where I’m going with this. “Write what you want. Follow your passion. Etc., etc.” And yes, that is the ultimate point of this blog post.

But what if your passion is currently a trend? What if you thoroughly love zombie survival stories, and that’s all publishers are raving about?

Well then, go write a zombie survival story, for goodness’ sake!

My point is, write what you love. If what you love is trending, then your passion will undoubtedly shine through your work, and you may write something that rises above your genre – something that won’t be forgotten once the trend has frozen over. If what you love isn’t trending, write it anyway. Who knows… you might start a new trend. Or you might not. Either way, you will have been honest to yourself, to your story, and to your readers. And isn’t that what matters most?

All that being said, it doesn’t hurt to be aware of the current tastes, trends, and attitudes of society. Don’t feel obligated to pander to them, but you may find that with slight adjustments, you can make your story more relevant, and thus more sellable. Only do this, of course, if it makes sense for you and your novel. It may not be necessary at all.

At the end of the day… it’s your novel, and nobody else’s. No matter what you write – whether it follows a widespread trend, fits an established niche, or starts something totally new – you have a far better chance of writing something great if it’s something you enjoy.

For further reading:

“Understanding cultural trends can help you write a bestseller” by Robert Wood: https://www.standoutbooks.com/cultural-trends-writing-bestseller/

“Fool’s Gold: Why You Should Ignore Trends and Write What You Want” by Dario Ciriello: http://blog.janicehardy.com/2015/08/fools-gold-why-you-should-ignore-trends.html

Wendy Higgins on the Challenge of Publication


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I’m often asked if I get writer’s block and how I get past it. The first answer is yes. Absolutely, without a question, I get terrible bouts of writer’s block. I’m talking about fortified WALLS that go up in my mind. I have yet to come up with a foolproof way to get past these blocks, but I’ll walk you through a little of my own craziness.

This week I am about to finish my seventh book. With all the writer’s block I’ve experienced, I cannot believe I’ve managed to write that many full length stories. Looking back, it’s honestly a blur of tears and prayers and coffee and junk food and more tears, mixed in with encouraging emails and texts from friends and family, aka my cheerleaders.

My first book, Sweet Evil, was literally the only book that I did not have writer’s block with. That book felt like it soared from the very center of my heart. It’s all I thought about. I actually lost weight while writing because I’d forget to eat! I was utterly lost in that story world and it was glorious. I’ve heard a lot of people say that about their first book—that it felt incredibly inspired. Now, don’t get me wrong, my first book required a total overhaul and huge amounts of revision, but I never minded a minute of it. I wasn’t under contract or obligation and it was just fun.

And then I got picked up for publication. Dream come true, friends. DREAM. COME. TRUE. But everything sort of changed. Suddenly my stories were going to be read by people. Strangers who would judge it. And I no longer had complete control over everything. I had a publisher picking out titles and covers and leading me editorially. My intimate writing experience became a group effort. Not a bad thing, just different.

And then it was time to write the sequel…and that overwhelming inspiration wasn’t there quite as strongly. I’m not sure why this happened. Maybe because there was the pressure of deadlines and expectations from readers, but I found myself feeling stress that was never there before. I found myself stopping during the writing process and wondering, “Now what’s supposed to happen? Does this feel right? Is this working? Is it too much like such-and-such book?”

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I still loved my story. I loved my characters. I wanted to tell their tales. And now I was required to finish because I signed a contract. What is it about obligation that sucks the fun out of a task? Oh, the pressure! I pushed forward, though I swear some days felt like I was trudging through sinking mud. And with each and every book I finally finished, I bawled my eyes out. Partly because I was so glad to be done, and partly because I loved it and missed it. I’m a mess of emotions.

So how do I push forward? I absolutely rely on my support group of friends and family, including my beta readers. It helps me so much if my beta readers critique as I go and cheer me on. That is what good beta readers do, and I do it for them in return. They read, tell you what they love about it and what they suggest changing/fixing/pondering, and brainstorm with you when needed. And then you revise or march onward.

There are days when I stare at the computer for hours to perfect a single scene that I must get right before I can move on. There are days when life is so busy that I can’t write at all, and I have to allow myself some grace. And then there are days when all the words come and I crank out several chapters. I just go with it. I pray/meditate a lot. I allow myself time to simply daydream about the story, playing around with scenarios in my mind.

Last week when I hit yet another block on this book, I went out to one of my favorite places—a place that inspired a scene in the book—a beautiful dock on a creek near my house. I spent an hour in nature, taking pictures and just letting my mind rest. As creative people, writers are so tough on ourselves, aren’t we? We beat ourselves up and put ourselves down and come to the conclusion that we can’t do it. I have days like that. Wasted days. And then a cool plot idea will zap into my mind while I’m doing some mundane chore, and that quickly I’m on top of the world again. This writing life…it’s crazy, I tell ya. And I wouldn’t trade it for any other job out there. I promise you this, writing friends: If I can do it, so can you.


 

4279785Wendy Higgins is the USA Today and NY Times bestselling author of the SWEET EVIL series from HarperTeen, the high fantasy duology THE GREAT HUNT, and her independently published Irish Fantasy SEE ME.
After earning a Creative Writing degree from George Mason University and a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from Radford, Wendy taught high school English until achieving her dream job as a full-time writer.
Wend lives on the Eastern Shore of Virginia with her husband, daughter, son, and little doggie Rue.

Review: My Name is Rapunzel by KC Hilton


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On my quest for faery tale retellings, I stumbled upon My Name Is Rapunzel.

The book title drew me in first. Everyone knows the tale of the girl locked in the tower, the girl with hair so long it could be used to climb to her window.

As far as retellings go, this novel is fantastic. It’s creative and gives Rapunzel a personality.

It tells the story of how a witch named Gretta cursed Rapunzel on the night the prince proposed to her. After the curse, she lives with her mother and father for the duration of their lives, because she herself never ages. As far as she knows, she’ll live forever preserved as a beautiful young woman, but the witch cursed her so she’ll spend this life alone.

It’s her father who puts her in the castle once he senses his time is nearly up. He wants to leave her behind in a secure place, one as happy as he can manage given the circumstances; the catch is that she must live with Gretta.

Picture it: An ugly old witch and a beautiful young woman, both doomed to eternal life frozen in those forms. And they hate each other.

Time creeps by. Soon electricity and the Internet arrive at Rapunzel’s castle. This was my favorite part, watching her adapt to the world as it changed and generations passed.

Finally it is the twenty-first century, and Rapunzel finds a newspaper column where a journalist is making fun of her story, saying faery tales are not true. Rapunzel, of course, is angry to have her struggle waved away; she writes to the journalist and, letter by letter, tells her story.

That’s when things get interesting; could she take a chance and love again?

My Name is Rapunzel left me an emotional wreck. We feel for Rapunzel and want what’s best for her. What I liked about this retelling is that towards the end, we almost feel she’s our friend.

If you like faery tales, this book is a must. It’s now one of my favorites!

Review: The Elite by Kiera Cass


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The short version of this review goes something like UGH WHY. I NEED MORE.

Here’s the formal version:

Many girls dream of being princess at some point. In Kiera Cass’s popular series, there is a competition going on to marry the prince and win the crown. I joined the fandom late, falling hopelessly for the first book, BUT…

The Elite left me reeling.

I find myself in an awkward position as a loyal reader: I love the Selection series, but I do not love the main character, America Singer.

Something about this book kept me reading regardless to how angry it made me. The Elite has a vivid, magical feel, as if someone took a classic faery tale and dropped it in an explosive dystopian universe.

I loved the first book more than I liked The Elite, but still couldn’t put this book down.

If you don’t like spoilers, stop reading now. Here’s why The Elite made me so angry.

America’s finding it impossible to decide whether she wants Prince Maxon or her ex-boyfriend, Aspen. Yet she does stupid things out of jealousy when Maxon notices her keeping a distance. She can’t stand to see Maxon talk to the other girls in the palace, girls who are only there because she won’t tell him she loves him. Literally in the first chapter he offers to put an end to the whole Selection process and choose her. It’s like she brought all this pain on herself, but she’s blaming other people.

Perhaps I kept reading because I like Maxon. He’s got the broken soul of someone whose life has always been dictated by his mother and father. He wants someone to love him, but since the person he loves has pushed him away, he’s lost and seeking affection from other people. He would do anything for America if she would only show she’d do the same.

It takes forever for her to change her mind. America waits until things get really, really bad before she realizes she’s being an idiot.

By the end of the book I’m not so much rooting for America to win as I am for Maxon to be happy, and I feel like it’s for his sake that I’m devouring the next book. He deserves happiness. Aspen just annoyed me.

Even though I put down The Elite with such mixed feelings, I find I still love this series and I need to know how it ends. Something about the Selection books keeps me engrossed despite how much America bugs me. I hope that she’s learned her lesson and will make wiser decisions in The One; so many people are counting on her to be queen and make a difference. Because she’s from one of the lower castes, she’s a favorite among them. She knows what it’s like to be poor, and this is her chance to do something about it.

Readers who didn’t like The Selection won’t like The Elite, but people hopelessly hooked like I am will keep reading till the end. It’s hard to find a series with the magic and pull to do that. This is a love-it-or-hate-it series, and even though I kind of want to throw the book at America’s head right now, I love the series.

Find my review of The Selection here. And now I’m off to find my copy of The One, because thankfully I have the boxed set.

Searching for a Writing Buddy


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Writing is most often portrayed as a solitary activity. Most people hear writer and picture a grumpy introvert poring over their manuscript in a dimly lit room, draining cups of coffee and filling wastebaskets with work they don’t like.

It’s the romantic image of the focused artist, but the truth is, most of us aren’t like that; we find different ways to put our stories to paper.

While the action of writing itself is often done in quiet places (with lots of coffee,) that’s a surprisingly small part of the storytelling process. If you look at the big picture, writing can’t be done alone. Critique partners are necessary to ensure our stories are good and that we aren’t blinded by our bias as authors.

Writing buddies aren’t only around for critique. Anyone who’s been through the challenge of writing a book knows how discouraging it can be; often we need peers around us to keep us going.

Maybe you don’t have any friends who like to write. What should you do?

Fortunately, the Internet makes it incredibly easy to find other writers and build long-lasting friendships. Through Facebook groups and Twitter chats, we work on our novels together and give advice to one another.

I wouldn’t have gotten very far if I tried being that writer with the dark room and coffee. We need to interact with other writers. It’s important to get beta readers, letting fresh eyes look over our manuscripts so we can make our books great.

Perhaps you’re intimidated by the thought of wading through the Internet in search of a writing circle, but you just need to know where to look.

The NaNoWriMo group on Facebook is a great place to start. With over 20,000 members interested in countless genres, you’re bound to find someone to cheer you on if you want to write that novel. Members can be found all over the world, and the group is very active, even when it’s not November.

The #AmWriting hashtag on Twitter connects people who write, allowing us to live-tweet during the process. Twitter can be a thousand shades of scary if you don’t know how to use it, but here’s a list of hashtags for writers to check out.

Look for groups that are active and friendly; then, all you have to do is interact! Don’t be shy. Before long, you’ll have built your own circle of writing friends to make the writing process easier and give moral support.

Writing involves a lot of introspection; yes, the act of putting pen to paper may be solitary. But not every writer is the same. Some of us need interactive word wars to make progress, or create music playlists for our projects.

Find what works for you and go make writing friends to cheer you on!