Jun 23, 2015

The End

I've finally finished the first draft of IVY OF OUR HEARTS after two months of writing. It feels so good to finally reach the end. I believe this is the fastest I've ever written a draft. In the past, it would take me months to reach the halfway mark. And my past manuscripts have been significantly shorter than this one. I don't know what it was. I have been posting the chapters on Wattpad, so maybe that encouraged me. Every morning, usually after breakfast, I'd sit down to write 1000 words. Some days, I'd even write 2,000 words.

I know now comes the hard part. Revising. Right now, I'm rereading what I have and soon I'll be tearing those words to shreds. Well, maybe not tearing but I hope this revision will be more successful than the others. I feel really good about the story. I feel like it's better plotted than my others, but the writing needs to be cleaned up a ton. I'm praying to the revision gods that I can do it justice. I think writing down my vision for the story will be a great start, so that's what I'll do.

While I was drafting IVY OF OUR HEARTS, I listened to a ton of music and collected a ton of inspiring images on Pinterest. It really helped to get me into the right frame of mind. I'd have both Spotify and Pinterest open whenever I sat down to write. I even created a collage for the story.


My favorite soundtrack was Far from the Madding Crowd. It's both romantic and haunting. "Never Been Kissed" is my favorite piece. It reminds me so much of my main character, Ivy.


I'm looking forward to heading in the revision cave. I'll be using CampNaNo July to help me revise and a little book called Editor-Proof Your Writing by Don McNair. July should be an exciting month,

Jun 16, 2015

Currently...

I've seen a few other bloggers do the "Currently..." post, and so I've decided to at least try to produce a post every Tuesday and whenever else inspiration hits. I know it isn't the most exciting, but I really dislike seeing this blog so barren. I may throw in a bookish post here and there as well.

Loving...
I've recently been obsessed with this song by Gregory Alan Isakov. I'm a big fan of his music in general, but there's something about this song that I can't get enough of. It speaks to my soul.


Reading...
I'm currently reading Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier and I'm listening to Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater. They're both completely different in tone and genre, but I'm loving them. I'm really connecting with the MC in Rebecca and I'm a Ronan and Adam fan through and through. 


Watching...
I've been watching Bob's Burgers on Netflix. It's one of my favorite shows. Tina is my spirit animal! I've also been watching Pretty Little Liars. It's one of those shows that I can't seem to walk away from. I've been with it since the very first episode.

Thinking About...
Of course I'm thinking about my WIP. I'm nearing the end now. I maybe have about 10,000 more words to write. That sounds like a lot, but I've written quite a few words in the last two months. I'm proud of myself. My last manuscript was only 30,000 words long. This one will be much longer. 

Anticipating...
Writing contests! I'm looking forward to entering this new story into some contests once it's finished and polished up. They're so much fun. 

Making Me Happy...
Writing. Pinterest. The Wattpad community. Sitting out in the sun to read and write. 

Apr 13, 2015

Seven Stones by Julia Lee

Moving to Scotland is when it all starts. Before, when Keilann had been living in Chicago, almost everything about her life had been normal. In the city, no one ever notices or cares that she is Ojibwe, and Keilann learns how to scrape by just enough with her grades to not attract anyone’s attention. Everything is going fine until her father takes a teaching job in Scotland. That’s when everything changes.

Rural Scotland is a wild, rugged land full of unsurpassed beauty—and a few secrets of its own. In the woods behind her new house, Keilann finds an ancient stone circle and a strange, silent girl who seems to have walked straight out of her nightmares. Though Keilann tries to deny it, a series of inexplicable coincidences makes her consider the impossible: perhaps her dreams are not mere illusions, but a window into Scotland’s violent past.







My Review:

I received a copy of Seven Stones from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  
What a wonderful debut!

The author, Julia Lee, really astounds in this lush and complex story about family, culture, history, and friendship. It really does have a bit of everything for everyone. The story begins with the main character, Keilann, waking from a dream. Though the nature of the dream isn’t explained, Julia Lee does a wonderful job at building suspense. The story follows Keliann and her family from Chicago to Scotland. And like any teenager would be, Keliann is frazzled by her new surroundings. While I, the reader, was excited about Scotland, I really did feel for Keilann, especially when it became clear that this change wouldn’t be easy for her.


While her sister, Fiona, manages to fit in, Keilann attracts the attention of the school bully. I really liked the way some of the heavier issues were handled in Seven Stones. I loved that the author wasn’t afraid to tackle some of the issues a girl like Keilann would face. As someone who would rather blend in, Keilann certainly stands out more than ever at her new school. Being part Ojibwe suddenly becomes more of an issue than it was for her back home in Chicago. Though it was difficult for me to read about someone being bullied simply because of their race, I knew these issues Keilann faced would be a great stepping stone to who she’d be by the end of the novel. Julia Lee certainly doesn’t disappoint there. The character development is wonderful.


The family issues that Keilann and her family must tackle are poignant and realistic. Like any family, there are highs and lows. Keilann’s parents are a big part of their children’s lives, which we don’t usually see a lot of in today’s young adult literature. It was a nice change. Though not without their flaws, Keilann and her family are the kind who’d always be there for each other no matter what. We not only get to see Keilann’s growth but her family’s as well. The inclusion of Ojibwe culture was wonderful. It added just the right amount of mystic. I learned things that I never would have had I not read this book. Julia Lee was extremely thoughtful with this aspect of the story.


What really kept me turning the page was the strange nature of Keilann’s dreams, which got stranger after she moved to Scotland. I was blown away by how Julia Lee managed to weave the present and the past together. I enjoyed the mixing of both Scottish and Ojibwe lore. It was nicely done, so well done that I didn’t see any of it coming. All of these things, along with great writing and a nice dash of romance, make Seven Stones a spectacular read.


It is full of heart. You’d root for Keilann until the very end. 



You can purchase your copy now from Amazon or add it on Goodreads. Be sure to check out the author on her website, Twitter, and Facebook as well.

Mar 4, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday: The Thing About Jellyfish

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

I haven't done one of these posts in a while. There are so many upcoming books I'd like to read, so I figured it's time to start sharing them with you guys. 

This week I can't wait to read:


by Ali Benjamin 


After her best friend dies in a drowning accident, Suzy is convinced that the true cause of the tragedy was a rare jellyfish sting. Retreating into a silent world of imagination, she crafts a plan to prove her theory--even if it means traveling the globe, alone. Suzy's achingly heartfelt journey explores life, death, the astonishing wonder of the universe...and the potential for love and hope right next door.
 


Would you just look at that cover. It's stunning!

Feb 25, 2015

On A Bookish Date: Waiting for Unicorns

On A Bookish Date is a meme in which I share my love for books and cure my style cravings.



I recently had the pleasure of reading Waiting for Unicorns by Beth Hautala. I'd been eyeing it for a long time, so I picked it up as soon as I could. I'm so glad I did. Churchill, Manitoba really comes alive in this wonderful tale of family, friendship, and hope. I could see myself in twelve-year-old Talia. I, too, have always had a thing for making wishes, and the MC Talia McQueen keeps a whole jar of them, with hopes that one day they'll come true. I learned a little something while reading this book. In fact, it's probably my favorite line.
"Sometimes, we get so busy wishing for something big, we miss all the hundreds of smaller but still-important wishes coming true right under our noses." 
Isn't that line lovely. I'd like to thank Beth Hautala for writing such a wonderful and important tale. If you love beautiful writing, lush settings, and fully realized characters, I highly recommend Waiting for Unicorns. It'll make your heart ache in the best way.


If I was thirteen again, this is what I'd wear on a date with this beautiful book:




What are you waiting for? Go pick up your copy.